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Old 04-16-2018, 12:40 AM
vyacheslav vyacheslav is offline
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Default Snare Beds

I just want to make sure I am thinking correctly about something. I am having a friendly "argument" with someone about the width of the snare beds on any given drum.

He says that the snare bed has to be as wide or wider than the snare wires on the drum.

I say the width of the snare bed doesn't matter, only as long as it's wide enough to accept the strap/cord that holds the snares on. The reason I say this is because the snare wires only contact the head. They shouldn't contact any part of the shell or the bearing edge. If they do, the snare wires are either the wrong size or not centered correctly (Excluding gut snares or Super Sensitives, of course). Because they only contact the head, I say that the snare bed width is a non-issue vs. snare wire width, because the wires only contact the head. The only part that comes into contact with the snare bed/shell is the strip or cord that holds the wires on, so as long as it's wide enough for that, the snare wire width shouldn't matter.

He also says that the snare beds should be perfectly flat. Again, I disagree, because all of the snares I own come from the factory with a very slightly rounded arc. Sometimes it's tough to even see unless you shine a light overhead and the snare side of the drum is on a flat surface. None of the snares I have are flat at the snare bed. It's a slightly, gradual rounded arc.

Do you agree or disagree with my thinking?

"The worst thing to happen to drums from the 60's and early 70's was the 80's!"-clubdate64

Last edited by vyacheslav; 04-16-2018 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:37 AM
longjohn longjohn is offline
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Default Re: Snare Beds

Disagree... Think a little longer about it...

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Old 04-16-2018, 07:10 AM
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Default Re: Snare Beds

Snare beds for older drums that used gut snares without end plates and attachment cords, such as Revolutionary War or Civil War type field drums only had to have the beds wide enough to accommodate the width of the snares themselves as they were stretched across the head. Also, it didn't matter so much that the beds were not perfectly flat at the lowest point, because the snares were independent of each other, and not anchored together with end plates. Plus, the calfskin heads would "mold" themselves to make up for minor irregularities in the beds without wrinkling.
With (most) modern drums with plastic heads and standard type snares (soldered to end plates, and attached with cords or tape), the width, depth and flatness of the snare beds becomes much more of a factor. For example, if you have big, wide, 42-strand snares on a drum with snare beds that are not at least as wide as the snare end plates, some of the snares in the middle won't be making proper contact with the head, and they will rattle or buzz.
A well designed snare bed that will accommodate a wide range of snare widths should be such that, when the snare head is tightened properly, will "fool" the head into thinking it's flat, i.e. no wrinkles, but with a gradual "bow" to allow the snares to contact the head evenly all the way across the head.
I know it's a bit wordy, but I hope it helps.
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Old 04-16-2018, 08:01 AM
davezedlee davezedlee is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: toronto
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Default Re: Snare Beds

put 42-strand wires on a narrow-bedded snare and see how many thousands of hours of adjusting you'll do in order to eliminate any buzzing

you won't


the flat bed is not necessary, but preferable by me because the head crinkle is a little less extreme; it doesn't seem to matter sound-wise, but could affect head life or its reusability (if that's even a word)
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Old 04-17-2018, 06:59 PM
Purdie Shuffle Purdie Shuffle is offline
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Default Re: Snare Beds

Amen, amen, amen to all of the above. The width and depth of the snare beds should coincide with the snares being used on the drum. The beds are a critical component and mismatching wide snares on narrow, shallow beds is only inviting headaches to get the drum to sound right. There is a reason why snare beds are cut to different widths and depths.

Too many great drums to list here!
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Old 04-17-2018, 10:19 PM
JDragon JDragon is offline
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Location: Midwest USA
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Default Re: Snare Beds

So I have heard Bonham used a 42 strand on his Supraphonic/ did vintage Supras have a wide enough snare bed to accommodate? Is it true he actually used 42 strand wires or was this a myth? Did he have a modified Supra? (Just trying to get my history correct!) Thanks to any who know-
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Old 04-18-2018, 03:37 AM
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Default Re: Snare Beds

Supras have very wide, shallow beds, which are ideal for 42 strand snares, at least the more modern ones do. There was a time early on when the beds were "crimped", and much narrower and easier to see. Modern supra beds are so subtle and gradual that it's hard to see them without putting the shell, minus head & rim on a flat surface, like a marble countertop. That's even more true with Dynasonics, which do have beds, but even shallower.
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Old 04-19-2018, 03:13 PM
Ron_M Ron_M is offline
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Posts: 199
Default Re: Snare Beds

Your friend is right. The bed causes a difference in the geometry of the head from one bed to the other, the width of the bed. If the width of your wires extend beyond the bed, the outside wires won't lay optimally flat against the head. Response suffers, and snare buzz increases.
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