Snare drums are considered to be one of the most recognizable voices in one’s drumkit. To support that, studio drummers utilize several snare for every song as a way to change the overall voice of the kit.
Wherein, some players even have a signature snare sound that helps others identify them immediately. Then, there are those who focus on less-distinct tones that easily blends into the music. Furthermore, some drummers also bring their own snare whenever they play backline kits– this illustrates the important role of the instrument in creating a unique, artistic voice.
How the Sound Is Produced
The snare drum has been part of the orchestra for more than 2 centuries. The first snare drums were made of two plastic drumheads or calfskin stretched tightly over a hollow, rounded frame. Wherein, in order to produce sound, the top head is struck with wooden sticks called “batter-head.” Then, the snare head or the bottom head has metal wires or catgut known as snares that are stretched tightly across it.
When a drum gets struck on the head, the snares create a characteristic similar to a sharp rattling sound, while they vibrate against the bottom part of the snare drum.
Materials Used to Make Snare Drum
Until the late 50s, the head of snare drum was usually made of animal skin. However, modern heads are now made of plastic. There are instances where a form of polyester is also utilized. These are plastics that have numerous molecules linked together into a very long chain with the use of chemical bond better known as the ester group.
One of the most common forms of polyester is utilized in the drum industry, and it’s known as polyethelene terephthalate– also known as Mylar. The advantage of using this material is the fact that it’s stronger and resistant to heat, moisture, sunlight, and other forms of chemical reaction. It’s made from chemical compounds terephthalic and glycol acid.
Then, the shell of the drum is usually made of wood, and the most common woods used for snare drum includes birch, maple, and poplar. However, there are some drums that are made of metal as well.
As for the hardware components that hold the drum in place, it’s usually made of steel, but other materials, such as aluminum and brass can be used as well.
How the Materials Affect the Sound
– Maple: Often used in snare drums and there’s a reason for that; it produced a warm sound because it has an even distribution between high and mid frequencies and the low frequencies are boosted.
– Birch: Very Crisp sounding wood when used in snare drums.
– Beech: A little warmer than birch, and described as a hybrid between birch and maple. It can amplify the lows, mids, and highs.
– Oak: The sound produced by snare drums made from oak is fairy round, and present.
– Mahogany: It offers a warm sound with boosted lows.
– Poplar: It’s cheaper than wood, and the sound it makes is similar to a mahogany and birch.
– Steel: It creates a very distinct rimshot sound that it’s ideal for loud music.
– Brass: Very crisp sounding and warm.