Drummers can find the best snare drum looking at how it’s made and considering their venue and genre. The snares and the head of the drum also play a role, as different heads produce different sound qualities and responses. Pitch, articulation, and resonance are all affected the drum’s size, which includes both diameter and depth. Finally, all of these factors must be considered together in order to determine whether the drum is appropriate for the drummer’s intended use.
When looking for the best snare drum, the most important factor to consider is the material. Snare drums are divided into two categories based on the shell material: wood or metal. In comparison to metal, wood is porous, thicker, and has a more uneven surface. This translates to a warm sound with fewer overtones in practice.
Snare drums made of wood or metal aren’t necessarily “better.” The drummer’s choice is largely determined the type of music he performs and the venue in which he performs. A metal drum that projects will be better than a wood drum in a really wide open area or for genres like rock or metal, for example. The warmth of a wood drum, on the other hand, is ideal for recording or genres like bluegrass or folk music.
Drummers must then think about the head type. The most common materials used in drums are Mylar® and Kevlar®, with Kevlar® being more expensive. Drummers benefit from a more relaxed head feel and less rebound when using Mylar®. This reduces wrist and hand strain, but it requires more effort to keep the heads in tune. That’s not ideal for a drummer who plays a lot of drums and is always on the move, bringing the snare drum into different situations.
Bulletproof vests are made of the same Kevlar® material that is used to make Kevlar® heads. Kevlar® snare drum heads, unsurprisingly, aren’t very forgiving. They have incredible rebound, but because the hands and wrists absorb the majority of the impact, many drummers find that these heads cause physical issues like carpal tunnel syndrome. For a very experienced drummer who can truly control his technique and thus reduce the risk of injury, a Kevlar®-head instrument is usually the best snare drum.
The snares, which produce the distinctive sound of a snare drum and are thus arguably the most important part of the instrument, are another factor to consider when looking for the best snare drum. Gut, cable, and wire snares are all options. The situation is similar to that of the shell material; it is truly a matter of personal preference. However, the type of music you listen to influences which snares you should use. Wire, for example, produces a bright sound but does not provide a good response when the volume is turned up.
There’s also the matter of pitch and resonance to consider. The pitch is usually higher when the diameter of the drum is smaller. Smaller snare drums, such as piccolos or popcorn snares, are more for special effects and won’t get as much use, so they should be added to a drum set or percussion collection alongside a standard snare. The best snare drum for versatility has a diameter of 12 to 14 inches (30.5 to 35.6 cm) and a depth of 5 to 6 inches (12.7 to 15.24 cm). If a drummer wants more resonance, he or she should use a drum with a deeper shell.