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Tuning Concepts

Snare drum tuning

Batter Head - Start with snare throw-off in the “off” position.  Generally, the tension of the top head should be adjusted according to two criteria:  desired pitch and stick rebound.  When deciding what feels right to you, take into consideration that a higher pitch creates a short, more articulate “cracking” sound, and a lower pitch creates a “fat” sound with longer decay.

Remo offers three muffling systems for the snare drum.  The Active Snare Dampener was developed in conjunction with Dave Weckl and is one of the most unique on the market.  Remo Crown Control mutes are the simplest method. RemO’s are rings that rest on the outer edge of the drumhead and mute the overtones.

Changing the Snare Side Head - First, release the throw-off and loosen the tension knob most of the way.

Next, loosen the screws that hold the snares to the throw end.  Now loosen the screws at the butt end and remove the wires.

Now de-tune the rods and remove the old drumhead (follow the cleaning guidelines in the Preparation section of this article).  When installing the new head and replacing the counterhoop, be sure to line up the snare bed.

You may tension the head according to the general guidelines above, but with one exception:  there is no need to “seat” a snare side head.  In fact, doing so may damage the drumhead.  To find the right level of tension for the bottom head, use the following guidelines:

  • For more snare response and articulation, tune the snare side head a little higher than the batter head
  • For a “fat” sound with less snare response, tune it slightly lower than the batter head
  • The four tension rods that are nearest to the snare wires may need extra tension to eliminate wrinkles that sometimes occur due to the routing pattern of the snare bed.

Once you have tuned the head to the approximate desired pitch, replace the snare wires and adjust the knob to achieve the desired snare response.

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