Several aspects determine the overall sound of your snare drum. The main two that drummers focus on would be the shell of the snare and the type of drum head used.
One aspect of snares that people often forget about is the wires underneath. The quality and the build of the snare wires can drastically change the depth of the snare tones.
So, drummers will often upgrade their snare wires. If you’re looking to upgrade, here’s a list of some of the best snare drum wires to use.
6 Best Snare Wires on the Market
The Puresound Super 30 is a set of 30 snare wires that are evenly spaced from each other. The whole idea behind these snare wires is that they’re designed to make your snare sound more articulate and dynamic.
It gives the snare drum a snappier sound with a serious amount of response. Ghost notes and buzz notes will be heard incredibly clearly and rim shots will give a solid attack. These wires don’t choke out your snare drum, allowing it to produce the true tones that the shells allow.
When your snare is tuned low, these wires are great for bringing out the fat and punchy sound. However, you need to make sure your snare is tuned properly, otherwise you’ll get a wonky hum at the tail of your hits.
These snare wires will make a huge difference to your snare by giving it more responsiveness, sensitivity, and snap. Rudiments will sound articulate and clean.
Gibraltar is a company that specifically focuses on making high-quality and affordable drum hardware. Instead of producing drums or cymbals, they try to innovate and produce hardware products for all drummers.
The Gibraltar SC-4467 is a standard set of snare drum wires that can be used on any 14” snare drum. These wires are made of steel and help to produce a classic snap that you’d expect from most snare drums.
They’re incredibly affordable, meaning this product is a great thing to get when your snare wires break and you need a quick replacement. You could buy a few of them to keep in storage as snare wires need to regularly be replaced to keep your snare drum sounding the best it can.
Unfortunately, these wires don’t offer anything extra from a set of wires that will come standard with a snare drum. So, they’re just intended for a quick replacement or to use when you build your own snare drum.
The Blaster Series from Puresound has 20 strands of premium steel-alloy wires. These wires are used to make your snare drum tone a lot louder than usual, meaning these wires are a great choice for hard-hitters and drummers who play rock and metal.
The clips on the end of the wires are bent and help provide a good amount of snare response, meaning ghost notes and buzz rolls will sound great on whatever snare you place these wires on.
These wires give your snare a crazy amount of control. If you’re looking for a tight sound that projects really well, look no further. They sound clean and articulate at higher tensions and quite sparkly at looser tensions.
Since they make the snare drum louder, they may not be the best choice for quiet venues. However, you can still get a quiet snare tone with these. You’re just going to have to play a bit lighter than usual.
4. DW True Tone
The DW company is known for producing some of the highest-quality drum kits and hardware on the market. Manufactured in the US, all DW kits go through a vigorous production process and come out sounding immaculate.
One of the defining factors of all DW snare drums is that they come with the True Tone wires. These wires provide a great buzzing tone and bring out the best from your snare drum. They have brass ends that keep them stable and durable, allowing them to last a seriously long time and survive a lot of playing.
Getting the DW True Tone wires is a great way to bring DW design quality over to a cheaper snare drum from any other brand. These wires will help keep a balanced tone and a controlled sound.
They’re more expensive than the other wires on the list which is expected from DW. However, their quality and durability are well worth their cost.
Adding a bit of variety to the list is the Fat Cat Snappy Snares FCS14. This model is dual-adjustable, meaning you can individually tighten the outer wires and center wires. This gives you a lot of versatility in your snare tone.
You can choose between getting a crisp and tight attack or a slow and fat attack. These wires are a great choice for any drummer who plays many different styles of music. They’re also great for being used on studio snare drums.
They have the snap of a 20-strand snare wire model with the presence of a 30-strand snare wire model. Unfortunately, some of the wires tend to snap after playing for a while, even if you don’t over tighten your snare.
If you want to hear your ghost notes loud and clear and have one highly sensitive snare drum, you need to check out the Sabian Blend Hybrid. This product has 42 snare wires, giving you one of the most sensitive snare drums you can possibly have.
These wires work well in all tuning ranges and make give a tight and controlled atmosphere to your snare drum. The sensitive tone makes them a great option for playing styles like jazz and worship.
These are specialized snare drum wires. So, they won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. If you’re not looking for hyper-sensitivity, these aren’t going to be the wires for you.
Other than that, they’re a seriously fantastic product and they’ll provide a lot of value. They’re expensive but well worth the cost.
Tuning the Snare Drum
The snare drum is the part of the drum kit that you’re going to be playing the most. So, it needs to sound great. There are a few things you need to do to get a good sound from it. To tune the snare, you’re going to need a drum key.
If you want a tight cracking snare tone, you’ll need to tighten all the lugs. The tighter the drum head, the higher the snare sounds. The drum head will need to a bit looser if you want a fat and deep snare tone.
Tuning the bottom head will change the resonance of the drum as well as determine how it interacts with the snare drum wires. The tighter the bottom head, the more resonance the snare drum will have.
However, the snare wires will vibrate a bit less as they’ll be tightly connected to the drum head. The looser the bottom head, the less resonance, and more snare buzz it will have.
Sympathetic Snare Buzz
One thing that many drummers struggle with is unwanted snare buzz. This means that the snare wires will ring when you hit the toms or cymbals.
Although this can be quite annoying, it’s important to understand that sympathetic snare buzz is part of playing acoustic drums. There isn’t too much you can do about it and it will actually sound suitable on many occasions.
If it really bothers you that much, you can try tightening the snare wires on the throw-off. This will keep the wires closer to the bottom head and cause them to vibrate less.
Many cheaper kits have weaker snare wires, so you’ll need to upgrade your snare wires if the sympathetic snare buzz is still bad.
If you have a snare drum that sounds immaculate thanks to its shell structure and choice of drum head. You can make it sound even better with the use of a better set of snare wires.
Higher-quality snare wires will subtly improve the tone and snare buzz, creating a through-and-through professional sound.
Investing in some better snare wires is something that all drummers should do. They really will change the sound of your snare drum.