Best Snare Drum Review – Top Rated Models in 2019 with Buying Guide
With so many products available for sale, finding the best snare drum might turn out to be a challenging task. To help you find the item that best suits your needs, we have examined some of the critically acclaimed products on the market and have concluded that the first option you should consider is the GP Percussion SK22. Featuring a 14-inch metal-shelled snare drum and a double-braced stand, this set is perfect for beginners. It includes a rubber practice pad, a drum key for tuning as well as wooden drum sticks. If this item is not available, you might want to bear in mind the Griffin Hickory.
Our Top Choice
The GP Percussion SK22 set is specially designed to help beginners or students with their learning process, as it comes with the necessary accessories to get started right away. A 14-inch metal-shelled snare drum and a double-braced stand are included, while the drum practice pad the set comes with allows you to use it at home without making too much noise that could bother others.
The case it comes with protects the set, but it is not very easy to carry around. If you are purchasing it for a child, you might need to get one on casters if he or she needs to take it to school, so that’s definitely something to keep in mind.
This is a very good set for a beginner, given the fact that it contains all the elements one needs to start playing right away. For this reason, it’s an alternative to consider.
This model is designed for all musical styles, so versatility is a term that can be used to describe it. From metal and funk to rock and gospel, any tune can be easily played. Besides the deluxe finish, the construction also includes 3-ply, 100% poplar wood which makes it ideal for most players, no matter their level of experience.
According to some reviews, the stock heads might need to be replaced to obtain a better sound, so this is something you should keep in mind. However, given the other features, this is still a very good choice.
Given the very good performance in terms of sound, as well as the sturdy construction, you can add this snare drum to your list of future purchases.
With a stylish design, this model delivers excellent and punchy sounds for a wide range of musical styles, including pop, rock, R&B, or country. Some say this is the best all-around snare in its category, while the 0.09-inch flanged hoops and separate lugs make the shell resonate more naturally, enhancing the sonic output.
For some users, this snare might sound a little “dry”; however, even professional musicians use it, including for recordings. If you know that you like a richer sound, this is something you should be aware of.
All in all, this snare drum is a very good choice for both beginners and experienced players, so it can definitely be taken into consideration.
8 Best Snare Drums (Reviews) in 2019
The market offers many snare drums to suit various levels and budgets. Considering their variety, though, it might take lots of time to find a good snare drum that would meet your needs perfectly. To ease your shopping, we have compiled a list of snare drums reviews based on the most appreciated products and top features.
- 1. GP Percussion SK22 Complete Student Snare Drum Kit
- 2. Snare Drum by Griffin | Black Hickory PVC Glossy Finish
- 3. Tama S.L.P. G-Bubinga Snare Drum
- 4. Pearl S1330B 13×3-inch Steel Piccolo Snare Drum
- 5. Snare LM402 14″x6,5″,Chrome over Aluminium
- 6. Mapex MPX14 inch x 5.5 inch All Maple Snare Drum
- 7. Pork Pie Black Nickle Plated Snare Drum
- 8. Tama Snare Drum SC145
- Yearly Guide & Report
- Frequently asked questions about snare drums
- Best snare drum brands
1. GP Percussion SK22 Complete Student Snare Drum Kit
If you’re a beginner looking for cheap snare drums, the first option you should consider is the SK22 Complete Student Snare Drum Kit from GP Percussion. Specifically designed to help students learn the basics of drum playing, this set comes with the necessary accessories to start playing right away.
This beginner drum set comes with a 14-inch metal-shelled snare drum as well as a double-braced stand. Thanks to the drum practice pad included, you can mute the sound of the drum while playing at home. The snare drum has a diameter of 14 inches and a height of 5.5. inches.
You don’t have to buy the drum stick as the kit also includes a pair of wooden sticks. Additionally, you get a drum key for tuning. You can store and carry all the items the set features in the padded, nylon backpack the package includes. The bag boasts both shoulder straps and a carry handle.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($97.01)
2. Snare Drum by Griffin | Black Hickory PVC Glossy Finish
Committed to helping players get a powerful crack with nice overtones, the Black Hickory Wood Shell Snare Drum from Griffin is another model you should check before making a decision. The product is designed to match all music styles including metal, funk, rock, and gospel.
The 3-ply, 0.29-inch, 100% poplar wood construction is further complemented by a simple, high-gloss finish that gives the drum a deluxe touch. The product measures 14 x 5.5 inches and is ideal for players ranging from beginners to professionals. The smooth and quiet drum throw off ensures a flawless operation and allows you to mute, tighten, or loosen the snares according to your liking.
The item comes with a drum key and eight very durable tuning lugs that will help you get a more stable sound as well as a higher sonic quality. You can find this model in three sizes.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($39.95)
3. Tama S.L.P. G-Bubinga Snare Drum
Another option you might want to consider when looking for a quality snare drum is the S.L.P. G-Bubinga model from Tama. The stylishly designed snare drum promises to deliver a punchy sound and match various musical styles including country, pop, rock, and R&B.
Appreciated as being the best all-around snare in the S.L.P. series, this model measures 16.4 x 16.4 x 8.1 inches and features a 12-ply, 0.39-inch shell. Thanks to the 0.09-inch flanged hoops and low-mass separate lugs, the shell will resonate more naturally and, thus, enhance the sonic output.
The item boasts black nickel hardware that won’t just ensure durability and allow the player to use it for extended sessions but will also add to the luxurious feel and design of the product. Most customers who tried it have rated it highly due to its overall quality, the sound it creates, its solid construction, and excellent finish.
Buy from Amazon.com
4. Pearl S1330B 13×3-inch Steel Piccolo Snare Drum
If you’re interested in getting the maximum snap from your snare, the S1330B Piccolo Snare from Pearl is an option you should check. Featuring a 13-inch width and a 3-inch depth, the steel-shell piccolo snare can work great both as a primary and secondary snare.
The item boasts an 8-lug design and quality 0.06-inch hoops. The steel shell won’t just ensure an impressive projection but will also make sure you can use it extensively providing you with all-weather durability. The black-lacquered steel drum is compact measuring only 13×3 inches and weighs only 3 pounds, which means you can easily store it or add it to your gear when on the go.
This model is available in three shell versions: Brass, Maple or Steel. Each shell delivers a slightly different voicing and tone and allows the player to fine-tune the pitch to suit various preferences and needs.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($165.01)
5. Snare LM402 14″x6,5″,Chrome over Aluminium
Whether you’re looking for a snare drum for stage or studio sessions, the LM402 Smooth Chrome Plated Aluminum Snare Drum from Ludwig is a model worth considering. Ideal for professionals, this snare drum will help you get the best out of your jazz or metal gigs thanks to its solid build and components. It can be used for other musical styles as well.
The chrome-plated seamless aluminum shell promises to deliver a bright crisp cutting sound while providing just the right balance of snare crack and full resonant tone. To understand what this snare drum is capable of, it is enough to listen to some of Led Zeppelin’s classic recordings. Legendary drummer John Bonham used this model frequently.
The item measures 6.5 x 14 inches and weighs only 4 pounds. The product is available with Imperial or tube lugs and hammered or smooth shells. The people who tried it say the item is a timeless classic for a reason.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($569)
6. Mapex MPX14 inch x 5.5 inch All Maple Snare Drum
Designed to provide players with a warm and full sound, the MPX14 model from Mapex should not go unchecked when looking for a new snare drum. Thanks to its build and specs, the product is suitable for all musical styles. The 14 x 5.5-inch snare boasts a classic look yet promises to be a modern sounding instrument.
The item combines a maple shell that ensures sonic warmth, chrome hardware, and a natural finish. The maple shell delivers a sharp attack whereas the smooth and regular chrome-plated lugs ensure durability. Both faces of the shell are adorned with Remo drumheads that create a nice open sound.
The 0.09-inch hoops are committed to providing solid rim shots. You also get 20-strand snare wires included in the package. Many customers who tried the product have reviewed it positively saying it offers excellent value for the money and it creates a rich sound.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($99)
7. Pork Pie Black Nickle Plated Snare Drum
If you’re looking for a snare drum to provide you with excellent sensitivity, projection, and volume, the Black Nickel Plated Snare Drum with Chrome Tube Lugs from Pork Pie might be just what you need. Sporting an all-brass shell, the item is 6.5 x 14 inches in dimension, which allows it to expand its sound in a great variety of musical genres.
The rest of the unit boasts a nickel chrome-plated finish with retro–style brass tube lugs traversing the height of the body. The model comes with the smooth P-85 throw-off as well as 0.09-inch hoops and custom snare wires that promise to deliver a pronounced snap.
The drumhead is close to what many advanced drummers go for. The player gets to enjoy the melodic warmth of brass and a punchy tonality at the same time. The product has been appreciated for its acoustic qualities as well as its distinctly designed body.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($329.99)
8. Tama Snare Drum SC145
If you’re looking for a snare drum that will get you a punchy, piercing sound, the Stewart Copeland snare drum from Tama is part of the options you should check before deciding which model to go for. The penetrating sound is ensured by the combination of various quality materials.
Thus, the product comes with a triple-flanged bottom hoop, a die-cast batter hoop and a brass shell that is 0.05-inch thick. The possibility to create a sound that penetrates the sound of both guitar and bass is achieved thanks to the shell that is thicker than the standard shell and the different hoops used.
The chrome finish gives the drum a classic and professional look, not to mention durability. The model was designed based on a snare of “mysterious provenance” Copeland used for a long period of time. The reviews available online describe the item positively, customers appreciating the effectiveness of the lugs and hardware and the quality of the sound.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($522.3)
Yearly Guide & Report
Whether you are a beginner or an advanced player looking for the best jazz snare drum or the best concert snare drum to take your sonic experience one step higher, there are various factors that should help you filter the many products available on the market.
Even when on the lookout for the best snare drum under $150, you need to pay attention to multiple aspects in order to make sure you get a drum that is worth the money and provides you with just what you need for your level of experience or gig requirements. We have highlighted below what we consider to be key elements that quality drums should feature.
The sound you’re interested in is one of the most important things you need to keep in mind when looking for any musical instrument, be it an easy-to-use beginner banjo, an acoustic electric guitar for studio or live sessions, or a quality accordion. You should guide your shopping based on the sound you want to produce. Snare drums are no exception.
Different snare drums will get you different sounds. You can, thus, switch between a warm, flat, high, open, or rounded sound. Here’s where the materials used come into sight as they affect the flavor or nuance your sound gets.
The best way to know which is the right one for your taste is to try it before buying it. Play the drums a bit and see if you two are a nice match.
Because the sound you get depends on the materials the drum features, its dimensions, and design, you need to pay attention to such details when shopping. Different materials and building techniques will cause different tonal variations.
Maple and birch are the most common woods used in snare drums. Maple drums usually create a round and full tone. That’s why they are probably the most popular types of snare drums. Birch drums are a bit brighter instead. You can also find drums that combine the two types of wood, thus, providing the fullness of maple and that extra snap delivered by birch drums.
The shell is usually made of brass or steel. Brass shells are warmer yet they won’t cut through the mix as steel does. The sound is not affected only by the material used but also by the shell rigidity, thickness, and the way the rest of the unit is crafted.
The market offers small, medium, and large-sized snare drums. The size you go for depends on how big or small the surface area you hit with your drum sticks should be. Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better, anyhow.
For example, smaller snares are preferred by players who want to produce a higher pitched/tighter sound and a more precise beat. It’s true that large-sized snares will give you more room but this will translate into longer tones.
The size of the product you go for depends on your sound preferences and how much space you need to work with. Then, there are the transportation and storage needs that will help you eliminate inappropriate sizes.
Heads and snare wires
When it comes to drum heads, the market offers a few options that will meet different musical and durability needs. You will find single- or double-ply coated batter heads as well as pre-muffled models. Finding the best snare drum head depends, again, on your particular musical style, durability, and sound requirements.
Keep in mind that the snare wires on your drum will also affect the sound you produce. You will generally find snares made of coiled wire that will give the drums bright sounds being sensitive at all dynamic levels. Some drums use cable or synthetic gut wires to provide a darker sound with less sustain.
Budget and durability
If you can’t afford or don’t want an electronic drum set or an expensive kit, rest assured that the market is generous enough even when you’re looking for a beginner drum kit under 500. It is true that many drum sets are pricey but there are models that will get you a decent to cool experience without breaking your budget.
A good snare drum is built to keep up with major abuse and extended use. Durability does not depend only on the quality of the materials used but also on the way the product was crafted.
If you’ve found this guide to be of help, you might want to check some of our other posts to learn more about great options of metronome for drummers or some beginner bass guitar models if you want to explore more than drums.
Frequently asked questions about snare drums
What is a snare drum?
A snare drum is a musical instrument that falls into the percussion family and is an essential part of a drum set. The instrument has two heads that are made of animal hides or plastic that, when struck with the drum sticks, produce a sharp staccato sound.
It is usually played with drum sticks but some musicians prefer the rute or the brush. Snare drums are used in concert bands, drum lines, parades, and orchestras since their responsiveness and sensitivity make them very versatile. They are the smallest side drums in a drum set.
How to play a snare drum?
Start by practicing various matched grips (the German, American, and French grip). Holding both of the drum sticks in the same way is the standard grip most drumming techniques are based on. Once you’ve gotten familiarized with the grips, you can stick to one of them depending on the type of drumming you’re interested in.
Make sure your posture is correct as well. Also, learn how to use the drumsticks correctly. It is not enough to have a good grip. Begin by experimenting with basic drum strokes and beat the snare drum freely until you get some control over the sticks. You can then try single, double, or buzz stroke rolls.
How much does a snare drum cost?
Snare drums like many other percussion instruments do not generally fall into the affordable category. However, the market now offers various decent models you can get for $200 or so. The more expensive snare drums professionals usually go for cost more than $500 with models that can reach $1,000 or more.
The price varies depending on the materials and the crafting techniques used. If you are a beginner, you might want to consider a snare drum under $500 since it will be your first drum to use for practice. As you advance with your playing, you can upgrade to a more expensive instrument.
How to assemble a snare drum
If you’ve received your snare drum and want to assemble it, you need 10 tension rods, one hoop, one drumhead, and an almost complete snare drum shell. Start by placing the drum head onto the shell, then pick up the hoop and place it over the head.
Make sure you line up the holes in the hoop and start installing the tension rods, then screw them all the way down and tighten them. You will need to check the way it sounds and, if necessary, tighten or loosen the rods. The idea is to get equal tension all around the head.
How to dampen a snare drum
If you want to reduce the resonance or harsh overtones your drum might emit, you will have to dampen it. There are various ways you can do that. You can go for a dampening gel you can place on the batter head of the snare drum. Place it on a spot you won’t hit while playing, though.
You can also use a drum ring that should be placed on top of the snare drum. Such rings are usually made of plastic and about 1 inch wide. Putting a strip of duct tape on the batter head of the snare drum should work as well. Try various lengths of tape until you find the right sound.
How to make a snare drum at home
One of the easiest ways to make a cheap snare drum at home is to use two ice cream containers. The smallest one should be approximately 5 gallons whereas the second one, which will be used only for its lid, should be a bit bigger than that.
Simply take the smallest container as it is, with its lid on, and place some rice or little rocks on its top. Then take the lid off the bigger container and place it on the smaller one. Make sure it covers it well and no air or rocks can get out. A secure seal is crucial for getting a snare drum sound.
How to clean a snare drum?
If it’s been long since you last cleaned your snare drum or you even didn’t need to that, you can easily clean them at home. If you’re interested in cleaning them thoroughly and not just on the surface, it is recommended to disassemble them. Make sure that you remove the dust or dirt inside the drum with a dry cloth.
Use a cleaner only for its exterior. Opt for something that is light such as a window cleaner or simply a damp cloth. Don’t use harsh chemicals or products that contain ammonia and which could damage the snare drum’s various components.
Best snare drum brands
Tama is one of the most prominent beginner and professional drum and hardware brands, the company being appreciated for creating some of the most popular drums available on the market. The hardware and drums are manufactured and marketed by Hoshino Gakki, a Japanese musical instrument company.
While the professional and expensive drum models are manufactured in Japan, the hardware and cheaper drums are manufactured in China. Some of the company’s successful models include the ones in the Warlord Collection, STAR and Sound Lab Project (S.L.P.) series, just to name a few. Besides manufacturing drums, the company also offers pedals, stands, multi-clamps, thrones, and a rack system.
Manufacturing percussion instruments, Ludwig is an American brand that has reached significant popularity back in the 1960s through the endorsement of Ringo Starr, the Beatles’ drummer. The company made the first Ludwig Bass Drum Pedal in 1909, otherwise the year it was established by William F. & Theobald Ludwig.
Later in the 1920s, it introduced Black Beauty Snare Drums that turned out to be the most desired and sought out snare drums in the recording industry as well as the Gold Triumphal Snare Drum. The Ludwig 400 Supra-Phonic Snare Drum was introduced in 1964, a model that remains to this day one of the most appreciated in this line.
Started in 1987 by Bill Detamore, Pork Pie is a drum company that offers snare drums and drum sets as well as a complete line of services that includes drum restoration and refinishing as well as customizing, Detamore having done customizing for famous bands such as Guns N’ Roses, Fleetwood Mac, and Van Halen.
The company has recently introduced the Big Black Brass snare drums, the Piglite acrylic line, and the Little Squealer line which includes not only separate snare drums but also 4 piece drum sets and 4 assorted snare drums. Additionally, you can find as part of their offer hardware such as thrones and backrest as well as accessories.
Offering a variety of musical products, Griffin has come to be appreciated as a provider of high-quality products that cover a musician’s different needs. Their stands, great variety of accessories, drum hardware, and snare drums were built to last and be used for many musical applications. The company also offers piano benches and seats.
Some of the company’s most-appreciated drums include the Firecracker Snare Drum, Piccolo Snare Drum, Wood Shell Snare Drum, and Popcorn Snare Drum. Their products have come to stand for durability, all of the drums using quality materials and adjustment lugs to enable the players to enjoy tones and attacks of different nuances.
In the drum market since 1989, Mapex Drums is a Taiwanese drum brand that offers drum sets, hardware, accessories, and snares manufactured by KHS Musical Instruments Company of Taiwan. The company produces drums for all levels, their offer including seven different drum lines including the Voyager and Horizon series, Meridian Birch, Meridian Maple, Saturn, and Orion.
The brand is also known and appreciated for the Black Panther snare drums and kits, Falcon pedals, and Tornado starter kits. It has even created MyDentity, a line of custom drums for intermediate and semi-pro players that offered a high level of customization that usually only high-end drums offer.