Kenny Sharretts
Drum Technician - Drummer - Educator
by Kenny Sharretts on September 4th, 2013


     A common issue for ALL drummers is getting rid of unwanted snare buzz, be it a live setting, or the recording studio. While you want your snares to vibrate freely for the best “snare” sound possible, too much unnecessary buzz is a drag. Whether it’s rattle from a kick drum hit, or sympathetic buzz from a ringing tom, how you control snare buzz can make you a friend or foe to an audio engineer getting drum sounds. There are several tips I will recommend here for solving this problem, but none is as fundamentally important as centering, and leveling your snares. Centering, and leveling the snares not only reduces snare buzz. it also increases snare sensitivity which in turn makes the snare drum sound, and play better.
     Try this: Release your snare strainer (ie turn off the snares), then lift the drum up to eye level. As you look at the snares through the slot that allows the snares come through the bottom hoop, take notice of how they hang. Ideally you will want your snares to hang “level” with themselves, and perfectly horizontal on both ends compared to the drum. For example, much like horizontal leveling of a picture frame on a wall compared to the ceiling trim so should your snare ends be horizontally “level” with the bottom edge of your snare drum. Next turn your snares back on, and flip the drum over onto its top so you are looking at the snare side of the drum. Are your snares centered, and even? By centered I mean that each end of the snares is equal distance from the edge of the drum. By even I mean that each end is horizontally “even” with the edge of the drum. If not, your snare wires become unevenly tensioned when you tighten them leaving one side tight, and the other side loose. Hence snare buzz.
      To properly center the snare wires, pre set your strainer to be engaged at a light tension. Next, rest the drum upside down on a flat surface. From here lightly release each side of the snare wires from the strainer, and butt clamps. Center the snares, and then tighten the string/strap on the butt side. Then while keeping the ends of the snares even, and centered, tighten the string/straps on the strainer side. With the drum still upside down begin to tighten the strainer to make sure your wires stay straight. Fine tune for perfection, and voila centered snares. Very often this act will level the snares pretty well. Then fine tune in little increments, as the act of leveling is a test of patience, and precision. Little movements also help preserve centering. You may have to try several times to get it perfect, but the time spent on this matter is well worth it.


Posted in Drum Tuning Tips Blog by Kenny Sharretts 2013    Tagged with Drum Tuning, Drum Tech Tips, Stevie Wonder Drum Technician, Kenny Sharretts, getting rid of snare drum buzz, snare drum buzz