A snare drum is one of the most important drums of a drum kit. It has strands of snares that are made of metal or plastic cable, curled metal wire or gut cords that are stretched across the bottom of the drumhead. In rock bands, the snare drums are used in playing a backbeat pattern like quarter notes.
You can get the best sound from your drums with basic drum tuning. This is usually the case. When you want something more, you may have to resort to drum muffling to dampen the sound. Professional drummers muffle their drums to control the resonance and gain a better drum sound. You can put a pillow inside a bigger drum but not with a snare drum because it is smaller in size. There are other ways to muffle a snare drum. Here’s how.
- Use a Drum Gum. It is a sticky gel which when placed on the snare drum’s batter head will control its overtones and resonance. It is advisable to put a small patch of Drum Gum on an area on your drum head that you are not likely to hit and check what difference it brings. You may have to try putting the gel on different areas of the snare drum before you can get the right sound you want.
- Another product that you can try is a drum ring that works very well with snare drums. The one- to two-inch thick plastic rings sit on the drum skin itself and fit the batter head of the snare drum perfectly. It comes in different sizes so make sure that you get the right one. They are inexpensive and can really cut down the resonance of a snare drum and will not interfere while you play.
- You can improvise and use a piece of paper, tape and even paper towels. Place them in an area where the drum stick will not hit. Check how the snare drum sounds after you have place a piece of paper or tape on it. Try to move the paper or tape a bit or increase the size or thickness of it to get the right sound that you are looking for.
- Tape one or more business cards at the lower edge of the snare drum. You can also use a piece of duct tape. You have to find the right spot where you will attach the business cards or the duct tape to create the right sound. Moleskin, available in drug stores, is a better alternative to duct tape as it will not leave a sticky residue on your snare drum.
- Cut some thin leather into a strip six inches long with a two-inch circle on one end. Add weight to the circle but gluing smaller circles on it. The strip end should be tied to a top tension rod on the snare drum while the circle/s should be place on the drum when you need to muffle the sound. You can just let it dangle to the side if you do not have to muffle the snare drum. This muffler is cheap and very handy.
Drum muffling is not an exact science. It takes patience and a lot of experimentation to get the right sound that you want. Remember that a snare drum, or any drum for that matter will sound different depending on where the drum is placed. You have to muffle your snare drum in consonance with the other drums to get a harmonious, crisp and fresh sound.