Birth Of The Buzz: How To Build A Snare Drum

Every drummer has at some point turned a snare drum upside down and peered through the transparent bottom head, wondering why anyone would consider it to be such a big deal. Indeed, the design looks remarkably simple — little more than a round shell with various bits of hardware bolted onto it. But looks can be deceiving. In fact, centuries of trial-and-error and textbooks brimming with physics equations have gone into the precise geometry that makes a snare drum do its proverbial thing.

We decided to show you what it takes to get that scrumptious buzz that has launched a million grooves. And to help us sort through it, we turned to Bill Detamore, head honcho at Pork Pie, the determined SoCal custom drum company known for its beautiful paint jobs and downright eccentric ideas. Truth is, we don’t expect you to run out, source the parts, buy the tooling, and build your own snare drum (although you can certainly try). We just want to show you what a deceptively complex instrument a snare drum is, after all. So here are Bill’s step-by-step instructions, in his own words:

The first step is to pull and cut a raw shell to size. We then measure both the wrap and the shell, and cut the wrap to the correct size. Both the wrap and shell need to be sanded a bit before the actual gluing takes place to ensure a coarse surface that will give the glue something to hold onto. We then glue both pieces and roll them together, creating a much stronger connection.

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