Years ago I had a conversation with John Good of DW about snare drum sizes. I asked what he believed was the optimum shell depth to create a sharp, quick response, and he replied that it was 4”. Ever since then I have religiously stuck to his recommendation and never looked back. I now have about eight 4”-deep snares of various shell materials — titanium, nickel-plated brass, maple, tiger maple, cherry, copper — and find them to be the most articulate ones I’ve ever owned. By the way, the nickel-plated brass model was made and hand-engraved by John Aldridge. It’s the loudest sucker I’ve ever owned and my go-to snare for every gig.
I prefer deeper shells myself. Simply because I tend to play more rock than any other style. My main snare is a Ddrum Dominion Custom maple 13x7 with a controlled sound coated batter, an Evans 300 bottom and a set of Grover, Stadium Bright, cable snares. Great depth and body along with amazing articulation and response. I will use my Pearl 3x13 if I am playing jazz or funk. Maybe even my Tama steel 10x6 Popcorn snare. I also own a Pearl 14x8 Free Floater with a steel and vented maple shell which I change out according to the style of music I am playing.
I’m a 5x14 guy. I have several in this size in various materials. I do have a couple of deeper snares, but I’ve not used them much in recent years. I’ve been putting a lof of playing time into a Trick 5x14 - aluminum shell.
Most of the time I use a 4 aluminum snare. Great tone & articulation. If I’m just playing the back beat, I go with a 6.5 brass.
All my snares are 14”. I’ve tried a lot of 13”, but only found one I liked.
I really like all snares. I’m not really a fan of 13” snares but maybe I’ll give them a better chance? I’d say the ones I mostly prefer are the extremes. 14"x7” or a 14"x3”, the ones in the middle I’m not too fond of. I actually even wrote a note for if I ever got a custom snare drum exactly how it would be like. X)
(I have a lot of free time.)
I own and use several snares in depths ranging from 4” to 8” - all 14” diameter. The depth of shell used will change based on the music and venue I am playing. I have to agree with Andy that my favorite is the 4”. A lot of music I play is with an acoustic\vocal group using minimal amplification therefore I use brushes almost exclusively and the 4” has the the right sound and attack that I really like.
When we do more rock\blues oriented shows I will do with the deeper shells for a deeper, louder snare sound. My 2 cents.
I work in a dance band and most of the music we play falls into the Traditional Country, 50s and 60s Rock and some of the top 40 newer country genre and for me…the 6 1/2 x 14 is best suited for this style. My main Go-To snare is a Pearl Free Floater in a Copper shell with the Aquarian Jack Dejohnette coated batter head and the wires are the Puresound Equalizer. Its got a fat deep tone and it blends perfectly with the “Red Oak” laquered Yamaha Oak Custom kit…in tone, volume as well as color scheme. My other snare is also a Pearl Free Floater…also 6 1/2 x 14 but with a Maple Shell…also use the Aquarian Jack Dejohnette batter head and the Puresound Equalizer wires and the kit I use it with is a Yamaha Power V Special with the deeper Power Toms. Just my preference…
Years ago I had a conversation with John Good of DW about snare drum sizes. I asked what he believed was the optimum shell depth to create a sharp, quick response, and he replied that it was 4”. Ever since then I have religiously stuck to his recommendation and never looked back. I now have about eight 4”-deep snares of various shell materials — titanium, nickel-plated brass, maple, tiger maple, cherry, copper — and find them to be the most articulate ones I’ve ever owned. By the way, the nickel-plated brass model was made and hand-engraved by John Aldridge. It’s the loudest sucker I’ve ever owned and my go-to snare for every gig.[/quote
Tiger Maple! Any pics? I have some tiger maple Matthew Smith custom bongs with mother of pearl inlay. Very nice sounding wood.
Hello everyone! For this drummer, I’ve found that the 6” depth works the beest for me. Like Andy has collected many of his trusty 4” deep anares over the years, so have I w/ the 6” depth. Most of them are DW’s or DW Pacific models. I love my 14"x6” DW brass, my 14"x6” DW VLT maple, & my all-time favorite…the 14"x^” DW Edge Neil Peart 30th Anniversary snare drum!
Since Danny Carey is 1 of my all-time Drum Gods, I decided to ‘test-run’ the Sonor Danny Carey Signature Model Snare, which is 14"x8” w/ a bronze shell. Much to my surprise, I loved it & bought it at once! This has opened my mind greatly to deeper snare drums.
For Sopranino, Soprano, & Piccolos, I like the 6”, 5”, & 3” to 3 & 1/2” depths.
I’ve enjoyed posting on this topic & really havn’t had too many discussions about it. Keep the posts coming & thank you all who have done so!
Great stuff @drumbri24, I guess I’ve found that deeper drums have been the most versatile. But then you look at someone like Keith Carlock. He uses a 14x3.5 brass I think for his normal stuff with Kranz etc.. which makes sense given the tunes but saw he was using it on the John Mayer gig too! I would think a deeper vibe would the go for that gig. Had a deeper drum as a secondary snare. Interesting… Maybe I need to buy a 4” and have a play!
Adrianvioli, you bring up an truly interesting & valid point & thanks for taking the time to post! By bringing up Keith Carlock, you got me thinking about David Garibaldi, who has used a 3 &1/2” deep snare for many years now. His Signature Snare, made by Yamaha, is that depth w/ a 14” in diameter. It’s in a blue nickel finish w/ zinc die-cast hoops. I’ve been collecting drum catalogs from every manufacturer for over a decade, & the 2005 Yamaha catalog came w/ an issue of “Yamaha-All Access” which is like a cata-zine, for lack of a better term! Garibaldi is interviewed in-depth re: his gear/setup & states that he has always gravitated to the 3” to 3 & 1/2” depths b/c his band’s (‘Tower Of Power’) music requires a ton of snare drum sensitivity. I own 1 of his instructional DVDs that was made some 15+ years ago where he demonstrates many of his signature grooves. The amount of grace & ghost notes that are in those grooves are unbelievable, & logistically, I can see how a shallower snare would be more appropriate for those applications.
Then, on the other side of the coin you have a great drummer like my old teacher, Jeremy Hummel. When he recorded ‘Breaking Benjamin’s now-platinum disc “We Are Not Alone”, he employed a Joe Montineri 14"x8” (8-ply maple) snare drum (for most of the sessions). Jeremy is quite fond of adding ghost notes to his playing & that drum served him just fine. He had never used an 8” deep snare before that.
It goes to show that while the particular depth of a snare DOES make a difference (physics cannot lie), a drummer’s particular technique & touch has just as much to do w/ it. This is just my opinion, of course. However, take Bonzo as a prime example ; All of his career he used the Ludwig 14"x6 & 1/2” Supraphonic 402 chrome-over-steel (never brass) drum & the versatility of his snare sound is historical! From ear-piercing center hits, to super-loud rim shots, to the most sensitive ghost notes, he was able to so it all w/ 1 drum…amazing if you ask me. So, yes, I believe depth matters quite a bit & I will always favor certain ones over others as I posted earlier. I will, however, always be of the opinion that the drummer makes @ least 50% of the difference, as well
This really is a great topic & we would love to hear other’s favorite snare drum depths & why they are preferred. Thank you to all who have contributed & keep ‘em coming!