Shallow vs. deep snare drum? Which is the better snare drum of the two? What is a shallow snare drum, and what are the pros and cons of using it? What is a deep snare drum, and what are the pros and cons of using one? If you are interested in the two types of snare drums, then you will now know which of the two would really suit your taste.
So, what is a snare drum? A snare drum or also known by other people as the side drum, is a percussion instrument that, when struck using a drumstick, is able to produce a sharp staccato sound because of the snare wires placed under tension against its resonant drum head.
The snare drum’s history can be traced to medieval times around 1300 A.D. Its ancestor, known as the “Tabor,” was frequently used by the fife and drum corps. The Tabor is a double-headed musical instrument that is worn over a person’s right shoulder using a strap. In the 16th and 17th centuries, mercenary foot soldiers were known to use the Tabor as their instrument to send signals to each other while they were out on the field.
It was also in the 17th century that new manufacturing ways were developed in order to create a snare drum that you can adjust its tension. In the 18th century, screws were added to allow the snare drum to be more secured and can be tightly tensioned, resulting in the creation of a brighter sound and a tighter snap, replacing the loose rattle produced by the Tabor.
In the 20th century, the snare drum changed a lot after going through some massive improvements. Metal counter-hoops were invented and added to help tighten the drum heads. Coiled wires were also added to its design and were placed under the resonant drum head.
Shallow Snare Drum
A shallow snare drum or also known as the piccolo snare drum, is a type of snare drum used explicitly by drummers that prefers a snare drum that produces a higher-pitched sound. Shallow snare drums usually have a depth of 3 inches up to 4.5 inches. As shallow snare drums have a narrower depth than other snare drums, they are associated with the tighter and higher-pitched sound of a snare drum.
Shallow drum snares are also classified according to the size of their diameter. There are three kinds of shallow snare drums according to their diameter: the first is popcorn, which has a diameter of 10 inches; the second is the sopranos, which has a diameter of 12 up to 13 inches; and the last is the standard, which has a diameter of 14 inches.
There are many famous drummers that use shallow snare drums as their primary snare drum in their kit. One of these drummers is Neil Peart, the drummer of the famous Canadian rock band Rush, who uses a 13-inch piccolo snare drum. Another famous drummer that uses a shallow snare drum is David Garibaldi, which uses a 14″ x 3.5″ Yamaha brass snare drum. Last is Eric Hernandez, who is the brother of the renowned singer Bruno Mars, who has a signature piccolo snare drum.
Aside from being a primary snare drum, it can also be used as an effects drum or a side drum because of its unique sound. The shell of a shallow snare drum is also usually made from steel, as it is more challenging to make them using wood.
Pros Of Using A Shallow Snare Drum
There are many reasons why drummers use a shallow snare drum as their primary snare drum. One of them is known to produce a lot of popping sounds. If you are a drummer who prefers to play with a snare drum that produces high-pitch tones, then you should go for a shallow snare drum.
Shallow snare drums are frequently used in funk, jazz, and other related genres, as they are the preferred snare drums by most drummers that play in these genres. In these genres, you can usually hear that snare produces a cracking sound, which is why a shallow snare drum is the go-to snare drum for these situations.
Another reason is that shallow snare drums are also more responsive compared to other snare drums because of the lower distance between the snare wires and the batter head.
Another positive reason why you should go for a shallow snare drum is that they are more portable to bring to a recording or live performance. As it has a smaller volume compared to other snare drums, it is also lighter to carry, and it takes much less space.
Cons Of Using A Shallow Snare Drum
There are also some reasons why drummers do not like to use a shallow snare drum in their setup. One of them is that because of its sharp sound, it travels a lot further and is picked up by its microphone further away when you record it, resulting in a more complicated way to record effectively.
If you are a drummer that is required to play with a fatter snare sound, then using a shallow snare sound is really not an excellent option for you. It is really difficult to produce a fatter sound from a shallow snare drum because of its depth.
Deep Snare Drum
The deep snare drum is another type of snare drum that has a larger distance from the batter drumhead of the snare drum up to its resonant head, where the snare wires are located. These snare drums are known to produce a fatter sound, which is perfect if you are playing rock, pop, metal, and many more genres.
Deep snare drums usually have a depth range of 7 inches up to 10 inches. The shells of a deep snare drum are usually made of either wood, steel, aluminum, etc. One of the most famous drummers that used a deep snare drum is the late Vinnie Paul of the heavy metal band Pantera. Another famous drummer that uses a deep snare drum is Ralph Peterson.
Pros Of Using A Deep Snare Drum
One reason why drummers use a deep snare drum head is when they are required to play a pop or rock song, as these genres usually need to have their snare drums to sound fatter. This type of snare drum sounds swampy when you have a loose tuning with it, which is really perfect for songs from pop, rock, and metal genres.
Deep snare drums usually have a better tuning range because of their depth. Deep snare drums can be tuned very high without any issues but can also be tuned very low. It is also known that deep snare drums produce a louder volume compared to other types of snare drums.
Cons Of Using A Deep Snare Drum
One of the problems with using a deep snare drum is that it has a less response compared to a shallow snare drum. Because of the distance from its batter head to the snare wire, it is really expected to have a lesser response compared to what a piccolo snare drum can give you.
Another issue with deep snare drums is that they are heavy, and because of their larger volume, they usually take up larger spaces compared to other snare drums.
Shallow vs. deep snare drum? Which of the two is the best for you? When choosing a snare drum for your liking, it would really depend on what type of genres you usually play, as both shallow and deep snare drums have their specific use when played as a primary snare drum.