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What Is the Snare Drum?

Learn about the snare drum from drum teacher Jason Gianni in this Howcast drum video.


Now I'm going to talk about the snare drum, and this is the drum that normally sits directly in front of you. The snare drum is comprised of two heads as well, the bottom head and the top head, or the playing side head, it has what is called the throw off, or the snare throw off, which when you depress it down, it holds the snare strands off, so that it sounds more like an open drum, rather than a snare drum when you put it on. The snare throw off also has a tension device right here, which you can make it a little bit looser, or even go further, or you can go back the other way and make it tighter, depending on what your choice is.

The drum itself is made up of a shell, which is the wood. Now on the outside of this wood is a sparkle paint, which drums come in different finishes, in different colors and different lacquers. This one particular is a lacquer sparkle, which is a shinier sparkle. But underneath this, and you may even be able to see inside the drum, is the wood itself. Now on the outside of the drum, or what's called lug casings, and they're attached to tension rods. Now tensions rods enable you to tune the drum, the tighter you go, the tighter the heads become, the looser you go, the looser the heads become. The tension rods go through the rim, the rim sits on top of the head, and that creates the sound of the drum. By tightening the tension rods, the rim comes down, and the head becomes tighter.

When you put it on the stand, which is directly in front of you, you get into a position, which I usually say you want about two inches above your leg, angled down a little bit toward you rather than totally flat, and now the snare drum is in position to play. And that's your snare drum.

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