How To Play Snare Drum: Guide For Beginners

The snare drum is one of Western music’s most often-used percussion instruments. Snare drums are a staple of contemporary drum sets and are included in symphonic and marching percussion. Learning how to play snare drum is often the first step an aspiring percussionist takes.

Snare Drum Sizes & Their Applications

Snare Drum Sizes & Their Applications

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Snare drums come in wide different varieties. Each of them has a distinct purpose. They may often be divided into groups based on size. The size of the drum determines the individual snare drum’s stylistic appeal.

  • Small

Smaller drums often have higher pitches. They are a preferred and well-liked option for drummers in R&B, Drum ‘n’ Bass, and Hip-Hop music. Their sound is very much a part of these genres.

  • Medium

The body and pitch are well-balanced in the medium-sized snare drums. They aid in giving the song stability and rhythm. In pop music, there is often a choice of drummers.

  • Large

Larger snare drums are deeper and have a lot more body. As a result, they provide a richer sound that gives the song considerably more drama. These are ideal for musicals and ballads.

They are straightforward generalizations. The drum usage affects the kind of snare drum depending on several other parameters.

Different Snare Drum Types

Different Snare Drum Types

Image: iStock

1. Snare Drums For An Orchestra Or Concert

The majority of the time, orchestras and performances utilize these drums. They have a batter head that resembles calfskin and metal cable snares. These are used by musicians with a lot of muffling to create distinctive sounds.

2. Snare Drums For Drum Set

These snare drums are the most often used kind. They have a wooden or iron casing with a single-ply batter head. They are also ideal for all types of drum setups. They typically measure about 14 inches in diameter and produce a fat sound at a depth of 5 to 6 inches.

3. Snare Drums In A March

Snare drums used in marching bands are known as marching snare drums. These have more tension than the orchestral versions, which results in significantly deeper sounds.

They feature a robust and long-lasting design because of the Kevlar construction on their heads. They are thus ideal for outdoor uses, such as marching bands.

4. Drums On The Field

In concert bands, orchestras, and other groupings, musicians like employing them. They have relatively big diameters and deeper interiors, which gives them a rich, resonant tone. Additionally, musicians like using lower tunings while performing them.

5. Miniature Snare Drums

These shallow drums are used in the R&B and hip-hop drum sets. Due to their short depth, they have a higher pitch and a quicker reaction time.

6. Snare Drums For A Pipe Band

These snare drums are used in pipe bands to accompany the songs played by the bagpipes and other pipes. The music you could be expected to perform is challenging and demands a lot of skill.

Guide To Play Snare Drums

Guide To Play Snare Drums

Image: iStock

To be able to play the snare drums, you need to know the basic techniques and practice them.

1. Get your snare drum ready

You must know how to set up an instrument securely if you wish to play it. You may adhere to instructions and practice well in this manner.

  • A tiny, round drum called a snare might be set up on a metal stand. Typically, your stand will have a base with three to four movable legs. Spread the legs out far enough to provide a sturdy foundation for the drum. As you insert the snare drum into the stand, it shouldn’t move at all.

  • Your snare drum is kept in a metallic chamber on the top of your case. The basket was so termed. Make sure your drum responds to pressure and movement by remaining mostly still when carefully inserting it into the basket.

  • Snare drum placement should be around waist level. Adjust the height of the stand if your snare drum is too high or low. Your snare drum should lean slightly toward your direction. You may adjust the drum’s tilt to your comfort if you feel awkward or uneasy when you start playing.

  • On the snare drum stand, wing nuts are screws that feature sizable, wing-shaped bolts. Before playing your snare drum, make sure you tighten each of the wing nuts just a little bit.

2. Learn various matching grips

Your stick grip changes depending on the style of drumming you’re performing. Spend some time becoming acquainted with various grips before playing the snare drum.

You hold both drumsticks in the same manner, called a “matching grip,” which is typical of novices. This style of grip is typical for most drumming approaches. A matching grip may be used in three different ways.

  • Find the balancing or fulcrum point of your drumsticks while using a Germanium grip, which is popular in rock drumming. Put your thumb and index finger in this position to hold the drumstick; the rest of your fingers should be at the bottom.

  • Maintain a straight line with your elbows while bending the drum sticks 90 degrees in the direction of the snare drum. Your hands need to be facing downward.

  • In terms of how you hold the drumsticks, the American grip is identical to the Germanium grip. The angle is somewhat different, however.

  • Again keep your palms down, let your arms hang down and position the drumsticks at a 45-degree angle toward the snare drum. The American grip is a common choice for beginning drummers since it is comfortable for many individuals.

  • The French grip is the third kind of matching grip. The drumsticks are held closely together and almost parallel. When gripping your sticks, you also keep your hands up.

  • For novices, this grip may be a challenge. Although it enables speedier movements, keeping control of the drum strokes might be challenging.

3. Use a conventional grip for jazz and gentle sound

Jazz drummers tend to use a conventional grip. The balancing point of your stick should be in the pocket formed between your thumb and index finger when you hold the stick with your palm facing up.

Keep your pinky and ring finger on the bottom of the stick and your index and middle finger on top. Use this grip for jazz and gentler genres as you gain less strength from your strokes.

4. Adopt proper posture

When you are drumming, your posture is crucial. With appropriate posture, you will perform better and avoid developing back problems. Before you start playing the snare drum, learn the proper stance.

Keep your legs slightly apart when you stand, and keep your back straight. Arms should remain at the sides. Give them a place to relax that seems comfortable to you.

The drum should be at waist level once again. If the stand is too high or low, adjust it. Remain calm, paying specific attention to your arms, hands, and shoulders.

5. Make sure you can play the drums

Just play around with drum strokes at first. Ensure you know how to use your drumsticks properly before learning any special maneuvers or techniques.

  • The bead is the term used to describe the tip of a drumstick. As you play, a drumstick’s bead should go up and down in a straight line.

  • With each beat, do your best to strike the same spot on the drum. This may need some practice since when you first start, it takes time to have complete control over the movement of your drumsticks.

  • The sticks should strike the drums and rebound. Maintain a relaxed posture with your hands, arms, and fingers to create a bouncing impression.

  • Once you feel like you have some control over the drumsticks, practice freely pounding on the drum. You may then begin learning certain maneuvers.


How much time does it take to master the snare drum?

You can pick up the drums reasonably fast with effort, aptitude, and dedication—it takes 10 to 12 months to become skilled and between 18 and 2 years to become an expert. You won’t need to do anything to save time.

Tenor or snare, which is harder?

Tenors are more challenging since they carry four snares, have to think about an x and y axis, and must do sweeps, crossovers, double stops, and other maneuvers. You should consider your strategy for the game as well as what you want to gain from it. Even while it takes a lot of labor, it is ultimately worthwhile.

Can a senior learn to play the drums?

It’s always possible to pick up a drum kit. Taking drum lessons as an adult is among the finest things you can do. You may pick up the drums at any age!

How do drummers choose their music?

Because grooves like this one fit into most tunes, a drummer knows what to play and can utilize it when necessary. A drummer becomes better at playing various grooves the more experience they have.

They have a collection of rhythms at their disposal that they may use in various circumstances. 

What does a drumming ghost note mean?

When a note is played between beats, it is referred to as a ghost note. Ghost notes are also known as “false notes,” “dead notes,” and “dotted notes.” The start and finish of a sentence may also be marked with ghost notes.

For instance, a ghost note could be played at the beginning or conclusion of a phrase while playing a chord sequence. This is a typical jazz approach that is widely applied in a wide variety of other musical genres.

Final Notes

We hope that this tutorial on how to play snare drum has been able to assist you in learning how to play snare drums. It is preferable to hire a tutor to assist you in studying. Your learning curve will be significantly accelerated by owning the best snare drum.

Author: Geraldine Ben

Do you have any idea about what are some popular musical instruments? What about your favorite band? Do you know anything about any particular bands or musicians? There are so many musical instruments available for sale that it would be challenging and time-consuming for customers to compare many items among them and choose the best. I am Ben - a lover of all things musical. I synthesize the best instruments to help anyone with their equipment needs.

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