The 5 Best Piccolo Snare Drums for Professional Drummers

January 12, 2024

If you feel like you need a snare drum with a higher pitch, shorter sustain, and less volume then a piccolo snare drum might be a good option. This kind of snare drum is commonly used in funk music by guys like David Garibaldi or in drum and bass by guys like Jojo Mayer.

Some on the other hand like to use piccolo snare drums as their secondary snare drum and keep it from the left.

Since these snare drums are rare I compared only 14 of them and hand-picked 5 best piccolo snare drums.

best piccolo snare drums

Best Piccolo Snare Drums

  • Best Wood: Pearl Masterworks Maple/Mahogany Snare Drum 14 x 3.5
  • Best Brass: A&F Drum Company Limited Edition Rude Boy Snare Drum
  • Most Versatile : DW Collector’s Series Pi Snare Drum 3.14 x 14 
  • Best Bang for Buck: Ludwig Carl Palmer VENUS Signature 3.7×14
  • Best All-Around: Gretsch Gergo Borlai Signature Series 14×4.25
best wood piccolo snare drums

1. Pearl Masterworks Maple/Mahogany Snare Drum 14 x 3.5

Best Wood Piccolo Snare Drum


  • 6-ply, 7mm Maple/Mahogany Shell
  • Mastercast Die-Cast Hoops
  • Click-Lock Strainer
  • Free-Floating Chassis




The Masterworks series is Pearl’s flagship, and this maple mahogany snare drum is probably Pearl’s best piccolo snare.

The snare drum’s tone could be described as warm and resonant, thanks to the use of two wood materials. It owns its resonance to 8 plies of Maple shell. 

By the way, using maple wood in a drum manufacturing process guarantees good resonance and balanced sound. 

On the other hand, mahogany wood is used for getting a warmer sound. This piccolo snare drum contains 12 plies of mahogany.

Although wood snare drums are not known for their strong attack, due to its brightness and high resonance, this drum can easily cut through guitar distortion. 

If you love wood snare drums and you love piccolo snare drums, then the only thing that is standing between you and this snare drum is its price. 

With a cost of over $1300 in 2023, it is one of the most expensive piccolo snare drums on the market.

In its defense, the snare drum hardware is top-of-the-line. Pearl uses die-cast hoops to get incredible tuning stability and superior strength.

Also, this snare drum is highly versatile, as you would expect the high-end drum to be.

best brass piccolo snare drum

2. A&F Drum Company Limited Edition Rude Boy Snare Drum

Best Brass Piccolo Snare Drum


  • Raw Brass/Steel/Copper shells
  • Hand cut bearing edges and snare beds
  • Patented raw brass center-mounted lugs
  • Raw brass hoops



A&F is a drum manufacturing company based in Austin, Texas, founded by a studio drummer Ramy Antoun. 

The rude boy is their best-selling piccolo snare drum; from the start, it’s easy to see why.

If you are familiar with A&F, then you know this old-school rustic look is something they are known for. But, at the same time, this patina finish is the only one they offer for this drum.

Thanks to its shell, a combination of brass, steel, and copper, this drum has a bright cutting sound with plenty of projection, making it suitable for any genre.

It’s been produced in three sizes. While depth is always 3 inches, diameter varies from 10 to 12 and 13. The 10-inch model is like a toy to me and could hardly be applicable on big stages. 

On the other hand, the 13-inch model almost sounds like a “not piccolo” snare drum. 

That’s why my vote goes to the 12-inch model, which has all the versatility you would expect of the top-of-the-line snare drum and its piccolo by nature.

While it costs half of the Pearl Masterworks I mentioned before, it’s still a lot of money for a secondary snare drum.

However, the only actual downside to this snare drum is its availability. It can hardly be found in retail, and if you go straight to manufacture, you could wait 12 weeks.

how to choose the best piccolo snare drum

3. DW Collector's Series Pi Snare Drum 3.14 x 14

Most Versatile Piccolo Snare Drum


  • North American hard rock pure maple construction
  • 3mm True-Hoops
  • Mini-MAG throw off with 3P butt plate
  • Mini Dual-Receiver Turret 2-sided lugs




DW is on top of the food chain regarding “pre-produced” sounding drums. 

Collector’s is their flagship series, and the snare drum named after the Greek letter is their best piccolo snare drum.

I think it’s cool that you have two options regarding shells. The one is made out of maple and the other out of carbon fiber. 

The maple model is brighter, and you can hear that distinctive sound of maple wood. 

A big surprise for me was the carbon fiber snare drum which has a highly resonant and open sound, so I suggest you check both and decide which one is for you.

Drum hardware is top-of-the-line but in a mini pack. It features Mini – Mag throw off DW MAG snare drum throw-off, which you can use for horizontal tension adjustment.

The only real downside is its price, but if you want quality, you need to pay for quality. It’s the best the company has to offer; they use expensive materials in production, so they expect high returns as well.

best piccolo snare drums for the price

4. Ludwig Carl Palmer VENUS Signature 3.7x14

Best Bang for Buck Piccolo Drum


  • Beaded-brass shell
  • Brass-plated separate-tension tube lugs
  • Die-cast hoops




Have you heard of group Emerson, Lake & Palmer, or group Asia? 

Well, Carl Palmers is the co-founder of both. 

As a drummer, Carl Palmer was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1989.

Carl is known for playing stainless steel drums, but the “Venus” is made from beaded brass. Beaded, meaning it has a bead that goes around the drum. Most Ludwig snare drums has this central bead.

Carl Palmer’s signature piccolo snare drum, priced little below $400 in 2023, is the best bang for the buck on this list.

It has resonance, clarity, and loudness, which Ludwig is known for. So it’s perfect if you wanna go “little piccolo” and maybe use it as your main snare drum.

The green finish with gold hoops and brass-plated tension tube lugs is fantastic, but like every signature snare drum, it’s only available in one finish.

In a nutshell, you are getting Ludwig’s recognizable brass sound packed in a smaller 3.7 in shell.

best shallow snare drums

5. Gretsch Gergo Borlai Signature Series 14x4.25

Best All-Around Piccolo Snare Drum


  • Brass drumshell: 1 mm
  • Sandblasted surface
  • Bearing edge: 45°
  • Die-cast hoops
  • 8 Mini lugs
  • Lightning strainer




It is the newest addition to the piccolo snare drum family.

Although it’s not a real piccolo snare drum by its nature, drummers tend to look at every snare drum shallower than 5 in as a piccolo.

Like many made by Ludwig, this snare drum comes as an all-brass drum shell.

Since it’s made out of brass, you can expect a powerful attack and punchy sound, but that’s is not its ultimate advantage. 

Its ultimate advantage is versatility.

It’s versatile enough, so if you tune it low, it can sound dirty and deep enough to play rock music, while if you tune it higher, it sounds like a piccolo snare drum should sound.

It features the characteristic Gretsch hammering around the drum’s center, die-cast hoops, lightning throw-off, adjustable butt, and 42 strands steel snare wire.

It’s a piece of art you can easily find in any larger online/offline drum store but in a single finish option. Nothing unusual when it comes to signature snare drums. 

The price is in the middle regarding snare drums but indeed high for a piccolo snare drum.

What are piccolo snares good for?

Piccolo snare drums are often chosen by drummers as a secondary snare due to their distinct sound, which contrasts sharply with the deeper tones of a primary snare drum, typically measuring around 5 to 6.5 inches in depth.

These drums are particularly favored for their ability to add a unique dimension to drum breaks or to craft less intense, yet engaging drum parts within a song. Their crisp and light sound makes them ideal for genres like drum and bass, electronic, and funk, where extensive snare work is a key element.

The lighter, more defined tones of the piccolo snare are especially effective for playing ghost notes, offering clarity that might be lost with deeper snares. This makes them a versatile choice for drummers looking to add variety and nuance to their sound palette.

Is the piccolo snare the same as a normal snare?

Yes, it’s made from the same material as every other snare drum, but its proportions are different. To produce a higher-pitched sound, piccolo snare drums have to be shallow. 

In comparison to “regular” big snare drums, piccolo snare drums produced higher pitched sound with less sustain.

How deep is a Piccolo snare?

The depth of piccolo snare drums is usually between 2.5 and 4 inches, while their diameter is 10 to 13 inches.

Wrap up

Alright, it’s time to summarize what we learned in this article.

Piccolo snare drums are usually used to get a contrast from a main snare drum and are often used as secondary snare drums. Drummers of funk, electronic, and drum bass music love these.

Drummers often mimic piccolo snare drums by putting various objects like a wallet on a regular snare drum. I suggest you do that; you’ll get a sneak peek of how piccolo snare drums sound.

We talked about the best piccolo snare drums with a price range of a little below $400 up to $1400; high-quality ones are usually in that range.

The list contains snare drums made mostly of wood or brass, that are highly versatile but keep the nature of a piccolo at all times.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Denis Loncaric
Denis Loncaric

My name is Denis. I am a drummer, percussionist, music enthusiast, and blogger. Drums have been my passion for 15 years now. My idea is to write about the things I like and I am interested in. I want to share my drum passion with fellow musicians who walk, talk, and breathe drums.

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