Are you looking for new sounds? If it sounds interesting to change a snare drum sound a few times during the gig, stick with me I will show you how to do that.
Nowadays there are enormous possibilities. I will present you with the most popular option with endless possibilities how to change the sound of snare drum.
Yes, I’m talking about Big Fat Snare Drum.
In case you’re not heard of this company, they make drum heads that you place on top of the existing drum head in order to get a different sound and dampen the snare drum.
This will change your snare drum sound immediately. In the past if you wanted to change the snare drum sound you had two options:
- Change snare drum
- Change drum head
Well, Big Fat Snare Drum added a third option of changing your snare drum sound in a sec by adding a drum head on top.
Before we start I will share a quick tip with you, maybe it will come handy.
How to tune snare drum
Tighten the bottom head to the bare limit of cracking, release the snare wire, and make sure every tone on the lug sounds the same. The same goes for the top head only it doesn't need to be that tight as the bottom one. You will get that "cracky", healthy, high pitched sound.
How to change the sound of snare drum with Big Fat Snare Drum
On-top drum heads
When I think of BFSD first thing that comes to my mind is these kinds of products. They made a name in the music business by making on-top drum heads. It’s basically the classic drum head but without an aluminum ring on the edge so you can’t mount it on a snare drum.
On top drum heads are their first product so, I guess they are still the most attractive one. They make all sorts of drum heads that will completely change the sound of snare drum sound. Check out different types:
- Classic type
- Drum heads with an additional layer in the middle
- Drum heads without the middle part
- Drum heads with tambourines
With some, you will be able to get produced sound with a low end like you tune your snare drum very low, with others you can get a trashy sound that will guide you through experimenting with grooves and drum parts.
I think changing your snare drum sound without changing anything on your snare drum is always an interesting idea. I like to turn over my snare drum and scratch the snare to get the DJ scratch sound.
They divided the lineup into two variations:
Regular drum heads have a full body. In addition they can have tambourines attached. Donuts models have an additional layer in the middle or don’t have a middle at all.
Regular drum heads change the pitch, character and dampen the snare drum. Donuts with additional layer add more attack in comparison to regular models or keep the character of existing snare while just adding another taste.
1. The original
Sizes available for the Original are from 10″ up to 18″. It will off course dampen your snare drum but not too much, this drum head is not too tick. It will lower the pitch a little bit so you will get the effect of lower tuned snare drum but more dampened.
If you have two rack tomes you can place one of these on one of them and get a different sound. Maybe you saw that some drummers like Mike Mangini or Roger Taylor use different drum heads on some toms.
2. Josh's Snare-Bourine
It pitches and dampens the snare drum like “Original” but with a cool sound of small tambourines. So interesting and perfect for experimenting with new sounds. I can hear this kind of sound in the Rolling Stones or Adele songs, it is versatile and the sound is pretty unique.
It goes from 10″ up to 16″ so you can place them all over the kit.
3. Green Monster
The amount of dampening is the same as for the two previous models but the pitch is as low as it gets. It is produced in two sizes 13″ and 14″ so I would guess that they have only snare drums in mind. If you need deep snare drum sound Green Monster is your go-to drum head.
4. The Shining
“The Shining” is produced only in 14″ size so it is snare drum only drum head. It is a lot brighter than previous models. Of course, it will dampen the sound but it will not influence the pitch that much but add a different flavor. It is only clear drum head by BFSD which explains the brighter snare drum sound.
5. Quesadilla - V2 - (Cloth Heads)
You probably saw drummers who put towels on the snare drum to get this kind of snare drum sound. If you ever tried this, then you know the towel or cloth eventually falls off. In order to prevent that, Big Fat Snare Drum made this drum head. Sizes go from 10″ to 16″. I like the fact it is not thick so you will get some rebound after all.
1. Steve's Donut
It almost doesn’t change the pitch but makes the snare drum more cracky. It adds a very cool character that you can’t usually get. It is made in sizes 10″ to 18″. The sustain is very short while the attack stays the same.
2. Donut XL
Pitch here stays the same. It is most similar to the “Original” model. The thing that changes is sustain It gets very short with soft attack. It is made in sizes 10″ to 18″ so it can be used to dampen your toms as well.
3. The Shining Donut
Like with all Donut models the main difference is the inner circle of 6″ which is added to this drum heads. I guess the whole idea behind it is to get more attack and different snare sounds.
In comparison to Regular Shinning this one has more attack. It doesn’t influence the pitch that much and it keeps the bright flavor. The only size available is 14″.
4. Snare-Bourine Donut
The middle is empty so you can keep the feel of your actual head. It is also great for another reason. It tends to jump more than model without a hole. This shines a light on tambourines by shaking them more. Sizes available are from 10″ to 16″.
1. Medford Square 14"
This is a drum head with the least amount of attack that this company produces. If you want to put away all your snare drum cracky sound and attack and almost completely make it mute this is a drum head that can get the work done. The inner square is 7″ size while the drum head is only available in 14″.
2. Medford Square-White-Copper
In this variation of Square types, they added tambourines and that changed everything. Drum head got more attack and all of the sudden drum head is not so mute. Although the pitch is low it got more of a brighter character than Medford Square 14″. It is available as a 14″ snare only size.
Visionary drum heads
Under Visionary drum heads, we have two options
- BFSD drum heads
Skins are like stickers, you glued them on the existing drum head.
BFSD drum heads are regular and donut model but with images.
Both types are colorful with images and that’s the main thing that distinguishes them from regular drum heads that any other company makes.
Big Fat Snare Drum Rings
I assume we all used in the past regular dampening rings by Remo or Evans. Big Fat Snare Drum produces that kind of dampening rings but also one more model; ring with a tambourine.
You are still able to play on your drum head only now the snare gets dampened and the tambourine sound is added. The main difference between BFSD rings and rings from other companies in size and thickness.
I played some other companies’ rings over the years and I can tell that they are much lighter and more narrow. The BFSD with tambourines is called “Halos”.
In comparison to other manufacturers, it dampens the snare more, and in comparison to other drum heads with tambourines that BFSD produces, it has more tambourines so the sound is fully subordinate to tambourine sound.
It would be cool to try it in some indie rock or blues music. I can easily imagine this kind of sound in some John Mayer, Rolling Stones, or even in Sting’s songs.
Cymbal rings and bells
In this subgroup of Big Fat Snare Drum products we are stepping out of snare drum related products and entering the cymbal world. There are many popular products on the market.
Getting the new sounds is always in demand so every type of sizzling, tambourine, bell, or something similar gets popular very fast.
Except for cymbals, I saw guys put this kinds of things all over the place. BFSD is making 7 products of this kind:
- Big Fat Bling Ring
- Big Fat Bling Ring – White Copper
- Big Fat Blin Ring – Smashed
- Big Fat Neck Tie
- Big Fat Octopus
- Big Fat SnowMan
- Big Fat Sleigh Ring
Six of them are tambourine related, only the Sleigh Ring is made out of bells.
All kinds of cool designs. Many companies make shakers but just ordinary wooden models. BFSD decided to go in another direction and offer a couple of very cool models.
They are packed like a can or a bottle of beer. It really made me laugh when I imagine myself on a gig shaking a can of beer.
You can check them out HERE.
I hope you agree with me when I say that big fate snare drum offers the most possibilities in changing your snare drum sound.
There are other alternatives, I will share some experiences in some of my next articles, until that, check out Sabian’s Hoop Crasher.
Stay safe 🙂