Have you ever heard a recording where the drums have a seriously high popping snare drum sound? There’s a high chance that the drummer was using a piccolo snare drum.
Piccolo snares have shallow depths, causing them to produce serious attack without much depth. This helps them cut through mixes quite easily.
Below you'll find some of the best piccolo snare drums, according to me.
5 Best Piccolo Snare Drums - Shallow Snares
1. Pearl S1330B
You’ll see in this list that Pearl has a reputation for making good piccolo snares. The S1330B has a steel shell that makes it project for days. At 3” deep, this snare has a cracking sound that effortlessly cuts through mixes.
Its 13” diameter allows it to be quite versatile. Even though it’s a piccolo snare drum, it can be tuned in lower ranges to sound beefy. The 8 lugs allow a wide range of tuning options.
A great perk to this snare is that it comes with a coated Remo Ambassador drumhead. This is a high-quality head, meaning you won’t have to replace it anytime soon when buying this snare.
If you want a high energy snare that will cut through a mix, the Pearl S1330B is a great option.
2. Pearl B1330
The B1330 is Pearl’s most popular piccolo snare. Drummers have been playing with this thing for decades, whether it be on the stage or in the studio. The defining quality is that it has a brass shell.
The brass shell gives it a high-intensity snap that makes it really effective as a main or a side snare. It has the right balance of punch, articulation, and ring when playing super soft or super loud.
The build quality is high, ensuring that this snare lasts a long time. The throw-off is smooth, allowing you to turn the snares on and off easily. The sound of the snare when the snares are loose is warm and will work well in latin settings.
The Pearl B1330 is a great affordable piccolo snare drum option that guarantees high-quality sound.
DW is one of the top drum brands thanks to their high craftsmanship. They’re well known for making seriously great sounding drums. The Collector’s Series drums are their top-level products (better than their Design series), with all the drums being made with the best materials.
The shell of this snare is made from carbon fiber, giving the snare an exclusive build quality.
It’s called the Pi snare because the sizes are 3.14” x 14”. It has a cutting crack that is great for contemporary styles of music like rock and pop. The 14” size makes it perfectly good to use as a main snare. You could tune it really high and use it as a secondary snare for that cracking effect.
The high craftsmanship that goes into this snare makes very responsive. The softest ghost notes will be clear while the loudest rimshots will have a great projection.
It’s quite heavy since it’s made of carbon fiber. It’s also very expensive for a piccolo snare drum. However, the sound quality is unmatched.
Tama has a series of snare drums called the Metalworks. This particular model is 4” x 13”, making it slightly deeper than other piccolo snare drums.
It has a bright tone that is extremely clear in higher tunings. When tuned low, it has smooth resonance and response.
It has a unique look in that the hardware matches the color of the shell. The matte-black looks smooth and will fit in well with any drum kit finish you match it with.
This snare is a fair bit louder than other piccolo snares thanks to the extra inch of depth. If you need a bright piccolo snare drum that is loud and present, the Tama Metalworks is a great choice.
The Fat & Skinny snare is an innovative product from Pearl that doesn’t look like a standard snare drum when you first look at it. This snare is designed to get a low and fat sound that is very popular in modern drumming.
It has a 2” x 14” shell that is just about the thinnest snare drum that you’re ever going to get. Although it’s thin, it has a very deep sound. Unlike other piccolo snares, this snare is intended for low tuning. It would even work well as an extra floor tom when the snares are loose.
One of the frustrating aspects of this snare is that it doesn’t have a snare throw-off. This means that you can’t quickly turn the snares on and off. You have to manually loosen them underneath. You won’t be able to quickly change the snare setting mid-gig.
This snare may also not be a great option as your main snare. It has auxiliary in the name, meaning it’s intended to be a unique auxiliary drum in your setup.
Overall, it’s a great drum to have if you want a seriously fat sound. It’s also fairly inexpensive.
Number of Lugs
There are a few things to look out for when buying a piccolo snare drum. The first would be to check how many lugs it has. The lugs are what connect the drumhead to the shell and allow you to adjust the tension. This is called tuning.
The more lugs a snare drum has, the wider the tuning range will be. Higher-quality snare drums will typically have more lugs than lower-quality ones. Their tuning ranges will be a lot wider.
Since piccolo snares produce high pitches, the depth of tuning range isn’t the most pressing thing to look for.
However, you’ll be able to fine-tune a piccolo snare if it has more lugs.
Another thing to look for when buying piccolo snare drums is how deep the shells are. All piccolo snares will have shallow depths, aiding in the high tones that they produce. If the shell isn’t shallow, the snare wouldn’t be considered a piccolo snare.
Typically, piccolo snares will have depths of 2” to 4”. Make sure the snare you’re looking for fits this description if you’re looking for something that has a popping crack to it.
The throw off is the mechanism that controls the snare wires that are attached underneath the snare. Having a good throw off on your snare drum can make a world of difference, especially if you plan on turning the snares on and off frequently.
When looking for a snare to get, check to see what throw off it has and whether that throw off is good or not. Most snares have decent throw offs, but cheaper snares tend to come with faulty ones.
I’ve met many people who had a snare that they couldn’t turn off because the throw off was locked in too tightly and rusted shut.
A great example of a snare with a good throw off is the DW Carbon Fiber Pi snare. It uses the DW MAG throw off which is one of the highest-quality throw offs on the market.
Snare drums and piccolo snare drums are made from a wide variety of materials.
Some have wooden shells while others have metal shells. If you’re looking for a piccolo snare to buy, you should know the differences between each shell material and how the sound of the drum is affected.
You may have noticed that all the snare drums on the list had metal shells. The reason for this is because metal shells produce aggressive tones that cut very easily through mixes.
The perfect reason for getting a piccolo snare drum. The high tuning of a piccolo snare is very well complemented by a metal shell.
You can get piccolo snares that have wooden shells. They’ll just sound a bit warmer. I’d suggest you go for a metal shell, though.
Snare drum is the most important drum of the whole kit. They provide the backbeat and get played the most. It’s important that you have a good one since you’ll be hitting it so often.
Snare drums are also where most drummers differ from each other. Everyone has their own preference in how their snare is tuned, creating different drum sounds from each drummer.
Drummers will usually own 2 or 3 snare drums for different situations. This is where piccolo snares come in. They’re a great tool to have for when you need a tight cracking sound.
You could set up a piccolo snare as an auxiliary option in your drum setup to broaden your snare drum sound.
So getting yourself a piccolo snare drum is definitely a good idea. I’ve loved mine since when I was a beginner drummer.