The snare throw off is that lever on the side of a snare drum that controls the snare wires. It allows you to turn the snare on and off.
Every snare drum comes with a throw off. However, sometimes they break, meaning you'll need to get a new one. You may also just want to replace your current throw off with something better.
There are quite a few throw offs in the market that will greatly improve the structure of your snare drum.
Best Snare Throw Offs - Handy Options
If you’ve read my other reviews, you’d know that I absolutely love this throw off. DW uses the MAG throw off on all their snare drums, pushing their build quality way above competitor snares. The fact that you can buy this strainer separately and put it on any snare drum is a wonderful thing.
It utilizes a magnet to keep the snares on and off. The magnet is seriously secure, stopping the lever from accidentally changing positions, no matter how hard you play the snare drum.
It has a 3 position butt plate that allows you to choose different tension settings on the fly. This is something not seen on many throw offs and is a great addition by DW. You can choose how sensitive your snare drum is with a flick of a switch.
The one downside to this throw off is that it is quite difficult to install. It doesn’t come with instructions, so you’ll have to source out a tutorial if you don’t know how to do it.
Dunnett is a custom drum company that produces extremely specific custom-made drums that sound seriously good. The R-Class Swivel throw off can be bought separately and installed onto any snare drum.
It has a lever that swivels for easy access on any side of your snare. It has an adjustable friction mechanism that stops your snare tension from slipping while playing. This is great and will keep your mind at ease when you’re playing long sets with a band.
The best thing about this throw off is that it lets you change snare wires without removing or touching it. One of the most irritating things about changing wires is the fact that you have to take off and then reattach the throw off. The R-Class Swivel has an innovative design that stops that from happening.
A downside to this throw off is that it makes quite a loud noise when you snap it into position. This could be detrimental in a recording environment.
The Trick Drums GS007 Multi-step throw off is the industry standard snare strainer when it comes to custom drum building. It has guaranteed quality that many drum builders trust and love.
It has an incredibly smooth aluminum knob, making it easy to adjust the snare tension. The aluminum lever is also smooth, allowing you to turn the snare on and off very quickly.
It has a multi-step throw-off system that lets you change the snare tension settings from low to high. The whole process is very quick, letting you change it in between songs if you really wanted to.
This throw-off is a bit more expensive than the other ones on this list. However, it’s well worth it.
4. Pearl SR014N
The Pearl SR014N is a standard snare drum throw off that can be used on most snares. It’s simple and affordable, which is sometimes all that you need.
The lever is smooth while the tension control is sturdy. Pearl uses this throw off on most of their entry to mid-level snare drums. It’s very inexpensive, making it a great replacement part to have lying around.
If your snare strainer has broken and you don’t want to spend too much on a new one, the Pearl SR014N is a great option for you. The simplicity of it will make switching out your strainers and easy process.
The Rogers Drums Round Clockface throw off is a piece of equipment intended for the lovers of vintage drums. This throw off was first used in the Rogers Dyna-Sonic snare drums in the 1960s. The throw off has now become an iconic vintage item, bearing the Rogers name and reminiscing on old times.
It has a lever mechanism that is fast and accurate, allowing you to turn snares on and off quickly while playing. It also has a smooth tension knob that gives a surprising amount of snare tension control. It will allow you to get a vintage loose tension sound or a modern tight snare sound.
The round shape of this throw off looks unique compared to other throw offs, making it an eye-catching part of your snare drum. It will add a sense of individuality that some drummers may really like.
Overall, it’s a great snare throw off that will work well with any snare drum. However, it will work especially well with vintage snares.
How Throw Offs Work
There are so many small hardware items that make your drum set work. They often go unnoticed, but your setup would fall flat without them. Without a clutch, you’d have no hi-hats.
Without a beater, you’d have no kick pedal. Without a throw off, you wouldn’t have a working snare drum.
So, it’s important to know how snare throw offs work in case you need to fix or replace one somewhere down the road.
Basically, the throw off connects to strings that are attached to the snare wires. When the throw off is tightened, the snares will hug the resonant head of the snare drum. When the throw off is loosened, the snares will fall loose, causing the snare to lose the buzzing tone.
Replacing Your Current Throw Off
You may be wondering why you would potentially need to replace a snare throw off. Firstly, you should definitely replace the throw off if you have a cheap snare drum. Cheap snare drums often have questionable hardware that saves on costs, and the throw off is one of the biggest areas where you’ll see this.
I’ve met many drummers, especially my students, who have a bad throw off on their cheap snare. They often have to get some tools to help them crank the snares on and off. This is because the throw off becomes very rigid over time.
Replacing the throw off with a high-quality one will make a huge difference and allow you to smoothly switch the lever on and off.
What to Look For
When looking for a new snare throw off, you should be looking at practicality, cost, and suitability. The throw off you get should fit what you’re looking for. Some throw offs have magnets while others use swivel mechanisms.
Some have different levels of tension while others only have one. Make an informed decision over what qualities you’re looking for and then run with those.
The next thing to look for is cost. The fancier snare throw offs can get quite pricey. Decide if you’re willing to spend that much or if you need to find a cheaper option. Remember that a good snare throw off has the potential to make a huge improvement to your snare sound. So, the investment is worth it.
The last thing to look for is suitability. This isn’t a major dealbreaker, but some throw offs won’t match your snare drum in terms of color and size. While it may bother some drummers, others won’t mind too much.
Small pieces of hardware like snare throw offs are great to have lying around for whenever you need one. It’s something that you don’t really think of but becomes an immediate issue when it breaks. Other things that are nice to have lying around are hi-hat clutches, snare wires, and drumheads.
Getting a better throw off for your snare drum will greatly improve its overall quality.