Snare drums come in all shapes and sizes. Each size tends to suit specific play styles and musical situations. So, having a suitable snare drum size can make a big impact on your playing.
Since the snare is the most important drum in your setup, you need to make sure it can handle everything you throw at it. Let’s see what different sizes you get and which dimensions will be best for your drum setup.
Most snare drums have a diameter of 14 inches. This is the standard snare size and most shell packs you buy will have a 14” snare. In terms of depth, most 14” snare drums will have depths of either 5” or 6.5”.
Snare drums with these dimensions are the best choices to go with if you’re looking for versatility. Most of them can be tuned high or low and will sound great depending on what drumheads you use with them.
Some snare drums will have a diameter that is less than 14 inches. 13” snares are the most common in this regard. However, you do get snares that are 12” and 10”. They’re usually referred to as piccolo snare drums.
The other defining trait of piccolo snare drums is their shallow depths. The depths can range from 3” to 5”. A great example of a high-quality piccolo snare drum is the Pearl Brass Piccolo snare.
You won’t commonly find snare drums that have larger diameters than 14 inches. This is because they won’t feel comfortable in a drum setup due to the large size. So, large snare drums are easily identified by their deep depths.
A large snare drum will have a depth of 8 inches or more, giving you a big and deep sound. These snares are great for rock, metal, and worship settings.
One of my favorite large snare drums is the Tama S.L.P. Big Black Steel snare. It’s got a monster sound thanks to its 8-inch depth.
Floor Tom Snares
A modern trend developed in the drumming community where drummers use snare drums as floor toms. At first, they used standard snares and tuned them low so they’d sound like a floor tom. However, drum companies caught on to the trend and have started developing floor toms that have snare wires.
A good example is the Tama S.L.P. Duo Birch Snare. It has a 14-inch diameter with a 10-inch depth, making it the size of a standard floor tom. However, it has snare wires that you can turn on to get a deep snare sound.
Any snare that I haven’t described yet would be considered as an auxiliary snare. Companies like A&F Co make highly unique snare drums with varying dimensions. These are usually only suitable for certain situations and wouldn’t work universally as a standard 14-inch snare drum would.
If you want versatility, go for a standard size snare. Smaller snares are great for getting unique sounds while larger snares work well for deeper and heavier applications.