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When I play my drum set, the toms make the snare rattle. Also, some pitches played by guitar or bass will make it rattle. I've tried tuning all the drums to certain pitches (somewhat effectively), but still haven't found a way to stop the snare from rattling inadvertently.

What can be done to make the snare stop rattling when it is not being played?

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1  
I don't actually own a snare drum to try this on, but perhaps increasing the snare tension or a little tape (think more along the lines of masking tape than duct tape if you value your snare head) would help? –  Babu May 18 '12 at 4:56
    
Check these sites and see if they help: Broken Opportunity, Sweet Water, and Drum chat –  rishimaharaj May 18 '12 at 14:03

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

First of all, a bit of rattling is absolutely normal and I always have the impression that my toms don't sound right if the snare remains silent.

There are a few things you can do to reduce the rattling if it's too much...

  • Try to avoid direct sound from guitar or bass amps, i.e. don't place them in the snare's direction. On professional shows you sometimes see some plexiglass shields preventing too much direct sound from other instruments or monitor speakers. Those are meant to help the microphone isolation and prevent the resonance problem.
  • Play around with the overall pitch of your snare, trying to avoid the direct resonances with the rest of your kit or your band colleagues.
  • It can help to adjust the resonance head of the snare to be somewhat out of tune. Usually (especially if your snare has a "snare bed" for the springs), the four screws next to the springs are tuned to have lower tension than the rest of the bottom screws. This reduces the sensitivity of the springs a bit.

It all depends on your playing style and the type of music. In classical music, it's quite common to have the snare very sensitive as you play very softly. This means that you need to turn off the snares as often as possible. In rock music on the hand, you usually hit harder and don't have so many fine embellishments, so you can tune the snare to be less responsive and rattling.

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I have found that the tuning of the snare drum in relation to the toms has been the biggest factor in getting the rattle to a minimum. It just takes a lot of patience and experimentation. –  claytron Jun 5 '12 at 19:51
    
I agree with both of you. A bit of rattling is normal, but when you play through your toms, if you notice one tom produces more rattle than another, then that's what you want to fix. I recommend altering the tuning of that tom in question slightly. A tad higher or lower. Usually it's a fairly small change that helps you get rid of excessive rattle. –  Timo Häkkinen Oct 22 '12 at 5:59

The snare drum has a lever on the side of it that allows you to "turn the snares off". What this does is pull the snare springs downwards and away from the bottom drum head. Doing so will keep the snares from rattling when you don't want them to.

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I still want to utilize the snare, but when it is not being hit, I want it to remain as silent as possible. –  claytron May 18 '12 at 1:30
    
@claytron, then you're going to have to find some way to dampen the snares that are underneath your snare drum. –  Reina Abolofia May 18 '12 at 12:57

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