A very often overlooked but important component of the snare drum is what gives it that sizzle….the wires.
I get it, sometimes the upkeep of drums is enough to put you off playing them completely. Having to carry so many spare parts incase something goes wrong during a gig or replacing bits and pieces when doing routine maintenance can be tedious that the addition of changing out the snare wires becomes the new “ack, it’ll be fine”. 90% of the time that’s because changing the snare wire has been built up to be such a daunting process that people shy away from it. We get lots of you guys coming into the shop stating you’ve never even touched the wires since you bought the snare….two years ago (which also means you’ve probably never changed the bottom head either…WE’RE ONTO YOU!!!)
It’s not a scary process at all, and the wires you equip your snare with can drastically improve the sound of the drum. The choice of wires can make a good snare sound GREAT, and PureSound by D’Addario have some of the best in the market so let’s dive in with the range they have available and what impact they’ll have on your snare…
We’ll kick off with the Custom series. The Custom series feature medium-gauge steel wires with evenly spaced coils. That means these wires aren’t overly thick so they won’t choke the bottom head leaving a nice sizzle with each individual wire given enough space to react with the bottom head. Usually on cheaper brands the wires a poorly made causing them tangle and easily separate from the mechanism holding the wires against the drum head. Not with these guys! The steel wires give a nice crisp response with quick snap. They’re available in 12, 16, 20 and 24 strand models. The more wires, the more sensitive and more sizzle you’ll get. The less wires, the more shell tone you’ll achieve. The Custom series comes in sizes 8”, 10”, 12”, 13”, 14” and 15” and attach via strings provided in the pack.
Moving onto the Custom Pro series, think of these like an evolution of the custom line. These wires have a few additional features that make them a go-to for a lot of drummers. They come as standard with Anti-Choke plates, which means the edges of the plates holding the wires are slightly raised. This helps significantly reduces annoying snare buzz causing your sound engineer to throw objects at you allowing a greater tuning range so the drum doesn’t end up choked. Unlike the Custom series, the Custom Pro’s come with Speed-Release straps instead of string. The straps come with a sturdy pin holding the wire plate to the strap allowing you to change out the wires without messing with the settings on the strainer or butt-plate of the drum itself so they’re the perfect wires if you’re anxious about disconnecting the strap from the drum. Win! The Custom Pro’s come in steel for the traditional crisp response but ALSO available in brass for more richness and darker overtones. My advice would be to try and match the wires to the style of drum, so if it’s a brass snare drum put brass wires on it. Steel snare? Steel wires. It’s not an exact science, but it keeps my OCD at bay. Although these wires aren’t available in as many sizes as the Custom Series (restricted to only 13” and 14” snares) the features they come with make them a must have!
If you’re looking for something a bit more bespoke, PureSound have some variations to create some interesting sounds that we’ve found to be popular. First is the Equalizer series. Available in 13” and 14” sizes and only in steel, the Equalizer almost looks like a manufacturing error with the missing wires in the middle. This is completely intentional as the idea is to spread the wires to each side of the drum allowing the centre to produce the natural acoustics of the shell. This allows a drier and crisper sound without sympathetic vibrations that can be caused. They come in 12 strand and 16 strand. Great if you’re looking for a sound with a bit more body!
Next we have the Blaster series. As the name implies, these are LOUD. They’re made from premium-grade steel and were developed for the high volume, high energy style drumming. If you need your snare to cut through ear-shattering guitar riffs…these are the wires for you. The plates are angled to make for greater response and allow much bigger projection for the snare. These wires are powerful and NOT for the faint of hearted. Available in 16 strand and 20 strand for 13” and 14” snares.
Finally we have the Super 30. 30 strand wires. If you want sizzle, these are the guys for it. They’re steel wires meaning they’re crisp and very responsive. The plate is the same construction as the Custom series. These create lots of snare response without choking the drum. Available for 12”, 13” and 14” snares. These wires really pack a punch but aren’t overpowering, they’re distinctive in their sound. Lots of gospel drummers use 30 strands on all their snares as they need a lot of clarity for church playing. That, and they just LOOK incredible.
Currently we stock these five variations of the PureSound snare wire; Custom, Custom Pro, Equalizer, Blaster and Super 30 so come on in and take a look!