Report: Marching Snare Drums

Mike Lawson • Instruments & Gear • August 1, 2002

One of the most important pieces of a marching band is the percussion section. Without the drums to set the pace and keep the beat, the rest of the band would be out of time and out of step. For this Report, SBO is focusing on the all-important marching snare drum. Which model is best for your marching band? Here is an alphabetical sampling of companies offering marching snare drums.

DEG Music Products

The Dynasty USA top and bottom head/pipe band snare drum is used by the Blue Devils, Boston Crusaders, Magic of Orlando, Hawthorne Caballeros, Syracuse Brigadiers and San Francisco Renegades, among others. The Wedge Snare Drum is used for indoor/outdoor playing and features a lightweight design. Drums feature Dynasty Erudite hoops, which increase the durability of the drums. Standard finishes are red, white, black and blue.


Impact Industries

Impact Industries offers two lines of lightweight marching snare drums – the Lightning and Nitro series. Both incorporate lightweight fiberglass shells, which boast a five-year shell guarantee. The shells are temperature- and humidity-resistant. Patented sound holes are optional on the Nitro series. These large ports increase sound projection and internal air movement. The Nitro weighs less than 12 pounds. Both Lightning and Nitro series use conventional Remo heads, heavy-duty counter hoops and 10-hole angle reduction bars. They are available in 11×13, 12×14 and 12×15-inch sizes.

Ludwig Industries

Ludwig’s Ultimate Suspended Action Marching Snare Drum incorporates the free-floating shell concept on both the batter and snare side of the drum. Top and bottom heads are secured by support hoops and die-cast hoops within a frame. The drumheads on top and bottom never touch the shell. This drum has hoops and support frame made of “space age” magnesium, making the 12×14-inch drum only 15 pounds. It also has the flip-up feature to relieve fatigue. The USA Snare Drum, model LF-F024-D, is available in white cortex, black cortex, and chrome finishes. All hoop and frame hardware is powder-coated in your choice of beautiful white or black finish. Since there is no pressure or stress on the shell, a thin three-ply maple shell is used for maximum resonance and light weight.

Pearl Corp.

Pearl’s Championship Series FFX Snare Drum offers a 100 percent aged maple shell and a free-floating design. Extreme durability and articulate projection are the trademarks of this lightweight drum. This drum features a six-ply, naturally aged, 100 percent maple shell. Pearl’s exclusive “heat compression shell molding system” uses scarf joint construction, staggered seams and cross-lamination for strength and maximum shell vibration. The free-floating design is supported by an all aluminum, aircraft-quality alloy frame. To allow the shell to realize its full sonic potential, six air vents are located on the shell and all hardware has been removed, allowing the shell to fully vibrate. Die-cast hoops accommodate any combination of heads without flexing – even under the most extreme tunings. These drums are available in 12×14-inch and 11×13-inch models.

The Championship Series Indoor FFX Snare Drum has been specifically designed to meet the complicated tonal challenges and sonic requirements of competitive indoor use. This drum offers tight focus, articulation and crisp response. The 9×13-inch drum features a six-ply, 100 percent maple shell, like the outdoor snare drum.

Premier Percussion

The new HTS 784 marching snare drum is the latest in Premier Percussion’s line of free-floating marching snare drums. This model comes with 12 new features, inherited from its predecessors, including an overall weight reduction of 10 percent. Other new features include die-cast top and bottom stress rings, a remodeled snare strainer and butt-end assembly and hi-tensile steel tension bolts with captivated washers. The 100 percent Finnish birch shell is hand-made and cured using cutting-edge, microwave technologies. Staggered diagonal seams give the shell greater strength and durability. The snare response is enhanced with 16 individually tunable guts with Premier’s exclusive quad snare height adjustment.

Yamaha Corporation of America

The Yamaha MTS (Multi-Timbre Snare) marching drum offers a unique double snare system. Independently changeable snares on the bottom and top heads are designed to give players a more distinct sound. Developed in cooperation with leading drum corps, schools and pipe bands, the MTS drum combines multiple timbres with outstanding playability and response at all dynamic levels. Thirteen-inch and 14-inch models are available.

The Yamaha SFZ marching snare drum features a wide dynamic range and an “explosive” rim shot, according to the company. This model has a high-tension Kevlar drum head and offers powerful projection, precise articulation and durable performance. It is available in 13-inch and 14-inch models. The 13-inch model is lighter and can achieve a higher fundamental pitch than the 14-inch model.

The Power-Lite Marching Snare Drum features a compact, lightweight design and a traditional sound with simple operation. It also features an Air-Seal System shell, high-tension lug castings and three removable feet.


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