5 Ways To Dampen A Snare

There are so many techniques to muffle a drum, but which is best? Here’s a handy guide to the most common and effective ways to dampen your snare.

Cian Hodge

Cian Hodge

What is Drum Dampening?

Drum dampening, muting, muffling – basically whatever funky verb you like to use, is when you alter the sound of a drum. In this case, we’re focusing on snares and how to kill off any unwanted overtones, ringing or reverberation. You’re essentially lessening the impact of a drum on all fronts.

It’s important to point out you’ll be halfway to controlling your snare just by tuning it correctly. Make sure each lug is tuned to the same tension and then decide whether to go ahead with dampening.

There’s a mix of DIY techniques and pro products drummers of all backgrounds like to use. Dampening doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or anything at all. And it doesn’t necessarily mean the effect will sound any worse depending on what you spend. Here are five of the best ways to dampen a snare:

    • Moongel
    • Gaffer tape
    • A wallet
    • Tuning rings
    • Splash cymbal

Why dampen your snare?

There are a couple reasons to undergo dampening. One, the extra noise produced by an undampened snare might be abrasive if you’re playing in a smaller room or gig. It can swamp the rest of your kit, the band mix or could be too loud for practice.

And two, it’s a simple change in tone. By dampening the drum you’re tightening the frequencies it produces and it makes a different sound. There aren’t any guidelines as to what style of music it suits; this is completely subjective. Maybe you want the snare to sound tighter and produce less sustain for metal, or you might like Metallica’s St Anger. It’s all down to you.

MoonGel

What is there to say about MoonGel? It’s a jelly blob you slap on your snare head. Creators RTOM specialise in pads and practice systems to make your playing smoother and sound better.

MoonGel really is as simple as it looks. They’re self-adhesive gel strips that absorb resonance when you hit the drum. They are very small and have just as much impact as some of the larger solutions on this list. You can move them around the drum head to change the sound and presence of the effect.

A wallet

Everyone has a wallet, so grab it, fill it with a bit of loose change and you’re good to go. Place the coin side on the snare to keep it stable. Because a wallet isn’t attached as tight to the snare as the likes of MoonGel, it allows for greater depth in sound, if a slightly inconsistent effect. It can also start sliding about the drum if you’re a hard hitter or it’s quite light. All in all a handy household object to use.

Tuning Rings

Known under many guises from lots of big brands like Evans or Remo, tuning rings cover a large surface area. That means the sound is a lot tighter than the other options on the list. The effect is extremely consistent because it stays in place on the outer edges of the snare. You might find there’s less flexibility to change it as you need. However, they’re relatively cheap and come in a lot of shapes and sizes.

dampen snare

Gaffer Tape

The classic DIY dampening choice. You’ve probably seen plenty of drums with bits of tape stuck to them and wondered why you’d do that to your shiny new kit. It’s crazy to think a bit of gaffer tape can improve the sound of an expensive drum.

If you feel the need to increase the dampening effect, just cut longer strips. Always make sure to leave a little flap in the middle of the tape so you can peel it off easily. Downsides include: ugliness, marks on the drum if you leave it stuck on too long.

Splash Cymbal

More of a special effect than other products or household objects. Worth trying if you have a small splash cymbal lying about. Place it on top of the snare to create a nasal, metallic sound great for music like drum & bass.

Obviously the most expensive solution on the list, but there’s plenty to experiment with as you can hit either the cymbal or the snare itself for different sounds.

We hope you enjoyed this short read. Check out more of our Learn blogs for tips and tricks!

Featured Gear

Shop All Drum Accessories

Cian Hodge
Cian Hodge
Cian is a copywriter for the Andertons web team. He shares his birthday with Muse frontman Matt Bellamy and believes he will one day reach the same level of stardom. Cian is a big prog/modern metal fan so naturally loves Bare Knuckle pickups and headless or pointy guitars.

Responses & Questions

Leave a Reply