One of the latest trends in drumming is floor snare drums. Often called a “Snom drum” or a “Baritone Snare drum”. It is both a floor tom or a snare at the flick of a switch. More professional drummers are adding these to their kits and more manufacturers are making them.
Let’s take a look at why you would want one and what options are currently available on the market.
What are floor snare drums?
A floor snare is in essence a floor tom with snare wires on the bottom head. You can switch between the floor tom sound and the snare side by flicking on the snare wires on and off. Just as you would with any other snare drum.
What do floor snares drums sound like?
Snare wires off
Without the snare wires on these sound just like a floor tom. That deep sound that we all know and love.
Snare wires on
It is when the snare wires are on that they become a bit more interesting. You get a very deep and fat snare sound. You will not get the same sensitivity you would expect from a snare though. Due to the depth of the drum, the snare wires aren’t as responsive so they aren’t great for ghost notes.
The final thing to note is that depending on how the drum is tuned a rim shot won’t give you the big crack you would expect from a snare.
How do I integrate a floor snare into my drum kit?
Snoms are primarily designed to be used as an auxiliary snare. This leaves you with the question of where you should place this on your kit. There are two main placements to try for your setup.
On the left of your hi-hat (or right if left-handed)
This is the most common place you would find an extra snare if a kit has two. It makes it easy for you to play your kit as you normally would but with access to that fat snare sound on the side.
If you are primarily wanting to use this as an extra sound on your kit, this is the way to go.
In the position of your first-floor tom
If you are wanting to make the most of the floor tom functionality this is probably your best bet. You can use it as a floor tom in your playing and fills and then switch on the snare sound as and when you need it for particular parts.
The main thing to consider is that this will make playing your hi-hat with the deep snare sound ticky as it is a fair distance to cross over your hands. If you are comfy with your open-handed playing you have nothing to worry about.
How do I tune a floor snare drum?
The main thing to consider when picking up a floor snare drum is that it can be a tricky drum to tune. If you are wanting to only use them as just a snare without the floor tom you can tune them similar to a normal snare. If you are wanting to use them as a floor tom and a snare you have a delicate balance to achieve a tuning that works for both.
You are going to want to tune this like you would for a floor tom of this size. If you have it too tight and you are hearing a pitch it isn’t going to give you a nice floor tom sound.
You will need to tighten the head finger tight first. You will then want to press in the centre of the head and tighten again until the wrinkles just vanish. You will then need to pitch match the individual lugs.
Due to the depth of the drum, you will need to keep your snares wires fairly loose. A lot of air will be moving around inside the drum so having the snares wires too tight will give you some odd sounds you won’t want from the drum.
Each floor snare drum is going to have its unique quirks so please consider this a starting point and not a definitive guide. This is a really fun style of a drum to be creative with so take your time and enjoy the process. For more ideas check out this great video by Sounds Like A Drum.
What floor snare drums are available?
At the moment there are only a few dedicated floor snare drums on the market. These are still a new trend that is growing in the drumming community so I am expecting more to become available in the coming years.
Here are the top picks of the snoms currently available on the market.
Pearl Modern Utility Maple 14″x10″ Floor Snare Drum
This entry from Pearl is part of their Modern Utility line. These are reasonably priced snare drums aimed at providing an option for everything the modern gigging drummer needs.
That is good for you as this is reasonably priced if you are looking at testing the waters for adding one of these to your kit.
This drum is currently only available in one finish, Satin Brown.
Tama S.L.P. 14″x10″ Duo Snare
This is very similar to the Pearl offering expect it is made from birch rather than maple. The size, features and price range are very similar.
This drum is only available in one finish which is the natural birch.
Tama S.L.P. 16″x10″ Duo Snare (new for 2021)
Tama has taken the concept and gone one further. The 16″ version of the drum looks and sounds mad in the best way possible. Due to its size, it seems to achieve the deep snare sound without as much compromise on the floor tom sound. Have a listen here.
Apart from these two manufacturers, no other companies are making these yet. The other option currently would be to go to a custom drum makes and ask them to make you one.
Can I do this with an existing snare?
Yes, you can. This is where the trend originally started by doing this with a normal snare drum. It is worth noting that the dedicated floor snares drums featured in this article are deeper to make achieving the sound easier than with a not so deep snare drum.
If you are wanting to convert an existing snare drum into a snom, here is a great guide Larnell Lewis created for Drumeo.
- Batter side – Evans hydraulic head. Very low tuning, just above finger tight.
- Resonant side – Evan hazy 300 (3 mm) head. Not too loose, not too tight
The floor snare drum is a really interesting concept and it is interesting to see how the pros are adding these into their setups. It is still early days for these so it will be interesting to see if the trend catches on and what other manufactures bring to the market.
The only downside with the market at the moment is that the drums are only available in one finish. If you are wanting a drum that matches your setup you are going to be out of luck (for now). It would be nice to see this available as an add-on when buying a kit. Hopefully, this is something manufacturers will look at in the future.
Also, the snoms currently available on the market are mid-range drums. It would be great to see someone push the boundaries and create a premium product that truly nails the sound whilst creating a drum that is easier to tune. That is a lot to ask but I am sure one of the many great drum companies out there will be able to achieve this.
Overall, I love the concept. As a player that uses a floor tom on the left side of my hi-hat, I would consider replacing that with a floor snare drum to get the best of both worlds.