Let’s Roll: The Best Marching Snare Drums for Beginners
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Though a snare is familiar to every drummer behind the kit, marching snares may be something they’re not as well-versed in, and for good reason: while it’s still a snare, it can look different, feel different, and is used in an entirely different setup.
What You Need to Know About Marching Snares
So what are the big differences between a regular snare and a marching snare?
Mainly, marching snares aren’t played in the traditional band setup. A marching percussion ensemble, known as a drumline or battery, is generally where you’re more likely to find them. Though they have around the same width of a traditional kit snare, marching snare drums are usually tuned for maximum projection, and are deeper in size than traditional snares you’d see in a jazz or rock kit – sometimes even twice as deep.
The simple reason is that the marching snare is usually played outdoors and requires a bigger, fuller, cleaner blast of sound, in order to to spread farther and wider in a setting without sonic boundaries. A projector, or “scoop” – a piece of curved plastic – is occasionally attached to the back of the bottom hoop to help project and direct the sound forward to the audience. There are, however, smaller marching snares that have been created to meet the increasing popularity of modern indoor drumlines nowadays too.
But the most obviously notable difference might be that marching snares are designed to be played while moving. A special harness, occasionally called a carrier or rack, is worn by the drummer, for the purpose of using both hands while in motion. Marching snare drummers need to comfortably be able to keep a meticulous and airtight rhythm, all while following formation and acting as the musical backbone for the rest of their drumline ensemble.
If you’re looking to be the drum in the drumline, specifically the snare, check out these options to get you started.
1. Vangoa Snare Drum Kit
For beginners and students, the Vangoa is an excellent choice that comes with everything you’ll need.
The snare drum itself is well-crafted, and packs a clear, balanced and powerfully punchy vintage sound when hit. Its underlying 20 strands of snare wires are sensitive to even the slightest brush movement, and makes it highly versatile for the sounds you’re going for.
At 14″ x 5.5,” it’s a size that’s manageable to comfortably carry while standing and moving, and small enough that it could be used sitting while on a stand.
The construction consists of a durable 9-ply maple wood shell, designed for resisting warping effects and producing a rich and confident tone, with noticeably strong resonance and crisp sound. The whole kit includes everything else you need to start marching: a drum key to adjust the head tension, 5A drumsticks, a neck strap, a thick practice pad for late-night solo rehearsals, even a cloth zipped carry-bag to safely transport your gear.
Everything is ready to go right out of the box. Strap it on, face front, and forward march.
PROS: An ideal and solidly made snare to give any marching drummer a strong start. Affordable and comes with all you need.
CONS: Some users report that, though seldom, tuning can be difficult when the time inevitably comes. A few even had to take it in to a professional drum shop to have it done properly.
2. Aileen Lexington Snare Set
Aileen is no stranger to musical instruments. For almost 30 years, the company (and Founder, Aileen Gu) has been focused on instrument distribution and innovation, even patenting a few instruments of their own. The Lexington line is synonymous with their constant quality craftsmanship, development and improvement of woodwind and brass, and now includes an entire selection of drums and percussion as well.
Made primarily for new and novice drummers, the Lexington SD403S delivers a loud, bright sound with no muffle thanks to its sturdy shell’s chrome and nickel construction. Each hit crackles with an aggressive attack and powerfully clear punch, perfect for outdoor performances in large spaces. The detailed and balanced build secures a taut tension among the lugs and rods once they’re fully set up, while the sensitive snare wires pick up every hit, drag, and roll.
The accompanying kit includes a drum key, drumsticks and a strap – everything you need to get rolling.
PROS: Perfect for those just starting out, especially kids and teens.
CONS: While it might suffice for practice and learning, more experienced drumliners will want to seek out a higher-end model for performances.
3. ADM Student Steel-Shell Snare Drum Set
The only one of the bunch that comes with a stand, All Day Music (ADM) prides itself on providing accessible yet well-made instruments and equipment to student musicians, hoping to inspire them into a lifelong love of playing and performing. There’s a good chance this snare just might have that effect. It packs a clean, crisp sound, a sharp reaction to strikes, a cool blue aesthetic, and most importantly, is fun to play.
The bundle itself includes the glossy 14″ x 5.5″ snare drum, a tuning key along with 10 durable tuning lugs (for stability and a wider option of sounds than other snares with just eight), a practice pad, drumsticks, an adjustable neck-strap, convenient carry-bag and the adjustable stand.
PROS: A complete set to get started while standing or sitting.
CONS: Some users report the stand doesn’t rise up high enough to keep up with growing kids. Also a few mentioned that the backpack’s straps broke fairly quickly, and to invest in a quality carry-bag if you’ll be transporting your drum around.