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9 Best Snare Drums for Rock in 2023 Reviewed

For drummers, there’s no comparison to other musical genres when it comes to rock and roll. The genre relies on the drums and their vibrancy, sensitivity, and tonal complexities. Drums are essential, valued, and an absolute necessity for expression. 

That said, not every drum will suit rock and roll. Any drummer knows the snare drum is vital to the kit and sound, so making an informed decision has never been more critical. When it comes to snare drums for rock, drummers should expect nothing less than the best. 

9 Best Snare Drums for Rock Reviewed 

1. Best for The Legendary Rock Sound — Ludwig Supraphonic Snare Drum 14x6.5 B-Stock

Ludwig Supraphonic Snare Drum 14x6.5 B-Stock

The Ludwig Supraphonic is Led Zeppelin's John Bonham’s snare of choice and the most recorded drum in history. The tones from the chrome-plated 1.7mm beaded aluminum “Ludalloy” shell are bright, resonant, and cracking—perfect for rock drummers.

Its acute sensitivity can handle professional brushwork, delivering bright and crisp sound. This Supraphonic B-stock snare also lets you acquire this legendary drum for a fraction of the price. You, too, can discover why professional drummers return to the Supraphonic time after time. 

 

Specifications

  • Snare Dimensions: 14” x 6.5”
  • Snare Shell: 1.7mm Chrome-plated aluminum 
  • Brand: Ludwig 
  • Additional Features: 2.3mm flanged hoops, 10 classic lugs, P88AC Throw Off
 
 

PROS

  • Bright and crisp response
  • Legendary snare with a prestigious history in rock
  • Versatile sound 
  • Beautiful overtones 

CONS

  • B-Stock drums sold ‘as-is’; the minor imperfections are not covered under warranty 
 

Who’s This For?

  • This drum is perfect for beginners and professionals alike,  looking to achieve that legendary Supraphonic sound.

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2. Best All Maple — Tama SLP G-Maple in Gloss Tangerine Zebrawood

Tama SLP G-Maple Snare Drum 14x7 Gloss Tangerine Zebrawood

This gorgeous snare with its 1mm maple shell produces rich, warm tones and increased volume and sensitivity, and the Zebrawood outer ply displays a superb boutique finish.

At an affordable price, this drum is a must-have for any drummer wanting a rich sound. With die-cast hoops developed to give more options for tuning and a volume that perfectly suits larger gig venues, this snare is for drummers looking for rich, warm tones. 

 

Specifications

  • Snare Dimensions: 14” x 7”
  • Snare Shell: Maple 
  • Brand: Tama
  • Additional Features: Gloss Tangerine Zebra Wood outer ply finish; Die Cast hoops; Black Nickel shell hardware
 
 

PROS

  • Warm, rich sound from the maple shell 
  • Increased volume and sensitivity
  • Attractive exotic wood veneer 
  • High-quality and durable shell 
  • Good options for tuning and frequency range

CONS

  • Warm tones might not suit all rock drummers’ tastes
 

Who’s This For?

  • Perfect for any drummer looking to add a stylish snare drum to their kit without compromising on sound or budget.

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3. Best for That Bell Brass Sound — Gretsch USA Bell Brass Snare Drum 14x6.5

Gretsch USA Bell Brass Snare Drum 14x6.5

Gretsch brass drums have a clear and powerful cut, controlled overtones, and a smooth timbre sound. This particular bell brass provides the warm characteristics of wood mixed with the bright sound of a metal drum. The result is the signature Gretsch sound. Bell brass snare drums are highly coveted and are well loved by many of the world’s top drummers and record producers.

The Gretsch USA Bell Brass is distinct for its 42-strand snare wire set. It makes the drum extremely responsive, making even the most subtle sound heard with clarity. It’s one of the more expensive snares, but it’s a clear investment in sound quality. 

 

Specifications

  • Snare Dimensions: 14” x 6.5”
  • Snare Shell: 3mm Bell brass 
  • Brand: Gretsch
  • Additional Features: Lightning throw-off, die-cast hoops, ‘snap-in’ key holder, 42-strand snare wires 
 
 

PROS

  • Incredible responsivity due to 42-strand snare wire set
  • Controlled overtones
  • Versatile drum, sensitive and responsive
  • The warmth of wood but the cutting sound of metal
  • Powerful projection

CONS

  • Relatively expensive
 

Who’s This For?

  • Professional drummers and those who expect the highest quality will find the Gretsch USA Bell Brass is worth their investment

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4. Best for Attack — British Drum Company Nicko McBrain Signature Snare Drum 14x6.5 - The Talisman

British Drum Company Nicko McBrain Signature Snare Drum 14x6.5 - The Talisman

Handcrafted in the UK, the Talisman is where British steel is at its peak. The characteristic ridges along the shell showcase the craft of the finish. The Talisman may not be flashy, but it certainly delivers the goods when it comes to the sound. 

Loud and full of tone, the steel shell sings with clarity and power. It will cut through a wall of noise in even the loudest environments. Designed by Iron Maiden’s Nicko McBrain, the legendary heavy metal drummer brings his flair to this snare. 

 

Specifications

  • Snare Dimensions: 14” x 6.5” 
  • Snare Shell: British stainless steel
  • Brand: British Drum Company
  • Additional Features: Palladium Lugs & Strainer, 42 strand snare wires, 2.3mm Triple Flanged Hoops, 
 
 

PROS

  • Stylish, with a signature finish unique to each drum
  • Powerful and full tone 
  • Designed by one of the world’s greatest metal drummers
  • A strong attack that stands out even in the loudest environments

CONS

  • More expensive than some of the others on this list
 

Who’s This For?

  • Not for the faint-hearted, this drum is for professional drummers and metalheads looking to invest in a powerful sound

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5. Best for a Nuanced Sound — Mapex Black Panther 14x6.5 Atomizer Snare Drum

Mapex Black Panther 14x6.5 Atomizer Snare Drum

The Mapex Black Panther sets the new standard in professional snares with upgraded features such as the Design Lab Air Flow Venting and the Soniclear Bearing Edge. 

The venting is crucial to the snare's overall feel and the steel shells' overall resonance. Every Black Panther snare goes through rigorous testing to achieve its signature resonance. 

The drum head can sit flatter on the shell thanks to the Soniclear edge, allowing for better contact. The result is consistent tuning, a pure tone, and an expanded tuning range. This snare is all about nuance created through the aluminum shell. 

 

Specifications

  • Snare Dimensions: 14” x 6.5”
  • Snare Shell: Aluminum
  • Brand: Mapex
  • Additional Features: Sonic Saver Hoops; Chrome Hardware; Soniclear Bearing Edge; Design Lab Air Flow Venting 
 
 

PROS

  • Easy to adjust snare tension
  • Excellent throw off
  • Very sensitivity
  • Easy tuning and head seating, thanks to the Soniclear bearing edges
  • Professional snare for an affordable price

CONS

  • Deep and bright tones of the aluminum shell may not satisfy drummers looking for the warm mid-range tones of a Black Panther maple shell.
 

Who’s This For?

  • The serious player seeking nuance of sound will be able to appreciate this snare fully

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6. Best for Versatility — Ludwig Universal Brass Snare Drum 14x6.5 w/Chrome Hardware

Ludwig Universal Brass Snare Drum 14x6.5 w/Chrome Hardware

The Ludwig Universal Brass Snare is all about versatility, offering a broad palette of sounds that complements various styles of music. Modeled after their iconic Black Beauty snare drums, the Universal snares offer a budget-friendly alternative. 

The Universal delivers purposeful design, suiting various music genres and playing styles. 

It comes with multiple hoop options. The Black Nickel Die-Cast Hoops are best suited to a sharp, aggressive playing style, while the Chrome-Plated Triple Flanged Hoops provide a more balanced, open sound and a more subtle rimshot. These options let you adjust the drum to suit your unique needs.

 

Specifications

  • Snare Dimensions: 14” x 6.5” 
  • Snare Shell: Brass
  • Brand: Ludwig
  • Additional Features: heavy-duty lugs, P35 butt plate, P88i throw-off, and two hoop options in Black Nickel Die-Cast or Chrome-Plated Triple Flange 
 
 

PROS

  • Multiple hoop options
  • Versatile, works well across musical style and tuning ranges
  • Sensitive and warm
  • A budget-friendly alternative to the iconic Ludwig Black Beauty

CONS

  • Not an exact replica of the Black Beauty design 
 

Who’s This For?

  • Drummers after the Black Beauty sound and versatility but for a more affordable price will fall in love

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7. Best for Nostalgic Players — Rogers Powertone Steel Shell Snare Drum 14x6.5

Rogers Powertone Steel Shell Snare Drum 14x6.5

The Powertone series offers a drum for all players, with a vintage look and feel delivering powerful projection and warm tones. It will complement any style of music at a price to suit your budget. 

This snare drum features the beavertail 8-lug profile and thick (2.3mm) chrome hoops. With its stylish finish in high-luster chrome, it stands out visually. 

This snare drum also produces volume and cutting power via the 1 mm shells while maintaining tone and sensitivity, allowing even the ghost notes to sing. 

 

Specifications

  • Snare Dimensions: 14” x 6.5” 
  • Snare Shell: Steel
  • Brand: Rogers
  • Additional Features: 2.3mm Triple Flanged Chrome Hoops; 10 lugs; classic beavertail 8-lug profile
 
 

PROS

  • Vintage look and feel 
  • Warm tones, excellent power, and projection 
  • Stylish, with high-luster chrome 
  • Dynamic sensitivity delivers on the quietest ghost notes 
  • Budget-friendly

CONS

  • A steel shell won’t suit every drummer 
 

Who’s This For?

  • Any and every player can find something to enjoy with the Rogers Powertone

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8. Best for Value — DW Performance Chrome Over Steel Snare Drum 14x6.5

DW Performance Chrome Over Steel Snare Drum 14x6.5

The DW Performance snare is a jack-of-all-trades. Its 1mm rolled straight walled steel shell offers a vibrant sound without undesired overtones. This snare offers excellent value if you want significant volume and great sensitivity without breaking the bank.

 

Specifications

  • Snare Dimensions: 14” x 6.5” 
  • Snare Shell: Steel
  • Brand: DW
  • Additional Features: Straight wall shell; True Hoops
 
 

PROS

  • Versatile, jack-of-all-trades drum
  • No unwanted overtones
  • Sharp crack and attack
  • Incredible volume and sensitivity
  • Excellent value for money

CONS

  • A little on the dry side for some players
 

Who’s This For?

  • Any drummer who wants a budget-friendly drum that they can continue to play even as they move up in skill level will enjoy the DW Performance snare

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9. Best for the Heavy Hitters — Pearl 14x6.5 Ian Paice Signature Snare Drum

Pearl 14x6.5 Ian Paice Signature Snare Drum

Hailed as having a hand in the birth of rock metal and progressive rock drumming, it’s no surprise that Ian Paice’s Pearl snare drum is in high demand. This snare is simple and attractive, offering great tone and functionality. 

Its attack and bright cutting overtones are perfect for recreating the powerful projection so many have come to love from Deep Purple. This snare is perfect for heavy hitters, no matter how hard you play. 

 

Specifications

  • Snare Dimensions: 14” x 6.5”
  • Snare Shell: Steel
  • Brand: Pearl
  • Additional Features: An Internal Muffler For Tone Control, Tension Locks To Maintain Tuning 
 
 

PROS

  • Designed by legendary drummer Ian Paice
  • Internal muffler offers quick tone control
  • Tuning stays put thanks to the included tension locks
  • Powerful projection 

CONS

  • Steel produces a bright sound that may not suit all drummers 
 

Who’s This For?

  • Those who like to hit hard will find this one can take a beating

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What to Look for in the Best Snare Drums for Rock?

Shell Material

Whether you opt for a metal or wood shell, the material affects the drum sound and can distinctly influence your overall drum sound. 

Wood shells tend to have warmer, more natural tones. For example, a maple shell will produce mid-level and high-level tones with a rich warmth. Their versatility of sound makes wood shells excellent recording companions.

However, many rock drummers prefer metal shells because of the bright tones and loud projection. Steel and aluminum remain popular for their loudness and sensitivity. That said, picking a metal shell doesn’t mean compromising on warm tones, though—a brass shell can provide you with a warmer option. 

Snare Wires 

Snare wires also impact your sound, creating that distinct buzzing unique to snare drums. 

Snare wires sit against the bottom head. When the player hits the snare drum, they vibrate to create its sound. 

A 20-strand wire set is the most common, but some manufacturers include up to 42 strands. 

Besides the number of wires, the material matters too. Often, heavier gauge wires and more of them is what you want for hard hitting styles. 

Hoops

Hoops change the overtones created by the vibrations of the edge of the drum head. Depending on the type of hoop, you can change the levels of vibrations and, thus, the sound. 

The main types of hoops are 

  • Die-cast and Wood: These hoops don’t vibrate freely and dampen overtones, generating a sound that is focused, short-sustained, and dense in tone. 
  • Flanged: These hoops provide more room for the edges of the drum head to vibrate freely, providing longer sustain. Single-flanged will provide a more open sound with a long sustain, compared to triple-flanged hoops. 

Be sure to check your hoops’ thickness too. The thicker the hoop, the less the head of the drum vibrates. 

While all these options are great for rock, if you want more control over your drum’s sound, go for die-cast or wood hoops. However, if you want more overtones and room to play, the flanged hoops will give you freedom.

Looking for a Snare Drum to Play Rock Music? Shop DCP!

Every snare on the list has something different to offer, from the snares designed by legendary rockers to the more affordable options fit for every person. 

Why wait to get your hands on one of the best snare drums for rock? Shop at DCP today and start your next adventure in rock and roll.

16 days ago