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Some of Our Favorite Snare Drum Brands

It’s no secret that the snare drum can be the centerpiece for a great drum set. The instrument’s sharp, staccato sound makes it easy to pick apart from any other drum in your arsenal. That’s why it’s important to pick a high quality snare drum from brands you can trust.

Drum Center of Portsmouth is here to help you consider the best and the brightest drums in the industry. We are a leading provider of drums and drum sets, and we’re dedicated to providing only the best snare drums for our customers. Here is a list of our favorite snare drum brands.



Pearl is, of course, one of the most popular drum brands in the world. Katsumi Yanagisawa, who began selling music stands in 1946, founded the company in Japan. By 1950, the company switched gears to supplying percussion instruments, and in particular, the drums.

Every Pearl drum is constructed using SST, or “Superior Shell Technology.” The shell is heated against the plies, making the shell incredibly tight around the drum. This then makes it able to withstand much more pressure than an instrument made under the average circumstances.

Pearl’s history and unique manufacturing techniques allow the brand to make snares that are unlike any other. They consistently have a tight sound, which is best demonstrated by their Pearl Steel Piccolo Snare Drum, 13x3. This creates a higher, tighter sound than the average snare. The Pearl brand is great for beginners and experts alike. Their products have excellent craftsmanship and a sound that can’t be beat.



Ludwig is an extremely long-running brand, first established by two German immigrant brothers in 1909. They began crafting their snare drums in 1916. It was the largest manufacturer by 1923, and continued to rise in popularity throughout the 20th century.

One of the most iconic moments for the brand was when the Beatles endorsed them in the 1960’s. Ringo Starr displayed his Ludwig brand kit on the Beatles’ American television debut on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. Starr picked the drums because he liked the oyster pearl black color. Sales doubled to $13 million after this fateful television program.

Ludwig drums have been steady throughout history. They have set the standard for every company after them, even until today. From Jerry Allison of Buddy Holly and the Crickets to Tre Cool of Green Day, Ludwig has continuously proved to be one of the top competitors in the drum manufacturing game.


Noble & Cooley

Noble & Cooley is the oldest drum manufacturer in the United States, established in 1854. They began making marching snares to provide for the Union Army. This makes their history in crafting snare drums specifically longstanding and unique.

Noble & Cooley also has an interesting history. They aren’t promoted like most other brands out there. Though they are incredibly popular among many musicians, the company doesn’t use paid advertisements from celebrities. Instead, famous drummers speak of Noble & Cooley’s instrument quality of their own volition.

Instead of putting their name up on every drum they manufacturer, they instead point to actual music tracks with their brand in them to demonstrate the quality of their product. Phil Collins, Bill Kreutzmann of the Grateful Dead, and John Fishman of Phish all use these drums.



Canopus comes from Japan and are renowned as one of the world’s premier bespoke drum makers. Their founder Shinichi Usuda started the business in 1977, with the vision to create the best quality drums possible. Their drums are all handmade from the finest materials, using innovative techniques that make them both functional and desirable.

Their Zelkova solid shell snare drum made a splash in the industry. This drum is a tree trunk that’s got a scooped out shell of zelkova wood. Coming in 5x14, 6.5x14, and the super popular 8x14 size (which we prompted them to make) this brand is one of our top choices, especially for snares.

They also make hardware and accessories that are lightweight and practical, making them a standout for many drummers. In particular, we always recommend their snare wires for anyone in search of wires for their snare drum.



Yamaha is another long-running drum brand that has been around since 1967. They manufacture electronic drum kits, acoustic kits, accessories, marching band equipment, and other hardware.

They have manufactured a wide variety of products through the years. Drum Center of Portsmouth carries both current and vintage brands. For example, the Tour Custom models were introduced in the 1980’s and reintroduced in the 2000’s to have maple shells and a rounder tone.

They also have great vintage lines of drums, like Recording Custom. Though it was introduced in the 1960’s, it is still popular to this day, and is constantly being reinvigorated with new colors like solid black and surf green. The snares are perfect for anyone looking for the vintage look with a modern high quality tonality.



Gretsch Drums operates under the larger Gretsch Company. These kits were founded in Brooklyn, New York in 1883. It began as a small company with a German immigrant, Friedrich Gretsch, as its company head. After his passing, his son inherited the company and began to make Gretsch into the great international brand it is today.

Gretsch creates sturdy products that can last a long time. Though they’ve been around since 1883, you can’t call these snares old fashioned. They specialize in all kinds of different snares and entire kits for beginners, rock musicians, and people who love retro looks and sounds.

The USA Custom snare is a favorite inside this favorite company. With a 6-ply maple shell, this drum looks impeccable and always provides that “Great Gretsch Sound” the company has been famed for for over 100 years.


Buy Your Snare Drum Today!

Drum Center of Portsmouth carries all of our personal favorite brands, and many more that we haven’t mentioned in this article! Whether you crave a vintage sound from an older company, or need a snare on a budget, we can provide any style drum you need for any genre.