The Best Snare Drum for Beginners: Loud and Clear

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If you need an example of how a perfect student snare drum kit should look, here is Mendini Student Snare Drum Set, the one that’s perfect for gigs, band rehearsals, or home practice. The pack includes a 30-inch stand, a pair of sticks, a padded bag with a neck-strap, and a rubber practice pad that lets you play it in muted mode. The set is standard, but the quality is stunning: a solid stand of height perfect for younger drummers, a very adult drum sound, and a rubber pad perfectly compatible with standard drum sets.

But when it comes to music, there’s no best rock snare drum, as well as no perfect band, singer, genre, or note. There are many snare drums that come in similar kits and are just as compatible with sets. It becomes a matter of taste when suddenly a snare drum kit has something you consider necessary for your training, and the others lack it.

So, here come snare drum reviews that may lend you the idea of what exactly you want. Maybe an experienced drummer won’t be totally impressed. But the idea is that a drum should be good for training and the lifestyle it requires.

The Best Snare Drums for Training

So, what is a snare drum? Musicians know it when they hear it. For those not head deep (so far), it’s the drum that makes a strong sharp sound, higher than the bass drum, but lower than most percussion, and very powerful. In pop music, country, hip-hop, or jazz, the snare drum sound usually marks the beat 4 in the backbeat tradition that most musicians today follow.

In the past, snare drums were used in armies throughout the world to deliver quick and hearable signals to soldiers or to set a marching rhythm. These requirements defined the sound: sharp, hearable, great for playing short distinctive cadences. The basic types of snare drums originate from there, despite all the evolution they have undergone.

What are the different types of snare drums? The most common is a drum kit snare drum, made to be compatible with other drums a drummer plays. This defines its size, acoustic parameters, and even design. Other types include a snare drum for marching bands (one the musician carries while marching and playing), a concert snare drum that may be customized to fit the band better, and smaller versions like piccolo or soprano snares.

Of all these snare drum sizes and constructions, the most popular one for training is a drum kit snare drum. Simply because most drummers want to use it with a standard (or a bit customized) kit when playing in a band. So, we will focus on these.

While the sound they produce might be different, none of them can stand the competition with a true concert snare, though. So I will not mention “poor sound” unless there is something really special about it. As for the kit, its contents may differ, though these differences mostly concern accessories.

Mendini Student Snare Drum Set: The Best Snare Drum for Beginners

Let’s start with the one we mark as the reference. There are reasons for that: though Mendini is not much of a brand like Ludwig, Roland, or even the good old ADM Company, it’s easily found throughout both offline chains (like Walmart) and online major stores like Amazon. Mendini (whoever it is) manufactures complete drum sets; they come in different sizes, including options for kids.

This one is no kids snare drum, though. Its dimensions are just the same as the snare drum from The Mendini Adult Drum Set (14” x 5.5”), so you can have one just in case, if you already own the set. Despite the name, it’s quite good for youngsters 5 feet tall or taller.

It comes with a complete set of accessories (except for, maybe, a wiping pad). You also get a bag with a necklace to carry it on your neck; by the way, it makes the drum suitable for marching bands. The set also includes a stand and two sticks—every drummer knows there are never enough sticks. What makes the drum great for training is a rubber pad for practice. Cover the drum with this pad, and its loudness will reduce so much that you can even use it at home.

Alas, the materials are not the best quality. The heads produce too much delayed vibration, and the overall sound is dirtier than that of a professional snare drum. Given its price under $100 and its declared purpose, though, it shouldn’t be taken as a serious issue.

Mendini Student Snare Drum Set with Gig Bag, Sticks, Stand and Practice Pad Kit, Black, MSN-1455P-BK
  • 14-inch x 5.5-inch student snare drum
  • 30-inch snare stand with 10 lugs (standard size as it is meant for adults or students to sit by.)
PROS:
  • Compatible with adult drum sets;
  • Decent overall quality;
  • Can be used in marching bands;
  • Comes in different colors.
CONS:
  • The manufacturer is unknown;
  • The accessories quality may fail.

ADM Student Snare Drum Set: The Second Best Beginning Snare Drum

If you think it’s the aforementioned American Drum Manufacturing Company, sorry to disappoint you. The ADM we review now also manufactures violins and ukuleles, while the original ADMC reportedly has quit the business because the landlord wanted to dedicate their former building to marijuana growers! But, whatever this ADM is, this student drum set is quite decent.

It resembles the one by Mendini, but this resemblance is dictated by pure purpose, not copying. The set elements (a stand, a bag with a necklace, a rubber pad, a tuning key, and a pair of sticks) are defined by the way this drum is supposed to be used. So is its size: fitting adult drum sets, it’s a bit lower than that by Mendini, being 5” x 14”. The compatibility remains, though.

As for its looks, the nickel finish makes it look a bit rockier than that by Mendini. Its stand has an adjustable height (from 14.4” to 20.5”), making it easy for adults and kids to sit at it. It’s also compatible with other drums down to 10”, being useful beyond the set.

When it comes to sound, it suddenly turns out highly adjustable. You only need to use the key that comes with the drum to tighten or loosen its heads (and probably a drum tuner to make it perfect). A special switch alters its sound, so instead of snare sound, it produces something similar to a bass drum. It’s still too metal, sounding less natural, though the heads are not plastic as some suppose. But it’s a training drum, anyway.

The downside of this model is its safety. The edges of the drum are quite sharp, enough to cut yourself if you’re careless, and contribute into damaging the bag (which is anyway of mediocre quality). You have to either be cautious when using it or to process these edges with a file. This alone prevents the one by ADM, otherwise being among the top-rated snare drums, from being the drum set to recommend first.

ADM 14"X 5.5" Student Snare Drum Set, Kids Snare Drum Beginner Kit with Stand, Drum Mute Pad, Strap,...
  • ♬ QUALITY beginner Chrome snare drum
  • ♬ pad case sticks and stand included
PROS:
  • Complete set for supposed usage;
  • Decent sound;
  • A drum key included;
  • Affordable price
CONS:
  • The edges are too rough;
  • The bag is quite poor.

GP Percussion SK22: A Complete Student Snare Drum Kit, but Not by the GP You Know

As I tried to google up this manufacturer (Amazon and Walmart appearing first), it turned out that it has nothing to do with a respectable publishing company that delivers books on playing percussion. It would be quite good, but the actual GP Percussion we see is a different company, characterized as “music wholesaler in Texas importing very low-quality percussion instruments from China”. It hurt the publisher so much that they decided to rebrand.

Should this confuse us? No way! Pros may look scornfully, but for us, that’s just what we’re searching for: an affordable basic snare drum set to sweat. From this point of view, one by GP Percussion is quite an option. The kit includes the same elements we have seen before: a drum, a stand, a rubber pad, a tuning key, a pair of sticks, and a backpack-style bag for transportation.

The size of the drum is identical to that by Mendini: 14” x 5.5”. So is the height of the stand: 24”. Rarely can the stand be called too short. As for the sticks, they are so lightweight that it seems they’re supposed for preschoolers. No wonder some students start with purchasing solid serious sticks; it may be your first impulse on seeing these too. What the kit lacks (compared to Mendini, again) is a necklace to carry either a bag or a drum itself to play in a marching band. Not a necessary thing if you’re into rock or jazz. Anyway, it would have been a fine bonus.

As for its sound, it’s quite decent – for its class, of course. Not that it can be used at serious gigs, unless you suddenly need a replacement. With the included key, you can tune it and get it to sound the way you prefer. The default settings produce quite an irritating metal tone.

GP Percussion SK22 Complete Student Snare Drum Kit
287 Reviews
PROS:
  • Complete set;
  • Tunable to an acceptable sound;
  • Affordable price.
CONS:
  • The sticks are too lightweight;
  • Can’t be used in marching bands;
  • This isn’t the GP Percussion you’re looking for.

Snare Drum by Griffin: A Graduation Student Drum Kit

The main difference about Griffin is that it’s quite a brand; more than that, it’s an American brand. No wonder you can expect it to sound way more professionally than others on this list. And yes, it’s definitely the best sounding snare drum on our list. At the same time, it remains affordable and easy to tune, so it can be used as a snare drum for learning.

It’s made of hickory wood, and the panels are claimed to be hand-picked. Chrome plating completes the picture, making it look like a relic of the good old times. It only has eight tuning lugs, while others in this review can boast 10. On the other hand, the overall quality beats this parameter, making the one by Griffin easier to tune and more flexible in terms of sound. As for the sound, it’s sharp and easily controllable. Select the sticks you like to get more of what you want.

On the other hand, positioning this one as a professional snare makes it less comfortable as a starter. The kit only features the drum and the tuning key: no bag, no stand, no sticks—they are all to be bought separately.

Would I recommend this one for studying? If you’re a complete beginner, the answer is no. But if you want to progress after you’ve done your thousands of hours with a Mendini or GP, it would make sense to purchase this one by Griffin next and use it with the kit you already have. The same is true if you have damaged your basic student snare; this upgrade will be affordable, taking you to the new level.

PROS:
  • Professional class model;
  • Easily tunable;
  • Stylish looks;
  • Compatible with standard stands and accessories;
  • Very affordable for its class.
CONS:
  • Takes some effort to tune;
  • Not for marching bands;
  • No kit included.

SLINT Practice Pad & Snare Stand Bundle: a Beginner Percussion Kit… With No Snare

Some say the best snare drum for beginners is not a drum at all. That makes sense: if you want to practice playing the snare, you can do it with a practice pad. If you want to learn how to play snare drums, it doesn’t necessarily take an actual snare. This pad-oriented setup is even preferable when you want to make sure a snare will never bother your neighbors.

It doesn’t make any sense to speak about the sound, because it just imitates a snare (some professionals, though, might say the same about every item reviewed). The setup resembles electronic drums, but it’s completely mechanical and acoustic.

As for the tactile experience, the pad is two-sided: one side is covered with gum rubber, the other is also rubber, but softer and less rebound. If your aim is to develop the right touch and the right manner, this setup is okay.

The bundle includes a double-sided pad, a stand, three pairs of sticks, and a bag to transport it, as well as gels for drums and bags for sticks. Maybe the most important bonus for amateurs is the “Drumming for Beginners” book, in both text and audio versions.

And yes, this one and the previous would perfectly match: Griffin provides the snare, SLINT does the rest. Though the stand comes with a plain pad, it can host a snare up to 15”.

Practice Pad & Snare Stand Bundle - Drum Pad Double Sided with Drumsticks and Drum Stand for Four...
  • ✔ EASY TO USE, BY ANYONE ANYWHERE; Are you just learning how to play the drums, looking for that perfect portable practice pad, or maybe you are a professional drum player trying to find your next high quality drum pad to use for snare drum practice; Either way, this is the perfect pad to suit your needs; Easily portable with covers included, it will give you the ideal rehearsal experience without disturbing anyone, as it is specially created for protecting your neighbors' ears;
  • ✔ PREMIUM DOUBLE SIDED PAD; Light but solid, specially designed for the perfect drum practice experience, this practice pad is double surfaced; On the main side if features a non toxic, slightly textured, natural gum rubber that offers the feel of a drum set rebound; On the back side it is equipped with a softer rubber that offers a less rebound surface; The drum sides are mounted on a high quality robust wood frame, created to deliver you an amazing experience;
PROS:
  • Compact size;
  • Suitable for training almost silently;
  • Lightweight;
  • Accessories compatible with actual snares;
  • An eBook on drumming included.
CONS:
  • No actual snare included;
  • Sticks feel cheap;
  • Quite expensive unless discounted.

LAGRIMA Snare Drum Kit: Start Your Marching Band

Of all the other drums reviewed here, one by Lagrima most of all resembles the one by Griffin. Its purpose is quite different, though: it’s positioned as a perfect snare drum for marching bands, and the kit has all it takes. Besides the drum itself, it offers you a pair of sticks, a tuning key, and a strap for carrying.

If you want to use this snare drum to practice in a rock, jazz, or whatever stage band, though, it’s also okay. It is compatible with a kit like that by SLINT, its size being the default 14” x 5.5”. And it looks really impressive, due to dark wood and chrome finish.

As for the sound, it delivers all a decent snare should. The sound is sharp, with deep bass resonance and a crisp snare response. A 20-strand wire makes it sharp. The potential of this drum is greater than one might expect. Still, it takes some handwork and spare parts to replace the cheaper components to get it to sound really good for gigs. The way it is delivered, it’s mostly a beginner percussion kit or a backup snare drum for minor gigs.

On the other hand, at least it can be customized if you suddenly want it to do the work. Most training snare drums don’t allow for such upgrades. So it can be a tool not only for learning to play drums but for customizing and repairing them.

LAGRIMA Snare Drum Kit, 14' x 5.5', Tuning Lugs & Snare Strainer, Wood Shell, Flat Hickory PVC...
23 Reviews
LAGRIMA Snare Drum Kit, 14" x 5.5", Tuning Lugs & Snare Strainer, Wood Shell, Flat Hickory PVC...
  • MATERIAL-Real Wood Shells,high gloss finish snare drums,and the drum skin adopts double-layer oil skin, good elasticity and longer use time
  • EXCELLENT WORKMANSHIP-The bottom of the drum has a ringing chord, and when the drums are played, the chord and the drum surface resonate, causing the music to sound.
PROS:
  • Good for marching bands;
  • Rather a decent sound;
  • Compatible with most stands and other accessories;
  • Customizable to make it sound better;
  • Solid sticks included.
CONS:
  • Looks more promising than it sounds;
  • The kit is for marching mode only.

Vangoa Snare Drum Kit: A Decent One

There is nothing I can say about the origins of Vangoa but what they tell themselves. At least Vangoa doesn’t pretend to be anything more than a reseller that gets the instruments manufactured somewhere in China and then sells them elsewhere. Still, this drum looks and sounds decent for its category. The body of the drum is made of maple, its size is the standard 14 x 5.5”.

You can opt for the kit or for the complete set. The former includes the 10-lug snare drum, the practice pad, the tuning key, a pair of sticks, a bag, and a strap to carry it. The latter, being $20 more (at the overall price about $80), also offers a sturdy stand up to 24” high.

The drum itself is typical for its class. It has ten lugs, a tuning key to adjust the tension of the heads, and an adjustable strainer that only takes a screwdriver to set. Some players say this can also be made into a decent instrument. It takes changing a lot, though, from heads to the strainer. Then this will be a great looking body for a completely new drum that sounds in the sixties’ manner.

As for its educational value, though, it’s good enough for money already. Being affordable in any version, it can be (after some manipulations) used even as a backup snare drum for minor gigs. The accessories, though, are all student class—that is, good for practicing, but too weak for serious usage.

Sale
Vangoa Snare Drum Kit, Marching Snare Drum, 14" x 5.5" with 10mm Padding Carry Bag, 5A DrumSticks,...
  • ✔[Wood Shell] Maple shell has good durability, resonance, and sound quality. Clear, balanced and warmer sound makes it highly versatile. 20 strands snare wires are sensitive to respond to the slightest brush movement.
  • ✔[Good Sound] 9 ply maple shell is solid to resist warping and affects the readily energy is transferred from the heads to the shell, offers rich and warm wood tone and good sound projection.
PROS:
  • Great looks;
  • Highly adjustable;
  • Comes as a kit or as a complete set;
  • Can be upgraded into a really decent drum.
CONS:
  • Too expensive;
  • The accessories are quite cheap (just like expected).

FAQ on Student Snare Drums

Snare Drum by Griffin

So, how do I choose a snare drum for learning and practicing?

Select the one according to the music you intend to play. A kit with a stand is great for a stage band. One with a strap is better if you’re about to join a marching band. On this level, the difference is low.

What size snare drum should I get?

As for the size, it should be adult unless you want a special sort of snare. The default is 14×5.5”. It’s big enough to produce sounds loud enough, and it’s easy to carry and even march with. Specific piccolo or soprano models are only worth your attention if you’re inclined to master one.

How do I play the snare drum for beginners?

Just the regular way. If you want it quieter, use the rubber pad that is usually included. beginning snare drum

Who makes the best drums?

The best rock snare drum manufacturers are names like Ludwig, Roland, Gretsch, Yamaha, and others. Some specialize in certain types—say, Zildjian makes great hi-hats. But if you’re not going to afford a drum set for $500 or more, you better settle for a student set.

Hit It!

So, if you’re just starting your drummer career, you don’t have to spend fortunes on professional snares. The student models are not the best choice for gigs or recordings, but they are made for training and no way for regretting if you suddenly beat them down beyond all recovery.

Did you start with any of these, or learned playing the real adult drums? Would you recommend any of these student drums to study? Do you accept the idea of special cheaper drums for training at all? If you have something to say, come on: we’ll gladly read your comments.

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