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snarescience.com • not just size but ratio
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not just size but ratio

Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 7:39 am
by boswell39
This coming year, my high school line that I teach will have the talent to have 4 snares. We have the equipment for this number. One issue is that we only have one set of quads, thus one player who is a sophomore. The question I have is at what point would it be better to purchase the second quad and reduce the number of snare players, moving one to quad. I guess what ratio works best in your opinion. Last year was ok, with 2 snares, one quad and 4 basses.

Re: not just size but ratio

Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:49 am
by joe356
This is of course contingent on the kids playing the drums, the writing and the size of the band, but:

I'm usually big on a rough 2 to 1 ratio. If there's an odd number, you could add one. This means that at least 1 quad for every two snare players. If I have 3 snares, I can see 1 or 2 quads working out. 3 would be too many. With 4 snares, I wouldn't go any less than 2.

That's just generally what I've found to balance out well, not just in volume, but in terms of the timbre of that number of instruments playing together. 1 quad sounds very different from 2, and that sound doesn't blend well with 4 snares (also a very different sound from 3). The bigger the line, the more the timbre tends to homogenize, so you're talking more about actual balance than blend.

Re: not just size but ratio

Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:24 am
by littlesnareboy
Also, take your bass line into account. Until I have 5 basses, I tend to try to have half of my line on bass drums. So if I have 3 snares and 1 quad, I better have 4 basses. If you're going to have 3 snares and 2 quads, you should have 5 basses. That's just a general rule I try to follow, but it's a start. And if you have less than 2 snares, 1 quad, and 4 basses, I feel you may need to question the effectiveness of having a battery and instead have a front ensemble. On that note: how is your front ensemble doing? I feel for every battery member you have, you want a front ensemble member.

Re: not just size but ratio

Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:28 pm
by schorsquatch
Just go for it (4 snares). You can't make a wrong (or right decision) with that split. With that setup, I'm not sure it matters a whole lot, and I would look at it from a student development standpoint. If you have a 4 kids that are going to blow up on snare, then let it blow, balance or not. They will enjoy the activity a lot more because of it, and more kids will be drawn to it. I see no reason to split up a potentially killer line.

Re: not just size but ratio

Posted: Wed Mar 04, 2015 9:27 am
by boswell39
Thanks for the info. Will move this info along with my own to the band director for a purchase of a new quad. Also, we do have five basses (drums) and right now only 4 players. As far as our front ensemble we basically have one of each xylo, vibe, bells (as needed) and marimba. Traps and accessories, concert bass, 4 tymps and a rack with stuff. Our front ensemble keyboardist are very very good, but money is what inhibits us from buying more equipment.