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  • Writer's pictureTim Church

How To Tune A Black Swamp SoundArt Snare Drum

Updated: Oct 5, 2022

The SoundArt system was our very first strainer, designed by Eric (BSP Founder) over 20 years ago. Although the look has changed over time, the concept and operation remains the same.

If you've recently purchased a SoundArt snare drum or find yourself using one regularly with your school band or orchestra, it will be beneficial for you to learn how to properly tune the drum and maximize the sound of your SoundArt strainer system.

Pre 2020 SoundArt Strainer System

So where did it all begin?

In 1999 Black Swamp introduced the SoundArt Snare System, the first trio and duo integrated cable snare system - an old concept of separate tension, but done right! Before the design of this original strainer system, we started with individual retrofit cable snare units, which we still manufacture today. Eric then had the genius idea to take the different cable types from these retrofit units and integrate them into a single strainer. Thus, the SoundArt snare system was born!

SoundArt Strainer Concept

The three contrasting cable types on the SoundArt Strainer can be individually adjusted to dial in the optimal tension and response at its corresponding dynamic.

For instance, the Blue Coated cable (Model: 8BSA) responds best at louder dynamics, has a dry, throaty timbre and can be tensioned tighter than the other two units.

SoundArt cable snares

The Uncoated Stainless steel cable (Model: 8SSA) responds best at medium dynamics with a medium tension, and has a brighter, wetter sound.

The Guitar Wire Wound unit (Model: 5WSA) can be tensioned the loosest for ideal response at softer dynamics, adding clarity and a unique texture.

From there, all three units are engaged simultaneously for a consistent and high quality orchestral sound, with a wide dynamic range.

Newest Additions to the SoundArt System

The newest implementation of the SoundArt strainer features our Arch Throwoff. This system uses a robust and stylish strainer that matches the look and feel of our Arch Tube Lugs, featured on most SoundArt snare drums. The Arch Throw combined into the SoundArt trio system gives one additional feature: a master tuning knob. This allows the user to quickly tension all three cables at the same time.

Post 2020 SoundArt Strainer System Featuring the Arch Throwoff

Each drum - depending on the diameter, depth, and material of the shell - will have its own unique timbre and "sweet spot" for cable tension. Be sure to listen closely when tensioning each cable to hear when it activates and at what dynamic level the cable speaks most clearly. Ultimately, tuning a snare drum and tuning a SoundArt snare drum comes down to personal preference and what sounds best to your ears. Be sure to follow along with Tim in our YouTube video linked at the top of this article for a step-by-step process.

Wrapping Up

The SoundArt strainer system is very popular with schools, students and professionals searching for an exceptional sound, that’s easy to set and consistent to maintain. The trio cable snare system allows for players to dial in a sound that suits the situation and piece of music. If you are interested in exploring and experimenting with even more sounds on your orchestral snare or concert snare drum considering looking at the Multisonic Snare System. This 5 cable system expands on the innovations of the SoundArt snare drum with even more options for the most discerning of percussionists. You can learn how to tune your Multisonic snare drum in this video.

Visit our website to learn more about our SoundArt strainer, which is available on ply-Maple, Brass, Titanium and Unibody solid shells. Also check out our YouTube channel where you can find all sorts of audio and video sound samples for these drums

Happy drumming!

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