What follows is a guide that I hope will help you think outside the box when creating an effects drum, as there are numerous different sounds that you can achieve. Most of these can be made with things sitting around your house, so you dont have to shell out to spruce up your snare.
Possible Items Needed:
Also check out some of my other drum instructables:
Step 1: Getting Good Head(s)
You can also try experimenting with various other head types. For example, try getting a super heavy duty head like the Aquarian Hi-Energy or a marching snare head. These will change the character of your attack, and while adding an interesting new sound to your kit, and may also influence what drumheads you buy in the future for your everyday snare.
Another thought that I have been meaning to try is to get a calfskin or a mylar fiberskyn head for your snare. Granted, this probably isnt a good idea if you are a heavy hitter or are playing rock, but if you have a pair of multirod sticks like the Pro Mark Hot Rods and want to experiment a little, you could end up achieving a pretty cool sound.
Other options for head choice include trying a different kind of resonant head on the bottom. I have experimented with this a couple of times, and I usually never liked the sound I got from using anything but a extra-thin or hazy snare side head, but who knows, maybe you will.
Basically, it all comes down to what you are trying to get out of your second snare. If you are looking for something that you can use in your everyday playing that gives you a little more choice when reaching to hit a snare, you can play it conservatively and just experiment with different head, snare wire, and dampening combos until you find one that not only sounds good, but adds depth to the arsenal of drums that you use. On the other hand, if you want to go all out and dream up some crazy beast that makes drummers and non-drummers alike sit and think, "what the hell is that thing?" then check out some of the tips I offer on the next page.