Snare Drum Olympics 2017 Rules and Guidelines


The $125 entry fee is to pay for judges, video and photo shoots, transportation to shows, and other handling expenses. This fee is required no matter when you send your drum in. Any optional extra show display events besides the public display in Nashville may incur an extra charge.


Send your drum on now. We will be doing some advance publicity before 1/15/2017

  • January 15, 2017 - First deadline: If you have your drum in by this date you will receive all the publicity and events planned for the year-long event. The event runs from January 15 to January 15 every year.
  • November 15, 2017 - This is the deadline for the official judging. All drums have to be in by this date.
  • Early January 2018 - Results will be published in time for Winter NAMM announcements.

Remember, the sooner you send your drum in, the sooner we can video it, photograph it and start publicizing it. See the registration form for shipping instructions.

Judging Criteria

We strive to compare apples to apples in the judging, so drums are grouped with similar drums.

3 Main Divisions:
-Marching snares
-Orchestral snares
-Drum Set snares

orchestral and Drum Set drums are further classified by shell materials
-metals: brass, bronze, steel, aluminum, copper, titanium, etc. 
-woods: maple, birch, walnut, combinations of wood, etc.
-synthetics: plastic, carbon fiber , etc.
-combinations: wood and metal, metal and synthetic, etc.,

Wood drums are then further classified by construction type: 
-plywood, single ply steam bent, block, stave, etc. 

and all drums are further grouped by diameter size:
Baritone -15” or larger diameter
Standard 14”
Piccolo 13"
Soprano 10” and smaller

We may add further sub-categories if warranted. We will list a spreadsheet of all possible judging categories soon.

Heads and Tuning

All drums have to have single ply medium thickness coated heads and medium or thin clear snare side heads so we can compare apples to apples. Drums with double ply heads usually have less snare sensitivity and tonal response and don't do well in the judging results.

Snare wires? Your preference, though we recommend standard 20 strand wires for the drum set drums.

Please tune your drum in order to stretch the heads. Medium tension will do. We are going to retune them all to the same pitch here with a tuning device (and by ear). 

JudgingCriteria and Scoring

In the objective blind judging the drums are played behind the judge’s backs for two to three minutes each, using the same series of rudiments, patterns and beats on each drum as the judges vote from 1 to 10 on five criteria; snare wires sensitivity, tone quality, dynamic range, rim shot and side stick sounds, and blend of the drum with the drum kit. The judges have no idea of the manufacturer or model of the drum and can not see it. They are told the sequence number of the drum, and what the shell size and construction is. Otherwise, the only thing they have to go on is their ears. A perfect score of 50 from each judge would equal a total score of 250.

The subjective judging is the “hands on” part of the process where each judge sees, touches and plays each drum, judging from 1 to 10 on the five criteria of appearance, tone quality, response/sensitivity, dynamic range and hardware functionality. The judges take a lot of time with each drum and sometimes have in-depth discussions about a drum’s attributes. Though some of these judges may have endorsements from major drum companies they are very impartial in their judging. Again, a perfect score of 50 from each judge would equal a total score of 250.

The cumulative score is the total of the subject and blind scores with the highest possible cumulative score being 500. The cumulative score is the score printed on the certificate of award given to the companies for each drum submitted.

Results: The results are published as rankings for each category and sub-category. And there are three grand winners for the three highest scores in any category. So your drum may place high in the objective, low in the subjective and fair in the cumulative as a stave drum but still beat out every other drum in its "alien Mars wood" category. So there a lot of ways and categories in which to place and win. We publish all the scores in a table and highlight the three top scores in each category. The three drums with the highest cumulative scores in any category are the grand prize winners.

I know this can sound a little confusing to some. The main reason we do it this way is so each drum has the chance to shine in its many characteristics and to show that there is more than way to judge a drum.

*You may also have to your drum in the non - judged category. You will still the same amount of online publicity, and listed in the rankings as non-judged, just no numerical ranking at the end of the year. 


1. Can I enter more than one drum?

-Yes, as many as you want. The fee is the same for every drum and they must be boxed individually.

2. Who are the judges?

They are all top shelf working, touring and recording drummers usually from Nashville. Some are national and international celebrities. We line up more than we need during the year because inevitably there are schedule conflicts, some at the last minute, so we don't announce the names of the judges until after the end of year judging. 

3. Is there a prize?

No physical prize. Each contestant can get a certificate of participation with or without the drums' scores. These are used frequently in advertisements.