An often overlooked problem with snare and bass drums is the hoops. These pieces of wood are the focus of the stress applied by the ropes, and are the instrument by which that stress is passed onto the drum heads. Hoops often fail, but are seldom replaced. That means there are a large number of improperly functioning hoops on the streets. One thing a hoop is not supposed to do is touch the snares on the bottom head of a snare drum. If the snare channel is cut too shallow, and the bottom head is stretched too much, your bottom hoop will choke off your snares and make tuning your drum impossible.There should be a gap where the snare tensioner meets the bottom hoop (by the cat’s head). This gap should appear on the snare anchor side of the drum as well.
Another thing a hoop is not supposed to do is break moments before a parade, or worse, in the middle of one! Close inspection of the hoops will probably reveal fractures around any stress points like the rope holes or snare channels. The snare channel is also the joint for the hoop, a double possibility for a point of failure. One more problem is a poorly alligned hoop or one that is warped beyond function. If your hoop fails, the pressure it is supposed to absorb and spread is transfered directly to your heads in small areas, resulting in increased head problems, like splits along the circumference. Fortunately, counter hoops are inexpensive and readily replaced.