In the early days of pipe bands, rope tension snare drums were common, but as technology evolved, so did the music.  Pipe band drummers now play on drums with very tight, knitted Kevlar heads, designed for maximum tension to create a very crisp and strident sound. Due to technological innovations and changing aesthetics, this crispness has become an integral part of the pipe band sound. Since today’s drum is so facile as a result of its design, players are often able to execute extremely complicated and technically demanding rudimentary patterns.

In the pipe band the side drum is supported by an over-the-shoulder rigid harness.