Perfect Guide to Drum Heads
Drum head, drum skin, drum parchment are all names to the single awesome equipment of the drum’s family. It is important to know that there isn’t any head termed as “the perfect one”. However, making the choice to buy your next drum head should be based on multiple important factors like personal choice, style of music, durability etc. This guide will answer all your basic questions to buy the ideal drum head for you!
Originally, drum heads were made of animal skin (rawhide) mainly used for percussion instruments. Nowadays, almost all of them are made of either synthetic or plastic material. One should know the basic difference between batter head and resonant head. This is an important categorization. Batter head is the one you play (beat) on and resonant is the one you DO NOT play on. That’s easy to remember right? Once you have understood this, going through the next sub categories will be easier.
Bass Drum heads are usually the one which are least changed, unless there is a physical damage or dents due to excessive power playing. One must try and change the drum head when it is visibly damaged or worn off. Else, it will certainly affect the drum sound. It is mandatory to change all the drum heads whenever you are heading for a recording session.
Take an hour out to work out your parts and record it, so that you will get an idea of the actual sound recorded versus the one desired or required based on the song. You can then fine tune settings accordingly.
On the other hand, the snare drum which is usually the most used drum, needs constant maintenance by frequently changing the head. You can try out different heads on the same snare drum to get various sounds out of your existing snare drum with different tuning permutations and combinations.
It is advisable to keep the same drum head series/range across the toms for a consistent and similar pitch that can be achieved while tuning.
Following is a list of general categories in which drum heads are available. This will help you make a better decision.
Clear – (Evans EC2 Clear – usually works best for toms)
Coated/Frosted (Evans G2 coated – good for toms)
No. of Ply (Single/Double) (Evans J1)
Hydraulics (Evans Hydraulics)
Snare (Evans Power Centre)
Bass drum (Evans EMAD)
It is important to note that if the kit is immobile (in a studio or a school) it is advisable to keep it covered to avoid dust entering or settling at the edges, to constantly get the best and desired sound.
You can shop for drum heads and other accessories here