10 quick drum head tips

How to get the most from your heads

Where's your head at? Find out with Rhythm Magazine's top 10 tips for choosing, using and abusing your drum heads.

10 drum head tips

1. Heads = sounds

The sound of a drum is said to be 80 percent due to the heads you use.

2. Different heads = different sounds

If you want a different sound, try changing your head types rather than buying new drums.

3. Don't forget your bottom heads

The bottom heads are often the cause of tuning and ringing problems but they're the hardest to reach and often go untouched.

4. In fact, start at the bottom

To tune your toms, take them off their stands and seat them on the floor. Tune the bottom head first and damp it while you tune the top.

5. Feel vs tone

Many drummers say they tune their top (batter) heads for the feel and their bottom (resonant) heads for tone.


Next: hands, plies, angles and, er... hair dryers!

Tuning

6. Use your hands

To 'seat' a new head, tighten it evenly and press down in the centre with a fist/palm. The glue channel is meant to make 'crack' noises!

7. Choose your ply

Single-ply heads are brighter, more resonant; Double-ply heads are harder wearing, darker in tone, with more attack but less sustain.

8. Use angles

Try to angle your drums so that the tips of your sticks don't dig into the heads and make dents. You'll get a fatter sound this way too.

9. Try using a, er… hair dryer?

It's said you can get the dents and dimples out old heads by using a hair dryer. Try it - we have, although without much success!

10. Clean! But not too hard…

Clean heads with cream kitchen cleanser or washing-up liquid and scourer. Coated heads lose friction if you rub too hard.

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For the best monthly drumming tips, video lessons and reviews, check out Rhythm Magazine.

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