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.
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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