How To Choose A Drum Head

In last weeks post, Paul Mabury talked about ways to tune your kit to fit the room that you're playing in. One of the critical points to that lesson is the type of drum heads that you choose. Whether you put clear or coated heads on your drums can make all the difference in the world, so let's talk about which heads give you that warm sound Paul was preaching. 

There are three basic types of heads, single ply, double ply and coated. Ply is just another word for layer. It's the same concept as paper towels or toilet paper (though I don't recommend using your drum heads for toilet paper.)

SINGLE PLY

The thinner the head, the more overtones and high-end ring you will hear along with more brightness. These head’s sustain will usually decrease.

DOUBLE PLY

Double-ply heads will usually have a deeper and more controlled sound with fewer overtones. They also sound fatter than single-ply's. These heads are stronger as well due to the extra layer. 

COATED

Coated heads are definitely my personal favorite. It's just plain common sense that if you add more coating to a drum head, some dampening is going to happen. Coated heads tend to give you that warm "earthy" tone more so than the clear heads. These heads will be a bit darker than the above heads and will also stand up to a beating due to that coating. 

Conclusion

It's all a matter of taste and there is no right or wrong answer but I lean towards the warm tones. Clear heads equal a brighter tone with more attack. Coated heads equal that warmer/softer tone that Paul was talking about. One thing to also remember is don't crank your heads tight for those small rooms, leave them looser and more dry. What kind of heads do you like to use and why? 

 

Josh Ward is a versatile drummer of 18 years and heavily involved with the worship team at Marcus Pointe Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL. He is a husband to Rosie, dad to Amos and drum instructor for WorshipArtistry.com

How To Choose A Drum Head

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Drum Heads

I usually lead with acoustic guitar but one of my passions is behind the drum set. I play with a 4-piece set-up one snare, mounted tom, floor tom, and kick.

Snare- I usually go for the Remo Powerstroke 3 because its absolutely beautiful where you can get those nice warm tones we're looking for. However, I just put on the Evans Level 360. I prefer the Powerstroke but I got some killer tones out of the Evans head. I have a Evans Hazy 300 as a reso.

Toms- I currently have Evans WeatherKing Coated Ambassadors, which over all is a very nice, simple drumhead that will give you that warm tone you're looking for in a tom drum. I looking into trying Evans EC2s's. I have a Evans Glass Series for reso heads on the toms.

Kick Drum- I use a Evans EMAD Clear, this head has a dampening ring in the head, you are able to get a really good kick drum sound from this head. The reso head is stock Pearl Forum Series Kit

Overall- I recommend the Remo PowerStroke 3 for snare, Evans WeatherKing Coated Ambassador for tom drums, and the Evans EMAD for you beater heads.

Heads.

I'm also a guitar player that loves the drums! It was actually the drums that inspired me to play the guitar. I bought a kit from our youth group almost identical to the one you described. I put the Remo Emperor coated heads on top. The stock Pacific heads are on the bottom. I'm not sure what to put on the bottom yet. On the snare I have used the Power Stroke 3. I now use the Emperor coated top and Hazy resonant bottom. The kick I have no idea yet. The stock Pacific head is on the batter side and an Evans black in color head with a hole in it is on the reso. side. I'm just having a great time finding a sound and learning how to play. I just want to be in the pocket and on time. Nothing flashy.
I'm also waiting for Josh to do a video on tuning the things.

Tuning!!

Hey Bill! I will definitely be doing a video on tunings coming up! Looking forward to hearing some feedback. Anything in particular that you need covered?