I know it seems like I’m obsessed with good drum tone. That’s because I am! This month’s tips are also about how select the proper drum heads to sound your best.
Drums are unique in that they are very sensitive to drum head selection. All manufacturers basically make their own versions of the heads other manufacturers make. Kind of like all car companies pretty much make cars, trucks, station wagons, and vans. That’s because these are tried and true models that each serve a specific purpose. Same with drum heads.
There are essentially three different construction types for drum heads: single ply, two ply, and self-muffling single or two-ply. Coated heads and heads with reinforcement dots (on top or bottom) fall into the self-muffling category as do heads with built-in muffling rings. Some heads even have tiny holes (vents) in them to muffle the sound in a specific way.
Single ply heads offer an open sound that may have more sustain than a two-ply head. When you add mass to either one, you reduce the vibration of the head which means you muffle it. Muffling can be subtle such as coating or a dot or not so subtle such as a large amount of tape. There are many points in between.
I can’t tell a person what their favorite sound is any more than I can tell them what their favorite car is. I can however help a person identify their favorite sound and then help them achieve it. Stop by the shop sometime and we’ll talk about it. Anyone at the Drum Center can help. Work hard and play harder. — John Johnson, manager