Drum Head Sounds for Drummers

If you have been playing your drums weekly for more than a year or 2, you know it’s time to replace your drum heads. And not just the top batter side. It’s not really that expensive, depending on the number of drums in your kit. The difference in sound is worth it after a while. It’s kind of like old guitar strings where you get a sound that is not as crisp after a few dozen plays. With Drums, especially the snare and kick drum can be at least 100 beats per minute. So, think about how many times you hit those 2 drums every night? 1 song alone is 4 minutes so maybe 400 beats per song. Divide that by 2, so approximately 100 times you hit your snare and 100 times you hit your kick drum for 1 song. Our sets are around 42 songs for the night so that’s 4200 times you hit the snare drum each night. That is a lot of hits and abuse on a drum head.

Types of heads
Single Ply
Double Ply – equal size
Double-ply – 2-size
coated vs non-coated (clear)
Hydraulic
Holey (LOL)
Thickness

Single ply is one sheet of plastic
Double ply is 2 sheets of plastic of the same thickness, like 7 mm each
Double ply – 2-size is maybe a 7 mm layer on top and a 5mm layer underneath
Coated will give you a warmer sound, so to me they are better for live performances with a warmer sound. noncoated gives a brighter sound – less muffled.
Hydraulic heads consist of oil placed between 2 heads
Holey – (This is my term) yes, they are holey – they have lots of holes around the perimeter to reduce pressure of the sound after each hit
Thickness is in mm and the higher the number the thicker the plastic (Mylar) The thinner the plastic the thinner the sound. Sizes ranging from 3mm to 12mm

Top/Batter head thickness: generally 5mm to around 7mm range
Bottom/Resonant Head thickness: are 2mm-5mm for snare drums and 7-10mm for toms

1-Ply drum heads – if you hit your drums soft
2-ply – if you hit your drums hard

For live bands, I like the snare to have a coated hydraulic drum head as that is the easiest to mix in small and large rooms. At practice I removed the tom bottom heads and use the 2-ply evans g2 heads. For rock and alt rock I like that sound. Each person is different, each style of music is different and each application is different. For example, when you are a drummer behind your drum kit, you hear a sound and think that it is perfect. Unfortunately, its only you hearing that perfect sound on stage exactly where you are. Keep in mind that the room and the pa are never setup exactly the same each time you play somewhere and will sound different out in front of the pa. G2 sounds good in my basement for my snares but the hydraulic coated sound better for the audience in a live venue through the pa.

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