Drum heads are accessories that can be replaced to improve the sound that your drums produce. You can choose among a variety of available drum heads, but you should take into account the music you want to play. Choose thin drum heads for softer music, like jazz, and thick heads if you play rock. You can also try different combinations of top and bottom heads, to create a sound that you like.
According to studies, drum heads have the greatest influence on the sound of the drums, therefore make sure to pick high-quality products, otherwise even high-end sets may sound cheap; on the other hand, if you can only afford to buy a cheap drum set, you can make a small investment in quality heads and make it sound really amazing!
How to find the best drum heads?
Finding the most suitable drum heads for the music you play can be quite difficult, especially if you are not a pro and you are confused by terms such as “pitch” and “reverb”… However, as soon as you get more information, you find out that things are actually not that complicated. And besides, you can also ask the advice of a specialist, if you need it.
“The best drum heads” is a relative term; therefore here are some guidelines about different types of drum heads and specialists` recommendations on how to use them.
Single-ply drum heads
These are thin and basic, typically created from a single layer of material. Thicknesses in these types of drum heads may vary according to the type of drums they are made for, 10-mil being the most widely used. Single-ply drum heads resonate very well, the sound they produce is bright and perfect for lighter styles of music.
Their only limitation is related to durability; they will last less long than 2-ply heads
Industry-standard single-ply drum heads include Remo Ambassador, Aquarian Studio X, Evans G1 and more.
Double ply drum heads
This type of heads reduce overtones and exhibit more attack, as such they are perfect for rock, metal and other very articulated styles of music. Double ply drum heads feature two plies of material, but they may also have an additional ring on the outer edge (to control overtones), or an inlay ring underneath
Industry-standard double ply drum heads include Remo Emperor, Aquarian Modern Vintage II and Evans G2.
Clear and coated heads
Coated drum heads produce a muffled sound on snare drums. On the other hand, clear heads on the same type of drum produce that “sandpaper” sound, if you play with brushes. The differences between clear and coated heads can be exploited on other drums too: toms, kick drums etc.
Specialty drum heads
These are specific in the sound they aim to achieve. And some of the most popular choices include Aquarian Reflector, Remo Vintage Emperor and Evans Hybrid.
Ultimately, what you choose in terms of drum heads is mostly a matter of personal preferences, but education is the most important factor that helps you determine which heads will best suit your drum set, according to the music you play.