What Are Drum Heads Made Of? – The Right Way To Go About It

The drum head is the part of the drum that produces the sound. The material of the drum head affects the sound of the drum. Different materials produce different sounds.

A drum head made of the right material will provide the best sound quality possible. The head needs to be able to vibrate freely, and a head made of a stiff material will not allow this.

What Is a Drum Head?

A drum head is a piece of animal skin or synthetic material stretched over a drum’s top. The drum head vibrates when the drum is struck and produces the sound of the drum.

The drum head is the most important part of the drum, as it is responsible for the drum’s sound. The drum head’s thickness and the type of material it is made from will determine the drum’s pitch and timbre. The drum head is also responsible for the drum’s resonance.

Drum heads on the floor

Types of Drum Heads

Several types of drum heads are available on the market, each with its unique benefits and drawbacks. The most common types of drum heads are:

Ply Drum Heads

Ply drum heads are made from multiple layers of material, usually plastic or fiberglass. They’re very durable and resistant to wear and tear, making them a good choice for heavy hitters. However, they’re not as responsive as other types of drum heads and can produce a dull sound.

Single-Ply Drum Heads

Single-ply drum heads are made from a single layer of material, usually Mylar or polyester. They’re very responsive and produce a bright, resonant sound. However, they’re not as durable as ply drum heads and can tear easily.

Dual-ply drum heads

Dual-ply drum heads are made of two layers of material, typically a plastic outer layer and a thinner inner layer. This construction helps to create a more controlled sound and can also extend the life of the drum head. Dual-ply drum heads are a good choice for players who want a consistent sound, but they can be more expensive than single-ply drum heads.

Clear Drum Heads

Clear drum heads are made from a clear plastic or acrylic material. They offer the same durability as ply drum heads but are more transparent, allowing the drum’s natural wood grain to show through. Clear drum heads are also more responsive than ply drum heads and produce a brighter sound.

Coated Drum Heads

Coated drum heads are made from a single-ply Mylar or polyester material that’s coated with a thin layer of plastic or metal. They offer the same bright, resonant sound as single-ply drum heads but with added durability. Coated drum heads are available in clear, white, and black.

Drum head with a print

Drum Head Companies

Drum heads are an essential part of any drum set, and there are many companies that make them. Some of the most popular brands include Evans, Remo, and Aquarian.

Evans is one of the leading manufacturers of drum heads, and their products are used by many professional drummers. Their heads are known for their great sound and durability and offer a wide range of products to fit any drumming style.

Remo is another top choice for drum heads, and their products are used by many famous drummers. They offer a wide variety of heads, including clear and coated options, and their products are known for their great sound quality.

Drum head Remo

Aquarian is a newer company, but their drum heads have quickly become popular among drummers. Their clear heads are known for providing a great sound and offer a wide range of products to fit any drumming style.

Materials of Drum Heads

A drum head is a round piece of animal skin or synthetic material stretched over the top of a drum. The drum head is held in place by a metal or wooden hoop attached to the drum shell.

The material used for drum heads greatly impacts the sound of the drum. Animal skin is the traditional material and is still used on many drums today. The most common type of animal skin used is calfskin. Other types of animal skin used for drum heads include buffalo skin, goat skin, and sheepskin.


Positives
  • Very strong and durable
  • A clear, sharp sound
  • Easy to tune
Negatives
  • Very sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity
  • Difficult to replace the skin if it gets damaged

Synthetic materials are also used for drum heads:

  • Mylar is a common synthetic material used. It is a plastic film that is very strong and durable. The mylar drum head is also very thin, so it produces a very clear sound.

Positives
  • Tight, focused sound
  • Great for high-volume situations
  • Resonant
  • Durable
Negatives
  • Can be difficult to tune

  • Kevlar is a synthetic fiber that is five times stronger than steel. It is often used in hot weather conditions because it can withstand high temperatures.

Positives
  • Very durable
  • Sound quality is not affected by weather
  • Resonant
Negatives
  • More expensive than other drum heads
  • Can be difficult to tune

The choice of material for a drum head is a matter of personal preference. Different materials produce different sounds. Experiment with different materials to find the sound that you like the best.

Drum head on the table

Frequently Asked Question

Do I Need to Change Drum Heads?

You don’t need to change drum heads, but it’s a good idea to do it when they get old or damaged. You can usually tell when they need to be changed because they’ll start to sound dull or have cracks in them.

How to Change Drum Heads?

  • Remove the old drum head from the drum. To do this, loosen the tension rods around the rim of the drum head until the head is loose.
  • Clean the surface of the drum shell where the old head was mounted. This will help the new head to adhere better.
  • Mount the new drum head on the drum shell. Start by lightly attaching the head to the shell with the tension rods. Then, use a drum key to tighten the rods until the head is tight.

What Are the Differences Between a Batter Head Drum And a Drum Resonant Head?

Batter head drums are the heads that are struck by the drumsticks, and drum resonant heads are the heads that produce the resonance or “reverb” sound when the batter head is struck. The drum resonant head is usually attached to the bottom of the drum shell, underneath the batter head.

Conclusion

A drum’s sound quality depends on the drum head’s material. A drum head made of a thinner material will produce a higher pitch, while a thicker material will produce a lower pitch. The drum head’s thickness also affects the drum’s timbre, with a thicker head producing a fuller, richer sound.

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