Drum skins is a big topic and you are just about to find out everything about them.
Let’s start with saying that back in the days, but i mean really far back the drum skins were actually build from animal skins instead today we actually use plastic membranes which can be made out of Teflon, Mylar or Kevlar which are synthetic materials that made the drum full of different sound. The real animal skins were really sensible to the temperature changes and humidity changes and for this reason they were really hard to tune exactly how the drummer wanted and plus on top of that the thickness couldn’t really be calibrated and obviously for all this reason was really hard to have customisable skins with a unique sound.
Luckily the humanity found a way to build skins of different materials and also the were able to build skins with different thickness. Any drum has two skins, the top one which is the batter head and the bottom one which is the resonant head, normally the resonant head is always thinner then the top one because they are meant to give response after the top head is been hit and the more thinner the resonant skin will be the more response we’ll have.
The Batter Head has many type of skins which are Single-ply, Double-ply, Mesh and Hydraulic heads. There are general rules that you can follow when you are going to choose your own drum heads, for example the thickness, keep in mind that the thicker the drum head is the more the note will be shut down and of course if you are going to buy a sanded or painted (coated) drum head, both treatments will make the sound warmer as the paint or sanding will cut the high frequency out when you hit the skins. Let’s find out more though ;
Single-ply drum Heads:
They are the most common skins for drum and you can find many different kind.
Generally their sound is really bright that’s why the are mainly used for snares. They offer an open sound and full of harmonics and also many people use them as resonant head because they are really responsive. Single -ply drum heads comes in different thickness, some of them also have a circle stuck in the middle of the drum head or a foamy strips which runs along the board of the drum head, they can be there to slightly muffle the sound and make it a bit wormer.
Single-ply drum Heads made out of “Fiber Skin” really simulate the real animal skins, very used in jazz music for toms skins. Coated Single-ply drum Heads have the same characteristic of the clear one but thanks to the coating they offer a closed sound and if you were to play with brush sticks the coating on the drum head will give that swish sound because of the rubbing of the brush on to the coat. There are also Single-ply skins made out of Kevlar for extreme performance thanks to the strength of the material.
Double-ply drum Heads:
This drum heads are very used for Rock style and Metal on toms, They have a strong attack and a controlled sustain. They vary from the way they have been build. The Double-ply drum head that have the second layer of skin mounted in the middle at 3 centimetre from the board have a longer sustain than the one that have the double skin mounted al over the first layer. Some brand offers the clear and the coated one and obviously are gonna sound always more tough and full then the clear on which will have a brighter sound.
Hydraulic drum heads ;
The Hydraulic skins are basically made out of two skins like the Double-ply drum heads, the only difference is that the hydraulic ones in between the skins have liquid which gives a really muffled and controlled sound with a very short sustain. They are skins that need to be tuned very high and they’ll offer a high bounce but still keeping that high-muffled sound which is very good to ear.
This last type of drum skins is basically what you’ll find on to a electric drum kit, so something that is really similar to a drum skin giving the same response and bouncing but offering completely no sounds. Very used on practice pads because of the bouncing which simulates a real drum head. They can be purchased in Single layer or Double layer, i personally recommend the double layer because it really simulates better than anything the bouncing of a drum skin.
When do i need to change the drum heads??????
Well, let’s make it clear !!!!
If your drum head has a burn mark, is ripped, has a hall in it, it’s definitely time to change. There is more you need to know tough. If we play hard on our skins we could make little dents to the sink and make it uneven, obviously t won’t fix it self actually the more we’ll play the more it will get worse and unfortunately the skin has to be changed in that case because those dents will create unwanted noise while you play, the sound will be disturbed. Drum heads don’t last for ever so even if you haven’t got dents on yours you have to be aware of the elasticity of your drum heads… yes, because they will stretch until a point where they can’t come back , for example if you notice that your drum head doesn’t tune anymore that is because its elasticity is gone and unable to tune it anymore you’ll need to change it. Also the wearing of the coat and the actual skin is something you have to be aware of because even if you are able to tune it you’ll notice that if the drum head is worn out (and it normally will be in the middle) when you hit the drum , the sound won’t be as good as it used to be, well this is an other sign that tells you to change your drum heads.
I hope this guide is been good and helpful for you, catch you later for other good guides and article.