Denting drumheads

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
So, I've been at this thing for about 10 years.

There's one technique that still eludes me.

I've yet to be able to put even the tiniest of dents in any drumhead.

I often play quite hard, but still.....

How is this done?

Is there a secret technique?

Any help much appreciated.
 

HeadForTheSticks

Junior Member
I found that the shape of the drumstick tip make a big difference. I used to play with the round bead tips and often dented my heads. I switched to an acorn shape and haven't dented a head since.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I found that the shape of the drumstick tip make a big difference. I used to play with the round bead tips and often dented my heads. I switched to an acorn shape and haven't dented a head since.
Yup, loved the way the Vater Fusions and Fat Backs sounded on cymbals, but they dent the crap out of heads and I’m not a heavy player.
 

thebarak

Senior Member
I have not measured it in a lab, but playing with a third of the force only seems to reduce the volume by a small amount. I just cannot imagine denting a head now, though I used to in the 1970s. I also had lower tunings back then though, which could contribute to the head's vulnerability.
 

BertTheDrummer

Gold Member
I don't really dent heads anymore.

One interesting thing I remember seeing one time was talking about tom angle. If your angle is too steep then no matter what you end up hitting the drumhead so that all of the force of the stick is put on the very tip of the drumstick thus causing dents. Where if it is at a better angle you hit it with the entire tip end thus spreading it out more.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I don't really dent heads anymore.

One interesting thing I remember seeing one time was talking about tom angle. If your angle is too steep then no matter what you end up hitting the drumhead so that all of the force of the stick is put on the very tip of the drumstick thus causing dents. Where if it is at a better angle you hit it with the entire tip end thus spreading it out more.
This.

Find a head that looks like a golf ball and look at the dents. They aren't symmetrical in their indentation, it's usually shallow on one side and deep on the other like a swimming pool. This is the stick pushing the mylar into the head at an angle.
 
It's stick angle. You obviously have good technique. I hit very flat and though i hit quite hard i never dent my heads.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Odd-Arne Oseberg:
I think the head denting technique eludes you because you don’t realize how bad a technique some drummer’s actually have. I have watched it happen.
It comes from not letting the drum stick rebound off the drum head and pretty much pushing the drumstick into the drum head. And stick angle.

This is why one of the first exercises in technique development should be playing on a pillow.
There is a drummer that comes to my open mic jam that dents drum heads. Maybe I can make a video of him playing if you wish.

.
 

gish

Senior Member
So, I've been at this thing for about 10 years.

There's one technique that still eludes me.

I've yet to be able to put even the tiniest of dents in any drumhead.

I often play quite hard, but still.....

How is this done?

Is there a secret technique?

Any help much appreciated.
Switch to Diplomat batters, squeeze your sticks with a death grip, start every down stroke above your head (like Tommy Lee). This should help you get the ever elusive dents you are seeking.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Switch to Diplomat batters, squeeze your sticks with a death grip, start every down stroke above your head (like Tommy Lee). This should help you get the ever elusive dents you are seeking.
I feel like using Diplomats would be cheating.

The grip is probably a big factor, but it has to be insanely tight. I've even tried before changing heads on kits at work. Can't do it.
 

gish

Senior Member
I feel like using Diplomats would be cheating.

The grip is probably a big factor, but it has to be insanely tight.
You’re a fellow coated ambassador guy, if memory serves me. Maybe drop your toms to JAW, or maybe leave some wrinkles in there. Severely angle your toms. You can do it Arne; where there’s a will there’s a way.
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
Only a neanderthal with no sense of chops dents a head.

It takes zero rebound and a sharp angle of attack to do it.
 

J-Boogie

Gold Member
I dont dent heads either. Maybe its combination of poor/old heads and lousy technique in some cases? Then theres the Jim Gordon story as told by Andy Newmark where in the studio recording 'Youre So Vain', Jim did take after take, eventually leaving a huge divot dead center in the drum head of the snare. I dont think his technique was lacking. Who knows, I dont dent heads or break stick and Im hella beast manly man strong ;)
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
I agree about the angles contributing, but another factor is if you play with sticks that have damaged tips. Bought a new set of EC2s for the church kit last year. Within a week they were dented and unusable. The culprit? The one drummer who's always using sticks I would have tossed weeks ago.
 

sumdrumguy

Senior Member
I have never dented a head, or cracked a cymbal. I have had others do both... to my gear... when I've provided a backline. After the first occurance, I put together a beater kit - drums and cymbals - for such occassions. The drums aren't the prettiest, but still sound good. I swap out the snare and cymbals when I play ;)

Re Fatback 3As... they are one of my go-to sticks. I prefer round and barrel tips. No denting. If you are denting heads, evaluate drum height/angles, throne height, and playing technique.


Odd-Arne Oseberg... just throw out all the good habits you've cultivated. You will get there ;P
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I have used a ton of different sticks and probably every tip configuration, including round, and have never dented a head
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
Well, that's just interesting. Was watching a Mike Johnston episode where someone asked him about his signature sticks and he pointed out he loved the Vater Fusion, but the round tip would dent heads, so he opted for barreled shaped tips. I guess you all need to try a bit harder!
 
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