Denting drumheads

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
I change my heads when I go into a studio, but they never have dents. I recently sold a bunch of my old heads as they were still in great shape.

several things can cause dented heads.

1. Tom angles.. if you don't hit flat, there is less surface area of the stick hitting and can cause dents.

2. Tip type. those ball tips on a heavy stick. once again, less surface area. Combine that with a heavy stick on a hard hitter and you get dents.

3. Head type. Obviously a single ply head that is thin isn't as strong.

4. Head tension. If you tune JAW, or even if they back off a bit at this point that can cause issues.

5. technique, but that would go along with sticks and the angle, also not letting them rebound off the head.

6. How hard you are playing. Play "LOUD" means different to different people. Playing loud in a jazz band is a bit different than loud in a heavy rock or metal band. When you have amps and monitors CRANKED you REALLY need to hit if you don't have mics on the kit. Also, huge strokes are never necessary, but some drummers have a persona, or visual representation they or their band are trying to create.

If I go to an open mic night, id take my good heads off and put on beaters. lol.
 

oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
..Playing loud in a jazz band is a bit different than loud in a heavy rock or metal band..

That depends a little on the definition of Jazz in this case..

I have been at 100's and 100's of concerts in my life in all sorts of genres, but the only time that i really thought that things almost were too loud, while wearing high quality earplugs (!), was almost 20 years ago when i saw Karizma with Colaiuta..

Compared to that 99,9% of all metal guys can be considered complete sissies..

The other 0,1% are in the category Motörhead, but those are deaf anyway..
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
That depends a little on the definition of Jazz in this case..

I have been at 100's and 100's of concerts in my life in all sorts of genres, but the only time that i really thought that things almost were too loud, while wearing high quality earplugs (!), was almost 20 years ago when i saw Karizma with Colaiuta..

Compared to that 99,9% of all metal guys can be considered complete sissies..

The other 0,1% are in the category Motörhead, but those are deaf anyway..
Good point, but remember FOH is a totally different perspective. If the drums, amps, etc, are mic'd a sound guy has a volume switch so the audience is under his influence.

I'm talking stage noise. Even more so in a small venue/bar where the sound guys still crank it. The bad monitors make the guitarists crank their amps so they can "hear it" the sound guy cranks everything to 10, the bounce back off the walls and loud stage volume creates a muddy sound and you have to hit harder and harder just to hear your toms. Half the time the audience doesn't know how hard you are hitting due to compressors on the drums anyways.

This is a common situation but I just accept the fact that I won't be able to hear myself and trust that I am playing in time and tight. If there is gear sharing you can see some drummers start hulk smashing when they can't hear themselves.

I like to try to practice as quiet as I can and see how soft I can play sometimes. Try that and videotape yourself. If you have some Isolation headphones put em on and turn em up and play along. It's hard to play that soft, you want to hear yourself. Keep going up and all of a sudden you are hitting much harder. Eventually drums max out in volume and the heads are dented lol.


At the end of the day though, hitting flat, not overhitting, proper tuning and fresh sticks it is pretty hard to dent heads. I see some heads at gigs that I am with Odd in the fact that I don't understand. It's like someone took them off, hit them a ton, then put them back on the drum.
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
honestly I have only ever seen this in two places

beginner players kits and house kits

it has nothing to do with velocity and everything to do with the angle of impact
 

Red Menace

Platinum Member
I saw a small dent on the batter head on my 12" tom. I have been having problems with the Swiv-o-matic mount slipping and other people have played on that kit here and there. I'm not really sure how it happened and i'm honestly a little embarrassed by it.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Recently I threw a spare snare head in the car for a gig... Pretty haphazardly, unfortunately; couldn't figure out what I did with the box. Anyway, I was so un-careful that I accidentally allowed my high hat stand to sit on top of the drumhead. Dented the crap out of it. So I guess I can't join this fancy pants "never dented a drumhead" gaggle.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Recently I threw a spare snare head in the car for a gig... Pretty haphazardly, unfortunately; couldn't figure out what I did with the box. Anyway, I was so un-careful that I accidentally allowed my high hat stand to sit on top of the drumhead. Dented the crap out of it. So I guess I can't join this fancy pants "never dented a drumhead" gaggle.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
honestly I have only ever seen this in two places

beginner players kits and house kits

it has nothing to do with velocity and everything to do with the angle of impact
You know what. This is probibly 100% right, but if you add all the other factors, like stick/tip size, hitting hard, single ply, and head tension it will make the issue much worse.

Playing death metal and hitting reasonably hard I don't think I have actualy dented a head in years. I have maybe found one or 2 small ones on heads that were on my kit for year, but playing every day that is pretty acceptable in my books, and those heads should have been changed months before. I also let my friends play my kit when they come over the house so this actually surprises me.

House kits are played by SO many drummers, and I am sure some crank those tom angles far too much.
 

BertTheDrummer

Gold Member
I recently sold a bunch of my old heads as they were still in great shape.
I leave the old ones outside the practice room.

It's a good way of recycling, they'd get thrown away usually. They get taken quickly.

What do you sell old heads for?
I used to donate mine to guys at smaller churches I knew, but don't have those connections I used to have anymore. I've developed a bit of a back stock of very slightly used heads from trying a bunch out on some kits recently, and have thought about trying to sell them. Except I'd almost wonder if it would be worth selling on Reverb or not.
 
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trickg

Silver Member
Only a neanderthal with no sense of chops dents a head.

It takes zero rebound and a sharp angle of attack to do it.
No. (Kind of, but it's not the only reason)

I have only dented drum heads using round tip sticks.
This - I never dented heads until I switched to round tip sticks. With a round tip stick, it doesn't matter what angle your toms are, or what your technique is - it's always going to strike more or less the same because of the ball tip. And no, it's not because I'm a neanderthal with no sense of chops or technique. I don't hit particularly hard, and I use lighter sticks - maple Vic Firth SD4 Combos, specifically. If I use any kind of velocity with the stick, I get a few dents here and there, and I'm ok with it because I swap heads out often enough that it's a non-issue.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Yep it's the dangle angle prominent in dents-just set the mounted tom at a steep angle but loose on post and play-it will shift to less steep angle from play. I wonder how dents alter the standing wave on the drum head and alters the sound-how many dents does it take? I started trying to find that information and found this nice masters work that someone had done (I was also looking had someone measured hits on various drum elements-as what percent of hits are snare, cymbal or tom that another thread had me wondering. https://www.nysenate.gov/newsroom/articles/james-l-seward/what-benefits-can-illegal-aliens-receive
 

trickg

Silver Member
Yep it's the dangle angle prominent in dents-just set the mounted tom at a steep angle but loose on post and play-it will shift to less steep angle from play. I wonder how dents alter the standing wave on the drum head and alters the sound-how many dents does it take? I started trying to find that information and found this nice masters work that someone had done (I was also looking had someone measured hits on various drum elements-as what percent of hits are snare, cymbal or tom that another thread had me wondering. https://www.nysenate.gov/newsroom/articles/james-l-seward/what-benefits-can-illegal-aliens-receive
I'd venture to guess that in context, i.e., drums mixed, with bass, guitars, vocals, etc, along with the room, miking, how adept the sound man is at mixing, on top of how well the drums are actually tuned to begin with, a few dents likely matters very little.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
When I first started playing, my friend (and I guess sort of my first teacher) told me, "Don't be afraid to hit the drums. You're not going to break them. Go ahead; try hitting the snare as hard as you can."

I did and promptly dented the head. We both laughed. I'm sure I chopped it at a terrible angle; I was an absolute beginner.

Hasn't happened to me since.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I'd venture to guess that in context, i.e., drums mixed, with bass, guitars, vocals, etc, along with the room, miking, how adept the sound man is at mixing, on top of how well the drums are actually tuned to begin with, a few dents likely matters very little.
LOL you are probably correct but makes you wonder why we change heads so often. I've seen orchestral snare guys with heads all beat to hell and years old and refuse to change it-like it's good luck, and I've seen a few old kits with decades old heads that still sounded good. But in theory it should alter the standing wave of the head itself. Just watched the other thread tuning drum heads to the drum shells pitch which had odd results-the human ear vs reality it seems-too funny.
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
if you have dented heads hold a lighter a few inches from the head for a few seconds and they will disappear

experiment with an old head before you use this technique on heads you care about ... there is a learning curve

works best with tension on the head
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
if you have dented heads hold a lighter a few inches from the head for a few seconds and they will disappear

experiment with an old head before you use this technique on heads you care about ... there is a learning curve

works best with tension on the head
That's an awesome idea-much like wetting and heating up an art canvas. I've dinged some reso kick heads in past (that I immediately replaced) that I could have possibly saved-least worth a try.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
if you have dented heads hold a lighter a few inches from the head for a few seconds and they will disappear

experiment with an old head before you use this technique on heads you care about ... there is a learning curve

works best with tension on the head
Haha I experimented with an iron. The head looked like a goofball (was on a kit I got in trade), and actually it worked. Only drawback was the heat seemed to shrink the head some and it sounded like it was tuned. It was not on a drum. So it did get rid of the dents, but the head was not still usable. Gonna try the lighter trick next time.
 
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