internal tone control revisited

groove1

Silver Member
Yes, that's my impression rather than cranking the pad into the head, although the possibility is there to use it for a different effect in some songs - a bit like sticking a splash on the top head.

I suppose we get used to what we grew up with, be it music or equipment. There have been many improvements and innovations in drum equipment since I began but I still love the subtlety I can get with a single ply 10 mil batter head (diplomat, evans J1 etched etc) that I wear down UNEVENLY with brushes (so I have zones that provide different textures on the fly) and the availability of a built in variable muffler, moon gel, nothing and so forth. I had forgotten all about a splash on the top head but decades ago..yes, that too!

I can't leave without saying how much I appreciate all your posts!
 

groove1

Silver Member
You and I are of an age and your description of how to use internal tone controls is identical to what I was taught almost 60 years ago. Adjusted properly I can't feel any change in batter head response. I use brushes a lot and prefer a thin head like a Diplomat, which in the coated version is bright and has a lot of ring. Some damping in one form or another is desirable and of the options, having the head clear of rings or gels is nicer. A felt strip damps too much for me, just dry it out a wee bit ya know? All things considered I like the Gretsch tone control real well. It doesn't rattle, it doesn't change the sound of the drum unless you want it to, and it can be adjusted to suit the music and the mood. To each his own, but I am liking this old tech solution.
Great to hear from you! I've got a different question for you. It's been so long since I used calf heads I can't conjur up in my memory how they would compare with say Evans J1 etched or single ply Diplomats etc.
What I do remember is that when we switched to plastic (because the price of plastic came
down to pre-tucked calf where they were equal) in around 1957-58 that we all felt that plastic was a great way to go (because we didn't have to tune everytime we played) but
for brushes, calf was superior. I've been wondering if I should look for quality calf today for snare for brushes. I play a lot of brushes these days. Any thoughts appreciated!
I don't mind tuning a drum all the time compared to replacing the plastic heads I continually wear smooth from playing.
 
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JohnPloughman

Silver Member
I never played calf. However, the J1 etched is an excellent brush head right out of the box, and it does not wear like a coated head. It is also a fantastic head for use with sticks.
 

groove1

Silver Member
I never played calf. However, the J1 etched is an excellent brush head right out of the box, and it does not wear like a coated head. It is also a fantastic head for use with sticks.[/QUOTE

I agree and the J1 is my "go to" batter head for most my gigs. While they don't wear like a coated head, they do wear smooth eventually. I have to use a new one about every third gig
to retain the texture to get the desired volume. I'm playing 95%+ brushes on these 2 and 3
hour gigs. Love brushes with the internal muffler adjusted just right!
 
Great to hear from you! I've got a different question for you. It's been so long since I used calf heads I can't conjur up in my memory how they would compare with say Evans J1 etched or single ply Diplomats etc.
What I do remember is that when we switched to plastic (because the price of plastic came
down to pre-tucked calf where they were equal) in around 1957-58 that we all felt that plastic was a great way to go (because we didn't have to tune everytime we played) but
for brushes, calf was superior. I've been wondering if I should look for quality calf today for snare for brushes. I play a lot of brushes these days. Any thoughts appreciated!
I don't mind tuning a drum all the time compared to replacing the plastic heads I continually wear smooth from playing.
I played calf until about 1964 or 1965. You are absolutely right that calf sounds better and feels better frankly. This is never more the case than with brushes. Mel Lewis never stopped using calf, told me that playing plastic felt to him like he was playing on the kitchen table. Yuk, he said. I am sure calf is the best option if you can tolerate the short comings. Such as constant change due to humidity and temperature. For me that constant change was a big PITA and I won't go back without a fight. As for the synthetic alternatives, here are my subjective thoughts and biases: Evans J1, I love these on my toms, top and bottom, but not so much on my snare. Their sound is soft, diffuse, lots of overtones, and durability is not so great, especially using brushes. Coated heads seem to have better brush articulation than etched, I use Evans and Remo. Evans coating seems to last longer for me than Remo, but Remo has a variety of 7.5 mil heads, and in their concert series they even have a 5.0 mil coated batter that offers suppleness almost like calf. With Evans you are stuck with 10 mil batter heads. Mind you that is not the end of the world depending on what you are doing. The G1 and the Ambassador are probably the two most versatile heads on the market. In all cases I find a 2 mil snare side or resonant head to offer the needed responsiveness for brushes. People tend to forget the under side head, which is a big mistake. Remo and Evans make essentially identical versions of this head. Another option that you might want to consider is the Remo Fiberskyns, a Mylar head with a coating that looks like calf. I haven't played them since J1 came out and I switched, but Fiberskyns do work well with brushes.
 
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