Originally Posted by Razbo
Sorry to bump this old thread. I saw I posted and couldn't remember doing so. I think I was "feeling a bit silly" when I did.
Yes, I do stretch my strings when I change them. Thoroughly, using the "suitcase method". I still need to retune a fair bit for the first hour or so.
When changing heads, I press most of my weight in the center with a cloth, which I feel is a comparable effort to string stretching. I still need to retune them after a while, and this is even the case with well worn (presumably well stretched) heads due, probably, to atmospheric changes. I know moving my guitars from one place to another almost guarantees a retuning, while they can stay in tune for days if the temperatures are stable.
The idea of adding heat just seems odd to me, and I'd be afraid agitating those molecules would affect the integrity of the skin somehow. If it is something some folks believe in, maybe I'll give it a try.
Edit to add:
Also, I must confess, since my long absence from drumming, I have not been exposed to serious tuning and retuning yet. This past Saturday, I spent the entire day changing heads and tuning up two sets of drums. My perspective on 'anything that speeds up the process' could be rapidly changing!
Heads are made out of a petroleum product, and so heat makes the heads act a little bit like shrinkwrap. As Bob Gatzen says, petroleum products shrink when heated. So, getting them warm (not hot) around the edge when they are evenly tensioned down very hard will seat the head instantly. It will not harm the head nor the shell because you're not using anywhere near enough heat to do any damage, especially if you're using the low setting on a hair dryer, or if you're using the high setting and going around the circumference of the head rather fast, like 2-3 lugs per second on a 10-lug drum. Going that fast 2-4 times around the head will be perfect and will only get the head warm, not hot and therefore it's harmless.
Besides, humidity is far
more harmful to wood than heat. The air coming out of a hair dryer is only as humid as the air that it's pulling in through the intake side.