Thread: calf skin heads
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Old 12-23-2013, 02:56 PM
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bobdadruma bobdadruma is offline
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Default Re: calf skin heads

Here are my impressions of earthtone heads. I posted this in my thread for my 1950 Gretsch Broadkaster kit.

Here are my impressions of the earthtone heads after 4 days of experimenting with them.

As I mentioned earlier, the earthtone heads will not work with the original Gretsch Stick Chopper hoops. I am using replica 2.3mm Stick Saver stamped hoops on the snare and toms. The earthtone heads are designed for modern drums and they are not a direct replacement for vintage heads. They did however fit the 50's Grestch drum shells very well. They are not tight at all. The counter hoops on the earthtone drumheads spin freely around the drum shells on the snare and toms of the 50's Grestch kit. The hoop on the bass drum head fits the bass drum shell but it puts pressure on the tension rods. I have to install gaskets under the bass drum lugs to raise them up slightly. Gretsch used the same lugs on both the toms, and the bass drum in those days and the bass drum lugs are not high profile enough for a thick modern bass drumhead counter hoop. The Ludwig Atlas mounts work fine and the tension rods that are located in the positions where I mounted the Atlas mounts on the bass drum clear the counter hoop just fine.

When you first install the earthtone heads you have to crank them up tight to seat them. I normally install a mylar head on a tom or a bass drum and I only tighten it about 1 to 1 1/2 turns after the tension rod has been finger tightened to seat it. I had to crank the earthtone heads about three turns to seat them on the toms and bass drum and leave them tight overnight. I then wound up final tuning them to about one full turn from finger tight which is about 1/2 to 3/4 turns tighter than I tune 10 mil mylar heads on toms and bass drums.
I got best results on the toms when I tuned the batters and resonate heads to about the same tension. I tuned the resonate bass drum head tighter than the batter.

Snare; Be Careful!
Seat the heads like the fore mentioned toms at about two turns from finger tight. The bottom snare side head will be almost at max at that point so don't push it much farther like you would a 3 mil mylar head. You cannot tighten real skin heads on a snare as tight as you can with mylar.
Do the same with the batter head and wind up at about three to four turns from finger tight to max out the tension. If you are a tight tuner on snare batters as I am you will notice that you will not be able to achieve the tension that you would with single ply mylar heads.

The sound is warm and pleasing to the ear as the video shows. attack is soft and there is less shock feedback through the stick felt in the hands. The real heads do not have the same tone at tight tuning that 10 mil mylar heads have. They lose sustain quicker when they are tight. They also have a deeper tone at loser tensions than 10mil mylar heads. They go dead much quicker than mylar when they are loose. The tuning range is narrower because of this. That is the nature of the beast, (Get it? Real skin heads and the term, "Beast") so far I really like the, "Beast" :)
I am very pleased with my earthtone heads.
I also like the modern aluminum counter hoops that the skins are set in.

One more note; Do not use a DrumDial on real skin heads. It will not work properly. I experimented with my DrumDial readings and I compared them to the pitch at each lug. The dial was very inaccurate to the point that it was useless. More useless than usual :)
I kind of like old drums:)
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