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  #1  
Old 02-08-2013, 11:24 PM
Drumrtrapdingiterpantz Drumrtrapdingiterpantz is offline
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Default calf skin heads

alright. Thanks for all the help and reading. My new discussion is calf skin snare heads. I really enjoy the prospect of doing another piece using an old old what is to be believed a swingerland snare. I was looking at Earth tones heads online and I don't find very many options other than making your own. Also in this discussion I would like to include a note on gut snares and best way to get them. Just for some rolling and brushing and non drum set stuff in song. What do you beautiful people thinks? Thanks for all the love.
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Old 02-25-2013, 03:22 AM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

Not sure where you would get genuine calfskin that was even remotely affordable. I have been using Evans Strata 1000 heads, which has a decent near calf sound, and has s skin coloring. A lot of orchestral guys use then for the skin sound. They are standard heads on Black Swamp Percussion snares.
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Old 08-11-2013, 12:02 PM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

I just purchased a 14" calf-skin batter head (CT Pro Percussion) that I just installed on my Rogers Dynasonic 5" deep. I purchased the head from an ebay store

Below is another site I found that sells calfskin heads, and the prices look pretty good too.

http://www.earthtoneheads.com/store/

Other than calf-skins on my conga drums, this is a first for me. The brushes sound great, and the drum has a full warm tone.

What can I expect from this head as far as tuning problems, and wear?
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Old 08-11-2013, 02:02 PM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

Calfskin heads will last a long time. (many years) They have to be tuned every time that you play the drum. Changes in weather, humidity, and temp affect them a lot.
Back in the day some drums had sockets for electric light bulbs inside of them. The bulb was kept lit to keep the heads dry and tight when the drum was not in use.
The bulb and socket could be removed through a small door in the side of the drum for playing.
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Old 08-11-2013, 02:22 PM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

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Originally Posted by bobdadruma View Post
Calfskin heads will last a long time. (many years) They have to be tuned every time that you play the drum. Changes in weather, humidity, and temp affect them a lot.
Back in the day some drums had sockets for electric light bulbs inside of them. The bulb was kept lit to keep the heads dry and tight when the drum was not in use.
The bulb and socket could be removed through a small door in the side of the drum for playing.
I've heard about the lights in the drums but never saw any up close. I saw some old movies that had lights inside the drums, but thought it was just decoration. When I was a kid, I hooked up a switch on the bass pedal that activated a light I installed inside the bass drum when I pressed down on the pedal. I did it just for the fun of doing it.

I am glad they will last a while, I was not sure if they had a longer or shorter life then the mylar heads. I knew of how the changes in weather would effect the heads. I thought I would take a chance because I do not have to tune the conga drums too often.

The tuning issue was the reason given by the mylar head manufacturers to display their products. I suspect the cheaper price was also a consideration.
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Old 08-11-2013, 02:27 PM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

I was a child in the 60's the last time that I played a drum with CS heads and gut snares.
I was in a drum corp and it was a Ludwig marching snare.
The gut snare strands had to be cut and fitted to the snare holder when they wore out and broke.
The drums sounded great though.
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Old 08-11-2013, 03:08 PM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

Was in highschool band orchestra and one snare for time was calf. Had to retune every day it was humid
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Old 08-11-2013, 03:40 PM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

So far, I have had the calf-skin head on my rogers dyansonic for a little over 14 hours.

I did not want to bring it up to full tension all at once. Only a few hours ago I brought it to the tension where I want it to be. So I have no experience yet, as to how much work I will have to put into it in keeping it tuned on a daily or hourly basis.

I have noticed though, that unlike the mylar heads it has slightly more unevenness at each tension rod when tuning it. That is too be expected, the calf where the skin came from had no idea it would end up being used this way. So I can not blame the cow. Maybe we can get farmers to raise their cows in circular boxes so they would make heads that are more even. Come on, they raise chickens in square boxes to produce square eggs now.

But I really do like the sound of this head.

I too started drumming in the late 60's, but only on the set, and only using mylar/ plastic heads.
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Old 08-11-2013, 03:58 PM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

We used to mount the CS heads wet so that when they dried they would conform to the drum.
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Old 08-11-2013, 05:20 PM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

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Originally Posted by bobdadruma View Post
We used to mount the CS heads wet so that when they dried they would conform to the drum.
I may try that next time I get one.

This is great, I am having a great time with the brushes, this head is so responsive to using the brushes.

There are so many plastic heads out there that try to duplicate this head.
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Old 08-11-2013, 05:38 PM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

The Earth Tone heads I've heard were very inconsistent, which means that your snare may sound good, or not. Also, I believe the Earth Tone heads are goat skin, not calf. I'm not sure if that makes a real difference in the sound, but it's worth noting.

Bermuda
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Old 08-11-2013, 06:07 PM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

Thanks Jon, So does anyone know of some makers of CS heads who are noteworthy?
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Old 08-11-2013, 06:30 PM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

Stern Tanning is the place for calf heads, they're in Chicagoland somewhere. Always see them at the Chicago Show.

I looked up Earth Tone, they boast "genuine skin" which means not calf. I'm pretty sure one of the guys with the company said goat. Also, they mount them in a standard metal hoop. Traditional calf heads are wrapped/tucked onto a wood hoop (also known as a flesh hoop.) Again, not sure if that makes a difference in the sound or mounting.

Bermuda
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Old 08-11-2013, 07:41 PM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

Here is the link to their site. They have both tucked and untucked as well as calf and goat.
Thanks Jon. http://www.sterntanning.com/percussion.htm
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Old 08-11-2013, 08:45 PM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

I've been looking at getting into the calfskin for a while and have Stern Tannings price and spread sheet. I saw something on Ebay from CT Pro Percussion and decided to take a chance. So my little experiment begins.

The sound to me is so good that so far, I will put up with the constant tuning issue. It is only the snare right now, so it is not that hard to deal with. I am hopping that even if I expand to my overhead and floor tom and even the bass drum, it will not be that bad.

At this point in my experiment, I do not see why more drummer are not using calf-skin.
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Old 08-11-2013, 08:57 PM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

Quote:
Originally Posted by evolving_machine View Post
At this point in my experiment, I do not see why more drummer are not using calf-skin.
The key problem with calf is what spawned the plastic head industry in the first place: calf's reaction to temperature and humidity. Drums often wouldn't hold their tuning, and imagine the problems a tympani player encountered! Grappling with heaters & water trays inside drums got old, fast.

But calf and plastic lived comfortably side-by-side for more than a dozen years. As rock drummers became more aggressive, calf's durability problems gave an edge to Mylar, and eventually, calf became an expensive commodity.

So that's the triple-threat against calf for the vast majority of drummers - higher price, lack of durability, and tuning inconsistency. While no Mylar head sounds exactly like calf, companies have come suitably close for most drummers who want that sound.

Growing up and learning to play in the '60s, I transitioned from calf to plastic, and never looked back.

Bermuda
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  #17  
Old 08-13-2013, 08:32 PM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

I use calfskin heads and absolutely love them! I have used skyntone, fibreskyn, modern vintage, strata 1000 and NONE came even close to the real sound and texture of one. I currently have one on my pearl masters and sometimes on either my 1930s Boosey & Hawkes or albermore super thin snare. No matter what ANYBODY tells you, NOTHING comes even remotely close to the real deal.
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Old 08-14-2013, 08:34 AM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

Yesterday it was raining here in Northern New Jersey all day. The humidity was very high, and because of it, my snare experimental head got very loose. I tightened it up a little and tuned it evenly, but did not want to tighten it too much because I am about to take a business trip and did not want to leave the head tight for the time that I would be away. I am a little uncertain if the humidity changes and dries out, it may get the head too tight and damage it. But, at this stage I am not familiar enough with the head.

Many studios have good temperature controls that would keep the temperature and humidity even for long periods of time; it is surprising that many more recordings are not taking advantage of these heads. You often hear that many drummers would put on new heads prior to doing their recordings.

I have been using Aquarian Modern Vintage heads for a few years now; they are reported to be a Mylar replacement for the calfskin. My dynasonic snare has the calfskin, and my Pearl MCX kit has the Aquarians, the sound is compatible. I can see that if I had a complete set with the calfskin heads, it would take a while to tune up everyday, but with just the snare, it is not too bad.

I may expand and get a few more of these heads in the future once I get used to the care and feeding them. I have a 14 floor tom on my Gretsch kit that would benefit from the calfskin heads. I also have a 10 overhead tom for my Pearl kit that would also come alive with a calfskin head.
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Old 08-25-2013, 01:21 PM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

I brought my dynasonic snare with the calfskin head to a jam. The bass player had a drum set there already. I just brought the snare, a snare stand, a throne, and sticks.
This was the first time I traveled with the calf-skin head snare. It was also a louder jam and the snare was heard very well. The head has a great bounce, and sounds good too. Throughout the 3 1/2 hour jam, I had to tune the snare three times. Even though I can tune the snare fast, the other musicians are not used to having to wait for a drummer to tune his snare.

The first time tuning, I tightened the heads on the snare when I first took it out of the car after travel. I had to tighten it again once more and then loosen it the last time. I am not sure if I over tightened it the second to the last time or it got tighter.

Yes it does take a lot more care using the calfskin head. I think I should allow the head to adjust to the room. But, the head sounds great, and has a good bounce. I am able to fly off of the snare and onto the tom with a lot more ease than my mylar heads.
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Old 08-25-2013, 06:11 PM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

Quote:
Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
The Earth Tone heads I've heard were very inconsistent, which means that your snare may sound good, or not. Also, I believe the Earth Tone heads are goat skin, not calf. I'm not sure if that makes a real difference in the sound, but it's worth noting.

Bermuda
You are right, at one time Earthtone used goat; however, they now use calf. Unfortunately, they do not clarify this on their website, but the product labels indicate calfskin. Below are my Earthtones on my USA Customs.

GJS
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Last edited by Skulmoski; 08-25-2013 at 07:32 PM.
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  #21  
Old 08-27-2013, 09:14 AM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

Here is the Earthtone product label that indicates calfskin.

GJS

p.s. I love the organic sound of the drums; especially the toms!
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  #22  
Old 12-23-2013, 02:56 PM
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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. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWGKJ...snUZmj_RjNYoHAThe 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 :)
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Old 12-28-2013, 10:17 PM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

It is now about 4 months after I installed the calf-skin head on my 5" deep Dynasonic Rogers snare drum. I travel a lot, and I leave my house cooler in the winter, when I am not around for a week or more. My drums are subjected to temperature and humidity changes just being set up. The snare drum is tuned and the only tuning I do now is an occasional loosened lug near the front of the drum where I do a lot of rim shots. This is typical of my mylar drum heads as well. Once in a while I tune the whole drum up or down just because I want a higher or a lower sound.

At first I was confused that the head was going out of tune as frequently as it was, and the conga drums that I have stay fairly constant for years. I think the head is now broken in and it does not change too much in the tuning. This has been my own personal experiment that has worked out well. I think I will get some more calf-skin heads for the rest of one of my kits.
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Old 12-28-2013, 10:44 PM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skulmoski View Post
Here is the Earthtone product label that indicates calfskin.
Ah, they obviously made the transition (from goat) at some point, or added calf to their line-up. I stand corrected.

Bermuda
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Old 12-28-2013, 10:44 PM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

A video with a Rock flavor to demonstrate earthtone heads on my 50's Gretsch kit.
http://youtu.be/gEBsRS-BnYc
I would like to point out that so far the drums stay consistent in tuning from day to day despite drastic changes in the New England climate as of late.
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Old 12-29-2013, 11:04 AM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
Ah, they obviously made the transition (from goat) at some point, or added calf to their line-up. I stand corrected.

Bermuda
Not corrected; just updated! You are right, they were once made from goat.

GJS
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Old 01-11-2014, 09:56 PM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

I took my dynasonic snare with the calf skin head to a jam again. I thought the snare head was broken in, I also thought the head was more sensitive to the temperature so instead of taking the drum in my trunk, I put it in the passenger seat and kept it warm during the trip.

This day I took the snare to the jam it was raining. I thought the drum with the calf-skin head would be a thermometer, but instead it is a barometer. I had to re-tune the snare several times during the jam, and it did not get a stable tuning until I brought it back home with me.

Ok, I still like the sound of the CT pro snare head, but I can not take this snare into an environment where it will not have time to acclimatized to the humidity and where I can tune the head appropriately for that room.

The experiment continues. Maybe I will try some of the Earth tone heads. They may have been treated to withstand more of the humidity changes.
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Old 01-11-2014, 10:08 PM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

I haven't taken the Earthtone's out of my studio yet so I can't give you any insight into how well they handle the humidity. It is winter here in Ct so my heat has been on keeping the room dry since I got the heads.
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Old 01-12-2014, 02:32 PM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

Ok, I ordered an Earthtone for a snare drum. I am not sure how I will conduct the experiment. So far the CT Pro calfskin head is on my 5" dyansonic. I am not sure if I should put the Earthtone on the same drum and show up to the same jam and hope it is raining that day, or maybe I can put it on my 6.5" dynasonic and show up to the jam with both dynasonics to see how the head reacts to the humidity changes.
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Old 01-12-2014, 03:52 PM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

I decided that if I gig with the calfskins this summer I will use mylar resonant heads, leaving the real skins on top. That way I have less real skin heads to deal with in humid weather. I will bring a backup snare with mylar just in case it doesn't work out.
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Old 01-24-2014, 06:03 PM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

I just got home after traveling again, and found the Earthtone head here. Now I can continue my experiment.

I put the Earthtone calfskin on a Gretsch hammered brass 5" snare. Since I have the CT Pro calfskin on my 5" dynasonic, I felt that it would be a better comparison to do two 5" deep brass snare drums. Of course the dynasonic has a better sound, but mostly because of its unique snare bridge. So I decided to not do my 6.5" dynasonic. I also wanted to use the 6.5 for playing and traveling more.

So far the Earthtone head I have to let sit for a day or so before I tune it up. The coating looks like the type of paint or coating that Remo used to use on their heads. The Earthtones look very different from the CT Pro heads. I did not like the suggestion from Earthtone. that the heads may need to be sanded down with a 150 grit sandpaper in some thicker spots prior to use, it shows that they did not want to take the time to inspect and make the heads even before they sent them out. But, this may not be an issue.
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Old 01-26-2014, 04:38 AM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

Not trying to hijack this thread, but here's another option: kangaroo heads from Kentville Drums in Australia. A friend in Great Britain uses these heads and he claims they are amazing. Save your pennies though, they don't come cheap.

Last edited by Vintage Old School; 01-26-2014 at 02:10 PM. Reason: Misspelled Kentville.
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Old 01-26-2014, 01:02 PM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

I have removed the Earthtone heads from the 50's Broadkaster kit.
I have installed Evans Etched J1 Jazz heads on the toms and snare. I installed an EQ4 as bass batter.
I kept the original Gretsch bass head in front.
I had never played the kit with mylar heads and I wanted to hear it with modern heads.
Very pleased so far.

Kangaroo Huh... Sounds interesting.
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Old 01-26-2014, 05:10 PM
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Default Re: calf skin heads

I had an accident with the CT Pro head I had on my dynasonic rogers 5" snare drum. It happened when I was playing. The head got ripped but, without the stick hitting that area.

I have the earthtone head on my Gretsch 5" brass snare drum. The head sounds good, but not as good as the CT Pro head. I can play the CT Pro head with my hands and it sounds good. The Earthtone head does not have the same sound. I think the Earthtone heads will last longer.

http://kentvilledrums.bandcamp.com/a...ide-drum-heads

Found a link on the Kangaroo heads. Your right, the price is high.

I repaired the CT Pro head, of course it will not be the same but I will see how it functions as a repair.

I will have to see how long the Earthtone heads last with me before I commit to anymore skin heads.
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