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  #1  
Old 11-12-2006, 12:57 PM
syaoran05 syaoran05 is offline
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Default kevlar for drumset?

ive searched about kevlar stuff in the forums, didnt find anything too helpful.

anyway. im planning to buy a cheap steel snare and a kevlar head.

i went to an audition last month and the drumset the audition people borrowed didnt have a snare, so they used one of my school's snare drums. the snare drum was a cheap steel DRUMSET snare, 14x4 and had a kevlar head [it may be aramid i dunno. it was black and had a remo label and had this triangular/V-shaped weave pattern]. it sounded great to me, very focused and ideal for a large acoustic environment because it was all crack and just the right ring - the ring was less than a snare with a pinstripe on it.

so yeah. first off, which is better, aramid fiber heads or kevlar fiber heads? im more concerned over which head has less pull on the snare because ive read on snares buckling because of excessive tension.
second, are they really hard to tune? imean, are they tough to tune or are they just hard to tune when they get to the point where you want it extra tight like they do in the drum corps?
third, do i really need to tune them drum corps tight, or will the regular rock drumset snare tension do?
fourth, will tuning a kevlar/aramid head to normal tension make the sound floppy?

by the way, im planning to use this snare for a rock drumset, not marching.

i hope you could help out :)

oh yeah, that snare i was talking about, its been there since i got to high school so i guess a regular cheap steel drumset snare could hold up?
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  #2  
Old 11-12-2006, 07:02 PM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

This is not a good idea. Kevlar heads are designed to be put on free-floating wood drums with thick shells, because it is this type of drum that can withstand the amount of torque that kevlar heads requre.

Putting a kevlar head on a drum without a free-floating tuning system, particularly a thin metal shell like you're talking about, is a great way to rip the lugs of the shell and/or crush the shell like a beer can.
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  #3  
Old 11-12-2006, 07:13 PM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

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Originally Posted by KCDrummer View Post
This is not a good idea. Kevlar heads are designed to be put on free-floating wood drums with thick shells, because it is this type of drum that can withstand the amount of torque that kevlar heads requre.

Putting a kevlar head on a drum without a free-floating tuning system, particularly a thin metal shell like you're talking about, is a great way to rip the lugs of the shell and/or crush the shell like a beer can.
not entirely true.

all of the free floating wood drums made for marching have a steel reinforcement ring because the wood will not withstand the tension from the kevlar. while what your saying may be true, its the steel ring that allows it to withstand the tension, not the fact that its free floating.
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  #4  
Old 11-12-2006, 08:30 PM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

I think a little more background on Kevlar heads will be helpful here.

In the early 80s, Duraline started manufacturing Kevlar heads for Syndrums after the old Evans Hydraulics had run their course on the pads. Soon after, Duraline starting making the heads in kit sizes. These were not the overly thick, stiff heads that most people associate with marching snares, but were literally just the 'fabric' - sometimes with a light coating or a thin backing - crimped into a hoop. They even made snare side Kevlar heads.

There were a few problems with that design though. While the heads sounded generally good on snares (although I never liked their snare side) they didn't work as well on toms or kicks for two reasons:

First, because the heads were woven - essentially just cloth - even with a coating, they breathed too much. That is to say, they didn't vibrate well and wouldn't make a very round tone. On a snare, that was usually okay, but it was nearly impossible to get a tom to 'sing'. To an extent, the same was true for the bass drums, assuming you wanted a boomy sound (it was almost impossible to achieve.) But muffled up they were okay.

Second, the heads took a while to 'seat'. Once seated - after maybe 3 or 4 days of playing - they held their tuning and once broken-in, sounded about as good as they could and were very consistent. So the problem was, when you changed heads, there was a period where the drums - especially evident on toms - didn't sound so great. Compare that to Mylar heads where they tune right up and break-in quickly.

Overall, the sound was a little dry - again, that was usually fine for snares - and the heads did last a very long time, although they did eventually wear out... sort of like a pair of jeans. At the end of the life of a head, little Kevlar fibers would fly up in the air with every stroke, and for those of us who hadn't paid attention up until that point, that signified that the head was wearing through and would need to be replaced, immediately! I remember one time a hole developed on the center of the snare, gradually getting larger throughout the song, but as long as I hit the head away from the hole, it still sounded good! Anyway, I used Duraline heads from about 1985 to 1987 (when Duraline went out of business) and also endorsed their Kevlar sticks at the time.

The close of Duraline signalled the introduction of Remo's Falams for marching snares. Although Duraline had been asked to create heads for Australia's Legato marching/pipe drums, it was never seen through. Ironically, I think Remo also ended up taking over the Legato line.

Fast forward about 10 years... Joe Pollard (who was working at Duraline and heavily involved in the Syndrums) revived the Kevlar head idea with one of the developers of the original Kevlar heads (I've forgotten his name) and Peter deBear, which became Bear Drumheads. The difference there was that the Kevlar was coated (literally painted!) to stop the head from breathing and allow it to vibrate. I also road-tested the Bear heads and while they were a vast improvement soundwise over the Duralines, they still needed a break-in period. I never quite took to the kick sound, the toms were actually pretty good, and the snare was really good. Sadly, their 'hoops' were molded plastic with the Kevlar fused into them, and they pulled out after a while. Bear stopped making heads by 2001 or 2.

Fast forward again to Evans in about 2002, with their AF Rock snare heads. This is a sandwiched head - a ply of Mylar, the AF (Aramid Fiber, the generic name for Kevlar) and another ply of Mylar - designed for rock playing and availabe in 13 & 14" sizes. It's quite a different head than Evans' (or Remo's or Aquarian's) marching heads, and despite it's thickness, is a very musical head and lasts a long time! It's not very sensitive, so it wouldn't be good for jazz or orchestral - not that you'd need an extremely durable head for lighter playing - but it's a great all-around head designed to take a beating. I'd often thought that AF heads in kit sizes would be cool, but they're expensive, and lately, the Aramid Fiber has become scarce (I think it's being used heavily in the military right now) and even the snare heads are hard to come by.

Whew! Sorry about all that, there's just no way to make it more concise!

Anyway, as to whether Kevlar heads will work on a kit: currently, some will, but you're limited to just the snare, and be sure to avoid the marching heads. Only the Evans AF heads are designed for a regular snare.

Bermuda
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  #5  
Old 11-13-2006, 02:11 AM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

Well I have heard of someone who put one on a snare...well the snare sort of collapsed, imploded, etc. Then again, I know a couple of losers who put one (real loose though) on a cheap snare that could get no good sound whatsoever and it worked fine. You can use them but do not tighten them, which pretty much defeats the purpose of the heads. Go for some of those "powerstroke" or "heavy" heads instead.
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  #6  
Old 11-13-2006, 02:18 AM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cymbalrider View Post
Well I have heard of someone who put one on a snare...well the snare sort of collapsed, imploded, etc. Then again, I know a couple of losers who put one (real loose though) on a cheap snare that could get no good sound whatsoever and it worked fine. You can use them but do not tighten them, which pretty much defeats the purpose of the heads. Go for some of those "powerstroke" or "heavy" heads instead.
I think that was on a Remo acousticon snare. Those shells are definately not strong.
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  #7  
Old 11-13-2006, 01:20 PM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bermuda View Post

Fast forward again to Evans in about 2002, with their AF Rock snare heads. This is a sandwiched head - a ply of Mylar, the AF (Aramid Fiber, the generic name for Kevlar) and another ply of Mylar - designed for rock playing and availabe in 13 & 14" sizes. It's quite a different head than Evans' (or Remo's or Aquarian's) marching heads, and despite it's thickness, is a very musical head and lasts a long time! It's not very sensitive, so it wouldn't be good for jazz or orchestral - not that you'd need an extremely durable head for lighter playing - but it's a great all-around head designed to take a beating.

Anyway, as to whether Kevlar heads will work on a kit: currently, some will, but you're limited to just the snare, and be sure to avoid the marching heads. Only the Evans AF heads are designed for a regular snare.

Bermuda
exactly what i needed! so these Evans AF heads are designed for drumset use? [im only planning to use these heads on the snare]
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  #8  
Old 11-13-2006, 03:31 PM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

Aquarian makes a kevlar head for a drumset snaredrum(concert) called the Powerhouse... it comes in white or black... in 13" and 14"...
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  #9  
Old 11-13-2006, 05:08 PM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

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Originally Posted by syaoran05 View Post
exactly what i needed! so these Evans AF heads are designed for drumset use? [im only planning to use these heads on the snare]
I think you'll dig those. I used them quite a bit for a few years, but found when I took one of those snares on a quietish gig, the snare didn't speak as well. So I went back to the Evans ST (SuperTough) and just change heads more often.

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  #10  
Old 11-13-2006, 05:11 PM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RTDRUMS View Post
Aquarian makes a kevlar head for a drumset snaredrum(concert) called the Powerhouse... it comes in white or black... in 13" and 14"...
Did not know that, thanks.

Althoug I'm an Evans endorser, I have a healthy respect for Roy and Aquarian heads. I'm particularly fond of their Hi-Energy batter for the snare, and a few years back (while searching for more consistent heads than Remo could provide) I used one on a snare... for 52 shows before the sound man said "it's time for a new snare head." When I removed the head, it was extremely dished, but it never broke! I guess I had contiunually tightened it to the point where it was completely choked, but it never actually failed.

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  #11  
Old 11-13-2006, 10:37 PM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

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Originally Posted by RTDRUMS View Post
Aquarian makes a kevlar head for a drumset snaredrum(concert) called the Powerhouse... it comes in white or black... in 13" and 14"...
I work with a kit that has one of these on the snare drum. I am not particularly fond of the sound.


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  #12  
Old 11-15-2006, 01:29 PM
syaoran05 syaoran05 is offline
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
I think you'll dig those. I used them quite a bit for a few years, but found when I took one of those snares on a quietish gig, the snare didn't speak as well. So I went back to the Evans ST (SuperTough) and just change heads more often.

Bermuda
thanks a lot dude. i dont own a kit, but im planning to use the head for a snare used for micd situations and loud acoustic gigs. my school doesnt really use drum mics and regular heads sound boxy under ordinary cheap mics, i hope the snare sounds good under them. on the studio i guess it'll be native to its sound, so that's a plus. and yeah, it doesnt do quite well in quiet settings but that's when the regular snare comes in.
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  #13  
Old 11-17-2006, 06:26 AM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

Thanks Bermuda for a great historical perspective and your analysis of the heads. A friend of mine was a great fan of the Bear heads and I believe had an endorsement deal until they went out of business. I didn't really have the same enthusiasm for the Kevlar heads but I admit that they certainly had a certain uniqueness about them.
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  #14  
Old 11-19-2006, 06:24 AM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

I could be wrong but I would think kevlar heads on kit would be to dead.
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Old 11-19-2006, 07:16 AM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

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Originally Posted by pcmckay View Post
I could be wrong but I would think kevlar heads on kit would be to dead.

As I mentioned above, the original Duraline Kevlar heads were generally pretty dead. This is based on tom sounds, which are usually intended to be the most resonant drums on a kit.

The Bear heads conquered the deadness to a large degree - the toms actually sounded pretty good - but still suffered from an inherent drawback with Kevlar: the break-in period. Kevlar heads never sounded good on toms or the kick until they had been played and 'seated' for a few days.

The existing Kevlar heads for the kit are available only in snare sizes, so the issue of resonance isn't too critical. However the Evans AF (Aramid Fiber = Kevlar) are quite resonant and usually benefit from some muffling.

Bermuda
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Old 11-19-2006, 08:20 PM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

Why are you leaning so heavily towards a kevlar head besides that one drum you played?? My impression of the kevlar or AF heads was for durability not necessarily sound. So if sound and projection are the problem it may be a tuning issue. I just think there are probably many better options for you than what you are looking at.
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Old 11-20-2006, 03:29 AM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

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Originally Posted by konaboy View Post
Why are you leaning so heavily towards a kevlar head besides that one drum you played?? My impression of the kevlar or AF heads was for durability not necessarily sound. So if sound and projection are the problem it may be a tuning issue. I just think there are probably many better options for you than what you are looking at.
is this for me or bermuda?
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Old 11-20-2006, 05:30 AM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

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is this for me or bermuda?
You.

(adding text to make it 20 letters)
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Old 11-23-2006, 02:30 PM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

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You.

(adding text to make it 20 letters)
well, i liked the sound the kevlar head produced. i think it was a remo one.. anyway, comapred to fiberskin [which i believe is also an aramid fiber head] the kevlar one was less ringy, although it has the same tightness of a really tight mylar head. its sound was very unique, it has the tone of a snare with a wallet on it, without sacrificing the sharp snap on the attack. the ring is warm, its not the usual ring that comes with steel snares with mylar heads that sound like, well, the usual ring. think of the ring as z customs to k customs, the steel snare with a mylar head is the z custom, the one with a kevlar head is the k custom. honestly, it sounds like knocking on the edge of a very resonant table, with a little steely ring and the snap of a plastic drumhead. very musical.

i have a question bermuda, since you said that the evans af head can benefit from muffling, is the AF head by evans similar to the fiberskin FA by remo? ive read somewhere that people claim AF heads have this old school snare head sound, which the fiberskyn also claims. and theyre both ringy [not a bad thing] but that's the reason why im changing to AF - to get rid of the ring.

Last edited by syaoran05; 11-26-2006 at 02:08 AM.
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Old 11-29-2006, 02:02 PM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

Unfortunately, the Evans AF head is no longer in production. I want to stick with Evans heads as they've generally been fantastic for me - is Hydraulics and/ or HD Dry and/ or ST Dry the way forward in thick heads? Will they produce a similar sound to the old AF heads?
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Old 11-29-2006, 03:26 PM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

Marching heads can't be applied to a snare can they?

Attached is a picture of Tomas Haake's snare. The head on it is clearly an MX Gold, which is a marching head. I'm really confused now, I've read here that snares can't take marching heads and I've been told by a guy from Wembley Drum Centre they won't either.

I want an Evans AF head dammit!!!
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  #22  
Old 11-29-2006, 04:14 PM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

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Originally Posted by syaoran05 View Post
i have a question bermuda, since you said that the evans af head can benefit from muffling, is the AF head by evans similar to the fiberskin FA by remo?
There have been at least 3 types of Fiberskin heads since Remo first introdiced them, and I'm not familiar with the FA.

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  #23  
Old 11-30-2006, 12:05 PM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

Yo Bermuda...

Any thoughts of my quandry? (see posts above this one!). I'm a bit stuck but I desperately want some AF heads for my snares... : (

Cheers

Al
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Old 11-30-2006, 04:51 PM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

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Originally Posted by altered_beast View Post
Yo Bermuda...

Any thoughts of my quandry? (see posts above this one!). I'm a bit stuck but I desperately want some AF heads for my snares... : (

Cheers

Al
I went into Evans ordering system, and they still have 13" AF heads. But it's gonna be tough to find 14" heads. I don't recall ever seeing them in stores, and I had a handful but sent them back to Evans when I knew I wouldn't be using them. Jason Bittner is a big fan of them as well, I wonder what he's gonna do?

You might check with stores who get their heads from a distributor, and not directly from Evans (like GC or Sam Ash.) A distributor may have some in stock and the store can then order some. Be advised, list price on the 13" is $71, so the 14" will be higher, and with any luck and a good relationship at the store, you'll probably end up paying $40-45 per head.

Bermuda
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Old 09-13-2007, 05:58 PM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

Yo Bermuda! Here's a bit of a revival for ya... any chance you could have a look and see if those 13" AF heads are still in circulation? I am due to pick up my 13" custom aluminium snare next week and I'd originally wanted to run a Rock AF head on it... they're pretty hard to come by anyway but if there are still any in existence anywhere I'd love to be able to get hold of them : )

If you can help it would be greatly appreciated!! : )

Cheers!

Al
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Old 09-13-2007, 07:50 PM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

I knew someone that put a Kevlar Whitemax on a cheap metal snare and the sound is terrible but the drum is so bad that nothing else sounds decent on it. (I believe it was a stock Swingstar snare) I also know people that talked about others that had tried to do the same but on wood snares and and the snare basically collapsed on itself, a brand new expensive drum ruined. I would not advise Kevlar heads on anything other than marching snares which are equipped with the right hardware to handle the tension. Plus the heads are so dead sounding too. They have terrible response, even under high tension really, from what I recall of marching band. I would recommend something like a Ludwig High Torque head or something, but then again I can't imagine needing such a thing.
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Old 09-13-2007, 08:57 PM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

About 5 years ago i had a snare head that was kevlar, i cant recall the brand but it was pretty sweet. It was almost a beige/yellow colour. The rebound was great and it held its tension for quite a while.
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Old 09-13-2007, 09:11 PM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

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Originally Posted by altered_beast View Post
Marching heads can't be applied to a snare can they?

Attached is a picture of Tomas Haake's snare. The head on it is clearly an MX Gold, which is a marching head. I'm really confused now, I've read here that snares can't take marching heads and I've been told by a guy from Wembley Drum Centre they won't either.

I want an Evans AF head dammit!!!
Haake's snare shell thickness is a thing of legend. His snare might well be an exception to the rule.
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Old 09-14-2007, 11:39 AM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

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Originally Posted by Mediocrefunkybeat View Post
Haake's snare shell thickness is a thing of legend. His snare might well be an exception to the rule.
My custom alu snare is something in the region of 7-8mm thick : ) when i was looking at the "big" manufacturers I think the thickest I found was 4 or 5mm.

I'm really thinking HD or ST dry skins but I wanted something a bit more unusual : (
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Old 09-14-2007, 11:41 AM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cymbalrider View Post
I knew someone that put a Kevlar Whitemax on a cheap metal snare and the sound is terrible but the drum is so bad that nothing else sounds decent on it. (I believe it was a stock Swingstar snare) I also know people that talked about others that had tried to do the same but on wood snares and and the snare basically collapsed on itself, a brand new expensive drum ruined. I would not advise Kevlar heads on anything other than marching snares which are equipped with the right hardware to handle the tension. Plus the heads are so dead sounding too. They have terrible response, even under high tension really, from what I recall of marching band. I would recommend something like a Ludwig High Torque head or something, but then again I can't imagine needing such a thing.

I get where you're coming from but Haake's snare (image above) proves that it is possible to do it on a regular kit snare. I know he used a Rock AF skin on his alu snare and obviously he's used an MX Gold marching skin on the bronze snare above. If I wasn't horrifically in debt my next custom snare would be cast bronze. The guy who made my alu snare has made a bronze snare before, said it cost the owner about 1000 but it looks so lush.
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Old 09-19-2007, 10:19 AM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

i've put the kevlar on the backburner for now - i ordered an evans genera hd dry for my aluminium snare and a 300 glass for the reso side. i wanted an mx gold marching skin and a 500 glass but both were on a really long delivery cos they're special order. dammit evans, start manufacturing in the uk!!
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  #32  
Old 09-19-2007, 06:26 PM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

I'm a huge fan of the Genera Dry. Great head for most situations, just the right pop.
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Old 09-20-2007, 01:35 PM
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Default Re: kevlar for drumset?

I like the head, I have it on my 14" bronze maple black panther, but I really wanted this Alu snare to be completely unique in every aspect - i.e. not something you often see. Very thick shelled alu snare, black hoops, lugs and strainer, kevlar head, glass 500 reso head... it would've been extremely unique. In time I will have a kevlar head. I'm a determined sort : )
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