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  #1  
Old 01-27-2010, 05:29 AM
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Default Drum head lifespan

Besides "until they break", what is the lifespan of drum heads? By that I mean, how long should heads be sitting on a drum before they are to be replaced? Thank you.
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:49 AM
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Default Re: Drum head lifespan

I think a LOT of other factors come into play, like how often they're played, how hard they're played, how often they're re-tuned, how highly they're tuned...I can't just throw a figure like, "Hmm...6 months!" out there, because 6 months to a stereotypical metal drummer and a stereotypical jazz drummer will yield different results to the same heads.

For me, heads can last years, and I play everywhere from whisper quiet to eardrum-splitting. When heads start to sound "bad" or "lifeless", I change them. Usually, I notice the biggest change in sound after a slammin' rock gig...I'll bring the kit home and play it, and it doesn't sound the same as when I played it in my basement the week before. Very slight difference, for sure, but noticeable. For me, it works out to roughly once a year for batters, and resos as needed. It's hard to keep track, as I change heads all the time for recording gigs and different live gigs, so I actually have a few different sets of heads for each kit that are in constant rotatation.

Also, if you play with your toms at extreme angles, too, it will hasten the "death" of your heads, as pitting them will take the life right out of 'em...
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:56 AM
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Default Re: Drum head lifespan

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Originally Posted by caddywumpus View Post
When heads start to sound "bad" or "lifeless"
I do this one. I actually like the sound of heads that have been played in, so I'm sledom in a huge hurry to change them (as opposed to those I've known who swap out every several gigs). When they no longer sound good, off they come.......but I can take my own sweet time getting there.
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Old 01-27-2010, 07:12 AM
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Default Re: Drum head lifespan

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Originally Posted by Pocket-full-of-gold View Post
I do this one. I actually like the sound of heads that have been played in, so I'm sledom in a huge hurry to change them (as opposed to those I've known who swap out every several gigs). When they no longer sound good, off they come.......but I can take my own sweet time getting there.
Yeah, new heads have a certain "brightness" to them that goes away after a few hours of playing. After that, they have their "sweet spot" that is wonderful to play on, until they start to die...
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Old 01-27-2010, 06:54 PM
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Default Re: Drum head lifespan

I look for the "pit" factor. If a head has just a few really bad pits, off they come. I change batters about twice a year, reso's maybe every 2 years.
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Old 01-28-2010, 02:14 AM
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Default Re: Drum head lifespan

Thanks Guys. It doesn't seem like I'm going to need new heads anytime soon.
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  #7  
Old 01-28-2010, 02:55 AM
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Default Re: Drum head lifespan

I only change heads when they are worn to the point that they are dented, dull in texture and finish, They will not ring and tune evenly, The rim sinks so low that a rim shot is difficult, and they are ready to break and I don't trust them anymore.
Heads have a break in period that I dislike. New heads drive me nuts! I always long for the time when they are a bit worn and they don't require constant tweaking. There is always that one tension rod on a new head that hasn't seated yet. It feels loose even though the pitch sounds correct. Eventually, the head seats itself and all of the tension rods feel correct.That's when I like my heads the best! I prefer my heads when they are at Mid Life.

I hope that this didn't sound like a rant. It truly reflects my long term feeling towards new heads. When heads are at half life they produce the best sound.
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Old 01-28-2010, 04:05 PM
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Default Re: Drum head lifespan

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Originally Posted by bobdadruma View Post
I only change heads when they are worn to the point that they are dented, dull in texture and finish, They will not ring and tune evenly, The rim sinks so low that a rim shot is difficult, and they are ready to break and I don't trust them anymore.
Heads have a break in period that I dislike. New heads drive me nuts! I always long for the time when they are a bit worn and they don't require constant tweaking. There is always that one tension rod on a new head that hasn't seated yet. It feels loose even though the pitch sounds correct. Eventually, the head seats itself and all of the tension rods feel correct.That's when I like my heads the best! I prefer my heads when they are at Mid Life.

I hope that this didn't sound like a rant. It truly reflects my long term feeling towards new heads. When heads are at half life they produce the best sound.
I'd say the same. That's why I like Aquarian. Much easier to get up and get going with them and less retuning after they are put on and played on for a while. Just a tweak here and there. That's been my experience with them.
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Old 01-28-2010, 06:32 PM
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Default Re: Drum head lifespan

How much does weather affect their longevity?
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  #11  
Old 01-28-2010, 08:05 PM
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Default Re: Drum head lifespan

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How much does weather affect their longevity?
It doesn't. they may a tweak or so if your gear is in hot an humid conditions but weather in general doesn't have an effect on how long a head will last. Cold and hot conditions may cause the head to expand and contract slightly after all they are plastic but in no way will it shorten it's life span.
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Old 01-28-2010, 08:28 PM
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Default Re: Drum head lifespan

I've taken a huge liking to Evans Hydraulic's on my toms now because they are so simple to tune (and i'm bad at tuning) and they sound played-in straight out the box pretty much.

The Onyx on my snare is harder to tune and play in at first but i've hit that 'sweet spot' and i don't think i'll be changing snare heads for a long while now. Apparently they're great for recording and i see why.

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  #13  
Old 01-30-2010, 03:15 PM
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Default Re: Drum head lifespan

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Originally Posted by RollingStone000 View Post
How much does weather affect their longevity?
Like wolfmoon said, Weather affects the drum more than the head.
I hadn't played one of my kits since the summer when it was humid. It was now november and the drums had been in a dry heated room for three months. The wooden drums had shrunk so much that I had to crank each tuning rod about a full turn to bring them back to the tune that they had during the summer.
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