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  #1  
Old 10-04-2010, 04:26 AM
aydee aydee is offline
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Default The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

...

Why should we ever change one? A non bio-degradable piece of plastic that is never struck by a stick and involves zero wear and tear...... needs changing every now and then because it allegedly loses its bite. Does it? And if so, why?

I'm very unscientific and very curious to hear the reasons from some of our resident geniuses.

...
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Old 10-04-2010, 06:34 AM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

I believe mine get stretched out over time from the air being pushed down into them whenever you strike the top head. At one point I did have a reso head that I never changed but after a while I had to crank the tension on it to keep it in tune.
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Old 10-04-2010, 06:42 AM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

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I believe mine get stretched out over time from the air being pushed down into them whenever you strike the top head. At one point I did have a reso head that I never changed but after a while I had to crank the tension on it to keep it in tune.
That, I get. Constant vibration will loosen it and it needs re tuning. But why a new head?

Is it a marketing conspiracy, or does it just make us feel good to have a new one, or does it really need to be replaced?

Right now, its killin' me not to know...

...
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Old 10-04-2010, 06:54 AM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

My ears tell me that heads lose their brightness after a while.

My donkey sense tells me that heads get stretched, both from the tension of tuning and then from the playing.

My skin tells me that stretching and loss of moisture are inevitable realities of age - with a loss of tone and increase in brittleness.

Google didn't tell me much.
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Old 10-04-2010, 07:02 AM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

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Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
I believe mine get stretched out over time from the air being pushed down into them whenever you strike the top head. At one point I did have a reso head that I never changed but after a while I had to crank the tension on it to keep it in tune.
This.

It will eventually stretch out.

And on snare drum, it has the added problem of the snare pressing back on it.

But a tom resonant head should last a very long time.
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Old 10-04-2010, 07:31 AM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

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Originally Posted by aydee View Post
That, I get. Constant vibration will loosen it and it needs re tuning. But why a new head?

Is it a marketing conspiracy, or does it just make us feel good to have a new one, or does it really need to be replaced?

Right now, its killin' me not to know...

...
Good God Man - get a hold of yourself! ;)

I prefer a new head - I don't want to have to worry about maintaining my sound on something important. I'll be in a tough enough spot as it is just being creative and playing the music. I don't think it's a conspiracy, otherwise guitar players would never change strings, either.
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Old 10-04-2010, 07:52 AM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

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.. guitar players would never change strings, either.
They fray. The copper wound stuff comes off, they rust, they corrode, they are constantly being tuned, detuned...

...
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Old 10-04-2010, 07:55 AM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

If you are constantly mucking about with high and low tunings with the bottom heads MAYBE....

If not tune, tweak as needed and forget them. Every new kit of mine has recieved good quality resos Abe including the bass drum only ONCE and never again. Same deal for the snare side once the desired tension/sound is happening to my satisfaction. Only fly in the ointment on the snare side would be if you're cranking the snares super tight causing extra tension and stress on the head. I have the snares just tight enough to be crisp so no worries for me on that.

I'm picky as hell too about my drum sound with always doing a fair bit of recording projects with my own kits in various studio settings and groups. So after doing this with various kits with more years than I can count I would have spent the cash if I really truly believed it really made a difference..... which for me is a complete waste of funds IMO since simple physics tells me likewise. Big waste of money IMO to change them unless you're constantly doing what I first mentioned with your reso heads on a regular basis. Same applies to the snare side head.

Marketing BS for most of us is my 2 cents if that's the news on the street that has to be followed according to drum head companies {?}......
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  #9  
Old 10-04-2010, 08:32 AM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

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Stan, my head is where yours is at ( no pun intended ). Wouldn't it make more sense to change the batter every time you are dissatisfied with your sound?

I tighten or fine tune my resos a tad every couple of months, if that.

...
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  #10  
Old 10-04-2010, 09:24 AM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

Ok, I'm going against the tide here guys, & I have years of real world experience with polymers to draw upon. Let's get scientific! There are two main mechanisms of degradation applicable to polyethylene, environmental & mechanical.

Environmental degradation is very dependant on where the material is used & stored. UV & Ozone both play a significant role in this. Essentially, the nearer you are to the equator, the higher the levels of UV & Ozone you'll encounter. Obviously, keeping stuff indoors will reduce exposure significantly, but not completely. So why does this matter? Well, the most important affect of these elements is the migration of plasticiser in the polymer. Plasticser is used to keep the film flexible. Without it, the film would eventually become so brittle it would crack in your hands. Ok, it would take many years to get into that condition, but the process starts the day after manufacture, & there will certainly be a measurable difference after a couple of years in most environments. I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that lack of flexibility will adversly affect both tuning ability & resonant properties.

Mechanical degradation is perhaps easier to understand. Just because it's the reso head, doesn't mean it's not subjected to significant stress. Have you ever seen a slow motion image of a drum head after striking? Wow, the level of deflection is considerable, & the reso head invariably partners the deflection of the batter head to quite a degree. I'd certainly estimate around 70% on a drum where batter & reso are tuned to a similar pitch. Anyhow, that contstant flexing will eventually create a relaxing of the molecular structure centred around points of strain. The highest point of strain is the bearing edge. Such degradation of the localised structure will reduce the material's ability to recover. In the case of a drum head, this means it changes the way the film reacts. Fans of sharp bearing edges should note that such an affect is amplified by severity of deformation. To compound matters, constant deflection & strain will accelerate localised migration of the plasiticiser.

I could go into considerable depth on this, but that's probably enough to transmit the basics.

Back to the real world. I changed my snare reso a few weeks ago, & the difference was substantial. The head had been on the drum for over a year. Similarly, a change of tom reso head yields sonic benefits, especially increased resonance. I've experienced that enough times to completely convince myself that it's worth doing. I change reso heads every 2 or 3 batter head changes.

So, marketing hype, well, both yes & no. The head manufacturers would have you change reso heads every time you change your batter head. There's probably some evidence to substantiate that advice, but for me, that's over the top. Is degredation a real issue, yes, it most certainly is. Don't forget the hearing memory affect. The reduction in tone is so gradual that you don't notice change, rather like the reduction in picture quality on your tv set over the years. Only when you make the switch do you truly appreciate the difference.
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  #11  
Old 10-04-2010, 09:38 AM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

Thanks Andy - your science "feels" right with my intuition.

One thing I notice is that when I am changing old heads, there's a clear difference in sound just tapping the unattached heads. The old ones have less tone.

I try to squeeze the most life possible out of my heads by gradually tightening as they lose their pizazz because I don't like waste. I normally keep them on for a long time and I have felt guilt about it (ie. not doing things properly), but if a serious player like Stan is relaxed with old heads, then that's encouraging! If I can get my heads sounding pretty good - even if it's not the same kind of good as when they're new - I keep them on.

Stan, do you slightly adjust your playing as your heads age to keep pulling a good sound out of them?
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Old 10-04-2010, 09:53 AM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

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Originally Posted by Pollyanna View Post
a serious player like Stan is relaxed with old heads, then that's encouraging!
And here's another take on my info in my earlier post. The degradation affect is real, it exists, but the resultant change in properties may not necessarily be a negative thing in the short to medium term. For the lighter player, a relaxing of the plastic properties may offer a welcome bedding in effect, especially regarding the retained form over the bearing edge. Also for the lighter player, the mechanical degradation factor will be considerably reduced.
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Old 10-04-2010, 09:55 AM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

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Thank you, Andy for addressing the science of the matter!! The erosion of tone from the constant flexing and de-flexing (?) of the head and the resulting deformation seems to be the cause it seems...right? Makes sense..

Polly, great post. Your unscientific instincts have good empirical reasoning but I tend to agree with Stan's thinking that a reso head will probably last 10 times longer than the drum manufacturing industry will have you believe.

...
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Old 10-04-2010, 10:04 AM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

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...

Thank you, Andy for addressing the science of the matter!! The erosion of tone from the constant flexing and de-flexing (?) of the head and the resulting deformation seems to be the cause it seems...right? Makes sense..

Polly, great post. Your unscientific instincts have good empirical reasoning but I tend to agree with Stan's thinking that a reso head will probably last 10 times longer than the drum manufacturing industry will have you believe.

...
Actually Abe, it's both. The migration of plasticiser is an important factor (also ref: my post below on potential benefit). As for 10 times longer than the industry would have us believe, hmmm, I don't subscribe to that. Yes, they'll last a long time, but that's different from sounding good for a long time.

Each player's experience will be different. Stan lives in an area of very low UV & Ozone exposure, so the environmental degradation element will be very low (just look how well Stan's preserved, lol!), plus, Stan doesn't hit as hard as a lot of players from other genres. Variables such as these have a big impact, hence Stan's real world experience may differ from someone else's. It's all valid though. A death metal drummer living in Arizona, who plays a lot of outdoor venues, will go through heads much more quickly than Stan.
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Old 10-04-2010, 10:55 AM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

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UV & Ozone both play a significant role in this. Essentially, the nearer you are to the equator, the higher the levels of UV & Ozone you'll encounter.
Hello, and welcome to one of the UV capitals of the world, where the depleted ozone layer ensures that outdoorsy types here have facial skin like a concertina by their 50s ... not like those soft, lily-livered Poms and Mounties and their "pretend sunlight" :)
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Old 10-04-2010, 12:56 PM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

God dammit, am I going to be stuck with the slow-poke part in every discussion I can contribute to?

Okay, imagine an african drum with a calfskin head. This head is completely different from a mylar head, because they're nowhere near the same material. However, the biggest difference is the bonds that the molecules in the material have. Plastics and animal skin have different bonding types, and because of that you never really need to change a calfskin head. And those things are stretched tight, so consider what it's like more thinner one-ply mylar head?

Thus, eventually, if you want the original sound you got when that reso was new, you need to change it. I'd say the life span of a reso head, depending on how heavily you play and how often, is at least twice that of a batter.
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Old 10-04-2010, 05:25 PM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

Keep It Simple,

For such a username, that was quite the in-depth and scientific description of what takes place with the degredation of reso heads! Thanks so much for taking the time to post that.

Many people believe the myth that since you're not coming in contact with the reso heads directly, you shouldn't need to replace them. As you described, this is simply not the case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
So, marketing hype, well, both yes & no. The head manufacturers would have you change reso heads every time you change your batter head.
I can't speak for other companies, but we recommend changing your resos approximately every three to four times you change your batter heads. This tends to be a good rule of thumb but also train your ear to be able to notice the difference between fresh heads and worn heads. We often rely the visual feedback (degradation of coating, scuffs on the head, etc.) to let us know when a drumhead has gone through its lifespan. Using your ears is just as important.

Bob Gatzen has a great video related to changing and choosing reso heads: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIcUBJrtKTg
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Old 10-04-2010, 05:26 PM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

Great thoughts and contributions everyone. As you can see many factors play into our own opinions such as how hard you hit on a regular basis and effects on the plastics from where you live and such variables.

For this "well preserved" player Polly I just change the top heads or BD batter when I know that time has come. As I say for me the bottoms can stay put for a much longer run of it once I decide on the tuning of each drum in question setting the lower side tensions that just needs a tweek now and then.
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Old 10-04-2010, 05:53 PM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

Okay, well since we have such esteemed and learned posters on this thread and a great OP question, I'll add another. How often do you change your batter heads? Of course this depends on how often you play. But I've had the same EC1's on my kit for a almost year now and don't feel the need to change them after 15-22 hours of playing a week. I think my heads last a year and a half at my playing usage level and the resonant heads would then last 5-6 years. How would head companies stay in business? I should add that the metal heads who rehearse in the studio where my band rehearses can go through any head in 25 minutes.

My Buddy who gigs for a living and plays 5-8 times a week, changes his G2's every 2-3 years and claims that he uses a 13" because the head wears out slower than on a 12" tom. I don't prefer odd size toms no matter how long the head lasts. I use my 13" with two snare drums and a pad on it to hold my coffee. I do drape a towel over it for safety, and to wipe my forehead.
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Old 10-04-2010, 06:32 PM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

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Ok, I'm going against the tide here guys, & I have years of real world experience with polymers to draw upon. Let's get scientific! There are two main mechanisms of degradation applicable to polyethylene, environmental & mechanical.

.......Only when you make the switch do you truly appreciate the difference.
So true, how many times has anyone just changed the top heads only to complain about how flat the drum sounds after a short while.

To get a fresh pair of top and bottom heads just sounds so much better.
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Old 10-04-2010, 06:53 PM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

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So true, how many times has anyone just changed the top heads only to complain about how flat the drum sounds after a short while.
Not me....

I listen carefully before changing out the batters and that's where I hear the important differences. No difference with the bottoms to my ear before or after. Several player to player variables in the mix as we so well covered to say will ALL experience the same thing and with how resos will or won't perform over a longer period of time for all of us.

Have to use your own ears, experience, tuning methods and individual touch on the instrument on that subject. Speaking of which with the exception of the snare side which recieves the high tension my bottom resos are just snug enough to produce a nice clear loose but non-frapping pitch.... not very tight folks. Not much stress on these heads with this way and method of tuning. I don't crank or choke the snares really hard either against the snare side head as already covered....again longer shelf life.

As the old saying goes "your individual mileage may vary".

Spent you money wisely based on your own experience........
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Old 10-05-2010, 03:23 AM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

Thank you, Andy for addressing the science of the matter!! The erosion of tone from the constant flexing and de-flexing (?) of the head and the resulting deformation seems to be the cause it seems...right? Makes sense..


This reso-head wear business falls under that massive 'sound is subjective' umbrella.

First off you should be maintaining your reso heads no matter where you live, they love a good wipe with an AMOR ALL type product, you could even spray them with whatever lube you use... though that's usually stinky and needs a good wipe off.

Let the AMOR ALL soak in then wipe, It'll rejuvenate the reso's like a miracle. There's negative incentive for head manufactures to market a head/mylar rejuvenating product like AMOR ALL, but the stuff works. Wipe your batters once in awhile with it too, don't go overboard, a little goes a long way.

Maintenance in check, a naturally stretched reso head may be more desireble to some, especially on toms. My MAPLE CUSTOM set from 96' has the original YAMAHA reso's on, took them off once, then decided I like the sound of them better than new reso's. They do get maintained per above, to me they sound like keep getting better with age.

So depending on what you want to hear, reso's can in most instances last a very long time. Head manufactures don't want to open the 'maintenance door' for obvious reasons and their sales people will preach changing every 3000 miles, IMO its hype.
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Old 10-05-2010, 05:16 AM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

I have never noticed my resos to loose their sound either.
I only change them every few years or so just for the heck of it.
The same goes for my snare resos.
I tune my tom resos at about medium tension.
My snare resos are tight but not super tight.
I very seldom have to re tune them.
They hold tune well.
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Old 10-05-2010, 08:02 AM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

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I have never noticed my resos to loose their sound either.
I only change them every few years or so just for the heck of it.
The same goes for my snare resos.
I tune my tom resos at about medium tension.
My snare resos are tight but not super tight.
I very seldom have to re tune them.
They hold tune well.
I must really picky then. Sorry everybody!
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Old 10-05-2010, 03:33 PM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

I have an anecdote for this one that came to mind yesterday. One of my students blew through the resonant head on his tom. He plays in a metal band and totally destroyed the resonant head while rehearsing. The batter head was fine. So those heads do take a pounding.
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Old 10-05-2010, 05:09 PM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

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I must really picky then. Sorry everybody!

Hey thats ok. We all stick to the expiry date on the milk carton, dont we? It always lasts a good week more at least.

( woops, did I just use a milk analogy??!!)

...
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Old 10-05-2010, 05:21 PM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

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Hey thats ok. We all stick to the expiry date on the milk carton, dont we? It always lasts a good week more at least.

( woops, did I just use a milk analogy??!!)

...
That's okay. I was going to use a brake analogy. I've been hearing this squeak for about three weeks now and finally did my brakes this weekend, thinking to myself all that I had let it go to long and may have damaged the rotor. No problems, as it turns out it was the wheel bearings making that noise. Better to get the brakes done before the winter anyway. I don't know the connection; but if reader finds one, good on ya.

Actually, the analogy works if you think front brakes, rear brakes. the front has to be done every 20,000 miles; but the rears last a whole lot longer. They still wear out though.
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Old 10-05-2010, 05:35 PM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

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I have an anecdote for this one that came to mind yesterday. One of my students blew through the resonant head on his tom. He plays in a metal band and totally destroyed the resonant head while rehearsing. The batter head was fine. So those heads do take a pounding.
Well noted, and offers real (if not extreme) evidence that reso heads do wear. It's not a maybe, it's a fact, as per my original technical explanation. Of course, the level of wear is almost exclusively related to length of service & severity of use. At one end of the scale, an uber hitting player who'll go through heads in days, the other end of the scale, a light jazz artist who can make batters last 10 years plus. Most fall in the middle band somewhere. Changing resos after x amount of batter changes is as good a guide as you'll get as wear should be proportional. I change every 3 times ish, but sometimes I'll sense I'm not getting the full sonic benefit of a new batter head, so I'll change out both.

It's no good pretending that resos don't wear because they don't get hit. Hitting is only part of the degradation process.
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Old 10-05-2010, 05:58 PM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

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It's no good pretending that resos don't wear because they don't get hit. Hitting is only part of the degradation process.
Yeah, but how much? 50%? 90%? What is the measurable difference in damage from a drum that is struck with a stick, vs one that is being "struck" much more gently by air pressure.

I play both low-to-mid volume funk and very hard-hitting rock music, and I almost never change my resos. I have some Evans heads that I bought almost 4 yrs. ago that I've used on several different kits. I've bought many new heads since, but I'll throw those Evans on every now-and-then...and I don't notice any degradation of quality, compared to the new heads. I live in a very dry, hot climate and have had those heads stored in a shed in the backyard, in the summer.

If they're aging or wearing out, I just can't hear it. All chemistry and physics aside...they seem to be much more resilient than some folks here are suggesting. Just my opinion.
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Old 10-05-2010, 06:41 PM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

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Originally Posted by zambizzi View Post
Yeah, but how much? 50%? 90%? What is the measurable difference in damage from a drum that is struck with a stick, vs one that is being "struck" much more gently by air pressure.

I play both low-to-mid volume funk and very hard-hitting rock music, and I almost never change my resos. I have some Evans heads that I bought almost 4 yrs. ago that I've used on several different kits. I've bought many new heads since, but I'll throw those Evans on every now-and-then...and I don't notice any degradation of quality, compared to the new heads. I live in a very dry, hot climate and have had those heads stored in a shed in the backyard, in the summer.

If they're aging or wearing out, I just can't hear it. All chemistry and physics aside...they seem to be much more resilient than some folks here are suggesting. Just my opinion.
I've never prescribed degradation rates, just described the mechanisms at play. The OP suggestion was that there was no organic degradation and little mechanical damage. I offered facts to suggest otherwise.

I have no data to support deflection ratio between batter & reso, although I suspect a mean figure would be in the region of 70% over the resonant cycle (assuming they're tuned to the same pitch). Although both batter & reso heads will suffer from a change of characteristics, most pronounced at the point of contact with the bearing edge, only the batter head suffers from impact damage. That constant impact will eventually equate to a "dishing" of the head, thus negating the beneficial resonant diaphram effect. Even that is subject to the variable of impact velocity & force. All materials have an elastic limit. Without getting too deep on this, if you hit something repeatedly substantially below it's elastic limit, it will almost never deform. If you hit something above it's elastic limit, it will deform immediately. This bit of info is important because it means that a set ratio of batter to reso head changes cannot be established. That depends on many variables, but how hard you hit, & the elastic limit of your batter head choice are key components.

All up, there is no set advice possible. Each player is different, & the number of material variables is huge. My experience in "Andyworld" is that I hear a difference when I change the reso head, & I do so typically every 3 batter changes or so. A light player may even experience an improvement in tone with the ageing of the reso head. There's a limit to that, of course, but that effect is not uncommon, especially on vintage kits with usually less than perfect bearing edges. In such circumstances, a degree of sympathetic deformation improves head to shell contact. Each to their own, but to believe that the reso head is not subject to degradation is false.
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Old 10-05-2010, 07:22 PM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

I just change them once a year, whether they need it or not. The batters usually get changed 2 or 3 times a year. But every holiday season, all my drums get new heads top and bottom, and all my guitars get new strings.

The old resos go in an ever growing pile of heads that is probably 5 feet high by now...
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  #32  
Old 10-05-2010, 11:01 PM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
I just change them once a year, whether they need it or not. The batters usually get changed 2 or 3 times a year. But every holiday season, all my drums get new heads top and bottom, and all my guitars get new strings.

The old resos go in an ever growing pile of heads that is probably 5 feet high by now...
I think you could start a new thread >> what do you do (what can you do) with old heads?

target practice, flying saucer videos, snow shoes, etc.
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Old 10-05-2010, 11:11 PM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

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Originally Posted by 720hours World Record View Post
I think you could start a new thread >> what do you do (what can you do) with old heads?

target practice, flying saucer videos, snow shoes, etc.
This was actually a question on our Facebook page about a week ago. We saw a wide variety of responses. We're still scratching our heads (pun intended) on this one but there were some good ideas out there.
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  #34  
Old 10-05-2010, 11:16 PM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

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Originally Posted by 720hours World Record View Post
I think you could start a new thread >> what do you do (what can you do) with old heads?

target practice, flying saucer videos, snow shoes, etc.
I sell 'em on Craigslist and try to at least recover a few bucks out of them, if I can. There's always a market for used heads - usually folks on a tighter budget than I am, looking to squeeze a little more utility out of the heads I'm no longer interested in hanging onto.
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  #35  
Old 10-05-2010, 11:25 PM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

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Originally Posted by zambizzi View Post
I sell 'em on Craigslist and try to at least recover a few bucks out of them, if I can. There's always a market for used heads - usually folks on a tighter budget than I am, looking to squeeze a little more utility out of the heads I'm no longer interested in hanging onto.
I've actually never heard of anyone doing that before. Do you have much luck on a consistent basis?
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  #36  
Old 10-05-2010, 11:32 PM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

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I've actually never heard of anyone doing that before. Do you have much luck on a consistent basis?
Yeah, I always get rid of them. It's all a matter of price, of course.
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  #37  
Old 10-05-2010, 11:44 PM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

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Originally Posted by Steamer View Post
If you are constantly mucking about with high and low tunings with the bottom heads MAYBE....

If not tune, tweak as needed and forget them. Every new kit of mine has recieved good quality resos Abe including the bass drum only ONCE and never again. Same deal for the snare side once the desired tension/sound is happening to my satisfaction. Only fly in the ointment on the snare side would be if you're cranking the snares super tight causing extra tension and stress on the head. I have the snares just tight enough to be crisp so no worries for me on that.

I'm picky as hell too about my drum sound with always doing a fair bit of recording projects with my own kits in various studio settings and groups. So after doing this with various kits with more years than I can count I would have spent the cash if I really truly believed it really made a difference..... which for me is a complete waste of funds IMO since simple physics tells me likewise. Big waste of money IMO to change them unless you're constantly doing what I first mentioned with your reso heads on a regular basis. Same applies to the snare side head.

Marketing BS for most of us is my 2 cents if that's the news on the street that has to be followed according to drum head companies {?}......
I second this. After many years and lots of tuning, it may be necessary to replace resonant heads, but I think it would have to be YEARS of playing.
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Old 10-05-2010, 11:47 PM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

Remember also that reso heads are much thinner than batters and they move a lot more than one would suspect whether hit with a stick or not. Although plastics bio-degrade slowly as far as land fills are concerned, they will degrade where sound is concerned. Also, even with very close attention to detail and quality control, I'm sure the thickness of the drum head varies more than we would like. I work in supply in a hospital and a lot of products come wrapped in plastic and a lot of them have expiration dates because of the deterioration of the plastic and sterility can no longer be guaranteed.
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Old 10-05-2010, 11:57 PM
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Default Re: The physics & chemistry of a reso head?

I have no data to support deflection ratio between batter & reso, although I suspect a mean figure would be in the region of 70% over the resonant cycle (assuming they're tuned to the same pitch). Although both batter & reso heads will suffer from a change of characteristics, most pronounced at the point of contact with the bearing edge, only the batter head suffers from impact damage.



Who breaks-in their reso heads? Arguably it could take years to do so, but then we'd have to determine what's broken-in and what's worn out.

After three songs I hear a difference in sound with new heads... so are they worn out, or just broken in? Sound is subjective, you may hear a difference, but there's no standard for better or worse.

Keep in mind the reso isn't struck with a stick, that's what stretches out batter heads, movement on the reso is very slight and the reso's ride on air, its a cushy life for bottom heads.

Mylar does stretch, but in the case of reso's its very little. If we're talking about PRE TUNED heads you'd have a stronger argument, but there's tension rods on the bottom of the drum, a 1/128 turn on the rods will effect tension/sound and reso's determined to be 'worn-out' may simply need a cleaning and a tension-tweek as tension rods are more likely to loosen long before reso mylar stretches.

After 6 months do you notice your bass drum reso getting flat? Im sure most aren't replacing their bass drums reso head(s) very often, and here's a drum that sees way more action than any of the toms.

Sound is subjective, though with proper maintenance reso heads can easily last for years, much longer than heads of same receiving no attention.

It would be in the best intere$t for head manufactures to do testing on reso heads, then they could definitively say there's X amount of measurable wear after X amount of hours, find the point where these heads don't measure up to the companies sonic standard... that would be interesting.

Speculating drummers aren't really going to boost drumhead sales.
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