Can lots of changes in temperature wear out heads?

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
My Classic Maples are out of tune every time I get them out of the trailer on weekends. They travel in gig bags and then in a large, rigid anvil-type case. This past spring, summer, and now fall, this is what they travel in and they are kept on a trailer we pull behind a truck. I've played them a lot, and they have also experience a myriad of temperature and humidity fluctuations for months.

Do these wide temperature and humidity changes have an affect on the heads? Will these heads wear out quicker, or will the effects of these changes be minimal?
 

someguy01

Gold Member

C.M. Jones

Drum Authority
I'm on board with @someguy01's shell theory. Wood, through prolonged exposure to fluctuating conditions, cane be highly susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity, especially extreme ones. Dryness might cause contraction, and dampness might cause swelling. The effects may be subtle, but such movement can certainly alter tunings.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I can definitely tell the drums have changed tunings when exposed to temperature swings one way or the other. I've always expected this to be from the expansion or contraction of the head, but it could very well be the shell changing shape.

As for lifespan, mylar is a type of plastic. Plastic doesn't like to degrade any time soon. I think they will be okay.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
I've seen a hair dryer or lighter held close to a head make dents "disappear" so the idea that Mylar (especially of drumhead thickness) isn't affected by temperature change doesn't seem realistic to me. Regardless of heat or cold, anything held under tension is going to naturally try to relax itself, but especially if subjected to temperature fluctuations.

Whether that is "bad" for the head probably depends on how extreme and/or how often the head is subjected to the changes.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Platinum Member
the only time I notice heads being effected by temp change is on my marching drums...if they are out for 4-6 hours getting baked by the sun, they drop in tone...both the mylar and aramid heads will change sound, but the mylar reacts more

my drum set heads aren't as effected by temp changes...I do think the wood of the shells changes more thant he plastic itself
 

C.M. Jones

Drum Authority
I've seen a hair dryer or lighter held close to a head make dents "disappear" so the idea that Mylar (especially of drumhead thickness) isn't affected by temperature change doesn't seem realistic to me. Regardless of heat or cold, anything held under tension is going to naturally try to relax itself, but especially if subjected to temperature fluctuations.

Whether that is "bad" for the head probably depends on how extreme and/or how often the head is subjected to the changes.
I'd think that the difference with a hairdryer or a flame is that we're dealing with concentrated and extreme heat applied at a very close range. Some hairdryers can reach 200 degrees, while fire, of course,, is substantially hotter. Both can do more than just remove dents from drumheads; they can melt them. That would definitely bring heads out of tune.
 

Captain Bash

Silver Member
This isn’t uncommon, for ease of load in and out I store my working kit in hardcases on racking in my garage. From transition of late autumn to winter (now) I definitely notice the toms go a little out of tune between playing (I keep my snares and cymbals in the main house as based on no evidence whatsoever I’ve decided these are more temp. sensitive). The toms are perfectly round and level and this phenomena doesn’t seem to influence the kick). So I am not sure if this occurs because of differences in contraction/expansion between shell and head or just one component. Its never caused a major problem (just a few tweaks with the key and…… we are back) but there again UK temps/humidity doesn’t go from scorching to well below freezing like in some US states. I doubt it wears the heads out, modern heads are very robust.

Probably not significant but the kit is Yamaha absolute custom noveau (birch 10, 12 toms, maple 16 floor and 22 kick) fitted with UV1 and UV2 respectively - she’s a keeper.
 
Top