Heads for country music


Senior Member
Hey guys I'm just wondering if anyone out there has experience with drumming for country music. What heads do you use and what do you do to get that really short poppy sounding snare and deep, low resonating toms?


Senior Member
Hi there...

I subbed in a country band for quite a while - a great experience for me musically as it really broadened my drumming horizons...

For a classic country sound, I would recommend a Coated Remo Ambassador for your snare batter, tuned "medium tight" for a nice dry back-beat with an Ambassador snare side head - to take a bit more ring out depending on how dry a snare sound you want, add Moongel to taste.

For toms, I would go with coated Emperors on your batter side and clear Ambassadors on the resonant side. This setup should give you a nice warm rich tone if tuned properly.

you could also substitute the new Vintage Ambassadors all around on your batters - those are also a really great, warm sounding head.

If you are shooting for a more "early" country sound as opposed to more contemporary stuff - you could try some Remo Fiberskyn 3 heads which give a more 50's style drum kit sound IMO.

For your bass drum, I would stick with Clear or Coated Emperor, or Powerstroke 3 on the batter side and Ambassador weight on the reso side.


"Uncle Larry"
I used to be play drums for 2 country bands in the 80's. The heads you use does not a country drummer make. I'd recommend single ply coated or clear if that's the info you're really after. But I'd like to share my thoughts on the subject as a whole.

There are a lot of threads asking which head for what style, and this always tickles me. From where I'm sitting, you can play ANY drumkit with ANY heads, in ANY style you want, authentically. If you gave me a massive Terry Bozzio drumset with 2 ply heads and all moongelled up, I could still play country songs and have it sound authentic. If you gave me a be bop kit w/ a 16" bass drum and high tuned toms, I could punch out a killer rock beat with it. If you gave me a 26" bass drum and massive power toms with metal type cymbals I could play a useable jazz feel. The kit doesn't matter. It's the players ideas that dictate the style. All this is my opinion only, but I'll bet there's many who will agree.

Country drumming isn't known for a lot of toms. (Generally speaking of course) Mainly, it just keeps the beat so the the singer telling the story can shine through. Country drumming is very supportive type playing and not showcased again, generally speaking. All you really need is a kick, snare, hi hat, ride and crash. Toms are not ultra necessary, but they're nice to have around for certain things. You can definitely get by without them, so the heads aren't that important, IMO.
Actually getting back to your question, I feel that for ANY style of music, single ply heads make the drums sound the best. Two ply heads, while they may sound good to the drummer, sound bad (unmiced) to my ear from an audience perspective. And don't get me started about muffling. I hate that sound with a passion. I'm sorry if I seem a bit flip, but in essense, this question makes about as much sense to me as "what is the best drumkit color for playing country?"


Senior Member
Although I tried to supply some specific advice above... I do agree very much with Larry on this kind of thing...

It really depends on what sounds good to you ad what you think will sound best to the audience.

Head choice - and everything else about music in general is subjective - there are no hard and fast rules.... In my post above I was simply stating what worked from my past experience - yours may be completely different.. buy some heads and try them out... you'll quickly find out what works for YOU and what does not.


Junior Member
Single ply for snare. Like a Coated Ambassador, Coated CS, Controlled Sound X, Ambassador X, Ambassador X14, or a Powerstroke P3X don't go for a diplomat it's too thin.

Steady Freddy

Pioneer Member
I'm sorry if I seem a bit flip, but in essense, this question makes about as much sense to me as "what is the best drumkit color for playing country?"
Yeah no shit!! If there were only clear and coated, ambassadors and emperors, you could make your toms and snare sound great over a wide range of applications.

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Regardless of style, it's still about you think works.

I use coated over clear Ambassadors for everything. Everything!

For any kind of modern BD sound it's PS3s. If it's not cutting enough I might change the batter for a clear one. I obviosuly play around with the muffling for each room.

I may change tuning a bit on the toms, but with a 6-piece with toms tuned medium high I can do all the styles I generally need to do. Smaller kit? I just bring the toms that I think will work for that situation.

Unless it's something really crazy, it's not about the gear.

Cymbals, snare and snare tuning may be a bigger issue.