Heads for single-headed toms?


Silver Member
I'd like some suggestions for heads to go on shallow, single-headed toms. I did a search on youtube and nothing significant came up.

I used Pinstripes and then Hydraulics on a full set (8-22) of Remo Legaro drums 20 years ago. The Hydraulics worked okay. Just so muted.

On this current set-up I have just used Attack single ply I had with me. Kind of 'papery' sounding. Tough to tune and get the sour overtones out on some of the toms. I love them on my regular set-up but, not this new rig.

I got some Hydraulics again, and also some G12s. They came yesterday. The 12s sound great on some sizes and very strange on others when trying to match up a tonal range for all the toms (6-14). The Hydraulics get mixed results, as well, and even if I could find a decent tonal range for all the drums the soft sound is not to my liking. Sounds like I'm playing with mallets.

Anyone with experience with single-headed toms? I'm not a twin-ply user normally. I can see I'm probably going to have to use them unless I get some G14s, which I'm considering.


Platinum Member
I haven't used single-headed toms for years, but my favorite used to be black dots. I used to tape a little pad of paper towel to the head, which was low tech but nice because I could vary the amount of damping until it was just right for that drum.


Platinum Member
Another vote for Controlled Sound (Black Dots). I've also used Powerstroke3 and Pinstripes on concert toms.​


Senior Member
I would give the G14s a go. Keep in mind that the G14, in my experience on double-headed normal toms, does not work too well on smaller sizes. I would keep G12s on anything smaller than 12". 12" and larger, I think you'll like them.

I'm waiting for Bermuda to chime in on this with some other suggestions any minute now...

Matt Bo Eder

My first concert Tom kit also had a black dots! I did venture to pinstripes too and those got closer to a less-ringy sound, but that's as far as I went before I got a double-headed kit 😳


Silver Member
Bermuda mentions Hydraulics and Ludwig Silver Dots at his concert tom page, as far as what was used when concert toms came into use in the 70s.

Quite an endorsement of Dot heads here. I have never used them in 50 years of drumming. Guess I'll give them a try.

Actually, I have gotten a pretty decent tonal range with the G12s for every drum but the 10." The head is just dead or real sour no matter where I go with it. I tried to get a decent tone out of it and then match the rest to it. No go. The head is just a dud. Possibly it just left the factory as one.

I also wrote to Evans for some suggestions. Got a reply from them that the quest will be passed along to others in the know and I should get something Tuesday with some ideas.

Thanks for the replies.


Silver Member
Just a nice follow-up.

I got a good tone out of each G12, except for the 10," which is just a dud.

I wrote to Evans and asked about heads for single headed toms and mentioned the 10" dud. They suggested the G12s as well and are going to replace the 10" head for me.

Good deal.


Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I personally would avoid a dot head on an open tom. The dot accentuates the harmonics a bit, which increases the perceived attack (and volume,) which is why those heads were considered louder. A concert tom definitely doesn't need more attack, lest it get too thin and bang-y.

With a single head, you can really hear the differences between the various types available. 1-ply heads really speak, 2-ply are punchier, and the differences between clear and coated are also more obvious. So, head choice really depends on the desired sound.

I use a coated 1-ply (Evans Strata1000) on my Blaemire toms, and EC2 Clear on my Vistalite toms, and they both sound great for the sounds I want. The EC2s are bit more '70s rock, and the Stratas are a bit more '70s pop (a la Hal Blaine's tracks.)

As for different sizes sounding different, they do. An 8" tom with a 2-ply head is not going to have the same voice as the 14" with the same head. That applies to double-headed toms as well, but the single headed drum is more revealing of those differences.


Matt Bo Eder

What did Phil Collins use? Clear Ambassadors? Maybe just get those?


Silver Member
I have found the G12s to be an overall good choice and I'm glad I got them. Just enough thickness to take out unwanted overtones.

Of course, the vibration levels are different from tom to tom. The 6" still sounds pretty good though, despite the quick voice. I am really pleased with the sustain of the 8," actually. It's short but, there. I didn't think there'd be much of anything. The tone is musical, staccato as it is. The 12, 13 and 14 sound the nicest. Very round, daaaooom sound. I should be able to get that from the 10," to some degree, as well. I'm close with the head now but the sour overtones are crazy. I've never heard the likes of it. 10" heads have always been the easiest to tune up for me. I'll see when the new head arrives.

Bear in mind the "shells" are only 1.5" deep. I'll have to post something to show you what I'm up to, which I will in a day or two. Just need to finish up some cymbal and effects placements on the set-up.

The 12 mil are a great head. I might try some regular 10 mil entries with sound dampening properties in the future - Attack sound rim, dots, etc. 7 or 7.5 mil not so much. I know I play with a little too much force to keep those happy. Maybe I'll go for Pinstripes, too, some EC2s. We'll see. I have an EC2 on the 10" snare. Works pretty well. I broke the Attack 10 mil I had on it so ... had to bring in reinforcements. For now the 12s will work fine on the toms.

Thank you for the replies.