How Often Do You Change Your Resonant Heads?

cbphoto

Gold Member
How often?

It seems I change out my snare reso head more freqeuntly than any other reso head, maybe once every year. Then toms, maybe once every two or three years. Now, after a few decades, I’m looking at new bass drum reso heads.

Checking out the vast array of bass drum reso head selections is feeling like a chore today. I’m considering an Evans EQ3 with port, but I’d like to hear what y’all have tried.
 

C.M. Jones

Drum Authority
I change tom resos about once a year, sometimes twice depending on the circumstances. My bass reso, which invariably bears a Pearl logo, remains in place for several years unless damage occurs, which has only happened once if I recall correctly. A small tear formed near the porthole after frequent mic insertion and removal. Rushed engineers can get careless.

With regard to snare resos, I've gravitated as of late toward the Diplomat Hazy, a thin 2mil. I suspect I'll be changing it more frequently than I would a 3mil. Only time will tell.
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
When I was in high school, I created a rule for myself that I would change out snare resos every two batters, tom resos every three batters, and bass drum resos like every few years. I used to rehead my drums all the time in college and early 20's, but now at this point snare heads stay on for literal years. I still try and follow that rule, but for example, on my main Sonors, my tom resos are pretty old at this point, maybe 5-6 years old?
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
By definition and function, a reso head is intended to vibrate. As such, the resos on kicks, toms and snares have somewhat different requirements and lifespans.

For me, kick resos almost never get changed. They're never tuned very high, so they maintain elasticity and vibrate well, seemingly forever. It would have to get irreparably dirty or damaged, or I would need a different type of head or maybe a different graphic, or perhaps it's a vintage original head that I want to preserve, before I would change it.

My tom resos get tensioned a little tighter as a rule, but still very elastic. I may go five or six years between changes.

However, snare side heads are tightened quite high on most of my snares, I would even say taut. They still vibrate, but the elasticity is reduced, and definitely wanes over time. Given the significant role the reso plays to the snare sound, I will change them every few years. On my touring kit, the snare starts with a fresh reso at the beginning of the tour, so it stays on for two-three years.

There was undoubtedly a point where I was more diligent about changing resos, but when I didn't hear a difference, I gradually let them go longer in order to save money and time, and also not interrupt an already good-sounding drum.

Of course, YMMV
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Great comments and I agree the degree of tension really determines the life of a head. A kick reso will last a long time and batter head would too if not for one spot- or two if double pedal. I think a high tuned bop I’d probably change batter and reso whenever batter was up. I always change both batter and reso on snares- they both have tension and wear and tear. Snare heads are funny to me - I wouldn’t change one right before a gig cause it seems like it takes a day or two to settle in like I like it. Sounds great so you play awhile- but you may crank a quarter turn on batter and/or reso too. So they stretch out in time- some people like it - almost like hammering a cymbal they hammer the Mylar. The orchestral snare guy in the orchestra I played would never change his heads. The snare did always sound good but he was really good too. It had one time been a coated head but all that long gone and a new opaque patina from stick marks and dings- I kid you not.
 
About every two years when the batter heads have become too dirty and the coating is gone, I change them and the resonant heads.
That means the old batter heads go on the bottom and the fresher looking resonant heads move to the top. Hooray for using Ambassadors top and bottom! :p

(I actually rarely change heads, but can't provide any numbers)
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
There was undoubtedly a point where I was more diligent about changing resos, but when I didn't hear a difference, I gradually let them go longer in order to save money and time, and also not interrupt an already good-sounding drum.

Bermuda let the secret out. "When I didn't hear a difference". That should tell you how often to change the reso head.

.
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
On my snare, I would say every year or two, on my bass drum, only when it gets damaged. For my toms it is different, batter and reso are identical : clear G1, so I put brand new reso and put the old reso as batter when the batter needs a change. The change happens then more often since G1 as batter aren’t very durable on toms.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Bermuda let the secret out. "When I didn't hear a difference". That should tell you how often to change the reso head.

.

To clarify, I meant that if I changed a reso head, and then didn't hear a difference, I knew I had changed it too soon. :)
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
To clarify, I meant that if I changed a reso head, and then didn't hear a difference, I knew I had changed it too soon. :)
My bad. This is exactly what I meant by my comment. You learned that you did not need to change the reso head so often.

.
 

iCe

Senior Member
The reso head on my Masters BCX (and also the Vision VBA, but that one is in storage now) are still the same. Got the BCX in 2013 or 2014 i believe and the second bass drum in 2016/2017 (didn't start using until the end of 2019) and did change the batter heads, but never the reso heads. Changing heads can be quite expensive and wanted to switch to Gold Starfire or the Red PS3 Colortone at some time, but i have the perfect bass drum sound now and too afraid to change it. I like a short and punchy bass sound, so not too busy with the reso heads on my bass drum.

On my toms I've never changed them (only time was when i slapped Evans heads on before reverting back to Remo and using the 'old' reso heads).

On my main snare i do start to notice a loss of sensitivity and volume for the last few weeks. Changed the batter heads often since i tune them high and after a few years the head doesn't sound good anymore, but i think that it's now time to change te reso head on the snare as well.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Platinum Member
hmm, I might get in trouble with the purists, but my tom resos are 27 years old (Remo Ambassador Clears). They have been through numerous studio and live gigs in that time, and I have never felt the need to change them. Like Bermuda mentioned, they do not get cranked up, so they still have life

my snare resos last me about 2 years, and the kick reso only got changed because the mic port hole got ripped really bad on stage at a show

the batter heads get changed as they need...my current snare batter head was new in 2001, and still sounds fine. I crank it way high up- a la Stewart Copland - and it is just seated well. I still can't believe it is on there



snr1.jpg

snr2.jpg
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
Some good answers. I bought these when the local drum shop was purging their inventory before shutdown. Going on tonight.
 

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KirbyM

Senior Member
About every 3 years or 3000 miles, whichever comes first. :)

I usually do batters once every year or so.

If I have a pancake snare and I replace the batter, do I get pancake batter?

If I have a popcorn snare do I use butter on it?
Someone needs to make a head called "Pancake Batter" that is specifically marketed for pancake snares.
 
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