rawhide heads

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
I have my heart set on a tom with rawhide heads. I am thinking more of the native american or conga head styles than the calf skin or remo fiber skin, I think this will complement my hand made native and oriental flutes pretty well.

Any suggestions on the tom hardware? Does the bearing edge matter, is there anything special in the hoop? It seems extra tensioner space might be nice. Would I be able to use the ring from a plastic head if I tuck my own, or do I need a special ring? What about moisture on the wood?
 

porter

Platinum Member
On the bearing edge: if you want max head sustain, get a fairly sharp 45 degree. But be aware that head sustain doesn't really project unless you're close to the drum, so i'd recommend something like a half-roundover with a 45 counter cut probably (though I have no idea what the usual is for a standalone tom). That will generally give you more shell sustain, good tuning assumed, which projects better.

Have you checked out Earthtone heads?
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
On the bearing edge: if you want max head sustain, get a fairly sharp 45 degree. But be aware that head sustain doesn't really project unless you're close to the drum, so i'd recommend something like a half-roundover with a 45 counter cut probably (though I have no idea what the usual is for a standalone tom). That will generally give you more shell sustain, good tuning assumed, which projects better.

Have you checked out Earthtone heads?
I saw those a while ago, they look like a pretty good option, though I was thinking of something a little heavier than calf skin. The paigu I have been playing, I am guessing are buffalo the sound is close to those lp tamboras, I presume the calfskin are thinner. The raw sheets look cheaper, with the exception of needing a ring.

https://furandhide.com/products/categories/rawhide-drum-heads
 

porter

Platinum Member
Hmm, yeah. If you want to make your own- by all means, go for it! Myself, I think drumheads are perhaps out of my 'manufacturing range', but if it'd save you some money & you think you could do it, go for it.
 

jodgey4

Silver Member
Go to Stern Tanning and see what they recommend, they offer many skins, tucked already or untucked.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
Hmm, yeah. If you want to make your own- by all means, go for it! Myself, I think drumheads are perhaps out of my 'manufacturing range', but if it'd save you some money & you think you could do it, go for it.
Not really manufacturing. I tried making a hand drum head out of a deer hide, but I didn't get the rawhide process correct, I figured out later that you aren't supposed soak the hide to remove the fur, because that opens the pores, and causes the head to be very sensitive to humidity. I wouldn't consider doing that again. These would just involve soaking for a night or so, tucking and trimming. Not that there won't be problems with this, but it isn't as complicated as treating the hides in the first place.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
One thing I find somewhat confusing, in this article on tucking, is that the skin was placed over the wood ring, whereas in congas and bongos, the skin goes under.

http://www.drummagazine.com/features/post/how-to-tuck-calfskin-heads/P6/

Having the skin go over the ring seems like it would be prone to unwrapping, I suppose when it gets stiff, it probably doesn't matter, but that doesn't seem great for tuning. Maybe they do it that way for rim height, or were the older wood hoops not great at holding it together against outward stress?
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
I have my heart set on a tom with rawhide heads. I am thinking more of the native american or conga head styles than the calf skin or remo fiber skin, I think this will complement my hand made native and oriental flutes pretty well.

Any suggestions on the tom hardware? Does the bearing edge matter, is there anything special in the hoop? It seems extra tensioner space might be nice. Would I be able to use the ring from a plastic head if I tuck my own, or do I need a special ring? What about moisture on the wood?
So, The head finished drying yesterday morning. It started to hold its tune by yesterday afternoon. After talking with the guy from the local music store who tucked bongo conga heads(we looked at the gap around the ring in relation to the hoop) I decided to go under the ring rather than over. Which seems to work OK, if and when I do it again, I would be careful to leave 3/8 to half an inch of overlap, I trimmed it fairly short, and an inch around the rim didn't get a great bite. I took the hoop off and rotated the head so it isn't directly next to a tensioner, and so the sound seems unaffected, if it becomes an issue, I think a little super glue would fix it.

The tone is amazing, reminds me of the powwow drums. I like it because the tone doesn't just die at lower volumes, like if you tap your finger on the head, also it seems I can get several of the circular drum modes out of it, which is what I wanted out of a single tom. If I had a whole stable of toms this could get time consuming. If this holds up well, I will definitely do it for my snare though.
 
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