Single ply batters


Platinum Member
For the last 30 years or so I've used 2-ply batters. Coated or clear, Emperor or G2 with clear Ambassador resos.

Last year I bought new heads top and bottom and got coated Emperors over coated Ambassadors. This was pretty experimental as far as I was concerned since I'd only ever used clear resos. I had just seen a Benny Greb clinic and that's what he was using, and I already knew that's what Bonham used, so I thought, "Why not?"

Turns out I didn't care for the extra warmth / dampening that the coated resos gave, so I got the idea for another experiment: go back to clear Ambassador resos, but try using the coated Ambassadors on the batters. Nothing too groundbreaking, so I made this head change last night.

Wow, I may never go back to 2-ply heads! I couldn't believe how much more snappy and full the drums sounded. I guess it makes sense since there's that heavy muted characteristic of a 2-ply head. It's funny in all these years I never tried running single ply batters. Who knew?!


Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I haven't either up to now but am waiting for the Evans G14 single ply 14 mil heads to come out before I buy new ones.


Platinum Member
That is surprising that you have never tried singles on top.
Single ply heads were the norm when I was growing up.
I prefer them to double too.


Silver Member
I think the single ply not only sound better, they play better. They have better response and rebound and they have great tone throughout a very wide (ppp to sfz) dynamic range. I never liked the feel of 2-ply heads. They feel like I am playing a milk carton.


I have two ply Emperor's on one limited edition kit, and coated Ambassador's on the other one. I like the two ply's much better. The singles are just too open sounding, and lack the attack. The singles would be good for Jazz and soft playing. Not much good for Rock in my opinion.


Form follows function. They now obviously have more options in manufacturing and films - making thicker one ply heads, getting the "best of both worlds" as many drummers comment. 2 ply could be in the dust bin on drum head history? After all, If you want more fullness, depth, volume (this covers most of us) and durability(the one nut 2 plus could crack) - 2 ply heads have become rather pointless, imho.


Silver Member
I'm sure you knew this, but was just not ready to switch until now. I'm donating new batters to my Church for their kit and chose to get pinstripes for now because I feel the kids aren't ready for open sounding toms. Maybe next year ...


Platinum Member

You did what I've almost done the last 6 months of thinking about it. Glad to hear it worked out great for you.



Staff member
I haven't either up to now but am waiting for the Evans G14 single ply 14 mil heads to come out before I buy new ones.
Me too, but I wasn't too impressed with the G+'s, so I'm cautious. 7mil heads just dent too easily for me on toms, but work beautifully on my snare batters. If anyone gets hold of the G14's, post here & let us all know how they work out.

Anyone know when they're due? Evansprez?


Platinum Member
I use EC1 Coated as batters on my Rock kit.
I believe that they are 13mil.
They are an interesting head,
The thick single ply has a lot of sustain and a real nice soft attack that sneaks up on you.
Evans has discontinued them.
I think that the G Plus replaced them.


Pioneer Member
It's interesting Mike that you haven't tried single ply batters before.

I've always used single ply. Recently I had the similar experience of trying out clear Emperors for the first time. I mean, I've played on them before but not on one of my kits.

I really liked the less open and meatier sound.

I think overall I prefer the single ply sound but I became enamored with the new/different sound, so I stuck with it for a little while.

I wish it wasn't such a pain in the ass to do quick head swaps.

Plus I wish I could spend more money on trying all the different heads out there. I really want a full set of those Aquarian Vintage single ply heads.


Platinum Member
Two ply heads were considered marching drum heads when I began playing in the late 60's.
A good drum kit came with coated Ambassadors top and bottom.
Everyone was going gaga over the new fangled single ply Clear and Black Dot heads.


Platinum Member
I guess I should revise my OP since back in the early '80s I had some black dots and Ludwig silver dots. I used Pinstripes on my drums when they became all the rage. After that, I defaulted to Emperors (or G2s). Ever since, I just assumed I need their durability. I played on other people's kits with single plys, just never on my own kit. Also, so many of those other kits weren't tuned well, so I never heard them shine.

It remains to be seen how they hold up over time, but for now, I'm really liking they way they sound and play. If they only last half as long, I think I'll be okay with that.


"Uncle Larry"
Single ply 10 mil heads on my toms seem to give me the best combination of attack and tone I like. 2 ply heads on the toms..I can hear the extra thickness of the head with the stick attack, and I don't prefer it. I like a good crisp slap with nice round bassy tone underneath.

Single plys dent easier, but it's worth it to me for the tone. I haven't tried ironing out my dented heads yet, but may give it a try. if I can get a few more months from them, it will be worth it.

Does anyone have any experience with ironing a dented head out? Is the tone acceptable? I am going to try this today.


What I don't understand is how did Emperor's over Ambassador's, or another company's equivalent, become the most popular head combo if nobody likes them. Kind of like the 22 x 18 bass drum. Do people just get tired of a good thing and want a change?


Silver Member
I find it hard to get the right sound out of a floor tom with single ply batter heads. Maybe it's just me experience or lack of?

The Edge

Senior Member
Has anyone tried the vintage Ambassadors? Do you like the coated or clears? Maybe ths would be a good compromise between Emperors and ambassadors


Gold Member
Im a single ply guy. I like the warmth, fulness of tone and brighter attack that a singly ply head produces. I just find all 2ply heads too muffled and dead sounding and lack the attack and fat full tone you can get from a single ply. As for the extra resonance of a single ply, I personally like a more open sounding drum because what you actually hear behind the kit is not what the crowd hears plus if its too resonant it can be controlled a lot easier than trying to add resonance to a dead one. I can see maybe using 2 plys on some entry level kits that can have a lot of unwanted odd harmonic overtones that can sometimes be very hard to control or tune out but on intermediate and high end kits with quality built shells I just dont see the point of killing that beautiful tone and resonance you spent the big bucks to have.
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