Want to change my heads

Mart61

Silver Member
Hi guys

I'm sure what I'm about to ask has been done to death and I have done a fair bit of searching and think I've found an answer.

I want to look at putting new heads on my toms and have decided to do it tom by tom. I'm going to do the 10" first. My research on here has led me to the following:

Batter - Remo Ambassador Coated
Reso - Remo Ambassador Clear

Does this make sense? I'm looking for an open sound with good resonance.

I don't fully understand the difference in tone between the coated and clear heads tho. Can anyone shed any light?

If I like whatever I fit to the 10" then I'll roll the chosen heads across the rest of the kit.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
That's pretty much the standard. You've probably looked around here, right?:
http://www.remo.com/portal/products/3/8/50/ds_coated.html

Those are single ply. If you want a little shorter sustain, with a little of the highest frequencies knocked off, you should go for Emperors up top.
Birch stage customs are bright drums that sustain a lot. I like 2 plys on them, but tastes vary.

Coated heads are a little 'warmer' than clears, they're better for brushes, and you can't see inside the drums - ha ha.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Batter - Remo Ambassador Coated
Reso - Remo Ambassador Clear

I'm looking for an open sound with good resonance.
This should do it. As wildbill stated, the coated head will warm up the sound.

IMO, if your drums don't sound good with Ambassadors, they won't sound good with anything else (there are some exceptions out there, but I've never experienced any first hand).
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
For your kit, I'm assuming you still have the stage custom birch, I would get some shiny new clear emperors or pinstripes/ec2. Birch drums like 2 ply heads. My Sonors def do and there's a reason recording customs and old birch designers all came with pinstripe heads. Also the aquarian response 2 heads are fairly warm.

Personally I think coated ambassadors suck as batter heads, I had them on my saturns recently. Unless you're a jazz player and you tweak them up high, then they're cool. Someone will surely come along and say I just don't know how to tune, but I'll say it - they're not always easy to tune, depends on the drums and how you like tuning too.

And since I'm being such a naysayer I will add that I noticed no difference when I went from clear to coated reso heads, but some fresh ambassadors/g1s will probably improve on the stock ones.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
A clear, 10 mil single ply head is the most lively your toms will ever be, with the exception of possibly 7 mil clear heads. But then you don't get as long of a note. 10 mil clear is all that drum is capable of a far as brightness of tone goes. It will have the most attack and overtones. All other heads are not quite as bright, meaning slightly muffled by comparison, even coated. You don't get warm without rolling off some high freqs.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
If I like whatever I fit to the 10" then I'll roll the chosen heads across the rest of the kit.
Marty, remember, heads will respond differently on different size drums, so what is appropriate for a 10" tom, may not necessarily be to your liking on a 16" floor tom. Room plays a big part too. If your room is lively, then a coated batter head might be a good choice.

Andy's default choice = Evans G2 clear batter - Evans G1 clear resonant. In all modern music forms, I'm yet to find a more consistently good starting point.
 

Mart61

Silver Member
Hi guys and thanks for your comments. All much appreciated.

I know it's not representative due to the variables involved but I found this on YouTube: http://youtu.be/f_4he6qZHGc

I must admit that I prefer the sound of the G1s over the Ambassadors on this particular test.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I know it's not representative due to the variables involved but I found this on YouTube: http://youtu.be/f_4he6qZHGc

I must admit that I prefer the sound of the G1s over the Ambassadors on this particular test.
I agree Marty, but non of them sounded great IMHO - maybe the drum, who knows :( I question tuning too, as there were clearly differences from one to another.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
The type of heads you get is going to depend on the sound you are alooking for and the style you're going to play.

I play jazz, so I tune my heads higher than rock players (although I keep them a little lower than most as I like some thump form the toms). I also use coated batter heads as I like the warmer sound and you pretty much need coated heads for brush work.

Here are somethings I would consider(I'm sure someone will tell me I'm wrong):

Ply:
- Single ply heads have a sensitive response and have bright complex overtones. These heads will be better for genres where you want some resonance and dynamics out of your toms (jazz, light rock, acoustic/folk...)
- 2 ply heads are way more durable than single ply heads and have a more focused sound without a great deal of high end. These are better for genres where you are hitting hard and want a less resonant sound (rock, funk, R&B...)

Coating:
- Clear heads produce a brighter sound with more attack
- Coated heads produce a warmer sound that is slightly more muffled than the clears

Muffling: (I've never used a head with muffling built in, so I could be wrong)
- Some drum heads use dots or rings to muffle the high pitched overtones of the drum and create a drier, more focused sound.

There are also specialty heads. I use the modern vintage line from Aquarian because they have a warm calfskin sound, and I love the sound they give me, there are plenty of vintage heads for rock and jazz from many different companies. There are also the hydraulic heads, which I've never used but based on what I've read here you NEVER want to use.

Once you put the heads on, the sound will vary depending on the tuning, the wood of the drum, and the type of sticks/brushes you use. I think what you are doing is the best way. Replace one tom first and see how it feels; give it a few weeks to break in and play around with the tunings to find what you like.
 

Mart61

Silver Member
Thanks again guys.

Andy - I know this is not perhaps possible but do you have any links to kits that, in your eyes (or rather ears), sound great? Perhaps I'm not comparing apples to apples.

Being a newbie I've also not heard too many kits in the flesh so to speak.
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
Marty, remember, heads will respond differently on different size drums, so what is appropriate for a 10" tom, may not necessarily be to your liking on a 16" floor tom.
Andy, as usual, is exactly right, and my experience leads me to suggest the following based on the sound you have specified:

Remo Ambassador Coated on the mounted toms
w/Ambassador clear resos
Remo Emperor Coated on the floor toms
w/Ambassador Clear resos

--OR--

Evans G1 Coated on the mounted toms
w/Evans G1 clear resos
Evans G2 Coated on the floor toms
w/Evans G1 Clear resos

GeeDeeEmm
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
I use Evans G1 Coated on my toms, batter side
with Evans G1 clear for the reso side.

Depending on the type of music I play and the room I play in I use dampening rings, Moongel or a little piece tape to dampen my drums as needed.
(I know, I know, the tape and/or Moongel look dumb.)

I think it is better to have loud open sounding drums, because you can always dampen them when needed.
If they are dampened by the heads you have on the drums, you can't easily and quickly "open them up" when needed.

.
 

Mart61

Silver Member
Thanks for all your input guys. I've changed direction a little and have just pressed buy on two rock kits of Evans G1s, coated for batter, clear for resos. Got all 6 heads for £49 which seemed a good deal averaging out at £8.17 per head.

I'll see how it goes on the floor tom Andy. If it works I'll be good to go. If not I'll only have to buy a one G2 and I'll be pretty much as per your suggested config.

They arrive tomorrow, yes Sunday, and I'll let you know how I get on.

:D
 

porter

Platinum Member
Andy's default choice = Evans G2 clear batter - Evans G1 clear resonant. In all modern music forms, I'm yet to find a more consistently good starting point.
Missed this thread. I agree with this above– finally went and got a set of clear G2s early this year and they were kind of a revelation. I've tried Super-2s (a little thinner) and a Force 10 on the floor tom (much thicker) and I think the G2s were the best still. However, I'm now trying out the Coated G2s and those are some really amazing heads as well. Hard to go wrong with Evans, IMO...
 

Stefan Brodsky

Senior Member
Mart-
I have a Remo coated Ambassador over a clear Ambassador on my 10" Yamaha Maple Custom Absolute Noveau. Works perfectly. Have been experimenting with different products, however on my 12" rack and 14" floor tom. Currently have an Aquarian Super 2 on the 12" and a Performance 2 on the 14". The Super is a tad dead, though does sound good when hit hard. The Performance 2 may not quite be dead enough for my tastes, though given the size of the FT (14" x 14") one is going to get a certain amount of ring, regardless of heads. Have gone thru both coated and black suede Remos, Evans G2 clears, and as mentioned the Aquarian Performance 2s. I may go back to the single ply Remo Ambassador on the 12" in the not too distant future. There are a lot of heads from which to choose, that's for sure, particularly when you look at the three major head manufacturers, all of whom make good products.
 
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Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Right, I've swapped out the heads on my toms and shot a video of (some of) the process.

If there's 10 minutes of your life you are willing to throw away, take a peek:

http://youtu.be/1YiXLOSgnvQ

:D
I like the sound of the new heads better than the old heads. Seems to have dampened a few of the overtones.
Although it might be only due to the tuning of the new heads.

For that room that you are in, I would dampen the heads a little with tape or Moongel.
But for live performance with a band I would leave them open like you have them.

.
 

Mart61

Silver Member
Thanks again for your comments guys - much appreciated.

I've heard a lot about tape and moongel. What is it and what does it do? Is it widely used?

Oh and the kit does look good with the G1s installed:

 
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porter

Platinum Member
Thanks again for your comments guys - much appreciated.

I've heard a lot about tape and moongel. What is it and what does it do? Is it widely used?

Oh and the kit does look good with the G1s installed:
Kit looks great!

Muffling is widely used, yes. It generally """focuses""" a drum's sounds, most often by reducing the high frequencies most prominent at the edge of a drum head, and reducing overall head sustain. Two-ply heads are essentially using each ply as muffling for the other. Much quicker than us trying to explain how exactly it affects a drum's sound, however, would be you experimenting with your own muffling techniques and figuring out what works for you ;) dollar store sticky hands are the same material as Moongel so you could try one of those if you are interested in a gel-based muffler.
 

Mart61

Silver Member
Thanks Porter. I'm not sure we have the gel hands of which you speak in England. Or do we? Any UK drummers know?
 
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