Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A new pair of shoes part 1

I remember as a kid getting a new pair of shoes. It didn't really matter what brand they were, they just seemed to make me faster. I always think about asking my Dad to time me, to see how long it would take me to run around the house. He was usually there when I got back, and he would tell me that I had topped my old record and it had to be the shoes. It's the same with fresh heads. How many of us feel that our drums are not performing properly after weeks and months of playing without changing the very target of our abuse? Drum heads are plastic and are not meant to last forever. Like sneakers, tires, underwear, toothbrushes, and the comedy of Robin Williams, old drum heads need to be thrown out and replaced. I have the great honor of hosting 20-30 drum tuning nights a year in some of the finest drum shops in the US. It's amazing to me that while the talk about batter heads is fairly well received and nods of approval are quite common, but when the subject of changing resonant heads comes up and i recommend changing resonant tom heads every third time you change the batter, I become Frankenstein's Monster and the villagers are looking for torches and wooden rakes. The fact is, all of your tone is coming from the bottom head. Typically to get a fuller and warmer sound, the bottom head will be tuned higher, to bounce the vibration from the top head back up like a trampoline. The top head being looser will vibrate slower and allow to sound to die out without losing tone. Think of Matt Chamberlain on Edie Brickel's "Mama Help Me". The general feeling is that bottom heads don't get hit, so they don't need to be changed. The bottom head being tighter is vibrating at a higher rate than the batter causing the molecular structure of the plastic to break down, thus leading to a decrease in tone. Think of it as the soles of your shoes going smooth.
New heads mean a new or updated sound and allow for greater tuning range than worn heads. I have found that I have more confidence when I present myself better than normal, this falls into my rule of a shower every Thursday, whether I need it or not.
I have been building drums and tuning professionally for over a decade and dealt with a lot of inconsistencies with heads. I can honestly say that Evans has been a huge step in being able to find a sound and duplicate it consistently. My new pair of shoes is the G Plus. The G Plus is a 12 mil head but still a single ply. I get a very warm tone that holds up for me, better than a regular 10 mil head. Since I am such a huge fan of warm, organic tom sounds, I have started using the coated G Plus on the bottom head as well. I use thin shells. Thinner shells vibrate more than thick shells and have a longer voice. Adding 12 mil heads top and bottom darkens the tone and when combined with a thin shell, lengthens the note. I have looked for a head combination for years and have gotten close with coated G1's, but The G Plus allows me to do this every time. Please take the time to check out the site and find your sound at
I am still that kid with the new shoes. I run around the house every time to try something new to see if I am faster. I feel better and play better with fresh heads. When you make the investment in your gear, you invest in your sound and your skill. This is a new day and there are so many ways to improve your sound with Evans drum heads. Who knows, maybe my dad will time you.


  1. I got goose bumps after reading the first paragraph. It is as if you were writing about my dad and me. I used to do the same thing when I got a new pair of sneakers....and, I tell the story the same way. Too funny!
    I just bought a Gretsch Renown series kit. What would you advise as far as heads go? (10", 12" 14", and 20").
    Thanks for the info. it was very helpful. I can be reached at

  2. What an excellent father / son story. As a drum dept manager I get strange looks when I tell customers that they need to change their resonant drum heads. You can literally see the huge question mark over their heads. When ever I re-head a kit, I will ask questions about the sound my customer is looking for. Then I will make some suggestions. When I say "that will require new resonant heads", I am never shocked to see that lost look I get. But through education to my customers I do make some headway. And I am proud to say I get less of those lost looks than I use to.
    -Jeff Moore , Drum Dept. Manager at Brent's Music Headquarters ,Ft.Myers Fl.