Heads and tuning are everything when it comes down to drums. Picking the right one for your drum set makes the differences between an instrument that plays amazing tunes and one that just makes an obnoxious amount of sound.
Because your choice in drumheads is as important as your choice of drum kit, you want to pay extra attention before coming to a buying decision. The quality of heads can make or break the sound you’re going for. You can completely transform you’re playing options with the right models involved.
You probably already know the selection for drumheads is very extensive. There are so many options – coated, clear, single, double ply, thin and thick. In this guide, we will cover a question that many beginning drummers struggle with: What is the best drumhead for you?
Elements To Consider
Before we jump into the types of heads let’s touch base on a few things you need to look for. Before you decide on a model you want to keep in mind brand, thickness, and budget.
- Brands – When it comes down to the manufacturer of your drumkit you want to go with a highly respected brand especially if you’re an experienced drummer. Two major manufactures are Evans and Remo.
- Thickness – Why is this important? It’s all about simple physics. The thickness of a head contributes greatly to the tone. Thicker heads are also more durable, louder, less sensitive, and offer more attack. Thinner options will be less durable, quieter, more sensitive, and offer less attack.
- Budget – Pricing from these models range to fit any budget. If you’re just beginning in the world of drums you may have a tighter budget than more experienced players. Keep price in mind when shopping. This will help narrow down your shopping selection. We assure you’ll be able to find a quality model at a good cost.
Having these elements in mind will help you narrow down your buying decision to the best model for you and your playing style. But you’ll still need to know a little more about the types of drumheads that are available.
Types Of Drumheads
Essentially there are 4 different types of drumheads you need to be aware of – single ply, double, ply, coated and clear ones. Then, of course, you have your specialty options which offer distinct tones and feels. At the end of the day finding the right drumhead for you is a matter of personal taste.
We hope this guide helps you decide and narrow down your shopping selection. Let’s touch on your different options:
The first drumhead we will touch base on is single ply options. They are the most basic and usually the thinnest type out there. They are made from a single layer of 10 mil Mylar, but you can find other thicknesses within this category like 3-mil snare side heads or 6-mil specialty tom heads. The 10 mil is most widely used among drummers.
Here are a few reasons you should go for single ply:
- They will resonate better
- Single plies are bright and help bring out overtones of a drum
- Perfect for lighter styles of music like jazz
The only downfall you may come across with this option is their durability. Single ply drumheads don’t last as long in rock settings. Even then, many players like the sound of a single ply on their drum set.
Next up are double ply drumheads which are more durable than single ply options. This option offers more attack, shorter sustains, and reduces overtones. They are great options for rock and similar styles where articulation and longevity are a must. The most basic double ply heads are made from two plies of 7-mil Mylar.
Coated and Clear Heads
Now we have gotten down to the debate of this post: which is best? Both coated and clear drumheads have their advantages and downfalls.
Coated drumheads can be sprayed with different types of clothing. For instance, some are sprayed with a translucent coating while others are coated a solid white or black. Others are etched to create a more textured surface. Why the difference in coating? It’s simple – the more mass that’s added to something the more it will vibrate creating a dampening effect.
Non-coated drumheads won’t offer this same effect. Instead, they will produce brighter sounds with control and more attack. You’ll notice that even when tuned to the same pitch, coated heads will offer a warmer tone than a non-coated option.
Here are a few other ways that they differ:
- Coated drumheads tend to muffle the sound a little bit while clear options offer brighter, more open sounds.
- Coated options are great options for snare drums and a must if you play with brushes. You won’t be able to achieve that sandpaper sound with a clear snare head.
- Coated tom heads make drums warmer than clear tom heads. However, clear models will offer more attack.
Which one is best for you comes down to personal taste, but it’s always a good idea to be informed of your options before buying. At the end of the day you don’t want to be stuck with a drumhead you don’t like.
Coated vs Clear? Up To You!
If you are a heavy hitter consider a double ply drumhead for more durability. If you are lighter with touch than you’ll get plenty of years out of a single ply model. Now, if you’re a drummer that is looking for an open and bright sound consider a clear single ply head. If you want the complete opposite then a double ply option is your best bet.
Coated vs Clear is always going to be debated, but the best choice really depends on each individual player. If you still don’t know which will be best for you, it’s best to get in your local store and test out your options. You’re already doing what you’re supposed to by researching, now try out a few choices for yourself!