How to Choose the Right Drumheads

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by Lindsay Artkop (@lindsayartkop)

If you’ve ever bought a brand new drum set, the first thing you probably wanted to do was change the low quality stock heads. Most brands pair their drums with placeholder heads, because they know that every drummer has their own preferences. Elements like coating and feel, Plys, built in dampenings and thickness, play big roles in defining a drum head sound. Here is a breakdown of how these ingredients characterize several groups of heads from Evans, including the Basic Upgrade Kit, Rock, Studio, Low and Thuddy drum heads selections.

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The Basic Go-To Upgrade Kit features the EMAD and EQ3 Ported bass heads, the Genera Dry and Snare Side 300 snare heads, and the  G2, G1 tom heads. This head combo is a popular choice amongst Pop, Gospel, or Rock players, because it’s durable, punchy, and has great low frequency response. EMAD is the bass drum batter head; its name stands for Externally Mounted Adjustable Damping system. There is a piece of removable foam that sits against the bass drum head to dampen the overtones and shorten the sustain. This head pairs well with the EQ3 Ported resonant bass drum head, which is constructed of 7mil ply, and includes a 5″ microphone port with an internal control ring. This ring is great because it allows air to escape the drum, and it’s easy to stick a microphone inside for studio applications. It gives a deep and attack driven sound with a short sustain. The Genera Dry is a versatile dry head because it’s coated with a built in 2mil overtone control ring. It pairs well with the standard Snare Side 300 resonant head. The Evans G2s are a classic choice for toms because they’re consistent, durable, and sound full and direct. The G1s are more resonant and bright, so they add a nice contrast when paired with the G2s.

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The Rock kit includes the EMAD 2 and EMAD Reso bass heads, the ST Dry and Snare Side 300 snare heads, and the UV2 and Genera Reso tom heads. The EMAD 2 is similar to the EMAD, except it has two plys instead of one. The EMAD Reso is made of a 7.5 mil single ply head, and also includes a mic port. It sounds punchy and compressed, with great low frequency response. The Evans Super Tough Dry snare drumhead is two-ply film with holes along the circumference of the head. These holes vent out overtones and lessen sustain. The UV2s are a development from the UV1s, and are a great 2 ply durable drum head. The Genera Resos are made of a single 10mil film, and produce an open and lively sound.

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The Studio kit includes the EMAD and EQ3 Ported bass heads, the HD Dry and Snare Side 300 snare heads, and the EC2S and Reso 7 tom heads. Studio drummers need heads that are manageable to tune and can cut through the mix, without adding out-of-control overtones. This package provides just that. The HD Dry on the snare drum is a very tough 2 ply head that has a focused attack, with minimal overtones. It’s vented and has a balanced sound. The EC2S tom heads are clear 7-mil, 2 ply drum heads. The built in rings control edge vibration, which lessen the unwanted high frequencies. The Evans Reso 7 resonant heads provide warmth, have a full tuning range, and a shortened sustain.

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The Low And Thuddy kit includes the Hydraulic and EQ3 Ported bass heads, the Hydraulic Coated and Snare Side 300 snare heads, and the Hydraulic and G1 tom heads. This is a combination of the most dampened drum heads Evans offers. It’s great for drummers that need short and fat sounds, and these heads are super easy to tune. The Hydraulic series are heads that are constructed with oil in between the plys, which further dampens the sound. This makes for a classic 1970’s style rock sound. These are very thuddy, short, deep, and fat. The Hydraulic Coated snare head is similarly constructed, so it also produces great attack and low end response. The Hydrualics also have a really cool aesthetic, coming in different color options, like red and blue.

As you can gather, the sound of a drum head is largely defined by its overall thickness. Thin heads emphasize higher frequencies and have a more sensitive response. Most Jazz drummers prefer thin heads because of these characteristics. Thicker heads emphasize mid and low frequencies, that provide durability and a bigger sound.That is why many rock drummers prefer thicker heads. There is a whole spectrum in between both ends of these extremes. Choosing the heads you like most will be determined by the genres you play, your own preferences that develop overtime, and your individual playing style. Continually experiment with drum heads to find the products that work for you. Tuning, and the makeup of your specific drums will also add factors that determine how the head resonates on your set up. The Basic Upgrade Kit, Rock, Studio, Low and Thuddy drum heads from Evans provide a variety of options to choose from!

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