Q: So, I should probably preface this by saying that in no way am I a drummer.
However, in my small studio, I have a drum kit that is available for use to my studio customers during sessions.
I’ve noticed that the heads are starting to look rather worn, but I don’t really know what “worn” means to a drum head.
I mean, my SM57’s don’t get replaced just because they have a little wer and tear.
Can you offer any insight on how often I should replace the heads?
A: Well, it’s rather impossible to give an exact answer (“after XXX number of hits…”) However, signs that it is time for new drumheads include:
• The coating is worn off a coated head.
• The head is severely dented.
• The head is “dished” into the drum, rather than being flat. This indicates the head has stretched.
• The head can’t be tuned to the pitch you want. This indicates the head has lost elasticity.
• You hear buzzing or distortion from the head. This means the head has stretched and is no longer in complete contact with the shell.
Most importantly, listen to what your drummers are saying and pay attention. If they’re talking about needing new heads and the set looks like something you wouldn’t play yourself, then it’s probably time to retool your kit.
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