How often should you change your Drum Heads?

The subject on changing drum heads is dependent on the personal preference of a drummer. Some players love the old beat-up sound of their drums while others prefer the sound of fresh new skins.

How often one should change their drum heads is a question I find to be wrongly asked because there are so many factors that come into play. It all comes down to one’s personal preference and budget. Some claim to change their drum heads after every show while others never change them at all.

I believe the best way to phrase this question should be when to change them. You should always change your drum heads and get fresh heads before going to the studio for a recording session. If you are on tour, doing gigs or simply just practicing you can change them out every three to six months.

Drum heads are most often made out of plastic, a material that doesn’t really ever go bad, but with time they weaken from all the hitting. In this article, we shall go through the various factors that could influence you to replace them.

Factors that could influence you to change your Drum Heads

Properly taking care of your instruments ensures they sound the way they are supposed to sound. These factors will help you know when it is time to change your drum heads.

1.      Ripped or Torn head

If you can put your fist through the drum head it is time to get a new one.

Some tears can be obvious while others are more subtle. If you are having trouble keeping your drum in tune, check along the collar of the head for tears. Even when you are not having trouble with your drums, it’s a good idea to check this area for tears from time to time especially if you move your drums around a lot.

2.      A pitted head

If your drum head is full of pits and dimples, it’s time to replace it. These pits more or less function like rips and tears just to a lesser degree.

A pitted head not only sounds worse and has less sustain but is also more difficult to tune. You might also find yourself getting pitted heads on your drums every time you play or perform. Should you change your drum heads every time you get a pitted head?

The answer is no. If you find yourself pitting drum heads frequently you are probably just using the wrong technique to hit your drums. Pitted drum heads are always a result of poor technique.

3.      Worn Out Coating

If you play on a coated drum head for long enough, you will eventually wear through the coating and be able to see the clear plastic underneath. Though the drum head is technically fine at this point, it should still sound fine and hold an even tension.

You buy coated drum heads for qualities such as the warmth of the sound and the ability to play brushes. So if the coating wears out, you won’t be able to get these qualities. Changing them should be the best option.

4.      Use your ears

Do your drums still sound the way you want them to? If they do then there is no need of replacing them.

5.      Type of Drum Head

Different drum heads wear out at different rates. You may find yourself playing the snare drum more often than the toms. So you will replace the snare drums twice as often as you do the toms.

For a Kick drum, the head can last a long time and you only need to change it when the beater wears out the center of the head.

Why should you change my drum heads?

Constantly beating drums make them lose their tone and responsiveness. After a long time drum heads overstretch and contort making them sound out of tune.

Loss of tone is the main reason behind replacing drum heads. Drums that are out of tune sound horrible and have harsh overtones that is unpleasant to the ear.

A summary on changing drum heads

FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE
Ripped or Torn head
 
A pitted head
 
Worn Out Coating
 
Use your ears
 
Type of Drum Head

 

TYPE OF DRUMMER
DURATION
Recording session
Before every recording session
Touring
Once or twice per tour/ every 6 months
Live gigs
Every couple of weeks/ every 3 months
Practice session
Every 6 months/ no need

 

Conclusion

How often you change your drums depends on your budget, preference and all the factors mentioned in this article. If you use drums for practice then you can use them till until they break. There is no need of wasting money changing drum heads that you only use for practice.

FAQs

How often should you change your drum heads?

I believe the best way to phrase this question should be when to change them. You should always change your drum heads and get fresh heads before going to the studio for a recording session. If you are on tour, doing gigs or simply just practicing you can change them out every three to six months.

Why should you change your drum heads?

Loss of tone is the main reason behind replacing drum heads. Drums that are out of tune sound horrible and have harsh overtones that is unpleasant to the ear.

Which factors play a role in replacing your drum head?

The factors that could make you change your drum heads include: Ripped or Torn head, a pitted head, worn out coating, type of drum head and using your ears.

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