There are a few things to consider when trying to choose the correct snare drum batter head, but certainly, no rules. Hopefully this info will help you get some insight on what’s what in choosing. A couple of questions that have come across the table to consider maybe,
- What style of music you play?
- What kind of sound do you desire to accomplish what works best in relation to what your playing?
Just like drum sticks, There are plenty of general purpose model drum heads that can cross the line from every drum head manufacturer that can be used. Consider what type of sound and durability your looking for out of the head with or without extraneous dampening, to get the most natural sound that the drum your using can achieve. No matter the quality of the snare drum your using, A nice snare batter head tuned correctly will make a big difference in the overall sound and feel of your playing.
Typically the menu to choose from includes single ply, double ply, and specialty heads in different weights with different textures with or without dampening or strengthening materials added in that accomplish a specific purpose.
Let’s take a look at what some of the major drum head manufacturers are offering to make some comparisons. Below are some of my favorites that I’ve experimented with. For now, I’m giving just the single ply heads options. Note: 1 mil equals one thousandth of an inch.
We’ll be exploring different models offered in future articles. At the end of the article there are some links to some popular drum tuning devices.
- Texture Coated Model 10: The Texture Coated drum head is a 10 mil single ply, medium weight head that produces a sensitive response with a warm tone.
- Modern Vintage: Thin or medium. Thin is a 7 mil thick articulate, most sensitive resonant traditional sounding batter head. The sound of this product emulates the characteristics of the old school CALF heads. Coated for brushes, with a Warm, and somewhat focused fundamental to the sound.
- Medium Modern Vintage: 10 mil. Thick. More durability and more mid range frequency for more mid range tuning fundamentals.
- Concert 5: Coated 5mil ply drum head designed for sensitive light snare drum playing. The Concert 5 offers an very sensitive sound and response with minimum durability. These are also available in a Fiberskyn models which offer a warmer darker sound.
- Diplomat: Coated single layer of 7.5-mil Mylar bright warm tones, resonance, less durable very sensitive.
- Ambassador: Single-ply Coated 10-mil Mylar film to produce a warm open bright,resonant sound with a warm attack. Coated to head for general all around musical applications. Also available in Renasissance, Fiberskyn or Suede.
- Ambassador X: Considerably thicker than the 10 mil for more durability and midrange. Coated.
- X14: Coated, single ply of 14 mil mylar. The most durable single ply.
Diplomats and Ambassador weights are also available in:
- Renaissance Models: Features a textured Resin surface in place of the traditional coating.
- Fiberskyn: Polyspun Fiber offering darker, warmer, midrange tones.
- Suede: Both Top and Bottom feature textured finishes. Delivers sustain, warm tone.
- G1 Coated: Single ply 10 mil, bright, and open sounding featuring the most sensitivity.
- G14: Single ply 14 mil, very durable for heavier hitters requiring more volume and projection.
- J1 Etched: Single ply 10mil. Great for brushes,and sensitivity. Plenty of overtone, offering a fat sweet spot in center. This model offers a textured Mylar not a sprayed on coating which wears very well.
Keeping Your Heads In Tune
No matter what head you decide on it’s equally important to make sure the head is evenly tuned from each point of tension (lugs) to the desired pitch to ensure the best sound possible. See my article on tuning your drums here.
If you have any questions about snare drum heads – 0r about drums in general – fee free to give me a call or drop me an email – Mike