Head trick learned from my drum teacher many years ago...

michaelg

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Put your head in the freezer for a week. When you take it out, chant incantations for four minutes, then spin around in a circle three times. Now, your rest head is "broken in" and ready to be stretched to your desired tightness. That's how. plastic works. It's magic.
I found that 3 minutes works equally as well as 4 in a pinch.
 

GeneZ

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I would stretch any new head by pressing with the palm of my hand to get the collar to conform to the edge. I wouldn't tune it higher than where you want to use it at, since this shifts the collar toward the center of the head.
That's just breaking in the glue (if your heads are glued). Tuning them accurately all around takes care of the collar conformity. Playing on them on top first makes them gain a certain flexibility that un-played heads never develop. It just worked. I did not like what I heard while breaking them in because they needed to be tuned a bit on the tight side...
 

GeneZ

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I like the concept, makes sense the same way a guitarist would stretch his strings a tad as he's tuning for the first time or a woodwinds player getting that reed nice and wet before he starts blowing. break it in.
I think it should be broken in and seated on the bearing edge where its going to be used however, switching from one side to the other seems to defeat the purpose
Heads are more flexible in that regards than we give them credit for. Do not studio drummers switch top heads freely for recording purposes?
 

kallen49

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I watched Bill Bruford tune a kit at a clinic, never mind palm, he used his knee to stretch the heads before he tuned up. He told me later his “dream” would be to play the same kit every night but Tama could not afford to ship drums from clinic to clinic.
Heres a clip of that clinic,

 

GeneZ

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Gene,

Is this your teacher?

That's the band leader he played with at some point. Paul Whitman was "the man" in the industry that day to play with. I took lessons circa 1964. I had no idea this was the case until I did a internet search. I also have a picture of my drum teacher found in an old Gretsch drum catalog. I had no idea. My dad was a very good professional musician in the 30's and 40's. He was the one who arranged for me to take lessons with Sam Ellner... Sam was playing Rogers in that day.
 

ConvertedLudwigPlayer

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I have had kits from the 60's and 70's that I bought a few years ago with well played heads on the batter and reso that sounded incredible. I felt no need to rush to change the heads, so I didn't.
 

GeeDeeEmm

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You figure that one out.... ;)
I've tried that little experiment, if you are talking about true snare side diplomats. The sound is flappy and buzzy. That didn't work out at all.

GeeDeeEmm
 

gwbasley

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I seem to recall back in the 60s, you hopefully started out with a new set of drums. You played on those heads until they were completely worn out and then you made the switch. We couldn't afford new heads when you only made $20 to $25 a night. The only source for something new was that fresh head on the reso side.

What happened next was the 70s, when everyone took those crappy resos off and left them off...it actually sounded better that way. plus, it made them louder.

Sam Ellner's method was a great method to achieve a good drum sound when we consider what he had to work with. Lets face it, we are totally spoiled today with all the choices available. To put things in the proper perspective, try to wrap your head around having nothing but Remo Ambassadors to work with...no Diplomats, no Emps, no CS, Evans, Aquarian....etc....nothing but Coated Ambassadors. In the 60s, the only heads available were medium weight heads which were made by only a couple of manufacturers. As far as retail, for the most part, you had to buy what you could find at the Mom and Pap shops. This is what Sam Ellner and many other professional drummers who came up from the Big Band era, had to work with.

I salute guys like these...they figured out ways to get the most out of the limited resources they had at the time.
 

ThomFloor

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For today they make heads for those who do not have the feel for tuning..and can guarantee a decent generic sound. That's the way its become today.
The feel for tuning is the same, human ears neither evolved or devolved.
Remo Ambassador is still the most popular head and has remained unchanged for decades.
 

Markkuliini

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I seem to recall back in the 60s, you hopefully started out with a new set of drums. You played on those heads until they were completely worn out and then you made the switch. We couldn't afford new heads when you only made $20 to $25 a night. The only source for something new was that fresh head on the reso side.

What happened next was the 70s, when everyone took those crappy resos off and left them off...it actually sounded better that way. plus, it made them louder.

Sam Ellner's method was a great method to achieve a good drum sound when we consider what he had to work with. Lets face it, we are totally spoiled today with all the choices available. To put things in the proper perspective, try to wrap your head around having nothing but Remo Ambassadors to work with...no Diplomats, no Emps, no CS, Evans, Aquarian....etc....nothing but Coated Ambassadors. In the 60s, the only heads available were medium weight heads which were made by only a couple of manufacturers. As far as retail, for the most part, you had to buy what you could find at the Mom and Pap shops. This is what Sam Ellner and many other professional drummers who came up from the Big Band era, had to work with.

I salute guys like these...they figured out ways to get the most out of the limited resources they had at the time.
According to this discussion there were actually 3 different thicknesses available in the 60's but for instance Emperor was not the true 2 ply head back then, until the modern version was introduced in 1969.

Oh, I would be very happy playing with such a limited selection. It's actually what I already do. Pretty much coated Remo ambassadors top and bottom, maybe an Emperor on the floor tom and bass drum batter. B)
 

Iristone

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Use concert toms and you don't have to worry about resos! :)
I cut large holes into my (too old and stretched anyway) reso head to protect my bearing edges. Sounds cool but have yet to get used to the less bouncy feel. :wink:
 

Pounder

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That concept could be used. To have a used head become the resonant head. There is some truth the the notion that playing a head activates the molecules in the drum head material.
 

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