Observation about tom and floor tom heads

mtarrani

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I am only now "discovering" this: if you are using coated ambassadors on your rack tom, and are using a square size floor tom (same depth and diameter; i.e., 14x14) and are struggling to get the floor tom right, try coated emperors on that drum. For me it was like waving a magic wand. To be sure, it was still a chore to get the rack and floor tom where I wanted them pitch-wise. The rack was not the culprit (and has never been in my experience.) Square size floor toms have been my nemesis my entire life.

Normally I only use three kinds of heads on my kits - all coated ambassadors (except for the snare side), all calf, or all Fiberskyn diplomats (except for the snare side). Calf has always magically worked for some reason. But the surprise came to me when I tried emperors on the floor tom.

Granted, other head brands and models may not be a problem. But if you favor ambassadors and experience the same frustration with floor toms, give emperors a try. One final note: weird floor tom sizes like my Yamaha Stage Custom Hip's 8 x 13 floor tom have never given me problems, so this probably does not apply. My Sonor AQ2's floor tom at 14" diameter x 13" deep is technically not square, but acts like it is, and that is the tom on which I discovered this tweak.
 

mtarrani

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Dotted heads on resnos work great too.
Lowers pitch.
I usually use heads in pairs: Ambassador as batter and reso, Emperor as batter and reso, etc. I do have one kit outfitted with Fiberskyn FDs on the batter side and Renaissance Diplomats on the reso side on the toms.
 

JazzDrumGuy

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Coated emperor on top for a 14"FT is a trick I learned years ago (and have posted here). It gives the FT a fatter sound and is an easy mod. I just did a 10x14 FT and it sounds great that way, not just on 14x14's....
 

RyanLovesDrums

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I am only now "discovering" this: if you are using coated ambassadors on your rack tom, and are using a square size floor tom (same depth and diameter; i.e., 14x14) and are struggling to get the floor tom right, try coated emperors on that drum. For me it was like waving a magic wand. To be sure, it was still a chore to get the rack and floor tom where I wanted them pitch-wise. The rack was not the culprit (and has never been in my experience.) Square size floor toms have been my nemesis my entire life.

Normally I only use three kinds of heads on my kits - all coated ambassadors (except for the snare side), all calf, or all Fiberskyn diplomats (except for the snare side). Calf has always magically worked for some reason. But the surprise came to me when I tried emperors on the floor tom.

Granted, other head brands and models may not be a problem. But if you favor ambassadors and experience the same frustration with floor toms, give emperors a try. One final note: weird floor tom sizes like my Yamaha Stage Custom Hip's 8 x 13 floor tom have never given me problems, so this probably does not apply. My Sonor AQ2's floor tom at 14" diameter x 13" deep is technically not square, but acts like it is, and that is the tom on which I discovered this tweak.
Your timing couldn’t be more perfect. I’ve been dealing with this with my 14x14 for a long time especially now since I’ve changed all my toms to coated ambassadors over coated ambassadors. I learned on this site to put cotton balls in the floor tom to muffle it a bit. It seems to help but maybe your idea is better with the coated emperor?
 

Ron_M

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Mike, just to add some detail to this thread, what specifically was the problem you were experiencing when using ambassadors (on a square-sized floor tom)?
 

TonyVazquez

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I've always favored the wetness of Remo Pinstripes, and Evans clear colored Hydraulic
batter heads; but a coated Emperor sounds great for deeper/larger drums if you want
a deep dry sound that also projects loudly.
I think I will try coated Emperors on my 12" rack tom and my 10" roto tom.

I have an old 14" Coated Emperor batter head that I used on my 14" floor tom,
and it made the tom sound a Deeeep dry tone that I liked.
The head was dirty with stick marks and a few slight dents, and Sharpie marker ink
from writing my set list on the drum head.
So, the head was about to go to the trash, BUT I saved it...

I sprayed Easy Off oven cleaner onto the head and let it sit for 10 minutes while I watched it,
and the oven cleaner loosened all the dirt and Sharpie ink. I then scoured and rinsed the head
under running hot water for a few minutes with a green scrubby pad.
Some of the coating got scrubbed off the head, but I didn't mind because the head was old.
After the hot rinse, I continued removing the coat with a rough gauge sanding sponge
until I could see through the head. The head is clean now, still a bit more coating to remove.
And then I will try to flatten the dents, under high tension, with a hair dryer.

If I remove the coating, and sand the surface lightly with fine grain sandpaper I can
achieve a "frosted" texture, for a warm dry attack...

CE-01.jpg



I will apply a very light sanding to the underside of the batter, for the "frosted" texture,
and to control the Diffusion of the resonance that is reflected from the reso head.
This could result in a short decay of the tone which is what I'm after...

CE-02.jpg


If I'm not mistaken, the Coated Emperor is a two-ply batter; and I can see a thin film of oil
in between the batter? that's Awesome!

I'll have to find my "Before" photo of my Coated Emperor head before the scrub down.
And I'll post it with photos of the head in its modified state.
I prefer to recycle/repurpose my old drum heads to get more mileage from them
or use them in other ways... sick as Attack pads and mufflers.
I apologize for going off-topic, I should've blogged this in its own thread as a DIY thing.
 

Deafmoon

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If the Emperor is too thick as it's a 2-ply head, try an Ambassador X. That's a couple mil thicker than an Ambassador and a couple mil thinner than the emperor. I generally use Emperor's on my 12 and 14 and love the low end I get. I do also one more thing, I use Aqaurian Dura Dot tone control on the drums. These are not like Moongel or Meinl Honey, they are reusable dots that can be played on when placed on the drum head to eliminate ring or change tone. I use the smaller clear dot adhered about an inch from the edge on the floor tom to take away some unwanted ring. The 5" dura dot is coated and the smaller 4: is clear. I use the 4" on the 14".
 

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mtarrani

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Mike, just to add some detail to this thread, what specifically was the problem you were experiencing when using ambassadors (on a square-sized floor tom)?
Getting the floor tom to the pitch separation at a lower level without it getting flappy. For example, I could get the rack tom dialed into where I wanted it, but struggled to get the floor tom's pitch to a complementary pitch level. When tuning high for bop I could easily get both toms to pitches that had a complementary separation with little problem. It was when I wanted to tune into the lower pitch regions where things became challenging.
 

fun2drum

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Just to complicate things a teeny bit more, I started using coated Vintage Emps on mine and I love the results. The difference between regular Emps and Vintage emps is definitely subtle, but I sense a little extra depth/warmth in the Vintage version. I also admit that it could all be my imagination playing tricks on me. lol
 

mtarrani

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Just to complicate things a teeny bit more, I started using coated Vintage Emps on mine and I love the results. The difference between regular Emps and Vintage emps is definitely subtle, but I sense a little extra depth/warmth in the Vintage version. I also admit that it could all be my imagination playing tricks on me. lol
Funny that you should mention that - I ordered three of those (14") last night from Sweetwater, They should be here Friday. The description caught my attention, and they were priced a few bucks lower than the plain vanilla Emperors. I did put Vintage Coated Ambassadors on my Sonor kit on the rack tom, which are two-ply versus the normal Ambassador single-ply construction and I could head the difference, so I think your imagination is not playing tricks on you.
 

TonyVazquez

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Ladies and Gentlemen, my former dirty old coated Emperor
is now a clean beautifully sanded "frosted" Emperor :-D

CE-03.jpg


It was a Workout scrubbing the dirty old coating off with a sanding sponge.
But that wasn't enough... so I sprayed more oven cleaner onto the head and let it sit
for another half hour... rinsed with hot water... scrubbed and scoured the coating
with coarse sandpaper, steel wool, a steel grill brush... by the time I got all that
coating scrubbed off I had Popeye arms!
The coating is factory-applied to the head... and it is Tough, and Durable!
After a tedious workout like this, I hope that I will never have to scrub the coating
off a drum head such as these Emperors.

I gave this sanded Emperor a few taps with my fingers and then with a drum stick,
and it still sounds dense as it did in its former factory-default condition.

I'll try this head on my 14" floor tom during my next band rehearsal.
But I'll continue using the current heads on my drums, because they're still new.

Later on when the time comes to replace my tom heads I will pick up a
full set of Coated Emperors.
I wish I had been using Emperors a long time ago, because they certainly have
a deep tone and punch that I want for my tubs.
 

017

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If I'm not mistaken, the Coated Emperor is a two-ply batter; and I can see a thin film of oil
in between the batter? that's Awesome!
No oil between the plies. It's just an optical illusion.
 

Seb77

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What I discovered regarding square size toms has to do with high tunings, but it should apply to lower tension as well: the method of tunign both heads the same didn't work as well as with shallower drums. The decay wa choked. Tuning the reso up about a wholestep remedied the problem.

Ambassador heads can sound great tuned low, but once you've used a head for high tuning, the collar is slightly distorted and you get a more open, barking tone at low tension. I recently got some new ones and marked them "low". If I feel tempted to go for high tuning on the same drum, I'll use some older heads.
 

TonyVazquez

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No oil between the plies. It's just an optical illusion.
Okurrrrrrr. That confirms what I saw when I handled the head,
that micro Pink Floyd illusion of "oil" between the plies.
Thanks for that link. :thumbup:

I know Evans has a thin film of oil in their clear colored Hydraulic heads;
and I haven't looked around to see if other drum head companies
may have copied the oil-between-plies design.
 


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