Should you ever replace your reso heads?

EyeByTwoMuchGeer

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I guess I'm in the minority in that I change reso heads a lot for live gigging purposes. You can get by in the studio with basically anything as long as you mic the stuff right and have a giant roll of gaff tape.

But, when I was gigging a lot and was playing primarily un-mic'd, I'd probably change all my tom heads after 30 gigs, so, maybe three times a year. I'd change the snare reso the same amount, and the batter probably 4 or 5 times a year. Kick batter heads, I'd basically only change if they got really worn at the beater (I didn't like using a patch). I usually used Fiberskyn kick reso heads, and they seem to last forever.

For me and my preferred tuning range (an average, medium tone), the reso head actually seemed more important than the batter head to the overall sound of the drum, so, I put a bit more emphasis on replacing and maintaining them. Almost any drum I've encountered that was 'untunable' had a crappy reso head. Even if you are shooting for a dead, dry sound, a good reso head is still just as vital (if not more so) than the batter for the body and tone. A fresh and proper reso can really help open your sound or, alternatively, focus your sound. It can dry it out, or add pleasing overtones. Chances are that if you find yourself using muffling rings, excessive amounts of tape, moon gels, felt rings, etc is because you've ignored your reso heads.

The effect isn't that apparent if you're primarily playing in a garage or a basement or some similar room with sub-optimal acoustics. But once you get that kit into a room that actually sounds good, the difference between a fresh, well tuned reso and an old one can be pretty dramatic.

Change your reso heads, yall!
 

gezz

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Only once in my 30+ years of playing have I ever replaced a real head on a New Kit.. Not once.
On a few second hand kits I have indeed changed the reso.
I have never had a single issue with loss of tone.. Projection or quality of sound.
To me it's a tad faddish and if you can't hear a difference why oh why would you spend money changing something that isn't broken/lost tone???
I'm of the leave it if it isn't broken..
I'm lucky with batter heads too as I not a hard hitter altho I DO change batters when I hear and see that it's no longer sounding good.

Gerry
 

CaptainCrunch

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Maybe because I tune tight, especially the resonant heads, it's not as critical for me. Maybe if you tune loose, going for a really fat low sound, it might make more of a difference. And maybe my ears are shot...
FWIW, I usually tune as low as the drum will let me and still get a note, and I'm on the same page as you.
Of course, I've done everything possible to ruin my ears as well.
 

TheBeachBoy

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The last time I changed the resos on my kits was when I changed over to coated heads. That was probably 10 years ago for my Exports and 6 years ago for my Catalina Clubs when I bought them. If the drums tune up and make a sound I like, I keep the heads, batter or reso. I finally swapped the batter heads on the Gretsch kit last year and that was more or less to replace the Vint Ambs with Vint. Emps for a different sound, not because the heads sounded bad. I put the old vint ambs on my new-to-me Rogers kit, so they're still seeing use. I gig 15 to 20 times a month, so they see a lot of stick time. Snare batter I do replace about every 6 months since it sees so much gig time and I use it with all three of my gigging kits. I haven't replaced the reso on that one in a few years though.
 

JazzDrumGuy

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Ever? Sure if they get damaged.

But do I? Probably never, unless I decide to actually change the heads to another type (like coated to clear, etc). Other than that, they just sit there and I can't imagine that much air (?) can damage/stretch a plastic/mylar head......
 

lrod1707

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If you have a situation like me, yes they should be changed. I have the crappy factory Remo UT's. I already changed the batters and the sound massively improved. Now I'm waiting for the rest of my order to arrive on Friday (my reso heads). I will be spending the weekend changing those out. I expect for an even more massive sound improvement.
 

Iristone

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Don't forget to add the cotton balls back after changing your floor tom reso.
Oddly enough my floor tom seems to have a short natural resonance, and I muffle my rack toms more to balance it.

To the OP - I find resonant heads sometime stretch irregularly and out of flat (round?). I guess I should have changed mine. They look and tune a bit weird, but sound perfectly fine. ;-)
Iristone
 

swarfrat

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My comment about the cotton balls was about 1 part irony about changing heads and then re-deadening them, and 2 parts just trying to be funny.
 
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Looks like I'm going to be the odd man out here.
The short answer is "yes" (IMO) - you should change your reso heads.
For me, I notice a much more even tone and ease of tuning with fresh reso heads.
So, I change mine 3 or 4 times a year.

Billy G.
 

Obiwandrumobe

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Every third Thursday of every second month of every fourth year.
 

LFBarfe

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Until a couple of years ago, the reso heads on my kit were the clear Ambassadors I'd put on the batter sides in 1991 and swapped out four years later when I went to Emperors. When I rewrapped the kit, I replaced all the resos with clear Code DNAs. Then early this year, I put coated Aquarians (the offshore Galaxy ones, at that) on the bottom of the 12 and 14 toms. I suspect they'll stay that way for a few years now. The drums sound great. Also, I love finding obscure old discontinued old heads on reso sides.
 

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