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SOLVED - How To Measure Drumheads: What All Drummers Must Remember SOLVED - How To Measure Drumheads: What All Drummers Must Remember

How To Measure Drumheads: What All Drummers Must Remember

These kinds of days, the markets offer all kinds of drumheads to drummers so you should be able to find something that fits your drums. That being said, due to the dimension restrictions, particular drums could only accept certain drumheads. As a result, if you don’t want to waste your hard-earned money then you need to know how to measure drumheads to decide which drumheads suit your drums. All in all, without knowing the size of the drumheads, it’s going to be tough to make informed purchases.  

So you plan to replace your current drumheads but don’t know what would be a good size for replacements? If that happens to be the case then you have come to the right place. Down below, you shall find pretty much everything that drummers must keep in mind once it comes to replacing drumheads.   

Determining The Size Of Drumheads: A Guide For First-Timers

In essence, measuring drumheads is a straightforward task but to get accurate measurements, you need to go through a few steps in a specific order. 

  • Step 1: Use a drum key (often included with the drums. You could also get one from the local music stores) to loosen the lug screws on top of your drums. In case you don’t know, the lug screws look rounded and the drum key is going to fit snugly on top of the screws.
  • Step 2: Once you manage to loosen the lug screws, proceed to gently remove the metal hoops as well as the original drumheads from your drums. That would leave you with the shells of the drums. 
  • Step 3: Grab a tape measure then carefully measure the diameter of the drum shell from the outside of the shells.  The number you get from that should tell you the exact size of the drumheads you need for your drums.   

In a usual drum kit, you have four drums: bass, snare, tom and floor. The sizes of these drums tend to be measured in inches. You could a few prominent options on the market underneath: 

  • Bass: 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26 and 28 inches 
  • Snare: 13 and 14 inches 
  • Tom: 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16 and 18 inches 
  • Floor: 14, 16 and 18 inches 

Replacing Drumheads: A Couple Of Tips And Tricks For Novices

Upon learning how to measure drumheads, you would have a general idea about what kind of drumheads your drums require. Still, if you expert optimized sounds from your drums then check out the following suggestions:


  • Think About Material And Thickness 


Throughout history, people have used lots of materials from natural to synthetic to make drumheads. Needless to say, different materials shall have different acoustic characteristics so it’s necessary that you refrain from buying randomly. In addition to that, the thickness of the drumheads themselves is something that you must keep in mind as well. Thin drumheads resonate fairly well which often brings out the overtone of the drums so they suit light music styles. In contrast, thick drumheads deliver reduced overtones and short sustains, excellent traits for rock genres.   


  • Pay Attention To The Coatings 


Many drummers stick to uncoated drumheads due to the pure sounds but others like to use drumheads that have coatings. Compared to uncoated drumheads, coated ones offer a few benefits. For instance, because of the coatings, coated drumheads have superior longevities, a major plus for those that just hate to replace the drumheads too frequently. Furthermore, drumheads with coating tend to muffle the drums a bit for more controlled sounds. Last but not least, the texture on coated drumheads permits a range of playing techniques thanks to much-increased frictions.   


  • Don’t Forget The Variations 


Manufacturers of drumhead these kinds of days come up with a variety of ways in order to create varied sounds. One of the most common procedures is the addition of sound control rings all along the edges of the drumheads. With the rings, bass drummers don’t have to manually muffle the drums which greatly facilitate preparations before live performances. As a result, if you hope to give a good account of yourself as a drummer, it’s widely advised that you consider the variations of the drumheads you use.  

Putting New Drumheads To Use

Once you get the drumheads you deem ideal for your drums, the only thing left for you to do is to hear how they sound. 

  • Step 1: Place the drumheads on the shells of the drums then proceed to replace the metal hoops on the top. Don’t worry if you feel the heads to be somewhat bigger for the shells as they would tighten down at the end without fail. 
  • Step 2: Move your hands along the metal hoops before tightening the lug screws by hand. That is more than enough to keep everything in place. 
  • Step 3: Use the drum key to thoroughly tighten the lug screws but avoid making more than a full turn as that causes uneven playing surface. If that happens, the tones of the sounds deviate considerably. In most cases, it’s strongly recommended that you tighten the screws in a star pattern: after you finish tightening one screw, move to the one laid direct across it. Use the same method in case you need to tweak the tune of the drums. 
  • Step 4: Test out the drumheads.  

Essential Issues While Using Drumheads

Overall, knowing how to measure drumheads definitely helps if you need to choose new drumheads. Nonetheless, if you want to get your money’s worth, it’s wise to keep an eye on these issues. 

  • Striking Angle Affect Life Expectancies: The life of your drumheads is going to shorten markedly in the cased your drum setup features huge striking angles. If you notice dents on your drum sticks, it’s time to think about how to reduce the strike angles. You should attempt to arrange all of your drums as flat as possible but still let you comfortably hit them.      
  • Proper Tunings Bring Significant Changes: The tones of the drums could change noticeably after every drumhead tuning so you need to think before you act. Take your style into account to decide if the tuning of drumheads would bring improvements. 
  • Sound Control Devices Work Wonders: feel that the sounds of your fully tuned drum still leave things to be desired? Then it’s a good idea to add sound control devices to your drums and see how things turn out. 

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