Custom front bass drums heads…maybe don’t sound that good?

John Q. Drummer

Well-known member
(Not looking to trash any of the providers of these items. Simply looking for potential affirmation on my suspicions.)

I’ve ordered custom front bass drum heads for current gigging kit from both VintageLogos and DrumArt. I’m very pleased with the price, turnaround time and durability of the heads I’ve purchased from either place, except for one tiny issue…

Man, they just don’t make my bass drums sound as good as I know they can. I’ve discovered the hard way that I have to tune those front heads differently than I would if I wasn’t using a custom head.

My bass drums are predominately 20”, but I have ordered and used a couple of 22” heads in the past. All custom front heads are non-ported and have full artwork. My bass drums are usually minimally muffled. (Meaning that most times there is a pad installed but not touching either head. Simply there to focus the sound, reduce to the airiness or get rid of the “basketball” sound.) All of my gigging kits have the Kelly Shu installed.

Based on my experience, I’m thinking that the artwork is adding substantial mass to the head, which in turn deadens the head to a point that I have to tighten it up much higher to get the bass drum to sound “acceptable”. I’m not, nor have I ever been a JAW tuner for my bass drum. It’s always around a half turn higher than that with regular, non-artwork heads. (Which is usually a Remo Smooth White PS3.)

Anyone else ever observe something similar with your custom front bass drum heads? Got any tips?
 

FritzDrummer

Senior Member
I used my custom bass drum head for the first time this weekend for a gig and noticed the same thing. Any bass drum I have ever gigged with sounded amazing, usually 22". My gigging kit now has a 20". I usually use an Emad or Superkick 2 batter with a coated Remo PS3 and when changing heads, Ican dial in my ideal sound fairly quickly. I was setting up at the gig and hit it a few times and was not thrilled by the sound what so ever. I got to a point where I didn't mind it too much but if it was mic'd, I would have been spending much more time on it because it was not in that sweet spot I like it to be in.

Luckily we trigger the kick for this band so it is a mute point what the kick really sounds like, but it really frustrated me that I couldn't dial in the sound I am so use to achieving. Also, I am use to using a ported head and since we trigger the kick, the logo head obviously has no reason to be ported. Obviously this makes a big difference as well.

So yes, I definitely agree that it changed the tuning significantly for me. Most likely due to the weight/thickness of the printing. I will be playing around with it before our next gig to try to get it to a spot I am more happy with.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I've had only one customized bass resonant. It featured the logo of the band I was in at the time. I got it at the behest of the band's manager. Otherwise, I wouldn't have bothered. I'd rather just have a Pearl logo.

As I remember, I bought a Remo Ambassador Coated 22" and turned it over to the manager. She took it to a screen-print shop, and that was that. I don't recall a change in sound or the need to tune it differently. The logo didn't take up the entire head, however. It was pretty compact compared to the artwork on some custom bass heads I've seen.
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
I've use one from vintage logo on my 20, it is a 14 by 20 and I'm quite happy with it. I ported it with a hole about a 1/2 inch bigger than my Beta 52 Mic. I have a black Emad one on the batter side
 

The Shepherd

Well-known member
Where does Roger Taylor get his custom reso heads from?
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
When you order a custom head from VintageLogos or DrumArt can you specify a particular make and model head?

It seems to me the best idea, (like C.M. Jones said) is to supply them the blank head of your choice with a hole already cut out.


.
 

KEEF

Senior Member
I got mine from Drumart... they had a small selection of heads to choose from and you can have it ported or not.
Nothing weird about the sound, just tuned as usual.
 

Bozozoid

Well-known member
My tip is, If you can do it yourself go for it and yeah probably not covering the whole head with paint / ink is preferable but not always possible.. do you know what kind of paint they used? here's one I did..View attachment 107985
One of the coolest heads I've seen..youve got major talent!. With some of my reso's I've had the Sonor logo put on I got from ebay..a paiste script logo I carefully cut from a full rectangle sticker and a Vic Firth logo sent to me from the company and just THOSE changed the tone so I can only imagine what full artwork would do which is why I've always stayed away from. I'm blown away by your artwork paradiddle Pete...WOW.
 

John Q. Drummer

Well-known member
When you order a custom head from VintageLogos or DrumArt can you specify a particular make and model head?

It seems to me the best idea, (like C.M. Jones said) is to supply them the blank head of your choice with a hole already cut out.
.

To a certain extent, yes. Both companies now offer to put your custom graphics on heads from Remo, Evans and Aquarian. That wasn’t always the case. There is no reason to supply them with any heads. They have a brisk enough business to buy blank heads from the manufacturers in bulk, which saves time and potential damage sending heads back and forth.

My tip is, If you can do it yourself go for it and yeah probably not covering the whole head with paint / ink is preferable but not always possible.. do you know what kind of paint / ink they used

They don’t paint the heads at all. Whatever graphic you want gets printed out onto an essentially a big sticker (possibly vinyl but I have no idea nor do they say based on the limited amount of reading I just did) which is then placed on the head.
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
Never had bad luck with a custom front head - hand painted or printed.

Just have to make sure it's a quality head in the style that you prefer before adding the graphic. Evans EMAD resonant or whatever your flavor is.

I don't think there's anything inherently bad or good about the sound coming from the bass having a graphic - toms or snare, different story - but you're also typically looking for more sustain and tone out of a tom, etc.

I say go for a cool graphic. millions of people have the same stock logos.
 

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You can order custom heads directly from Evans (from the D'Addario website) and Remo (through a retailer) as well. That's what I would do and I think those would sound a little better.
 

paradiddle pete

Platinum Member
If you start out with a 7 mil head like the Diplomat, then a heavy graphic application may sound more to your liking
Ace, The head i used is diplomat Fibrskyn, oil paint on it. You wouldn't even know. Once you start laying on Vinyl it in effect is a another ply.. A little bit won't hurt but?
 

Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
Here's a custom Daria head I painted many moons ago for my Gretsch kit (not shown here before anyone asks).
It was done with acrylic paints and is pretty thick. On some kick drums, the extra mass helps with dampening and gives a great sound. Other kicks, the muffling aspect of it is horrible & it comes right off.

Before hiring a company to do one, ask how they apply the art. If it's a screen print type deal, it'll be great for pretty much anything. Another medium might have the issues I did.

Cut down kit 2.jpeg
 
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