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Thread: Drum head opinions for birch

  1. #1

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    Default Drum head opinions for birch

    Hi all! I am brand new to the site AND brand new to the drums! Been playing for about 6 days now. Lol

    I had been playing strings off and on for about the last 5 years, but never had the proper base or direction. So I would always get discouraged after a few months. I have found a very respected drum instructor in my area so I'm very excited about getting off to a sound fundamental start! My first lesson is actually tomorrow night, but I've been having a blast just hitting them so far! Lol

    Anyway, enough about me. The thing that got me to pull the trigger on a kit was that Guitar Center had a PDP FS series on clearance. It was 100% birch (which as I understand is far better than the basswood & poplar low end kits) and the price was great! But of course the heads are stock and horrible. A buddy that's been playing for most of his life came and showed me how to tune them. He gave me a thumbs up on kit choice, but said "change the heads as soon as your able". I've read that selecting heads for birch is tricky.

    I plan to be learning and playing classic rock/hard rock/some metal. No crazy metal like death or speed (not my thing). Mostly just rock. I'm looking for some options from veterans on what batters & resos might suit my kit/music choice. Thanks ahead of time!
    Last edited by foochcky; 05-07-2013 at 07:37 PM.

  2. #2

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    Hey foochcky! Welcome to DrumChat but more importantly welcome to the world of drumming!! So six days playing huh? Cool!!! You've come to the right place because we like to help out our fellow drummers here.

    I had a all birch kit and man, it was loud and projected very well. I wish I still had it but that besides the point. Good choice on getting it!

    I'd go with Evans EC2 clears SST over clear G1. Why? Well, you like rock and roll, and maybe some heavy metal right? The clear batters will give you more attack and combine it with an all birch shell pack, whoa...stand back cause it's going to be loud and your sound will cut through the heavy guitar work usually associated with heavier rock style of playing:

    The heads can be bought in a pre-pack configuration if you have standard (12" 13" with 16" floor tom) or fusion sizes (10" 12" rack toms 16" floor tom)



    Coated heads:

    I would suggest Remo vintage Emps for batter over Remo Ebonys. Why? I love the resonance I get from the coated vintage Emps. I run my toms free of any dampening and the coated heads sound really warm and full and the Ebony reso heads give the toms definition and presence.







    Snare set up:

    I like the Evans Power center Reverse dot over a 300 hazy snare reso. The Power center head is bright and has just a tad of sustain.

    Last edited by late8; 05-07-2013 at 01:47 PM.

  3. #3

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    I'd go with coated 2 ply heads like emperors, g2, response 2. Reason why is birch tends to have a ton of attack and brightness out of the box. I like to balance things out a lil bit, and in the experience I have had with birch it seemed designed for 2 ply heads. That and the coating will help 'cage the beast' a bit. Epic sound though, love the punch.
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  4. #4

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    Thanks for the warm welcome Late8! Much appreciated! Of course being new to something complex is always a little intimidating but I'm looking forward to diving right in!

    Actually my kit came with a 10", 12", and a 14" floor. I've found a site that has an 8" & a 16" floor that match my kit. I'll probably get it. (what I lack in experience I'll make up for by spending money! Lol) What would you recommend for the bass drum? And will the difference be huge between clear toms and coated?

  5. #5

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    On my birch kit I've run coated G1, coated G2, clear EC2, and now Black Chrome. I favor the G1 or G2 for a batter and a clear G1 for the reso.

    I like a nice wide open, yet warm sound. Your mileage might vary.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by foochcky View Post
    Thanks for the warm welcome Late8! Much appreciated! Of course being new to something complex is always a little intimidating but I'm looking forward to diving right in!

    Actually my kit came with a 10", 12", and a 14" floor. I've found a site that has an 8" & a 16" floor that match my kit. I'll probably get it. (what I lack in experience I'll make up for by spending money! Lol) What would you recommend for the bass drum? And will the difference be huge between clear toms and coated?
    The differences I hear between the clear and coated heads is the attack. Clear heads in my opinion emphasizes the attack better than the coated heads. The sustain is also different in my opinion between clear and coated heads. Coated heads to my ears seem to have less overtones.

    Kick drum set up:

    The kick drum batter head that I use is the Remo PowerStroke 3 clear head over Remo WeatherKing ported reso on the Gretsch '57 kit. The PS3 is great for rock, and heavy metal:



    For jazz or blues I use The Aquarian coated SKII batterhead over a Ludwig heavy mylar reso, non-ported. The coated batter head gives a warm thud verses a loud crisp pop from a clear batter head:

    Last edited by late8; 05-07-2013 at 02:38 PM.

  7. #7

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    ive played birch drums for over 30 years , the heads that i like the best on the toms and bass are Remo clear pinstripes , they give me the deep , wet sound that i like. on the bottom reso heads i use Remo clear ambassador.. for my snare that is also birch i use a Remo coated ambassador on top , and a Remo bottom snare head . i hope that helps.
    Tamaholic

  8. #8

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    One kit that I have is a Ludwig Epic, which is birch/maple/birch (two inner plies of birch, two middle plies maple and two outer plies of birch) so they 're not purely birch shells, but are certainly a touch brighter than the warmth of my other maple kits. I specifically wanted a kit tuned purely for jazz and similar styles, so this one has Remo Coated Ambassadors all around as batters (I left the Ludwig/Remo clear Ambassadors on the bottom of the toms), plus the small bass drum (an 18" diameter one) has been outfitted with a Coated Ambassador batter and a Remo Fiberskyn resonant (front) head with no cushion for muffling, just one felt strip running along the batter head.....so mind you, this is a highly tuned, different sounding set, way different than my more rock and pop oriented sets. ( the snare is biscuit-tin tight, lol!) Mind you, when I first tried the kit with it's original heads and tuning at the store, it was tuned more for pop and funk.....a less tight snare, nice thuddy bass and punchy toms. If I was looking at tuning such a kit with smaller diameter drums (8/10/12 racks, 14" floor tom, 18" bass drum & 13" snare) for rock and heavier styles, I'd go for Remo Emperor Clears for all the tom batters (leaving the thinner Ambassadors on the bottoms). The bass drum would get either a Remo Pinstripe, Powerstroke 3 or 4, or even a Powersonic batter head whilst I would have left the Ludwig front head on (after I cut a sound hole in it), and the snare would either be left with it's original Ludwig/Remo Coated Ambassador head, or I'd replace it with a Coated Powerstroke 3, or a Controlled Sound batter head.

    Or if I was trying to duplicate the sound of the kits of the 'classic rock' era, I'd go with Coated Ambassadors (with some dampening and a looser tuning.....after all, that's what they would have done.....look up some photos of kits of some of those guys, with the exception of John Bonham, who was using big drums to start off with, and a few other players, dampening.....either with strips of gaff tape on the batter and resonant heads, or using some internal mufflers that were common on older kits, or even some external mufflers that were clipped onto the rims of the drums, was common practice.....this was way before the use of Moongels or O-Rings nowadays, but some of us older players will keep the roll of gaff handy when required!)....or Coated Emperors, with a bit less dampening.

    With the bass and snare, I'm not adverse to also use various Evans heads....again, just depends on the music situation.
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  9. #9

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    For your style of music, I would say Evans Genera over an Evans Hazy 300. For the toms, Evans EC2 clear OR Evans Black Chrome over Evans G1 clear. And for the bass, I say Evans EMAD2 clear batter with an Evans EQ3 resonant head. I know from personal experience that the Black Chrome Tom heads and the EMAD2/EQ3 combo will give you an amazing and deep, punchy sound perfect for rock.
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  10. #10

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    Welcome foochcky. 1 rule of drum chat is if you say you bought a new kit you must post pictures of it or it did not happen

    I have never owned a birch kit ( well I did briefly but thats a whole other story ) and am in the market for one now, if I get one soon I will let ya know.

    Welcome again this a great forum.
    Crush Sublime Birch

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  11. #11

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    I use in my birch clear response2 from aquarian, and superkick 1 on BD.
    I had a chance to try out several different heads on same type of drums at once, and they was the very best for me.
    http://www.drumchat.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=22600&dateline=135509  2622

  12. #12

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    For my FS kit I was all about 2 ply coated over 1 ply clear heads. Switched to some clears at the end, though.

    Remo guy so I went coated emp over clear ambassador. If I had to do it over again, I'd go black suede emperor over clear ambassador (coating doesn't flake off the black suede). Evans emad over ebony reso powerstroke 3 (doesn't have the lines on the reso version) pillow inside touching the reso head and avoid touching the batter head for the kick drum. Definitely use a kick pad.

    The only two constants I have are DW and Zildjian.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by machinedrumkelly View Post
    Welcome foochcky. 1 rule of drum chat is if you say you bought a new kit you must post pictures of it or it did not happen

    I have never owned a birch kit ( well I did briefly but thats a whole other story ) and am in the market for one now, if I get one soon I will let ya know.

    Welcome again this a great forum.
    Sorry! Didn't know about the pics rule! Lol






  14. #14

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    Welcome to drumming and DC as well. I have a Birch kit and have EC2 clear coated on the batter side or top head. It's a 2-ply head, middle of the road between a heavy batter heads and clear heads, it has a frosted glass look. On the resonant side, or bottom, I have Evans G1 heads which, is a 1-ply and lets the toms sing a little more vs a thicker 2-ply that will soften up the sound. On the kicks I have Evans EMAD2 heads which have a couple different sizes of removable foam rings that sit on the head to give you more or less muffling. Before I put the EMADS on, I had Aquarian Super Kick 2. These are fat bass monsters! Only reason I switched is to keep them all Evans this go around.
    Last edited by Animaldrums9585; 05-07-2013 at 11:08 PM. Reason: forgot words
    Love my Gretsch sound!

  15. #15

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    Thanks for all the welcomes and helpful opinions to my question. I like how most everyone gave a description why they prefer what they suggested. Not only does it make more sense to the "newb" that way, but it's helping me understand the lingo involved.

    I'm noticing that the majority of you are saying Evans EC2 or G2 over G1, with some Remo and Aquarian suggestions also. I understand that there's no "perfect" choice and it will ultimately come to personal preference, but after looking at all the options out there this certainly narrows it down a great deal. Plus, I'm sure any of these choices are gonna sounds worlds better than what I have!

    Oh, and I meant to put pictures in my last post, but couldn't figure out how to insert pics on here!

  16. #16

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    I am gonna try some clear G1 over clear G1 next time.

  17. #17

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    i use EC2's, sounds cool to me.
    Have you got you're ticket for the rock train? You gotta earn that Ticket!!

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  18. #18

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    Clear pinstripes are a great idea too, if you're going for a sound with a lot of attack. I've tried them alongside emperor batters and they sounded huge!
    ZildjianLeague/LP/Aquarian/Mapex/Pearl
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  19. #19

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    I have a pdp fs, and i use remo emporer suede heads. it adds punchiness to them, and needless to say i really like them on this kit.
    DW Remo Vic Firth Zidljian

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by foochcky View Post
    Thanks for all the welcomes and helpful opinions to my question. I like how most everyone gave a description why they prefer what they suggested. Not only does it make more sense to the "newb" that way, but it's helping me understand the lingo involved.

    I'm noticing that the majority of you are saying Evans EC2 or G2 over G1, with some Remo and Aquarian suggestions also. I understand that there's no "perfect" choice and it will ultimately come to personal preference, but after looking at all the options out there this certainly narrows it down a great deal. Plus, I'm sure any of these choices are gonna sounds worlds better than what I have!

    Oh, and I meant to put pictures in my last post, but couldn't figure out how to insert pics on here!
    I had the same frustration with posting pics.. The easiest way is to set up a free account on photobucket.com, you can then upload your photos to your account library. Once you've uploaded the desired photo and pull it up, to the right of the photo will be 4 options, if you click the bottom one, I think it's the URL.. It will copy the info. Come back to DC and select the photo icon and right click an paste. When you hit post your picture will come up. I believe you can have up to 4 pics per post. Good luck!
    Love my Gretsch sound!

  21. #21

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    Photobucket is pretty good, but requires an account. In turn, the photos uploaded can be lost forever if something goes wrong, and the pictures lost permanently. I prefer imgur because it's anonymous, fast, and infinite file life for all pics.
    ZildjianLeague/LP/Aquarian/Mapex/Pearl
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl MCX Man View Post
    I wish I was your wife
    Quote Originally Posted by amdrummer View Post
    if double bass is cheating then so is using two sticks

    Forum Rules
    DrumBum
    No metronome?
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  22. #22

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    [IMG][/IMG]

    [IMG][/IMG]

    [IMG][/IMG]

    Thanks for the help with the pics guys!

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Russ View Post
    Photobucket is pretty good, but requires an account. In turn, the photos uploaded can be lost forever if something goes wrong, and the pictures lost permanently. I prefer imgur because it's anonymous, fast, and infinite file life for all pics.
    I've had a photobucket account for probably 6 years. NEVER lost a photo I didn't delete myself.

  24. #24

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    I did just check out Imgur though, holy cow there are some funny random photos on there!
    Love my Gretsch sound!

  25. #25

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    I like a single ply coated for warmth and tonal clarity. A clear head seems to bring out more attack and sometimes it can be too much or too harsh. JMHO.

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