How to Replace the Head on a Kick Drum

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A kick drum's head will wear out as you use it, warranting a replacement head periodically. Keep your kick drum sounding off with help from a professional drummer in this free video.

Part of the Video Series: Drums
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Video Transcript

Hey everybody. My name is Nate Morton, and I play drums with Cher. I currently reside in Los Angeles, California, and today I'm going to show you how to replace the head on a kick drum. Now, I'm actually in front of the drum kick obviously. And I'm going to show you on the front kick drum head. Just because it's a little bit easier to shoot, little bit easier to see what I'm doing. But the methodology is still the same. So first things first. Unless you have a bass drum or a kick drum that has those sort of T style tuning keys where there's sort of a T built into the key, you are going to need a drum key. Which looks sort of something like that. Because these are most likely going to be tuning lugs. So, these tuning lugs are connected to the claws that hold on the hoop, that holds the drum head in place. So, the first thing that we are going to do is we are going to go we're going to loosen these. And these are already a little bit loose because I tend to have my lugs pretty loose in terms of my kick drum tuning. So, we are going to go we're going to loosen all of these. This is the tuning lug and the claw assembly which basically holds on the hoop that holds the kick drum head in place. This claw goes around the hoop of the head. Obviously the lug screw goes into the lug casing. And as you tighten and loosen it it pulls the claw tighter and looser on the hoop that holds the head in place. Ok so then once we get all our lugs off and our claws, well then the hoop comes right off like so. And then the head comes right off like so. And so lets assume for a second that this was a batter side head. Lets assume this is the side that the kick drum head that's on that side and you know you were playing a gig. And it was so rocking that you just tore through the thing with your kick drum. With the kick drum pedal right. So you are going to grab a new head which we'll pretend this is. Well it is kind of right one that doesn't have a hole in it. And then you are going to pop that back and right back on there like that. You are going to replace the hoop around it. And then you are going to begin reapplying all of the lugs and the bass drum claws that hold the hoop in place. Now typically I usually just do this with my fingers because a few reasons. One it's easier then wearing them out with a drum key just yet. And then two I don't typically have these very tight anyway. So you know I can usually get pretty close believe it or not with just my fingers. So as you can see now I have reattached all the lugs and the claws holding the kick drum head, holding the hoop in place. And thereby holding the head. And then from there I typically apply a method not unlike the method that I apply to tuning any of my other drums. Is just that I go back and forth from lug to lug and I tighten evenly. Now I'm going to go from this one once again a little tension on this one. I'm not going to go here. Because if I go here then this is going to go like this, this side is going to be out here and my hoop is going to be crooked. And my tuning is going to be off. I'm going to go from here to here. Alright. Get that guy in there a little bit. I'm going to go from here to here. And then continue from here to here no, from here I'm going to across here, 'cause I want to go back and forth. I want to go back and forth. This guy. And from here I'm going to come across to here. Let me get this guy, come up here. Now this head is similar to the head that I would put on the front side. And you may notice there's some ripples in it right. Now that's not all bad. Those ripples aren't all bad because really I kind of just want to get this head tight enough to get rid of those ripples. I want to go to where those ripples are gone and maybe just a scosh farther. So I'm going to go okay now that I've kind of gone back and forth and done a reasonably even tuning job. I noticed these three obviously I kind of left a little too loose. So I'm just going to add a turn here, there. And I just, I don't want to crank it down at all. I just want to get rid of these ripples and that's going to let me know that that head is on there and it's tensioned enough to be a nice tone but not so tensioned that it's going to be like...toong you know a big ringy thing like that. So you know I like that. That's nice and at low end. That's at the bottom end of the frequency range of a 20 inch kick drum. This is Nate Morton and this is how to replace a kick drum head.

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