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The modern drumhead is a plastic film – often made of polyester – that is attached to the drum shell, serves as sound generator and features specific sound characteristics. Basically they are differed in drumheads and resonant drumheads.
The standard drumhead is used to produce the energy that generates the sound of the drum, this is also influenced by the shell material and the resonant head. A drumhead can be single layer or double layer. Single layer heads (e.g. Ambassador, Diplomat) produce a brilliant open tone and are rich in overtones. Double layer drumheads (e.g. Pinstripe, Emperor) feature much lower frequencies, have shorter sustain and are the most common heads. There are also drumheads with silencing rings or an oil film between the layers. This influences the low frequencies (the more mass that has to be moved, the lower the frequency) and sustain. Double layer drumheads are more robust and long-lasting than single layer heads.
Resonant drumheads are always single layer and they are responsible for shaping the sound of the drum shell. While playing they are set into motion and enrich the sound with overtones. You should always be careful not to mount a resonant drumhead as a regular drumhead because they are not very sturdy.
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