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The Head

The most essential part of a drum sound is the head. The head is the part of the drum you strike with the stick. Heads come in many different sizes and forms, and will be covered extensively in the next part of the site. For this page's purpose, there are typically two heads on a drum: the batter head, which is the side struck by the stick, and the resonant head.

Batter and Resonant Head

The Shell

The shell of the drum is what most people think of when they think "drum." It is the round cylinder of the drum. Drum shells are most often made out of wood. There are several different types of wood shells can be made of. Mahogany is the most common wood for middle-range drum sets. Maple and birch are the industry standard drum sets, and are the woods most often found on higher end drum sets. Maple is said to have a warmer tone, while birch is said have more punch and presence. However, the use of acrylic drums has grown in recent years, especially with the resurgence of colored transparent drum shells. These are favored for their powerful and large sound.

Drum Shell

The Rim

The drum's rim is what is used to hold the head down on the drum. Most rims are metallic, though some drum kits have been known to have wood rims. The rim has holes placed around the circle to hold the drum's lugs.

Drum Rim

The Lugs

The lug is a metallic screw with a special head on it. There are six to 10 lugs which are used to keep the head in place and adjust the pressure on the head, which tunes it. The tension lugs drumhead screw into the tension rods.

Drum Lug

The Skinny

The shell essentially acts as an amplifier for the drum head. If you hit a head by itself, it sounds like hitting a piece of stretched out paper. When you hit that head on the drum, even without the rims placed on top of it, the sound is more audible. When the rim is applied and the lugs are tightened, the head begins to take on the true sound of a drum.