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Natural Drum Skins
How to Guide

Before You Begin
Soak the skin only five minutes! If this is not enough, continue to soak the skin, but check often. All skins are carefully checked prior to shipping. Unfortunately, not all defects are visible. About 1 out of 10 skins have an unseen defect. Tightness during installation will alter this ratio.

Goatskin Drum Heads
A supple texture that emphasizes low tones and crisp highs. Goatskin with hair have more natural oils, and a more mellow tone.

Calfskin Drum Heads
Stronger than Goat, they emphasize sharper tones. Recommended for drums played with mallets. Thin calfskins are good for banjo heads.

Conga Drum Heads
The thickest and strongest skins, made of cow hide, they are double the thickness of thick calfskins. They produce a warm and melodic tone.

Replacing Drum Heads on Wood and Ceramic Drums
You will need: masking tape, yellow wood glue, a yardstick, a utility knife, a skin and a clamp. A hose clamp or strap and ratchet may work. The clamp must provide an even pressure all the way around the drum.

The skin used should cover the playing surface, the area to be glued, and about 1-3 inches excess to maneuver and clamp it. It is better to round the skin-size up. Soak the skin in water until pliable.

If the old skin is still in place, affix the tape to the drum shell just below the skin edge. Then peel off the old skin and dried glue. You do not need to clean it completely. Do NOT use cleaners, or handle the surface, as this will leave residue.

To affix the tape, without the skin as a guide, place your yardstick across the top of the drum. Measure down about 1 inch from the yardstick and make a pencil mark on the drum shell, around the entire drum. Affix the upper edge of the tape along this mark.

When your new skin is almost ready, apply the glue to the drum surface; from the top edge of the shell to the top of the tape. Apply the glue liberally. Let the glue overlap the tape edge by 1/32 inch.

Remove the skin from the water and blot dry. Drape and center it over the drum. Do NOT squeeze out the glue. Smooth out any wrinkles. Secure the clamp over the skin, matching where the tape is. The skin should be sandwiched between the tape and the clamp. Do NOT let the clamp move above the tape edge, or it will squeeze out the glue and leave indent marks in your new head.

Alternately, pull the skin edges and tighten the clamp. For ceramic drums, pull the skin as tight as possible. For wood drums, the skin should have a slight droop below level, of no more than 1/16 inch; it will tighten naturally as it dries.

Allow 24 to 48 hours to dry. Carefully trim the excess skin with a utility knife along the upper edge of the tape. If the clamp is level, use it as a guide. Remove the tape. If you wish, cover the cut edge of the skin with a colored tape or ribbon.

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