Monday, May 14, 2012

Gear Up: Custom Kick Head Art

Growing up watching drummers, I've developed a subconscious urge to always know which brand of drums a certain player is using. Where's the first place you look? Of course, it's the front head on the kick drum. My first kit said "CB 700" in bold letters across the front, and I absolutely couldn't wait until it said, "DW" or "Yamaha."

By and large, most drummers are using simple, single-logo heads, or going with no logos at all. But these days, that front head - the biggest visible flat space on most kits - has become a pretty valuable piece of real estate,  and there is a growing trend to use that big ol' circle to advertise.

What do drummers advertise, you ask? Well, mostly it's still the brands they play and/or endorse, or the band they're in, or themselves. And, increasingly, they don't just tell you their name. You'll also see their web address, or even a QR code. Crazy, right?

Maybe not. Given the prevalence of smart phones, a picture of the band or drummer becomes a serious serving of free advertising. We've all seen the pics that get posted on Facebook or Twitter that read, "At the show. R U jealous?" Suddenly, all 2,364 "Friends" and 5,741 "Followers" just got an ad that you, your band, and/or your sponsors didn't pay for. AWESOME.

What do you think? Is it worth all the hype and money? For most of us, it's probably not a good investment, given design and manufacturing cost. That being said, I'm working on a few designs right now for a head that will go on my new kit.

Why do it? For me, there are a few reasons. First, I want my kit to look unique. Aside from set up, factory finish and cymbals, what sets a kit apart? The front of your kick drum can give you an immediately recognizable logo, just like Coca-Cola or Apple.

Second, I'm just like every other business, and I want to grow my client list. This includes gigs, students, etc., and if my web address, QR or other contact info are sitting in front of my potential clients for a two hour set, chances are good that somebody will pull up my site on their phone while they're listening to me play. 

I'll only say this one more time (for now, at least): AWESOME.

Alright, so you've decided to look into it. Where do you get one? There are many good places to start, but before I highlight a few of them, try a Google search on, "custom bass drum heads." You'll get a ton of good info.

Here's the company I'm using, Woodshed Percussion. Check out their client gallery, and you'll know why I made them my choice. There's also Evans' "Inked By Evans," tool, which is pretty cool and unique among retailers.

And, lastly, what can you expect to pay? On the Evans site, where you do your own design work, heads start at around $80, and at a custom place like Woodshed, my project will be around $150. Honestly, that price range is ridiculously cheap given the potential benefits.

The bottom line - do it or don't do it - is ultimately up to you. For me, I look forward to having my kits be truly mine, in look and feel. And I hope to continue to build a quality brand around all of my music and drumming activities. Hope that's not too mercenary for you.

Happy branding!


  1. Hi, Thank you for your interest for a drum heads we custom for Emmanuelle Caplette for Ima tour.

    Emmanuelle Caplette

    DeV!lle Custom Drum Heads

  2. Thank YOU for your excellent and beautiful work. Inspiring!


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