Australia is alive with its own burgeoning community of talented drum builders, cymbal smiths and stick makers, all creating world class handmade instruments. Our vision at Kentville Drums was to complete this picture with the creation of Australia’s very own drumheads. Our kangaroo hide heads provide unrivalled warmth and a clear fundamental tone synonymous with that of the calf heads of the early 20th century. With their fine sensitivity and articulation meeting the requirements of even the most perceptive player, Kentville heads bring a quality of sound to a drum that plastic heads often fail to deliver. Embodying the history of the instrument in the most traditional way, today the sound of our heads resonates through the great concert halls of Europe, the jazz clubs of New York and the RSLs of Sydney. It’s the real tone of real rawhide that’s been at the heart of drumming for eight thousand years; a sound from the past for the music of today. It’s the pure essence of Australia!
Each head is entirely handmade using a series of tasks and tools as old as western drums themselves. Today we lap our drumheads in the same way that they were lapped for the snares of the drummer boys that served in the Battle of Gettysburg and the Napoleonic wars. It’s a process steeped in tradition.
Hide selection demands discerning examination before skins are deemed suitable for drumhead production. After being stretched and dried, our chosen hides are cut to size and thinned to attain the ideal thickness for producing heads. These precisely sized rounds are then lapped to flesh hoops before being set on moulds to dry and to form crowns which enable the heads to seat comfortably.
Only the finest quality drumheads pass our scrupulous final inspection. Each head is then packaged in a sealed sleeve before being sent on its way from our workshop to its destination.
The sound of Australia
Kangaroo hide heads are suited to a variety of musical settings. They are perfect for jazz, orchestral, folk and contemporary performers seeking the raw, full-bodied, warmth that is often absent in a plastic head. Our aim is to provide a product inspired by the sounds and traditions of the past, whilst remaining true to the needs and desires of today’s drummers. The heads are easy to tune, melodic, responsive and free of troublesome overtones. Hear the difference for yourself...
Sizes and gauges
Heads are available in standard sizes 10” through to 24”, as well as common pre-international sizes to suit vintage British drums sized 9 5/8” through to 21 5/8”. Odd sizes not listed can be custom made on request.
We offer a choice of three gauges:
Fine: 8-10mil; Medium: 10-12mil; Heavy: 12-14mil
Self-adhesive kangaroo hide bass drum strike patches and Hoop-a-roo© hoop protectors are also available.
Our heads are lapped to solid aluminium flesh hoops, which provide great strength, tuning accuracy and durability.
Traditional maple flesh hoops are also available by request for restoration purposes.
Tambourines and frame drums
In addition to conventional drumheads, we also offer a re-heading service for tambourines, banjos, djembes, frame drums and other percussion instruments. Our tambourine heads are used by several leading orchestral performers, including the percussionists of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
An ethical choice
The hides we use are the ethically sourced by-product of a culling program overseen by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. This program ensures that the kangaroo population in eastern Australia remains healthy and at a sustainable number. Harvested animals provide consumers with an eco-friendly alternative to consuming beef or lamb and in using the hides to produce drumheads, more of each animal is used, resulting in less waste. The kangaroo is one of Australia’s national animals, and the highest level of consideration and care is taken to ensure that our hides are procured in an ethical and sustainable manner that serves to benefit the species.