Established 1978 We Speak Drum 1-866-792-0143

Finding The Right Replacement Timpani Heads

Timpani heads can be a bit of a hassle, but there are several methods to figuring out exactly what size(s) you need.

Method One: Measuring Heads

Fitting timpani heads is not as simple as fitting snare, bass, or tom heads. Timpani heads extend beyond the edge of the bowl, so you'll need a head that's larger than the diameter of the actual drum.

The easiest and most accurate way of buying a head that fits correctly is to remove and measure the OUTSIDE DIAMETER of your old head (from outer edge to outer edge).

Don't have the old heads? Things get a little more convoluted, but we'll help you through method two or three.

Method Two: Knowing The Brand/Model and Using Handy Charts

It's immensely helpful to know the brand (and hopefully model) of your drums. You'll most likely have timpani made by Ludwig, Adams, or Yamaha, but you may have something else entirely! You can usually find the brand and model somewhere on the base of the instrument.

If you know the brand and model of your timpani: check the Evans Timpani Head Chart or the Remo Timpani Head Chart. If you see your drums listed on the charts, congratulations! Your work is done.

Don't know what kind of timpani you have, or couldn't find them in the charts? Move on to method three.

Method Three: Figuring Out Collars

Regular Collars (Heads 1" Larger Than Drum)

Regular Collar drums have just a bit of space - almost imperceptible from far away - between the edge of the bowl (bearing edge) and the metal hoop that pulls on the head to create tension (counterhoop). When ordering heads for these drums, it's a good rule of thumb to order a head 1" larger than the bowl size.

A 27" head will likely fit on an old 26" regular collar drum.

Exception: on 23" drums, you may need a 24.25" head.

Ludwig and Slingerland timpani manufactured before 1978 were made with regular collars.


Extended Collars (Heads 2" Larger Than Drum)

Extended drums have a very visible gap between the bearing edge and the counterhoop - you can see the head being extended out over the bowl. Heads for these drums are typically 2" larger than the bowl size.

A 25" head should fit on a 23" extended collar timpano.

The following premium, high-end drums do not follow these rules but can be found in the Remo or Evans head reference charts:
  • Adams Philharmonic and Philharmonic Classic
  • Aehnelt Munich, Berlin, and Dresden
  • American Drum Continental and Dresden
  • Goodman Dresden
  • GP Percussion Standard and Baroque
  • Hinger Dresden and Cable
  • Jenco Dresden and Rotary
  • Kolberg
  • Lefima Dresden, Virtuos, Voyager I & II, Light, and Baroque
  • Walter Light (after 1986)*
  • New Yorker Dresden and Chain
  • Ohio Timpani
  • Premier Elite
  • Gunther Ringer German Model and Berlin
  • Stotz Cable

*Walter Light drums manufactured before 1986 use non-standard counterhoops and require custom ordering from either Remo or Evans.

Method Four: Call Us


If you're still unsure or uneasy about purchasing replacement timpani heads, please give us a call at 1-866-792-0143 and one of our percussion experts will help you out.

Shop Timpani Heads

Latest Articles & Videos