Changing heads

Timpani sticks

Timpani pics

Timpani info

private pics




german website

With this timpani tutorial, I want to demonstrate that covering timpani with natural head is not a particularly 

difficult matter. Of course, learning by doing would be ideal: that is getting the explanation of the 
necessary steps while covering the timpani yourself.
Anyway, I think I can show you the most important steps in my internet photo workshop.

The pictures shown here are in a smaller format, but if you click on the photos, you can view them in 
a bigger format and a higher resolution.



A Ringer Timpani

Pauke ohne Fell

First unscrew the eight long screws, so that you can take off the tension ring and the skin, called the “head”. 
When re-covering the timpani, make sure you screw the screws into the timpani in the same order

Fell trocken

The head (Kalfo)

Fell nass

JNow roll out the head in a container with cold (!) water (like a paddling pool for kids or a big flower-box)
and let the head soak for some 6 to 9 minutes.

While the head is soaking, clean the contact surface of the edge of the bowl with a dry (!!) cloth and 
then spray the edge with Teflon spray.


You wind up the wet head on a smooth, clean surface (careful: you must be able to read the Kalfo-handwriting, 
not mirror-image!!), wipe away the air bubbles from under the head carefully and now put the 
fleshhoop exactly in the middle of the head.


Now you fold the head over the tension ring…     


...and fold the piece of head back to the tension ring twice or three times…  


Then you push this bulge with your fingers under or rather until behind the tension ring 


… the bulge has to be there!!! 


Now go on with this crosswise (here after four times…)  


(...eight times...)


(...sixteen times...)
The remaining shreds have to be folded in carefully using exactly the same procedure

Fell auf Pauke

 When you have covered the head on the tension ring neatly (that means without creases and edges),
place the head exactly on the centre of the timpani…
(the Kalfo-handwriting has to be readable, not the wrong way round!!!)

Fell auf Pauke b

Now you place the tension ring carefully on the head.
(Note the adjustment of the head in the big picture!!!)

Fell und Ring

Now it gets tough: (click on the photo!!!)


When you have done that, press your palm on the head once,
so that it gets pushed in about 7-8 mm
(only briefly, to get the head in the correct position on the timpani)

Now you place four small blocks of wood on the edge of the tension ring
And put the head protector on them
(this prevents the head from drying too quickly)


 Leave the timpani like this for 1-2 days, then remove the head protector and let the timpani dry for another 1-2 days.


PS: This should not be done when it is freezing outside, as then the timpani dry too quickly, get no depth and sound much harder.