Historically, many different types of natural materials have been used as head for bongo drums, from buffalo to goat to calf skin. Today a number of manufacturers still use animal skin, but also supplement their stock with bongo drum heads made entirely from man made materials. In fact, there are several synthetic drum heads for bongo drums that manufacturers claim have better sound, longer lifespans and more style than natural skins.
Remo Fyberskin 3 Bongo Drum Head
While natural skin bongos are still widely used, Remo has become one of the leading manufacturers of synthetic alternatives. The Remo Fyberskin 3 series of bongo drum heads provides a wide variety of sounds and benefits not found in the natural variety. Good for use on toms as well as bongo drums, these skins provide a warm but clear sound with a "round tone sought after for traditional jazz." (See References 2) The Fyberskins are made by weaving a single layer of Mylar threads. The gauge of this thread determines the depth and richness of the sound, as heavier weights vibrate less and produce a higher pitch while the lighter gauges create a low resonating boom. Remo Fyberskin 3 Bongo drum heads are sold for £16.20 to £23.40.
Evans Tri-Center Bongo Head
The Evans Tri-Center bongo head offers a clean, white skin with warm sound quality. Also made from a Mylar composite, this bongo head helps beginners by providing a "map" along the surface of the drum head. In the centre, there is a grey graphic; the centre of this graphic is where to find the warmest tone on the bongo. Just outside the centre are three track lines. These lines provide the spot where the mid range sound of the bongo can be best heard. The white outer part of the bongo is where you can find the highest pitch portion of the sound. Prices for Evans Tri-Center Bongo heads range from £16.20 to £20.80.
Remo Skyndeep Aspire Bongo Drum Head
Also from Remo, the Skyndeep drum head series is one of the most customisable drum heads available. Using an ink embedding process to imprint graphics onto the skin without compromising sound quality, Remo has come up with a professional-sounding bongo head which can appear in several different prints (e.g. tiger skin, rawhide or the Puerto Rican flag.) Unlike normal ink or transfer materials, these designs are a part of the bongo drum head and will not fade with wear.