Fiberskyn (which I've also seen written FybrSkyn; must be a brand-name thing) is a synthetic material treated in an effort to make it look, feel, and sound like a natural skin drumhead, while remaining uneffected by water or heat.
Remo's drumhead catalogue says that Fiberskyn 2 features a unique lamination that resembles the look and feel of high-quality calfskin, creating a deeper, more mellow natural sound. Their drumhead pricelist says about Fiberskyn 3, The combination of our unique laminating technology, 'PolySpun' fibers and proprietary bonding agents allows REMO to offer a revolutionary material that gives the player access to 'traditional' drum sounds of many cultures. Pretty good sales talk, eh?
Lark in the Morning says FiberSkyn looks, feels and sounds like goatskin, yet is waterproof, heat-proof, sag-proof and almost unbreakable.
I asked for opinions on rec.music.makers.percussion. One respondant has a Remo tar with a fiberskyn head, and likes it; he wrote I've played some natural skin drums.., and the really glaring difference was that the Remos were more consistent in their head surface. ... it feels a little more natural [than flat plastic], and that it is easier to tune to a more "classic" jazz sound." But another person commented I tried a Fiberskyn on my snare a few years ago, and the fiber stuff delaminated from the plastic film. So I tried another one. Same thing happened.
I recently saw a tunable fiberskyn-headed bodhrán made by Cooperman Fife & Drum for Randy Crafton. Randy is a handdrummer, and he tunes his drums a lot higher than most bodhrán-players would prefer. But the drum seemed to have a nice tone.
Fiberskyn bodhráns are available from Cooperman, Lark in the Morning, Mid-East Manufacturing, Remo, and probably other companies.
I've never used a fiberskyn-headed bodhrán; comments would be welcome from anyone who has.
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Last updated 30 Mar 1999