1 inch

keep it simple

Platinum Member
OK I'm really intrigued now as to the relationship between shell diameter; shell depth and the pitch range in which a drum 'sings' particularly as you (Andy) seem to have a great deal of expertise in the physics of drum sounds. Does the ratio of head area to shell area matter? Is the primary driver of pitch the drum's diameter - and if so why do we play 14 inch snare drums? And what do you think has driven the move (over the last couple of decades) towards smaller diameter drums (I'm thinking in particular of the move to 10.12 rather than, as was conventional when I first started playing, 12, 13).
Hmm, ok, some big questions there;

Yes, the primary driver of the drum's pitch range is head diameter, but the biggest driver of resultant pitch, as perceived by us, is head tension. Without going into the fine details of the relationship of various construction features (I haven't got time right now, & I'd bore the pants off most of you), it's useful to relate drums to a stringed instrument. A piano is a perfect example. Head diameter = string length. Head tension = string tension. String thickness = head thickness. That helps clarify the basics of pitch, but the resultant pitch is then affected by many other elements that augment the creation, disturbance, & absorption of overtones by various mechanisms.

"Ratio of head area to shell area matter"? Short answer = yes. That falls into the category of augmentation of overtones, but is just one element of the whole.

"Why do we play 14" snare drums"? Many perceive 14" to offer the optimum combination of tuning range for a typical modern snare sound. I suppose that's true, but there's many that play 13" & 15" too. Snare drums down to 10" are not uncommon.

"Move to smaller tom sizes". Well, I think that's largely a music fashion choice, but it's certainly true that advances in shell construction, bearing edges, & head quality/selection have allowed far greater pitch & tone possibilities to be extracted from smaller drums.

Sorry for the succinct answers, but I've got to run.

Cheers, Andy.
 

drummingman

Gold Member
I'm not a super hard kicker but I do have a solid foot. I played a 22x18 but I just got a kit with a 20x20. This is my first 20x20 kick.
 

Too Many Songs

Senior Member
Hmm, ok, some big questions there;

Yes, the primary driver of the drum's pitch range is head diameter, but the biggest driver of resultant pitch, as perceived by us, is head tension. Without going into the fine details of the relationship of various construction features (I haven't got time right now, & I'd bore the pants off most of you), it's useful to relate drums to a stringed instrument. A piano is a perfect example. Head diameter = string length. Head tension = string tension. String thickness = head thickness. That helps clarify the basics of pitch, but the resultant pitch is then affected by many other elements that augment the creation, disturbance, & absorption of overtones by various mechanisms.

"Ratio of head area to shell area matter"? Short answer = yes. That falls into the category of augmentation of overtones, but is just one element of the whole.

"Why do we play 14" snare drums"? Many perceive 14" to offer the optimum combination of tuning range for a typical modern snare sound. I suppose that's true, but there's many that play 13" & 15" too. Snare drums down to 10" are not uncommon.

"Move to smaller tom sizes". Well, I think that's largely a music fashion choice, but it's certainly true that advances in shell construction, bearing edges, & head quality/selection have allowed far greater pitch & tone possibilities to be extracted from smaller drums.

Sorry for the succinct answers, but I've got to run.

Cheers, Andy.
No need to apologise - more of an answer than I expected (or deserved). I confess to not really being into gear and not therefore really thinking as I should about how a drum makes the sound it does and how then I might achieve the sounds I want. I recognise this as a flaw and I know I should start to think much more about the instrument and not just how to play it. Your information is a good start.

BTW I hope Guru is a great success. Your understanding and dedication to the instrument means that it deserves to be.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
No need to apologise - more of an answer than I expected (or deserved). I confess to not really being into gear and not therefore really thinking as I should about how a drum makes the sound it does and how then I might achieve the sounds I want. I recognise this as a flaw and I know I should start to think much more about the instrument and not just how to play it. Your information is a good start.

BTW I hope Guru is a great success. Your understanding and dedication to the instrument means that it deserves to be.
Not a flaw at all. Concentrating on playing your instrument is absolutely worthy of 95%+ of your efforts. It's me who should be taking your lead!

I would like to make a related point here. The subject of how drum sounds are created is possibly the most complexed applied to all musical instruments. Much knowledge is based on decades of trial & error, other knowledge by testing. That's all well & good, but players accessing that knowledge, delivered with integrity, and focussed exclusively on the needs of the player, is an issue. The major companies, like most volume manufacturers, concentrate their efforts on designing features that will sell in numbers, often designed via focus group input. Their R&D is steered by perceived mass market needs, & that's quite understandable. The information that's subsequently made available is augmented exclusively to prove the value of their offering, whilst avoiding anything that might suggest alternatives outside of their range. Smaller companies also, of course, provide information that's augmented towards the positives in their products, but tend to be more aware of the need to satisfy the requirements of the individual player. In that regard, many smaller company principals offer a more balanced appraisal of choices, especially when such a company offers a range of construction types. They also tend to be much closer connected to the process that brought the product about, & therefore understand the features relation to the real world. To some degree, the same can be said of quality retailers who also offer a range of product, & are preferably players themselves. These are the sources of quality information that applies directly to the player's needs. Unfortunately, with the trend towards distance buying, the specialist outlets, & with them, the specialist knowledge, is getting further removed from the player's access. Hence, in many ways, the superb value of forums, & non better than Drummerworld!
 

wsabol

Gold Member
so there's pretty much no difference between a 6.5" snare and a 5.5" snare (both being 14") ?
No there is. As I've said, the one inch difference becomes more and more apparent as the drum gets shallower. So the difference between a 14x4 and a 14x5 will be more apparent than a 14x8 and 14x9 snare.

In my mind, drum sound/feel has a lot to do with two things (other than tuning): ratio of diameter to depth and volume or air.

12x2 and 12x3 diameter toms have ratios of 6:1 and 4:1... big difference, big changes in body and feel. While 12x8 and 12x9 toms have ratios of 1.5:1 and 1.33:1... not a huge difference, not a huge difference in body and feel.


"Ratio of head area to shell area matter"?
This ratio is equal to the ratio of diameter to depth divided by 4. So it really measures the same thing.
 

burn-4

Senior Member
If I put say the 7x10 and the 8x10 toms next to each other their is only a slight diff in the sound.
What is the difference? I mean can you describe it to me instead of just saying there is one
Just curious as i have been using 10x8 and have just ordered a 10x7 on my new kit
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
What is the difference? I mean can you describe it to me instead of just saying there is one
Just curious as i have been using 10x8 and have just ordered a 10x7 on my new kit
I can't really put my finger on the difference. The 7 inch drum is slightly more punchy. I can tune both drums to be at the same pitch. I fooled around with the toms for a few hours about a year ago one rainy day when I was bored.
One inch didn't make a giant diff.
 

burn-4

Senior Member
I can't really put my finger on the difference. The 7 inch drum is slightly more punchy. I can tune both drums to be at the same pitch. I fooled around with the toms for a few hours about a year ago one rainy day when I was bored.
One inch didn't make a giant diff.
Ok cool, sounds like i've made the right choice then (I like punchier drums)

So hard not to make an innuendo on your last sentence haha
 
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