A Tale of Two Bass Drums

KarlCrafton

Platinum Member
Since I have been playing bigger bass drums (16x28, 20x28, 16-18-20x26) for over 20 years, here is what I would do on your 24.

Tighten the two bottom lugs, and slightly loosen the middle two to compensate for the pitch change.
The feel will be better, and the tone will be more where you want it. You may even want to tighten the two top lugs a little too.

The drum isn't that deep so you should be able to reach across and tweak the front head a little higher on most of the the lugs.
Just do what it takes to make the drum feel and sound the way you want (AKA don't worry if all the lugs aren't perfectly even).

If the drum is flat on the floor, I'd raise it an inch.

If you don't use one, consider the hard/plastic side of the beater.
For a fat sound (with punch and no "click"), I got the best results from DW's beater (tried 8-10 different types).

Raise your beater to at least center on the 24.
If you can't deal with the little bit higher beater, then forget about a 26. It would never feel or sound right to you.
Sorry if that sounded snippy, not meant to. Raising the front of the drum will help with the feel of a little higher beater also.

JAW doesn't really sound as good as a bit tighter head on bigger bass drums IMO/E.
Especially on bigger stages, or places with big PA's, or good PA's (and if your drum sounds good, you don't have to worry about the small joints).
If you're playing with a beefy sounding band, make your drum cut through by tuning a little differently.
It CAN have a fat tone and punch. If the band is louder, (IMO) you'd want the 24.
The guy's seem to want you to use it, so they obviously like the sound of it as it is. All you need to do is tweak it a little.
It just may take getting used to a slightly different tone. No biggie.

I'd use no bigger than a 4" hole on the front head, if at all. You can get a great sound with no hole on a 16" deep shell if the front head is a bit tighter to react a bit faster with the batter.
The mic will pick everything up just fine, and if your drum sounds good, FOH people shouldn't have an issue.
I don't use a hole on the 16x26. I've never had a FOH person say anything when I use the 16" deep drum (I do use a 4" hole on the deeper shells).

I have a 14x24, and it's an old Ludwig 3 ply. Very responsive drum, big and fat sounding, just a bit less "oom" than the deeper shell. If I went to a 24 on one of my kits, I'd do a 16 or 18" depth though. 18x24 is one of the coolest sounding shells to me (I like the 26's better though :) ).

Good luck with it!
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
I own two kits...Ludwig Classic Maple...identical finishes and badges. The "small" kit is a 22x18", 16x16", 12x10" setup...the "big" kit is 24x16", 16x16", 13x9". I love 'em both and they both sound incredible.

My inner-conflict is choosing which bass drum to stick with. I've been at it for 5 years now and used a 22x18" from day one, since it's the standard size these days. I'm most comfortable on a 22x18" and feel I have the best balance and control on it. I started on the 24" (for serious, daily practice) less than a year ago.
The smaller drum has a volume of 6,845 cubic inches and the larger one is 7,241, a difference of a little under six percent. So the large drum is really not so much larger.

A deeper drum will produce more chomp and focus. If you want a bigger drum, then I'd suggest getting a 24 by 18 or even 24 by 20.
 

KarlCrafton

Platinum Member
The smaller drum has a volume of 6,845 cubic inches and the larger one is 7,241, a difference of a little under six percent. So the large drum is really not so much larger.

A deeper drum will produce more chomp and focus. If you want a bigger drum, then I'd suggest getting a 24 by 18 or even 24 by 20.
I agree on the deeper shell, but does the volume of cubic inches info really make any difference when we're talking about a "tone", and the "feel" under a foot?
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
I agree on the deeper shell, but does the volume of cubic inches info really make any difference when we're talking about a "tone", and the "feel" under a foot?
To an extent, yes. A larger drum will move a greater volume of air, resulting in more sound. Whether the volume is arranged in a shallow or deeper cylinder makes a difference too. My point is that the difference between Zambizzi's large and small drums really isn't that much.
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
See, I've heard conflicting opinions on this. One guy says a deeper shell will produce less focus while another says more. Some feel that deeper shells are easier to play than shallow ones.

In my own experience, a 22x18" feels and sounds better than a 22x14", since I've owned both and used the same heads on both. It's not as easy to tune, but the deeper shell has way more "oomph" (resonating warmth?) and is a better balance of boom and attack.

Maybe a 24x18" would be a good choice, after all.
 

KarlCrafton

Platinum Member
An 18x24 is a great sounding shell. Full, fat tone, nice punch, satisfying feel...
I said before that if I got a 24, it would be an 18x24.

Like you've done with your bass drums in being consistent (for using whatever, whenever), on my 26's, I use the same head type, tuning method, patch, etc...

The 16" depth has a real nice, solid, big sound. It has the most noticeable feel under my foot, and the most rebound (between 16-18-20). It's a cool drum. Really dig it.

The 18" depth has a fatter feel under my foot, big full sound with more "oomph" than the 16--but it's not overly boomy or uncontrollable at all. The feel is maybe just a touch "softer" than the 16's, but you DO feel it. Very easy feeling/playing drum. Love it.

The 20" depth has the most balance of feel, attack, punch & full sound. Records great, and kicks major ass on stage. It is kind of a thing to deal with hauling sometimes, but the positives outnumber any negatives.

The 18" depth I think is the easiest one to dial in and tweak just the way I want out of the 3 depths.
I just changed out the tension rods on it this week. I broke down & finally got the actual "proper length" rods (after almost 12 years of having the drum haha!), and it was back "ready to go" in no time at all.

Playing alone, yeah, there's a longer "note", or tone in a deeper shelled drum, but within a band, I get a nice full sound, and nicer presence that I like over a shallow shell.

I think it adds to the total sound of the music. ALL the people I play with like the bigger drums I use, and wouldn't want me to use anything different.
Even though I don't own a 14x26, I have played the size several times. The shallow shell still sounds great, but the deeper ones feel better, and have a more satisfying sound (and playing experience every time) to me.

There's no "right" or "wrong" size shell really.
They all sound good (if the drum is tensioned nicely, and not dead), and anything can sound "big" through a PA.
People play whatever feels right to them, and the type of sound they want to hear when they play.
The sound you are thinking of, or hearing in your head as you're playing could just be changing from what you've had in the past--and you've played on quite a bit of different shells and sizes.

Your gut may just be telling you something, because you have talked about bigger shells for a while (a couple years?).

If you're looking for a more satisfying, fat, full sound and feel (and punch) over what you have (which seems to be almost there), IMO/E, the 18" depth shell wouldn't be a bad move.

You already know you like the feel and type of sound you got from an 18x22 over the shallow 22" shell.
The 18x24 would do the same thing compared to what you have now.

As I have heard your bands, the size/sound will "fit in" no problem.

You'd get a big sound (which the band say's they really like too), but retain a faster, & a little more solid/contained feel over going to a 26 which has been mentioned/thought about a few times too.

Sorry for being long, I just think the bass drum should get as much thought as a snare drum would on a kit.
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
An 18x24 is a great sounding shell. Full, fat tone, nice punch, satisfying feel...
I said before that if I got a 24, it would be an 18x24.

Like you've done with your bass drums in being consistent (for using whatever, whenever), on my 26's, I use the same head type, tuning method, patch, etc...

The 16" depth has a real nice, solid, big sound. It has the most noticeable feel under my foot, and the most rebound (between 16-18-20). It's a cool drum. Really dig it.

The 18" depth has a fatter feel under my foot, big full sound with more "oomph" than the 16--but it's not overly boomy or uncontrollable at all. The feel is maybe just a touch "softer" than the 16's, but you DO feel it. Very easy feeling/playing drum. Love it.

The 20" depth has the most balance of feel, attack, punch & full sound. Records great, and kicks major ass on stage. It is kind of a thing to deal with hauling sometimes, but the positives outnumber any negatives.

The 18" depth I think is the easiest one to dial in and tweak just the way I want out of the 3 depths.
I just changed out the tension rods on it this week. I broke down & finally got the actual "proper length" rods (after almost 12 years of having the drum haha!), and it was back "ready to go" in no time at all.

Playing alone, yeah, there's a longer "note", or tone in a deeper shelled drum, but within a band, I get a nice full sound, and nicer presence that I like over a shallow shell.

I think it adds to the total sound of the music. ALL the people I play with like the bigger drums I use, and wouldn't want me to use anything different.
Even though I don't own a 14x26, I have played the size several times. The shallow shell still sounds great, but the deeper ones feel better, and have a more satisfying sound (and playing experience every time) to me.

There's no "right" or "wrong" size shell really.
They all sound good (if the drum is tensioned nicely, and not dead), and anything can sound "big" through a PA.
People play whatever feels right to them, and the type of sound they want to hear when they play.
The sound you are thinking of, or hearing in your head as you're playing could just be changing from what you've had in the past--and you've played on quite a bit of different shells and sizes.

Your gut may just be telling you something, because you have talked about bigger shells for a while (a couple years?).

If you're looking for a more satisfying, fat, full sound and feel (and punch) over what you have (which seems to be almost there), IMO/E, the 18" depth shell wouldn't be a bad move.

You already know you like the feel and type of sound you got from an 18x22 over the shallow 22" shell.
The 18x24 would do the same thing compared to what you have now.

As I have heard your bands, the size/sound will "fit in" no problem.

You'd get a big sound (which the band say's they really like too), but retain a faster, & a little more solid/contained feel over going to a 26 which has been mentioned/thought about a few times too.

Sorry for being long, I just think the bass drum should get as much thought as a snare drum would on a kit.
Great points, Karl...thanks for helping out on this. I ordered a Gretsch Brooklyn kit today w/ a 24x18" kick. It's on layaway and I'll have it in a month or so...stoked! You sold me on the 18" depth, which I've always preferred in a 22". It took me much longer to adjust to a 22x14" than it did a 24x16"! I don't like the spazzy beater recoil on a shallow shell, though that 22x14" I had was EASY to tune up real nice.

You're right...my gut tells me 24" is the new norm, for me. I keep pulling my 22" out and putting it back before I even finish a practice session. Once you have that big boom in your ears, a smaller drum just seems dead. I'm working my ass off on this 24" that I have, trying to get more comfortable and confident with it...it's paying off slowly. I can play all the same notes that I can on a smaller drum, it's just not as effortless, yet.

You're also right about making the kick as important in a drum kit discussion, as the snare drum. They're the two drums you're hitting the most and they go hand-in-hand in the beat...the kick definitely isn't less important. I obsess over my bass drum sound...haha!

Last night I spent an entire shed session just experimenting. I tried tuning each head differently and recording the results. Through this, I think I found a superior feel and sound to what I've been going with. I use Bob Gatzen's "lowest possible pitch" method to quickly get the heads tuned up...then adjust from there. The best sound and feel I could arrive at, was med-tight on the batter (where I still get a warm boom) and higher on the resonant side, for more punch and a brighter sound. I'm surprised at how much the tension of the resonant head affects the FEEL of the batter head! Anyhow...the sound is quite a bit higher in pitch but sounds amazing. I'm betting it'll be a lot more present on stage now, too. We'll see next week...

Thanks!
 
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