Are 20" Bass Drums Easier To Play On Than 22"


Matt Bo Eder

A bit off topic, but I've noticed that sometimes a drummer will have a big, low bass drum that sounds great, but it gets lost when amplified with a small P.A. Somebody else plays a smaller, higher pitched, more resonant bass drum, and it sounds huge in the same P.A.

Has anyone else seen this?
This is fairly common. In fact, Bev Bevan (of ELO) said he tracked all those ELO records with a 18" bass drum because they got a much better attack and bass drum sound for what they were doing with it. Live he used a 26" bass drum (he was one of Bonham's closest buddies back then too). I also read another interview in the 80s that the drummer for Air Supply used a 20" all the time because it just sounded better in the sound system too. Frank Beard of ZZ Top also used 18 and 20 bass drums in the early 80s.

But the key to all of this is that they were miked up and running in a system. If you are not always running through a system, the 20 will get close, but bigger will get you closer.


Platinum Member
I have two kits that I use, one being a 22x18 the other 20x18. When I use the 20x18 I use the Gibraltar bass drum lift so I don't need to make any pedal adjustments. The drum is off the floor which really makes the drum resonate. Aquarian SK1 batter and an Aquarian regulator reso with an EMAD pad just touching the batter head. I think the type of heads and your tuning play a big role IMO.