Drum Dimensons Mix Up

jwildman

Senior Member
I for one am irritated when someone is listing their drum dimensons yet they don't say which is diameter and which is depth. I mean sure most drums you can pretty much tell but for floor toms especially this annoys the crap out of me. Do you think there should be just one way to write dimensons? Because I usually do Diameter by Depth.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
You are right that most are easy to tell. The floor toms are normally wider than deep if they aren't square(16 x16 or 14 x 14). If it says 14 x 16 normally the larger is the diameter.
I like diameter first myself since that is the size drum head you need. One day drum folks, us included may agree on one way and leave it.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
That always drove me nuts also. I also like dia x height. That makes more sense to me. I don't know why anyone uses the reverse?
 
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Toad

Member
Same here. I vote diameter first.

I've been confused when looking at manufacturer specs on complete sets and had to look at the snare drum size to see which way they were doing it.
 

Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
I can always figure out what the person is saying, but for some reason I am use to saying the depth first and head size last, like 8" x 10" Tom. For some reason when people say the head size first, like 10" x 8" it seems odd, even though it make more sence because people use head sizes more.

What REALLY gets under my skin is when people don't know the size of their drums at all. I worked in a drum shop at one point and this would go on every day. Someone comes in and needs heads, I ask what size and they have no idea, or they only know the brand.
"uh... I have a tama kit" OK? Well what the hell size heads do you need? I tell ya, we got more returns on people buying the wrong size heads than anything I have ever seen before!
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
writing the depth first is a pet peeve of mine. i know there's no official standard, but i always get thrown off when the depth is listed first. it seems blatantly obvious to me that the diameter is the more important dimension so i don't understand why anyone would choose not to write that first.
 
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Big_Philly

Guest
I too prefer diameter first. When talking about my kit I always say 10x8, 12x9 etc.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I can always figure out what the person is saying, but for some reason I am use to saying the depth first and head size last, like 8" x 10" Tom. For some reason when people say the head size first, like 10" x 8" it seems odd, even though it make more sence because people use head sizes more.

What REALLY gets under my skin is when people don't know the size of their drums at all. I worked in a drum shop at one point and this would go on every day. Someone comes in and needs heads, I ask what size and they have no idea, or they only know the brand.
"uh... I have a tama kit" OK? Well what the hell size heads do you need? I tell ya, we got more returns on people buying the wrong size heads than anything I have ever seen before!
Nick, I got blasted by some kid on Craigslist who I was going to give free heads when he asked for Regular sized heads, and when I asked for the measurements he told me that if I didn't know the size of a regular drum kit not to waste his time.
 

mrchattr

Gold Member
I read a while ago (I can't remember if it was on here or elsewhere) a really good explaination of why you should go depth x diameter. I can't remember it for the life of me, but it made me start writing them that way.

With that said, it is still counter-intuitive to me. When people only give one dimention, they state the diameter. Their "6x12" tom becomes their "12 inch tom" when discussing it that way. So it makes sense to put the diameter first to me.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
Listing depth before diameter may be an engineers way of writing dimension specs. It may have to do with how they use mathematical formulas. Perhaps there is an engineer out there that can fill us in as to why that is.
 

freebirdgdw

Silver Member
What REALLY gets under my skin is when people don't know the size of their drums at all. I worked in a drum shop at one point and this would go on every day. Someone comes in and needs heads, I ask what size and they have no idea, or they only know the brand. "uh... I have a tama kit" OK? Well what the hell size heads do you need? I tell ya, we got more returns on people buying the wrong size heads than anything I have ever seen before!
I was speaking to a guy recently who is in a band which has had a little bit of success and he's been playing for 8 years.
"What kit do you have?"
"Erm... Pear Export."
"Cool, what sizes?"
"What are you on about?"
"You know the sizes of your drums."
"How the hell should I know?! Ha!"

.......
 
Listing depth before diameter may be an engineers way of writing dimension specs. It may have to do with how they use mathematical formulas. Perhaps there is an engineer out there that can fill us in as to why that is.
I'm an engineer (currently laid off, but anyway....) and diameter-first makes more sense to me too. Personally, I just try to be real specific, something like "12-inch diameter by 9-inch depth," or something to that effect. I agree that a standard order would be nice though, and that depth-first specs are irritating.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
I was speaking to a guy recently who is in a band which has had a little bit of success and he's been playing for 8 years.
"What kit do you have?"
"Erm... Pear Export."
"Cool, what sizes?"
"What are you on about?"
"You know the sizes of your drums."
"How the hell should I know?! Ha!"

.......
I have to measure my drums sometimes before I go to the store to buy new heads!
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
I'm an engineer (currently laid off, but anyway....) and diameter-first makes more sense to me too. Personally, I just try to be real specific, something like "12-inch diameter by 9-inch depth," or something to that effect. I agree that a standard order would be nice though, and that depth-first specs are irritating.
OK, So I guess that it is not an engineering thing.
 
If there were any real "correct" way from an engineering standpoint, it would be with the diameter first. If you're talking about a pipe or something, it's diameter by length.

Come to think of it, diameter-first makes even more sense on drums, since that's one of the primary things that determines the pitch of the drum, along with head weight and tension. Depth mostly just affects the resonance of the drum. Not to mention it's the diameter you need to know to buy heads.

Or I could just walk in and say "It's a Tama." :)
 

wolfgang

Senior Member
Lol. How can you not know the sizes of your drums? That would be like a guitar player not knowing which strings to buy (E, A, D, etc).

And I agree, it should be diameter x depth.
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
Another vote for "diameter X depth".

A quick check reveals:

Yamaha, Pearl, Mapex, Premier, Sonor, Taye use diameter X depth

Tama, DW, Pacific, Ludwig, Slingerland, Gretsch use depth X diameter

On their respective websites.

I can't see any pattern there at all....
 

PacifRick

Senior Member
I would guess that the reason behind the differences has more to do with regional purposes than anything else, such as SAE vs. Metric units of measure. North Americans use Dollars, inches, feet etc. where the British use Pounds, Meters, centimeters and so fourth.
 
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Mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
Lol. How can you not know the sizes of your drums? That would be like a guitar player not knowing which strings to buy (E, A, D, etc).

And I agree, it should be diameter x depth.
Well you don't specifically buy 'E' 'A' or 'D' strings, but you use specific gauges. I like to use thicker strings (a set of 12's, 0.12 being the thinnest string) but if you asked me for the individual gauges in that set, I'd struggle to tell you. I'd say it's more in line with not knowing what kind of pickups you had or the scale length. Scale length does make a difference as to how a guitar sounds. I purposely have two guitars that are essentially the polar opposites of each other!
 

eddiehimself

Platinum Member
Well you don't specifically buy 'E' 'A' or 'D' strings, but you use specific gauges. I like to use thicker strings (a set of 12's, 0.12 being the thinnest string) but if you asked me for the individual gauges in that set, I'd struggle to tell you. I'd say it's more in line with not knowing what kind of pickups you had or the scale length. Scale length does make a difference as to how a guitar sounds. I purposely have two guitars that are essentially the polar opposites of each other!
It's actually 0.012 as it's in inches, 0.12 would be somwhere between a low E and low B string on a bass.
 
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