Drummers around 5'6" - What size drums do you have?

WaitForItDrummer

Senior Member
Hi folks,
This is about drumkit ergonomics - So I’m about 5’6” and got this free (beginner level) drum kit our band just had (this was about 2 years ago). The drums are about rock sized: 23/16/13/12. Toms mounted on the bass drum.

I can play the kit ok for a few hours, say once a week. But since started practicing a few hours a day, and starting to play more complex and faster stuff, I’ve realized these drums are a bit uncomfortable and might be the too big for me…

The biggest issue seems to be ride placement – as the low tom seems to be in the way. And I can’t lose the low tom because the drum course I’m doing requires 2 toms. Plus, I sort of like the low tom (even though I know many of the pro level kits don’t have one.)

I have lowered the toms as far as possible and reorganized the cymbals about 6 times in the past few months… but long term I’m thinking might need to get a jazz or fusion sized kit?

Those of you around 5’6”, what are you experiences with drum kit sizes?
What drum make and sizes you have?
 
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alparrott

Platinum Member
Hi folks,
This is about drumkit ergonomics - So I’m about 5’6” and 2 got this free (beginner level) drum kit our band just had (this was about 2 years ago). The drums are about rock sized: 23/16/13/12. Toms mounted on the bass drum.

I can play the kit ok for a few hours, say once a week. But since started practicing a few hours a day, and starting to play more complex and faster stuff, I’ve realized these drums are a bit uncomfortable and might be the too big for me…

The biggest issue seems to be ride placement – as the low tom seems to be in the way. And I can’t lose the low tom because the drum course I’m doing requires 2 toms. Plus, I sort of like the low tom (even though I know many of the pro level kits don’t have one.)

I have lowered the toms as far as possible and reorganized the cymbals about 6 times in the past few months… but long term I’m thinking might need to get a jazz or fusion sized kit?

Those of you around 5’6”, what are you experiences with drum kit sizes?
What drum make and sizes you have?
I'm precisely 5'6" and I have two kits and regularly play on a third, none of which pose me any real ergonomic issues. My Yamahas are 20" bass, 8/10/12/14/16 power toms (it was the mid-90s, okay?); my Ludwigs are 14x22", 9x13" and 16x16". The church kit I play is also 22" but the 12/13/16 are power sized.

I personally don't have any major issues with any of these sets, although I'm much more comfortable with my kits than the church kit because of the height of the toms. That's only a couple of inches higher than my Yamahas, though.

I did buy my 20" kick based on ergonomics, but the 22"s haven't been that much of a challenge, honestly. It just takes tinkering.

I would point out that Bo Eder is like 3'8" or something, and he plays 24" and 26" kicks.... ;)
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Show us some photos of your kit. 5' 6" is not small for drumming and normal size drums should not be a problem.
 

uhtrinity

Senior Member
I am 5' 8" and I love a 20" bass drum and 7" deep toms. Tom diameter doesn't really matter in this context, but they are 8", 10", and 12". I also have two floor toms that are 14" and 16". This allows the toms to sit nice and low with pretty tight placement. My 2nd practice kit has more traditional toms that range from ~8 deep all the way to 12" deep as well as a 22" bass drum. Everything in the kit sits higher and the toms have more tilt. I'm definitely more fluid on my main kit, but I have to say the practice kit forces me to be adaptable.
 
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GeoB

Gold Member
If you want a ride that is out of the way....

One method is to make a hole.

Remove your dominant hand up tom, the 13" and move that over to a cymbal stand mount.

Stick your ride in that hole on a boom low hover over the kick. If you still don't have room, put your other up-tom on a snare stand off to the side or on another cymbal stand off to the left thereby clearing off the kick completely.

So in essence you would be playing 1 up 2 down instead of your current set up at 2 up 1 down.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
I'm 5'6". Have both a 20 and 22, ergonomics is the same, though I prefer the 20 for getting stuff closer around me.
But I always play 1 tom up, 1 or 2 toms down - so ride placement is easy.
In fact that is the biggest reason to have only 1 up - it gets that big beautiful ride cymbal right in front of you.
 

audioragegarden

Senior Member
I'm 5 foot 8 inches and comfortably enjoy my 24" bass and 8" deep rack toms, and a 12" deep floor tom. The two questions that came to my mind are how deep are your toms, and is your throne high enough? Throne height was a problem for me for a long time and since I replaced my old short throne with my current throne I've been playing much more comfortably. If you've been trying many different configurations with no luck, and the throne isn't the problem I'd say look into different tom sizes. Since you seem to be heading towards buying a new better quality kit, I think it would be prudent to take every opportunity to solve the problems you're having with your current kit, so that you know for sure what differences to look for in a new kit.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
The two questions that came to my mind are how deep are your toms, and is your throne high enough? Throne height was a problem for me for a long time and since I replaced my old short throne with my current throne I've been playing much more comfortably.
I am 5ft 9in and for many many years I sat low. I was always told that my legs should be parallel with the ground.
I was taught to play bass drum with my heel down. Well I have played heel up for a long time now. Pounding that bass drum to loud rock and roll.

I always had a 20" bass drum with smaller toms. (1963 Slingerland kit)
So last year when I got a 22 inch bass drum with large deep toms I finally raised my throne height. Now I can easily reach my drums. And I have no leg issues.


.
 

WaitForItDrummer

Senior Member
Thanks all for comments.

Show us some photos of your kit. 5' 6" is not small for drumming and normal size drums should not be a problem.
Have attached a pic - I know the bass drum should really be off the floor, but that would just raise it up more...

You'd probably really get on well with a 20" bass drum.
Thanks, Larry. I'm sort of thinking the same thing...

?.. but I have to say the practice kit forces me to be adaptable.
Good to keep in mind! Think it's important to be able to play any size kit if need to.
I guess this is more about being comfortable if I'm playing for a few hours everyday...

If you want a ride that is out of the way....

One method is to make a hole.
Thanks! I have vaguely thought of this. My instructor has a standard 2 up set so wonder if my setup is very different, this would add another layer of adjusting when learning new stuff... But I might give putting the toms on stands a shot...


The two questions that came to my mind are how deep are your toms, and is your throne high enough?
My toms are deep! The 12 inch is 10 inches deep and the 13 inch one is 12 inches deep. I think shallower toms would make a big difference - thanks for raising this.

Thrown height - went through weeks of fiddling with this. It's currently set as high as possible (22 inches high) for me to still reach the bass pedal - I play both heel up and down.
 

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RIneuron

Senior Member
What some people do is put their ride on a boom stand and hang it half over the floor tom at a comfortable height. You would need to eliminate or move the cymbals on that side now, but would still have two crashes above your hanging toms. Should be plenty for most situations.
 

julius

Member
If you have the room and the funds, a boom stand for your ride cymbal(s) would probably do wonders. Right now you're forced to put the ride above the low tom. With a boom stand you could put the ride a couple inches above and overlapping the floor tom as someone else said, and you wouldn't have to reach as far or as high.

Another way to lower the rack toms is to get a boom arm for them. It's hard to explain and I don't know what the things are actually called, but the idea is to move the rack toms away from the center of the bass drum and out towards the sides. That lets you lower the rack toms, because the sides of the bass drum are lower than the middle of it. The downside is your toms get farther apart, but there's probably a sweet spot for you.

A THIRD option is to remove the low tom entirely and put a cymbal there. Sure, it's not a tom, but it's still something to hit, and it's in the same place as the tom, so when you practice, you're still doing exactly what your teacher is asking you to do.
 

dmacc

Platinum Member
I'm 5'6" and after 35 years, I gave up on fighting a 22" bass drum set up. I now only use 18" and 20" setups. I will never go back. Ergonomically it's a colossal difference.

Not only that but I can only get comfortable on a 4 piece. I can not use more than 1 up / 1 down for toms. Forget it....
 

brady

Platinum Member
5"4" here.

I play a 20" bass drum too. I chose this size intentionally; for ergonomics and versatility. The church kit has a "normal" 22" bass drum and it doesn't "fit" quite as well as the 20". Some tinkering with it gets it good enough though.

For me to be truly comfortable, I would go no bigger than 20".
 

opentune

Platinum Member
5"4" here.

I play a 20" bass drum too. I chose this size intentionally; for ergonomics and versatility. The church kit has a "normal" 22" bass drum and it doesn't "fit" quite as well as the 20". Some tinkering with it gets it good enough though.

For me to be truly comfortable, I would go no bigger than 20".
Am curious of you "20inch bass drummers"... is it the lower height that you find helps the most, or lower width , thereby allowing floor toms or cymbals in closer?
When playing a 20 the biggest ergonomic benefit to me is its width, not height. (though size in/out of vehicle is nice!).
 

drumdevil9

Platinum Member
I'm exactly 5'6" and have used the sizes you mentioned (did you mean 22"?) without problems. I start to feel uncomfortable with 24" bass drums because of tom placement so forget anything bigger for me.

The ideal size for me is a 20" bass drum as mentioned and standard size toms. This makes placement a breeze.

If you're not liking your ride placement and need 2 toms you could try the left of the bass drum setup which frees up the right hand spot for the ride.

EDIT: I see you have deep toms which can be a pain especially the one on the right.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
Get a 20" bass drum and shallower toms - thank me later.

I only use 18 and 20" bass drums and am around average height for a male in the US.

I had a 22" with deep toms for the longest time, but am much more comfortable with what I have now. I won't buy larger than that anymore.
With an 18, you can get things really nice and close. A compact, sleek setup.
I like to keep my toms close to the same height as my snare, and have my cymbals low and close also.
I've also switched over to deeper 13" snares, as opposed to the 14's I used before. That also makes a big difference.

There's a trade-off in sound, but it's way worth it to me.
 
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