Great Results With 18" Bass Drum

Stroman

Platinum Member
As some may recall, I picked up a Tama Silverstar bop kit last fall. I've been using it weekly when I host an open jam, along with assorted other gigs. I've had the chance to hear others play the kit at the open jam, so I know how it sounds in that venue, and I've been pleased.

Last night I was the substitute host drummer at another club in town, so I got to hear the kit in a new place, and in direct comparison with the usual host drummer's kit.

This little 18" bass continues to impress me! I am still using the stock heads, PS3-type pre-muffled heads with no other treatment, and this drum sounded better than the regular kit's 22" bass. The regular kit uses a blanket in the drum, along with a port. My unported "baby" drum sounded richer, fuller, deeper in pitch (yes, I said it!) and more solid than the 22. It sounded fantastic in every way. I know that is mostly due to the tuning I use (higher than many would use, especially on an 18!), but I'm here to tell you this drum holds its own. It sounded great, unmic'd, for the rock, blues, and standards that were played.

I love my 24" Ludwig, too, but anyone who has been tempted to go to an 18" and is afraid it just won't cut it should rest assured these smaller bass drums pack a punch all out of proportion to their size.

(Rest of the kit sounded great too, if I may brag a bit.)
 
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bobdadruma

Platinum Member
I know where you are coming from. I have 3 kits with an 18" bass drum. They are all excellent. The 18" BD is perfect for a small venue no matter what music type that you are playing.
 

Taye-Dyed

Senior Member
Cool, I am glad to hear that you are enjoying your bop kit. I agree with your description of what 18" bass drums can do. I started out on a cheap Tama Stagestar kit and that 18" BD could be pretty fat and punchy with the right heads and tuning. Never left me wanting more bottom end.
 

iwearnohats

Silver Member
Slightly off the topic, what do you think of the Silverstar kit?

I've never been a fan of birch kits but when I heard the Silverstar in the store I was blown away by how good it sounded, and have been considering this one down the track as a practise/secondary kit when I'm not broke anymore.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I had an 18x18" custom kick in 1986, way before it was cool. I didn't really get it though and eventually sold it, avoiding 18" kicks for over 25 years until 2013. I've got a new Ludwig Club Date 18/12/14, and just love it! The kick responds nicely and is easy to play, and it cuts through the low end of the bass, so it sounds loud.

Very surprised, and impressed!

Bermuda
 

A-customs

Silver Member
You guys are making me want to go to a 18 as my other kit,as i play in some really small places,but fear my bass will not hold up..
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
Slightly off the topic, what do you think of the Silverstar kit?

I've never been a fan of birch kits but when I heard the Silverstar in the store I was blown away by how good it sounded, and have been considering this one down the track as a practise/secondary kit when I'm not broke anymore.
In general, I LOVE the Silverstar kit. It's my first birch kit, as well, and I really like the tone of the drums. They speak very clearly and are easy to tune. The hardware is holding up great.

The ONLY negative I have found is the wrap has bubbled just a bit in places. Not enough to even be visible when on stage, but it's there. They might even cover it under warranty, but I haven't checked, as it doesn't affect performance.

Also, I was in a car wreck with the drums in the car and damaged some of the rims and floor tom legs and I had to replace them, so all the parts aren't original, so I don't know what they'd say about that. So, I just chose to play them, and if it gets too bad I'll strip the wrap and refinish them.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
18s have more of a focused "punch" which makes them awesome in their own right. It's harder to get a "boomy" sound without sounding like a floor tom, but you can if you try. I like a good 18" bass drum sound, but I LOVE the extra thump of a 20"...
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
18s have more of a focused "punch" which makes them awesome in their own right. It's harder to get a "boomy" sound without sounding like a floor tom, but you can if you try. I like a good 18" bass drum sound, but I LOVE the extra thump of a 20"...

That's pretty much how I'd describe it. 18's are punchy, very quick to respond, and very easy to play. Nothing to complain about really.
 

iwearnohats

Silver Member
In general, I LOVE the Silverstar kit. It's my first birch kit, as well, and I really like the tone of the drums. They speak very clearly and are easy to tune. The hardware is holding up great.
Thanks, that's great feedback :).

The ONLY negative I have found is the wrap has bubbled just a bit in places. Not enough to even be visible when on stage, but it's there. They might even cover it under warranty, but I haven't checked, as it doesn't affect performance.
Interesting, given that it's Tama I'd say warranty would definitely cover it but I'd probably be in the same boat - doesn't affect sound, don't care.


Also, I was in a car wreck with the drums in the car and damaged some of the rims and floor tom legs and I had to replace them, so all the parts aren't original, so I don't know what they'd say about that. So, I just chose to play them, and if it gets too bad I'll strip the wrap and refinish them.
Plus, this might - as you say - cause warranty issues. Unfortunately, most warranties tend to be voided by a lot of things. I bought a car battery a while ago and the list of things that would void the warranty had about 15-20 on it!
 

evilg99

Platinum Member
Been doing the 18" kick thing for a few years...any style, any room ( always mic'd ).
Got a few of them but the baddest one of all is a new yamaha live custom oak..
Punches like Thor, easy to carry around, small footprint. Win.

I also play and love 20" and 22" but will always have gigs and reasons to use an 18"

Neal
 

con struct

Platinum Member
Mine is a Ludwig 18x18, and that thing can roar, I kid you not. It's just a great sounding bass drum, it really speaks! Any style, any dynamic, ported reso or not, she's a beauty.
 

sportyridr

Junior Member
I have a Catalina kit with 18", non ported & mic'ed...what I would be interested to know is if you play it flat on the floor with beater height adjusted or do you raise the bass drum to accomodate your regular beater height?

Most I have seen here at DW have the bass drum elevated which to me looks totally wierd, I actually trimmed a bit of the beater rod to make it hit center but not enuff that it won't work with most regular size BD'S. Note: Had to trim it or it would hit the skin.

I have just bought a set of double pedals and wondering what the best option is, seems there is alot more "pedal throw" when fully extended like it would be for like a 22" etc.

Anyone have any input?...thanks
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
I have a Catalina kit with 18", non ported & mic'ed...what I would be interested to know is if you play it flat on the floor with beater height adjusted or do you raise the bass drum to accomodate your regular beater height?

Most I have seen here at DW have the bass drum elevated which to me looks totally wierd, I actually trimmed a bit of the beater rod to make it hit center but not enuff that it won't work with most regular size BD'S. Note: Had to trim it or it would hit the skin.

I have just bought a set of double pedals and wondering what the best option is, seems there is alot more "pedal throw" when fully extended like it would be for like a 22" etc.

Anyone have any input?...thanks
The Tama comes with a built-in, adjustable riser which I use. It works perfectly, and I don't have to mess with my beater height when switching from the 18 to the 24. I don't really find the look that strange. It's only an inch higher at most, and it isn't even noticeable when the drums are on stage.

Besides, I adjust the beater height to give the pedal the power and feel that I want. I don't want to have to shorten it. To me, any adjustments should be to enhance pedal action, not accommodate drum size.
 

iwearnohats

Silver Member
To further expand on IDDrummer's response, modifying the length of the beater changes the feel of the pedal.

If you've bought a double pedal, chances are you are going to start playing reasonably fast stuff with it. In this case you need to have the pedal working at its most optimal in order to conserve energy and play efficiently. Shortening the beater will cause you to work harder by decreasing leverage and increasing the travel of the beater in order to hit the drum.

I would definitely recommend you instead get a riser and work with positioning the drum instead of changing the beater length for any reason other than the feel of the pedal.
 

Mikecore

Silver Member
I have a DW 18 (VLX) that sits on a cradle and sounds one or two sizes larger than it is. It's nice to get that kind of sound out of a drum that just about fits under my arm!
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
It's great to see all the love for 18's. I'm the only one I'm aware of in my area using one, so I had no idea there were so many fans, especially in the non-jazz arena.

sportyridr - I think you'll be happy with a riser!
 
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