I must be an anachronism

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Matt Bo Eder

Guest
I met an older gentleman today who assumed I must be part of the younger generation and was surprised when I told him my favorite bass drum is a 14x24. He wasn't so surprised that a small guy had a 24" bass drum, but that it was only 14" deep!

He went on to lament the fact that modern sizes didn't make any sense especially bass drums deeper than 16". He said in his travels kids think 18" deep bass drums and 9x12 rack toms are 'normal'. And he complained that every time he went shopping for a drum kit, you had to special-order those traditional sizes we all grew up with. I totally understood where this guy was coming from. He was at least 15 years senior to me. He felt he was being penalized that if he ordered, say, a Ludwig Legacy tom in 8x12, he'd still have to wait for Ludwig to get to it - and when I told him I waited four months for Pearl to make me a 8x12 tom, he was shocked.

But this whole conversation made me feel like I was straddling some kind of invisible fence. For years as a child, I studied the old drum catalogs, and when power toms were being introduced, that should've been a normal evolution for me and I should've gotten right along with it. But all of my idols (well, Gene, Louie, and Buddy anyway) all played that 9x13 and 16x16 tom set-up with a traditional 14x24 (or 14x whatever) bass drum.

For some reason I didn't think I would ever surpass what those men have done, so those sizes kinda stuck in my "it ain't broke so don't fix it" mentality. Yes, I've gone smaller for logistical reasons with diameters, but I seem stuck in that 13/16/22 or 24 configuration. If I add more drums, sooner than later I take down everything and go back to those four sizes. Is this like an extreme case of settling in on what I can handle, or is there something wrong with my way of thinking?

I'm just not comfortable with toms deeper than they need to be. Likewise, I don't like the toms when they're shallower than normal either. And a bass drum that's less than 14" deep feels wrong as well - hence why I don't understand the sizing behind DW's Frequent Flyer kit, or Sonor's Player's kit. 12x20 I don't understand, nor do I understand floor toms that are 11" tall.

But being this way makes it really hard for me to just walk into a big box music store and select a kit off the shelf and take it home and be happy with it. I know I always say I can play whatever is in front of me, and I can do that. But why you never see standard sizes at a music store these days is beyond me. It's like the people with enough disposable income are my generation and older, and if you provided sizes of drums that they would like, they'd sell a lot more of them, don't you think?
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Maybe you're just comfortable with the familiar and gravitating back to your comfort zone?

Take half a dozen Bill Bruford clips from various bands and eras and call in the morning if you're not better.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
I'm just not comfortable with toms deeper than they need to be. Likewise, I don't like the toms when they're shallower than normal either. And a bass drum that's less than 14" deep feels wrong as well - hence why I don't understand the sizing behind DW's Frequent Flyer kit, or Sonor's Player's kit. 12x20 I don't understand, nor do I understand floor toms that are 11" tall
Let me bust a few points here. Bo, I doubt you've ever tried a bass drum or floor tom that's specifically designed to be a shallower depth, as opposed to a drum that is simply a shallower version of a standard construction for marketing purposes. Done right, there's a significant difference in the results of those two approaches. I currently have a 22" x 12" bass drum that would shock you in terms of low end satisfaction, & our 20" x 12" Origin bass drum literally astounded anyone who played it (including several members here).

Let's just take shallow floor toms as an example. You say 16" is a traditional depth, but traditional when? In an earlier time, floor toms were no deeper than mounted toms. Let me help you "understand" shallower floor toms. Again, the caveat is "done right", but a big affect that's almost never discussed or understood is how close the drum is to the floor. If you set up two floor toms at the same batter height, one being 16" deep, the other being 12" deep, it's perfectly possible for the shallower drum to produce more tone, & overall, more bottom end than the deeper drum. This is why we produce 14" x 12" & 18" x 14" floor toms in certain ranges where we believe it sits with a stronger fundamental kit.

I'd love to have you over at our demo room for a day. I think we'd open your ears on a few things ;)
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I don't give a whole lot of weight to drum sizes. It's what the drummer pulls from a drum, not the size of the drum, that matters. To me it's all minutia for the most part. Yes different sizes make different tones, but it's way down on my list of things that really matter.

A lot of guys obsess over size and I just feel there are much better things to obsess over, like skill.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
/\ I agree. I have played deep toms, shallow toms, concert toms, 24", 22", 20" and 16" both deep and shallow bass drums, still do in rehearsal studios, and after about half a song I dont notice the difference.
 

Bull

Gold Member
I've had standard sizes,power toms, and what DW calls "fast" toms,which seem to be the new "standard" sizes. I think, as far as rack toms go, the "Fast" sizes were my favs. One inch longer than standard.One inch shorter than power.

I've had 14",16" and 18" deep kicks. I don't mind 18"x22"s. I don't like larger drums to be deeper than 16".

I currently have a 14x26 and a 16x26. If I had to pick one,it would be the 16". It sounds meatier when it is ported.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
Not a big deal, to me. We live in an age where you can custom order pretty much whatever you want. What is a few weeks wait time in the big picture? Most people don't need a new kit in the exact sizes they want, ready to go at the shop, so they can walk in and buy one every week. They're drums, not groceries.
 

Bull

Gold Member
Bo's post just reminded me of mailing away for every companies catalog and planning my dream kits from every company, lol Anyone else send off for the Zildjian book with the setups of all their artists?
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
Let me bust a few points here. Bo, I doubt you've ever tried a bass drum or floor tom that's specifically designed to be a shallower depth, as opposed to a drum that is simply a shallower version of a standard construction for marketing purposes. Done right, there's a significant difference in the results of those two approaches. I currently have a 22" x 12" bass drum that would shock you in terms of low end satisfaction, & our 20" x 12" Origin bass drum literally astounded anyone who played it (including several members here).

Let's just take shallow floor toms as an example. You say 16" is a traditional depth, but traditional when? In an earlier time, floor toms were no deeper than mounted toms. Let me help you "understand" shallower floor toms. Again, the caveat is "done right", but a big affect that's almost never discussed or understood is how close the drum is to the floor. If you set up two floor toms at the same batter height, one being 16" deep, the other being 12" deep, it's perfectly possible for the shallower drum to produce more tone, & overall, more bottom end than the deeper drum. This is why we produce 14" x 12" & 18" x 14" floor toms in certain ranges where we believe it sits with a stronger fundamental kit.

I'd love to have you over at our demo room for a day. I think we'd open your ears on a few things ;)
Yeah, we talked about that before and you're right - drums done right makes sense. But in my mass marketed world in Southern California, the standard size for a floor tom has always been 16x16. It might have evolved to that but it's been this way at least since the big band era. So I can appreciate what Guru does in terms of sizing, but I'd have to ask what the point would be if the customer just wants what he wants. Is Gurus' point to get players into different sizes? Or is Guru saying you're not worthy of our drums if "all you want" is what's been available to you from every other manufacturer out there? I'm sure a Guru in a Buddy or Ringo size would be an awesome instrument worthy of the price.

And "duh", Larry.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I let every Tom, Tom and other Tom convince me the 14 dept was where it's at but when I finally had a drum cut down I preferred the 16 depth. 18 is great too, just a tiny bit too big to carry comfortably. It's worth noting that I am from the elite class of drummers who use a pillow.

Can't speak too much about Tom depths but I briefly owned a 10x7 and I felt that 7" was just a tad shallow because something was missing from the sound of that drum. Maybe it was just because it was a cheaper drum, who knows. Was very easy for placement though.

You are analcrowjism for sure.
 

geezer

Senior Member
I grew up when power toms were becoming all the rage, but as a punk I associated them with "rock", so was perfectly happy with my 20/14/12 or 20/16/12 kits. If I'm using someone else's kit and it has power toms I always bring a snare stand so that I don't give myself a rotator cuff injury when trying to hit the rack tom. I do remember showing up to try out for a band about 15 years ago - I'd brought my old Gold Satin Flame Leedy kit, but the guitar player in the band wasn't impressed and kept trying to convince me to use a Tama kit with power toms that was in the room. I held fast and set me own kit up and your man's jaw dropped after the first song - he couldn't get over how good it sounded and how loud it was. I enjoyed that!
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
I just think that it's simple economics and marketing, Bo. The impressionable young drummers of today are playing 18" deep kicks and short stack toms for the same reason you gravitate towards your preferred sizes: Famous player whom they idolize are playing them, and they sound great, so I'll buy the same sizes.

I have my preferred sizes too, but I'm also open to the possibility of my tastes changing. Certainly ten years ago, when I was so deep into prog that I couldn't have been levered out of it with a tow truck and five pounds of TNT, if you'd told me I'd be playing a 4-piece set with a 14" kick and a 13" rack tom in 10 years, I would have laughed you out of my house.

Certainly some sizes lend themselves to certain sounds, but you've also always been the one to prove that you sound the same on any kit. It's certainly been a bit of an inspiration to me to widen my horizons.

As for getting those preferred sizes any quicker, well, I guess we have to get famous and have thousands of young drummers idolize us, so that our favorite dimensions become off-the-shelf stock again, right?
 

Red Menace

Platinum Member
Sounds like you got stuck in your own head again.

I try not to stress about it but I suppose I'm in a similar boat. I'm not even 30 yet and I already have the disposition of a grumpy old man with regard to my music and my taste in drums. It has been an interesting endeavor.

You could always do what I do and just buy used. Used is good.
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
Sounds like you got stuck in your own head again.

I try not to stress about it but I suppose I'm in a similar boat. I'm not even 30 yet and I already have the disposition of a grumpy old man with regard to my music and my taste in drums. It has been an interesting endeavor.

You could always do what I do and just buy used. Used is good.
I suppose you're right. I guess I'm surprised at how in-tune I was with this older guy complaining about the same things. It is funny to note that he didn't complain about no longer having access to the crappy bass drum pedals of the day or the questionable strainer mechanisms. And who misses the old skool straight hoops with the clips to cut your knuckles up on? Of course, we made no conversation about having to tuck your own calf heads either.

I do notice that I don't understand people listening to LPs and cassettes these days too - especially when it's so convenient to quickly get a compressed .mp3 file into your phone ;)
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
I'm pretty picky about sizes.
Mainly for the reasons of ergonomics, space, and weight.

I like my toms mounted on the bass drum. And I like to be comfortable when I play.
There's a certain amount of juggling that can be done between bass drum diameter and tom depth.
But not too much to be done about it, before it goes to extremes.

Even though I'm not currently gigging,
I like drums that can easily fit into a compact vehicle without getting them all smashed up.

And being an old fogey, I like light drums.
Sure, it's possible for a larger drum to be lighter than a smaller drum.
But if all things are equal except the size, the smaller one wins for lighter weight.

Oops - on topic - 14" depth is the correct depth for any diameter bass drum - LOL
 

mikel

Platinum Member
I suppose you're right. I guess I'm surprised at how in-tune I was with this older guy complaining about the same things. It is funny to note that he didn't complain about no longer having access to the crappy bass drum pedals of the day or the questionable strainer mechanisms. And who misses the old skool straight hoops with the clips to cut your knuckles up on? Of course, we made no conversation about having to tuck your own calf heads either.

I do notice that I don't understand people listening to LPs and cassettes these days too - especially when it's so convenient to quickly get a compressed .mp3 file into your phone ;)


Simple. Listen to an LP on a decent system and you will never listen to an mp3 file again. Always supposing you like to hear the music breathe.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
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Simple. Listen to an LP on a decent system and you will never listen to an mp3 file again. Always supposing you like to hear the music breathe.
Like any technology, the details are in the implementation.

Phonographs are great tech, as long as you have a preamp with EQ compensation that's written to the RCA spec and a needle capable of puling the sound from the platter. Ferro-magnetic tape is fine, as long as you have the proper speed set and head alignment. MP3/AAC s fine, provided you have the proper bitrate and an advanced encoder.

Personally, I like listening to the remastered DTS 5.1 encoded music that plays during the end-credits of movies. It's cool to hear well mixed, remastered oldies with positional audio. I wish all music were made available in that format.
 
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