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  #1  
Old 03-05-2018, 12:59 AM
Witterings Witterings is offline
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Default Rack Toms Angled or Flat

I see more and more drummers with their rack toms virtually flat rather than tilted towards them, I'm not that tall 5'7 and whenever I've tried to set them up like that unless I put my stool ridiculously high I'd always just be hitting the rims unless I played with my arms at a very uncomfortable angle.

How do others get their flat or do you just move your stool up?
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Old 03-05-2018, 01:09 AM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

Mine is angled. Peace and goodwill.
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  #3  
Old 03-05-2018, 02:20 AM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

I'm also not very tall. So I understand where you are coming from. Some drummers who are tall, have long arms and or certain kinds of playing techniques can have their toms flat. Some of us can't do that.

I have found the only way to flatten out rack toms is to use a bass drum that is 20 inch or smaller. Or mount the toms on a snare stand.
Another thing that helps is to use a 13 or 12 inch diameter snare drum. It helps you get closer to the toms.

Also I would never suggest having your rack toms perfectly flat. A little angle is good. Too much angle is bad.
It would be a good idea to have a drum teacher do an evaluation of your playing technique and your drum set setup.
For instance you air drum with your eyes closed. Then the teacher positions the tom right where it needs to be for your playing style.


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Old 03-05-2018, 02:20 AM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

I sit down...set my snare, bass drum, hats, and ride.

Everything else is set according to those four non-negotiables.

I don't give a hoot what it looks like. As long as I can hit it properly and it doesn't interfere with the core of my setup I'm good.
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Old 03-05-2018, 02:30 AM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

Itís all a fad. They think it looks cool . Iíve seen drummers have to raise up off of their thrones to play rack toms. Where is the sense of that?
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  #6  
Old 03-05-2018, 02:40 AM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

My toms are fairly flat, but not perfectly flat, but I'm also 6' 4".


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Old 03-05-2018, 02:52 AM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

They should be angled proportional to your torso height (and the drum height). Your stick should come as close to parallel to the drum without constantly hitting rims.

There is no need to have toms at anywhere close to a 45 degree angle unless you have them super high or you are 4 feet tall.
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  #8  
Old 03-05-2018, 02:56 AM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

Quote:
Originally Posted by GruntersDad View Post
It’s all a fad. They think it looks cool . I’ve seen drummers have to raise up off of their thrones to play rack toms. Where is the sense of that?
Yeah, it's a bit like the fairly new fashion of having cymbals pointing away with the playing edge angled higher.

Some of the very best drummers in the world (steve gadd, vinnie colaiuta, aaron spears, virgil donati, dave weckl) have their toms angled towards them to different degrees. You've got to go with what comes naturally to you personally. I've tried flat toms and flat snare but I always end up angling them slightly towards me. If the shoe fits, wear it.
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Old 03-05-2018, 04:47 AM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

I'm 6 foot tall and have my toms slightly angled towards me because that is the most comfortable position. If it was more comfortable to mount them flat then that is what I'd do, but it isn't, so I don't. Looking cool is for fashion victims.
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  #10  
Old 03-05-2018, 05:11 AM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

What about Keith Carlock? Some of his drums are actually angled away from him (not so much the rack toms, but his snare and floor toms are angled away). But I think you gotta start with what's comfortable for you. How Keith plays determines his set-up. How you play should determine your set-up.
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  #11  
Old 03-05-2018, 05:12 AM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

Who cares what anyone else does? Set your drums up so that the angle is conducive to hitting them with your stick at the appropriate angle for you. Everyone has a slightly (or majorly) different anatomy. and grip You will probably find your setup changing as quickly as your playing develops too.
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  #12  
Old 03-05-2018, 06:26 AM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

A friend of mine has them all flat, and he tours the world.
For him, it came from marching band, and the drums always being flat in the band room.

I think a certain amount of flatness makes sense, but not completely flat. Some angle is necessary to keep movement fluid. Finding that balance point is key.
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  #13  
Old 03-05-2018, 06:40 AM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

When I had toms over my BD, I had to have them higher than they are now, so more angled. With the toms on a strand to the left of the BD, I could bring them down and they flattened out more. When I brought my cymbdown, they also flattened out so I could play them properly. The only cymbal I have angled away from me slightly is my china. It opens up more if I can catch the edge just right, but I can still hit it flatter if need be.

Iím altogether a bit faster with everything lower, but thatís just me. Definitely wonít work for everyone.
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  #14  
Old 03-05-2018, 06:56 AM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

I'm glad to hear flat MT are a fad - I was wondering what I was doing wrong. I have to angle my toms!
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  #15  
Old 03-05-2018, 07:10 AM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

It can’t be too much of a fad



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  #16  
Old 03-05-2018, 07:31 AM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

Ringo had a bit of an angle though ;-) !
To me angle is necessary, I just need to watch me wrist movement to see I need tom angle. I have power tom over 22” Bass drum, and I’m only 1,71 m.
Even with smaller toms I angled a bit otherwise I hit the rim.
Maybe with a 20” and hyperdrive toms but that’s absolutely not my sound.

Last edited by Tamaefx; 03-05-2018 at 02:18 PM.
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  #17  
Old 03-05-2018, 10:01 AM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

If it works and you can do what you need to do on the drums, I don't personally care how you set up your drums. Personally, I try to get as little angle as possible on the rack toms so that gravity is in my favor, but it always ends up being somewhat of an angle (20į-30į?) for ergonomic reasons.

When I played straight ahead jazz fairly exclusively, the snare was often facing away from me and to the right to accommodate traditional grip.

I used to hate anything that was purely for fashion or style but I've become more accepting of that recently. If you're performing, how you look is part of it. If your setup makes you stand out or be memorable, or people think of you as the guy or girl who stands up every time they play a fill, and it doesn't stop you from accomplishing your requirements as drummer, then I say more power to you. This has nothing to do with drumming skill and isn't required by any means, but it's up to each individual to decide how they want to present themselves to the general public (who is likely more your audience than a bunch of other drummers online).

I remember watching that Beatles touring years doc last year and watching Ringo work on his hair before a set, MAKING SURE that it flipped back and forth properly before they went on stage.
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Old 03-05-2018, 10:26 AM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

I like a bit of a tilt, not like Lars tilt which is bound to make your toms sound like crap and mess my technique up.

If your rack tom is just higher than your snare and it's comfortable then have it flat. It doesn't matter if you're 5ft or 7ft, it's all about comfort.

We've all seen the guys who try and set the kit up like their favourite drummer (Travis Barker cough cough) and they look really awkward and uncomfortable playing but the kit looks the part :)
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  #19  
Old 03-05-2018, 10:30 AM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

I have mine set pretty much flat.

First of all, I'm tall, and it works well with my grip, which naturally tends to keep my sticks pretty level with my forearms. I also enjoy having easy access to tom rimshots. As my grip developed, my toms and cymbals got flatter, to the point where I'm struggling to play if it's angled too much towards me - I feel that the stick bounce is pushed back into my hand instead of up off the head or cymbal.

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  #20  
Old 03-05-2018, 05:09 PM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

Man, that's FLAT. I'd be hitting the rims, and I'm 6'2".
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  #21  
Old 03-05-2018, 06:20 PM
throughthecities throughthecities is offline
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

I set mine up with more than a slight angle over my bass drum. They were at less of an angle when I played a four-piece. Since I’ve started including the 12” tom, I’ve had to increase the angle slightly to accommodate the “extra” tom so both are at the same angle.

Here’s this guy that does what works for him, but I could never see myself going that extreme, especially on a floor tom.

https://m.imgur.com/a/4rexP

Whatever works for you.

I know there’s another I’m not thinking of that angles his rack tom (in a snare stand) away from him. I swear I saw it on this forum some time ago.
Edit: ah, found him. Garrett Goodwin for Carrie Underwood. Unconventional set up, and I didn’t quite remember correctly. It’s a floor tom in the rack tom position.
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  #22  
Old 03-05-2018, 07:08 PM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

Quote:
Originally Posted by GruntersDad View Post
Itís all a fad. They think it looks cool . Iíve seen drummers have to raise up off of their thrones to play rack toms. Where is the sense of that?
Totally agree. Ever since I saw the Weckl evolution videos on setting up ergonomically (playing efficiently, saving energy and your back), I totally stopped caring about what looks cool. This was many years ago.

I honestly don't see the benefit of flat toms - if you are average height and you simply hold a stick and strike down comfortably to where your first tom would be, the stick would still be at an angle for an efficient hit (stick parallel to angle of tom without rim shot). I'm just basing this on personal experience when I re-setup my equipment to be efficient - I'm 5'10 and mainly use a 22" BD.
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  #23  
Old 03-05-2018, 07:18 PM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

This is one of those things that people tout all over the internet how there's a "right" way to position your toms...

The truth is that's false. It depends on a lot of factors and the only generally bad setups are the ones where the toms are almost vertical... Even that, for a few players that's the way they like to do it.

There are benefits to playing down on your toms from up top and there are benefits to a more level playing area. One person's preference is pretty irrelevant.
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  #24  
Old 03-05-2018, 07:20 PM
crispycritters crispycritters is offline
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

Quote:
Originally Posted by AzHeat View Post
It canít be too much of a fad



Look at the pics of Charlie and Ringo again - although they both have single RTs mounted as low as they go when BD mounted they are both angled towards them
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  #25  
Old 03-05-2018, 09:11 PM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

All the drums I play with my hands are angled a little bit, including my snare and my floor toms. My floor tom is probably the flattest on the kit, and just a hair lower than my snare.

I had a thought a few years ago wherein having my drums perfectly flat made no sense to me - think about it; we hit the drum in the center of the head, and we have the hoop rising a quarter to half an inch above the surface of the drumhead, then our sticks aren't perfect cylinders, so if we have our drums perfectly flat, we actually have to hit the drum with our sticks facing downward a certain amount. If we want the stick to land perfectly flat to the floor, the drum has to be angled toward the player a little bit.

Everyone plays differently and frankly I don't care what you do with your kit, but that's part of why I angle all of my stuff a little bit. The other part being the fact that I set up the drums to fit the natural movements of my playing, not the other way around.
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  #26  
Old 03-05-2018, 09:18 PM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

I like a little angle. I'm doing 1 up 2 down with a 24" bass drum. The small tom tends to sit a little high.
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  #27  
Old 03-05-2018, 09:40 PM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

I like my drums to be as low and flat as I can get them. Just has a better look and feel as I sit pretty low as well.
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  #28  
Old 03-05-2018, 09:54 PM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

My FT sits angled about 6" below the right MT.

I haven't seen anyone doing that yet, but I'm looking.
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  #29  
Old 03-06-2018, 12:44 AM
Witterings Witterings is offline
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

Having seen the picture of animal it's decided ... after all he is the holy grail of all drummers and probably much like many drummers at school in that era was my nickname :-)

It was Benny Greb who 1st planted the seed ages ago, I believe he said on one of his videos that he felt it was a more ergonomic set up and since then I've seen a few others set up the same and hence why I asked..

Personally I've never been able to get on with it, I play 2 rack toms and it's the second larger tom that makes it pretty impossible for me as with the depth it won't go low enough to be comfortable.

I've just recently moved from acoustic to just electronic kit where the depths not such an issue so could change it if I felt there was any real benefit but seeing others comments I think I'll stick with what I know and has always worked for me and if ever I make the transition back to acoustic (they need to find a cure for tinnitus 1st) it'll be that much easier to do.
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Old 03-06-2018, 01:24 AM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

My rack is actually set up pretty close to the way Ringo and Charlie have theirs set up. It is close to being flat, but it definitely has a slight tilt to it. The floor tom is pretty close to the same, as well.
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  #31  
Old 03-06-2018, 08:47 PM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chunkaway View Post
My rack is actually set up pretty close to the way Ringo and Charlie have theirs set up. It is close to being flat, but it definitely has a slight tilt to it. The floor tom is pretty close to the same, as well.
Yea, all the pics above show a slight angle, yet still an angle. In fact, the last pic, 2 of the pots are actually slightly angled toward the drummer.(one is flat though) ;)



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  #32  
Old 03-06-2018, 09:47 PM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

They look really cool when they are flat :)

I angle mine as little as I can get away with because, you know....I want to look cool. I've never tried to play them flat but it seems like I'd be hitting the rims a lot.
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  #33  
Old 03-07-2018, 01:29 PM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

It's definitely to do with your body. I am 6 foot, with the majority of height in my upper body. When my friends and I are seated, my head is level with my friends heads who are 6 foot 4".

I have my toms set with a slight angle, but not flat. I also position the throne so that my legs are a hair above parallel with the ground (the throne set-up is for the comfort of my legs/feet; my height in my back then allows the toms to be relatively flat).
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Old 03-07-2018, 06:08 PM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikyok View Post
I like a bit of a tilt, not like Lars tilt which is bound to make your toms sound like crap and mess my technique up.
Lars had square toms up to 16" mounted over 24" bass drums. Counting hardware, the upper rims of the toms would be about 42" from the floor if placed flat. I'm guessing he got much closer to a perpendicular impact his way than maintaining an arbitrarily level placement.
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  #35  
Old 03-07-2018, 06:14 PM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

Slight angle.

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  #36  
Old 03-07-2018, 07:27 PM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

I play trad and need angled toms except the FT.
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  #37  
Old 03-07-2018, 07:30 PM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

Quote:
Originally Posted by PorkPieGuy View Post
Slight angle.

Hey Pork, very nice set up. That's about how much angle I use.

Check your private messages.


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Old 03-08-2018, 08:54 PM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

I want mine flatter, but with the standard BD tom mount I just can't do it without having them WAY too high. When I start shopping for a nicer kit, I will look for mounting arrangements that are more flexible in this regard.
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Old 03-09-2018, 02:07 PM
Witterings Witterings is offline
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

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Originally Posted by Mastiff View Post
I want mine flatter, but with the standard BD tom mount I just can't do it without having them WAY too high. When I start shopping for a nicer kit, I will look for mounting arrangements that are more flexible in this regard.
I could be wrong but I don't think it's the mount that normally causes the issue but the combination of the height of the bass drum plus the depth of the tom.

Whatever the mount's like it's going to end up at the same height which means unless you're tall in the upper body you'll constantly be hitting the rim or alternatively are going to mount the toms wide of the center of the bass drum to allow you to bring them lower .... or buy a kit with much shallower toms which will obviously affect the sound.
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Old 03-09-2018, 04:02 PM
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Default Re: Rack Toms Angled or Flat

Depth of tom certainly comes into play, but it seems to me that guys with flat toms also have them pushed out to the side of the bass drum more to allow them to come down. Actually, there probably is some sort of stem I could get for the BD mount that would let them come out a bit more. The mount I have is very limiting.
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