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  #1  
Old 07-15-2015, 06:53 PM
Tupim Tupim is offline
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Default Are 20" Bass Drums Easier To Play On Than 22"

Hi,

I was wondering if a 20" Bass Drum is Easier To Play On Than 22" ?? I only had a couple opportunities to play a 20" bass drum and i found it easier to play. Is this in my head or is it possibly true? I also like how the toms are lower, makes it easier to play them too.
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  #2  
Old 07-15-2015, 07:20 PM
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Default Re: Are 20" Bass Drums Easier To Play On Than 22"

While it depends a head selection and tuning, in general, smaller drums are easier to bounce the stick/beater off of than a bigger drum.

I had the same experience as you; I sat down behind a buddies kit with a 20" bass drum and found it much easier to play.

I spent a long time thinking it would be cool to have a 20" bass drum based on that experience.

And now that I have a 20", I'm more along the lines of "meh" about them.

What you may gain in a small amount of speed & "ease of use" you lose in low end and over all presence.
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Old 07-15-2015, 08:03 PM
Tupim Tupim is offline
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Default Re: Are 20" Bass Drums Easier To Play On Than 22"

Thanks for the help. I have a 22". I find that depending on the week im either flowing on the bass pedal, and then other weeks im in a "slump." When my bass drum playing is lagging my whole drumming is lagging as a result.I thought maybe by switching to a 20" it can solve this problem. My foot speed on the bass is average i would say. Not a beginner, but no pro either. For a long time i wondered why some weeks im good and some weeks not. I thought maybe i needed a long board pedal and that will compensate for my lagging. now im thinking bass drum size.
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Old 07-15-2015, 08:07 PM
tcspears tcspears is offline
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Default Re: Are 20" Bass Drums Easier To Play On Than 22"

It depends what you are looking for. I play jazz, so I have an 18" BD, which works for me.

Just like toms, the bigger the drum, the lower the pitch, and the less bounce you'll get. It all depends on the sound and feel that you want. In jazz we use the BD pretty sparingly, using it for accents and bombs like you would a tom. It's usually tuned fairly high and not muffled. I'm sure in rock you'd want a deeper, more powerful bass and less resonant drum for those quarter note pulses.

Your heads, whether or not you use muffling, and whether or not you cut a hole in the head will also impact your playing and tone, but the size will really dictate the sound you get.
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Old 07-15-2015, 08:32 PM
Tupim Tupim is offline
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Default Re: Are 20" Bass Drums Easier To Play On Than 22"

I play rock, heel up, on a 22" with a 4" port hole and evan emads (without the muffling pads as of now)
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Old 07-15-2015, 08:34 PM
tcspears tcspears is offline
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Default Re: Are 20" Bass Drums Easier To Play On Than 22"

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Originally Posted by Tupim View Post
I play rock, heel up, on a 22" with a 4" port hole and evan emads (without the muffling pads as of now)
One thing that will give you some more bounce is getting rid of the port hole. I know some engineers don't like to mic unported heads, but they'll give you more bounce... not sure if that's an option worth trying. It's probably cheaper to buy a new reso head and try it out rather than a new BD.
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Old 07-15-2015, 10:20 PM
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Default Re: Are 20" Bass Drums Easier To Play On Than 22"

I had a 20 bass drum and found I was tuning it low to get the sound I wanted. So the head was quite slack and I couldn't get the response I liked. When I changed back to a 22 I could tune the head tighter and still get the pitch I like. I guess my experience was the opposite of yours...
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  #8  
Old 07-15-2015, 10:37 PM
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8Mile 8Mile is offline
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Default Re: Are 20" Bass Drums Easier To Play On Than 22"

There's the feel and then there's the sound. I like the sound of an unported head best. On my 18" that I use for small-group jazz, that's what I use, and it's mostly heel-down technique on a relatively highly-pitched, unmuffled drum.

But the best feel? Depends on the drummer. For me, that would be a bass drum with a huge port. Or, better yet, no reso head at all. That's just what I like. I don't really play that way, because the bass drum sounds terrible with no reso head; but that's my preferred feel.
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  #9  
Old 07-15-2015, 10:43 PM
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Default Re: Are 20" Bass Drums Easier To Play On Than 22"

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Originally Posted by 8Mile View Post
There's the feel and then there's the sound. I like the sound of an unported head best. On my 18" that I use for small-group jazz, that's what I use, and it's mostly heel-down technique on a relatively highly-pitched, unmuffled drum.

But the best feel? Depends on the drummer. For me, that would be a bass drum with a huge port. Or, better yet, no reso head at all. That's just what I like. I don't really play that way, because the bass drum sounds terrible with no reso head; but that's my preferred feel.
Same here; feeling too much bounce for some reason disturbs me. Feels floppy when I lay into it rather than solid. That's why I like loads of laundry inside the drum too. I felt less bad about this when Gavin Harrison said something similar.

I dare say if I was playing jazz it'd be different as I'd play the bass drum in a different way.

My kick is a 20".. I find it easier just because I have more room to position the toms where I want (lower), and much easier to carry around for gigs, and its nice and punchy, and deep still.
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  #10  
Old 07-15-2015, 11:49 PM
Tupim Tupim is offline
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Default Re: Are 20" Bass Drums Easier To Play On Than 22"

Really helpful, thanks
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  #11  
Old 07-16-2015, 12:30 AM
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Default Re: Are 20" Bass Drums Easier To Play On Than 22"

A 20" BD is inherently slightly higher in pitch than a 22".
As long as you have no problem with the fact that different diameter drums make different sounds then all is right with the world.

As far as being easier to play I say no. Different sounding but not easier.
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  #12  
Old 07-16-2015, 01:19 AM
Matt Bo Eder
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Default Re: Are 20" Bass Drums Easier To Play On Than 22"

I thinks it negligible. They're too close in size. Now if you asked for the differences between a 20 and a 24, then there's something to discuss, or a 26.
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  #13  
Old 07-16-2015, 01:31 AM
Brian Jackson Brian Jackson is offline
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Default Re: Are 20" Bass Drums Easier To Play On Than 22"

I've always preferred 22" tuned slightly tighter than other players' BDs I've played, with the sweet spot being that happy medium between tone and double-clutch response. One thing I discovered early on was that much of the beater's behavior is a function of its length, like a pendulum in reverse. A pendulum's natural frequency is dictated by it's length, so by sliding the beater height down a little on its clamp could change its "wobble speed" in relation to the spring and head tuning/bounce. So this is a fun area of experimentation.

On that note (forgive the pun) I also "muffled" the BD batter head from the outside rather than stuffing blankets inside the shell. This allows the head to move forward on impact unrestricted, then dampened immediately on snap-back. It really made an improvement in the tone. It was a simple matter of running 2 cloth straps horizontally above and below +-4" from the strike point, sandwiching the ends between the hoop and the head ring. Rod tension held them in place. Then I could insert dampening material vertically on the left and right sides between the straps and the head. Rolled-up newspaper seemed to work well.

Just throwing some ideas out there.

Brian Jackson
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  #14  
Old 07-16-2015, 01:36 AM
TMe TMe is offline
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Default Re: Are 20" Bass Drums Easier To Play On Than 22"

A bit off topic, but I've noticed that sometimes a drummer will have a big, low bass drum that sounds great, but it gets lost when amplified with a small P.A. Somebody else plays a smaller, higher pitched, more resonant bass drum, and it sounds huge in the same P.A.

Has anyone else seen this?
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  #15  
Old 07-16-2015, 01:39 AM
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wildbill wildbill is offline
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Default Re: Are 20" Bass Drums Easier To Play On Than 22"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tupim View Post
.... I only had a couple opportunities to play a 20" bass drum and i found it easier to play. Is this in my head or is it possibly true? I also like how the toms are lower, makes it easier to play them too.
Sounds like you could be a 20" bass drum guy.
Try it again. If you still like it - go for it.

I think depth and porting have as much to do with ease as diameter does.

That said, my 18 is marginally easier to play than my 20.
It's two inches shallower though too - 15 vs. 17.
I had a bit of trouble adjusting to the extreme bounce on my non-ported 20
when I first got it, but it's all good now.

It's been a while since I've used a 22, but I don't remember there being any great difference, other than more difficulty with tom placement of deep toms.

Don't blame the bass drum for difficult playing though.
It would take some extremes for that to happen.
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  #16  
Old 07-16-2015, 02:26 AM
eamesuser eamesuser is offline
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Default Re: Are 20" Bass Drums Easier To Play On Than 22"

I went from a 24 to a 22, small adjustment of beater length and I was good to go.

Went from a 22 to a 20 and it was a big difference,I ended up adjusting spring tension,beater length, beater angle and adding a beater shaft weight before I got it right.
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Old 07-16-2015, 08:14 AM
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  #17  
Old 07-16-2015, 11:52 PM
JacobDB JacobDB is offline
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Default Re: Are 20" Bass Drums Easier To Play On Than 22"

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMe View Post
A bit off topic, but I've noticed that sometimes a drummer will have a big, low bass drum that sounds great, but it gets lost when amplified with a small P.A. Somebody else plays a smaller, higher pitched, more resonant bass drum, and it sounds huge in the same P.A.

Has anyone else seen this?
There are a lot of factors that go into this, but yeah, i've heard it before. A sound engineer probably just had a better tone to work with on the higher pitched kick than the lower one. Depending the sound board, mics, compressors, along with the PA speakers, they might not be able to really capture the low end of the first kick and it gets a weird floppy sound. That's also why when you go to a nicer studio, the drum will sound a lot different in the live room versus what comes out of the speakers in the control room. It's all about how the mic and the system accepts and spits out the tone.

Or the engineer sucks =)
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  #18  
Old 07-16-2015, 11:54 PM
JacobDB JacobDB is offline
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Default Re: Are 20" Bass Drums Easier To Play On Than 22"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tupim View Post
Thanks for the help. I have a 22". I find that depending on the week im either flowing on the bass pedal, and then other weeks im in a "slump." When my bass drum playing is lagging my whole drumming is lagging as a result.I thought maybe by switching to a 20" it can solve this problem. My foot speed on the bass is average i would say. Not a beginner, but no pro either. For a long time i wondered why some weeks im good and some weeks not. I thought maybe i needed a long board pedal and that will compensate for my lagging. now im thinking bass drum size.
I would think you would want to do some adjustments to the pedal before switching bass drums (if you haven't already). also, check your throne height and make sure you're comfortable no matter what week it is. Changing the bass drum is the last thing I would resort to.
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  #19  
Old 07-18-2015, 08:17 AM
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Default Re: Are 20" Bass Drums Easier To Play On Than 22"

Were the two bass drums you tried (20" and 22") the same depth? I think that is more of an issue than diameter. I had a 20 x 18 and never liked it. Now have a 22 x 14 and couldn't be happier with not only the sound but especially the feel. Only thing I miss is the slightly lower tom height. Can't have everything!
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Old 07-18-2015, 09:10 AM
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wildbill wildbill is offline
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Default Re: Are 20" Bass Drums Easier To Play On Than 22"

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Originally Posted by starclassicsilver View Post
Were the two bass drums you tried (20" and 22") the same depth? I think that is more of an issue than diameter. I had a 20 x 18 and never liked it. Now have a 22 x 14 and couldn't be happier with not only the sound but especially the feel. Only thing I miss is the slightly lower tom height. Can't have everything!
You could have had that 20 cut down to 14" depth.

Sometimes if the manufacturers aren't making what people want,
you've got to find workarounds.
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Old 07-18-2015, 09:19 AM
Matt Bo Eder
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Default Re: Are 20" Bass Drums Easier To Play On Than 22"

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMe View Post
A bit off topic, but I've noticed that sometimes a drummer will have a big, low bass drum that sounds great, but it gets lost when amplified with a small P.A. Somebody else plays a smaller, higher pitched, more resonant bass drum, and it sounds huge in the same P.A.

Has anyone else seen this?
This is fairly common. In fact, Bev Bevan (of ELO) said he tracked all those ELO records with a 18" bass drum because they got a much better attack and bass drum sound for what they were doing with it. Live he used a 26" bass drum (he was one of Bonham's closest buddies back then too). I also read another interview in the 80s that the drummer for Air Supply used a 20" all the time because it just sounded better in the sound system too. Frank Beard of ZZ Top also used 18 and 20 bass drums in the early 80s.

But the key to all of this is that they were miked up and running in a system. If you are not always running through a system, the 20 will get close, but bigger will get you closer.
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Old 07-18-2015, 05:24 PM
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Default Re: Are 20" Bass Drums Easier To Play On Than 22"

I have two kits that I use, one being a 22x18 the other 20x18. When I use the 20x18 I use the Gibraltar bass drum lift so I don't need to make any pedal adjustments. The drum is off the floor which really makes the drum resonate. Aquarian SK1 batter and an Aquarian regulator reso with an EMAD pad just touching the batter head. I think the type of heads and your tuning play a big role IMO.
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  #23  
Old 07-18-2015, 06:10 PM
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Default Re: Are 20" Bass Drums Easier To Play On Than 22"

Easier?

What are you on about?
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