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  #1  
Old 01-22-2011, 06:17 AM
SwissArmy SwissArmy is offline
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Default 20" base drum

How do you guys feel about using a 20 inch base drum for jazz? Im looking to get a new kit and I play mostly jazz/funk. Would a 18 be better?
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Old 01-22-2011, 06:23 AM
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alparrott alparrott is offline
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Default Re: 20" base drum

If you plan on doing nothing but jazz, sure, get an 18", but I use a 20" for everything, rock, jazz, and all points in between. 20" is a good middle ground. And many successful jazz artists have used 22"s and even 24"s.
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Old 01-22-2011, 06:26 AM
SwissArmy SwissArmy is offline
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Default Re: 20" base drum

I think I will get a 20 then. Do you know if you can get the new classic bop shell pack but with a 20 base drum?
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Old 01-22-2011, 06:34 AM
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Default Re: 20" base drum

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Originally Posted by SwissArmy View Post
I think I will get a 20 then. Do you know if you can get the new classic bop shell pack but with a 20 base drum?
That depends on who's making it. If you're paying top dollar for Gretsch, sure they'll make you a bop kit with a 20" bass drum. But pre-packed kits like Sonor's Bop, are only available with 18" bass drums, as is the Gretsch Catalina Jazz. But all the expensive stuff you can get in any size you want - not to mention alot of different finishes as well.

I would recommend trying to find a Ludwig Fab4 kit with the 8x12, 14x14 toms, 5x14 snare, and 14x20 bass drum. Just like Ringos!
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Old 01-22-2011, 06:38 AM
toddbishop toddbishop is offline
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Default Re: 20" base drum

18" is more popular now, but 20" has been standard forever- or at least since the Gretsch progressive jazz set came along in the late 40's/early 50's(?). I used a 20 up until a couple of years ago, and now really like my 18- it blends better with the rest of the set.
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Old 01-22-2011, 07:39 AM
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Default Re: 20" base drum

I think that 20" bass drums are great. They're easy to transport, very easy to place your rack toms above the kit, and they work with just about any musical genre. I've owned one for about 45 years and there was never any venue that it felt out of place. My next kit will also have a 20.

Dennis
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Old 01-22-2011, 11:11 PM
jiya1 jiya1 is offline
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Default Re: 20" base drum

hello
yes, you are absolutely right it was great.
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Old 01-22-2011, 11:43 PM
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Default Re: 20" base drum

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Originally Posted by audiotech View Post
I think that 20" bass drums are great. They're easy to transport, very easy to place your rack toms above the kit,
Dennis
Yeah thats half the reason i got my kit with a 20" bass, i like my rack tom nice and low.
Of course i think it sounds great as well but the easy tom adjustment is a huge plus for me.
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  #9  
Old 01-23-2011, 12:08 AM
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Kenny Allyn Kenny Allyn is offline
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Default Re: 20" base drum

My first kit was a 16x16 kick (Yamaha Manu Katche) and it was really good but for the lower volume electric blues we play it struggled to deliver enough "punch" in some situations when not miced. Later I picked up a 16x20 Ludwig kick as part of a kick and snare setup, and knew that the 20 was for me, it was just right. I sold the Katche kit and picked up a Sonor "fusion" sized 3007 kit with a 17.5x20 kick, so I guess you could say I bypassed the 18 and found what worked for me with the 20 ... I can see how the 18 may be tops in an acoustic setting.
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Old 01-23-2011, 12:23 AM
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inneedofgrace inneedofgrace is offline
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Default Re: 20" base drum

Didn't Buddy Rich have a pretty big bass drum?
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Old 01-23-2011, 12:51 AM
audiotech
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Default Re: 20" base drum

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Originally Posted by inneedofgrace View Post
Didn't Buddy Rich have a pretty big bass drum?
I believe he always used a 24" x 14". I could be wrong, but if I would have known this question a couple of hours ago, I could have asked one of his drums techs I was taking to today.

Dennis
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  #12  
Old 01-23-2011, 03:48 AM
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Default Re: 20" base drum

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Originally Posted by audiotech View Post
I believe he always used a 24" x 14". I could be wrong, but if I would have known this question a couple of hours ago, I could have asked one of his drums techs I was taking to today.

Dennis
yes....Buddy's standard setup was 14x24, 9x13 and two 16x16 floor toms.
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Old 01-23-2011, 03:58 AM
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Default Re: 20" base drum

Quote:
Originally Posted by audiotech View Post
I believe he always used a 24" x 14". I could be wrong, but if I would have known this question a couple of hours ago, I could have asked one of his drums techs I was taking to today.

Dennis
Yeah, but Buddy Rich was driving quite the killer band & the music called for bigger drums.

Oh yeah, I love my Oak Custom 20" kick the most (have an 18" maple and a 22"birch). We play Jazz standards to SRV and I can make it work for anything.

Last edited by Big Foot; 01-23-2011 at 05:13 PM.
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  #14  
Old 01-23-2011, 10:35 PM
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Default Re: 20" base drum

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Originally Posted by nickg View Post
yes....Buddy's standard setup was 14x24, 9x13 and two 16x16 floor toms.
He had two 16" floor toms?
Hm, i always thought one was bigger than the other. I guess i thought wrong
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Old 01-23-2011, 11:07 PM
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Default Re: 20" base drum

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Originally Posted by Rick H. View Post
He had two 16" floor toms?
Hm, i always thought one was bigger than the other. I guess i thought wrong
yep pretty sure it's two 16x16 FT's
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  #16  
Old 01-24-2011, 02:28 AM
audiotech
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Default Re: 20" base drum

He actually had two 16" x 16" floor toms. The first was tuned, which he played, and the second remained flat. He would place his towel and cigarettes on the second.

Dennis
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  #17  
Old 01-24-2011, 10:56 PM
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Default Re: 20" base drum

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Originally Posted by audiotech View Post
He actually had two 16" x 16" floor toms. The first was tuned, which he played, and the second remained flat. He would place his towel and cigarettes on the second.

Dennis
You mean he didn't use it at all?
I knew he would keep his towel on it but i thought he would still use it now and again
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  #18  
Old 01-24-2011, 11:51 PM
audiotech
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Default Re: 20" base drum

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Originally Posted by Rick H. View Post
You mean he didn't use it at all?
I knew he would keep his towel on it but i thought he would still use it now and again
Nope, it was a literally a table and was never tuned up. This was exactly one of the questions that I asked his drum tech that worked for Buddy though out most of the seventies this past Saturday.

Dennis
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  #19  
Old 01-25-2011, 12:01 AM
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Default Re: 20" base drum

Joe Morello recorded tunes like Take Five with a 22/13/16 setup. And I'm pretty sure Philly Joe used a 24" bass drum. Those guys didn't just get by in small group jazz settings with "larger" drums, they helped define the sound of the style. I love the sound of a small kit for jazz but I think some of the dogma surrounding which drum sizes go with which type of music is excessive.
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Old 01-25-2011, 12:59 AM
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Default Re: 20" base drum

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Originally Posted by audiotech View Post
Nope, it was a literally a table and was never tuned up. This was exactly one of the questions that I asked his drum tech that worked for Buddy though out most of the seventies this past Saturday.

Dennis
He hits it a few times on that drum battle with animal. Not many, I'll grant you, but definitely a few times.
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  #21  
Old 01-25-2011, 02:04 AM
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Default Re: 20" base drum

As a few people have mentioned, I don't get where the stigma that one must have an 18" bass drum to play jazz.

In the early days of jazz, most drummers used large bass drums. 26" and even 28" were common. Then they were scaled back to 24" and 22".

The 18" bass drum came about because they were easier to transport. Guys doing a lot of gigs in New York and Chicago needed to be able to take their drums on the subway or in a cab, so scaling down to an 18" was a way to do that.

Sure, guys like Elvin continued to favor the 18" even when they had roadies to carry the drums for them, but then you had Tony give up the 18" for a 24."
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  #22  
Old 01-25-2011, 02:30 AM
Bill Stevenson Bill Stevenson is offline
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Default Re: 20" base drum

I am an old guy, 63 years old to be precise, and can remember only one guy who used an 18" bass drum back in the 1950s, 60s, and even later, Connie Kay with MJQ. In the early days, Ludwig, then Connie switched to Sonor, first guy I ever saw playing them. I saw Max Roach quite a few times and he always used a 20" bass, which was considered small at the time. The Gretsch Catalog circa 1960 or so listed Max's kit as the Progressive Jazz outfit and it was a 12/14/20 with a piccolo snare. Most guys were playing 13/16/22 kits. The big band guys like Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Jo Jones, and Sonny Payne played 13/16/24 kits and most of the big band guys had two floor toms, often two 16s, but also popular was a 16 and an 18. Drums were not mic'd in those days and the big drums really were required for anything more than small group sessions. I only saw Louis Bellson live twice and he used 2 bass drums, one time he was using 22's and the other time 24's I am almost sure. Slingerlands in white marine pearl.

Joe Morello played Ludwigs, which are assertive instruments, and used a 13/16/22 set with a steel shell 5x14 Supersensitive snare drum. Joe played loud, which was necessary with Dave Brubeck who played the piano so hard he knocked it out of tune every night. But before Brubeck, Morello played with Marianne McPartland, and she always complained that Joe was too loud. And if you listen to those old recordings Morello blended better with Brubeck than with McPartland.

The size of drums is less important today with everything being mic'd and mixed and all, but if you are playing in an acoustic setting, it is easier to blend in and not subsume the rest of the musicians if you choose wisely. In my opinion it is hard to beat either of the traditional 4 piece kits for versatility. That is either a 12/14/20 or a 13/16/22. Of course it would be nice to have both, but if you go that way then an 18" bass might be preferred for the small set. If one set must do, then arguably a 20" bass is the single most versatile size. The snare drum must blend with the set as well and a lot of the popular snare drums are inherently too loud for a small set.

Bill
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