10 & 12 or 12 & 13 toms


Platinum Member
Prog Rock Heresy! Phil Collins is rolling over in his gravy
White or brown, and with mushrooms?

I like the 10/12 split. I also like the 12/13 setup. Currently I run a 10/12/13ft. Used to play 10/12/13/14/16. Anymore I really don't care, it's more about the setup than the sizes. My kit that's cased is 12/16/18. I can tune up or down accordingly if needed. Comfort is where it's at for me, sizes are secondary.


Senior Member
I’ve got 12/13/16 on both kits so I got a 10 and a stand to sit with the cool kids. Used it once. Hated it. Now it lives in my closet. Shrug.



Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I think it's important to note that the more important measurement is the interior volume(cubic inches) of the drums and not just the one inch. The drums can be tuned one high, one low or one medium, one low to make a sound much bigger than one inch. Depending on the music you play you may want larger drums.


Junior Member
Thank you all for your opinions!! Appreciate it. I like both, but have lately begun to gravitate back to my beginnings with a 12/13 up.


Platinum Member
I like the 10, 13, and 16 in. !0 in is about as small and high pitched as you will occasionally need, and the 13 in is just "perfect" (strange being an odd number but I love mine). I like the 3 in interval in sizes something about that even interval appeals to me. You could go the 2in interval 10,12, and 14 but I like more bottom on the floor (and 12 in toms just bore me now I'm hooked on my 13 in).
The 13 is so good because not only is it an odd number, but a prime number, which is what gives it that extra special sound.


Silver Member
I like the 13. 13 > 16 sounds good since the dawn of rock drums, and in the beginning it was the main tom (I mean, in front of the SD). Having a 10 in front is a big leap. When I have a 10 and 12 above the bass, my licks tend to go directly on the right, toward the 12. It’s unnatural.
Nobody speaks about depth, but to me the lack of body or the choking of the 10 is a matter of depth. My 10 is 10x9 (power tom) and it sounds so much better than the 10x7 I played. It can go lower in tuning, nice sustain.
Deep 12 & 13 can be a pain to tune, but deep 10x9 & 12x10 with a 16x14 can sound really great.
I’ve tried this and liked it, as long as it was offset.
Manufacturers have had - maybe - a good idea to reduce rack tom diameter, they just shouldn’t have reduce the depth as well.
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Platinum Member
I almost always use two toms (one up, one down). I now own 10", 12", and 16" toms. I am planning to use any two of those toms depending on the gig situation. I had 13" toms in the past and had no problem with them. A 10/13 would be better than the 10/12 combo. As for the OP question, 10/12 is better than the old 12/13 up thing. Peace and goodwill.


Platinum Member
I'm using 10-13-16 right now and I'm a little disappointed in myself for not having tried this combo sooner.

I'm coming from having been using 12-13-16, and I've never had any problem getting plenty of pitch difference with "only one inch" in between the toms. As far back as I can remember I've heard people say they have trouble tuning 13" toms, but I've never had an issue. :unsure:


Platinum Member
I thought Phils' most famous kit had 8-10-12-15 toms with 16-18 floors?
Well, there *is* only one inch difference between a 15 and a 16...

What is interesting to me is how Phil breaks up and uses his six toms. Phil uses his 10 and 12" toms most in shorter fills, with the 8 and the 15 used to fill out longer fills. On his kit the 8-10-12 are tuned fairly close in pitch then there's a big gap and the 15-16-18 are fairly close in pitch. So he has all these different "zones" that I think gives a lot of his parts a lot of drama. His sound is partially in the tuning, but also in which toms he plays in a given fill.


"Uncle Larry"
Recent convert to the 12/13 up top, from a 10/12.

I thought a 1" difference wasn't enough spread for a long time but now after trying the 12/13 I don't think that anymore. My fears of not enough spread were unfounded for a lot of years. I won't be going back to a 10 live because I'm never miced and my trusty little recorder tells me that the sustain and tone from a 10" tom...is too short for my liking even 10 feet away. So forget any further. The 12 works much better as a high tom unmiced in my world. It's tone carries a lot further with detectable sustain. The 13 is just so satisfying as a mid tom. Much more satisfying as a mid tom than a 12 to my ear. I'm totally enamored with the 13" tom.

If a drummer is miced, then it doesn't matter what size drum is used, it all sounds great.


Silver Member
I shift from 10-12, 12-13 depending the show, I don't keep the 12 tuned the same for those two configurations.
In 10-12 I try to get as low as possible, on both rack tom. When I play 12-13, I bring the 12 high, and the 13 relatively high. Better projection and nice separation.
But the 1" difference is a matter of tuning. The only time the 13" has been trouble to me (tuning wise), was when I played 12 13 14 16 ; tone separation was hard to get then.


Staff member
I'm a 1 up or 3 up guy - no idea why, just never got on with a 2 up setup.


Silver Member
I like 10 and even 8 inch toms personally.... The trick is as already mentioned, these need to be deeper. I like traditional 8" deep 12s... my 8s and 10s are always 8" deep as well... Never had any issues this way except some do go out of tune when tuned low... Throw those away and keep looking 'til you find small toms that work. Nothing against 13s either, but since I like 14" floor toms it is sometimes a bit crowded in that sonic space. 13s are great with 16" floor toms though.