16" and 18" floor tom interval observation

cdrums21

Gold Member
I am always checking out snares. Just window shopping really. There are two in particular that have caught my eye. There is a video from DrumCenter of Portsmouth NH about an AK black beauty snare drum. The way they recorded it, the room....whatever, is making that drum sound ridiculous. Toward the end of the video the player gives it a couple of straight whacks and man, just a gorgeous sound. The other is the legendary Tama Bell brass from the 80's. That drum sounds crazy good for rock stuff. Both drums are super expensive so not something I would buy, much less even find a vintage 80's Tama bell brass snare, but man do they sound sweet.
 

Jbravo

Senior Member
I am always checking out snares. Just window shopping really. There are two in particular that have caught my eye. There is a video from DrumCenter of Portsmouth NH about an AK black beauty snare drum. The way they recorded it, the room....whatever, is making that drum sound ridiculous. Toward the end of the video the player gives it a couple of straight whacks and man, just a gorgeous sound. The other is the legendary Tama Bell brass from the 80's. That drum sounds crazy good for rock stuff. Both drums are super expensive so not something I would buy, much less even find a vintage 80's Tama bell brass snare, but man do they sound sweet.
So far I have a14x6.5 Acrolite, a 14x6.5Black Magic, and a13x7 Gretsch steel snare I bought before the switch to Ludwig.

I want to get a supraphonic aluminum, and a Black Beauty before I branch out to other brands, but then anything is fair game!
 

cdrums21

Gold Member
So far I have a14x6.5 Acrolite, a 14x6.5Black Magic, and a13x7 Gretsch steel snare I bought before the switch to Ludwig.

I want to get a supraphonic aluminum, and a Black Beauty before I branch out to other brands, but then anything is fair game!
I have a 1976 Ludwig 402 and an early 2000's Ludwig 6.5 x 14 black beauty. Both sound great. I am partial to metal drums, they just have a certain "pop" that wooden drums don't have that I like. But, I have heard some awesome sounding wooden snares and have owned some in the past as well. I just prefer metal snares and Ludwig seems to have the magic touch for me.
 

CommanderRoss

Silver Member
What I am noticing in watching tuning videos or seeing Tunebot settings on drums being tuned for comparison videos, is that the 16" floor tom is being tuned very low....like almost no tension on the lug screws at all, maybe 1/2 turn at best. If you have an 18" floor tom as well, in order to get a good pitch difference, you'd have to take that 18" down really low to sub-sonic levels, but then it sounds thin and papery at this point.
I have a 16/18 set up & when I do a kit tune, I start at the 18. I get it to the tone & resonance level I want & go up the toms from there. Otherwise, the 18 would just disappear in the mix.
 

Mikecore

Silver Member
I'm with MikeM on the 12/15/18 setup, although my plan is to put the 18" to the left of the kit like a sort of gong bass, and have the 12 and 15 as the first and second floor toms. I got a few funny looks when I said I wanted to put an 18" floor tom on a kit with a 20" kick, but if you think of it like a gong drum it's not quite so silly.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
The drum, the heads, and the tuning will obviously affect the sound, and I wouldn't put too much credence or science into the diameter alone. I'm of the school that says the cubic volume(inches) not sound volume will also affect the sound because of the total volume of air to move. One can tune a 15 down to a close sound of a 16. The interval will have some affect of course.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
With a set of toms with size intervals between them remaining the same- say, 2 inches- the larger the sizes of any two in a row, the less proportional difference there is between their sizes. The difference between 16 & 18 is much less than that of 10 & 12. The two inch difference from 10 to 12 is a bigger leap due to 2 inches being 1/5 the size of the 10" tom. The same two inches aren't as proportionately large with the 16 & 18 since it's only 1/8 the size of the 16" tom. Ludwig, not too long ago, addressed this somewhat by offering a 5 piece kit config with tom sizes 10/12/15.
If you are only considering diameter and/or circumference this works. Unfortunately, it's the head we must consider. That's area. A 10" tom has a surface area of about 314 sq in. A 12" tom has a surface area of about 452 sq in. That's a difference of about 30.5%. Since the head is where the sound comes from, we must consider area, not diameter. Just to prove a point, the area of a 15" tom is about 707 sq in. That's a difference of about 36% between the 12 and 15.
 

timmdrum

Silver Member
If you are only considering diameter and/or circumference this works. Unfortunately, it's the head we must consider. That's area. A 10" tom has a surface area of about 314 sq in. A 12" tom has a surface area of about 452 sq in. That's a difference of about 30.5%. Since the head is where the sound comes from, we must consider area, not diameter. Just to prove a point, the area of a 15" tom is about 707 sq in. That's a difference of about 36% between the 12 and 15.
I understand what you're saying, but does it change anything in practice? My point was, with even diameter intervals, the % difference decreases as you go to each larger drum. Wouldn't this also be true for area? Also, mind that I compared 10/12/14, and you compared 10/12/15.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I understand what you're saying, but does it change anything in practice? My point was, with even diameter intervals, the % difference decreases as you go to each larger drum. Wouldn't this also be true for area? Also, mind that I compared 10/12/14, and you compared 10/12/15.
It still decreases, but not at the same rate. If you just go by diameter, the difference between a 16 and 18 is about 11%, when in actuality the difference is 21% in area. The reason I used 10/12/15 was because you said Ludwig had toyed with the idea. If just dividing the diameters into each other, they do have a separation of 0.8 (20%), but the difference is actually greater than that. It looks good on paper but simply isn't the case. Interesting idea though.
 

timmdrum

Silver Member
It still decreases, but not at the same rate. If you just go by diameter, the difference between a 16 and 18 is about 11%, when in actuality the difference is 21% in area. The reason I used 10/12/15 was because you said Ludwig had toyed with the idea. If just dividing the diameters into each other, they do have a separation of 0.8 (20%), but the difference is actually greater than that. It looks good on paper but simply isn't the case. Interesting idea though.
I think the concept in the older Drummerworld discussion, and what Ludwig was trying to accomplish, is for the 12-15 interval to be closer to that of the 10-12, so as to have a more even pitch interval with all variables remaining equal. Obviously, with each drum having a tuning *range*, I see no issue getting acceptable pitch intervals with 10-12-14 or 10-12-16. Plus, who says they *have* to be even, or close? Maybe a tight 10-12 with a jump down to a low, boomy 16 is cool to hear. I've personally never tried it. My first kit was 12-13-16, and my next four (which includes my current two) were 10-12-14. I'd like to hear a 2 up 2 down with 10/12/15/18.
 

EricT43

Senior Member
If you are only considering diameter and/or circumference this works. Unfortunately, it's the head we must consider. That's area. A 10" tom has a surface area of about 314 sq in. A 12" tom has a surface area of about 452 sq in. That's a difference of about 30.5%. Since the head is where the sound comes from, we must consider area, not diameter. Just to prove a point, the area of a 15" tom is about 707 sq in. That's a difference of about 36% between the 12 and 15.
I agree area is more important than diameter in this equation, but your formula is a bit off. Area = pi*r^2, I think you were using pi*d^2. Anyway, the concept is the same, a 2" diameter difference between drums is more significant with smaller drums than with larger ones.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I agree area is more important than diameter in this equation, but your formula is a bit off. Area = pi*r^2, I think you were using pi*d^2. Anyway, the concept is the same, a 2" diameter difference between drums is more significant with smaller drums than with larger ones.
You are correct, I did the math wrong. I just re did the math and the percentages come out the same. My brain was in the right place, my math was not! In my (albeit poor) defense, I haven't calculated the area of a circle in like forever. Getting old...
 

Briandisaster

Junior Member
So far I have a14x6.5 Acrolite, a 14x6.5Black Magic, and a13x7 Gretsch steel snare I bought before the switch to Ludwig.

I want to get a supraphonic aluminum, and a Black Beauty before I branch out to other brands, but then anything is fair game!
Don’t get hung up on brands. There’s soooooo many great sounding snare drums out there.
 
Top