18 inch bass drum, why bother?

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
In a Zeppelin band maybe not, but in a soft acoustic jazz trio, why not?

It's also very light and easy to cart around.

It's not meant to be anything other than what it is(no more than a 10" tom can be a 16" tom), though with some creative dampening, head choices,tuning and micing you can fake it somewhat if needed.
 

vxla

Silver Member
In jazz we don't use a thumping bass drum to drive the beat (unless it's big band swing). In jazz the bass drum is basically another tom that we use to accent the melody.

I see the bass drum as a floor tom that I hit with a pedal.
.
Personally, if I had to relate it to other drums in my kit playing jazz, I'd say it is more like the snare drum than a tom.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Bernard Purdie, Peter Erskine and lots of jazz cats used 18 in kicks, and Brian Blade uses a 16 in kick comes to mind. I like the smaller kicks because they have a quick note with short decay and little overtones-and easy to carry.
 

steadypocket

Gold Member
I've avoided this thread this long because as a general rule, I avoid anything to do with an 18" bass drum. I'm not into light jazz or dinner music. Larry, I have two words to solve your problem: Porter & Davies.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
I've avoided this thread this long because as a general rule, I avoid anything to do with an 18" bass drum. I'm not into light jazz or dinner music. Larry, I have two words to solve your problem: Porter & Davies.
No one said light jazz. There's nothing about an 18" bass drum that limits it to light jazz or dinner music.

I played with an 18" bass drum last night with a group playing mostly bop stuff, and we were playing hard and didn't dip below 200 BPM very often.

Using an 18" BD gives the bass drum a different tone, for a different purpose, it doesn't limit itself to light genres.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
I prefer small bass drums. I use a 20" on my own kit and an 18" at the practice studio. I like the punchy sound and lack of overtones with smaller BDs. Tuned the way I like they fit better with my shorter stack toms. I like a fast attack and a short decay.
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
I use an 18" for all types of gigs ... zero complaints ... sounds fantastic

one with an Ambassador tuned up for jazz gigs
one with an EMAD and ported for hip hop and R&B gigs ... also the occasional rock gig ... which I try to avoid like the plague

try lugging a 22 or 24 around NYC multiple times a week and see how quickly you own an 18
Actually, I agree. Cheap joke. Haha...
There are a few gigs where there just isn't enough room for a big drum set. I've used a smaller one myself for a couple gigs. (It was somebody else's.)

Besides most of the kid's drum sets come with a 16" bass drum.
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
Bernard Purdie, Peter Erskine and lots of jazz cats used 18 in kicks, and Brian Blade uses a 16 in kick comes to mind. I like the smaller kicks because they have a quick note with short decay and little overtones-and easy to carry.
I always saw Purdie with a 20, but if he played an 18, more (less) power to him!

I saw Blade last summer with Daniel Lanois and he was playing what looked like a 26 with no port, so his choices are likely specific to the band.

I have a Sonor bop set for band practice. I find it emasculating to the style of music, but the others in the band have no concept of drum fidelity so I don't bother griping about it. I gigged that set once and it wasn't terrible under the mic.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
When I made this thread originally, it was kind of short sighted. OK it was really short sighted. I really didn't take the jazz players into consideration. I wasn't referring to them at all actually. I was just venting frustration about how displeased I was with an 18" bass drum for the kind of music I play, which was kind of stupid and negative. The thread title should have reflected that qualifier.

So I apologize to anyone I might have offended, that was not my intention. They still don't work for me, but like Tony said, try carrying a 22 around NYC. That put it in perspective. Of course they are the right, sometimes the only, choice in many situations.

On a side note, my sympathies go out to anyone gigging in NYC. The getting around part, loading in especially....the parking...the steps...the lack of space...seems over the top stressful to me.

Big props to the people who deal with all that...in any major city. You has my sympathies.
 

GeoB

Gold Member
On a side note, my sympathies go out to anyone gigging in NYC. The getting around part, loading in especially....the parking...the steps...the lack of space...seems over the top stressful to me.
I've known 3 people who gigged in NYC for quite a while. A trombonist, a trumpet player and a pianist. The Pianist had it the easiest. He would just walk and sit down at the house piano, which back in those days (70's) most jazz bars worth their salt had a tuned house piano. These days... probably not.
 

no talent

Senior Member
on my conversion stand, my 18inch bass drum is 23 inches high. however its still only 18 inches wide which allows for tighter stage setups like this one. im going to start sing my 22 or 24 for bigger venues with more space but this setup, with no ride stand and rail mounted tom is nice and tight.
 

Attachments

moxman

Silver Member
18 can be fine for a small jazz trio in a small club.. but I had a similar experience lately. I thought I'd save some elbow grease and convert my 16" Yamaha RC floor tom into a kick with my Pearl conversion kit/stand. Hooked it up and .. no way; ok for playing at a cottage but as fine as an RC shell can be - just had no 'oomph' as a kick - so I ended up using a 22" kick and difference in sound is night and day. I used to have a 20" kick on a Ludwig set which sounded great when mic'd.. but yeah the smaller ya go the more you have to either compensate or sacrifice.

BTW - the practice space sounds awesome; just make sure you have good insurance and security - a friend had a barn in the country converted in a similar fashion - and it got cleaned out twice! I guess when you're out in the middle of nowhere the sound travels and when there's no one around it can make it a target for 'the bad guys'!
 

mikel

Platinum Member
18 can be fine for a small jazz trio in a small club.. but I had a similar experience lately. I thought I'd save some elbow grease and convert my 16" Yamaha RC floor tom into a kick with my Pearl conversion kit/stand. Hooked it up and .. no way; ok for playing at a cottage but as fine as an RC shell can be - just had no 'oomph' as a kick - so I ended up using a 22" kick and difference in sound is night and day. I used to have a 20" kick on a Ludwig set which sounded great when mic'd.. but yeah the smaller ya go the more you have to either compensate or sacrifice.

BTW - the practice space sounds awesome; just make sure you have good insurance and security - a friend had a barn in the country converted in a similar fashion - and it got cleaned out twice! I guess when you're out in the middle of nowhere the sound travels and when there's no one around it can make it a target for 'the bad guys'!
I use a 20" with a 10, 12, 14 tom set up and its perfectly balanced. Jazz has nothing to do with it, I think big drums are a macho thing.

If you ARE "the bad guys" then you are ok.
 

moxman

Silver Member
I use a 20" with a 10, 12, 14 tom set up and its perfectly balanced. Jazz has nothing to do with it, I think big drums are a macho thing.

If you ARE "the bad guys" then you are ok.
The thing that amuses me about this forum is that no matter what you post on here there's always a 'yabut..' comment! The jazz reference was an example of a setting .. not an empirical statement.. and yabut I've seen hundreds of shows in small clubs, usually jazz bands with the drummers using small undersized bass drums..16", 18" and they usually sound okay.. sometimes great. but taking a tiny kick on a large stage and room..in a rock setting; well there's a reason why bigger drums are used in most cases..and it's not a macho thing! That's hilarious.. it's the sound - not the extra 2 inches! 20-22" is a pretty common size.
 
Last edited:

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
Every bassdrum size has and serves a urpose. Some purposes might not suit the bassdrum-size however. A 14" bassdrum would look and probably sound weird in a Metallica or Motörhead concert. And a 26" kick will look and sound "unusual" in a soft-bar-jazz or gospel-scenario.

18" kicks are 100% okay - for certain types of music.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
The thing that amuses me about this forum is that no matter what you post on here there's always a 'yabut..' comment! The jazz reference was an example of a setting .. not an empirical statement.. and yabut I've seen hundreds of shows in small clubs, usually jazz bands with the drummers using small undersized bass drums..16", 18" and they usually sound okay.. sometimes great. but taking a tiny kick on a large stage and room..in a rock setting; well there's a reason why bigger drums are used in most cases..and it's not a macho thing! That's hilarious.. it's the sound - not the extra 2 inches! 20-22" is a pretty common size.
Hey, I'm pleased you are amused. If you read my post I said I use a 20" BD, for everything. Why do you need a bigger drum for metal? A 20" has enough punch for any music, or if you play it properly, is subtle enough for cocktail Jazz. Its not the drum its the drummer.
 

moxman

Silver Member
Hey, I'm pleased you are amused. If you read my post I said I use a 20" BD, for everything. Why do you need a bigger drum for metal? A 20" has enough punch for any music, or if you play it properly, is subtle enough for cocktail Jazz. Its not the drum its the drummer.
I play all different sizes of kicks and they all have different characteristics... it''s personal preference really... like having a pile of snare drums to choose from for a particular sound.
 
Top