18in Bass drum vs. 20in


Silver Member
I'm planning on getting a new kit sometime in the near future and I'm having difficulty finding a kit with a 20in bass. I have a 22in and it frustrates me because I like to put my toms down lower, to minimize pulling my arms up a lot higher to get to them. Right now my kit is set up so my bass is angled slightly to the right and my 13in tom directly in front of my snare and my 12in tom is literally about a millimeter to it's left clamped to a cymbal stand. The set up actually works extremely well for me, but i would like to have more options in the future. So my questions are:

What kits under $1000 can I possibly find with a 20 in bass?

and I'm also interested in 18in bass drums too, because they are lighter and require less room, but I play hard rock and metal like Tool, Isis, Porcupine Tree, etc. (no extreme forms of metal, but I still require a strong attack and resonance, so do 18in bass drums meet that or should I steer clear because I'm not into softer music and jazz(not that I don't like it, it's just not what I'm in to) and I could use a 20 bass for that if I had one anyway.

So any thoughts?


Platinum Member
You can manage with any size and the right heads, tuning and amplification. But at the end of the day, an 18" is not going to have the presence of a 22" bass drum. I love my 18" for jazz or intimate venues, but if I'm rocking out I bring my 22".


I too would go for the 20" bass drum. I have 22" and 20" drums and can interchange them comfortably for any genre of music and venue. Most manufacturers have kits which could include a 20. Just make up your mind on what make of drum kit that you want and then look a little further into getting a 20" for that particular kit.



Senior Member
of course 18" isnt conventional and mostly used for jazz or quieter/controlled gigs but it doesnt mean it cant do the job. 20" is the most versatile size IMO so i'd go for 20".

Doctor Dirt

I just went back to using a 20" (premier signia) so my tom level comes down abit. I had a 16x18 Eames Finetone (6ply) that was an incredable drum that when mic'd (D112) was the "Best" kick drum I ever heard. There were major sound companies and recording engineers that went crazy for the drum. When I mic'd it I put a very lightweight thin pillow that barely touched the batter and leaned up against the reso. Aq. SK 1 on the batter with matching regulator!!

Any of the 6ply 20" kick drums will do a nice job for you. If you can find a used YRC 20" you will be very happy. That drum can cover rock (when mic'd) and then easily cover a low profile gig too.
The Pearl Masters series 20" also do a great job however the birch offering by Pearl in the Masters is NOT a great sounding drum. The maple and especially the african mahogany (MHX) will sound fantastic. A 14x20 or 16x20 is what you need the extended depths don't give much of a kick back to you to hear and often times the sweet spot for micing up changes from room to room, so if your set up is internal the current fad of the too deep sizes can be a pain. Good luck theres a few Masters on ebay now I think. Doc
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Les Ismore

Platinum Member
20 over 18.

Twenty isn't that much bigger when carting, tho the sound is more versatile.

Look at reality on stage, your foot print is only 1" wider on either side with a 20. Two inches may mean a lot in certain situations, but not really on stage.

So its a no brainer, in this case 'bigger' is better.