20” Maple Custom bass drum sounds like a bop kick

Fritz Frigursson

Senior Member
At the studio I practice at, they’ve got 2 Yamaha Maple Custom Nouveaus in the same finish, one with 20/10/14 configuration and the other with the classic 22/12/16. I can get the second kit tuned really well (love the 22x14 kick) with nice punchy bass drum but the smaller one sounds really different, like what a bop kick usually sounds like. It’s got a Remo PS3 coated batter with the stock reso (5” ported). Inside there are 2 small pillows that just touch the reso and batter heads. It’s also got a tom mount but I doubt that’s really a factor here.

How can I make this 20” sound punchy and not high pitched? I’m really struggling to get a good sound for it. I could use both kits but for now I’m limited to using the 22/12/16 if I want to play anything other than jazz. And it’s not even a good jazz kick sound. Is it a head problem or do I really just suck at tuning because these drums are too good to not be played and I’m not sure if I’m not going to get bored of the 22” kick.


Platinum Member
My ‘modern’ 20” bass drum sounds best with a clear PS4, eg. two ply head with a dampening ring. I previously used a PS3, but found the two-ply definitely has a deeper fundamental pitch, much better for rock and pop.


Silver Member
I agree, double-ply batter is probably the way to go.
I had a PS3 on my 20" birch kick and it sounded a bit thin compared to my 22" maple.
I tried a Super Kick II and it sounded much thicker and deeper. I thought the SKII might be overkill on the 20", but it sounds great.
IIRC, I tuned the reso to JAW and the batter a half-turn to full-turn higher.
I also noticed that it sounds good on the player's side, but even better out front.


Senior Member
My Pearl SSC 20x16 sounds huge with a PS3 clear and a felt strip. I think they need the air volume to generate low end. But a 20 will never be a 22.


"Uncle Larry"
My first thought was a 5 inch hole in a 20" inch head...too much hole. The drum is probably fine, you just need to experiment a little with it.

Some suggestions:

Full front head with just a T shirt inside, reso boingy tight
Smaller port like 3" but personally I'd would lose the port.
As previously stated 2 ply heads.

Before you do anything, and if it isn't already tight, try cranking the reso up till it goes BOING! while keeping the batter tuned much lower so it moves a lot of air. I think most bass drums sound better with a tight reso compared to a loose reso.