A Tale of Two Bass Drums

zambizzi

Platinum Member
I own two kits...Ludwig Classic Maple...identical finishes and badges. The "small" kit is a 22x18", 16x16", 12x10" setup...the "big" kit is 24x16", 16x16", 13x9". I love 'em both and they both sound incredible.

My inner-conflict is choosing which bass drum to stick with. I've been at it for 5 years now and used a 22x18" from day one, since it's the standard size these days. I'm most comfortable on a 22x18" and feel I have the best balance and control on it. I started on the 24" (for serious, daily practice) less than a year ago.

My band mates prefer the 24x16" (band is LOUD), though it's taken quite a while for me to get comfortable enough with it, to play shows on a regular basis. BUT...I'm still not nearly as comfortable with it and regularly have passing thoughts of ditching it in favor of the 22x18".

I won't lie, I've stuck with the 24" mostly out of looks and the fact that it makes me pretty unique on the local music scene, since most guys are rocking a 22" filled with every scrap of garbage they could find around the house. Pretty lame, superficial reasons...I know. :)

I'm sitting here listening to recordings of both kits and the 22x18" sounds bigger, punchier, and has way more cut. Weird! The 24" has its merits and sounds great, but it's got far more boom than punch, which all but disappears behind a wall of amplified guitars. During shows, my biggest challenge is HEARING the 24" well enough - even through the monitor. If the 22" isn't audible enough, at least I can FEEL it under my foot and know I'm hitting the notes, whereas the 24" is much softer, making it more difficult to feel and hear the subtleties of what I'm doing.

It's not a tuning issue. I've had these drums for 2 years and I know how to tune them, muffle, etc. I love how I've got them tuned and muffled (if any is used at all.) I've tried many combinations and feel I'm getting the best out of both drums, at this point. Further muffling the 24" to try and make it more punchy, just ruins the sound, IMO.

Who else has moved to a bigger bass drum and not been satisfied w/ the result? Would a 26x14" give me more punch and better playability (more solid under-foot) than a 24x16"? I've tried a 24x14" and did not like the sound as much as my slightly deeper kick...so I wouldn't go out and buy one. My thinking is that I can get that big bass drum sound out of a 26x14", but with more punch and a better feel.

I still like the look of bigger drums, too. I'm a fairly big guy and I sit pretty high...so even a 22" looks like a little toy-ish, underneath me.

Thoughts?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
My thoughts are to heck what everybody wants except you. You don't tell them what to play, as it should go for you as well. If you feel better with the 22 then that's all that needs to be said. Especially since you like the sound better. This is your area of expertise, so...be the expert!
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
I *mostly* agree, guys. I feel like part of it is the challenge, too. Another reason I haven't shelved the 24" is that I've gotten steadily better with it. I hated it at first. Now I'm not sure it's worth investing another year of practice. Part of the reason it doesn't sound as good is my inexperience, I'm sure.

I'd still be interested in hearing from 26x14" players. I haven't crossed paths with one yet, or I'd try it out.
 

Chunky

Silver Member
Stuff what other people think.
I play in a metal band and I use a 20x18. Why? because I love it, it sounds immense, tight, punchy, more than enough depth and I love the feel.
It looks a bit odd me turning up with a little bass drum and a double pedal in comparison to other metal bands standard two 24x18's but I don't care.

Never had any complaints about the sound either, only compliments. So please yourself, you're the expert on drums in your band. you know best!
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I've played a 16x24 at one point in my life and I felt I got alot of punch out of it since the beater hit dead center. I loved that drum. Then I read a J.R. Robinson interview from back in the 80s and he said all his recordings were made with a 26" bass drum - and that gave alot of punch. Same thing with Tony Thompson, then with the PowerStation, and of course, providing the drums on David Bowie's tour back then. Both guys were slamming with a 26.

But what you use is definitely up to you. YOu have to be comfortable with what you're playing.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
I'm pretty much the opposite: I've played 22" kicks on 5 of the 8 bass drums I've owned and used them at least 80% of my drumming "career" (ha!). It's been probably 2 years now since going back to a 24" (not having played one regularly since '91) and I really love it. I just got another one, too.

I think what I like about 24s is that the beater hits pretty close to center, unlike 22s or 26s. Because of this, they always seem like they're getting hit in the sweet spot.

But... whatever. You like your 22" better and should be all there is to it - seriously. End of story. On the 26, I think it'll give you even more of the same type of grief that your 24 is giving you. I don't have much experience with one but I've played on them once or twice and they seem to have your complaints in spades.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Yea I'm with Mike, if your 24 is HTH, then it would stand to reason that a 26 would be even more HTH.
 
A

audiotech

Guest
I played a 28" x 16" Ludwig bass drum for many years, in fact it's what I learned on. I couldn't have been happier when I earned enough money when I was 14 to be able to purchase my own kit which had a 20" x 14" drum. The 28" sounded incredible, but it was a nightmare to pack, unpack and lug around up and down steps and through doorways. In fact my dad started using my kit later in his career and never looked back. I own both 20" and 22" drums and my favorite to this day is a 22 by something.

Dennis
 

B-squared

Silver Member
Hey Zambizzi,

I switched from a 16x24 to a 16x22 in the early 90's and last year I got a Classic Maple 18x22 and I love it. I thought it looked a little small on stage, especially when I watch Palladia and see most of the drummers playing 24' or 26's. Then last Friday night I went to a Toby Keith concert. His drummer, Dace McAfee, plays 18x20 and it looks really cool. I confirmed the size here:

http://www.roaddawgonline.com/RoadDawg_Gear_Check_.php

Look at the page closely, and you will see a lot of 18x22's and 18x20's. I know exactly where you're coming from, but for me, the nice punchy 18x22 - especially with a GMAD batter - does it for me. Good luck with your playing!
 

Evilbagua

Silver Member
I've owned 22x14 22x16, 22x18, 24x14, 24x16,26x16,28x16. The 26 gets super punchy if you crank the tension up. i run mine with PS3's no muffleing, no port dw plastic beater very tight tension. I play in a very loud band, and if I ran a 24 or a 26 at a JAW tuning it would be lost in the bass. I prefer the 26 over the 24, 2inches to lug around extra are not that big of a deal. a cased 26x16 fits through doors no problem, a 26x14 would fit even easier. I would love a 26x14 in the future. Also a 22 and 26 would be a nice spread for different sounds. If you find a 26 in your finish why not try it out? Get a used one and sell it for what you payed if you hate it.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Do what you want to do in your heart of hearts. If you are torn then that means there's not much difference between the options in terms of making you a happy drummer.
 

Davo-London

Gold Member
I'm always surprised when drummers say the 24" looks better or I love the looks of my 20". I simply don't get this at all. Only drummers will notice, so why do you care?

This has always puzzled me and makes me think I'm odd.

Davo
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I'm often seduced by the thought of going back to a 24" BD (it's 2.5 decades since I last played one in anger). There's a guttural allure that pulls me in, but even going back in time, i remember the only time I really got to hear the full benefit was playing on my own.

I don't give a crap about hauling challenges or stage cred' considerations, I'm all about comfortable gear that allows me to express myself, & my 20" BD has what it takes to make that happen. We're just spec'ing my new kit right now, & after not too much consideration, it will have a 20" BD.

That decision is based on my needs for most of the time, but I may still put together a big bertha selection of thumping tubs for my own selfish gratification. I'm thinking 24 x 14, 16 x 15 + 18 x 15 floors, & a 13 x 8 snare.
 

adam!

Senior Member
As a 26" bass drum owner, I would suggest you stick with your 22". As others have said, the 26" will be an amplified version of your 24". In my experience, and the tuning I use on my 26", I get more boom than punch. I tune higher on this drum with coated Emperor batter and coated ambassador reso. The only muffling is a felt strip on the batter head. Also, my front head is not ported, so I get a lot more rebound from the pedal.
You can get less boom and more punch out of a 26", but you're still having to move a lot of air (even at a 14" depth). They are a lot of fun, but for my application, they are better suited in the boomy, higher-tuning range. If you tune at JAW, with more modern head style and tuning, I believe the drum would sound dead and slappy. For what you're wanting, you can get all that from a 22" or even a 20". Mic'ed up, no sweat. I also have a kit with a 22" bass and I love it as well. Hope that helps.
 

baz

Silver Member
I also play a 22 and 24.

My preference is for the 24 for most of the reasons that you list as "not as crazy abouts" with yours. Both of my bass drums are 14" depth, which to my ears seems to give them both a greater punch. Maybe trying a shallower 24 or 22 would give you something else to consider.

My kits are 22, 14, 12 and 24, 16, 13 dw classics. A couple of months ago I switched bass drums, so now the two kits are 22,16,13, and 24, 14,12. Both kits sound great, but if I had to get rid of one, it would be the 22,16,13.

Good luck and good drumming.

Barry
 

Bretton

Silver Member
I'm always surprised when drummers say the 24" looks better or I love the looks of my 20". I simply don't get this at all. Only drummers will notice, so why do you care?

This has always puzzled me and makes me think I'm odd.

Davo
I want to like how my drums look (as well as feel and sound)
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
I'd keep 'em both, until you figure it out further. I own 22, 24, and 26 (and a few other sizes). I use 22's and 26's the most.​
What I found, with 26 and 28 inch kicks .... they might not seem that loud, from the drivers seat .... but they can be heard down the hall, the floor below, etc. (I used to rehearse in a 3 story building) .... much better than the 22. My preference, I own two 24" kicks, and I'd replace them in a minute, with 26's. But they match existing kits, and finding replacement 26's is gonna be a long time watching eBay.​
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
Yea I'm with Mike, if your 24 is HTH, then it would stand to reason that a 26 would be even more HTH.
I still suspect that a shallow 26" would play better than a deeper one...maybe even better than my 24x16". I've played 22x14", x16", x18", and 20" - the shallower the drum, the more solid it felt under my foot, and the faster the beater returned. I don't ever bury it, which makes playing a bigger drum even more challenging, I think.

It's been probably 2 years now since going back to a 24" (not having played one regularly since '91) and I really love it. I just got another one, too.

I think what I like about 24s is that the beater hits pretty close to center, unlike 22s or 26s. Because of this, they always seem like they're getting hit in the sweet spot.
You're playing a 24x14", correct? I'm guessing it'd feel a little more responsive than even a 16" deep.

I played a 28" x 16" Ludwig bass drum for many years, in fact it's what I learned on.
That thing must have sounded like a thunderstorm! I doubt I could even fit that in my big SUV...the 24" is snug, stood upright.

Great link, thanks for sharing!

I've owned 22x14 22x16, 22x18, 24x14, 24x16,26x16,28x16. The 26 gets super punchy if you crank the tension up. i run mine with PS3's no muffleing, no port dw plastic beater very tight tension. I play in a very loud band, and if I ran a 24 or a 26 at a JAW tuning it would be lost in the bass. I prefer the 26 over the 24, 2inches to lug around extra are not that big of a deal. a cased 26x16 fits through doors no problem, a 26x14 would fit even easier. I would love a 26x14 in the future. Also a 22 and 26 would be a nice spread for different sounds. If you find a 26 in your finish why not try it out? Get a used one and sell it for what you payed if you hate it.
I had that thought - find a beat up, cheapo 26" on eBay, just to spend some time with one. I don't even care if it matches. I have the 100th Anniversary badges, too...and they're not making them anymore. I couldn't get a matching drum now. :(

Cranking the batter head on the 24" helps the feel, but it really chokes the drum. All of that fuzzy, warm spread gets lost. I AM finding that the bass stack sort of cancels out a lot of those frequencies, though. That begs the question - why use BIG bass drums in loud bands? Wouldn't smaller ones cut through the amps easier, technically?

I'm often seduced by the thought of going back to a 24" BD (it's 2.5 decades since I last played one in anger). There's a guttural allure that pulls me in, but even going back in time, i remember the only time I really got to hear the full benefit was playing on my own.

I don't give a crap about hauling challenges or stage cred' considerations, I'm all about comfortable gear that allows me to express myself, & my 20" BD has what it takes to make that happen. We're just spec'ing my new kit right now, & after not too much consideration, it will have a 20" BD.

That decision is based on my needs for most of the time, but I may still put together a big bertha selection of thumping tubs for my own selfish gratification. I'm thinking 24 x 14, 16 x 15 + 18 x 15 floors, & a 13 x 8 snare.
I think this is a problem with any bass drum (see above.) If the music is loud enough, like any of your drums, most of the resonant tone disappears into the sea of frequencies, leaving mostly attack.

13x8" snare is crazy! You're heading into marching snare territory.

As a 26" bass drum owner, I would suggest you stick with your 22". As others have said, the 26" will be an amplified version of your 24". In my experience, and the tuning I use on my 26", I get more boom than punch.
........
You can get less boom and more punch out of a 26", but you're still having to move a lot of air (even at a 14" depth).
Hmmm...then there's that pesky beater height on a 26", too. Mine sits a little below center, on the 24". I couldn't imagine raising it any further, either. :\

I want to like how my drums look (as well as feel and sound)
Exactly. Presentation can't be thrown out the window, entirely. It's a big, loud rock band with big amps, and a big, sludgy Sabbath-esque sound. Plus, like I said, I'm a bigger guy and I sit up high...so I look a little silly behind a 22". The big drums help us stand out in looks and sound. I've gotten plenty of compliments on both.

I'd keep 'em both, until you figure it out further. I own 22, 24, and 26 (and a few other sizes). I use 22's and 26's the most.​
What I found, with 26 and 28 inch kicks .... they might not seem that loud, from the drivers seat .... but they can be heard down the hall, the floor below, etc. (I used to rehearse in a 3 story building) .... much better than the 22. My preference, I own two 24" kicks, and I'd replace them in a minute, with 26's. But they match existing kits, and finding replacement 26's is gonna be a long time watching eBay.​
Good advice, Harry. I'll probably keep them anyhow, since they all match, rare badge and all. This is what throws me off! I can't hear the 24" nearly as good, behind the drums - even with a monitor! I can hear the 22", mic'd up or not, anywhere in the room. I had my son sit down and thump them both for me, last night. The 24" is easily twice as loud and boomy, but my most recent recordings were telling a different story. Still dreaming of a 26x14" and trying to convince myself it'd be better...thanks for helping w/ that. ;)

Thanks for the responses, all!
 
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