Advantages/Disadvantages of an offset tom setup


Senior Member
I'm using a Pearl boom stand with the Yamaha rack tom mount inserted into the base and the boom part put in the extra hole.
I have the exact same setup!

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I have played with "offset" toms for about 20 years as well. It's even awkward for me to play a "standard" 5-piece set.

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Gold Member
I like having my toms on a dedicated stand, in theory this should let the toms open up more since its not running up thru a cymbal stand and rattling a cymbal and attached to a holder which is then attached to a stand. Ride cymbal placement is more comfortable. I can her my 12in splash when i hit my toms set up like this, i dont like it but for now this is the most comfortable place for it.


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Senior Member
I've always liked that type of setup but years ago I swapped to a 3 rack tom setup with a suspended 14" FT and therefore I mount my 10" and 12" tom traditionally on the BD but the 8" and 10" are basically right there in front of the snare since the 8" is mounted right next to my hi-hat



Senior Member
For me it's all about comfort and as little twisting at the waist as possible. So I start my setup with my snare directly in front of me and then look at my feet evenly spaced in a V while looking straight forward at an audience. Then I place my two rack toms in front of the snare that each of my hands when moving up from the center of the snare naturally move a little to the left and right. Then I drag the kick and HH to where my feet are. The skews the kick drum to face to the right (from my perspective). This also allows me to place the ride cymbal basically where most put it in a 4 piece kit. Then I drag the floor tom up as close as possible to stay mostly in front of me as opposed to the side.

This is they way I have done my 2up 1down kits for a long time. I recently grabbed up a short stack kit. And because of the short depths I can really drag the floor tom in front as it can overhang the kick.



Platinum Member
I occasionally use that setup and I like it because I can have the ride in the same spot as with a 4 piece. It has its disadvantages like maybe a bigger pedal spread and a trickier left crash placement but when I want that extra tom it's worth that minor compromise. I am also comfortable with the traditional 5 piece setup too just not as crazy about the ride placement.


Silver Member
I use that setup with my Recording Customs as the power shells are high when over the kick. I like getting the toms down low so;
- it's easier ergonomically
- the audience can see you and you're not hidden behind a wall of toms
- the virgin bass kicks butt
- with the floor snuggled in to the right, it's no different from a standard 1-up, 1-down tom arrangement.

the only hassle is getting a snare mic positioned betwen the hats, toms and toms so it's out of the way - but it can be done.


"Uncle Larry"
I could get on board with the offset thing, but in a lot of places I play, I just don't have the room to do that. It does look very inviting to play. I've been playing toms mounted on a bass drum tom tree all my life. I'm just finally starting to feel comfortable with it, not changing now.

But if I did change, I'd go offset.

I'm kind of stuck in my ways though. I have my setup system down. I work hard on getting an efficient system down for transporting and playing. I'm not one of these guys who experiments with different set ups, it's hard enough for me trying to learn to play just the one setup.


Platinum Member
I switched to the offset toms last July because of tennis elbow (it was too difficult to get up and over to my 12" tom) and like it much better.

Not only are my toms in the right place, the set up provides correct placement of my ride, too. Foot print wise, my kit really doesn't take up any more space than before.


Platinum Member
I'm trying really hard to work with an offset tom setup because I feel it would make me more adaptable to different setups (4 piece, 5 piece w/ offset, 6 piece with offset or one tom to the left of the hats, etc.). For most of my drumming life I have always had that large rack tom right next to my first floor tom and the ride partially hanging over the rack. Now with the offset, my ride is lower, my toms are lower, the rest of my cymbals are lower, etc. All of this I like, but... my toms are further apart and getting used to the jump from the 12" rack to the 14" floor while going over the ride cymbal is taking some getting used to.


Junior Member
I agree, I play a four piece but in terms of positioning I set up rather like a double kick player would. In other words snare is the centre and then I have the hi-hat and kick drum set at exactly the same angle. This is the most ergonomic and straightforward. Most players set the kit up rather skewed paying little attention to the hi hat stand. They place the kick square on to the stage and then everything is off from there !
I play a 5 piece _not_ offset and setup like this. Mainly I do it for ergonomics.

I've tried the offset setup but find that moving the rack toms also necessitated moving my high hat over which led to a wider playing stance. Wasn't a fan. Might be different with smaller toms though.


Senior Member
I play a 5 piece _not_ offset and setup like this. Mainly I do it for ergonomics.

I've tried the offset setup but find that moving the rack toms also necessitated moving my high hat over which led to a wider playing stance. Wasn't a fan. Might be different with smaller toms though.
I find that using 10 and 12 rack toms only slid the hi-hat a tiny bit out from where I would put it with no toms in the way. But I can certainly see this being an issue if you ran larger toms.

Good Karma

Well-known member
Kinda late to this thread.....I usually play a 4 piece, sometimes I'll add another tom and offset them 12" & 13". It never changes the placement of my hi hat but it moves my ride over some. It's not terrible buts it's not as comfortable when playing a 4 piece either. I have never liked setting up a drum kit in a traditional way, it's just awkward to play on. I think it because I started on a 4 piece.0_15823225820640.jpg