Advice on a "Short Stack" Kit


Senior Member

I picked up a generic, power tom kit in black wrap recently. It's in great shape and the shells are well made. It's in the classic "generic" sizes of 10" x 12", 11" x 13", 16" x 16" and 16" x 22", with a matching wood 5" x 14" snare.

I have a table saw and also have a friend who makes stave snare shells, so he has a good router for bearing edges. Since this is a cheap kit (yet well made) I want to cut down the drums and have a custom "short stack" kit. I'm looking for opinions on depths.

I was thinking of 3" or 3.5" off each rack tom. That would make the 12" tom 7" or 6.5" deep ,and the 13" tom 8" or 7.5" deep. I don't think I should go any shallower than than that, otherwise I might as well use snare drums without the wires! I was thinking that going 4" off the floor tom and bass drum would be interesting. 12" x 16" and 12" x 22". What's more, I could make cool piccolo toms/snares with the tom remnants and I think a 4" x 22" Gong drum might be cool too. I have plenty of "normal" kits, so this is just going to be a fun experiment.

What are your opinions on depths? I know that Tama offered a "Short stack" kit that was fairly popular 10 or so years ago. Were those Superstars? Anyone know what the depth was on the short toms?

I appreciate your input!



Senior Member
Tama still makes the Hyper-Drive Duo kit. Here are the sizes...

If you care about sound at all, you shouldn't go any shallower than this. Being a cheap kit, it'll probably be lacking in the sound dept even at those depths.

If you want to gig with it, there's a fine line between convenience and awful sound. Short stack toms don't project well (especially unmiked), so they may only be useful for small rooms or acoustic settings. But that can be a good thing too! It just depends on what your needs are.

If it were me, I would probably lop off 2-3" from each of the rack toms. (so I wouldn't have to fill any unused lug holes)

I think square 16x16 floor toms are superior to all other floor toms. They provide the best rumble. So, again, if the goal is a good sounding kit, I'm not sure I'd take anything off the floor tom. If portability is the #1 goal, I'd consider 16x14 or even 16x12 though.

The bass drum is already a good size, but it might be fun to have a 22x12".

So anyway, if sound is the highest priority, take off 2-3" max. If portability is the priority (but you still wanna gig with it) don't go more than 10x5, 12x6, 16x12, 22x12.

For a novelty project, or a practice kit, chop off as much as you want! It might not be that fun to play though?


Platinum Member
Sounds good. Nothing to lose. I had the Tama Hyper-Drive sizes in B/B and Superstar. 10x6.5, 12x7, 16x14, and 24x18. I really liked them and they sounded great under mics.
Be careful with the depth of the floor tom or you might need longer legs.
My short stack rig is a Ludwig Giglite 20x8,10x5,13x6. I also cut down a Ludwig Classic Maple 24x16 to 24x9 and refinished the lot.


Gold Member
I just picked up a short stack kit today . 20 x 12 bass drum , 12 x 7 rack and 15 x 12 floor Tom with legs . I wanted something more portable and so was looking for a particular sound and these fit the bill . I have had a number of nesting and portable kits .
Whitney Nesting Penguins , Premier Heritage Club kits , Yamaha Hip Gig and some Boutique portable kits . The 20/12/15 with shallower lengths ticks all the boxes for me .


Senior Member
One of the two best sounding kits I've ever owned. Regret selling it all those years ago. The short toms sound incredible.

I say go for it! Have fun with the project.

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Platinum Member
You probably already know this, but I'm going to say it anyways...

Since the kit is already wrapped, you may need to get an Xacto knife or razor and cut back the wrap just a little (1/8" maybe?) so heads can fit properly. You'll also need to consider how long the lugs are. If you make it a little too short, you'll need to offset the lugs.