After a long internal struggle, I did it.

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
My main kit has 10/12 rack toms and 14/16 floor toms. It became standard because, you know, Steve Gadd decreed that this will be the new norm, and Vinnie and Carlock also use these sizes, and I think Weckl eventually went this way too. But I grew up with a 16" floor tom. I kept trying to like having a 14" floor tom and a 10" rack tom, but I think both of those sizes are just wrong. I've heard complaints here about the 10" tom not being able to cut it volume-wise. Nobody seems to be complaining about the 14" floor tom, but I think there's really nothing "floor" about it.

So I gathered up the courage and just SOLD my 10x8 and 14x14 toms. This leaves me with a 12x9 rack tom and a 16x16 floor tom. Now I just bought a 13x10 rack tom. Now the kit will be what I grew up with: 12/13/16 with a 22 bass drum. I kept wanting to like the 10/12/14/16 configuration, but a 14" floor tom doesn't seem deep and low enough. And the 10" could be considered either "too quiet", although for Pearl Reference drums, my particular 10" tom was anything 'quiet'. My brain is used to seeing a 16" expanse next to the bass drum and my left leg, so I can't get away from it. When people tell me about using two floor toms, I think 16" and 18", rather than 14" and 16".

I guess in a way since I'm no longer on a vintage kick, I'm still all about vintage traditional sizes, just with modern gear. The standard 12/13/16/22 with snare 5-piece kit has made so much music throughout the history of pop music, it really will cover everything you need it to do. You could cover alot of ground with 13/16/22 as well (or in Charlie Watt's case, 12/16/22) so in this one configuration, unless you're really making a progressive statement, like Mike Mangini or Marco Minnemann, you have everything covered.

What's nicer is that my traveling Pearl Vision kit I use with the Devo band and my main Reference kit will now be the same exact sizes - so I'm not compromising my practice routine. What I practice on is the exact same sizes going out on stage. I guess I can't use the excuse that my practice at home is a little different, hence the clams on the gig? And my other big black Roger Taylor kit stands at the ready for those big loud rock n roll gigs. If I ever complain that I wasn't ready for something musically, you can slap me.
 

SYMBOLIC DEATH

Senior Member
Soooooo, back to square one?😁

Personally, I love 10 inch toms, and prefer 14 inch rack toms with 16 and 18 inch floors. With the 14 rack you can get into the floor tom range without turning all the way to the side to get to the floor tom. I'm also 6'4", so that helps with placement of the 14, but that's just me.
If the 13 will make you happy/comfortable, go for it. It's your kit, so it should fit what you want/need.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Soooooo, back to square one?😁

Personally, I love 10 inch toms, and prefer 14 inch rack toms with 16 and 18 inch floors. With the 14 rack you can get into the floor tom range without turning all the way to the side to get to the floor tom. I'm also 6'4", so that helps with placement of the 14, but that's just me.
If the 13 will make you happy/comfortable, go for it. It's your kit, so it should fit what you want/need.
I have a 10x14 rack on my black Pearl kit, and it's ready to do the Zeppelin thing too. if I need to. So that kit has all the sizes, but my main nice kit as well as my Devo kit are identical now with 12/13/16/22.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I’m definitely not a big fan of 14 FT. I have a heck of a time just getting them tuned to get enough resonance for my ears. I’ve had slightly better luck getting enough volume from 10” rack toms, but it’s still hit-or-miss
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I'd go 14/16 before 16/18. I like the 14" floor tom. I didn't prefer it in years prior. I didn't dislike it, just if I was going to have 1 floor, give me a 16.

These days I did a turnaround. I love my lone 14 floor tom tuned nice and low on my kit with the 20" segmented maple bass drum. The 18 is less practical IMO but wow what thunder when I do lay into it. It's 2 inches deeper than an 18 x 14 bop sized bass drum! I do have legged floors in the 14/16/18 sizes in segmented walnut and they are all fantastic instruments. They really are. I lost my love for the 10" sized tom, I realized I like the 14 floor tom a lot, and I am still over the moon about the 13" rack tom with the 12" rack tuned where my 10 used to be. Tastes change. I may even consider 2 ply batters on my toms. And I didn't even throw up in my mouth a little when I typed that.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I like the size of the 10, if toms are in an offset position. The 10 I had on my Premier XPK had no issues tuning or being heard. The one on my PDP MX was a mess compared to the 12. I wouldn't rule out another 10. Been debating it for a while, but given there aren't tons of Brooklyns in Red Glass running around, getting one for a deal isn't likely to happen. If I have to go to Gretsch, I'm going to have to be a 100% on it. The 14" FT is a different story. It has a great tone, tunes up super nice and sits exactly where it needs to between the 12 and 16, so no issues with it on either of my current or former sets. I much prefer a 14,16 FT configuration, then 16,18. I don't have any issues twisting to hit the 16. a 16,18 configuration on the other hand is too much twist, so it wouldn't happen.

My church went from 12,14,16,22 to 13,16,18,24 sometime last year. Both sets have been high dollar pro kits, but the new configuration just doesn't sit with the music as nice as the old set. They have since gone to vintage style heads, but things are still not sitting in the mix well. The drums just don't punch and in praise and worship, there's a ton of tom work and dynamic playing. Everything has been muddy since day one. I guess with sizes, I'd have to say it depends....
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
If your church kit is miced, the smaller toms punch through better IMO. Less mud. I would encourage them to go back to 22/12/14/16 sizes, or 12/13/16/22. Maybe even a 10 if you're miced.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
They are mic'd and behind plexus glass. Absolutely correct, that set up is mud city. They handed the previous set to the youth group team, so for now it'll be mud I suppose.
 

trickg

Silver Member
I've never had anything particularly for or against 10" toms, but I always felt that the 14x11 hanging tom that I got with my Pearl SMX Session shell pack lacked the depth and thump I wanted from my lowest tom. I futzed and farted around too long to get a 16x16 matching SMX tom for my kit, so I just went and built a 16" tom (only 14" depth) to go with my kit, so I ended up with 10x8, 12x9, and 16x14 kit.

Considering that I'm a church drummer and did most of my playing on the 4-piece house kits that are so prevalent, I started configuring my kit as a 4 piece, dropping the 10" tom - given the choice between the 10 and the 12 to go with the 16x14, it's the 12 every time.

I've actually always kind of like the 10" tom, and it's kind of a shame I don't use it except for in the now rare instances where I do set up as a 5-piece. The 10" tom tuned up really easily, and just has that round cutting sound.

As for 14" floor toms, I have a 14x14 on my Gretsch Catalina Club Bop kit, and it's ok, but in my mind I keep thinking it should sound like a 16", which it doesn't, but it beats the heck out of a 14x11 - those extra 3 inches make a big difference. (That's what she said anyway.)
 

theseer2

Junior Member
For me , it depends what im playing, if its 70's rock, its 14 16 18 26, 80's stuff its 8 10 12 14 16 22
I dont sell anything, I keep everything and use what I need. But what I really need is a 13

wait, my sons set is a Breakbeat 10 13 16, I might steal the 13 for a while :sneaky:
 
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Michaelj

Member
Reading this thread it's just now occured to me that after playing for over 20 years I don't think I've ever used a 14" floor tom. I had a 14" hanging tom which I had clamped to a cymbal stand next to my 16" floor, but never one on legs. I didn't mind the 14 hanging tom, but it didn't have the same stopping thud you get from a floor, so it was kind of serving a different purpose. I'm currently using a 10" tom and a 16" floor tom. I like the tone of the 10" tom when it isn't tuned too high.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
When Aerosmith whipped out the big ten inch-just think how much better it would have been with the 12/13/16 combination. Whipped out the big 12/13/16 inch.
"Record of a band that plays the blues
Well a band that plays its blues
She just love my big 12/13/16 inch
Record of her favorite blues"
Hot dang clearly a vast improvement. In this context 10 in isn't even "big"-it's barely a tom and not just half a bongo. Ten only has three letters-twelve, thirteen, and sixteen has many more. It's pretty obvious. Fourteen has plenty of letters but it's just a schizophrenic tom that isn't sure if it's a floor tom or a mounted tom-so does neither well LOL. Seems the path is clear and you have chosen wisely.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
I'm with @larryace , if I could have just ONE floor tom, give me a 16." It has all the rumble you'd ever need.

However, my 14x14 works better than my 16x16 for the lower volume gigs I have with an acoustic guitar and upright bass. It's also easier to transport.

Lately I've kept the 16 set up at home for practice, and use the 14 for gigs.
 
I love lower pitched bigger toms myself, my smallest Tom is a 10 but I do tune it exceptionally low just like the rest of my kit. I think skin choice is important too and plays a role as well as how hard you're gonna be attacking the drums, but in simple terms, the bigger the Tom, the lower it's usually going to sound. Sounds like you made a good choice
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I love lower pitched bigger toms myself, my smallest Tom is a 10 but I do tune it exceptionally low just like the rest of my kit. I think skin choice is important too and plays a role as well as how hard you're gonna be attacking the drums, but in simple terms, the bigger the Tom, the lower it's usually going to sound. Sounds like you made a good choice
I periodically try different sizes to see where I'm at. I'm sure kids who grew up with 10/12/14 kits might feel weird behind what I grew up with. But I'm surprised I can't get away from 12/13/16. It's like wearing Levi's jeans. I've always worn them and can't get into other maker's jeans. I guess I'm wondering why I'm so locked in for my personal preference. I can sit in on anybody's kit if I have to and totally make it work, so theoretically, I shouldn't care what sizes they are. But I guess I'm like Buddy Rich - he always had 13/16 toms to use, even though he may have had different sized bass drums. This must be my nod to tradition?

And I know for a fact that when Weckl was big in the 80s, he sparked some clones who adopted his cherry Yamaha Recording Customs with the 8/10 rack toms. And since he's gone to the sensible bigger drums after studying with Freddie Gruber, I no longer see any of those guys sticking to the 8/10 rack toms. So I know people can change. I'm just wondering why I can't?
 
Hmmmmm yeah that's a tricky one. Maybe it's just a comfort thing or a mental block of some kind. How long have you tried this new method for? And what heads were you using on your 10 12 14 and 16 setup? I get a lot of volume and attack and pronounciation out of mine and I have that set up. I'm interested to know for my own sanity haha
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Hmmmmm yeah that's a tricky one. Maybe it's just a comfort thing or a mental block of some kind. How long have you tried this new method for? And what heads were you using on your 10 12 14 and 16 setup? I get a lot of volume and attack and pronounciation out of mine and I have that set up. I'm interested to know for my own sanity haha
I've tried the 10/12/14/16 thing at least three times now, and all were high-end kits (DW Collector's, Pearl Reference, or Tama Starclassic). I've tried all kinds of heads and can make all of them sound great, so it's not that. I think it's more of a mental block when I look at it like this. I can't leave 12/13/16! This is like an episode of the Twilight Zone.

It might also be when you're young and forming your muscle memory on fills and basically learning licks to get around the kit, that locked me into three toms. I have to admit, two or three toms I have no problem playing small or big fills for the song. I notice when I'm on my big Roger Taylor kit with the five big toms (12/13/14/16/18 with 26) I have to really think and execute fills as it's not natural. Maybe that's it. Three toms was my initial "dance" on the kit. Adding to it makes my dance cluttered?
 
That definitely sounds more like what the underlying issue is. I get what you mean now. I'd say it's mostly a mental thing. I guess you'll have to sit on it for a while and decide if it's for you or not. Everything is personal choice after all and if it doesn't feel right and doesn't feel like it's improving, that's probably a sign it might not be what's gonna work best. Drums are weird like that
 
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