Are 20" Bass Drums Easier To Play On Than 22"

Tupim

Junior Member
Hi,

I was wondering if a 20" Bass Drum is Easier To Play On Than 22" ?? I only had a couple opportunities to play a 20" bass drum and i found it easier to play. Is this in my head or is it possibly true? I also like how the toms are lower, makes it easier to play them too.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
While it depends a head selection and tuning, in general, smaller drums are easier to bounce the stick/beater off of than a bigger drum.

I had the same experience as you; I sat down behind a buddies kit with a 20" bass drum and found it much easier to play.

I spent a long time thinking it would be cool to have a 20" bass drum based on that experience.

And now that I have a 20", I'm more along the lines of "meh" about them.

What you may gain in a small amount of speed & "ease of use" you lose in low end and over all presence.
 

Tupim

Junior Member
Thanks for the help. I have a 22". I find that depending on the week im either flowing on the bass pedal, and then other weeks im in a "slump." When my bass drum playing is lagging my whole drumming is lagging as a result.I thought maybe by switching to a 20" it can solve this problem. My foot speed on the bass is average i would say. Not a beginner, but no pro either. For a long time i wondered why some weeks im good and some weeks not. I thought maybe i needed a long board pedal and that will compensate for my lagging. now im thinking bass drum size.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
It depends what you are looking for. I play jazz, so I have an 18" BD, which works for me.

Just like toms, the bigger the drum, the lower the pitch, and the less bounce you'll get. It all depends on the sound and feel that you want. In jazz we use the BD pretty sparingly, using it for accents and bombs like you would a tom. It's usually tuned fairly high and not muffled. I'm sure in rock you'd want a deeper, more powerful bass and less resonant drum for those quarter note pulses.

Your heads, whether or not you use muffling, and whether or not you cut a hole in the head will also impact your playing and tone, but the size will really dictate the sound you get.
 

Tupim

Junior Member
I play rock, heel up, on a 22" with a 4" port hole and evan emads (without the muffling pads as of now)
 

tcspears

Gold Member
I play rock, heel up, on a 22" with a 4" port hole and evan emads (without the muffling pads as of now)
One thing that will give you some more bounce is getting rid of the port hole. I know some engineers don't like to mic unported heads, but they'll give you more bounce... not sure if that's an option worth trying. It's probably cheaper to buy a new reso head and try it out rather than a new BD.
 

Bonzo_CR

Silver Member
I had a 20 bass drum and found I was tuning it low to get the sound I wanted. So the head was quite slack and I couldn't get the response I liked. When I changed back to a 22 I could tune the head tighter and still get the pitch I like. I guess my experience was the opposite of yours...
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
There's the feel and then there's the sound. I like the sound of an unported head best. On my 18" that I use for small-group jazz, that's what I use, and it's mostly heel-down technique on a relatively highly-pitched, unmuffled drum.

But the best feel? Depends on the drummer. For me, that would be a bass drum with a huge port. Or, better yet, no reso head at all. That's just what I like. I don't really play that way, because the bass drum sounds terrible with no reso head; but that's my preferred feel.
 

Mark_S

Silver Member
There's the feel and then there's the sound. I like the sound of an unported head best. On my 18" that I use for small-group jazz, that's what I use, and it's mostly heel-down technique on a relatively highly-pitched, unmuffled drum.

But the best feel? Depends on the drummer. For me, that would be a bass drum with a huge port. Or, better yet, no reso head at all. That's just what I like. I don't really play that way, because the bass drum sounds terrible with no reso head; but that's my preferred feel.
Same here; feeling too much bounce for some reason disturbs me. Feels floppy when I lay into it rather than solid. That's why I like loads of laundry inside the drum too. I felt less bad about this when Gavin Harrison said something similar.

I dare say if I was playing jazz it'd be different as I'd play the bass drum in a different way.

My kick is a 20".. I find it easier just because I have more room to position the toms where I want (lower), and much easier to carry around for gigs, and its nice and punchy, and deep still.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
A 20" BD is inherently slightly higher in pitch than a 22".
As long as you have no problem with the fact that different diameter drums make different sounds then all is right with the world.

As far as being easier to play I say no. Different sounding but not easier.
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
I thinks it negligible. They're too close in size. Now if you asked for the differences between a 20 and a 24, then there's something to discuss, or a 26.
 
I've always preferred 22" tuned slightly tighter than other players' BDs I've played, with the sweet spot being that happy medium between tone and double-clutch response. One thing I discovered early on was that much of the beater's behavior is a function of its length, like a pendulum in reverse. A pendulum's natural frequency is dictated by it's length, so by sliding the beater height down a little on its clamp could change its "wobble speed" in relation to the spring and head tuning/bounce. So this is a fun area of experimentation.

On that note (forgive the pun) I also "muffled" the BD batter head from the outside rather than stuffing blankets inside the shell. This allows the head to move forward on impact unrestricted, then dampened immediately on snap-back. It really made an improvement in the tone. It was a simple matter of running 2 cloth straps horizontally above and below +-4" from the strike point, sandwiching the ends between the hoop and the head ring. Rod tension held them in place. Then I could insert dampening material vertically on the left and right sides between the straps and the head. Rolled-up newspaper seemed to work well.

Just throwing some ideas out there.

Brian Jackson
 

TMe

Senior Member
A bit off topic, but I've noticed that sometimes a drummer will have a big, low bass drum that sounds great, but it gets lost when amplified with a small P.A. Somebody else plays a smaller, higher pitched, more resonant bass drum, and it sounds huge in the same P.A.

Has anyone else seen this?
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
.... I only had a couple opportunities to play a 20" bass drum and i found it easier to play. Is this in my head or is it possibly true? I also like how the toms are lower, makes it easier to play them too.
Sounds like you could be a 20" bass drum guy.
Try it again. If you still like it - go for it.

I think depth and porting have as much to do with ease as diameter does.

That said, my 18 is marginally easier to play than my 20.
It's two inches shallower though too - 15 vs. 17.
I had a bit of trouble adjusting to the extreme bounce on my non-ported 20
when I first got it, but it's all good now.

It's been a while since I've used a 22, but I don't remember there being any great difference, other than more difficulty with tom placement of deep toms.

Don't blame the bass drum for difficult playing though.
It would take some extremes for that to happen.
 

eamesuser

Silver Member
I went from a 24 to a 22, small adjustment of beater length and I was good to go.

Went from a 22 to a 20 and it was a big difference,I ended up adjusting spring tension,beater length, beater angle and adding a beater shaft weight before I got it right.
 

JacobDB

Member
A bit off topic, but I've noticed that sometimes a drummer will have a big, low bass drum that sounds great, but it gets lost when amplified with a small P.A. Somebody else plays a smaller, higher pitched, more resonant bass drum, and it sounds huge in the same P.A.

Has anyone else seen this?
There are a lot of factors that go into this, but yeah, i've heard it before. A sound engineer probably just had a better tone to work with on the higher pitched kick than the lower one. Depending the sound board, mics, compressors, along with the PA speakers, they might not be able to really capture the low end of the first kick and it gets a weird floppy sound. That's also why when you go to a nicer studio, the drum will sound a lot different in the live room versus what comes out of the speakers in the control room. It's all about how the mic and the system accepts and spits out the tone.

Or the engineer sucks =)
 

JacobDB

Member
Thanks for the help. I have a 22". I find that depending on the week im either flowing on the bass pedal, and then other weeks im in a "slump." When my bass drum playing is lagging my whole drumming is lagging as a result.I thought maybe by switching to a 20" it can solve this problem. My foot speed on the bass is average i would say. Not a beginner, but no pro either. For a long time i wondered why some weeks im good and some weeks not. I thought maybe i needed a long board pedal and that will compensate for my lagging. now im thinking bass drum size.
I would think you would want to do some adjustments to the pedal before switching bass drums (if you haven't already). also, check your throne height and make sure you're comfortable no matter what week it is. Changing the bass drum is the last thing I would resort to.
 

starclassicsilver

Junior Member
Were the two bass drums you tried (20" and 22") the same depth? I think that is more of an issue than diameter. I had a 20 x 18 and never liked it. Now have a 22 x 14 and couldn't be happier with not only the sound but especially the feel. Only thing I miss is the slightly lower tom height. Can't have everything!
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
Were the two bass drums you tried (20" and 22") the same depth? I think that is more of an issue than diameter. I had a 20 x 18 and never liked it. Now have a 22 x 14 and couldn't be happier with not only the sound but especially the feel. Only thing I miss is the slightly lower tom height. Can't have everything!
You could have had that 20 cut down to 14" depth.

Sometimes if the manufacturers aren't making what people want,
you've got to find workarounds.
 
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