Cut down 20" or 22" bass drum?

?uesto

Silver Member
Hey all, hopefully you can share some experience and advice with me on this.

I have a matching 17"x20" and 17"x22" bass drums for my kit, and I'd like to cut one of them down. I use both drums quite a bit, the 20" more for jazz gigs (but we also play R&B and rock music) but I also use that drum in the studio with the rock band.

I use the 22" on rock gigs, some mic'd, some unmic'd and I also bring this into the studio sometimes. But both drums are pretty boomy, and I want at least one of these drums to be 14" deep (I may even bring it down to 13"). I figure the 20" wouldn't suffer much from being brought down and would really sound great in the studio if it was 14"x20" but I don't think I could play that live with the rock band. If I cut down the 22", I think it'd sound great live or in the studio, but I think I may suffer if I'm unmic'd. Or would I?

I'm really torn on this and don't want to do something that's undoable and regret it after. Anyone do something like this? Have great results or awful sound after?

Drums are a recent (2012) Yamaha Stage Custom.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Cutting either drum down to 14" won't harm their volume or projection at all. In fact, if anything, because the fundamental will dominate a bit more, they'll more easily find their sonic space in the mix unmic'd.

Just picking up on your "boomy" comment. If I'm getting you right, that boominess isn't a product of shell depth. A deeper shell will produce more overtones, both lower & higher, but most of your boominess will stem from shell construction, head choice/tuning/muffling, & bearing edge profile. Without changing anything else, you may wish to consider edge profile options if you're cutting a shell down anyhow.

More specifically, what do you believe you'll achieve by reducing drum depth?
 

?uesto

Silver Member
Cutting either drum down to 14" won't harm their volume or projection at all. In fact, if anything, because the fundamental will dominate a bit more, they'll more easily find their sonic space in the mix unmic'd.

Just picking up on your "boomy" comment. If I'm getting you right, that boominess isn't a product of shell depth. A deeper shell will produce more overtones, both lower & higher, but most of your boominess will stem from shell construction, head choice/tuning/muffling, & bearing edge profile. Without changing anything else, you may wish to consider edge profile options if you're cutting a shell down anyhow.

More specifically, what do you believe you'll achieve by reducing drum depth?
I'll definitely have my shop guy redo the edges if/when we cut it down. I'd really like to achieve a more vintage bass drum sound. Not an easy task with a new, chinese made drumset, versus a US made Ludwig drum made 40 years ago, but I think cutting it down will go a long way in getting that sound. Also, there's the implicit stage room it will save, and I think it may look cooler (but that's the least of my concerns).

And I know depth alone doesn't mean more boominess, but I don't like having much, if anything inside the drum, so I figure less air being moved means less boominess. I may throw a small towel inside to see how that affects the sound.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Its your drum,go for it, but seems to me cutting it down only saves 3 inches of stage room. changing the bearing edge/shape will be what could really help you achieve a more different drum sound. for all the cost/effort in modification i'd just get a different bass drum.
 

?uesto

Silver Member
Its your drum,go for it, but seems to me cutting it down only saves 3 inches of stage room. changing the bearing edge/shape will be what could really help you achieve a more different drum sound. for all the cost/effort in modification i'd just get a different bass drum.
I work at a drum shop. Our shop tech said he'd do it for a bottle of Jack (that he'd inevitably share when he's done with the drum).

But I do have a few searches saved on eBay. If I can nab an old Ludwig or Slingerland 14x22 or 14x24 for cheap, that's what I'll do, but I've been watching those searches for a while now..
 

spleeeeen

Platinum Member
Cutting either drum down to 14" won't harm their volume or projection at all. In fact, if anything, because the fundamental will dominate a bit more, they'll more easily find their sonic space in the mix unmic'd.
This is what I was thinking (nice to have it verified by Andy ;-). I've come to adore 14" deep bass drums for this very reason.
 

evilg99

Platinum Member
?uesto, you need to read my thread from a couple years ago. I cut down my Maple Custom Absolute 22 x18 to a 22 x14 and I don't regret a single thing. I love the new drum and gig it a lot. It is just as loud and is less boomy, faster, punchier and easier to manage both mic'd and un-mic'd.

Here is that thread

Hell, I think every bass drum should be 14" (look at my signature:)

And although I really like (and own a couple) 20 x14 bass drums, given the choice, I would leave the 20" alone. I actually don't mind a deeper 20. It's only deep 22" and deep 24" bass drums that I find unruly.

As long as whoever is cutting it down knows what they are doing...
Remember if you cut the 3" off the batter side, the tom mount will be that much closer to you. That may not matter, depending on how many drums you normally like to put on your bass drum.
 
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porter

Platinum Member
I have a 20x15" that absolutely scorches. Granted, it's stave & pretty high-end, but still, that size (and, by extension, 14s) is really great. Just some moderate muffling on my batter head (i use Ambassadors on both sides) and it's ready for metal. I'd say the size is pretty sweet.

17" deep drums aren't especially bad, but I do agree that you'd probably notice more of a difference with a 22" cut down than the 20".
 

spleeeeen

Platinum Member
Yeah, I reckon there's a reason that 14" was standard depth back in the day. And as Andy has shown, with particular materials and construction, the sweet spot might even be a bit more shallow. ;-)

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=97052

(BTW, I'm not ashamed to admit that I fantasize about that kit on a regular basis.)

Hell, I think every bass drum should be 14" (look at my signature:)
Dude, how can I join the 14 Crew??? I'm assuming it's a "blood in, blood out" kind of thing?
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Yeah, I reckon there's a reason that 14" was standard depth back in the day. And as Andy has shown, with particular materials and construction, the sweet spot might even be a bit more shallow. ;-)

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=97052

(BTW, I'm not ashamed to admit that I fantasize about that kit on a regular basis.)
I'd completely forgotten about this little clip :) I know I'm highly biased, but if ever there was a drum that proves shallow can (under the right circumstances) deliver deep tone, this is it. That year, this little drum out "bottom ended" every other bass drum in the show, including all the 24" drums. The only exception being the 22" padauk bass drum next to it. I suspect some of that was sheer crappy tuning by other manufacturer's show staff, but still :)
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
I work at a drum shop. Our shop tech said he'd do it for a bottle of Jack (that he'd inevitably share when he's done with the drum)....

If that's the case, I'd buy him two bottles and have him do both.

Work before play though, or you don't know what you might end up with - LOL
 

spleeeeen

Platinum Member
I'd completely forgotten about this little clip :) I know I'm highly biased, but if ever there was a drum that proves shallow can (under the right circumstances) deliver deep tone, this is it. That year, this little drum out "bottom ended" every other bass drum in the show, including all the 24" drums. The only exception being the 22" padauk bass drum next to it. I suspect some of that was sheer crappy tuning by other manufacturer's show staff, but still :)
Yeah, that was definitely the "little drum that could." Wish I could have heard it in-person.

If you don't mind Andy, could you say just a bit about what made that drum capable of such deep tone? Like, I imagine you'd not be able to pull that off with a typical plied drum, right?

Thanks!
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Yeah, that was definitely the "little drum that could." Wish I could have heard it in-person.

If you don't mind Andy, could you say just a bit about what made that drum capable of such deep tone? Like, I imagine you'd not be able to pull that off with a typical plied drum, right?

Thanks!
As with all really good instruments, it's a combination of features designed to work towards a single goal. In this case, it's a zero compromise approach too.

The sheer tone of this drum is down to shell resonance. The shell is incredibly easily excited. That's important in a shallow shell, because there's less of it to make a difference. The shell is allowed to resonate so freely, partly because of the construction, but also because of the incredibly low hardware mass.

The voice of the drum, the elements that give it such a pronounced fundamental, is crafted by the totally clean shell interior. It's almost completely devoid of higher overtones, & even the lower overtones are suppressed. The ultra clean fundamental projects the tone beautifully. It sits within it's own sonic space.

You could get part way there with a ply drum, but honestly, it's that last 10% of design focus generated tone that sets it apart. It's not the recording, or the room, I promise you. Ask anyone who's played this drum or heard it in person. BTW, Dave McKeague, the player on this video clip, is a Guru artist, & the proud owner of this kit :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AYOg0mbp68&feature=youtu.be&hd=1
 

evilg99

Platinum Member
Yeah, I reckon there's a reason that 14" was standard depth back in the day. And as Andy has shown, with particular materials and construction, the sweet spot might even be a bit more shallow. ;-)

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=97052

(BTW, I'm not ashamed to admit that I fantasize about that kit on a regular basis.)



Dude, how can I join the 14 Crew??? I'm assuming it's a "blood in, blood out" kind of thing?
Poof! I hereby grant you membership to the 14 Crew.
Just put it in your signature and spread the good word.
Remember, IT IS 2014, this won't happen again for 100 years!!!


Neal
 

spleeeeen

Platinum Member
As with all really good instruments, it's a combination of features designed to work towards a single goal. In this case, it's a zero compromise approach too.

The sheer tone of this drum is down to shell resonance. The shell is incredibly easily excited. That's important in a shallow shell, because there's less of it to make a difference. The shell is allowed to resonate so freely, partly because of the construction, but also because of the incredibly low hardware mass.

The voice of the drum, the elements that give it such a pronounced fundamental, is crafted by the totally clean shell interior. It's almost completely devoid of higher overtones, & even the lower overtones are suppressed. The ultra clean fundamental projects the tone beautifully. It sits within it's own sonic space.

You could get part way there with a ply drum, but honestly, it's that last 10% of design focus generated tone that sets it apart. It's not the recording, or the room, I promise you. Ask anyone who's played this drum or heard it in person. BTW, Dave McKeague, the player on this video clip, is a Guru artist, & the proud owner of this kit :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AYOg0mbp68&feature=youtu.be&hd=1
Andy, thank you for taking the time to reply with this info. Absolutely beautiful. Not surprised to hear Dave owns the kit. I'd think it would be very difficult to play it and (if it were for sale) not do whatever it takes to make it yours.
 

spleeeeen

Platinum Member
Poof! I hereby grant you membership to the 14 Crew.
Just put it in your signature and spread the good word.
Remember, IT IS 2014, this won't happen again for 100 years!!!


Neal
Thanks brother! I will be adding it to my signature soon.

And you're right, I really should buy a kit this year with a 14 x 20. I mean, it would almost be foolish not to, right?
 

?uesto

Silver Member
If that's the case, I'd buy him two bottles and have him do both.

Work before play though, or you don't know what you might end up with - LOL
Hahaha! Don't worry. Not a sip until it's done. I don't know if I want to make him do two. His days in the shop are long and stressful. I almost feel bad asking him to do one..
 

?uesto

Silver Member
Well guys, I had the drum cut down today. I haven't seen it in person yet, but our shop guy was able to finish it during the day today, and I should have it soon. May even be able to play it on my gig tonight.

He sent me a video from his phone of him hitting it after it was done, and it sounded perfect! I'm really excited.

Pics and maybe video after tonight.
 

?uesto

Silver Member
I'll try to get better pictures in some better light, but here it is at my gig last night.



The thing sounds awesome, looks awesome, and last night's stage was tiny, so it did leave a smaller footprint when every inch mattered.

Very punchy, lots of attack, great response, and great overall sound. I'm really happy with the way it turned out.
 
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