Does size matter?

HeavyDrums

Junior Member
I've noticed my favorite rock drummers play large drums and cymbals. 26" bass drums, 24" rides, etc. What effect does size bring to the sound? More volume? Better tone? More low end? Sorry for the noob question.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
More volume, more low end, more attitude,
and depending on your situation, possibly more hassles.

Tone - not necessarily, IMO.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
In my opinion, no it doesn't matter to an extent. The drums themselves, it isn't THAT important. There are metal guys that use small kits with 20" kicks and very few toms. There are also jazz guys that use huge kits with large kicks and a bunch of toms.

Cymbal wise I think it's a bit more important. While some will do it, I feel that rides can be too small, and hats can be too big or small depending.

FWIW, I am predominantly a metal drummer, but use a little tiny kit with a 16" kick. I have a bigger kit, but am absolutely in love with the tiny one.
 

beatdat

Senior Member
Depends what you're doing.

In drumming, no.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Are you guys sure you're answering this ^^^^question.

I thought your answer was spot on, especially the attitude part. I just stuck with the size question from the title. Too many examples where size is irrelevant.
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
More low to mid-low overtones that help to project the drum in the mix.
Bigger bass drums have a slower punch that gives presence.

Bigger cymbals are usually, but not always a lower pitch than smaller ones and have a longer sustain and a rise to the bloom of the crash that smaller cymbals can't do.
 
I've noticed my favorite rock drummers play large drums and cymbals. 26" bass drums, 24" rides, etc. What effect does size bring to the sound? More volume? Better tone? More low end? Sorry for the noob question.
Not better, but usually deeper tone. As a consequence you can apply higher tension to your toms without getting a ridiculously high pitch.

And not to forget about one thing, bigger sizes look better on bigger stages. There are top drummers out there, who have two bass drums just as it looks cool, but one only serves the optics and isn't played.

I would never go for big sizes or a huge amount of drums and cymbals as I have to carry around all gear by myself, mostly in my own car. Thus playing gigs on a regular basis is way easier.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I've noticed my favorite rock drummers play large drums and cymbals. 26" bass drums, 24" rides, etc. What effect does size bring to the sound? More volume? Better tone? More low end? Sorry for the noob question.

As a blanket statement, size has more to do with pitch than with volume. Of course, there are many exceptions to the rule. There is no "better tone"; there is only "better tone" to YOUR ears. For me, I've never heard a 26" kick drum that I've liked for rock music (sorry Bonham fans). They have a very distinct sound, and to me they sound more like a concert bass drum than a kick drum. Many people love them and make a living playing them, but they are just not my jam. However, a 26" kick drum can tune lower than a 20" kick given the same specs except for size.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
The move to big drums and big cymbals came with the advent of louder music; back in the day it wasn't as common to mike up the drums and so they needed to move a LOT of air to compete with amps and PAs. The look and sound of big gear just stuck with the music.

It's kind of the same thing as why so many jazzers play small bass drums; long ago there was a reason (to fit gear in taxis, etc) that doesn't necessarily apply today, but the sound and look has become expected in that genre.
 

DrumDoug

Senior Member
I’ve always found it amusing that a 14” rack tom is a loud rock sized drum, yet a 14” floor Tom is considered a smaller quieter jazz size.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I've noticed my favorite rock drummers play large drums and cymbals. 26" bass drums, 24" rides, etc. What effect does size bring to the sound? More volume? Better tone? More low end? Sorry for the noob question.

It's really hard to quantify what the differences are between the sizes, but it is fair to say that a 20/22/24/26 will all have distinctive sounds and enunciations. IE, you can hear the 20" in early Beatles and when Ringo switched to the 22. You know the sound of Bonham's 24". You hear Cheap Trick's Budokan and know it's a 24. Understand that the modern dynamic BD mic is the great equalizer, and any subtle sonic differences are often obfuscated by amplification.

It's also fair to say that there's a difference in feel on the foot in each of the sizes, with smaller sizes being more intuitive (on the foot) to operate. You can feel the effect yourself if you have a 20" and 26" to do a side-by-side comparison with. Playing the 26 will feel like dribbling an under-inflated basketball if played after the 20. I have trouble imagining that this isn't something that cannot be overcome in all but the most extreme cases.

Last thing to mention is logistics, which changes significantly with size. IIRC, a 26" BD is at the tipping point where UPS/FEDEX used to put an "oversized" label on the package and charge more. I think they may have changed to a new "dimensional weight" formula to hide this now.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
I've noticed my favorite rock drummers play large drums and cymbals. 26" bass drums, 24" rides, etc. What effect does size bring to the sound? More volume? Better tone? More low end? Sorry for the noob question.

In a room at school we have two kits side by side. One is larger, deeper sizes than the other. They are both tuned around the same pitches.
The larger quit is much louder in the room than the smaller kit.

If you're always playing with microphones it's less important, but if you're rehearsing or playing live without microphones, the bigger drums will generally have more volume and/or more low end. They will balance loud amplifiers more effectively.
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
I’ve always found it amusing that a 14” rack tom is a loud rock sized drum, yet a 14” floor Tom is considered a smaller quieter jazz size.

You're right ! That's something to work on.
 
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