Drum Depths

Scottie15

Senior Member
Hello everybody,

Back in 2012, I bought a Mapex Black Panther Velvetone kit. At the time, most of the standard configurations for most companies was 10"x8", 12"x9", 16"x16" and 22"x19" BD.

Nowadays, it seems standard configurations include toms that are shallower (10"x7" & 12"x8") and 16" depth bass drums.

Anyone have any experience with both and can elaborate on the differences in depths?
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
For quite some time now, I've played a four-piece configuration with a 12x8 tom, a 16x16 floor tom, and a 22x18 bass drum. There isn't a big difference between an 8-inch-deep and a 9-inch-deep tom. A single inch provides a touch more volume and depth, but the leap won't be drastic. When your bass depth jumps from 16 to 18, however, you notice a bigger boom for sure. It requires more power if you want to unleash the full scope of its potential, but when you do, the payoff is certain.

The biggest drawback, to me, of an 18-inch-deep bass drum is that it takes up more stage pace. This is a worry only in very small venues. It's never prevented me from performing, but things have gotten a little tight on occasion.
 

Scottie15

Senior Member
For quite some time now, I've played a four-piece configuration with a 12x8 tom, a 16x16 floor tom, and a 22x18 bass drum. There isn't a big difference between an 8-inch-deep and a 9-inch-deep tom. A single inch provides a touch more volume and depth, but the leap won't be drastic. When your bass depth jumps from 16 to 18, however, you notice a bigger boom for sure. It requires more power if you want to unleash the full scope of its potential, but when you do, the payoff is certain.

The biggest drawback, to me, of an 18-inch-deep bass drum is that it takes up more stage pace. This is a worry only in very small venues. It's never prevented me from performing, but things have gotten a little tight on occasion.

OK that's what I figured. I wanted to know if the loss of ane extra inch produces any noticeable difference. Same with the bass drum when you lose 2 extra inches.

I find myself having to muffle my 18" a lot due to too much boom and overtones. I'm guessing a 16" might help that.

I'm actually looking into getting a new kit. A STAR Walnut. Their standard configuration is 10"x7", 12"x8" & 16"x16" with a 22"x16" bass drum. I have seen some STAR Walnuts online with 8" and 9" depth toms, as well as 18" bass drums.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Yeah, the less depth you have to your bass drum, the less muffling you should require, though circumference, head choice, and tuning play a major role as well. I like a somewhat open sound, so I use a Remo Coated Ambassador as a batter head and a Remo Ebony Ambassador as a resonant head. The Ambassador is single-ply and has no built-in muffling. If you want a more controlled sound, a double-ply head might work better for you. A double-ply coated will grant you even more overtone control. It all comes down to your personal taste and your desire to experiment.

Good luck with whatever you choose!
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
I really don't notice much of a sonic difference between traditional and FAST depth toms. Once you get to full-on power tom depths the increase in sustain is pretty obvious. I like the sound of power toms, but they can be tricky to set up comfortably.

Deep bass drums are kinda weird to me. While you're theoretically getting a longer note/more sustain because of the extra depth, you're dealing with a drum that routinely gets muffling and a ported resonant head specifically to cut sustain.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I really don't notice much of a sonic difference between traditional and FAST depth toms. Once you get to full-on power tom depths the increase in sustain is pretty obvious. I like the sound of power toms, but they can be tricky to set up comfortably.

Deep bass drums are kinda weird to me. While you're theoretically getting a longer note/more sustain because of the extra depth, you're dealing with a drum that routinely gets muffling and a ported resonant head specifically to cut sustain.
Great point about longer bass drums. They do present something of a hopeless predicament. You get more sustain; then you just have more sustain to tame. But, man, once you find the sweet spot, reverting to a smaller bass isn't very appealing, at least not to me. It's all just a function of the sound you want.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Occasionally I've played my 22x18 Pearl Reference kick with a non-ported front head and no muffling inside the drum and it's a nice tone. Some may argue it's too much, but remember, once the band starts playing, the audience will not hear the ringing you're hearing. Depending on the band, ringing is how you project anyway, so it works. If you mic up regularly, then of course you can port the bass drum so you can get the sound everybody is used to hearing, but try miking up without a port - then it sounds awesome!
 

Justinhub2003

Well-known member
when I was 22 (I’m 35 now) I bought a Tama hyper drive kit.
I feel like it was one of the first kits with really shallow toms.

I loved it at the time bc I was playing in a concrete basement where tone didn’t exist, but man I grew to hate that kit. Supper shallow toms aren’t versatile at all. Even worst they decide to kill the sound even more within diecast hoops.

personally just prefer 8x10 and 9x12
 

steadypocket

Gold Member
OK that's what I figured. I wanted to know if the loss of ane extra inch produces any noticeable difference. Same with the bass drum when you lose 2 extra inches.

I find myself having to muffle my 18" a lot due to too much boom and overtones. I'm guessing a 16" might help that.

I'm actually looking into getting a new kit. A STAR Walnut. Their standard configuration is 10"x7", 12"x8" & 16"x16" with a 22"x16" bass drum. I have seen some STAR Walnuts online with 8" and 9" depth toms, as well as 18" bass drums.
I agree with the others who claim that an inch doesn’t make a difference for tom depth. Do go with the 16” kick drum depth though. My Star walnut kick is18” deep. While that gives me two more inches of Japanese sen wood grain to marvel at, I do feel that my kick is just a tad less responsive and articulate than I’d ordinarily prefer. Still sounds great though. I got any amazing deal on a demo kit used at trade shows, sold by a Tama dealer as new, so I didn’t have any choice on sizes, including 10 and 12” rack toms that are both 8” deep.
 

Justinhub2003

Well-known member
I agree with the others who claim that an inch doesn’t make a difference for tom depth. Do go with the 16” kick drum depth though. My Star walnut kick is18” deep. While that gives me two more inches of Japanese sen wood grain to marvel at, I do feel that my kick is just a tad less responsive and articulate than I’d ordinarily prefer. Still sounds great though. I got any amazing deal on a demo kit used at trade shows, sold by a Tama dealer as new, so I didn’t have any choice on sizes, including 10 and 12” rack toms that are both 8” deep.
Maybe it’s that extra 1.5 inches that made the difference for me. The hyper drive kit I had a 6.5 x 10 and 7 x 12... those two toms sounded great if you wanted really quick attack. But if you want tone and sustain, they are limiting.

even weirder about that kit,was the bass drum which was 20x22. I got good sounds from it but prefer 18 or 16 depth
 

Scottie15

Senior Member
Maybe it’s that extra 1.5 inches that made the difference for me. The hyper drive kit I had a 6.5 x 10 and 7 x 12... those two toms sounded great if you wanted really quick attack. But if you want tone and sustain, they are limiting.

even weirder about that kit,was the bass drum which was 20x22. I got good sounds from it but prefer 18 or 16 depth
Interesting. What was the shell thickness? Any re-rings? That might have had something to do with it.
 

Justinhub2003

Well-known member
Interesting. What was the shell thickness? Any re-rings? That might have had something to do with it.

Not sure of the Shell Thicknes, but it was all Birch shells, no Re-rings.

I think the drums were being choked out by the shallow depth plus the standard Diecast Hoops they shipped with.
 

Scottie15

Senior Member
I agree with the others who claim that an inch doesn’t make a difference for tom depth. Do go with the 16” kick drum depth though. My Star walnut kick is18” deep. While that gives me two more inches of Japanese sen wood grain to marvel at, I do feel that my kick is just a tad less responsive and articulate than I’d ordinarily prefer. Still sounds great though. I got any amazing deal on a demo kit used at trade shows, sold by a Tama dealer as new, so I didn’t have any choice on sizes, including 10 and 12” rack toms that are both 8” deep.
Awesome! Thanks for the confirmation. I've been used to playing 8" & 9" rack tom depths over the years. I don't mind them at all and they the sustain I need, I just didn't want to lose any of it by going shorter.

Also appreciate the feedback on the bass drums depth. I have decided on a Star Walnut, but can't find any deals, so will most likely have to purchase directly through Tama. And there's a 6 month wait time! Nuts! Just need to decide on a finish. If you have any pics of your kit, feel free to PM them to me. I was considering the Indigo Burst finish, but wasn't sure how it would look with chrome hardware and the contrast with the dark walnut interiors.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
when I was 22 (I’m 35 now) I bought a Tama hyper drive kit.
I feel like it was one of the first kits with really shallow toms.

I loved it at the time bc I was playing in a concrete basement where tone didn’t exist, but man I grew to hate that kit. Supper shallow toms aren’t versatile at all. Even worst they decide to kill the sound even more within diecast hoops.

personally just prefer 8x10 and 9x12
That’s weird. I had a Tama Starclassic solid bubinga with the hyperdrive toms and those sounded really good. Being short, I liked less depth, especially on a 20” bass drum.
 

Justinhub2003

Well-known member
That’s weird. I had a Tama Starclassic solid bubinga with the hyperdrive toms and those sounded really good. Being short, I liked less depth, especially on a 20” bass drum.
Yea maybe it’s just me. But while I loved the hardware and durability of those Tama Superstar Hyper Drives (even though I managed to snap the lug twice), the tone was really limiting.

I had a 8” tom with old Export and it felt like I got more sustain from the 8” then I would from the 10x6.5 hyper drive.

they just always sounded muffled even with no muffling. I tried every kinda head you could imagine too
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Yea maybe it’s just me. But while I loved the hardware and durability of those Tama Superstar Hyper Drives (even though I managed to snap the lug twice), the tone was really limiting.

I had a 8” tom with old Export and it felt like I got more sustain from the 8” then I would from the 10x6.5 hyper drive.

they just always sounded muffled even with no muffling. I tried every kinda head you could imagine too
I wonder if the solid bubinga had anything to do with my positive experience?
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
That’s weird. I had a Tama Starclassic solid bubinga with the hyperdrive toms and those sounded really good. Being short, I liked less depth, especially on a 20” bass drum.
I played, and listened to Superstar HD, the 10x6,5 was useless, it didnt carry at all, even miked, because too short in sustain. Too high to sound like a Tom, it sounded more like a snare with the wires off.. I despised playing the HD. I owned a normal superstar at the time. (10x8, 12x9, 13x10 & 16x16) : it sounded good. It sounded like a drum ;).
I also think that small toms benefits from the communication with the bass drum, through the tom post, it give them a bit more body, and the HD doesn't have a tom mount on the bass.
Even the HD 14x12 floor sounded weird. But I must admit I’m more classic rock big maple shells kind of guy.
 
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Dirtysticks

Senior Member
I wonder if the solid bubinga had anything to do with my positive experience?
Maybe it was the different woods, or just his experience in dealing with the kit. The toms on this one (maple version) have nice decay and the Birch one I had in the past had similar sustain/decay with a slightly different tone.
 

MusiQmaN

Platinum Member
I went with 7” depths (10” and 12”) on my rack toms as even 8” was to deep to play comfortable for me.

Because of the build and wood layup it has more than enough sustain, warmth and projection.

My floors (15” and 18”) both have a 14” depth and the kick (22”) has a 16” depth.
 
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