Favorite floor tom size and why?

sage32

Senior Member
Some drummers prefer traditional square floor toms while others prefer the more modern slightly shallow floors. DW has their FAST sizes that go even more shallower (e.g. 16x13). And I've seen people mix and match, for instance a 14x14 paired with a 16x14.

I'm curious as to what you guys prefer and why? Do you like the way it looks, sounds, feels, versatility, easy-to-tune, etc.

I'm curious because I really only have experience with square sizes (16x16 14x14) which sound great tuned to their sweet spot, but I'm curious about the shallower sizes. I recently played a 16x14 and was very impressed with it!
 

MusiQmaN

Platinum Member
If I had to choose only 1 floor:

A standing 15x14 (or 15x13 if this size is only available on the set of my liking.

Were a 14'' is sometimes to small and a 16'' to big to haul, the 15'' fits right in for me.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
16x16.

The first percussive "rumble of thunder" I ever heard..........and if I'm honest, the last percussive "rumble of thunder" I'll ever need.

I have a 14x14 and I love that thing. I've also had an 18x16 and I was quite partial to that in the right context too. But the truth is, if I had to choose one FT to stay with me for all time, then the low end of the 16x16 is what I wanna hear.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
I have a 13x11 floor tom and a 14x12 floor tom.

The 14 x 12 with a clear pinstripe is perfect for me - deep, warm, solid, flows from the 12" tom nicely, and easy to pack in the car.

Interestingly, every time I put a new top head on it, it sounds awful. Have done this 3 or 4 times, and gone back to the old pinstripe, which must be 10 years old by now, and sounds great. Must be well 'seated' by now.

The 13 with a smooth white emperor on top sounds surprisingly good, but its more like a low tom sound, not a true floor tom sound.

I find most 16 floor toms too loose and floppy, no tone, no rebound.
 

RickP

Gold Member
14 x 13 is my preferred size these days. I find 14" floor toms the easiest to tune up quickly. The Yamaha Club Custom 14 x 13 just sounds killer regardless of the head types.

I find 16" floor toms harder to tune and are more work to get a sound that is acceptable to my ear.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
Depends on the kit really, some 14's are pretty great e.g my saturns, some aren't e.g my birch sonors.

The best floor tom I have ever owned is my Sleishman 16x14... it is about a 5th lower than my saturn or tama b/b floor tom and the head tension is actually tighter.
 

glwanabe

Member
Depends, on a few variables such as high tom, kick, my mood, heads in use, what I've been listening to, day of the week, whether I'm having Bourbon, or beer that day, if I saw my skinny hot neighbor that day, or the full figured women with the big bottom.

I have 3 different sizes of floor toms right now, 14x14, 14x16, 16x16. I like all of them, but the 14x16 can stretch far enough in either direction to pretty much cover it all. I'm still playing with tuning on this shell, which is new to me.

I will say that the 14x14 with an Ambassador X reso, and Vintage E batter, is a really nice sound.

Favorite?
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
I have played lots of different sizes of floor toms. It seems to me the best size FT depends on the sizes of the other toms.

For instance, when I use my 8x12 and my 9x13 rack toms the tone of my 15x16 FT sounds perfect.
When I use my 7x10 and an 8x12 rack tom, (and no 9x13 tom), my 15x16 floor tom sounds too big (low tone). Even if I tune the FT higher.


.
 

sage32

Senior Member
15x15 would be my pick. Just like MusiQmaN said, sometimes 14" is too small and 16" is too big.
Have you tried a shallow 15? (15x14, x13, x12)

I would love to see a video or article doing an A/B comparison of the same shell type at each diameter-depth size. So far I've only found something like that with bass drums.
 

Pyromaniac777

Silver Member
Have you tried a shallow 15? (15x14, x13, x12)

I would love to see a video or article doing an A/B comparison of the same shell type at each diameter-depth size. So far I've only found something like that with bass drums.
I guess I would maybe like to try a shallower one. I don't like my drums to ring out forever. That's what shortening the depth does. It decreases resonance and increases attack, because there is less air to move. Maybe I should try that... thanks for the idea.
 

sage32

Senior Member
I guess I would maybe like to try a shallower one. I don't like my drums to ring out forever. That's what shortening the depth does. It decreases resonance and increases attack, because there is less air to move. Maybe I should try that... thanks for the idea.
When I was in Guitar Center the other day they had a big chart explaining how the shell material, thickness, diameter, and depth affects the sound of toms. Everything was on a continuum. But I was surprised to see that they said shallower toms actually INCREASE resonance versus their deeper counterparts. Deep toms supposedly have more volume and projection. I was really surprised to see this because I too always thought that deeper meant better resonance.. But now that I think about it, power rack toms do sound more thuddy than the traditional sizes.

Wouldn't less air to move be good for resonance? A shallower drum with less air to move has fewer variables affecting the sound waves. On top of that, there's a smaller amount of wood to generate vibration.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I don't like my drums to ring out forever. That's what shortening the depth does. It decreases resonance and increases attack.
All other things being equal, that's not quite correct. Depth (in itself) has almost no affect on shell resonance or head sustain. A shorter drum produces less overtones & therefore features the fundamental more. If you're getting less head sustain from a deeper floor tom, it's more likely to be the proximity of the resonant head to the floor. The nearer that resonant head is to the floor, the more it puts the brakes on the drum, both in terms of head sustain & tonally. Increased overtones sometimes associated with deeper drums can (if poorly designed) equate to a reduction in length of note prominence due to masking & confusion of the sympathetic resonant frequencies, in the same way they can reduce the perception of low end, but that can all be designed out.

When I was in Guitar Center the other day they had a big chart explaining how the shell material, thickness, diameter, and depth affects the sound of toms. Everything was on a continuum. But I was surprised to see that they said shallower toms actually INCREASE resonance versus their deeper counterparts. Deep toms supposedly have more volume and projection.
We posted at the same time :)

Again, that "chart" is portraying a very simplistic view, & fails to explain what's actually going on. I suspect it's probably fairly brand / generic construction specific too. The actual mechanism's are complexed & interwoven with numerous caveats. All other things being equal, a deeper drum is not necessarily louder, nor does it project more. All of these things rely on many elements working together, or more commonly, working against each other. A lower amount of overtones typically found in a more shallow drum can equate to a modest increase in length of note and / or increased head sustain, but that's dependant on many other factors. More likely is that the fundamental is audibly present for longer.
 
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sage32

Senior Member
Ahhhh that's the explanation I was hoping to find! Thanks for sharing your knowledge of drum physics :)
 

sage32

Senior Member
All other things being equal, a deeper drum is not necessarily louder, nor does it project more. All of these things rely on many elements working together, or more commonly, working against each other. A lower amount of overtones typically found in a more shallow drum can equate to a modest increase in length of note and / or increased head sustain, but that's dependant on many other factors. More likely is that the fundamental is audibly present for longer.
I see so there is no universal answer because there are so many complexities. There are only trends. Shallower toms tend to produce cleaner fundamental tones, but it's not necessarily the case in every situation.

Now I'm curious! Do you have a favorite floor tom? Maybe on a specific kit that you really liked?

For me it would be a 16x14 that I played on a maple DW Collector's series. But I've never played a 16x16 on a kit that good so I can't really compare the two.
 

porter

Platinum Member
If I had to choose only 1 floor:

A standing 15x14 (or 15x13 if this size is only available on the set of my liking.

Were a 14'' is sometimes to small and a 16'' to big to haul, the 15'' fits right in for me.
15s, duh.

I have a 15x14 but after using it for a while, it seems like a shallower one (i.e. 15x12") would have been more my liking. Gotta remember that on the next kit.
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
I don't even have to think about this one: 16x16 rules the roost. My set has a 14x16 and it is quite adequate, but if a 16x16 were available, I would buy one. And that makes me think a little - I play two down. What if I were able to build a 16x16 and use it in conjunction with the 14x16? I find my 12x14 wholly inadequate as a floor tom, but I could see two sixteen inchers with different depths as working out quite nice. Might have to look into this.

GeeDeeEmm
 
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