Kit sizes and style questions...

thelimpingtoad

Senior Member
Okay... so being on this forum for a few weeks has totally inspired me to blow a ton of money... haha... no i'm not joking... i really need to get a new kit. I deserve one. It will probably still be about 9 to 12 months before I actually get one but I want to really have my configuration figured out way ahead of time. I'm very anal so i need to read, compare, and listen to/play a ton of kits to figure out exactly what I'm shooting for.
First off let me describe the sound I like and then i have a couple questions for you experts...
I like a big booming and thunderous sound to my drums. Loud, thundering and with a sharp attack but good long sustain on each shell.

- So that being said, what types of shells are best for this? I have seen a lot about the different types of woods and sound properties of them and how the depth of the shell will impact the sustain you get... I'm probably going to stick with a maple 6-ply toms kit for affordability.

- Do square sizes (10x10 12x12 14x14 etc.) provide a more full sound then say 12x9 13x10 or whatever? What are the advantages and audible properties of square drums? And if you have mostly squares sizes, should you have ALL square or will like say an 18x16 tom sound out of place with a 16x16?

- Would a 14x14 be too big to use as a mounted tom? I would mostly have it either rack mounted or on a tom holder attached to a stand so i'm not worried too much about clearing the bass drum. But i would probably want this up instead of down.

The sizes I'm thinking would be:

Toms: (all mounted to rack or stands but not legs or on the bass drum)
8x8 * up
10x10 * up
12x12 up
14x14 up
16x16 down
18x18 down (is this too big? should i be looking at 18x16)

Bass:
22x18 (i think this is what i have now and I'd like that same size unless anyone has good reason to look bigger or smaller depth... sticking with 22" diameter though.)

Snare:
14x??? (What is a good depth for a snare to be for fat, wet sound used mostly for rock?)
Piccolo or side snare*

*if i can afford them at the time of purchase

So any advice on the sizes? Can anyone explain about the square sizes?
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
Shallower toms will focus the sound more. You'll get more of a definite pitch than you would with a deeper shell. A deeper shell will sound less focused, almost like it has a little built-in reverb effect. A deeper shell also makes the drum sound louder, I've heard (but I've never found this to be true).

If you want to get a sense of the sound difference, a deeper shell will sound like you saying, "bomb", and a shallower shell will give you more of a "doom" sound. Of course, head choice and tuning have a lot to do with the final sound.
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
whatever you do with that 14" tom, you'll probably want it to the side of your bass drum. i tried to mount a 14" tom above my bass drum once and it wouldn't fit unless i either put it way up high where i could barely reach it, or tilted it at an angle worthy of the "tom angles" thread.
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
How tall are you? I'm exactly 6' tall and I find that if I have a 10x8" and 12x9" up over my 22" kick, it's *almost* too tall, unless I tilt my toms to uncomfortable angles. I now only use the 12x9" above the kick and it's just far enough left and just low enough to be comfortable...and barely clears the kick. There's maybe 1/2" before they're touching.

That being said, I couldn't even imagine playing your fantasy setup. I'd need to throw my elbows way up in the air to reach any of the toms...or tilt them straight at my face.

Like Caddy said, you may find that square drums are a bit too boomy, especially when placed side-by-side like that. If you want lots of boom and less articulation (both in terms of feel and sound) then squared sizes are what you're after. You can tone it down with the right heads but that would beg the question; why did you bother with big boomy drums if you're going to muffle them?

Just some things to consider.

As for snare; consider metal vs. wood, first. You can get big, fat, wet sounds out of both but the timbre is entirely different. Metal will have a sharper, more sensitive note (generally) whereas wood is generally "warmer" and more subdued. Personally I love both and swap them out from time-to-time. However, I like brass the best and prefer my Black Beauty most of the time.

I applaud you for applying this much thought in advance. I could have saved myself some bucks if I had done that. I'm playing Pearl Reference now and they're absolutely beautiful. I've never heard drums that project and sustain like this.

There's my recommendation! :)
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
Oh, also: your kick drum sound is very important as well. Same general guidelines apply. If you want a tight, punch-in-the-gut sound, go for a shallower bass drum (like 14" deep). If you want more tone, get a 20", or if you want more of a thump, get a 22". If you like your kick drum to sound like you're playing in an airplane hanger, with a lot of boom, but less actual thump, then go for an 18" depth. Once again, heads and treatment can modify both extremes, but only to a point.

Like Zambizzi said, good for you for considering this stuff beforehand. Are you getting a custom kit? What brands are you looking at?
 

thelimpingtoad

Senior Member
Like Zambizzi said, good for you for considering this stuff beforehand. Are you getting a custom kit? What brands are you looking at?
I don't really know what I'm going to get yet... It will have to be custom i think. I would really like to get the shells and order lugs and finish them myself because i think it would be more satisfying and I love doing stuff with my hands and it would be slightly cheaper overall... Also I want a finish like the Mapex Pro-M faux Zebrawood finish: https://www.ellaways.com.au/store/sites/default/files/MapexZebrawood.jpg Because I totally fell in love with that kit's finish when i saw it last week. If i did decide to finish my own i'd go with ego lugs. and probably just do a snare or 8" tom first to practice and make sure i can pull it off well without spending all the $$ for a full set of shells/hardware only to mess them up really bad. I am an artist and good at working with my hands but If i'm not confident i can finish it well i may end up looking into buying the shells and having them finished somewhere else then assembling them all myself.

Hardware would most likely end up being gibraltar or a mix-and-match of various brands... but I will want tom holder stands and a virgin bass drum with no mounts on it. When i do this i'm sure I'll want a few new cymbals but i already have most of the stands i need.

I ALWAYS put this much thought into almost EVERYTHING... haha... especially major purchases... and I will spend months and months researching everything I can about a topic before making any sort of decision... its a personality defect.. but it is good for some stuff like picking my new drumset and the last time i bought a computer etc.. just bad when trying to make any fast decisions about anything.

I guess I'm probably looking to go shallower then square based on zambizzi's comments... That's good because I thought square would be the way to go. I'm looking at the FAST shell sizes DW builds... any thoughts on those?
I think i'll stick with the 22x18 for kick based on caddywumpus' comments...

As for snare... I have only ever had cheap metal ones... Like the one that came with my set. I might want wood though because I'd like to have more of a fat wet sound to it.

Anyway.. .I've wanted a new kit for a long time since I still play my old Tama Rockstar ( from 1993?)... I'm in a band now and we're looking to start gigging... and I just got a new job so eventually I'll have some extra income I could actually put away to save up for this. Also, I feel i DESERVE a nice and newer kit... i've put in my years on the tama crapstar and its time to play something i'd like more and would be specifically taylored to my playing style and tastes.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
I ALWAYS put this much thought into almost EVERYTHING... haha... especially major purchases... and I will spend months and months researching everything I can about a topic before making any sort of decision... its a personality defect..
Not a personality defect at ALL. Actually, it seems more like a lost art, this "thinking through before you buy" mentality. Take notes, kids...

I love Zebrawood, too! B E A Utiful!!!
 

thelimpingtoad

Senior Member
Not a personality defect at ALL. Actually, it seems more like a lost art, this "thinking through before you buy" mentality. Take notes, kids...

I love Zebrawood, too! B E A Utiful!!!
When i was a kid i DID use to make rash decisions...

Lol... me too.. but actually that kits not real zebrawood... its a maple veneer with tiger striped wood... then they stained lightly with black first (i'm assuming) to pull out the stripes in the grain then went over again to make the fade on it... I don't even know why mapex calls it a zebrawood finish since its actually all maple! very misleading if you don't read the full description of it.
 

thelimpingtoad

Senior Member
You should go all out and order solid shells from Vaughncraft! Here, zebrawood is at the bottom, but feel free to enjoy the rest:

http://www.vaughncraft.com/index.php?id=38
Yeah.. i saw those the other day... and i think they look great... they have a lot of exotic wood and solid shells you can order... very good source. I don't know how the different exotics sound though... and i also don't know about cost... i mean exotics would be nice but even just a veneer over maple shells would be mad expensive. Well either way... cost shouldn't really be an issue at this point anyway... i want to figure out exactly WHAT i want... then worry about how to afford it... :)
 

Ainulindale

Gold Member
Mr.Wingo of The Sword has a 14"x14" just off the left side of his bass and a 16"x16" on the floor right, seems to work good for him...

if your going with that many rack toms, "fast" depths may be your best bet ( 10x8, 12x9, 14x11, etc...), nice all round depth and attack with moderate sustain and nice managable sizes above the bass...

one thing to consider with "square" sizes is this - you have to hit 'em a little more firm to get all that bottom end out of them and they seem to have a narrower tuning range compared to fast depths, tune them a little high and they get real flat and woody sounding - great 70's rock sound, also, tuned low with 2ply coated heads they can be quite muddy sounding, but if any of this is what your after then go for it...

and the snare that comes with the kit should be a little deeper ( 6.5" - 7" ), a maple shell should give you that fatter sound your after, but try different heads before you spend big bucks on a custom / signiture snare

the 22" bass can do anything you want it to, just heads and tuning!

hope this might help, good hunting!
 

justjim

Senior Member
Toms: (all mounted to rack or stands but not legs or on the bass drum)
8x8 * up
10x10 * up
12x12 up
14x14 up
16x16 down
18x18 down (is this too big? should i be looking at 18x16)
I don't know if that 18x18 is too big (in depth) but it does seem pretty generally big for mounting unless you go full on cage/rack (as opposed to stands) - esp if it works out so that your 8" goes way left 14 & 16 get paired on a stand

I've grown kind of partial to a down tom on the left - like Ainulindale was talking about - eh, just an option to consider

do you have (or can you borrow) drums in those sizes to sort of prototype layout? might be worth doing as an exercise
 
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thelimpingtoad

Senior Member
I don't know if that 18x18 is too big (in depth) but it does seem pretty generally big for mounting unless you go full on cage/rack (as opposed to stands) - esp if it works out so that your 8" goes way left 14 & 16 get paired on a stand

do you have (or can you borrow) drums in those sizes to sort of prototype layout? might be worth doing as an exercise
Probably not :) I wish i could find a way to see them though... I was a little worried about about 18 and 16 on a stand too... if it isn't stable i might get 2 stands... one for each.

Mr.Wingo of The Sword has a 14"x14" just off the left side of his bass and a 16"x16" on the floor right, seems to work good for him...
Cool.. i'll look at his kit and see how he has it set up. thanks for the tip because this was one of my biggest concerns.
if your going with that many rack toms, "fast" depths may be your best bet ( 10x8, 12x9, 14x11, etc...)
Yeah I might just do that... i was looking at FAST depths yesterday.
you have to hit 'em a little more firm to get all that bottom end out of them
Not a problem... my style is mostly hard rock... bonham, keith moon, etc. are my major influences so I usually play pretty hard.
they seem to have a narrower tuning range compared to fast depths,
Well that's bad... which is why I am looking at the fast sizes now.
great 70's rock sound
This is exactly the sound I'm after... most of what I listen to and the style i play is 70's rock style. But I probably want a slightly more versatile kit so i think i might go with the fast.
and the snare should be ( 6.5" - 7" ), a maple shell should give you that fatter sound
Yeah I'm thinking 14 x 6.5 maple.

Thanks for all your advice so far... keep the suggestions coming... :)
 

thelimpingtoad

Senior Member
Okay... i looked into it and actually this guy Trivett Wingo plays a 14x10 up then a 16x16 and 18x18 down. his kit looks like what i'd want for my base set but with a 12 up too.

So i guess the question is... why 10" depth for that tom? Like... how do you calculate the depth you want? I noticed the FAST sizes are like 10x8 12x9 14x11 ... but if they were some kind of ratio... like add 2" to the width and 2 to the depth it would be 10x7... so where do those numbers come from?
 
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