Preferred rack tom sizes

jmdrums59

New member
I have a 10 x 12 rack tom on my DW Performance series kit currently . Looking to add 2 more to my setup. I have a 20” kick, and 16” floor tom also. I play in a classic rock/ top 40 band. Should I go with 8/ 10/ 12, or 10/12/13 sizes? Curious what you guys think? Go........
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
I'm a 1 up, 2 down guy ...... so I'd add a 14 floor. I think the 20, 12, 14 is a classic "traditional" combo. That, and the 22, 13, 16. Classic combo's.

If you're style leans towards multiple rack toms .... do you prefer larger or smaller drums. A lot of drummers I know insist on the 2"separation on rack toms ..... hence the 8, 10, 12 makes sense, however, depending in what classic/pop songs you're doing, the role of an 8" tom might be very sparse. Any tom smaller than 12" ...... during the 70's, was usually a concert tom. So most all double rack combo's were 12/13.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
I think the most future-proof and "best-resale-value" additions you can make are a 10" rack and 14" floor.

That would give you 20/10/12/14/16. I have this exact configuration on my Gretsch Renown and it works great.

An 8" tom is not as practical and much less common.

A 13" rack (instead of a 10") could work but it's more of an old-school configuration. It would require more real estate in front of you though, so you'd have to move your cymbals accordingly.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I used to run 10/12/13 up and 14/16 down. Always wanted 8/10/12/14/16. Then I discovered I don't like the 8" tom.

Personally, I think a 14 is too big up front. It's not the drum itself, but the real estate it absorbs.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
10/12/13 with your 16 FT

If you had a 14FT, I'd say go 8/10/12

Probably just get them all - one at a time, as finances allow. ;)

Edit: I missed a post above, but if it was my set, I'd do as IBitePrettyHard says. 20/10/12/14/16.
 
10x8", 12x9" racks. 15x13", 18x15" floors. For me, those are the perfect tom sizes and I personally hope 15" and 18" floor toms become more standard in the future. If the acoustic drum kit is to evolve further, I think that's where it should go. 15" floor toms for me are especially brilliant and in my opinion it's best size to go with 10 and 12" rack toms.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
One of my kits I use a 10x14 rack with a 16x18 floor. It’s glorious!

For you I’d add a 12 and 13. Stay traditional.
 

NackAttack

Member
I had an 8/10/12/13/14/16 and 22 setup at one point. The 12 and 14 backed the 13 into a corner tuning wise and I could never get it to sound good with the rest of the toms. On its own it sounded great but then it would overlap too much with the sound of either the 12 or 14. Then I would have to tighten it up or back it down and it quit sounding good. The 8 was almost comically small looking by itself and functionally you’d be better off buying a set of roto toms than one 8”. Biggest regret from that kit was wasting money on a 13 when I already had a 12 and 14.
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
I don't like closely tuned intervals on my toms. And I like the distinct difference in sound and feel between rack toms and the weighty thud of the floor toms. All of this rules out the 13 for me. I just don't want that "half step" between my 12 and floor tom.

I'd add a 14" FT, and maybe get an 8 to use occasionally. Since you play classic rock the 8 should get some use.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I guess we're not getting any 12/13 love here. I blame Steve Gadd for getting everyone on this kick that you must have a two inch interval between drums for them to sound different. Fact is, if you know how to tune, you can make it happen. We've been doing it long before Yamaha marketed the 10/12/14 interval to us. And everyone seems to forget that in the beginning, Steve's floor toms were only one-inch apart - he originally used a 10x14 and a 12x15 tom hanging from one stand.

If you're really stuck on the idea that you need the big separation, why not go 10/13/16? Then you have a three-inch difference! Of course, if you wanted an extra tom, you'd need a 19" floor tom, and a 7" rack tom.

At one show I played in college, I used an 8/12/16 set-up. FOUR inches between! Comical!
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
If you're really stuck on the idea that you need the big separation, why not go 10/13/16?
I don't know about anyone else but the "big separation" I want is between the tom and floor tom. And it's not just pitch. They feel very different. The last thing I want is a 13 to "bridge" that gap. I could very well be in the minority though. Just giving the OP food for thought.

At one show I played in college, I used an 8/12/16 set-up. FOUR inches between! Comical!
The 8/12 is weird. Nothing odd about the 12/16.
 
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Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I don't know about anyone else but the "big separation" I want is between the tom and floor tom. And it's not just pitch. They feel very different. The last thing I want is a 13 to "bridge" that gap. I could very well be in the minority though. Just giving the OP food for thought.



The 8/12 is weird. Nothing odd about the 12/16.
I'm obviously rebelling about some notion of having to have the separation. I think it's funny that marketing is now dictating to us that you must have at least a two inch difference to notice. But on the last video I did with my just completed Roger Taylor kit, the rack toms are 12/13/14 with 16/18 floor toms. All five toms sound different from one another, but the rack toms all feel the same. Floor toms will always feel different because they get an almost bass drum-like tuning.

Andy Newmark (Sly & The Family Stone and John Lennon) said on his 4-piece kit, he preferred an 8x12 and a 16x16 floor tom to have more separation between the high and low, and that works for him. I think we all deal with the floor tom feeling different from the rack tom, it's just the instruments' nature.
 

Twakeshima

Active member
I’m a little overkill but currently I have two 10s one 12 one 8 one 14 and one 16. I really like a range in pitches when I play. A lot of that is due to the fact that a good amount of my normal beats are on toms. For you though I’d go with a 10 and another floor Tom.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Since you ask for preferred sizes, 12/13 up top plus whatever floors you want. Rogers (I think) kits used to come with two 12's up top. Tune them to radically different pitches....good to go. With a 13, I feel that an extra inch diameter and an extra inch depth gives me plenty of separation. I didn't always feel this way, because I never owned a 13 until a few years ago. I was also becoming disenchanted with the 10" tom for unmiced live stuff. It just doesn't give me the length of note I need (in the audience). So I pitch my 12" tom up to where my 10" used to be pitched...it does it well....and it gives me the sustain. The 13" is a badass sounding size IMO. I love it. I wish I would have understood that many years ago.
 
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