Rack tom flatness and "step up" height from snare

Mastiff

Senior Member
I have an old entry level Tama "rock" style kit. I've always had my toms at too much of an angle because getting them flatter required them to sit up so high (mounted to top of bass drum). I think the toms are pretty deep by today's standards, and the bass is 22". Anyway, I decided to experiment anyway with putting the toms at the proper angle, and I have to say it feels so much better to have the stick hit at the proper angle with a more powerful hit and controlled rebound. They do look high though... my concern was that I would end up stumbling on the step up and down between snare/floor and racks. I've only been messing around for a day, but it hasn't really seemed to be a problem. The step up from snare to high tom is about 6 inches. It's a bit more to the mid tom, since it's deeper.

I don't really have any specific questions here, but welcome any comments on this topic.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I think you will get used to the height the more you play. Check the height of your throne as well. Sometimes raising it a bit can help things feel better overall in that kind of situation

I don't have the problem you have cause I have standard sized toms, but I screw with my set up a lot, and sometimes come up with wacky set ups just to challenge myself. I find that as I continue to use it, I get used to what ever the new set up feels like

that doesn't mean that I keep it thought! 99% of the time I go back to a more normal set up in the end...
 

CommanderRoss

Silver Member
I'm from the Neil Peart/Pat Torpey/Travis Barker school of set up. Neil's snare is about the height of my navel (for good arm position and rim shots), Pat had a low seat and drums for good presence and Travis had his rack as flat as possible (from his days in a drumline) to help with ease around the kit when playing fast fills.

Experiment as much as you can & see where it takes you.
 
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Keyholio

Member

Here's what I did. I'm a musician adding drumming into my tool kit and found that those tall kits were the good bargain, but then found them a bit too "tall"

So I used one of these ($20) and a spare snare stand to move the rack toms off to the sides. It worked great, and now I have my 1980's set looking and playing more 2020's.
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BruceW

Senior Member
I've tried to play with my rack toms flatter, like so many i see photo'd. I just end up hitting the rims. I find that one of the biggest challenge to playing other guys kits (and I refuse to adjust their gear, it's on me to adapt if they're good enough to let me use their kit).
Old dog, new tricks, I suppose....retraining myself to hit differently after all these years. So I have my toms angled some...I often wonder if that makes big difference is sound or not, but I guess it really doesn't matter, since I'm not likely to change :)
 

timmdrum

Silver Member

Here's what I did. I'm a musician adding drumming into my tool kit and found that those tall kits were the good bargain, but then found them a bit too "tall"

So I used one of these ($20) and a spare snare stand to move the rack toms off to the sides. It worked great, and now I have my 1980's set looking and playing more 2020's.
View attachment 90107View attachment 90109View attachment 90108
Curious, why not hang the (now) front rack tom from the nearby stand with another clamp like you did the other one?
 

drumnut87

Well-known member
i have mine on a rack usually or on a separate tom/cymbal stand using the yamaha tri-mount, theres a bit of a step from the snare to the toms, but not too much, i found this by experiementing and seeing what worked and what doesnt.

i also have a power-tom kit with 12x11 & 13x12 toms, and i sit high-ish, so i can accomodate them fairly easily, again i found it by experimenting. just play around with positionings and trial & error and see what works for you :)
 

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Keyholio

Member
i have mine on a rack usually or on a separate tom/cymbal stand using the yamaha tri-mount, theres a bit of a step from the snare to the toms, but not too much, i found this by experiementing and seeing what worked and what doesnt.

i also have a power-tom kit with 12x11 & 13x12 toms, and i sit high-ish, so i can accomodate them fairly easily, again i found it by experimenting. just play around with positionings and trial & error and see what works for you :)
Right on I do not yet have a decent throne and can’t really sit up high. Being tall, I would probably be very comfortable up higher. If I wind up moving my throne, hats and snare up, I will go back to the toms atop the BD I guess
 
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moxman

Silver Member
Yes.. I learned on a Ludwig Club Date kit in the early 70s.. and the ergonomics on that setup was perfect.. it was a smaller kick.. maybe 18 or 20" (can't remember!) - but I generally try to mimic that setup in terms of heights.. no matter what the tom depth. .. so for your situation I'd:
- start with positioning your snare and tenor toms so they are are perfectly aligned with your seating position.
-put your kick to the right of that so your foot is hitting it dead on..might have to angle a bit.
- slide your floor tom in behind your kick and tuck it in beside your kick leg.. basically forming the triangle position of the 3piece Club Date setup.
- for 2 toms I'd put them on a spike stand and position them as close to the kick as possible... but start with getting the height between the snare and toms right first.. then add the kick.. and FT.

You can get your toms down really low that way.. other ways to reduce the gap height :
- raising the seat/snare/FT..
- angling the snare up a bit (without losing rim shot angles) ..
- buy a 20" kick .. or a 22" kick and shallower toms.
 
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Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Being 5' 00", I did at one time play a 26" bass drum with rack toms mounted on it that were 12x11 and 13x12, respectively. I raised my seat up a little, and didn't angle the toms too much, because I knew I like my stick to hit the toms at a good angle to get the power I like, but I did make do with it and it was quite fun. Usually, my first rack tom is about a 6-7 inch height reach normally on a 22 bass drum with two rack toms. That changes if I go with a single rack of course, but over the years I just learned how to make stuff work for me. Sometimes I wish I were tall like Omar Hakim - I stood right in front of him when he played at NAMM once and his rack toms are just about even with his snare! He was so fluid because he wasn't having to reach up too far for anything. But then I have my days where I'm playing great on my kit and am glad I'm "fun sized".
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Just sounds like you're struggling with the awkwardness power toms more than anything else, we've all been there!

Easiest and cheapest thing to do is go 1 up 1 down and offset the mounted tom from the bass drum so everything is more comfortable (mount it on a snare stand), compact and easier to play. If something feels awkward to you then it is. Alternatively you can raise your stool and snare height until it feels more comfortable with the power toms but you're back to the feeling awkward bit again.
 

dboomer

Senior Member
The step up from snare to high tom is about 6 inches.
In terms of playing and discounting any showy aspects, it seems to me that the ideal drum kit would look something like a Kat drum pad with essentially zero step up. That way you just push your hands forward to play a high tom instead of having to both push forward and lift your arms to cover the step up distance.

I set up my kits so the step up is as small as possible, usually about 2”.
 

Mastiff

Senior Member
In terms of playing and discounting any showy aspects, it seems to me that the ideal drum kit would look something like a Kat drum pad with essentially zero step up. That way you just push your hands forward to play a high tom instead of having to both push forward and lift your arms to cover the step up distance.

I set up my kits so the step up is as small as possible, usually about 2”.
Agreed. With my kit as is, 6" is the shortest I can get. I have to say though, that I really haven't had a lot of issue with tripping up on the step like I thought I might, and I've been specifically working on my speed around the toms lately.

When I buy a new kit some day, I will look for a BD/tom combo that allows very close to zero step up though.
 
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