Remo Roto Toms for all around playing

Fox622003

Gold Member
Alright, that's the main question. I was thinking in getting roto toms, but not really to add more toms, I'm looking for a more latin, jazzy, reggae kind of addition (or to add sound elements from those genres to my general playing). And 200 and some bucks for THE roto toms seems a lot cheaper and easier to set up than some bongos or congas, or timbales; do you think they can be used to achieve this kind of sound?
Another question: What about micing for live and recording situations?


Thanks, Fox.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
If you recall, Terry Bozzio was a big proponent of the roto-toms, during the Missing Person days. He said that in order to get the regular tom sounds, because there were no shells, you had to mic them up all the time and apply generous amounts of low-end eq. He also had to come up with a way to mount them because the standard rail mount left alot to be desired for optimum positioning.

I found them hard to transport around if you didn't have some kind of case for them as well because when you took them off of their stands, you now had this dangerous 3/8" bolt sticking out ready to poke somebody if you weren't careful! Although it's more of a hassle to move around traditional latin percussion, it's easier to do and ultimately safer!

But it's up to you. Roto toms don't replace bongos or congas, but with diplomat heads can get awfully close to the sound of a timbales (Bill Bruford used it to great effect with the 80s King Crimson).
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
To be honest, I've never really liked them, but they'll certainly give you the vibe you're after. I find them flat & characterless, but attack and high frequency tone are prominent, so that will suit the task. They certainly represent a simple way of getting that generic latin feel, but with a rock undertone, in one package. Rapid tuning change between songs is a big advantage for multi feel applications too.
 

Fox622003

Gold Member
Roto toms don't replace bongos or congas, but with diplomat heads can get awfully close to the sound of a timbales (Bill Bruford used it to great effect with the 80s King Crimson).

I was going to ask about that precisely, if with coated heads they would sound more similar to what I was looking for.
Thanks for both replies. However, now that you mention transport...I need to get them from the US to Argentina, and that's going to be two planes sadly :-/. Exactly HOW bulky are we talking about here? Can they make it inside a suit case if I take them apart (stand folded and toms)?


Fox.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
I've had three drum sets built around 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18 inch roto toms. Once, in the mid-70's, again, in the early 80's, and last time, about 2003/05.
Alright, that's the main question. I was thinking in getting roto toms, but not really to add more toms, I'm looking for a more latin, jazzy, reggae kind of addition (or to add sound elements from those genres to my general playing).
In the course of 35+ years, have you seen a lot of latin, jazz, or reggae bands using roto toms?
And 200 and some bucks for THE roto toms seems a lot cheaper
Just because something is "more affordable" does not necessarily mean it's gonna make a good substitute.
and easier to set up than some bongos or congas, or timbales;
This is where Remo should step in and make cases for the darn things. They are simply a "pain in the @$$" to transport, unless you have some kind of case (homemade or custom).
do you think they can be used to achieve this kind of sound?
Not really. Roto toms are pretty much "one trick ponies". They sound like roto toms. If you're serious about "adding" color to your sound, look into a Roland SPD-S. Then you'll have your bongo, conga, timbale and roto tom sound, plus about 150 others.
Another question: What about micing for live and recording situations?
They definitely need to be mic'd.
 

Fox622003

Gold Member
I've had three drum sets built around 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18 inch roto toms. Once, in the mid-70's, again, in the early 80's, and last time, about 2003/05. In the course of 35+ years, have you seen a lot of latin, jazz, or reggae bands using roto toms?.

Your input is definitely appreciated, but as mentioned before, with coated heads, they should sound similar to timbales, specially since they are 6", 8" and 10". Do you really think they'll differ as much in sound?
And I don't see why they are such a pain to transport, can't they be separated from the stand? It's just three thin toms, and a foldable (I hope) stand.


Fox.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Your input is definitely appreciated, but as mentioned before, with coated heads, they should sound similar to timbales, specially since they are 6", 8" and 10". Do you really think they'll differ as much in sound?
And I don't see why they are such a pain to transport, can't they be separated from the stand? It's just three thin toms, and a foldable (I hope) stand.


Fox.
They're a mile away from timbale. They just don't have that thin metal shell tone, & rimshots are close to pointless. For me, timbale without rimshot, & the beautiful variation you get in head position sounds, just isn't worth it. If you want that unique timbre, I think you'd get frustrated very quickly. Think of rototoms as under performing concert toms with a bit of late 70's retro appeal, & you're not far wrong.
 

Fox622003

Gold Member
They're a mile away from timbale. They just don't have that thin metal shell tone, & rimshots are close to pointless. For me, timbale without rimshot, & the beautiful variation you get in head position sounds, just isn't worth it. If you want that unique timbre, I think you'd get frustrated very quickly. Think of rototoms as under performing concert toms with a bit of late 70's retro appeal, & you're not far wrong.

Alright, I'm convinced. What about a 12" Aux snare tuned tight? I think that would give me a little latin extra sound, and be versatile enough if I need it for another application, since I can tune it for whatever's needed.
I really don't know where to start with snare drums, though, specially since I'm looking in the roto toms price range (stand included...) Something Sonor 2007/3007 ish might be around there, I don't know.


Fox.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Alright, I'm convinced. What about a 12" Aux snare tuned tight? I think that would give me a little latin extra sound, and be versatile enough if I need it for another application, since I can tune it for whatever's needed.
I really don't know where to start with snare drums, though, specially since I'm looking in the roto toms price range (stand included...) Something Sonor 2007/3007 ish might be around there, I don't know.


Fox.
Yeah, now you're getting there. A nice little 12" or 13" snare, even better if you can find a piccolo, is a great way to go IMO. I'd certainly go the used route if you can. From your description earlier, sounds like you're going to buy in the US. If that's the case, there's a ton of great stuff available used, & at superb prices. As for type, I'd certainly go for a metal shell if you want that timbale style sound. As for make, well, just get the best you can for the budget. There's so much choice, it's difficult to know where to start. Good luck!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
They should be called roto hoops.
Agree w/ the 1 trick pony
As far as replicating a timbale sound, agree with KIS's no rimshot point (dealbreaker)
Rototoms can't do a timbale sound
Agree that they are hard to transport
Nothing beats authentic sounds....
Latin played on rototoms sounds like Latin played on rototoms, where's the ringy overtones and rimshot?.
The only thing that they have going for them is the tuning thing and unless you are playing melodic figures, (with a limited amount of pitches) what's the upside? All I see is no shell tone whatsoever, no rimshot...A castrated 1 headed pseudo drum. We should have a funeral for rototoms.

I'm kidding, they have their uses.
 
C

Crazy8s

Guest
I've seen rotos used for this exact purpose; latin, reggae, ska, salsa, and the rotos did very well for the purpose.

I was very impressed with them being used in an Arizona band called 'Major Lingo'. It was a dance band somewhat along the lines of Phish but with a slide guitar as lead instrument. Their drummer is EXCELLENT, and he had to be too because he replaced an amazing drummer... Tim 'Herb' Alexander. Herb played with Major Lingo here in Az for a couple years before getting the gig with Primus. Major Lingo is also very very good, and you might be able to find their music online somewhere.

MAJOR LINGO featuring Herb


Mike Mangini also used the rotos as replacements for his toms and it worked well for him too. I'd actually like to duplicate the setup he was using because it makes good sense for that kind of playing; Staccato and articulate and quick.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
...but as mentioned before, with coated heads, they should sound similar to timbales, specially since they are 6", 8" and 10". Do you really think they'll differ as much in sound?
Yes, they don't even come close to the sound of a timbale.​
And I don't see why they are such a pain to transport, can't they be separated from the stand? It's just three thin toms, and a foldable (I hope) stand.
Since they rotate, they have a "central shaft" protruding out of the underneath. So, they have to be placed "face down", and you really can't put anything on top of them. Buying and/or cutting down regular drum cases works, but now you've just spent almost as much money on cases as you have on drums.​
The factory stand ... almost usless ... except for display. On one of my kits, I mounted 5 roto toms onto 5 Tama Titan boom cymbal stands. On my 3rd roto kit, I mounted the 10 and 12 inchers on RIMS, the 14, 16, 18 I mounted on "modified" snare stands.​
 

Florian

Gold Member
theyre clumsy and difficult to transport, and the sound is thin at best.....mine ended up in the garbage...seriously.


F
 

Fox622003

Gold Member
I've seen rotos used for this exact purpose; latin, reggae, ska, salsa, and the rotos did very well for the purpose.

I know, Sly Dunbar used to have roto toms as well, so there *is* definitely precedent in at least some of the styles I'd like to add. But I think they might be a little too 80s, and as I mentioned before, going for a snare tuned high (possibly a metal, piccolo snare, as someone recommended), might be better, and a lot more versatile. There's also the difficulty of transport, so I think I'm set on just getting an extra snare.
Thanks everyone for your opinions and the timely responses.


Fox.
 
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