Reverse Order of Mounted Toms?

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Well after watching Bernard Purdie videos and noting his penchant to switch his high and mid toms I also tried it. It's like a compromise for the two tom person-who only needs the hi tom on occasion so really don't want it. It does lead to creative fills but inevitably I returned to convention. You really need two 10s, two 12s, two 13 mounted toms in the Roger's pyramid (another thread) and reverse the order to create the diversity you need for "average" gigs LOL.
 

Captain Bash

Silver Member
My favoured set up at present is 12, 10, 16 (Yamaha MCAN), doesn't add too much to load in load out over a regular four piece kit. Also I can keep my ride cymbal position tight in over part of the kick drum (I don’t like playing my ride way out to my right).
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
I like it. I go back and forth with the setup.
Things that make it nice are:
1. You can bring the ride closer to the set with a smaller tom on the ride side.
2. The stereo image during recording is less "stereotypical."
3. It gets me out of my rote way of thinking on the set, and that's a big deal for me. I usually find myself dwelling on a rhythm for months at a time until I hit a new moment of enlightenment and do it all over again with a new rhythm.
4. In my recording setup, it moved the 10" tom out of the dead area of the room for a fuller and more balanced high tom.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
The only reason I would reverse the order would be to put something else in the priority spot right in front of the snare drum-- like I prefer a 12" to be the main tom tom voice. I would probably just leave the extra tom tom at home in that case, though.
 

BruceW

Senior Member
i've never used them that way, but it sounds interesting. I have an extra 14" tom that I don't use currently, maybe I'll try throwing it in there to the left of my 12" tom...it'll probably make my guitar players head explode :ROFLMAO:
 

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
C.M.--I say try it all! We have all basically been groomed to look at a kit a certain way. Set it up the same way over and over for comfort?

But experiment the heck out of it.

I also played quads for a marching season back in the 80s in my youth. It definitely gives a different perspective.
 
This topic isn't an issue for me. For many, many years now, I've played only two toms: 12" (in a snare stand) and 16" on the floor. This compact setup works perfectly for my style, and I have no desire to alter it. Adding to it would be useless to me. If I had more toms, I'd never touch them.

But here's a question for you tom enthusiasts out there. Do any of you reverse the order of your mounted toms? For instance, instead of setting them up in 10", 12", 13" order, do you ever arrange them in reverse (13", 12", 10")? If so, how does that unconventional orientation facilitate your playing? Nothing dictates tom placement in relation to diameter, so I'm sure creativity is at the heart of your decision.
Funny you bring this up. Early in April, without thinking about it, I mistakenly placed my 12" tom where I normally fly my 13" tom. I thought, "why not leave it that way?" So , for the first time ever, I tried it out. With the two floor toms being 14x14 and 16x16, it makes for an interesting aural effect, and I find myself tending to use the one up and two down combination more frequently. Thus, the 8x12 becomes more of an effect drum since it's tension is extra high by choice. Much like Kenny Aronoff does, or Ed Shaughnessy would have.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Funny you bring this up. Early in April, without thinking about it, I mistakenly placed my 12" tom where I normally fly my 13" tom. I thought, "why not leave it that way?" So , for the first time ever, I tried it out. With the two floor toms being 14x14 and 16x16, it makes for an interesting aural effect, and I find myself tending to use the one up and two down combination more frequently. Thus, the 8x12 becomes more of an effect drum since it's tension is extra high by choice. Much like Kenny Aronoff does, or Ed Shaughnessy would have.
Discovery by accident. It worked for Ben Franklin. It's amazing what can happen when we loosen our grip on patterns and embrace the random or the unorthodox. A lot of great drumming has emerged in that way.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
C.M.--I say try it all! We have all basically been groomed to look at a kit a certain way. Set it up the same way over and over for comfort?

But experiment the heck out of it.

I also played quads for a marching season back in the 80s in my youth. It definitely gives a different perspective.
I agree. I tried several arrangements many years ago before finally settling down with a one-up/one-down configuration, which suits my needs quite well. I think up-and-coming drummers, especially, should be encouraged to experiment. Locking yourself into a formula too soon can be a waste of potential.
 

wraub

Well-known member
I've been trying flavors to see what suits me, and, while not exactly "locking in" I am already developing preferences and dislikes, both in gear and in playing. I already have a list. :D
That said, I am a big believer in exploring sonic possibilities. ;)


I agree. I tried several arrangements many years ago before finally settling down with a one-up/one-down configuration, which suits my needs quite well. I think up-and-coming drummers, especially, should be encouraged to experiment. Locking yourself into a formula too soon can be a waste of potential.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Pianos go from low to high, guitars go from low to high, as well as basses, flutes, harps, xylophones, marimbas, vibes cellos...

Drums MUST go from high to low. I'm kidding.

Drums fly in the face of all instruments approach-wise.

I'm a boring high to low guy. To me it's like switching the keys around on a piano for a change.

I can't even do the things I wanna do on a high to low set.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I have experimented with it several times.

And to an extent, it makes much more sense and a lot of figures/concepts are easier.

If you're right-handed, and you start a fill with your right hand, it just makes so much more sense to have the 1st tom on the right side.
And if you're going to do a triplet type thing (RLR LRL) again it makes sense having the 2nd tom on the left of the 1st tom

The only thing for me was, while it made playing figures/concepts easier, it makes playing SONGS that I already know more difficult. All the muscle memory of how fill goes in a song is just lost. So as much as reverse toms makes sense, I always end up going back to a regular set up.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Pianos go from low to high, guitars go from low to high, as well as basses, flutes, harps, xylophones, marimbas, vibes cellos...

Drums MUST go from high to low. I'm kidding.

Drums fly in the face of all instruments approach-wise.

I'm a boring high to low guy. To me it's like switching the keys around on a piano for a change.

I can't even do the things I wanna do on a high to low set.
Yeah, it really comes down to how you approach fills and the arrangement of voices you're seeking. Drums do defy all other instruments. Ironically, that's why drums are compatible with all other instruments. Strings and keys have rules; drums don't. Drums are wonderfully adaptive in that sense, although they can be very stubborn in other ways.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
The only thing for me was, while it made playing figures/concepts easier, it makes playing SONGS that I already know more difficult. All the muscle memory of how fill goes in a song is just lost. So as much as reverse toms makes sense, I always end up going back to a regular set up.
Muscle memory is a huge factor in the setups we favor, especially for those of us who have molded it over the course of many years. At this point, because I've gone one-up/one-down for so long, a second "up" tom would just be an obstruction. It's hard to imagine, in fact.
 
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thebarak

Senior Member
When you see a typical set in the store with two toms above the bass drum in the "normal" way, it is not a rule, it is a suggestion. You can really put anything anywhere that it will fit.

I'm right handed, and if I find myself behind a 5 piece with a large bass drum, I will absolutely have the 12" to the left of the 10", just to help keep things low enough and to help bring the ride within easy reach.
 
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