Small kit vs Pancake kit

coreyflecha

Junior Member
Hello, I'm looking for a small, portable and cheap kit, among the options are the typical ones (midtown, breakbeats, new yorker, etc) but I'm considering the pancake drums (especially the tama) but I've never played one of those and I don't trust youtube videos, I know that the sound is very subjective so I would like opinions regarding the convenience of a pancake over a kit with a 16 or 18 bass drum, obviously they take up less space, and seem to have more "low frequencies" (mini kits always seem like high timbale sound) but I don't think they are all advantages, and the truth is that it is difficult for me to decide with the information that I currently have, so I would appreciate any opinion on the matter. Thank you very much

excuse my english am spanish :p
 

Ryan Culberson

Well-known Member
I use a pancake bass drum with a normal snare and floor tom for my smallest venue rig. I try not to play this unless I absolutely have to, but it still ends up being used a few gigs per month. The pancake bass drum sounds pretty great for what it is. Actually sounds like an acoustic take on an 808 kick sound.

Main reasons for using this rig are space and to assuage the fears of any nervous venue managers who get twitchy at the thought of a drummer. They see the skinny kick and it’s not as frightening as a normal depth bass drum, at least here in my little corner of the universe. Some of the restaurant gigs we play are so small that I literally can’t use anything deeper than the pancake. It’s nice to have and very valuable to me, as it gets me into gigs that many drummers in town aren’t able to access. As you can see in the pics, I run a trigger with it to beef up the sound if necessary.

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roncadillac

Member
@roncadillac to the Drums forum, @roncadillac to the Drums forum.
audie murphy horse GIF by GritTV
 

roncadillac

Member
Hello, I'm looking for a small, portable and cheap kit, among the options are the typical ones (midtown, breakbeats, new yorker, etc) but I'm considering the pancake drums (especially the tama) but I've never played one of those and I don't trust youtube videos, I know that the sound is very subjective so I would like opinions regarding the convenience of a pancake over a kit with a 16 or 18 bass drum, obviously they take up less space, and seem to have more "low frequencies" (mini kits always seem like high timbale sound) but I don't think they are all advantages, and the truth is that it is difficult for me to decide with the information that I currently have, so I would appreciate any opinion on the matter. Thank you very much

excuse my english am spanish :p

First I'll start by saying you have an overwhelming amount of choices available to you and the only thing they all have in common is the concept of taking up less space... Each in their own way.

Kits with larger shallow bass drums give you the big drum slap/punch but not as much depth of tone, smaller deeper bass drums give you depth of tone and some punch but overall less 'cut' then you'd find with a bigger drum. I've played and/or owned a majority of the currently available 'mini kits' and to me the best sounding and feeling of them all is the pearl midtown. However, despite the smaller diameters the shells are pretty deep and overall that kit barely takes up less space then your usual 4pc with an 18" or 20" bass drum. The Tama club jam and club jam mini sound great and pack up very tight. I've personally found that when it comes to saving stage space you want the shortest bass drum you can find, everything else really doesn't take up that much room. As @Ryan Culberson mentioned above, a shallow bass drum is an invaluable tool for playing smaller rooms but expect to have to be mic'ed to really get low end out of it.

Also, emad emad emad. I am a bit of an Evans fan boy but even if you are not I can comfortably tell you that nothing will make a small shallow bass drum actually sound like a big boomy drum like an emad will.
 

roncadillac

Member
I should have added: evaluate your needs/situation in relation to your setting. If you just want something small that goes "boom bap" to work on chops at home without taking up a huge footprint, consider the pearl compact traveler. If you want smaller diameter drums that have impressive depth and tone and are focused specifically on the best possible sound from a small kit, consider the pearl midtown. If you want to split the middle, meaning taking up less stage space, giving you a small footprint kit for home, and still have some good tonality for live play then consider the Tama club jam or pdp new Yorker.
 

ineedaclutch

Platinum Member
I’ll second what R&R (@Ryan Culberson and @roncadillac ) say about depth and it’s direct correlation to awesomeness.

This is my Ludwig Giglite with Classic Birch shells with a 20x8 kick, 10x5 tom, 13x6 “floor tom” and an LM400. They all fit in one kick drum bag, so it’s a one trip load-in/out on my cart. It looks janky, but everything on the cart is the perfect size and fits through doorways. I bought it and refinished it for a weekly steakhouse gig. They had a shallow drum riser that I could not fit on comfortably with even a 20x14. I’m 6’2”, so not gigantic, but I do have to stretch out a bit. I won’t play with my ankles behind my knees.

The 20” diameter, typically with an Emad and full Coated Emperor reso with no hole, allows me to get a great sound acoustic or mic’d. I typically run this kit with a D6 on the kick and an ADX51 overhead. I also have a 16” floor tom for this kit when I want to use 13/16 toms, as the 13” can only go so low. I liked the shallow kick so much that I cut down and refinished a Ludwig Classic Maple 24x16 to a 24x9.

I converted a 16x16 Gretsch floor tom to a bass drum about 15 years ago, but it didn’t really save space due to the depth. If you consider the spread of my legs from the hihat stand to the kick pedal doesn’t really change in relation to the diameter of the kick, then I may as well have a 20 or 22 instead of a 16 or 18.

This was a really long way of saying, if I were you I would just cut down and re-edge a 20 or 22 kick to make it shallow if you can’t find one for sale.

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roncadillac

Member
After owning several deep 16s and several shallow 18s and 20s I'm really preferring a shallow 18 these days. Minimal space, easy to lug around, good balance between tone and punch, and mics really well. Any situation that I HAD to mic a 16 or an 18 would have called for micing a 22 anyway so it wasn't really that different anyway.

Not to slightly derail but it's similar to resonance. You can tune a floor tom until it's bright, open, rumbly, and awesome... The second you set that sucker on stage and slap a mic on it the sound guy will immediately ask for tape or moongel. When playing live in miced settings you want a short thump that feels good to play, the low end comes from the board and speakers.
 

roncadillac

Member
I’ll second what R&R (@Ryan Culberson and @roncadillac ) say about depth and it’s direct correlation to awesomeness.

This is my Ludwig Giglite with Classic Birch shells with a 20x8 kick, 10x5 tom, 13x6 “floor tom” and an LM400. They all fit in one kick drum bag, so it’s a one trip load-in/out on my cart. It looks janky, but everything on the cart is the perfect size and fits through doorways. I bought it and refinished it for a weekly steakhouse gig. They had a shallow drum riser that I could not fit on comfortably with even a 20x14. I’m 6’2”, so not gigantic, but I do have to stretch out a bit. I won’t play with my ankles behind my knees.

The 20” diameter, typically with an Emad and full Coated Emperor reso with no hole, allows me to get a great sound acoustic or mic’d. I typically run this kit with a D6 on the kick and an ADX51 overhead. I also have a 16” floor tom for this kit when I want to use 13/16 toms, as the 13” can only go so low. I liked the shallow kick so much that I cut down and refinished a Ludwig Classic Maple 24x16 to a 24x9.

I converted a 16x16 Gretsch floor tom to a bass drum about 15 years ago, but it didn’t really save space due to the depth. If you consider the spread of my legs from the hihat stand to the kick pedal doesn’t really change in relation to the diameter of the kick, then I may as well have a 20 or 22 instead of a 16 or 18.

This was a really long way of saying, if I were you I would just cut down and re-edge a 20 or 22 kick to make it shallow if you can’t find one for sale.

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Nice rig! I recently picked up a pearl roadshow 22" bass drum and 16" floor tom in practically brand new condition for really cheap on craigslist just to leave a kit at our rehearsal space and only lug hardware and cymbals each week. I'm strongly considering cutting the bass drum and floor toms both down to single heads and somewhere around 5-10" depth.
 

coreyflecha

Junior Member
ok, thank you very much for all the information, the truth is that what I am looking for is something easy to move and that takes up little space, I always play with a microphone or with triggers on the bass drum, so the main thing would be what I said, easy to move and little space, but without sacrificing all the sound.

From what I have been able to understand, from everything you told me, is that a mini kit (midtown or new yorker for example) would be better for this situation than a pancake?

I understand that what occupies the most is the depth of the bass drum, and from what I see it is where there is more difference between one option or another.

I have a normal size kit for large sites so I'm looking for something versatile for when I can't use the large kit
 

roncadillac

Member
If you are looking solely at budget lines consider the pearl roadshow 4pc 'jazz' kit. 18x12 bass drum, 10x7 tom, 14x10 floor tom, 13 snare, throne, hi hat stand, bass drum mounted ride cymbal arm, and bass drum pedal all for about $500. The heads and included cymbals are garbage so plan on upgrading those. The above kit with some used A's and good heads will set you back $800 tops to have a reliable gig ready mini kit that sounds great, transports easily, and doesn't take up much room.
 

GetAgrippa

Diamond Member
I really enjoy playing a good sounding small kit that often surprises and freaks out your audience with its sound. It also makes me feel like a giant playing a toy kit- just so much fun.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
Depending on your existing kit, another option might be, just get a similar "second" bass drum, and have it cut down to a shallow depth. Roll with your existing toms.
 

Pootle

Active Member
Reminds me of a Remo Legero I used to play about 30 years ago. Concertina-ed together and fit into one shoulder bag. Seem to remember it sounded pretty good, I’d try and pick one of these up if I were you.
 

coreyflecha

Junior Member
If you are looking solely at budget lines consider the pearl roadshow 4pc 'jazz' kit. 18x12 bass drum, 10x7 tom, 14x10 floor tom, 13 snare, throne, hi hat stand, bass drum mounted ride cymbal arm, and bass drum pedal all for about $500. The heads and included cymbals are garbage so plan on upgrading those. The above kit with some used A's and good heads will set you back $800 tops to have a reliable gig ready mini kit that sounds great, transports easily, and doesn't take up much room.
Hello, that seems like a good option, I already have the cymbal, so it would only be to buy the heads.

In that case go with the most portable option, which in my opinion, would be one of the pancake-style kits like the Club Jam or DW pancake. I prefer the feel and sound of 18” and larger kicks.
yes, that's what I thought if the only problem with the pancakes is the volume (or the lack of it) and I will always play with a microphone or trigger, it seemed like a good option for transport and price purposes


My buddy uses a Pearl pancake kick without trigger.

It doesn’t have a huge amount of body, but saves on space.


I use the Daxdad.


I think his other kick, a DW 16x14 Mini Pro is the best of both worlds, even out in the open.


i like de DW but too expensive for me :(

I’d get a custom 20x8 from Jenkins-Martin. Those drums have incredible resonance and low-end.
custom drums are usually more expensive I look for something cheaper that I don't care much, if it breaks or something xD

Depending on your existing kit, another option might be, just get a similar "second" bass drum, and have it cut down to a shallow depth. Roll with your existing toms.
I thought about it, but since I also thought about buying lighter hardware and cymbals with less volume, i decide to get a full second kit

thank you all for the answers, I think I'll go with the roadshow and maybe later buy a pancake kick drum if the situation requires it, a bit like having the best of both worlds

thx again
 

KenDoken

Junior Member
I use a 18x12 most of the time but switch to a 20x4 gong drum when playing tiny venues. The way the beater behaves is really different between the 2. Maybe 5 minutes tweaking the pedal setup would iron out the kinks in my playing
 
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