tom arm: clam style v ball

I need a new tom arm in order to mount a tom I've got on the way.

Either of these Gibraltar arms look like they'd do the job—assuming my Catalina Birch hardware is really 12.7mm, as they seem to be, and not 10.5mm—but I'm wondering why the clam style is more expensive and therefore presumably more desired than this ball arm, which seems as though it might actually be more adjustable? Are the clamshells more reliable? Sturdier? Just more attractive?

(Apologies if this question has been asked and answered numerous times, but as far as I can tell, you can't search for threads using the terms "tom" or "arm," nor "12.7" or "10.5," as those search terms are apparently too short. Or maybe I'm just doing it wrong.)

Ghostin one

Senior Member
I can't answer any of your questions, but Gibraltar probably offers both styles to go with other manufacturer's stuff. One looks like Yamaha, the other, Gretsch.


Platinum Member
The clam style one is probably stronger under high tension, with wider leverage grabbing the ball joint. Probably costs a bit more to make. But simple ball joints have always worked fine for me too.

In my case I’d just choose which one matches my existing gear.