Tom sequences


Silver Member
Lately i've noticed more and more drummers arranging their multi- tom arrays in haphazzard order from left to right. The only odd thing i do is swing my biggest floor tom over to the far left side to encourage ambidexerity (also, i played the tri-toms, quads and quints back in High school marching band and the big one is always on the opposite side so that the rig was somewhat balanced in the middle). So my Tom-toms from left to right go: 18", 8",10" 12", 13",14", and 16". I've seen a bunch of guys who have several toms throw them in a random pattern like 16", 8", 10" 14" 13"16" or other crazy arrangements. Does anyone set theirs up crazy like this and if so, why? Just curios.
i don't but a lot of guys do it because they began music on melodic instruments, and having them set up in a similar way helps them get to grips with drums
As someone who played piano for a few years before ever picking up a drumstick, I don't understand how that would help. If it inspired somebody to do a lefty set-up for the toms, I might understand, since pianos and keyboard percussion get higher as you go from left to right ... but they're still "linear" in the sense that the pitch will always move in the same direction as long as you move in the same direction physically.

Unless you're talking about guitar or bass...?
Not all instruments have linear setups. Complex aerophones like clarinets and saxophones, for example, have their valves set up according to what is playable, not what is in sequence necessarily.

I think people do this for the same reason people add or take away toms: It forces you to play differently and rethink how you approach the set. Drums are very unusual among musical instruments in that there is no one way to set up a drum set. There is only one way to set up guitar strings, or piano keys keyboard, or a pipa's strings. If you change that, you don't have the same instrument any more. On the other hand, drum sets can have as few as two or as many as 200 pieces. Changing the setup will take you to different places musically.

Also, many parts of a drum set are of indefinite pitch. Cymbals and snares and many toms, for example, usually radiate too many competing tones to have a particular pitch. So it is only personal preference to have drums setup to mimic a melodic progression.