What can I expect from a 20" birch bass drum? enough bottom end?

T_Weaves

Silver Member
I'm looking to get a kit with smaller size bass/toms. Probably going to be a birch kit. It would be for funk/pop/soul and maybe a little classic rock. Can I get enough low end out of say a birch 20" bass drum and a 14x12 floor tom?

My other two kits are standard sizes for the most part. I've never used anything smaller than a 22" bass drum.

Thanks in advance for any replies.
 

Groov-E

Silver Member
I'm looking to get a kit with smaller size bass/toms. Probably going to be a birch kit. It would be for funk/pop/soul and maybe a little classic rock. Can I get enough low end out of say a birch 20" bass drum and a 14x12 floor tom?

My other two kits are standard sizes for the most part. I've never used anything smaller than a 22" bass drum.

Thanks in advance for any replies.
I must say, I love my 20x14, 12x8 , 14x14 kit and it has a lot of low end for its size, but I find it can lack a bit in terms of attack and even volume when playing heavier sets.

They do have full contact bearing edges, so maybe 30 or 45 degrees bearing edges might take care of this aprehension if it is the case.

In any case I do have the big guns for times that call for them.

It is nice to have one large and one small kit.
 

T_Weaves

Silver Member
I must say, I love my 20x14, 12x8 , 14x14 kit and it has a lot of low end for its size, but I find it can lack a bit in terms of attack and even volume when playing heavier sets.

They do have full contact bearing edges, so maybe 30 or 45 degrees bearing edges might take care of this aprehension if it is the case.

In any case I do have the big guns for times that call for them.

It is nice to have one large and one small kit.
The kit I'm looking at has sharp 45 degree bearing edges.
 

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
For funk, pop, soul... definitely. There is enough low end and punch if you have 45° bearing edges (Shell thickness is also a factor to consider.). I have played/owned 20x18 and 20x17,5 birch bassdrums and currently own a 20x14 birch/bubinga bassdrum. They work(ed) great, even for rock. Check these threads:

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=131691&highlight=20+inch+bassdrum
http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=121220&highlight=20+inch+bassdrum

They will probably answer all your questions immediately. :)
 

DrummerCA35

Senior Member
I used to have a Premier XPK kit, with a 20" bass drum (16" deep) that was birch/eucalyptus. While it sounded great mic'd up (wouldn't any bass drum?) I was NEVER happy with it. I never felt that I got enough low end or "oomph" from the bass drum unless it was mic'd up and I had a monitor.

Many years later, I now have a PDP 22" bass drum (18" deep, and maple, for what it's worth) that I am much happier with.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
I've had a few 20x17 Yamaha Stage Custom Birch bass drums and currently have a 20x16 Yamaha Maple.

I'm much happier with the sound of the Maple.
It's not that the birch didn't sound good, it just wasn't exactly what I was looking for, and I was never fully satisfied with them.

Can't really say what caused it though - doesn't seem like like an inch different depth would do it, maybe the material, bearing edge, thickness, or something else.

I can't really comment on other brands. While I have tried them, I haven't owned them to be able to try different heads and stuff.
 

Groov-E

Silver Member
The kit I'm looking at has sharp 45 degree bearing edges.
If I can make a suggestion : buy an extra 16 inch floor tom, just in case. It hurts now, but it hurts less than realizing afterwards that you miss that bigger drum. You are then hostage of your initial choice and have absolutely zero leverage at the shop. Better get a bulk deal and be done with it.

My bass drum is always loud enough and if not I can kick like a horse and force it there. My twelve inch tom I can tune to taste. Not much I can do to make a 14 not saturate at some point.

I think you can do anything with 20-12-14-16.
 

T_Weaves

Silver Member
Very good info/links guys. I really hit into the bass drum ( when needed ) and I think that has alot to do with cutting in to a mix. I have bigger guns if needed ( both sig kits are 22" BD, 16" FT ) so I think I'll give the smaller sizes a shot. Any other anecdotal reviews are appreciated!
 

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
Can't really say what caused it though - doesn't seem like like an inch different depth would do it, maybe the material, bearing edge, thickness, or something else.
It could be shell thickness (if there is a difference between both. Dunno). The Yamaha Oak Custom kick e.g. was okay, but the Live Custom kick, which is a tad thicker while still being oak, produces much more boom and low end than the old Oak Custom kick.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
I will spare you from all of the details. But I have found that a 20 inch bass drum works great and has plenty of bottom end in SOME venues I play; playing with SOME of the bands I play in. It is good for about 50% of the places I play.

However, a 22 inch bass drum works great and has plenty of bottom in ALL venues and with ALL of the bands I play with.

.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
I used to have a Premier XPK kit, with a 20" bass drum (16" deep) that was birch/eucalyptus. While it sounded great mic'd up (wouldn't any bass drum?) I was NEVER happy with it. I never felt that I got enough low end or "oomph" from the bass drum unless it was mic'd up and I had a monitor.
Same issue with my XPK 20x16 - I think its due to the thick 9mm shell. Was never happy with the un-miced sound until I got a kickport, and now this drum sounds great! Solid, meaty, full sound. Without the kickport I would have got rid of this kit long ago.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Low end in a 20 in normal ply drums, I suggest something with plies of mahogany (or 'luan' or kapur) in it. An older 3 ply 20 bass drum has a great sound, especially for the genre you describe, but my guess is you are searching for new.

I have never been happy with any birch bass drums I owned. That wood is just not for my ear. I'm sure they are great in studios and/or mic'ed up.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
I conduct the school stage bands and Spend a lot of time in front of a new Stage Custom 20x17 kit. That bass drum sounds loud and punchy from out the front, but if I play the kit the bass drum sounds weak to me. So the sound is projecting into the audience really well - plenty of volume, some low frequency oomph, plenty of 'slap'.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
My Basix birch kit has a 20" x 20" kick, and it's an absolute cannon. I swear it's every bit as loud as my 22" x 18" USA Pork Pie Custom kick.

 

T_Weaves

Silver Member
I've decided that if I do go with a 20" bass drum, it won't be a birch kit. The kick is such a big part of my style that I'd probably start crying (not really, but maybe?) if it sucked. So I'm looking at different woods, smallish toms and 22" BD options.
 

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
I recommend that you check a good 20" bassdrum yourself before making a decision in the one or other direction. Ask if a store can set up a set with a 20" BD. Ask drummers in your area if they have a 20" BD. Lots of the sound has to do with the sizes of the bassdrum, shell thickness and the tuning(!). Also, there is a big sound difference between a 20" kick with a ported resohead and a 20" kick with a closed resohead. The closed head will give it a fuller sound and more depth.

Many famous drummers use(d) a 20" kick happily. Among them Gadd, Phil Collins, Jojo Majer, Frank Beard and Keith Carlock among others. Take your time in finding out if a 20" kick might work for you, too. No need to rush things, I guess.

If you want maximum boom and projection from a 20" bassdrum, I would suggest checking a Yamaha Live Custom. A hell of a bassdrum.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
20s sound great, they just aren't 22s. They are a good fit for many things. If you haven't played one definetly try before you buy. Nothing wrong with it. Just not the same thing, so don't expect it to be.
 
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