What's with the shrinking floor toms?

T_Weaves

Silver Member
Being a 70's/80's rock cat we had floor toms that meant business. Stock sizes were 16x16 and 16x18 for any two down kit. Looking at DW's and Yamaha high line kits and everythings 16x13, 15x14, 14x11 type stuff. What the heck? I yearn for the days when floor toms went BOOM !! ( insert sad face here )

Old stock kit sizes = 24x14, 12x8, 9x13, 16x16, 18x16
Today's = 22x18, 10x8, 12x9, 14x12, 16x14 ( rack toms even smaller too )

Are they saving on material or something? Just sucks that i'd have to custom order a set to get the big stuff. Also weird is that you can get square size floor toms on some of the mid range kits. My Gretsch Cat Maple set had 14x14,16x16 floors. Why not on the higher range stuff.

Oh well, times they be a changin' ( not always for the better )
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
I'm with you. My first kit in '81 sported the very traditional 12/13/16/22 in standard depths. Then my monster kit phase quickly came and went where I had an 8/10 above the hats, a 12/13 over a pair of 24" kicks, and 16/18 floors. All were deep (because it was the mid-'80s).

I couldn't make friends with a kit like that so in '90, I got a 10x9 & 12x10 up, 14/16 down (both square), and a 22x18. That's where things were going and I wasn't along.

But turned out that I couldn't make friends with that kit either, so my next kit in '95 had a 13x9 up, 15x14 & 18x16 down with a 22x16. That's pretty much what I'm playing more than 20 years later, except now with a 24x14 bass drum.

I'm still not wild about smaller drums tuned low. Bigger drums tuned higher is where it's at for me, and I'm much happier with them.
 

T_Weaves

Silver Member
I'm with you. My first kit in '81 sported the very traditional 12/13/16/22 in standard depths. Then my monster kit phase quickly came and went where I had an 8/10 above the hats, a 12/13 over a pair of 24" kicks, and 16/18 floors. All were deep (because it was the mid-'80s).

I couldn't make friends with a kit like that so in '90, I got a 10x9 & 12x10 up, 14/16 down (both square), and a 22x18. That's where things were going and I wasn't along.

But turned out that I couldn't make friends with that kit either, so my next kit in '95 had a 13x9 up, 15x14 & 18x16 down with a 22x16. That's pretty much what I'm playing more than 20 years later, except now with a 24x14 bass drum.

I'm still not wild about smaller drums tuned low. Bigger drums tuned higher is where it's at for me, and I'm much happier with them.
I hear that. I have a 14x12 with my Mapex Saturn kit and that thing's in a case in the corner. I got the kit for a song so it doesn't bother me too much as I pretty much play 2 up and 1 down now. I'll never buy another kit with a floor tom smaller than 16x14. That's as small as I can deal with. I've gotten my shallow racks to sound really good. It's the little floors that don't get it done for me.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
When I ordered My 1U2D GWay Studio kit, I ordered the standard 13/16/24 with an Extra 14". I tried 2x16 with my Renown and didn't like how far I had to twist for the extra FT. When I got a 14 for my renown, I liked the positioning much more and often had it on my snare side so that I could experiment with the left hand while on the hats.
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
I have never been able to tune an 18" floor tom to have a good sound. Either it is a slap sound with a non distinct rumble or its tuned up to a point where a 16" sits comfortably. So for me, Im fine with 16" being the largest floor tom I have. I can tune them low enough to have grunt but still have tone.

Also, the smaller floor toms make it easier to use two side by side without having to twist so far to hit the lowest tom. I find 14/16 to be more usable than 16/18. Most people find roting that far to hit the 18" to be a real PITA. Thats why you see so many people just throw a towel and a water bottle on their second floor tom. Its not played and becomes a table.
 

T_Weaves

Silver Member
When I ordered My 1U2D GWay Studio kit, I ordered the standard 13/16/24 with an Extra 14". I tried 2x16 with my Renown and didn't like how far I had to twist for the extra FT. When I got a 14 for my renown, I liked the positioning much more and often had it on my snare side so that I could experiment with the left hand while on the hats.
Yeah I've seen that with the two floors, one on each side. Maybe I'll try that just for kicks. I've actually been kind of reducing the number of drum in my kit over the years. That 2 down stuff is a memory at this point. Not into the 2 down twist at my age.

My point with the original post was mainly, why should it be so hard to get a 16x16 FT in a stock config? I think a decent stock config would be 22x16, 8x10, 9x12, 16x16. My Tama kit is pretty close to those sizes and it is bad ass! Hopefully some mfgr reps read these posts. :)
 

hippy chip

Silver Member
I play a 2 up 1 down---12x10, 13x11, 16x16, 22x14, 14x6.5---Emperors over Ambassadors tuned low. Shallow toms and deep bass drums won't give me the sound I'm looking for. And don't get me started on "floor" toms without legs!
 
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The SunDog

Guest
What's this marriage of ideals going on here. Bass drums 24X14 are good, but floor toms 16X14 are bad. I have two 24" BD's, one 18" deep and one 16", that are both awesome. On the flip I have 14X12, 15X12, and 16x14 floors. The 14" is just okay to me, but the 16" is great and the 15".....well that one is just special.
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
My Slingerland back in the 80's & 90's had an 18" FT. It was hard to tune though. I much prefer the 16" size s far as tunability. That being said, I think it would be great to have a custom gong drum in a 20" size using an 18" FT.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
My only other comment is that commodity kits are often designed to fit into the minimum number of boxes for shipping. This makes it unlikely you'll find one of these kits where the FT has a depth greater than the BD and so on.

I also believe that shipping restrictions are why we see a lack of 26" BDs (it would bump the packaging/shipping up an additional price tier)
 

Destroyer772

Gold Member
The two floors look cool but I have trouble getting to my 16 like Id prefer. I like doing those snare/16in floor combo power slams a lot but have settled with the 14in instead. I have tried moving the floors in all direction to no avail.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
I'll admit that floor toms shorter than square look a little weird to me, just because that was the standard for so long and that's what I'm used to seeing.

However, the slight bit of OCD I have also wants all of my toms to keep the same depth to diameter ratio. Of course, NONE of MY kits actually keep to that, so it obviously isn't that important to me.

A 16x13" floor tom keeps the DW FAST tom ratio (depth 3" less than diameter) and it probably cleans up the sustain a little bit too.

I also think if an 18" floor is going to have a 16" depth, it makes more sense to me that a 16" should be 14" deep, again to keep that ratio.
 
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Matt Bo Eder

Guest
I too grew up on 70s and 80s excess, and on my new kit, I have standard sized everything - 8x12/9x13/16x16/16x18 - now I feel comfortable. I never got along with shallow floor toms, and I don't intend to ;)
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
Being a 70's/80's rock cat we had floor toms that meant business. Stock sizes were 16x16 and 16x18 for any two down kit. Looking at DW's and Yamaha high line kits and everythings 16x13, 15x14, 14x11 type stuff. What the heck? I yearn for the days when floor toms went BOOM !! ( insert sad face here )
I think it was in the mid to late70's, that floor toms started getting shorter. I think the trend was fueled as drummers started hanging their floor toms off stands, rather than the traditional legs. Think Steve Gadd, with his 14x12 and 16x14 floors. It is a trend, and it remains with the "fast" toms offered today.​
Me, I like big drums, too. 24x14, 14x14, 16x16, 18x16 here.​
 

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The SunDog

Guest
In an interesting coincidence, I've been pricing 18" Keller shells and shallow depths are not available, specifically 18X14 or 18X15. My intention is a 1 up 2 down 12X8.5, 15X12, 18X14 with a 24X16 kick. I already have the 12,15,24. Getting the depth I want in 18" is going to take a phone call and custom order. Think $$$.
 
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The SunDog

Guest
I think it was in the mid to late70's, that floor toms started getting shorter. I think the trend was fueled as drummers started hanging their floor toms off stands, rather than the traditional legs. Think Steve Gadd, with his 14x12 and 16x14 floors. It is a trend, and it remains with the "fast" toms offered today.​
Me, I like big drums, too. 24x14, 14x14, 16x16, 18x16 here.​
There it is again! Why the shallow bass drum, but then you insist on deep floor toms. I do not get this philosophy/marriage of different ideals. Don't get me wrong, i think deep toms/ft's sound great, but I think deep BD's sound great too.....Can! Can sound great too.
 

Destroyer772

Gold Member
I think on a 5 piece kit (with snare) a 16x14 looks fine. My Renown is like that, and sound wise I cant tell a difference between it and the 16x16 Catalina I used to have. But 14x12 and 16x14 floors together look odd to me.
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
In an interesting coincidence, I've been pricing 18" Keller shells and shallow depths are not available, specifically 18X14 or 18X15. My intention is a 1 up 2 down 12X8.5, 15X12, 18X14 with a 24X16 kick. I already have the 12,15,24. Getting the depth I want in 18" is going to take a phone call and custom order. Think $$$.
If you want VSS shells, call Aitwood. If you want Magnum shells, call Drum Foundry. Both will cut the shell down for you if you dont have the ability yourself. No need to order anything custom.
 
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