What's with the shrinking floor toms?


Silver Member
There are a number reasons why I use small floor toms.

For whatever reason, I prefer the tone of mid-range toms. 12/13/14/15. Higher pitch toms just don't sound good to my ear, and while I dig the growling sound of a nice big floor, I consider my kick drum to be my low end drum. This actually presses me to utilize my kick more, for fills and such, and I like the sound I get out of that. I also use 20" kicks which may be more suitable to this approach.

Second is that I often use a 3-piece setup: Kick, snare, floor. When only one tom is being used, I find a mid-range size to be more versatile. On one 3-piece setup, I use a 15x13 tuned toward the high end. In another, I use a 14x12 tuned toward the low end.

Lastly is portability. I just hate hauling gear, and smaller sized drums are obviously easier to transport.


Platinum Member
Times change, so does the sound of things.. I find music is calling for more punchy than boomy drums now.

It may have to do with the fact that drums have become more busy in many of the songs I listen too.. Drummers are playing faster and more notes. On a boomy huge kit a lot of that would get lost.

I prefer smaller drums to make my life easy for gigging... Every gig I play has mics on my drums with a large PA so volume is never an issue.

I'm more of a good sound and practical kindof guy. I don't worry about the IMAGE of having a large drumset on a stage.


Gold Member
"Hold your floor tom by the hoop in one hand, hit the head with a stick, then using both hands (drum level), move it quickly towards & away from the floor, several times, within the length of the head sustain note. It somewhat exaggerates the affect, but you'll get the idea."

Great explanation. I have to try this tonight. Thanks Andy.

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
What's with the short hair and guys not wearing makeup anymore?

The SunDog

Less is more? I don't know, small kits seem to be all the rage lately...

I live this....well, with a twist. I play a standard trap kit, one up, one down, one kick, one snare. Four drums only, but four big drums!

Matt Bo Eder

Well, I'm willing to dye my hair blonde and join a Queen tribute band. I have the huge Ludwig drums for it now ;)

I enjoy playing the larger drums these days, and I don't know why. There's something just very out-of-control about it. I'm gonna grow my hair longer.

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
To put it in a few more words. I don't really see the trend.

What I see is travel kit options which fit the needs of many drummers today.

Yamaha specifically cut the standard toms one inch short of square, but I don't think that's about saving materials.

Now, in regards to what we mostly see, the 80s are over. Every kids dream kit isn't necessarily 2 bass drums and a minimum of 13 power toms. It's not gone, but all these things in our history exist together now. They also pop up with new enthusiasm in parts of the world previously not exposed. Communication technology being what it is now, we can follow any trend anywhere.

This means to a much greater extent than before than we choose freely what we are exposed to and what we ourselves view as a trend may not be the case statistically at all.

Looking at popular music, if there is a kit, it's most likely an electronic or a hybrid.

On the mentioning of the Catalinas, you can still get any floor tom you want from the top line and I personally believe most people go for aquare sizes.

I don't believe floor toms are shrinking. There is however a trend in also making smaller kits available to simplify and minimize size, stage real estate and increase ease of transportation/load in.

FYI Joe Morello played 9x13 and 16x16 toms.
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