Who is using 12", 13" and 14" toms ?

Big_Al47

Senior Member
My "Franken-kit" is growing....One thing I noticed is that there is a pretty good sound difference between my 12" and 13" toms, but the 13" and 14" toms sound very similar. What would you guys do? Try different tunings? Tighter on the 13 or 14??
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
I used to add a 13" tom to my 12/14 tom setup. I didn't like it so much. Luckily, the sweet spot of each of the drums was roughly a major second apart from each other. Sometimes, the sweet spot is so close that having both toms on the same kit doesn't work so well...
 

Naigewron

Platinum Member
That makes sense. A one inch difference between two large toms constitutes a much smaller surface area increase than between two small toms.

Tuning the 13" higher and the 14" lower would be the obvious option. There are also head combos that could help you with getting more low end from the bigger tom. However, if you're going to have two toms with such a small difference in diameter you will probably have to just live with the fact that they'll sound pretty similar. There's probably a reason that the two size standards are 10", 12", 14" and 12", 13", 16".

I have a 12", 14", 16" setup, and even with those gaps I sometimes struggle to get the desired tonal difference between the toms. Good luck to you :)
 

AtomicFlapjack

Senior Member
That makes sense. A one inch difference between two large toms constitutes a much smaller surface area increase than between two small toms.

Tuning the 13" higher and the 14" lower would be the obvious option. There are also head combos that could help you with getting more low end from the bigger tom. However, if you're going to have two toms with such a small difference in diameter you will probably have to just live with the fact that they'll sound pretty similar. There's probably a reason that the two size standards are 10", 12", 14" and 12", 13", 16".

I have a 12", 14", 16" setup, and even with those gaps I sometimes struggle to get the desired tonal difference between the toms. Good luck to you :)
Good post. I have 10, 12, 14, 16, and I think it's a decent amount of separation. I don't think I'd like 1-inch increments.
 

Lead

Junior Member
It really depends on what kind of sound you want to achieve. You could tune the 12,13 toms slightly higher, giving the needed tone separation from the 14.
 
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TFITTING942

Guest
I have recently started setting up my kit with 12 13 14 and 16 18 floor toms. I dont have a problem with getting a good sound veriation from one to the next. you could pull an old Keith Moon and have all the same size rack toms. As long as you tune them differently you will get a good run.
 
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sticks4drums

Guest
I will say that on my new kits there seems to be a big difference from the 12 x 9 rack to the 14 x 14 floor. I could easily put a 13 x 10 in between them. Hey that gives me an idea! More drums. :)
 

Big_Al47

Senior Member
Thanks everyone, I'm glad to confirm that my hearing is somewhat normal, LOL as I couldn't tell much of a difference between the 13 and 14. I think I will stay with my 10, 12, 14 and 16 setup for now.
 

Big Foot

Silver Member
My 13"wX14"deep FT (yup that's right) and the 14"wX12"deep FT (Oak Customs) can sound very similar. When I do use the 13" I do it like this;
I tune the 12" kinda "jazz" high, the 13X14 kinda "jazz" high (like a typical 14" tuned "jazz" high). The 14 X12 is tuned medium/low w/a coated Ambassador reso - 12 & 13 get clear Ambassador resos. All Emperors on the batter side.
 

PQleyR

Platinum Member
I've got 5 toms, 10, 12, 13, 14 and a 16x15 (the others are square sizes). I managed to get them all sounding different enough to use, but eventually I got a bit tired of doing that and took the 14 off (it's a rack tom, so it also looks ridiculous!). I think if I mount it at all I'll have it as a left-hand floor tom, it means it rarely gets played at the same time as anything else apart from possibly the 16.
 

Mikecore

Silver Member
I always tuned my drums to a set of relative pitches without much concern for the sizes, so a 12/13/16 tom setup was always Octave/Fifth/Root, or a 12/13/14/16 was done as an arpeggio, such as G-D-B-G. You could do the same with your setup and tune the 10" tom to the octave above your 14" and have a B-G-D-B-G kind of setup. There should be enough flexibility with each drum to get those kind of tunings without putting them out of their respective ranges.
 

PQleyR

Platinum Member
I think 13 and 16 make a better pair than 14 and 16. I like having them tuned a fifth apart, with the 12 an octave above the 16. My 10 is tuned a third above that, so I've got a nice guitar-style 1, 5, 1, 3 shape. Oh, and the snare is an octave above the 13! I have a feeling my kick might even be an octave below the 16, in which case...that's pretty cool.
 
I use a 13"x11" tom up and a 16"x16" floor tom. I tend to keep the resonant heads tighter than the batter heads...when I hit the toms they give that big and clear heavy sound.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
My "Franken-kit" is growing....One thing I noticed is that there is a pretty good sound difference between my 12" and 13" toms, but the 13" and 14" toms sound very similar. What would you guys do? Try different tunings? Tighter on the 13 or 14??
I like to have a 2" difference in diameters in my toms/floors toms setup, seems to avoid the drums to sound too similar...
 
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audiotech

Guest
I generally like at least a two inch increment in drum sizes, although I have one kit with 12" and 13" rack toms and think that they sound great. In cymbal choices I have absolutely no problems with 1 Inch spacing, in fact most of mine are.

Dennis
 

Mikecore

Silver Member
I generally like at least a two inch increment in drum sizes, although I have one kit with 12" and 13" rack toms and think that they sound great. In cymbal choices I have absolutely no problems with 1 Inch spacing, in fact most of mine are.

Dennis
That's sort of what I was getting at. The 1" difference isn't as big a factor if you are focusing your tuning on certain pitches rather than the natural tone of the drum. You just use certain diameters to get yourself in the ballpark, and then adjust up or down from there.

I see too many comments about how terrible 13s are, and I think it stems from this idea that you tune the drum to itself, instead of tuning all of the drums as a set.

I would be a sad, sad boy if odd-size drums disappeared from the market, or were restricted to only high-end drumkits.
 
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