Topic: bass drum sizes

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1.bass drum sizes Copy to clipboard
Posted by: lylatsysdrumr
Posted on: Sep 14, 2008 8:39 PM

i have heard a lot of different things about the depth of bass drums. some argue that a 14 inch depth is the best sounding and is easy to play, then some say that a nice big 22 inch depth gives a better tone. what do u guyz think?

the bass drum in gettin from medicineman has a 18 inch depth. i went right in between Tongue

2.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: lylatsysdrumr] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: Monkeypoo
Posted on: Sep 14, 2008 8:43 PM

huge 22 for me!!! love it!!! it souns like thunder!!! Tongue

3.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: lylatsysdrumr] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: Andy
Posted on: Sep 14, 2008 9:45 PM

I prefer bass drums that are 14" to 16" deep and no greater than 22" in diameter. Anything deeper is more "show" than "go." Deep bass drums look cool, they're in style and all the cool kids in the neighborhood have them. Unfortunately, they're just not practical for the gigging drummer.

Bass drums that are over 19" deep, become obsolete as a gigging instruments because they're hard to move and difficult to fit on a small stage.

I don't see any 20"+ deep bass drums actually being played on stage. Nobody's using them on stage as they're just too darned inconvenient.

4.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: Andy] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: PeteNoAccess
Posted on: Sep 14, 2008 10:49 PM

Andy wrote:
I prefer bass drums that are 14" to 16" deep and no greater than 22" in diameter. Anything deeper is more "show" than "go." Deep bass drums look cool, they're in style and all the cool kids in the neighborhood have them. Unfortunately, they're just not practical for the gigging drummer.

Bass drums that are over 19" deep, become obsolete as a gigging instruments because they're hard to move and difficult to fit on a small stage.

I don't see any 20"+ deep bass drums actually being played on stage. Nobody's using them on stage as they're just too darned inconvenient.


i use a 22x20 on stage,
i think it all depends on the genre you play.
not everybody likes big kicks, i love them Smile

5.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: lylatsysdrumr] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: Tid8181
Posted on: Sep 14, 2008 10:54 PM

Deep isn't big. Its deep. 24" 26" 28" is big. 22x20 is just deep.

Depth doesn't effect pitch. It makes the drum sound like a floor tom (and they're terribly unresponsive)

6.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: lylatsysdrumr] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: Monkeypoo
Posted on: Sep 14, 2008 11:38 PM

mine is very responsive.. i love it.. great amount of resonance.. perfect for my playing!
and nothing like a floor tom!

7.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: lylatsysdrumr] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: Tid8181
Posted on: Sep 14, 2008 11:57 PM

With a shallower drum, you have the option to play it wide open if you're like. You can't quite do that to a square sized (or close) bass drum.

Physics make it impossible for your super deep bass drum to be as responsive. There's dramatically more volume of air in the drum, so you have to play the drum harder to activate both heads.

In review, its less sensitive, less dynamic, less versatile...

8.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: lylatsysdrumr] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: Monkeypoo
Posted on: Sep 15, 2008 12:35 AM

well hey.. its personal choice and opinion as it is with all drum equipment

9.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: lylatsysdrumr] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: Tid8181
Posted on: Sep 15, 2008 12:43 AM

Choice and preference? Absolutely.

Character traits of a deep drum is an objective fact, not an opinion.

10.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: lylatsysdrumr] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: Densbak
Posted on: Sep 15, 2008 2:14 AM

The real big difference I heard and felt when I tried out the OCDP 22 X 20 kick drum was I had a hard time hearing it from the drummers perspective. I heard only the batter head. The long length put the bulk of the drum too far forward. I tried leaning in to hear the drum when I was playing but the sound was lost out in front. Now that may be good for everyone else that hears it, but what good is it if YOU can't hear it? That's my opinion and it's a fact that will keep me buying and using shorter depth kick drums.

Dan is very correct about the amount of air that you have to move to get the front head moving in conjunction with the batter head.

11.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: lylatsysdrumr] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: pwc
Posted on: Sep 15, 2008 2:18 AM

I have had many sizes but like my current 18" by 14" deep the best. I can get a wide range of sounds from it, it very portable and fits my other small sized snare/toms well.

12.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: lylatsysdrumr] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: pbloxam
Posted on: Sep 15, 2008 4:00 AM

The motion of air applies to any 2 headed drum....

It's especially important with snare drums...too deep and less responsive as it takes more impact to activate the snares...

However, most mic a drum and most don't play with the front head unopened...IE a port to place a mic....

Most jazzers will play with a front head, but most rockers uses ported front heads...

13.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: lylatsysdrumr] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: Gandy
Posted on: Sep 15, 2008 7:31 AM

20"/18" is my favourite. My next kit will have that.

14.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: lylatsysdrumr] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: Roadhog
Posted on: Sep 15, 2008 7:48 AM

I have to mostly agree with Dan and Dennis. I prefer a kick drum depth of not more than 16". To me, The diameter of the kick is the most important. Air volume is like a resistive load. The more that load is distributed across the head area and the less is suspended in the shell should be more easily activated than the opposite. Also a deep kick < 22" may become too boomy when fully activated making close micking more difficult.

15.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: lylatsysdrumr] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: tomcat
Posted on: Sep 15, 2008 8:14 AM

very true about the physics of moving air in the deeper drums.
that said using a kick your foot has a lot of power as compared to your hands so unless you have a square 22x22 i wouldn't see much of a problem over say a 14 when hitting it.
of course, and this came up in another thread
why,how and who decided a 14" deep kick become the norm and other toms.

my reissue vistalites came with a 22x16" deep kick and it sounds very powerful and my DW kit i got a few years ago had a 22x18"
and its the most powerful sounding 22" kick Ive ever had or heard but its my opinion and subjective of course, its still very responsive and i can hear it perfectly.
as happy as i am with my 22x18 I really can't see getting a 20" or 22" deep kick, it just seems excessive, just looking at my dw when i got it I was apprehensive but it came with a smooth PS3 and sounded fantastic from the the drivers seat and when a drummer friend of mine drop by i got him to play it for me and it sounded like it was mic'd and i could feel it very firmly in my chest.
i am most pleased with it but i wouldn't get anything deeper.

16.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: lylatsysdrumr] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: lylatsysdrumr
Posted on: Sep 15, 2008 4:07 PM

my new bass drum will be 18x18. i like to keep all my drums kinda small for convenience and i like the sound better. i think next kit i get im gonna try to get a 14 inch kick just to try it out. the one i have right now is a nice 22 inches and is way too difficult to carry around.

my drum teacher guy has a bass drum thats like 16 diameter and 10 inches deep. it sounds amazing

17.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: lylatsysdrumr] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: Roadhog
Posted on: Sep 15, 2008 5:06 PM

18" depth is probably as deep as anyone would realistically go unless you have John Bonham's right foot. Big SmileBig SmileBig Smile

18.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: lylatsysdrumr] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: steveo
Posted on: Sep 15, 2008 5:41 PM

i too am a little unsure why bass dums are getting longer. 14" depth was the norm when i started playing, they provided all the depth we needed. the 16" depth arrived when "power" toms were the new thing so presumably the extra 2" was so the bass drum did,nt look odd with the deeper toms. the 16" deep bass drums i have sound good and there is no lack of depth from a sound perspective.
i did,nt have an 18" deep bass drum until i got my mapex saturn kit which is the newest of the drums i own. that too sounds great. at the moment the bass drums i play most are a birch 22" x 16" and a maple/walnut 22"x 18". they have different heads, one has dampening and the other does not so its impossible to say how much the depth, as opposed to tuning, shell or head is responsible for the sound.
the only thing i know for sure is that the smaller depth bass drums i play have more attack, they speak faster and have more "cut", whether that is diameter or depth or both i dont know, but it would suggest that moving a volume of air is the key factor, as has been said.
.....as for 20" or 22" depth drums, i,m ok with the shallower size, ,,,they fit in the car better.Smile

19.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: lylatsysdrumr] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: Yojan
Posted on: Sep 17, 2008 12:54 AM

I can't remember if my Bass drums are 20 and 24 by 14 or 16, but they certainly aren't any bigger than that. 18" is getting silly and beyond that you may as well just not have a reso head on your bass drum... go instead with a drumhead over some form of cave or badgers nest Wink

20.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: lylatsysdrumr] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: Monkeypoo
Posted on: Sep 17, 2008 1:33 AM

haha.. my cat used to sleep in bass drum when i had a porthole in it.. it was very funny when i had a bash on the drums without realising the cat was in there.. i always checked for a cat after that..

21.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: Monkeypoo] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: steveo
Posted on: Sep 17, 2008 3:43 AM

Monkeypoo wrote:
... i always checked for a cat after that..


sound advice,,,
or maybe you should have played something from "cats", or "eye of the tiger" or the "lion sleeps tonight"Clown

22.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: lylatsysdrumr] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: Densbak
Posted on: Sep 17, 2008 2:31 PM

This all makes me realize that those that think they like a longer kick drum "for sound", are not that wise (or educated in bass sounds). And to top it off, they just have to have 2-3 port holes! Why do people get so far off track?

23.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: Densbak] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: Gandy
Posted on: Sep 17, 2008 2:53 PM

Densbak wrote:
This all makes me realize that those that think they like a longer kick drum "for sound", are not that wise (or educated in bass sounds). And to top it off, they just have to have 2-3 port holes! Why do people get so far off track?

20"/18" with two 5" Holz in a PowerStroke 3... I see nothing wrong with that. Wink

24.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: lylatsysdrumr] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: Densbak
Posted on: Sep 17, 2008 5:21 PM

Of course you wouldn't "see" anything wrong with that. It's about sound. Having two rather large 5" holes in a reso head that is 18" from the batter kinda defeats the purpose of having a reso at all. If you have the same set up on a 14" - 16" depth drum, you may hear the difference. Who's willing to do the test for us, and put this to rest? LOL

The idea is to get both heads moving. You strike the batter head dead center, which then moves air through the drum and makes the reso head react. In a longer depth drum the reaction will be slower and less responsive...not lower and louder sounding. I think this is a misconception that people get from "seeing" a larger drum. The shell will not resonate as well when the heads are further apart. I think it's physics. Add with the fact that you are taking away a good portion of the reso head, you can deduce what happens from there. Not too hard to figure out.

I'll stick with 14" - 18" depth.

25.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: Densbak] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: pwc
Posted on: Sep 17, 2008 5:35 PM

Of course the corollary to that is that a truly vintage 28" by 8" deep (or something) should be perfect - which it ain't. My personal belief is that a 14" depth seems to suit any and all diameter bass drums but like much else in gear terms, there are some of that depth that are just better sounding than others whether due to design, brand or whatever. But I am not really against "fashion" changes in drums as I like design generally and see aesthetics as a desirable part in ownership of most things.

26.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: lylatsysdrumr] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: Densbak
Posted on: Sep 17, 2008 5:52 PM

Your deductions are why I asked for an A-B test of some sort. True, it matters which brand, which heads, and what wood is used. But I'm quite sure that many people would find that from the drummers perspective, a shallower kick drum would more often than not satisfy what we all like to hear.

Everyone has their own tastes, but if we are talking aesthetics, I still believe that I would opt for the more traditional sized kick drum. Giving people what they want is what the manufacturers have done, that doesn't mean it's better. It's only a change that younger folks are eating up and believing in.

We need that test to see which is truly a better sounding kick drum (a blind test, we shouldn't be able to see which drum is being played). The actual test should be done by any individual on real drums while blindfolded.

27.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: lylatsysdrumr] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: OldFart
Posted on: Sep 17, 2008 7:06 PM

I blew an opportunity to get a really well maintained 1970's Gretsch kit with a 20-Diameter by 24-Depth Kick. I arrived late in its availability and when I found the cash I quickly discovered it had been sold right before I could pull the trigger. I really wanted that deep bass ( I liked my previous 20x14 Gretsch and thought this would be the Cat's Pajamas).

Now a few years down the road and I have a kit equipped with the current standard 22x18" and find myself very, very pleased.

I had a pair of 22x14's on my double-bass kit and thought it sounded only "okay." I played on a band supplied kit that had a 22x16, and later my son acquired a low-end kit with a bass having the same dimensions and they both sounded quite good.

I still like 20" diameter basses, but having also played 22x16" and 22x18" Kicks, I'd say 16" to 18" depths have proven excellent.

28.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: Densbak] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: speedsticks
Posted on: Sep 18, 2008 12:23 PM

Densbak wrote:
Your deductions are why I asked for an A-B test of some sort. True, it matters which brand, which heads, and what wood is used. But I'm quite sure that many people would find that from the drummers perspective, a shallower kick drum would more often than not satisfy what we all like to hear.

Everyone has their own tastes, but if we are talking aesthetics, I still believe that I would opt for the more traditional sized kick drum. Giving people what they want is what the manufacturers have done, that doesn't mean it's better. It's only a change that younger folks are eating up and believing in.

We need that test to see which is truly a better sounding kick drum (a blind test, we shouldn't be able to see which drum is being played). The actual test should be done by any individual on real drums while blindfolded.


Funny me and some friends did this in the studio last year, I have several sizes to work with...The 18 matched the 22 but the 24 Vistalites took the prize..So many things here to factor in. I don't have time to write the whole thing down and how we did it. To this day I haven't found a set of drums that I like better then these drums. My other sets work well with the different styles I play. All had sounds I love. For rock the vista's rules in my opinion. My Gretsch (18) sounds great with a bebop and jazz sound, my Premier set (22) can be played with all kinds of music. I really feel its not the kit that bring out the sound, its the person playing the kit. I could play everything on one kit but I love toys....

29.Re:bass drum sizes [Re: Densbak] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: Boettcher68
Posted on: Sep 18, 2008 4:41 PM

Densbak wrote:
Your deductions are why I asked for an A-B test of some sort. True, it matters which brand, which heads, and what wood is used. But I'm quite sure that many people would find that from the drummers perspective, a shallower kick drum would more often than not satisfy what we all like to hear.

Everyone has their own tastes, but if we are talking aesthetics, I still believe that I would opt for the more traditional sized kick drum. Giving people what they want is what the manufacturers have done, that doesn't mean it's better. It's only a change that younger folks are eating up and believing in.

We need that test to see which is truly a better sounding kick drum (a blind test, we shouldn't be able to see which drum is being played). The actual test should be done by any individual on real drums while blindfolded.


I'll have to find them, but I have done something simular. I recorded a song (the same song) with everything exactly the same, but different bass drums. I believe there were four tracks with a 20x14 Gretsch, 20x16 Slingerland, 22x14 Luddy and a 22x16 Tama. I liked the 20x14 the best, and that ended up on the final cut. I'll look for them.

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