18" Bass Drum: I have some questions

Old Dog

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First off I'll say, I am not a gigging musician. I'm not looking for a specific sound. But, I have potential to join a band at some point in the near future, if only for fun (GENERALLY Rock Music) . I want something that has a small footprint, but I don't want to completely lose the bass's bottom end. Yes, I've watched a few videos on 18s. To be honest, they sound small and meek. Especially in side by side comparisons (there is a vid where they do 18, 20, 22, 24 basically).

I'm also doing a 16" FT to Bass drum conversion, MAYBE. If I get a kit with an 18" bass, do I really want to convert the 16" to a bass drum as well?

My other concern is my back. I have back problems and another big arse bass drum just sounds, eh. I have 2 22s now. Yes, I'm also considering 20" options.

More than anything, if you have an 18" bass drum set up, what do you think of it? Do you jam with others and does it hold up volume-wise? I know, mic it, lol.

When it comes down to it, I'm getting another kit. I'm trying to NOT be impulsive NOR cheap.

As far as what I'm considering, I'm mostly looking at Gretsch Catalinas with 18s and 20s. Some with snares, some without. Also, Yammie Stage Customs. I've seen far, FAR TOO many posts saying, "just get the stage custom and be done with it". But, there are a lot of other kits to look at, Mapex Ms, Ludwig Accents (these are entry level aren't they??).

So yeah, I have no idea what direction I'm headed.
 

Neal Pert

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What's your budget? I mean, i would definitely say, "just get the stage custom and be done with it," but it may make more sense to get something like a DW Frequent Flyer kit.

You can certainly configure an 18" to get an impressive thud-- use a Dixson riser and the right heads and tuning and all that-- but it'll never move as much air or get as low a pitch as a 20 or 22. If I were in a rock band and I was always mic'ed, i'd still bring at least a 20, and if I could I would bring a 22. And, I mean, I LOVE and usually gig with an 18.

I've had a messy back for the last two years and getting a Rock N Roller cart has been an absolute godsend. It's easier to carry ANY bass drum that way.

M
 

Old Dog

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What's your budget? I mean, i would definitely say, "just get the stage custom and be done with it," but it may make more sense to get something like a DW Frequent Flyer kit.

You can certainly configure an 18" to get an impressive thud-- use a Dixson riser and the right heads and tuning and all that-- but it'll never move as much air or get as low a pitch as a 20 or 22. If I were in a rock band and I was always mic'ed, i'd still bring at least a 20, and if I could I would bring a 22. And, I mean, I LOVE and usually gig with an 18.

I've had a messy back for the last two years and getting a Rock N Roller cart has been an absolute godsend. It's easier to carry ANY bass drum that way.

M
I'm cheap! LOL I want to buy used. There are FAR TOO many used kits in good condition out there (player's kits too. A little rough, but not damaged). I'm talking less than $500. I've seen a ton of new kits under that price point too.

I definitely have options since I do have other kits.
 

Neal Pert

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I'm cheap! LOL I want to buy used. There are FAR TOO many used kits in good condition out there (player's kits too. A little rough, but not damaged). I'm talking less than $500. I've seen a ton of new kits under that price point too.

I definitely have options since I do have other kits.
Well, in that case, yeah. A 10/12/14/20 Stage Custom. :D Get the bass drum cut down to something you can live with. I found a mint 8/10/12/16/22/snare for $400, so the deals are out there if you wait.
 

Old Dog

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A Rock n Roller cart will be a wise investment whichever drumset you go with.

Mick
I looked at the rock n roller--if and when I'll buy something cheaper there as well. A $110 aluminum hand cart and add some pool noodles for protection (but those r n rollers are nice man).

Well, in that case, yeah. A 10/12/14/20 Stage Custom. :D Get the bass drum cut down to something you can live with. I found a mint 8/10/12/16/22/snare for $400, so the deals are out there if you wait.
There is a guy locally selling a Catalina w/snare, gold sparkle. It has an 18" bass. I also have searched TONS on Reverb and Ebay--I definitely have my eye on deals. I just can't make up my mind what configuration.
 

Neal Pert

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There is a guy locally selling a Catalina w/snare, gold sparkle. It has an 18" bass. I also have searched TONS on Reverb and Ebay--I definitely have my eye on deals. I just can't make up my mind what configuration.
Pretty hard to go wrong with those kits. You'll never struggle with getting what you need from a 20" bass, but you might with an 18. That's gonna be your call.
 

JDA

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If I get a kit with an 18" bass, do I really want to convert the 16" to a bass drum as well?
mm no.
I know, mic it, lol.
moreso you Hit it harder. And you can really wallop an 18" (dominate it 'if you will'. Explode it.
Gretsch Catalinas with 18s and 20s. Some with snares, some without. Also, Yammie Stage Customs. I've seen far, FAR TOO many posts saying, "just get the stage custom and be done with it".
Buy the best hardwood drum you can. In an 18" you don't want a particularly "light" or "porous" wood. You want the best quality you can find (even maybe fiberglass) for volume. Or the best wood you can afford
 

JDA

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I just can't make up my mind what configuration.
Just because you're using an 18" doesn't mean you're regulated to slimming down the tom-tom-toms.....the 12/14 is the obvious, it doesn't mean " 10 and 13" )...conversely you can absolutely use.. combinations of
10/12/13/ up top and 14,16,18 floors.
Just because the 18" is "small" does not mean your "tom spread" Up top, is in anyway limited.
So you can have the best of both worlds.
Elvin Jones on the bottom. Ginger Baker (or the guy from ELO ; ) on top..
and be able to err single-handedly, carry the whole shebang.
 
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Old Dog

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I have basically made up my mind that I want a 20" bass drum.

Thanks guys. I'll probably go ahead and convert the 16" for fun and for practice at home/small gigs if and when--I have everything for the conversion except for longer tension rods.
 

CherryClassic

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I think you'll be happier with the 20".

I have an older Ludwig large kit I used for years. I converted the 16x18 floor tom to bass and have loved it ever since. It was every thing I thought I needed until, I played an outdoor gig without mic's. After that I had to use my 16x22" outdoors and large halls. Since then, I have purchased a new CM Ludwig kit, my first choice for sizes was a 14x20" bass then went with 10, 12,and 16" for three toms.

Yes, with a budget buying used is a good idea. But try to buy used quality products if you can find a good buy. I owned a Catalina kit for a short time just prior to the new kit and it had surprisingly great sound for the money I paid. I never really liked the snare that much. If you buy it used you can sell for the same price you paid in the future. The Club model has mahogany shell which I believe helps with the sound.

AND by all means; get a nice Roc-N-Roller for moving your equipment. The 10" wheel version makes it so much easier to roll over grass and gravel.

sherm
 

Old Dog

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I think you'll be happier with the 20".

I have an older Ludwig large kit I used for years. I converted the 16x18 floor tom to bass and have loved it ever since. It was every thing I thought I needed until, I played an outdoor gig without mic's. After that I had to use my 16x22" outdoors and large halls. Since then, I have purchased a new CM Ludwig kit, my first choice for sizes was a 14x20" bass then went with 10, 12,and 16" for three toms.

Yes, with a budget buying used is a good idea. But try to buy used quality products if you can find a good buy. I owned a Catalina kit for a short time just prior to the new kit and it had surprisingly great sound for the money I paid. I never really liked the snare that much. If you buy it used you can sell for the same price you paid in the future. The Club model has mahogany shell which I believe helps with the sound.

AND by all means; get a nice Roc-N-Roller for moving your equipment. The 10" wheel version makes it so much easier to roll over grass and gravel.

sherm
Quality Used, yes definitely. I don't mind a players kit, but it has to be structurally intact. No weird cracks, splits, or such serious wrap peeling that I feel the need to re-wrap etc, etc, decent to better than decent hardware. I'm with ya! I've been doing a crap ton of searches. Seen some truly horrible kits, and I have my eye on a couple SUPER nice used kits.

Thanks Sherm
 

multijd

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The heavier the shell the louder the drum. You've already decided on a 20” which is probably a good choice. Although you could think about a shallow 22”. 12x22 has a particularly punchy sound and you could get a lighter more compact drum but still get a deep sound.
 

pwc1141

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Never seen the need to to go beyond 18 x 14 bass drum and with the right heads and tuning there is no lack or oomph in my personal experience. A hard beater and a mic would be enough for a rock concert and these days any sound engineer can make sure it is heard and with enough bass level. Just my opinion of course......
 

Elvis

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First off I'll say, I am not a gigging musician. I'm not looking for a specific sound. But, I have potential to join a band at some point in the near future, if only for fun (GENERALLY Rock Music) . I want something that has a small footprint, but I don't want to completely lose the bass's bottom end. Yes, I've watched a few videos on 18s. To be honest, they sound small and meek. Especially in side by side comparisons (there is a vid where they do 18, 20, 22, 24 basically).

I'm also doing a 16" FT to Bass drum conversion, MAYBE. If I get a kit with an 18" bass, do I really want to convert the 16" to a bass drum as well?

My other concern is my back. I have back problems and another big arse bass drum just sounds, eh. I have 2 22s now. Yes, I'm also considering 20" options.

More than anything, if you have an 18" bass drum set up, what do you think of it? Do you jam with others and does it hold up volume-wise? I know, mic it, lol.

When it comes down to it, I'm getting another kit. I'm trying to NOT be impulsive NOR cheap.

As far as what I'm considering, I'm mostly looking at Gretsch Catalinas with 18s and 20s. Some with snares, some without. Also, Yammie Stage Customs. I've seen far, FAR TOO many posts saying, "just get the stage custom and be done with it". But, there are a lot of other kits to look at, Mapex Ms, Ludwig Accents (these are entry level aren't they??).

So yeah, I have no idea what direction I'm headed.
I have two kits with 18" bass drums.
I find both have a surprising amount of low end. Can it mimic a 24? Of course not, but it still sounds like a BASS drum, as opposed to a tom.
Nice thing about an 18 is there a certain amount of gating going on naturally, so not too much muffling required, if any at all.
I use a regular ol' Fiberskyn 3 on the batter side and a Skyntone on the front. Sounds really good.

...another way you could go is to take a regular sized bas drum, like a 22x16, and cut it down to 8-10 inches deep.
Gets rid of all the "boominess", so you get that gated effect you do from the 18, but the bigger head naturally wants to speak a lower note, so you get more of that "bassy" sound.
It comes off a little dry, but not too bad and the overall sound doesn't change all that much.
The biggest difference is the boominess.

Which do I prefer?......both.

I've found the weight factor has more to do with the shell's cross section and the hardware attached to it than anything.
I remember I once had a Pulse kit (generic) and the shells must've been 1/2" thick.
Those drums weighed a ton!
On the other end of that scale, I remember a friend picked up a 4 ply Pearl Masters kit in the 90's and I asked him how heavy those drums were, knowing they used a pretty thin shell.
He said, "Here, check it out for yourself" and he CHUCKED his brand new 20x16 bass drum at me as he was unloading his truck.
I caught it (thank GOD!) and noticed it was feather light.
Seems like we actually played catch with it for a few minutes, like it was a big ol' beach ball.
So if weight is a big issue, use a thin shelled kit and outfit it with light hardware (maybe someone could build one for your; reinforced 5 ply Keller shells, 8 lugs, vintage rail consolette).
Anyway, hope you find that info useful.
Good luck. =)


Elvis
 
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Old Dog

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Absolutely try for a 70's 3-ply Ludwig 20". It's light enough to bowl with compared to others, and more than gets the job done.

Dan
Hey Dan. I actually wanted similar to what you're suggesting. I've looked at a lot of Ludwig basses. But, what it comes down to is "vintage cost". Even a bass drum from the eighties can easily go $300, that's most of my budget in this situation. If they were cheaper, I'd definitely LOVE an entire Ludwig kit. I've looked at Slingerlands, Rogers. . .all very pricey, OR not close to original, OR in serious-need-of-help-shape.

The heavier the shell the louder the drum. You've already decided on a 20” which is probably a good choice. Although you could think about a shallow 22”. 12x22 has a particularly punchy sound and you could get a lighter more compact drum but still get a deep sound.
Well, after seeing these last few posts, I'm now thoroughly back in limbo mode! Thanks guys! LOL But seriously, if you all are saying these things, it certainly does give me that 18" option. Whether I think it is a little weak in those vids, the 18" obviously has plenty of potential given the right help in a situation. I have been considering cutting one of my existing basses down. I sure as heck don't want to pay a bunch of dough to ship it too far. There is one local guy that says he can can do the work. I just haven't seen any of his work yet. I'll keep it mind though.

I have two kits with 18" bass drums.
I find both have a surprising amount of low end. Can it mimic a 24? Of course not, but it still sounds like a BASS drum, as opposed to a tom.
Nice thing about an 18 is there a certain amount of gating going on naturally, so not too much muffling required, if any at all.
I use a regular ol' Fiberskyn 3 on the batter side and a Skyntone on the front. Sounds really good.

...another way you could go is to take a regular sized bas drum, like a 22x16, and cut it down to 8-10 inches deep.
Gets rid of all the "boominess", so you get that gated effect you do from the 18, but the bigger head naturally wants to speak a lower note, so you get more of that "bassy" sound.
It comes off a little dry, but not too bad and the overall sound doesn't change all that much.
The biggest difference is the boominess.

Which do I prefer?......both.

I've found the weight factor has more to do with the shell's cross section and the hardware attached to it than anything.
I remember I once had a Pulse kit (generic) and the shells must've been 1/2" thick.
Those drums weighed a ton!
On the other end of that scale, I remember a friend picked up a 4 ply Pearl Masters kit in the 90's and I asked him how heavy those drums were, knowing they used a pretty thin shell.
He said, "Here, check it out for yourself" and he CHUCKED his brand new 20x16 bass drum at me as he was unloading his truck.
I caught it (thank GOD!) and noticed it was feather light.
Seems like we actually played catch with it for a few minutes, like it was a big ol' beach ball.
So if weight is a big issue, use a thin shelled kit and outfit it with light hardware (maybe someone could build one for your; reinforced 5 ply Keller shells, 8 lugs, vintage rail consolette).
Anyway, hope you find that info useful.
Good luck. =)


Elvis
Thanks for the post. I actually found a guy on Reverb. He posted a brand new 20" bass that he built. I had not heard of them yet, I don't think. Although the snares he's built look like something recently posted over on Drummerworld. The bass drum looks GREAT! But I don't know if I want to add to my existing FrankenTama "hip gigger" kit, OR get a 3/4 piece in a used players condition.

Oh, the guy's name is STUBBELFIELD? Out of N.Carolina I think it was? Seriously nice looking bass drum, reasonably priced too.

Heck, now I'm back to considering the local Catalina kit with an 18" bass. . . . ..

YOU ALL HAVE THOROUGHLY MESSED ME UP AGAIN! Ha But you've given me more options.

THanks?
 


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