18" kick....wasn't impressed.

Olderschool

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As the saying goes: "There is no replacement for displacement"

Ok....played a gig the other night at a bar on a small stage. FYI...I played Bass guitar so I stood in front/beside the drummer all night. Anyway, the drummer used a small USA Gretstch kit with an 18 in kick. I could never hear the kick. I could hear every other part of the kit perfectly but I could never hear the kick.

Now...I'm not saying that a small kick wouldn't work when miced up and blasted through a PA out front but for a stage presence in a bar? Nah...I want something I can hear.
 

multijd

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Maybe he had too much muffling or it was tuned poorly.
 
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Maggot

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I have a friend who can sound positively Bonhamesque on an 18" Catalina Club, but she's the only one I've heard making that small of a drum sound huge. She definitely doesn't port the resonant head, and I don't think she uses much muffling.

The drummer for my band (different person from above) plays a 22" at shows, but plays my Breakbeats at practice, and the bass drum definitely drops out a bit. She says it sounds just as big from behind the kit, but it sounds way quieter out front, even in a small room. My Breakbeats has self-muffling heads and a small port, but is empty inside.
 

Jordan Blue

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So many variables at play here. heads, tuning, ported or un-ported. I don't think an 18" will ever sound like a 22" or 24". It is what it is.
 

moodman

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I've never liked 18" kicks except those made from floor toms, the extra depth moves a little more air.
Then I got a Sawtootn 18"x16", and tuned for max thumpification, ala Rob Brown, my band agrees, it sounds like a bigger kick.
Coated Remo Powersonic batter, Evans EMad reso, DW pillow not touching heads.
 
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DannyPattersonMusic

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It's all in the tuning. I use an 18" exclusively for 99% of my gigs (rock, country, etc. ... everything but jazz).

The band members & I always love the reaction of the various FOH engineers when they ask for the kick drum and I hit it once and they look up with this surprised look on their face like they couldn't believe an 18" kick can sound the way I have mine tuned.
 

mtarrani

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I prefer 20s, but have two 18" bass drums. For convenience I usually grab one or the other when I am playing small venues (and am even bothering to use a bass drum at all). 18 is not my favorite size, but one cannot argue with the small footprint. That said, I have two 20x12 bass drums that I definitely love. Either can keep up with my 24x14 DW bass drum from my Buddy Rich tribute kit. I like the 24 too, but am not about to lug such a behemoth to gigs regardless of venue size.
 

jptrickster

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Your not getting the bottom end and air movement on an 18 as you would on a larger drum. It’s like comparing a 12 tom to a 16.
 

bongomania

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The line about "all in the tuning" I think is shorthand, and there needs to be clarity on a couple of points. One, the room. Different rooms will reflect or cancel different frequencies, so the tuning has to depend on the room (and the position of the drum relative to walls etc.). Two, the band mix. For tuning to matter, it has to set the bass drum apart from the other instruments.

My band rehearses in a basement; I found my 14x20 bass was just disappearing down there, with no amplification. Nobody could hear it, even though I had it tuned "perfectly" back at home, where it had a huge booming tone. I tried an 18 and a 24, and they both worked great in that same basement. Each has a sweet spot: the 18 for a jazzy singing tone, and the 24 for a walloping thump. Both of them lost volume when I tried to tune to a more middle of the road tone. Again, presumably due to the acoustics of the room.

I actually think a deeper 18, like 16-18" deep, might have the best combo of volume and tone for that room; but then how many gigs will be in a room just like that basement? I might try it anyway if I can find the right opportunity to pick up a big tom to convert.
 

polycrescendo

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Years ago I saw one of my favorite bands and their drummer brought a Yamaha Hip Gig. I felt instulted. I would be lying though, if I said that the tiny bass drum didn't crank out an amazing boom for it's size. I think he had it tuned the absolute lowest it could go without sounding like a paper bag. Me personally though, I can barely get used to my new 20" after so many years playing 22's exclusively.
 
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RIDDIM

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I think it depend on how the drum is tuned, and more importantly, your drummer. If he or she is tentative, abandon all hope. If authoritative, your problems are gone.

I've used a wide open 18" Gretsch, unmic'd, with coated Ambassadors, on loud blues gigs and had no trouble being heard. Instant Bonham.
 


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