18x12 or 18x14? Or 20?

f.stahlenius

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About to order a new bass drum for my USA Custom Jazz Legends kit in Mardi Gras finish. It comes with a 16x12” bass drum and 12x8 and 14x14 toms. Super fun size to play but I need something with a fuller sound and a bit more volume. Has to be 18 diameter. USA Custom makes most sense, I guess.

Question is: 18x12 or 18x14?

What do you think?

/Fredrik
 

Seb77

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18x14 is the classic postbop size. What kind of gigs do you play? You could also do the small band gigs with the 16" and move up to a 20" for big band etc. Some people play practically all kinds of gigs with the 12/14/20 set. A 20" can easily be set up for a padded/ported sound, with an 18" that's a bit more tricky.
 

multijd

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A 20” is an incredibly versatile drum especially if you are playing a variety of styles. That being said I use an 18” for most everything (jazz) i do. I have 12’s and 14’s. 14x18 is more versatile. They sound great in a small group but can handle a bigger band and still cut it outdoors.
 

f.stahlenius

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18x14 is the classic postbop size. What kind of gigs do you play? You could also do the small band gigs with the 16" and move up to a 20" for big band etc. Some people play practically all kinds of gigs with the 12/14/20 set. A 20" can easily be set up for a padded/ported sound, with an 18" that's a bit more tricky.
I play mostly jazz. Low volume. Had a lot of 18x14 from different brands, always been happy with that size. My thinking was to get something different. Maybe the 18x12 will be too different. A bit too quick response and lacking depth.
 

f.stahlenius

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Hmm, maybe my 16x12 satisfies my desire for small bass drums... I asked my dealer for an estimate on a 20x14.
 

Neal Pert

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Ive found that the 2" doesn't seem to matter much when it comes to 18" shell depths. It's mostly a visual thing. I love the vibe of a 12x18 but it's not really "the" Gretsch thing. I might go for either 14x20 or 14x18. But that's just me-- I have always been something of a traditionalist when it comes to Gretsch.

Also, be prepared: Gretsch takes a while. When they say "four months" it's meant to make you feel OK about the purchase, not to actually indicate a time frame.
 

f.stahlenius

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Ive found that the 2" doesn't seem to matter much when it comes to 18" shell depths. It's mostly a visual thing. I love the vibe of a 12x18 but it's not really "the" Gretsch thing. I might go for either 14x20 or 14x18. But that's just me-- I have always been something of a traditionalist when it comes to Gretsch.

Also, be prepared: Gretsch takes a while. When they say "four months" it's meant to make you feel OK about the purchase, not to actually indicate a time frame.
Thx. Yep, also love 18x14 :) I’m prepared to wait - my dealer said 7 months...around midsummer.
 

Fat Drummer

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For no other reason than persional preference in sound, feel and versatility it's 14"X20" for me. But since that was not your orgional question, I would vote for the 14"X18". Good luck with what ever you choose and enjoy those gorgeous drums!
 

Radio King

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I agree with the 14x20 recommendations. Going from a 16" to a 20" will give you a lot of versatility - a wider palette of colors - than an 18". But since your original question was 12x18 or 14x18, I'd go the traditional route of 14x18.
 

Woody85

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Going to echo the previous comments. I have a very similar setup with a 12"×16" bass drum. The 14"x20" can do anything that the 16" can't. I feel like an 18" would be too similar to the 16".
 

JDA

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Get a longer decay with a 20 and have to punch it hard- to overdrive it.
So how hard do you want to punch?
 

f.stahlenius

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Get a longer decay with a 20 and have to punch it hard- to overdrive it.
So how hard do you want to punch?
I mostly play gigs that doesn’t require too much punching :) However, I do like a long decay. But tastes/gigs change, and who knows when I will be in the need for something larger than a 18?
 

JDA

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I remember a Remo Mastertouch catalog years ago where they were describing the sets. The 14x18 (10,12,14) set they described as "Punchy 14x18 bass drum" and that's true 14x18 is a punch drum. Sure you can soft toe it- but really comes to life when hit HARd, you can 'dominate' a small drum. (easier) (with less work) Large and Larger drums you're just going along with the Ride most of the time unless you're a real Hercules (which some men/players/ are.
But an 18 is like a lower powered 4 cylinder fiat car; you can drive it flat out on the street - and no one notices (they just feel it's coming) doesn't threaten 'the community' (ha
Try that with a large V12 Aventador and a well..you get it.
 
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Targalx

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But an 18 is like a lower powered 4 cylinder fiat car; you can drive it flat out on the street - and no one notices (they just feel it's coming) doesn't threaten 'the community' (ha
Try that with a large V12 Aventador and a well..you get it.
SO true. Great analogies. I love playing an 18" for my lower volume gigs. Even if I mash the pedal, it doesn't overwhelm.
 

JDA

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Part of the magic of Elvin and Tony when they used little bd's.. They could take those sets to 145 mph and 8000 rpm but still be 'inside' the confines of the bandstand, the accompanying acoustic instruments ...the other musicians, and the songs.. It's a sly way to nuke a song. without overwhelming ..(anyone's ears or brains)
 

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