Are smaller bass drums that much easier to play?

CherryClassic

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I own 18, 20 and 22. Like was said above; room mass has the biggest impact on my style of music. The 18 works wonders in small low volume venues, outdoors you'll need mic's for sure. I normally don't use mic's and use the 20 for dance halls and hardly use the 22 anymore at my age. It's being used for my practice kit now.

sherm
 

cruddola

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I find them easier to play. I had a 24" with my last kit, and then had a matching 20" built to match. I found that any time I gigged with the 24" my leg was worn out after the gig. It takes a lot of force to move that much air. I was never worn out after playing the 20" for 3 hours.
You leg was worn out from carrying the darn thing! In almost six decades of drumming I've never experienced any differences as it relates to size. No different than hitting on my 6" tom or a 20" floor tom with a stick. My home-based kit has a 22" bass drum. When I toured it was a 26" 90% of the time, 10% with a 24".
 

supershifter2

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I had 20,22,24 and played a friends 26. The 20 and 22 play the same. the 24 and 26 have slow response and rebound. the pedal determines how easy or hard to play. pedal spring tension etc. size determines how fast. Ian Paice can play a 26 really fast. I like the 16x22 size best
 
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TonyVazquez

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16” on my pocket kit has lots of articulation. Volume ain’t bad, either.
Ditto, same here.
Although I like the sounds and thuds of 22" kick drums, I really love the
punch and tightness of my 16" kick; and it's easier for me to carry around.
It's true that a kick this size can belch out a good volume when tuned right,
and has good beaters and heads, AND a good kick drum mic if playing in
a typical sized venue.
The articulation of a kick drum this size sounds nice-n-snappy, too.

It's all in personal taste... you play what you like to hear no matter what size
kick drum you like, because it's all You. :thumbup:

By this summer I hope to step up to a 20" kick drum and lock myself to that size range
so that I can enjoy the depth of a 22 with the punch and attack of a small kick drum.
I still have to fit my kit into the back of a small hatchback SUV-type car,
along with the rest of the band gear AND the band members. lol
 

multijd

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As stated above easier is tough to call.
if you are trying to play loud with a low pitch on a 16” that will be a lot of work.
if you are trying to play fast on a loose head that will be a challenge.
if you are trying to play quietly on a large drum it will take control.
if you want to play funky on a high pitched open tuning drum that will take a specific technique.
18” and 20” are easiest for me to control but that is because I'm used to those sizes.
 

JDA

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The Character of the Drum changes your Playing. Your feeling.
I'd love to have a 24" real Gretsch bass and a friend has one and when I hit it....what comes back........dictates/ Colors....what the next note I play will be.

Same with an 18. After the first hit... kind of decides where you're going next.
That's what dimensions do.

Dimensions decide your next hit.
Dimension of the snare the toms the floor(s) the bass...
the cymbals the hi hats....
 

markkarj

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I love the sound of a nice, big bass drum. I've played a 26x14, and 24s in multiple depths. Currently playing a Jenkins Martin 24x14 and I love it. However, I don't believe I've ever played anything smaller than a 22. I've heard it said that the smaller and shallower, the easier a bass drum is to play.

Is my bias in favor of bigger drums stunting me? I confess that I was happy when I switched from an 18 to a 16 floor tom, so maybe there's something to this. (That said, you'll never see me rocking a bop kit)

FWIW - I often end up playing small venues where the drums don't get micced through the PA. Volume is important and please don't suggest that I simply ask others in the band to turn down. They're not that type of gig. Also assume I'm not interested in using triggers.
Playing my 24" bass drum feels like settling into a big, soft couch... just plush and big. However, my main drum would be a 14x20 Premier XPK... I might need to re-do the head choices as using an Aquarian Super Kick is perhaps just a bit "dead" for that drum.

I also just acquired a Yamaha Live Custom tom kit: 10, 12, 14 and 16. I'm turning the 16 into a bass drum, which should be a very interesting exercise as I've generally not played a bass drum smaller than 18".
 

backtodrum

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I will chime in here with my take on this topic, i have a bop kit that I originally purchased to play jazz with a local pianist and stand up bass player here where I live. However the low volume restaurant venues that feature jazz dried up and there is no longer any places to play regularly anymore. I also play in a classic rock, blues and country dance band that is very busy. My main kit has a 18" by 22" bass drum and the bop kit has an 14" by 18" bass drum. I have used the bop kit where space is tight, to appear less of a foot print more than anything else, I always mic the kick with either kit I play when using them for the dance band. I have found that the smaller kick is less wear on my arthritic knees after four hour dance gigs. After gigs with the 22" sometimes load out is challenge to walk without a limp. With the 18" not so much. I prefer to play the 18" Kick, but prefer the bottom end oomph of the 22". So from my experience the 18' is easier to play as far as my body in concerned. I also will say that some of the sound guys have stated in certain clubs we play that the 18" bass drum mic'd up, has a tighter punchier more controlled sound in certain venues. They claim it is easier to EQ to their particular rooms sound, so I will play it for their particular clubs based on their opinions. Both kicks are almost always played either through our powered 18" subs or the house sound system which also feature 18" or 20" subs, So there's is that piece to the puzzle as well. Neither of my bass drums require me to lay into them aggressively because of the mic's and subwoofers, so I don't feel I'm particularly stomping one or the other differently than the other between kits. This is just my take on this that I have noticed and have told the other members of my band over the years of gigging both kits. My feeling to sum this up is that the 18" moves less air and therefore creates less work on my leg however imperceptible it is while actually playing it.
 
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bassanddrum84

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I think It might be the pedal and the player have more factor then the size of the kick. I use a 20x20 but own 20x20, 16, 18, 20x8, 22, 24x16 ,24x20 , 30x16 and I play them all the same as normal I feel the biggest difference from the 30 but not enough to make me feel uncomfortable. I use a dw 9000 single and have always had imo a decent technique and quick response so I’d say the pedal and player more so the player then anything.
 
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mebeatee

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I think I might the pedal and the player have more factor then the size of the kick. I use a 20x20 but own 20x20, 16, 18, 20x8, 22, 24x16 ,24x20 , 30x16 and I play them all the same as normal I feel the biggest difference from the 30 but not enough to make me feel uncomfortable. I use a dw 9000 single and have always had imo a decent technique and quick response so I’d say the pedal and player more so the player then anything.
Agreed.....and add ported vs non ported reso head, and sometimes what is or isn’t dampening the batter head.
I have 18, 20, and 22 BD’s; used to jam at a place that had a 24, and used a 32“ concert bd from the band room for fun with a kids fiddle group....no big difference.
Depends upon pedal set up as well....I’ve played on kits where the pedal is so tight you have to be the Hulk to even push the thing down irregardless of bd size.
bt
 

gwbasley

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In my own experience, depth has more to do with it than anything else. Tone and punch can be adjusted with micing and head selection, but a deeper drum just takes more work to move the air from one end to the other.
 

stevil

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Thanks for everyone's thoughtful replies. Does anyone have experience playing ported and unported heads in different sizes? I've only played unported heads on a 24 and 26. The slapback was too much for me, even when I made sure not to bury the beater. Does a smaller drum have the same slapback problems?
 

Seb77

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Thanks for everyone's thoughtful replies. Does anyone have experience playing ported and unported heads in different sizes? I've only played unported heads on a 24 and 26. The slapback was too much for me, even when I made sure not to bury the beater. Does a smaller drum have the same slapback problems?
I have rarely played anything larger than 22, but used a resonant 22 unported for quite a while. It's a very different feel from a ported, stuffed drum, but I got used to it. I always used a medium tension on both heads, which might feel different from loose heads, and that way it didn't feel too different from smaller drums. I think I preferred a slightly heavier pedal and beater, and a slightly longer throw.

In reply to the original question: if you need serious low-end unmic'ed, a larger drum does the work for you, so the large drum is easier to play. If you need to play quietly, you might have to hold back too much with a larger drum, and then a smaller drum is easier to play. Choose the right tool for the job.
 

vintagedrummersweden

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I played a 28" Premier bass drum for a couple of years. A bit harder to play on faster tunes, but on the other hand with a 28" you don't need a bass player... ;)
 

thenuge

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If a 24 is what you love, then anything else especially smaller will be wrong. Forget easier. You got where you are by struggling.
 


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