Are smaller bass drums that much easier to play?

varatrodder

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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
I love 20s. After 30+ years of playing 20, 22 and 24, I always seem to gravitate towards 20”.
 

TonyVazquez

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I love 20s. After 30+ years of playing 20, 22 and 24, I always seem to gravitate towards 20”.
20s are awesome. With a 20 you get the best of both worlds (punch, and lower frequencies than an 18 or a 16.

After switching to my next drum I reckon I can retire the 16 back to its floor tom origin, or keep it home as a coffee table! :angel9:
 

David M Scott

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I'm 80 and still jam and gig.
About 5 years ago after some research I decided a new easier to play kick pedal was in order as I had arthritic knees and ankles. I chose the Tama Iron Cobra 900S. The Yamaha and other chain drive pedal I had worked fine but left me sore and limping after 3-4 hours.
So first of all I found the Kevlar strap drive smoother than any chain drive I'd previously played. Then there are the multi adjustments of the Cobra that allow me to compensate for when my leg and ankle start to stiffen after a couple of hours. Now I know that many eschew the small footboard return spring as a gimmick but it's been a leg saver for me as it adds one more dimension to leg saving. And to complicate things almost two years ago to the day I had my kick knee replaced with one of those fancy stainless steel jobbies. While leg pain virtually disappeared that artificial knee is not nearly as flexible as the real thing.
But that Cobra keeps me in there and in time. I play all genre' but more Jazz and Latin and that pedal lets me do a 250bpm Samba without effort. So count me in as
"Pedal makes the difference"
cheers
 

Corbin L Douthitt

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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.
smaller- for all the reasons you list.. smaller arc on the bass drum beater(assuming you adjust for 18" to 22" to hut the right spot..I have found that the lighter the spring setting on the Bass pedal.. the better my playing, no double/triple hits, easier to get a quick 32nd or 16th in...I have 22" for gigs, and at church, and an 18" bebop kit. small venue or no one tells me the size- I'll take the bebop kit.. 1 up, 1 down. easier to haul at 75.
 

JDA

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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.
are-smaller-bass-drums-that-much-easier-to-play.

No. They're harder . IF the (band) volume approaches anything above "human conversation" level. You have to STS out of it.

on the other hand- that- having to stomp (even with two heads no hole (say 14X18) and a coated PS batter- this changes your entire attention "level" behind the set (no lazy relaxing)

"Hey who's the crazy drummer tonight?"
"I dunno but he's going nuts back there and the volume level is low"

lol
 
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David M Scott

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You, sir, are an inspiration. That’s so cool that you’re still at it. I hope I can match your devotion to the craft.
Music kept me going during the three years my Bride suffered Cancer and I was a caregiver. After she died it helped me meet a great new partner and now i'm just recovering from Cancer surgery March 10th but started back on my kit 10 days later. Drumming can lift ones spirit to greater heights. This forum has been wonderful as there is so much sharing of information and great ideas that I have incorporated into my playing. Don't ever quit or stop learning my friend.
cheers
 

David M Scott

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are-smaller-bass-drums-that-much-easier-to-play.

No. They're harder . IF the (band) volume approaches anything above "human conversation" level. You have to STS out of it.

on the other hand- that- having to stomp (even with two heads no hole (say 14X18) and a coated PS batter- this changes your entire attention "level" behind the set (no lazy relaxing)

"Hey who's the crazy drummer tonight?"
"I dunno but he's going nuts back there and the volume level is low"

lol
Very tasteful
That group totally understands "band dynamics" which seems to be getting more and more rare. Everyone is in sync sound and timing wise. Nice
Bluesy number.
 
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JDA

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thank you @David M Scott (wish I would have had (recorded) that whole day) (wouldn't have believed what we played) such a joy.
(and I made it thru) (Oleo - fast was another song)

If I have three gigs like that a year I'm content.
Might even settle for one (may have to)

later that year I had another gig with same group basically (bass man was different) and a Flugelhorn came out of the audience (to sit in..) and of Course that's what someone captured with their phone.

 
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