Cutting down drum shells

komodobob

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Quite often I see posts where someone says they cut down a particular drum shell. For instance, taking a 16" deep bass drum down to a 14", or doing the same with toms. Now I get why people do that and realize they have their reasons and the drums belong to them and they can do as they wish. Personally, I just wouldn't go to the effort to do this, but rather, if buying new or used, just buy the drum sizes I'm looking for. That just seems to be much easier than going to all that trouble.

So I guess I'm not really questioning anyone's motive, or challenging anyone, when it comes to changing shell size. However I am interested in who would or wouldn't do this to a factory kit? Personally I wouldn't and have my reasons as stated above.
 

A.TomicMorganic

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I have an 11x13 rack tom that I would love to have shortened. Not a factory drum, but a custom.
 

Tornado

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I would have a hard time buying something just to have it cut, but if you have something you've owned for a long time, the cost and effort are nothing. Got that old ridiculous looking power tom? Don't want the hassle of trying to sell it and buy something else? Cut it. It's just the $50 or whatever it is to have it cut.
 

DanRH

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For me, it was a space issue in my studio where I have limited space and it was an inexpensive Stage Custom bass drum which only comes in dumb 17" depths. So, now I have a 13.75x20 bass drum that I have no regrets cutting down. I also cut it from the resonant side because I prefer the tom mounting where it is in relation to the batter. I've gotten quite a few comments that it was the wrong way to do it but I have absolutely no regrets doing the way I did. And yes, the spurs had to be moved back which left me a few holes in the shell. Cost me $125 and was well worth it.

SCCutBassdrum1.JPG

SCCutBassdrum6.JPG
 

Frank Godiva

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For me, it was a space issue in my studio where I have limited space and it was an inexpensive Stage Custom bass drum which only comes in dumb 17" depths. So, now I have a 13.75x20 bass drum that I have no regrets cutting down. I also cut it from the resonant side because I prefer the tom mounting where it is in relation to the batter. I've gotten quite a few comments that it was the wrong way to do it but I have absolutely no regrets doing the way I did. And yes, the spurs had to be moved back which left me a few holes in the shell. Cost me $125 and was well worth it.

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View attachment 498815
That was done in Dublin correct?

So what’s the right way to cut down a drum?
 

bpaluzzi

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Quite often I see posts where someone says they cut down a particular drum shell. For instance, taking a 16" deep bass drum down to a 14", or doing the same with toms. Now I get why people do that and realize they have their reasons and the drums belong to them and they can do as they wish. Personally, I just wouldn't go to the effort to do this, but rather, if buying new or used, just buy the drum sizes I'm looking for. That just seems to be much easier than going to all that trouble.

So I guess I'm not really questioning anyone's motive, or challenging anyone, when it comes to changing shell size. However I am interested in who would or wouldn't do this to a factory kit? Personally I wouldn't and have my reasons as stated above.
With most mid-tier and below series, you have one option (per diameter) when it comes to depth. 18x22 being the bane of existence in a lot of these kits (Gretsch Renown, as an example: 14x18, 16x20, 18x22, and 14x24 are your options: take it or leave it)

Even with many high-end series, it can be difficult to find some certain depths. Yamaha recording custom, for example: While you can get the 22" in 14/16/18 depths, the 20" only comes in 16". And none of their diameters come in a 12" depth.
 

DanRH

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That was done in Dublin correct?

So what’s the right way to cut down a drum?
To not to have to move the spurs, I've been told to cut it from the batter side. BUT, for me, that would make the tom mount too close. Then, I'd have have to move that. No, for me, no question, the resonant side. And yes, my local drum shop uses a guy that does great work and is reasonable. At Dubs Drumbasement.
 

shuffle

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I would do this on any 11x12 or 12x13 tom.
That depth is just plain dumb to me as is an 18x22,good grief!
 

glaze148

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I just hate 18x16” bass drums. I had Precision cut down a GMS CL 18 x 16 bd to Jazzette sized 18x12. I bought it used and loved everything else about the kit. Just realizing that he must have cut 2 “ off of each side. Lug and badge placement worked out fine w/o drilling new holes. The fact that it was not an expensive kit figured into the decision. The cost was just $125 for the work.
Turned out to be an improvement in response, and sound as well.
 

bassanddrum84

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I do it all the time. I prefer short stack rack toms( I prefer the lower placement with them and the sound) . And it’s not exactly easy to find them. So I cut them down, edge them and drill them. I’ve done it on low end kits all the way to a dw collectors series kit. It’s just wood. Sometimes acrylic. Lol I love 20x20 kick drums and own a few and ended up cutting one down to 20x8 and wow I love it more then the others now.
 

dtk

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I just had a 14x10 Walberg and Auge Shell cut down for 2 snares. It had no hardware (would have been single tension tuners). It cost me $8. I paid a guy $80 to cut it down/edge/drill/bed and wrap (my wrap)...simple math.
 

shuffle

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I just had a 14x10 Walberg and Auge Shell cut down for 2 snares. It had no hardware (would have been single tension tuners). It cost me $8. I paid a guy $80 to cut it down/edge/drill/bed and wrap (my wrap)...simple math.
Ive wanted to do that with a 10x14 Rogers.
Make a coupla snares out of it.
Never did,gave it away.
But,thats a way to do it.
 

ludwigfire

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Sometimes you make an exception when you buy a kit . I not real fond of this 24x18 bass drum . But where else you gonna find this kit ?

View attachment 498837
This, along with rewrapping drums. You can't always find the sizes or finishes you need/want on the market, either due to rarity, availability, or that they were never made in the first place.

After reading many threads here over the years about drums being modified, it does seen like the majority do their best not to ruin or alter potentially valuable (to someone, not necessarily actual monetary value) drums to finish a project. Instead they look for previously altered shells, deal with extra holes, and on the rare occasion, have or make something completely custom to for their needs.

I happen to really love Ludwig's blue marble finish from the mid '90s, but that was the time of the power toms. Finding traditional sizes in that finish is damn near impossible so my only option would be to cut original shells to my preferred sizes.
 

TheBeachBoy

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I've only done it once, with a 24x18 down to 24x14. I got the kit for $200 and I liked everything except the BD depth. Had a local guy do it for $50 and now it has punch to it that was lacking before. He did the batter side as it was a virgin kick (until I added a Maxwell rail) so he didn't have to redrill for the spurs. If there was already a tom mount there like in Dan's case I would've needed to figure out the placement to determine which side to cut. The modifications, mounts, and new heads cost more than the kit, all said and done.
 

supershifter2

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Quite often I see posts where someone says they cut down a particular drum shell. For instance, taking a 16" deep bass drum down to a 14", or doing the same with toms. Now I get why people do that and realize they have their reasons and the drums belong to them and they can do as they wish. Personally, I just wouldn't go to the effort to do this, but rather, if buying new or used, just buy the drum sizes I'm looking for. That just seems to be much easier than going to all that trouble.

So I guess I'm not really questioning anyone's motive, or challenging anyone, when it comes to changing shell size. However I am interested in who would or wouldn't do this to a factory kit? Personally I wouldn't and have my reasons as stated above.
I play 1980's Tama Superstars. 1986 was the last year they were made. Tama never made a 12x16 , 14x18 , 16x20 in those drums. So i have my 16x16 cut down to 12x16 , 16x18 cut down to 14x18 , 18x20 cut down to 16x18. Why ? Because I like the sound of them better. Around 1972 I cut dowm my first drum, a mij 14x14 tom. i cut it down to 10x14 and never put a bottom head back on.
 

jmato

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I cannot find a 14x22 Yamaha LC kick to match my kit anywhere. I should have bought it new, but did not. So I am strongly considering cutting down the 18x22. I never pull the trigger, b/c I keep thinking I will find what I seek, and b/c I know I am going to have to move the spurs and the sunburst finish will be uneven and maybe look weird.

A few more months and I may just do it. It seems sacrilegious to cut such a beautiful drum, however.
 


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