Holy Moly, My Drum Set Is Too Wide!

Corbin L Douthitt

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After finally getting my drums outfitted with decent heads, tuned to my liking, and accompanied by neurotically selected cymbals, I realized that the set is just too blasted wide.

No, I'm not a believer in those modern mini-sets, and passed on one because I didn't like the way it sounded. I also don't believe that saving a few inches of space is worth it. However, my gigging experience taught me that minimizing the footprint of my set is wise, since lots of times I've ended up on a "stage" not much bigger than the bed of a pickup truck.

And there's not a lot drummers can do about the depth of their footprints. The distance between the throne and the bass drum pedal is pretty much fixed, and while a shallow bass drum may save a few inches, the cymbal overhang may almost negate the space savings of a shallow bass drum.

But width, at least in my case, seems modifiable, and my problem is two rack toms. A second rack tom puts my ride cymbal fully a foot farther to the right than a 1-up 1-down setup would require, and this foot actually increases my total footprint by about 25% as calculated by square footage. I can't conclude that a second rack tom is worth this increase in my footprint, and definitely don't want to position my ride cymbal high and over the rack tom. Ergo, I'm afraid that I'm going to have to get rid of a rack tom.

I admire drummers who play different configurations for different occasions, but I'm too much a creature of habit to do that. I like to be so habituated to my setup that I don't need to think about it, regardless of the occasion. It therefore looks like I'm going to have to get used to a 1-up 1-down configuration.
Cymbal stackers can give you cymbals you want in a smaller footprint. I learned to tailor the kit to the amount of stage I was allocated.
 

coachie

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...too wide? Lol, this kit never leaves my house and it's constantly evolving. I've got a small 4 piece Yamaha and another little Sonor kit for travels.
 

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Wideglyd

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I know many won't like the suggestion, but a rack takes up a smaller footprint. I played a gig where the next band wanted to use my portable riser. I put a racked 7 piece kit with 4 crashes and a ride on it no problem. When the drummer tried to put his 5 pc kit with 2 crashes and a ride on stands on it, he had to put his ride stand on the floor to boom it over where he wanted it.
Yup! I’m a big proponent of rack set up. Less foot print and ease of set up.
6A50EF37-E865-4B77-AC0B-19C91021BAB3.jpeg
 

CherryClassic

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Back in the late 1960s and in the 70s, they were using 13, 14, 15 and even 16 inch rack toms. The only 10 and 12 were usually jazz setups. Now the standard sizes are 8, 10, 12, 13 rack toms and they end up needing muffling to get the sound of the 60s and 70s low pitch studio sound. I have hydraulic glass heads on all of my toms and still need a muffling ring on the toms to get that low studio sound.
Yes, my late 80's Ludwig's came with four rack toms; 13, 14, 16, 18. But they do take up a lot of space.

sherm
 

Old Drummer

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one consideration - make the 12" a floor tom - so you use a snare stand or add floor leg mounts to it and you have 2 floor toms... this can then pull in the ride.
This option has crossed my mind, as also has the 1-up 2-down setup. Curling the middle tom around toward the floor tom position doesn't change the footprint of the set much, and I would think that accessing the lower toms would be easy. Although I'd hate to add another snare stand (more hardware to haul and set up), using one might allow a 12" to still overhang the bass a tad and make it even more accessible than one with legs or another floor tom. It seems a logical solution.
 

dsop

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With the DW that adds a third to the left (8,10,12) which really pushes the hihat too far out.
Is your hi-hat stand way over beside your 8" tom? Yikes! Why not raise the toms and lower the hats so they sit under them? Would the toms be too high, or the hats too low?
 

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