How much does bass drum size really matter now?

Drum Mer

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For me, the bigger the better. Got a killer 26 RTC that went with every tour regardless of brand owned at the time.
Tony would have agreed with you.

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10/12/13/16/18/26/14

Massive!
 

DavedrumsTX

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For most of my playing life I’ve used mostly 24s some 22s and more recently some 26s.
Back when there was no amplification most of the old sets had 26 and 28 inch bass drums playing with big bands and the like. As people like Krupa moved towards smaller combos, bass drum size went down as everyone knows.
I like playing the larger bass drums just for personal feel. But with today’s milking and processing techniques I feel like any bass drum can be made to sound a certain way both live in the studio.
Why do you prefer your favorite bass drum size? Is it portability? Playability? Feel? Or something else?
It matters. I own 24, 22 and 20 bass drums(I used to have an 18, but rarely used it). I think about different drums like a carpenter uses different tools. I use the size that works best for each situation. If given one drum and one drum only, a 20 would be my choice.
 

Tophatjohnny

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16x24 on my One Ply Steam Bent Maple set and 14x24 on my Ludwig set ! So 24 it is here ! Why?? I love the look and the feel of a 24!
 

drumma75

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20x14 just gets it done for so many situations. I had a classic maple 20x14 that would break necks during setup/soundcheck at venues. I've been using a 22x16 tour custom as my daily driver for the last 3.5 years, and it's time has come to say goodbye. I think having a 20x14 and a 24x14 in the rotation is probably the most versatile option for the working drummer that mixes it up a lot of different genres. 22's are just too specific for me.
 

lemonslush

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i would say a lot as I only like 20" kicks. Ill play aorund with 18's or 16s but i dont want to play or want to own a kit with a kick bigger than 20. I trigger my kicks mostly anyways and even then you get a real nice punch with less resonance on a 20. I can sit my toms exactly where I want them. It triggers more consistant, i get slightly better rebound for the real fast stuff and moving the kick around is so much better. Fits through smaller door ways, liter and easier to get in and out of vehicles. I dont like the sound of 24+ kicks either too boomy for me also never liked the styles of music that use that kinda setup. everyones got a preference and I think 20" is the best size you can get. All pros and almost no sacrifices.
 

PassiveTone78

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22’s all day. Rock drummer. I’ve never had anything but a 22, but I would find it difficult to say anything intelligent in this discussion. Pillows and blankets are always in my bass drum….lol
 

Monday317

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For most of my playing life I’ve used mostly 24s some 22s and more recently some 26s.
Back when there was no amplification most of the old sets had 26 and 28 inch bass drums playing with big bands and the like. As people like Krupa moved towards smaller combos, bass drum size went down as everyone knows.
I like playing the larger bass drums just for personal feel. But with today’s milking and processing techniques I feel like any bass drum can be made to sound a certain way both live in the studio.
Why do you prefer your favorite bass drum size? Is it portability? Playability? Feel? Or something else?
I play a converted 28 x 12 marching bass, after having prostate cancer surgery. I can’t afford a new Corvette.
 

algabatz

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22" and 24". I almost exclusively play the 24", I like the boom.
Never tried a 26", but I would like to.
 

Verticaldude

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My First Good Kit (Yam 9000) came with 24’s. Its my favorite size (14x24). The Boom the Feel, everything about that size i love. And the beater hits more or less the middle of the head. This Probably adds to both the Sound & Feel.
I’ve Played plenty of 22’s Gigging, but i alway come back to the 24 as a favorite. Side note, the only 22 that could ever compete with those Birch 24’s was an Ayotte Custom 16x22
 
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IMO, size def matters, depending on what 'you' want for your sound, type of music, venue your playing, what you want to haul around, etc.

I play 3 diff sizes regularly...
  • Smaller cover gigs > Gretsch 16" - tiny, but mic'd up (with an Evans Emad), sounds great. Great for carting around too/my go-to travel kit and for small venues and quieter gigs.
  • For bigger gigs/venues (with original band) > Mapex Armory 20". Tight, great all-around sound (with Evans Emad 2). Works with everything. This is definitely my fave/preference of any.
  • For practice/recording > Tama Starclassic 22" > big sounds (with Aquarian Super Kick head). Not my kit. Records REALLY well. A bit bigger than I'm used to, but it really sounds nice.
 

Fat Drummer

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I opened this thread with a rather "haven't we done this to death" sigh... but as always, have enjoyed the read and comments yet again.

I have owned 18" through 26" with the majority being 22's". I discovered that I don't care for the feel of an 18" or smaller nore 24" and up so it's a 20" to 22" world for me. I love the feel and focused punch of 20's but also enjoy that big air movement and volume from a 22".

Love all the different thoughts and preferences!
 

kip

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22s were my standard for years, until i picked up a couple old kits w 24. Really love the 24s. Got a 26 for a while, but the older i get, the smaller size kick i want for gigging.

i do like 20/22 for over all.

ive played a few 18 and really enjoyed it.... the feel of an 18 and 26 , to me, are very different than a 22.

regarding size...you can't make butter with a toothpick!!!! :cool:
 

AgDrumma07

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I still prefer an 18x22 but my gig kick is a 16x22 APK and it hits HARD. I also love my 18" Stagestar, but it just doesn't get the super low end of a bigger drum regardless of how we mix it.
 

rpludwig

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jazz smaller combo gigger only here these days, 20 is my default, 18 is fine too, the driver is the style of music, miked or unmiked, venue, etc., most any size can fit with proper heads & tuning.

At my old age I play only one venue and my second kit sits there as a house kit stands, pedals and all. Played one Saturday, haul in/out (up 2 flights of stairs), all of one cymbal bag, snare and stick bag....joy for sure......used to be full kit, PA system and all, never again!

You younger guys can still carry the load, I cannot, bad back & all. BTW, off topic, need a backrest for a Gibralter 6608, all out of stock on backorder....the second set was painful!!!!!
 

Madmarian

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can someone enlighten me - what the heck are the people writing about here? I do not get it. I understand that drummers like certain drum sizes bc they "feel" more like a real drum set. But it makes no physical sense what many write here.

larger and deeper bass drums are louder. That is why drummers chose them in first place. Now that we have mic's on stage, volume should not be an issue at all, strangely it is a main subject again and again. Why?

Bass drums are getting mic'd, and thus the sound is subject to how you mic them, what mic you use, how you process the sound etc. I fear that despite what drummers think and feel about their kick sound, sound engineers see the instrument not much different than an electric guitar in the influence on the sound - sure it has some, but literally everything that comes after that in the signal chain has more influence in the sound, and to make things worse, the way you play, the heads you use, and the way you tune also have a bigger impact in the sound than the actual instrument.

And then the size... sorry, many claim that a small kick does not have so much low end, or is not possible to tune as low. This is so much "common sense" that people just nod to it - but it makes no sense either. This is simply not true. A 16" kick can produce pretty low frequencies already, and you'd be surprised to find out how little you can tell from a recording if a kick was 16, 20 or 26" large. What actually changes is the sound character, but not as most drummers expect.

So this is getting really funny: while drummers tend to claim larger BD sizes sound better to them when they play them live, they tend to chose way smaller kick drums when asked for their preference in sound in a blindfold test. And the more rock orientated the sound, the smaller the kick! We are talking about drummers hearing an 18 or even 16" kick, liking the sound a lot, and guessing it it 22 or larger.

I have a theory why the drummers, even though they usually want the kick to sound like an 18" one, chose larger sizes: Volume beats sound. Every time. Well, nearly every time.

Don't get me wrong, I have a 24' kick as well and had some 26'" ones and liked them, but when drummers actually explain what they like in a kick sound, and volume is no issue (mic's, remember?!?) why else do they generally pick the larger diameters? And to make things worse, claim it to sound different than it actually sounds, acoustically? Don't they have ears? Don't they recognize that their kick usually is not being mic'ed but triggered? Seriously, when you move your mic inside the instrument, use 2-3 mic's on the same instrument, and mix it together to create a kick sound, this is NOT how you faithfully reproduce an acoustic instrument in first place, this is more like triggering, and in fact we give each instrument a seperate chanel on the mixing console, we could use the mics to actually trigger our drums today.

When mixing an acoustic instrument you respect, your minimum distance is 20-30cm. When you get closer, you already change the sound, and the way we mic drums, we already use proximity effect as part of the sound, adding bass and low mids where was none or little.

sorry for this rant, but I am really confused. How am i to take a drummer serious when most do not recognize that their drum sound, acoustically, is not what you hear either on recording nor live through the PA?

Is there any percussionist who can explain to drummers that volume does not matter? Heck, they even play instruments with hands, and use small sized instruments like 14" - 18" bodhrans which reach deeper than most kick drums we hear...

rant over...
 


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