My 16x16 bass drum: should I cut its depth to 14-5/8" or 11-5/8"?

Tyro

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My vote also go to the shorter of the two depths. I have a 12x16 Gretsch bass drum and I find it absolutely great for small group jazz. Just ordered a 7x10 tom to compliment my 12 and 14 toms on that kit and will be using the 12 tuned down a bit on small gigs where I need to go by public transport. Micro-bop FTW!
 

JazzDrumGuy

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Not to muddy the water, but I just picked up a 14x16 Renown FT that will be converted to a bass. It is a tad heavy sounding (8x10 & 11x13 FT) for the toms. I am tempted to cut it down but it is in great shape, so I will just use diff. heads to lighten it up thud-wise..........having an 12x18 and 12x16 though (both Ludwigs), I would still stick with my initial 11.625" recommendation.
 

Rich K.

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Not to muddy the water, but I just picked up a 14x16 Renown FT that will be converted to a bass. It is a tad heavy sounding (8x10 & 11x13 FT) for the toms. I am tempted to cut it down but it is in great shape, so I will just use diff. heads to lighten it up thud-wise..........having an 12x18 and 12x16 though (both Ludwigs), I would still stick with my initial 11.625" recommendation.
Was thinking of getting a 16x14 Gretsch Renown to use as a bass drum, but Sonor has a brown fade AQ2 16" that's cheaper and already done, so I may go that route...
 

JazzDrumGuy

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Was thinking of getting a 16x14 Gretsch Renown to use as a bass drum, but Sonor has a brown fade AQ2 16" that's cheaper and already done, so I may go that route...
I found a 15x16 bass, not a 14x16 in the Sonor AQ2........


I also found a 13x14 bass:

 

stick2it

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UPDATE ON OUTCOME

Thanks to the many of you who weighed-in on cutting down my 16x16 maple bass drum that is part of my Sonor “Select Force” Jungle kit – now the AQ2 Safari. I thought I’d share the outcome of this little project, in words and a few photos, for any of you who might be interested.

BEFORE and AFTER:
BEFORE cut - top detail.jpg
AFTER cut.jpg


Yesterday I received from Precision Drum Co my bass drum shell, cut down to a depth of a little more than 11 inches – the maximum depth achievable to remove, in the cut, all hardware holes but for one remaining hole from the bass drum’s riser mount.

When I first pulled the drum from the box and saw how shallow its depth was – there wasn’t much drum left – my first thought was, “What have I done?” Maybe I should have simply kept this little drum at the original 16x16, or maybe I should have had it cut-down just one lug-hole to 14.5x16. No turning back now….

Nonetheless, Precision cut a wonderful “vintage” bearing edge and flawlessly drilled the holes for mounting the lugs on the cut-end of the shell. Gary, George, and Andrea of the Precision Drum team were great – I’ll be a returning customer if I have another project.

Now it was my turn to do a few tasks before seeing and hearing the results. As this drum doesn’t have a lot of value on the used marketplace, I thought I wouldn’t invest too much in the services of Precision Drum and, instead, do some of the work myself, which I found to be fun and fairly quick. I drilled three new holes for the integral Sonor bass drum riser. (I’m not a big fan of risers, but Sonor’s is the best riser design, in my opinion: functional, robust, not fussy, and doesn’t attach to – bite into – your bass drum hoop.) Using Milliput, I plugged the vacant riser-mount hole and the original vent hole. To have the riser mount fit flush to the shell, I cut away a bit of the center of the black plastic that sits between the metal mount and the shell which permitted the original vent eyelet to remain in place (covered entirely by the mount). In line with the riser mount and the original vent hole, I drilled a new vent hole and installed a new vent eyelet that I purchased from Precision Drum for fifty cents (see my photo of the riser mount and vent hole installation). I also sanded a rough area on one of the bass drum hoops – it had a slight bit of pedal rash -- and applied a few, fine coats of clear Miniwax poly to this area, lightly sanding between coats. I reinstalled the identical Aquarian single-ply coated heads (without any muffling) and tuned-up. (I have an old DFO entry you can find here – 16" bass drum…-- that shares how I approach tuning a 16” bass drum.)

All went well on my side, and the little bass drum looks great and has the responsiveness and sound I was seeking.

During that long stretch of the pandemic, when most of us were stuck at home, I played this kit (16x16 bd, 10x8, 14x12) at a live stream jazz gig in an empty hall. The sound people were great, carefully capturing my kit with good quality, well-placed, well-balanced mics. The 16x16 bass drum sounded fine – but not to my ear for this gig of small group jazz with/without vocalist. It was too much a punchy canon -- perfect for what Sonor envisioned: “jungle” (electronic dance) music and as a compact bass drum for pop/rock/soul. Cut down with a new bearing edge, the now 16x11+ bass drum has that warm “hum” of a “bop” bass drum (akin to my Canopus 18x14) - that’s what I was after.

I’ll need time playing this little drum to learn what I really think of 16x12 bass drums, but they seem all the rage these days. There are the really cheap ones (Ludwig Breakbeat, Pearl Midtown) and the really expensive ones (Gretsch Brooklyn & Custom, Canopus Neo Vintage) but not much in between, lamentably, which in part motivated my little project. Now I have one “in between”: a good quality, maple, 16” bop bass drum.

Here's what it sounds like: video link
A first, simple recording of it, captured by Zoom video recorder. You can hear the bass drum best on its own at about 6:15 in.

Thanks again to those who offered their input – the DFO consensus was to cut to the smaller 11+”, and that turned out to be a winner. – stick2it
 

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Tyro

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Looks like a great result, job well executed - happy to see that, stick2it!

Agree, I’m surprised there aren’t more mid-level kits for example Gretsch Renown or similar in these micro bop sizes. Would’ve bought that in a heartbeat if available and I’m sure there is a good market for many gigging drummers that need a compact kit but want better quality than the 400 USD kits eg the Breakbeats, but not ready to pay 2000 USD (even more if I look at local pricing in Sweden where I’m based) for the next level up…

The Brooklyn Micro was tempting for me but felt like a bit too much for a small kit mainly for gigs. Would have much liked if the 12x16 bass drum was available as an add-on drum though, tried unsuccessfully to arrange that with dealers and Gretsch…
In the end I found a used micro bop kit in USA Custom at a good deal, a keeper for sure.
 

CherryClassic

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I think (I'm no expert) before cutting anything I would try REMO PS3 heads first, then tune it for Jazz. Examples: Coated, Fiberskyn, Smooth White, etc. The same on the batter side or a Clear, but PS3's on both sides would be my choice. Add a small amount of muffling as needed depending on the venue.

sherm

OOOPS!! Sorry I didn't read everything before opening my mouth. Enjoy your reconstructed instrument. sherm
 
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mlucas123

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Great job. Now it looks like a proper bass drum.
 

dingaling

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Cool. Looks good. I’m sure it sounds great.
 

JimmyM

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Oofa! A deep shell is about the only way I could do a 16" bass drum, but you did do a really nice looking job :D
 

stick2it

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FOLLOW-UP -- AFTER A COUPLE OF WEEKS PLAYING IT:
After years of living with this bass drum as a 16x16, I'm happy to report that it has a wonderful new life as a 16x12 bass drum (after a couple of weeks of playing it). It's much more responsive and sounds -- with the same heads as before, Aquarian singly-ply Texture Coated -- like a jazz bass drum.

In recent days I replaced the resonant head with a Remo Fiberskyn Diplomat head for the cool factor. I also replaced the resonant heads on the two toms -- they had been Aquarian single-ply Clear Classics -- with single-ply Texture Coated heads, which warmed them both up and made them a little drier. I was never hip to the 10x8 tom (or 10" toms altogether); but the coated resonant warmed it, and then I de-tuned one lug on the batter size to get it to not sound so pitchy. I'm now thrilled with this little kit, enough so, that I wasn't so anxious to get my Canopus bop kit set up in its place. And the whole kit fits even more easily in one multi-tom bag I have on wheels. Precision Drum Co. did a great job with cutting, drilling, and creating the new bearing edge.
 
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Tyro

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FOLLOW-UP -- AFTER A COUPLE OF WEEKS PLAYING IT:
After years of living with this bass drum as a 16x16, I'm happy to report that it has a wonderful new life as a 16x12 bass drum (after a couple of weeks of playing it). It's much more responsive and sounds -- with the same heads as before, Aquarian singly-ply Texture Coated -- like a jazz bass drum.

In recent days I replaced the resonant head with a Remo Fiberskyn Diplomat head for the cool factor. I also replaced the resonant heads on the two toms -- they had been Aquarian single-ply Clear Classics -- with single-ply Texture Coated heads, which warmed them both up and made them a little drier. I was never hip to the 10x8 tom (or 10" toms altogether); but the coated resonant warmed it, and then I de-tuned one lug on the batter size to get it to not sound so pitchy. I'm now thrilled with this little kit, enough so, that I wasn't so anxious to get my Canopus bop kit set up in its place. And the whole kit fits even more easily in one multi-tom bag I have on wheels. Precision Drum Co. did a great job with cutting, drilling, and creating the new bearing edge.
Great to hear! Curious about that Multi tom bag on wheels, care to share more info?
 


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