Proportional tom sizes??

cutaway79

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I'm currently planning a new custom kit, and I was curious if anyone has made/played a kit where all the toms/floor toms were proportionally equal. Here's what I mean...

The tom size I find to be the most pleasing to my ears in any kit, in most cases, is a 12x8 (depth is 2/3 of the diameter) - tone, decay, ease of tuning, amount of overtones, etc. So, if I were to use the same proportions for all my toms, would they all exhibit similar characteristics, just in a deeper/higher voice (hope that makes sense)? 10x6.66, 12x8, 13x8.66, 14x9.33, 15x10, 16x10.66. I suppose I should mention that all shells will be free-floating, so there will be no lugs or brackets attached to the shell influencing the sound. The only thing touching the shells will be the heads.

It may be a wacky/stupid idea. I just always find deep floor toms to be more finicky, and tend to need more attention when tuning. So I'm just tossing around ideas.
 

supershifter2

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I played 10x14,12x16,16x18,18x20 toms for years and the spacing was great. I had my 16x18 cut down to 14x16 and 18x20 cut down to 16x20 and the spacing was still great and the 18 and 20 toms sounded better shorter. I decided to tune a tad higher and the 10x14 didnt fit in. I put my 12x15 in place of the 10x14 and the spacing and sound was really great. I now play 12x15,12x16,14x18,16x20 toms and the spacing and blending is excellent. Tom size spacing is something you have to try and the sizes you choose might work great together at one tuning and not work together at another tuning. Head choice is important and you should use the same batter and reso heads on all toms to keep the tone the same.
 

cutaway79

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I played 10x14,12x16,16x18,18x20 toms for years and the spacing was great. I had my 16x18 cut down to 14x16 and 18x20 cut down to 16x20 and the spacing was still great and the 18 and 20 toms sounded better shorter. I decided to tune a tad higher and the 10x14 didnt fit in. I put my 12x15 in place of the 10x14 and the spacing and sound was really great. I now play 12x15,12x16,14x18,16x20 toms and the spacing and blending is excellent. Tom size spacing is something you have to try and the sizes you choose might work great together at one tuning and not work together at another tuning. Head choice is important and you should use the same batter and reso heads on all toms to keep the tone the same.
I generally use Ambassadors top and bottom. Though I've got a bunch of different used (not abused) tom heads from over the years that I've tried at one time or another, that I'm going to experiment with to make sure I really get these drums sounding the best they can.

I've only ordered the 12x8 shell to start. Since that's my favorite sounding/easiest to tune size, I'm going to use it as my guinea pig to try different heads, tunings, and if necessary, muffling, to see if this shell/tuning system combo will even work well.

If it works, I'll order a floor tom and bass drum shell (to start). If not, I'll send the shell back to Oriollo, and have lugs put on, then I'll order the kick and floor with lugs too.
 

cribbon

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I'm currently planning a new custom kit, and I was curious if anyone has made/played a kit where all the toms/floor toms were proportionally equal. Here's what I mean...

The tom size I find to be the most pleasing to my ears in any kit, in most cases, is a 12x8 (depth is 2/3 of the diameter) - tone, decay, ease of tuning, amount of overtones, etc. So, if I were to use the same proportions for all my toms, would they all exhibit similar characteristics, just in a deeper/higher voice (hope that makes sense)? 10x6.66, 12x8, 13x8.66, 14x9.33, 15x10, 16x10.66. I suppose I should mention that all shells will be free-floating, so there will be no lugs or brackets attached to the shell influencing the sound. The only thing touching the shells will be the heads.

It may be a wacky/stupid idea. I just always find deep floor toms to be more finicky, and tend to need more attention when tuning. So I'm just tossing around ideas.
Your 10-14 toms depths are very close to the traditional sizes of 6.5x10, 8x12, 9x13 and 10x14, so you're not way out into left field until you get to the 15 and 16. Use whatever sounds good to you. I used to have a 13x16 floor tom a few years ago and that thing was a monster - tons of bottom.

DrkChmpgne2013_010.JPG
 

rdumas

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Yeah, those sizes are pretty close to Tama hyper-drive sizing....6.5x10, 7x12, 12x14, 14x16.
 

cutaway79

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Your 10-14 toms depths are very close to the traditional sizes of 6.5x10, 8x12, 9x13 and 10x14, so you're not way out into left field until you get to the 15 and 16. Use whatever sounds good to you. I used to have a 13x16 floor tom a few years ago and that thing was a monster - tons of bottom.

View attachment 377187
That's what I was thinking about the smaller toms. The big question, I guess, is how the floor toms would be affected, as I've never heard a floor tom with similar dimensions/proportions.

I obviously want to use what sounds good to me. I'm just asking because I don't know how it may sound, and the shells are custom order, and not super cheap. So I wanted to see if anyone has any experience, or at least an educated guess on what the sound properties of such shallow floor toms might be, before I go ordering a full set.

Part of the reason I'm really considering this is that, for instance, a 16x16 floor tom sounds fine to me, but is a bit too boomy (sometimes growly), and seems to be more particular about tuning. So I throw a couple cotton balls inside, tune the reso higher than the batter, and throw a Moongel on top. When I've played a 16x13 (the shortest 16" I've played), it seems to require less attention. So I'm curious if going even shallower - 10.5"-11" - would alleviate the issues even more, or possibly create new issues.
 

cutaway79

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Yeah, those sizes are pretty close to Tama hyper-drive sizing....6.5x10, 7x12, 12x14, 14x16.
The 10" is. But the rest (until the floor toms) are pretty close to "traditional" sizing - 8x12, 9x13, 10x14... But "traditional" 15" and 16" toms are 12x15, and 14x16. Those are the drums I'm really wondering about.
 

Treviso1

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I played proportional sized toms and kits for many years. I am back to playing traditional sizes and won't ever change back. Nuff said.
 

cutaway79

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I played proportional sized toms and kits for many years. I am back to playing traditional sizes and won't ever change back. Nuff said.
Not meaning to be rude, but, not really nuff said at all...

What didn't you like about them? You said you played those sizes for "many years", so there must have been some good qualities. What were they? What were the proportions? I mean, I played a kit in the 90s with proportional toms. But the proportions were 1:1 (square toms), so none of them were really optimum to me. How did you tune? What kind of music were you playing? What kind of drum sounds were you going for? This is all valuable info. Thanks for the reply!
 

Treviso1

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This is all subjective and opinion. When I said "nuff said"...it is where I am at after owning nearly everything out there. If you love them, by all means, knock yourself out. I have owned literally over a hundred high end kits over the years. Many Brady kits, DW (Collectors, Birch, & mahogany vintage), many Sonor drums (Signature, Designer, Sonorlites, Hilites, Phonics, etc), Ludwig (many Legacy kits and Maple), Canopus, many Nashville Slingerland Studio Kings, Trick, Dunnett Titanium, Many custom Stave kits from many custom drum makers, Pearl Masterworks, Yamaha (Phoenix, Recording Custom, Absolutes, Maple Custom, etc), Noble & Cooley (CD Maple & Horizons), Craviotto (both Maple Birdseye and Walnut), many Gretsch kits (USA Maple, Purewood, etc.), GMS, Premier Resonators, etc... You get the idea. I have had many kits in so called "Fast" or even shorter sizes and honestly, I just think it was mostly hype. A kit either sounds great or it doesn't. For me, it starts with the bass drum. If the kick doesn't thump with a serious amount of low end being generated, it is all downhill from there. I like traditional sized rack toms (8x12, 9x13, etc) and traditional sized floor toms (14x14, 16x16, etc..). I also can't stand suspended floor toms...they must be on legs. Putting a squatty 16" sized floor tom, but only 8"-10" deep on legs or even mounted just looks stupid to me. It isn't aesthetically appealing. Also, try selling a squatty little kit these days...good luck.
Again, this is my opinion...Nuff said!
 

cutaway79

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This is all subjective and opinion. When I said "nuff said"...it is where I am at after owning nearly everything out there. If you love them, by all means, knock yourself out. I have owned literally over a hundred high end kits over the years. Many Brady kits, DW (Collectors, Birch, & mahogany vintage), many Sonor drums (Signature, Designer, Sonorlites, Hilites, Phonics, etc), Ludwig (many Legacy kits and Maple), Canopus, many Nashville Slingerland Studio Kings, Trick, Dunnett Titanium, Many custom Stave kits from many custom drum makers, Pearl Masterworks, Yamaha (Phoenix, Recording Custom, Absolutes, Maple Custom, etc), Noble & Cooley (CD Maple & Horizons), Craviotto (both Maple Birdseye and Walnut), many Gretsch kits (USA Maple, Purewood, etc.), GMS, Premier Resonators, etc... You get the idea.
Hey, I'm with ya. I too have owned (and played backline touring the world on) a crapload of kits (well over 100 as well) over the past 30+ years that I've been playing/collecting/flipping drums. New, vintage, top-of-the-line, student level, weird, gimmicky, various sizes and configurations, odd materials, blah blah blah. But that stuff isn't really relevant at all. Seemed like a very random flex for you to throw into this discussion. And I don't know if I "love them". I'm asking for info if anyone has experience with these, or similar, sizes because I've never played them myself.

I have had many kits in so called "Fast" or even shorter sizes and honestly, I just think it was mostly hype. A kit either sounds great or it doesn't.
Quick history lesson, "FAST" toms were a term coined by DW in the 90s (Fundamentally Accurate Tom Sizes or some such nonsense), and are 1" deeper than "traditional" sizes (12x8, 13x9, 14x10, etc.), not shorter. They WERE 1" shorter than the standard "power" toms of the day (12x10, 13x11, 14x12, etc.). FAST sizes were 12x9, 13x10, 14x11, etc., which have since pretty much become the norm. Though, traditional sizes do seem to be coming back around.

For me, it starts with the bass drum. If the kick doesn't thump with a serious amount of low end being generated, it is all downhill from there.
I never even mentioned anything about the bass drum (which will be 22x14). Just toms.

I like traditional sized rack toms (8x12, 9x13, etc) and traditional sized floor toms (14x14, 16x16, etc..). I also can't stand suspended floor toms...they must be on legs. Putting a squatty 16" sized floor tom, but only 8"-10" deep on legs or even mounted just looks stupid to me. It isn't aesthetically appealing. Also, try selling a squatty little kit these days...good luck.
Again, this is my opinion...Nuff said!
I think you may have misunderstood the question. I was originally asking if a floor tom in similar proportions to a 12x8 tom would exhibit similar sonic characteristics, but just in a lower tone. And if anybody has experience, or some kind of "scientific" theory as to why or why not. You said you owned a kit for many years where the tom sizes were proportional (as described above), so I wanted to pick your brain about how the drums behaved. Not so much about personal preference. For instance, I love mounted floor toms if they're suspended properly. Makes setting up and tearing down a bit faster. I gig a lot - for a living, in fact - so that kind of stuff is more important to me than if an audience member thinks my floor tom looks weird. I'm not building this particular kit for resale value. I'm building it to be a really great, functional, lightweight gigging kit. It is 100% experimental at this point.

I'm not quite understanding the attitude you seem to be giving off.

EDIT: And try selling almost any drum equipment these days. The market is bleak. Everything is going digital.
 
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Treviso1

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"I'm not quite understanding the attitude you seem to be giving off."

I hope you are kidding?
 

cutaway79

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"I'm not quite understanding the attitude you seem to be giving off."

I hope you are kidding?
Well, to be fair, I asked specific questions about your experience with the proportionally-sized drums you said you owned. And you responded with what basically seemed like a bit of slightly condescending, know-it-all flexing. And none of it had to do with the topic at hand. You answered none of my questions, gave personal opinions about things nobody asked about, proceeded to call my idea "stupid" with nothing to back it up aside from you personally not finding it aesthetically pleasing, and then "Nuff said!". Not sure what I did to tick you off, but yeah...
 

supershifter2

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This is all subjective and opinion. When I said "nuff said"...it is where I am at after owning nearly everything out there. If you love them, by all means, knock yourself out. I have owned literally over a hundred high end kits over the years. Many Brady kits, DW (Collectors, Birch, & mahogany vintage), many Sonor drums (Signature, Designer, Sonorlites, Hilites, Phonics, etc), Ludwig (many Legacy kits and Maple), Canopus, many Nashville Slingerland Studio Kings, Trick, Dunnett Titanium, Many custom Stave kits from many custom drum makers, Pearl Masterworks, Yamaha (Phoenix, Recording Custom, Absolutes, Maple Custom, etc), Noble & Cooley (CD Maple & Horizons), Craviotto (both Maple Birdseye and Walnut), many Gretsch kits (USA Maple, Purewood, etc.), GMS, Premier Resonators, etc... You get the idea. I have had many kits in so called "Fast" or even shorter sizes and honestly, I just think it was mostly hype. A kit either sounds great or it doesn't. For me, it starts with the bass drum. If the kick doesn't thump with a serious amount of low end being generated, it is all downhill from there. I like traditional sized rack toms (8x12, 9x13, etc) and traditional sized floor toms (14x14, 16x16, etc..). I also can't stand suspended floor toms...they must be on legs. Putting a squatty 16" sized floor tom, but only 8"-10" deep on legs or even mounted just looks stupid to me. It isn't aesthetically appealing. Also, try selling a squatty little kit these days...good luck.
Again, this is my opinion...Nuff said!
my 15,16,18,20 floor toms look great on stand and are not choked like toms on legs. I also have the largest diameter toms made.
 

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Seb77

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I would suggest getting your hand on a used 10x14 tom and compare it to a 14x14, ideally of the same make. Or try to find a dw or other kit in "fast" sizes.
With higher tunings the shallow depth should sound great, with lower tunings there might be some whackiness. The shallow depth might actually have a longer decay and a bit more pitch-bend because there is less air to move in between the heads.
Tuning should be easier, just tune both heads the same, that's what's great about the trad. 2:3 ratio.
If you want a very even row of toms proportionate sizes should be great, but traditionally a rack tom is expected to sound a certain way, a floor tom traditionally sounds different with the square depth. I don't sit down at a kit and wish the floor tom was shallower, maybe I even prefer the traditional "square" dimensions.

Setup/mounting: You need rather long legs for a shallow floor tom to sit high enough, I think that was the reason for the deep shell originally.
If you got the long legs and suddenly want to tilt the drum, it might be unstable. That's why mounted toms might be better, think 70s Gadd.
 

cutaway79

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First off, thanks for the well thought out reply!

I would suggest getting your hand on a used 10x14 tom and compare it to a 14x14, ideally of the same make. Or try to find a dw or other kit in "fast" sizes.
I'm definitely going to be using the 14" as a rack tom, as I'm not a fan of 14" floor toms (plenty of experience with depths from 10"-14"). I guess my question mainly pertains to the 15" and 16" sizes. The shallowest I've played of each has been 12" and 13" respectively. I definitely prefer those shallower sizes over square, since they tend to tune up easier, and with less (often no) muffling. I actually had a GMS kit with 10, 12, 13, 16 square toms, and while it looked cool at the time (early-mid 90s thrash metal band), it was just too boomy, and tough to get a sound I really liked out of them without a good amount of effort and muffling. Likewise, I find a lot of 18" deep (or deeper) bass drums to just be too much.

With higher tunings the shallow depth should sound great, with lower tunings there might be some whackiness. The shallow depth might actually have a longer decay and a bit more pitch-bend because there is less air to move in between the heads.
Tuning should be easier, just tune both heads the same, that's what's great about the trad. 2:3 ratio.
With this kit being cable-tensioned (turning one rod equally tightens both heads all the way around), the only option is to have both heads tuned the same. That's actually why I'm asking about shorter depths. I love the sound qualities of a nice 12x8 tom, and tuning both heads the same yields great results. But, in my experience, deeper drums tend to lend themselves more to a 'reso head higher' type tuning. So since, the tuning will be limited in that way, I was thinking that similar proportions on the bigger drums might give similar tuning characteristics, and sound "better" (subjective, I know) at that kind of tuning. I don't like drums tuned super low at all for my band, so I definitely don't want a lot of "whack". Though I do like my toms to have a good punch to them.

If you want a very even row of toms proportionate sizes should be great, but traditionally a rack tom is expected to sound a certain way, a floor tom traditionally sounds different with the square depth. I don't sit down at a kit and wish the floor tom was shallower, maybe I even prefer the traditional "square" dimensions.
See, I'm not a fan of square toms/floor toms at all really. My thing isn't so much about wishing my drum was different in this way or that way. I guess maybe another way to go about it would be, what depths (for 15" and 16" diameter) work well with matched tuning on batter and reso?

Setup/mounting: You need rather long legs for a shallow floor tom to sit high enough, I think that was the reason for the deep shell originally.
If you got the long legs and suddenly want to tilt the drum, it might be unstable. That's why mounted toms might be better, think 70s Gadd.
Totally. Unless a drum is really heavy (which these definitely won't be), or bigger than 16", I mount all my toms. Floor tom legs take longer to set up/tear down than just placing the drum on an L-rod on an existing nearby cymbal stand (I gig a lot, so that stuff is important to me), so the whole leg thing doesn't make a lot of sense to me, unless, like I mentioned above, the drum is really heavy.

Thanks again for the reply!
 
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Well, to be fair, I asked specific questions about your experience with the proportionally-sized drums you said you owned. And you responded with what basically seemed like a bit of slightly condescending, know-it-all flexing. And none of it had to do with the topic at hand. You answered none of my questions, gave personal opinions about things nobody asked about, proceeded to call my idea "stupid" with nothing to back it up aside from you personally not finding it aesthetically pleasing, and then "Nuff said!". Not sure what I did to tick you off, but yeah...

I think you are being a bit sensitive here , Treviso is someone I know quite well and he gave his opinion and IMHO it didn’t appear as something rude or condescending and nothing to get into an argument about. Unfortunately the keyboard doesn’t always translate our proper meaning and conveyance of our messages . This is what I think is the issue with you and Treviso.

Now back to the topic at hand . The idea of proportionate size drums is an intriguing question and I find the opinions and observations listed very interesting . There are times when I play a standard classic size kit that I feel the mounted Toms do not match the floor Toms . My theory is that the sizes not being proportionate may have something to do with it .
 

cutaway79

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... And for those who may be interested, if I find that the proportional sizing isn't the best option, the "normal" sizes I've been leaning toward are 10x7, 12x8, 13x9 and 14x10 toms, 15x12 and 16x13 mounted "floor" toms, and 22x14 bass drum. Or maybe do proportional sizing for the rack toms, but keep the deeper floor toms.
 
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RickP

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That is an interesting combination you have considered . I find that I like floor Toms in the 14 x 12 or 16 x 14 sizes more than the standard square sizes . I think they sound more attuned with the standard size rack Toms .
 

cutaway79

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I think you are being a bit sensitive here , Treviso is someone I know quite well and he gave his opinion and IMHO it didn’t appear as something rude or condescending and nothing to get into an argument about. Unfortunately the keyboard doesn’t always translate our proper meaning and conveyance of our messages . This is what I think is the issue with you and Treviso.
I wouldn't say I'm being sensitive at all. Re-read my posts you quoted, then go back and read his posts to which I was referring. He literally did all of those things. I wasn't trying to argue, and I'm not even mad. Just calling him out for the things I mentioned. He may be a great guy usually. But I call it like I see it, and his above post is everything I said. Which includes giving subjective opinions on stuff I didn't ask, while completely ignoring all of my actual questions. Then, after giving no real insight into any of the questions actually posed, he ends with "Nuff said", like he just dropped some knowledge (which he did not), then dropped the mic. So yeah, while you may find him to be a swell fellow, those posts were absolutely unhelpful, and come off as a bit arrogant. I mean, seriously. He said he played proportionately-sized (though I'm thinking he's not using the same definition as me) toms for years, and I genuinely wanted to pick his brain about his experience. His response, in summary, was:

"I've owned a hundred drum sets. I like these sizes. Other sizes are just "hype". Your kit is going to look stupid, and be worth nothing. Nuff said."

How is that helpful or constructive? Which of my queries did he answer?

Now back to the topic at hand . The idea of proportionate size drums is an intriguing question and I find the opinions and observations listed very interesting . There are times when I play a standard classic size kit that I feel the mounted Toms do not match the floor Toms . My theory is that the sizes not being proportionate may have something to do with it .
This was my thinking as well. I often use a four-piece, and find that going from a shallow rack tom to a deep/square floor tom always sounds a little disjointed. But the shallowest 15" and 16" floor toms I've personally played are 12" and 13" (which I much prefer over standard square floor toms), so it's tough to guess at what I should expect from shallower sizes.
 


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