The demise of the 13, 15 and 18 toms

dje31

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Greetings, all.

Besides the takeover some 15 or so years ago by some variation on the 10-12-14-16 setup, where have all the 13-, 15-, and 18-inch toms gone?

You still see the 13 in 12-13-16 kits...but other than that, they've become pretty rare. And the 15 and 18 seem to have gone the way of the dodo. Lots of brands have dropped 15s altogether, and 18s are for jazz bebop kits.

Reasons I've heard, read, or seen:

Trend toward smaller kits;

Tough tuning intervals;

Lack of availability;

Stripped-down music styles don't require as much;

New shell constructions has eliminated the need for these.

Personally, on my main kit, I run 10-12 out front, 15-18 floors on my right, and a 13 left of my hats. Thank you, Messrs. Copeland & Peart!

What's your take? Do you still use any or all of these? Thoughts?
 

tommykat1

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Old school for me, plus a little pizazz: 6, 8 (bongos!), 12 13 16

3LeftView_zpsc3f4735a.jpg
 

mudjacker2

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Hmmm....I still see a lot of 13's, but there does seem to be a trend toward 10" toms. It could be one size needs to be dropped to accommodate that 10" size so the 13 goes to make room. Still, I see them as a standard size all the time.

15's never were a popular size. Basically they were common on the mega "octaplus" type kits and a few older 50's era kits, but to me, were never a common size that you saw as standard on any 3-4-5 piece kits.

And the 18" toms all fell over and became bass drums.....
 

dje31

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I read something recently that said odd numbers make folks tense and / or anxious. I'm thinking that, subconsciously, the 10-12-14-16 removes the odd number sizes, and size differentials.

Personally, I'm not afraid of odd numbers, and actually gravitate towards prime numbers, but that's a different discussion altogether.

That said, I love my 15 as the second lowest tom, and the 18 is a great punch-in-the-chest tone when needed.
 

dje31

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Actually, a bit of honesty and full disclosure here: I got my kit, Tama Starclassic Performers, 100% birch, in the transparent indigo finish, just as they were phasing out that color.

I bought a stock 10-12-14-22 kit...and added a 20 kick, plus an 18, 16, 15, and not one, but 2-13s, and an 8, all in Fast / Traditional-ish sizing...so I'd basically have just about any kit covered, should the need or desire arise.

So, like I said above, the main kit (The Kitchen Sink) is the 22 bass, 10-12-13-15-18, with two snares (5x13 Spaun brass, 3x13 Pearl steel piccolo), and a set of low pitch Octabons.

Then I have the bebop kit, which has the 16 tom mounted on a riser as a kick, 8 above it, and the other 13 as a floor, with the 5.5x14 stock snare.

The 20 kick is on the sidelines, though I've been tempted to rig it up as a gong bass.

Somewhere, the 14 tom has disappeared from the face of the earth. It probably ran away from home, due to neglect. If anyone's seen it, please advise, and remind it that it's loved, appreciated, and missed.
 

Tornfrayed

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I have been using 10-13-16 recently and loving it but I am a long time 10-12-14-16 player....something to be said for both setups, IMO. I almost have grown used to having my ride cymbal at about 2pm on the 10-13-16 instead of the high-noon postion on the 10-12-14-16. It lends too much more groove-type playing, poccoro-gadd-purdie, as apposed to the bash it out style, bonham et all. Still, nothing like have great DW's to make it all sound uniform!
 

Phishbowlin

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My Premier kit (as pictured in avatar) has tom sizes 12,13,14,15 (not sure of the depths, but I think they are 12,12,13,14). I love these toms, but I have NEVER been able to get a good tone out of the 15. High tuning sounds weak with no resonance, and lows have no tone and sound more like a
"thud." It may just be ineptitude on my part, but I've since put the 15 on the shelf and condensed to a 5-piece.
 

kip

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I run 13 rack
18 ft
26 kick

Or
13 rack
15 hanging floor
22 kick

I love my 13/15/18!!!!
 

JohnL

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I play 12, 13, 14, 16, 18 bass no problems tuning love the sound.
 

supershifter2

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i aint never herd a nobody being a scared of odd size toms. i have 3-18" toms 2 of them are in the foto. i have 1 12x15 in the foto and an lloking for 2 more tama superstar 12x15 toms in any color. as i recall going all the way back to the 70's i might have seen one or two 12x15 toms in drums kits. most were a combination of 12,13,14,16,18 toms. a long time ago when i worked at GC the tama rep told me they were going to raise prices and push smaller toms. tama discontinued the telescoping boom stand due to cost and what the public would pay. i was at a gc drum clinic recently and the guy running the clinic told people that small toms are easier to tune and i find that hard to believed cause i play 15,16,18,20 toms and can tune them for a gig or recording in about 15 minutes. as for the 12x15 it is the most common size in marching snares and tenor drums when i was in the school band. the 12x15 , 12x16 i play blend way better then the 10x14 , 12x16 combo i was playing. i retired all 3 of my 10x14 toms and dont axk cause they aint for sale.
 

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drumgeek1966

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I just bought a '76 Ludwig concert tom kit...13,14,15,16...18 floor 14x22 BD. Other than marching drums, I don't think I've ever played a 15 rack tom. I was thinking about putting bottom heads on the 13 and 16, with legs from the 18. I never cared for 18 floors. I'll just have to experiment and see.
 

p83

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all odd sizes have a home at my house...................
 

drumsnbeer

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I pieced together a slingerland orphan kit i have 2-20" kicks 13,14,and 15" toms 1-22" kick and a 16" floor tom. Lately ive been using 20,14,15 and im lovin it. Its a 12x15 and i almost prefer it over my 16.
 

Formula428

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13's are OK in my style...I've used them as a left side tom, tuned very low with a single ply head. Sounded great. However, I'd never use it up top because it's too deep to fly over the kick drum.

I wish 15's were more common. I just don't care much for the 14 as a floor tom. I think the 15 and 16 would be ideal. If you were only running 1 down, the 15 would be the perfect balance between the 14 and the 16 and could work well with a 8/10/12 or 10/12 or 12 rack tom configuration.

Also, I'd be interested in a 17 floor tom (and heads to go with it), since 18 is just plain too large. I've had an 18 and it's too much boom.
 

dxtr

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My floor tom is a 15 and I love it. I think they may be coming back at least where I am. People are asking about them and I know TRS custom drums has been making a lot of 15s lately. In my opinion if youre gonna have 1 floor tom its the size to go for. Mine can be bagged out and turned into thunder or cranked up and be jazzed out.

I recommend them to everyone!

dxtr
 


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