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The sound of power toms

Cauldronics

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I think Bonham had it right with large diameter drums tuned high. Not bop high, but higher than many drummers would at the time and even fewer since. The result was a huge sound with lots of projection. Deep drums were mostly a phenomenon tied to hard rock and metal and hair bands; hence the stigma. JB actually had more of a big band sound in a rock setting,
 

jptrickster

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I always like them. full round tone a tad more sustain if you will. To me they sound best with both heads tuned to the same note. With that being said and seeing as were in the realm, I'm not a fan of long power bass drums. 14" and I'm happy. (that's what ___ ____)
 

rsmittee

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Power toms were cool in '86, and still are today.
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groovemastergreg

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I'm picking up a kit very similar on Sunday. The depth affects the tonality and reinforces the fundamental, but I don't think it lowers the fundamental. A thin shell can lower the fundamental. This observation by a physicist is what started Milestone drums. I was into 6 ply Gretsches and found my ideal in eighth inch thick fiberglass drums. Whether Tempus or Milestone or Jenkins Martin, these shells drop the fundamental by two inches in diameter. So my 8/10/12/15/20 will sound like a 10/12/14/17/22 in a maple wood shell. I have run tests and verified my results with JM owners. I do use low tuning.
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I have that kit from 1987, with collar lock hardware. My toms aren't quite as "power" (i.e. squared) as yours...12x10, 13 x 11, 16x16.

I think they get a fuller sound at low tunings. I found it difficult to go back to "standard" sized drums after the Tempus kit.

I owned a 20/10/12/14 Tempus kit and it just sounded muted. Likewise, I bought Dunnett's old orange sparkle Tempus kit around 2006 and the 14 x 24 sounded marvelous, the 12 x 8 and 14 x 14 not so much. They got replaced with the yellow Tempus 12 and 16. Much better sounding kit to my ears.

So my DW has 12 x 9, 13 x 10 toms. I can tell the difference between those and smaller sizes but I'm not so good at describing.
 

Talktotommy

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I’ve posted in other threads but I played an early 80s Ludwig power tom kit for many years. Six ply- great sounding drums definitely loud compared to my vintage kits of standard sizes. And I found I tuned them about a step higher than standard sizes probably for reasons stated above.
 

Matched Gripper

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I agree with this^^^

Also, most of us have played (for example) varying depths of a 22" bass drum. An 18" deep drum doesn't inherently sound "deeper" than a 14" deep version, the pitch can be about the same, it's more about the response.
I think a longer tube will have a deeper pitch, all other things being equal. I also think that a deeper drum has more volume potential. If you hit hard enough, a shallower drum will top out before a deeper drum. JMO!
 

Sequimite

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I have that kit from 1987, with collar lock hardware. My toms aren't quite as "power" (i.e. squared) as yours...12x10, 13 x 11, 16x16.

I think they get a fuller sound at low tunings. I found it difficult to go back to "standard" sized drums after the Tempus kit.

I owned a 20/10/12/14 Tempus kit and it just sounded muted. Likewise, I bought Dunnett's old orange sparkle Tempus kit around 2006 and the 14 x 24 sounded marvelous, the 12 x 8 and 14 x 14 not so much. They got replaced with the yellow Tempus 12 and 16. Much better sounding kit to my ears.

So my DW has 12 x 9, 13 x 10 toms. I can tell the difference between those and smaller sizes but I'm not so good at describing.
The era of power toms arrived at about the same time as thick shells. A power tom size in a super thin shell is, IMO, a very different preposition. My first Tempus kit has the same sizes that yours did. I embraced them because they sound so go when played quietly.
 

zulusound

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With the smaller sizes you are contemplating, ergonomics shouldn’t be an issue. 11x12 over 20” is the same height as the 9x13 over 22” thats been popular for generations. I have 14” toms of the same basic build in both 10” and 14” depths. Like many have mentioned above, theres no real difference in the perceived volume or pitch, just more sustain and more body with the deeper drum
Yeah, and I'd probably have the 8x8 and 10x9 over the kick and the deep 12 and 14 in floor tom position over the 20.

I had a power tom kit in the 90's made by Gregg Keplinger that I never really loved but it was 10/12/14/16, all hanging, very out of style now.
 

drumgadget

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I never think of power toms when in the jazz idiom, but .....

here's a candid of the great Billy Hart checking out one of his old kits before the Healdsburg Jazz Festival. I had just finished stripping them down and buffing them out in my garage/workshop; they had been well used in son Lorca's teaching studio in SF. Billy is a hard hitter, and he likes those DEEP toms ..... LOL!

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Mike
 


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