Toms Up - How Flat?

ThomFloor

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I think tom adjustment hardware was developed for a reason.... to make a bloody angle! All ergonomics, flat toms are no cooler than not.
 

TheBeachBoy

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I've seen a trend recently of drummers angling their toms away from them slightly. And cymbals too. This I don't get. But whatever works for you.
My cymbals are also fairly low so I angle the left side crash away from me a little bit. It's just beyond parallel to the ground. I've found that I hit it better (better angle of attack) with my left and right hands this way. It's low enough that if it was angled towards me I wouldn't have room for the follow through with the hi hat in the way. My other cymbals are angled toward me basically one notch of the tilter away from being flat. If they were higher I'd angle them more. I keep my rack and floor tom at a slight angle towards me. I used to have the rack tom low (so the snare and tom hoops were even height) and was fairly flat. Once I raised and angled the tom a bit it was easier for me to play.

For me, I don't find the flat tom look particularly good looking, but if it's more ergonomic for someone then that's all that matters. On the flip side, they probably don't care for the look of my angled toms...

IMG_20190309_185318.jpg
 

Drm1979

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I set up my rack toms (or "up" toms) angled toward me some (less than some others do, but definitely not flat). I see lots of folks set theirs up totally flat, i.e,. with the batter head roughly parallel to the floor (like a floor tom).

I have tried that a few times and cannot seem to get the tom placement correct or in a formation that seems usable without putting my seat up really high. Is that the trick? Or to set up flat do you have to be taller, or have longer arms, or use snare stands to get the toms lower, or just play shallower toms?

I fear my question sounds mocking. It is not intended to be. I would like to know b/c I would like to try the flat setup myself to see how it feels.

Thank you in advance.
I tried this. Used a snare stand to try and make my rack tom as low and flat as possible basically as parallel to my snare as possible and just could not get it comfortable. I tried it for about 2 months and just couldn't find a comfortable position. I soon gave up on the flat tom set up and put the rack tom back on the arm and mounted it back on my bass drum at an angle toward me as I was accustomed to. Never thought about trying it again and probably wont. I think being taller and having longer arms helps with this set up. I was not blessed with long arms and at 5'9" I'm just average height so that might have something to do with it.
 

Drm1979

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My cymbals are also fairly low so I angle the left side crash away from me a little bit. It's just beyond parallel to the ground. I've found that I hit it better (better angle of attack) with my left and right hands this way. It's low enough that if it was angled towards me I wouldn't have room for the follow through with the hi hat in the way. My other cymbals are angled toward me basically one notch of the tilter away from being flat. If they were higher I'd angle them more. I keep my rack and floor tom at a slight angle towards me. I used to have the rack tom low (so the snare and tom hoops were even height) and was fairly flat. Once I raised and angled the tom a bit it was easier for me to play.

For me, I don't find the flat tom look particularly good looking, but if it's more ergonomic for someone then that's all that matters. On the flip side, they probably don't care for the look of my angled toms...

View attachment 425337
Love the color on your kit.
 

Old Dog

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In the past, I had a good tilt on my drums. It had everything to do with the depth. Buying the new kit last year, the toms are shallow. I've dropped them way down and flattened them considerably.
 

thejohnlec

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However you get the stick tip to strike the surfaces as flat as possible while minimizing the distance your sticks need to travel to do it should be the main considerations. Weckl called it the “power stroke,” where anything past 90 degrees is wasted effort. Several years ago, I tore my main gigging kit down and set it back up one piece at a time. I let the stick travel with my eyes closed, and stopped where I wanted each surface to be. Then I placed each surface where each stick stopped to create a very comfortable, natural, and ergonomic environment that suits my approach. Memory locks ensure the same set up night after night. The payoffs are numerous, including great tone from each component and very low physical fatigue after long nights.

2324E878-C40F-41AA-9922-CD0C86563A39.jpeg
 

Drm1979

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Thanks! It wasn't my first choice initially, but the kit was too good a deal to pass up. I really like the color now!
I like red kits. Mines wrapped in wine red. I like good coloring on kits.
 

Tommy D

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Jazz setup - 12/14/20 (some angles):


One up 3 down - 10/12/14/16/22 (fairly flat):


Offset 2 up 3 down - 10/12/12/14/16/24 (a bit of a tilt):


3 up 2 down - 10/12/12/14/16/22 (a bit more of a tilt):


Notice the wacky angled chinas on the last 2 images. That's not because I want to impress the spiders living in my basement. Its all because of ergonomics.
 

robertgarven

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I like my floor toms flat but have always tilted my rack toms a bit . My seat is at 21” and I am 5’10”. I use allot of rim, but could not play with them flat unless I was allot taller! Here is an old pic of my favorite drum set I don’t have any more! Still the same angles many years later!
 

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Fat Drummer

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Can I call myself in the middle? I am a bit tilted but I also like to rim shot the hoops at time so I do play the toms very high compared to most. Also the fact that I'm built weird at 6'1" tall but only have a 30" inseam... so I'm all torso to be sure! That just lends it's self to kicks pulled up close but toms pushed away and up.

My 4 current kits and all run the toms pretty darn hing with what I think of as a medium tilt.

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DSC_0106 copy.jpg


20181231_164016 copy.jpg


DSC_0068 copy.jpg
 
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Corbin L Douthitt

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I set up my rack toms (or "up" toms) angled toward me some (less than some others do, but definitely not flat). I see lots of folks set theirs up totally flat, i.e,. with the batter head roughly parallel to the floor (like a floor tom).

I have tried that a few times and cannot seem to get the tom placement correct or in a formation that seems usable without putting my seat up really high. Is that the trick? Or to set up flat do you have to be taller, or have longer arms, or use snare stands to get the toms lower, or just play shallower toms?

I fear my question sounds mocking. It is not intended to be. I would like to know b/c I would like to try the flat setup myself to see how it feels.

Thank you in advance.
Flat or not? IMHO- depends upon several factors- your height, size of BD and style of playing. Flat toms promote a rim shot style. but a short player might not be able to do that on a 24" BD and 12" deep toms. Also, grip style- hard to play flat toms with trad grip without battling the HH or left hand cymbal! if you sit low, knees above hips, then the snare has to be angled toward you and the toms also. USUALLY, double bass players sit like this-- but- drummers being an odd sort anyway- you can find guys almost standing up on the throne and almost sitting on the floor! For some guys it is all about the "look". I never understood the 45-60 degree tom angles- tears up heads. It's kind like playing pool, you always want an angle! What works for you, your style and your music! I play a lot of country, 50-60-70's R&R, Blues- some jazz, with trad grip 90% of the time. hard rock may get the matched grip for that heavy backbeat. but- I started on snare in 1958- Trad grip is what I learned on. for guy(gals) who started on the kit- matched grip makes a LOT of sense.
There really isn't a 'best'- it's what is BEST for you. All that said- there are those nasty ergonomics- like in typing at a keyboard for long periods. a neutral position with the thighs parallel to the floor and the back supported, promotes the best posture. The old slumped over 'drummers posture' really is bad for you! I can say that with experience!
 

DBC

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I appreciate your honest question and not looking to rag on "those kids today". At the end of the day, it's about how it feels to you. I've played mine tilted (first kit was a Rogers with Swiv-o-matic bass drum mounts) real traditional jazz, to Travis mimicker (totally flat). I currently have my rack tilted slightly toward me. I sit just a little higher than 90 degrees. I think if you want to try totally flat, it helps to have the tom on a snare stand or rims mount on a stand so you can adjust the height without limit. Unless you are totally unique, like Mike Bordin, it helps to have the tom lower, the more flat you go.
Overall in drumming, I've noticed a trend of guys sitting more level AND their toms are leveling out more. Take for instance, Vinnie, Weckl, or Steve Smith. They used to basically sit on the ground and everything was titled up, no they all sit more level and the toms/snare/cymbal angles are way less intense. Also, nost "gospel" drummers are setting up high and flat. So yes, there's a little moment in time trend happening too. Hope this helps!
 


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