What is your preference: 18 vs 20 kick drum

Slingwig26

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I am in the process of buying a new kit. I have owned all the standard kick drum sizes ranging from 20 to 26....but never an 18.
I am ordering a classic maple from ludwig and am debating getting an 18 rather than a 20. I loved my downbeat configuring but am intrigued by the 18" kick.
What is your preference? Any reason why?
I would be using this for mainstream music (cover band stuff) primarily along with recording funk/easy listening stuff.
Thanks for your thoughts!
The 20 is more versatile. I have Ludwig CM with 14x20, 16x20 and 14x24. I have played an 18 and it sounds bigger than it looks and if you are looking for a small footprint on stage the 18 is the way to go. I have a Ludwig Epic Jazzette that has 18” bd and I use that for small set ups. But at CM prices, make sure you really want that 18” . If you end up not liking it, that is an expensive trial and error.
 

MillerMav

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I gig with an 18x16 INDe bass drum with a Sonor riser and love it. Super portable and light, PLENTY of punch and perfect for a cover band. We do everything from the 60's to today and it covers it all. We just play small clubs and bars. If we were to ever start playing larger venues or weddings and what not I would probably go to a 24" just for the stage presence. But for my money I love 18's.
 

Monday317

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I am in the process of buying a new kit. I have owned all the standard kick drum sizes ranging from 20 to 26....but never an 18.
I am ordering a classic maple from ludwig and am debating getting an 18 rather than a 20. I loved my downbeat configuring but am intrigued by the 18" kick.
What is your preference? Any reason why?
I would be using this for mainstream music (cover band stuff) primarily along with recording funk/easy listening stuff.
Thanks for your thoughts!
Cody, with the right heads and tuning, you can use nearly anything. My own preference would be for a 24, but your results may vary. If you can, get to a drum store and try out some different bass sizes. Good luck with your new Ludwigs!

FWIW, I’m building a new kit from old drum shells. Pearl Exports from the ‘90s sound better to me than a snappy new kit. I got to play a ‘50s-vintage Rogers kit awhile ago and its tone was unbelievable!

The kit in progress will be 10 x 9, 13 x 9, 16 x 16—all Pearl Exports c.1998—with a 28 x 14 kick repurposed from an old Slingerland marching bass.

Not completely decided on the snare; I have a 14 x 5-1/2 I built using a 5-ply Keller Magnum shell that might be too lively for the rest of the kit. It’s dressed in the livery I plan for the set:

BB89DE7F-0E5F-4F77-9D66-3689F4F51D5A.jpeg


Stay tuned!
 

Kevinpursuit

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To be honest my favorite size for its versatility is 22! Never could get a real good real low from a 20. The 20 offers more punch and is very well suited for jazz. From my perspective a 22 covers more ground across more different types of music. With that said I stay away from anything under 22.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! lol
 

gotwood2

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I am in the process of buying a new kit. I have owned all the standard kick drum sizes ranging from 20 to 26....but never an 18.
I am ordering a classic maple from ludwig and am debating getting an 18 rather than a 20. I loved my downbeat configuring but am intrigued by the 18" kick.
What is your preference? Any reason why?
I would be using this for mainstream music (cover band stuff) primarily along with recording funk/easy listening stuff.
Thanks for your thoughts!
We'd be happy to welcome you to the 18" bass drum cult if you go that way. My Sakae Almighty Maple 14x18 has been a workhorse, a great, punchy sound for rock and pretty much anything else so far. If you haven't pulled the trigger and ordered your 14x18 CM yet, Ludwig offers three bearing edge options, and roundover edges will give you less high frequency sustain and more thump. As an alternative to a riser, I got a Tama Clasisc HP 50 because I can lower the pedal so that the beater strikes about 1" above dead center.
 

Parad1ddle

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Question, does an 18” BD always need a riser?

(sorry to derail)
I used a Remo kit for years with an 18"inch bass drum and 10,12 and 14" floor tom the Remo bass is very loud. I never used a riser and compromised between a slightly shorter beater and hitting a little above centre. My Remo kit was made of a material they call acousticon. It,s very dense and heavy. Mostly I played jazz and some Cabaret covering pop . Currently I play a a Gretch kit with a 16" bass 8" and 10" with a 13" floor and a 12" Gretch snare. Sometimes I use a Ludwig 400 snare. The kit sounds fantastic to me, I love the bass drum which is 16 deep and bloody heavy. I use K high hats from the 60's and 14"dark crash with a 18" Istanbul K a 20" riveted A and Kraslice 20" ride
 

pwc1141

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Many mentions of a riser and saw some complex ones but this simple pedal riser works well for me and needs minimal effort to use ...
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10403422_800.jpeg
 

5 Style

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Not a preference for me as I like both. I only have kits with those two sizes and those two are enough for me whether I'm playing jazz or backbeat type music. I even like the sound of certain records that have folks playing an open tuned 18" doing more funky, backbeat type of stuff on them. I think that you can even get a pretty big, fat sound on an 18" dampening it a bit, but I have to say that if that's the sound that you're going for a 20" will likely be easier to get that sound with.

To me between those two sizes, I'm not wanting anything else. I can't think of too many circumstances where those wouldn't work. Some stuff that I do would work OK with a bigger bass drum, but I don't need it, don't want to carry it around and like the fact that I can get the rack tom(s) lower, particularly because I like them pretty close to flat...
 

5 Style

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Many mentions of a riser and saw some complex ones but this simple pedal riser works well for me and needs minimal effort to use ...
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View attachment 462655
I used something like that for a while with an 18" bass. I realized after a while though that I liked the sound just fine without it, even if the beater wasn't hitting in the center. I've seen many of my very favorite drummers play 18" bass drums and get a gorgeous sound without a riser...
 

Seb77

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I use the 18" for a high sound only. I know it's a luxury to have both sizes - I leave the 18" up there and use the 20 for lower sounds without too much volume.
Let me put it like that: if you don't need the high-pitched "tenor drum" sound of post-bop, I don't see the musical requirement of an 18". Maybe for convenience of carrying and setup, but soundwise, an 18" tuned low to my ear falls short of a 20" tuned medium.
 

rculberson

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I use the 18" for a high sound only. I know it's a luxury to have both sizes - I leave the 18" up there and use the 20 for lower sounds without too much volume.
Let me put it like that: if you don't need the high-pitched "tenor drum" sound of post-bop, I don't see the musical requirement of an 18". Maybe for convenience of carrying and setup, but soundwise, an 18" tuned low to my ear falls short of a 20" tuned medium.
Agreed. For anything other than bop, a 20 just seems to make more sense. I've owned 16" and 18" bass drums that I've used in pop/rock settings, but (just my opinion) it seems that the 20 can get down to "that" sound easier and in a more fulfilling way. I go WAY in on the pop/rock sound as well, so that may increase my bias. Ported front head, laundry in the bass drum, Beta91A inside the drum lying on the pillow, etc...
 

Ian S

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Cody, with the right heads and tuning, you can use nearly anything.
I prefer 18’s for ergonomic reasons.
Those comments resonate with me. I'm sort of tall and thin, I like snare a little high and floor tom high as it goes, and years ago I felt kind of far away from my 20" bass, like it was hidden down there and I was working too hard get sufficient volume and punch in heavy setting (not mic'd welll). I'd get drowned out by the bass player, really frustrating.

So ergonomics/physical strain is one of the reasons I went to and absolutely love my Yamaha 22"x18". Haven't played a ton of bass drums out there, but a few here and there over the years and this drum is a pleasure to play. The presence is right and it does the heavy lifting for me.. sings warm notes when patted gently and gives a cannon's blast when I drop full weight of my (thin) leg on it.

I've found I really like the sound of large drums tuned up a bit tight, and I like big cymbals, this 22" is right at home with all of it. I really love it and wouldn't hesitate to use it in most settings other than a really small cafe or something. Even then maybe with a muffler. I just love the way it sounds and its presence.
 
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codydee12

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Alright, for all the folks who were so kind to give me their experience....and after playing a couple of 18s out at Forks in Nashville... I settled with a 20x12. I really dig the 18 and would like to own one but as far as ordering a new classic maple from scratch, 20 just feels right. I will share the pictures when the ludy gets here a few months from now. In the meantime, hopefully this will be helpful for other future curious players.
 


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