Drum Gear Talk

Mounting Rack Toms: Stands? Clamps? Bass Drum Mounts?

I wanted to take this opportunity to write my thoughts on this topic, which can potentially lead a drummer down a rabbit hole of a confusing array of options with regards to mounting Toms on your drumkit. The decision to write this post came out of a WhatsApp conversation I had the day before with a very good student  I am currently teaching. He is in the process of choosing his very first acoustic drumkit to purchase, and the ideal rack-tom mounting system was one of his concerns.

Here’s my story:

Like every other drummer who started out not knowing any better, I used the conventional bass drum mounted tom set up. I had no issue with it at all, and I felt that such a mounting system had no effect whatsoever on the bass drum’s tone. I just did not think of it.

Many years later after I started out, I read (though I forgot which source) that bass drum mounted toms do in fact affect the tone of the bass drum – because of the added mass on the bass drum, it prevents the drum from “breathing properly” like a snare drum with its own separate stand, or floor toms with their own separate mounting systems, independent of any part of the kit. This same source also recommended trying out mounting the rack toms on stands that can hold two rack toms, or on a snare drum stand for a single rack tom. When I saw pictures of some of my favourite drummers such as Ian Paice and John Bonham, alas, they used snare drum stands tall enough to mount their single rack toms. I noticed how full and resonant their rack toms sounded on their hey-day recordings.

I acquired a tall snare drum stand about 6 or 7 years ago – the kind also used for concert snare drum work, as you would typically stand up and play the snare drum – made by Gibraltar Percussion. Between the time I bought the stand and when I actually started using on live gigs as a mount for my rack tom around 2018, it was basically a white elephant. I tried selling it off online but to no success, for some reason (my sales luck in the past wasn’t that great. It’s getting better now, though..). Then, having been fed up with my failure to sell it off, I decided, one fateful day, to use it in the same manner as Ian Paice and John Bonham.

When I tried out this “new” mounting system for the rack tom on a live gig in 2018, I immediately noticed how much bigger, resonant, and explosive my bass drum sounded. It was like a cannon. Very impressed, I decided to stick with this setup. I do not see myself changing from this setup when live performance returns (whenever it does). I just like the way my kit sounds now with each drum free of each other, and allowed to resonate as freely as possible.

This is my story so far with mounting toms. Now, when it comes to a student asking me to recommend him or her to go with either the conventional bass drum mounting system, or a separate stand, OR a clamping system attached to the cymbal stands, I can only share my opinion. My opinion, however, is not the absolute truth. The truth is, many drummers in the world are just as happy with the conventional bass drum mounting system. Many recordings have been done with such a setup – and you have to keep in mind that the resulting drum sound you hear on the final mix has gone through various forms of signal processing during the mixing process, regardless of what mounting systems/hardware used.  It is truly a personal preference, although, I am highly convinced  of how much the bass drum tone improves when there isn’t something lumped on it like Goliath on a horse, in a purely live setting – where there is much limited time for mucking about with the drumkit tone. You should be able to dial in your kit tones as quickly as possible before you conduct a band soundcheck pre-show time.

To this end, I would suggest researching and experimenting as far as your time and budget allows you. It is also not a sin to start out the conventional away and then gradually break away from it in search of new or improved sounds. It would, perhaps, give us greater peace of mind to not obsess over getting it all perfect the first time around. Forget it. Any successful seasoned professional drummer knows how to work well with what he/she is given.

By putting this post here, I can refer students to this so I do not have to repeat myself again, ha! Of course, they are welcome to put forth follow-up questions and even arguments against what I wrote here.

Yamaha Live Custom Hybrid Oak Drums – New

 

As much a die-hard Ludwig fan I am who once loved Tama drums (and still have a soft spot for them), I have always been impressed with the quality of the drums that the Yamaha corporation make across the different price points. I have been fortunate to play many different models of Yamaha drumkits over the years, from the entry-level Stage Custom to the top-of-the-line Recording Customs, both on stage and in the recording studio.

The Recording Customs, which have seen a reissue a couple of years ago, are everything you could ask for in a drumkit: extremely well manufactured shells, uniformity and consistency of tone, dynamic range, quickness of response, incredible clarity, and ideal projection across all the drums.

Then enter these Yamaha Live Custom Hybrid Oak drums…The Yamaha company has outdone itself again! They took the same shell construction method of their now discontinued Phoenix (PHX) line of drums and came up with these incredibly fine sounding instruments, which history will judge them to be among the greatest drums Yamaha ever made.

Watch the demonstration in the link above. I’m sure you’ll agree with me! PS: That Japanese drummer has the most pristine single stroke roll around the kit. His groove is happening too.

Here’s an excellent review cum demonstration of these drums:

In Depth Review: Two Drumkits under USD 800.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbO1VW6juRw

This review by Drum Center of Portsmouth (US) is probably one of the best I have seen on YouTube comparing similarly priced drumkits of different makes.

Having owned two Tama kits in the past and currently a Ludwig, this review hit home for me.

I like the Ludwig sound better, which is why I decided to play Ludwig drums for life, but Tama is by no means a slouch in the quality and great sound departments. The Ludwigs, however, have that certain “snap” that I do not hear in other brands. The response and sensitivity is so immediate with a Ludwig kit, even at the entry level.

Both kits reviewed go for under USD 800. Swee Lee music in Singapore carries these two brands – for those looking to upgrade from their entry level kits, or even for the uninitiated looking to invest in their first acoustic drumkit, and are willing to fork out abit more cash for a kit that you will have no qualms about using for live gigs and recording.

DRUM TALK TV Interview with SOULTONE CYMBALS’ IKY LEVY

http://drumtalktv.com/portfolio/soultone-cymbals/

Holla ,dear amigos! Just thought I’d share this interview whilst I enjoy my cup of morning coffee.

Anybody here plays Soultone cymbals? Would you like to share your experience playing them? I will be posting a review of my Soultone cymbal collection soon, so stay tuned..

VIC FIRTH FACTORY TOUR

In my 12 years or so playing the drums (I have lost count actually), Vic Firth sticks have always been THE most consistent, durable, and balanced drum sticks I have ever used. I have detoured at various times to try sticks from other companies, but those do not give me the high quality that I am accustomed to with Vic Firth sticks.

This 17-part video inspired me so much and taught me about working hard for your passion, staying true to your core vision, always learning, always improving, and keeping up high standards of customer service.

I hope this video inspires you too and to play the best drum sticks in the world, VIC FIRTH.

Big Fat Snare Drum Product

Dang this is way cool!! The manufacturer of this product “Big Fat Snare Drum” just added me on Twitter. The product is an attachment drum head that you can place on top of your regular drum head to obtain a lower pitched, drier snare drum sound reminiscent of many of the classic 70’s recordings.

Check out this video to see the BFSD in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ui1378eue9I

Web Links:

http://www.bigfatsnaredrum.com/
https://twitter.com/BigFatSnareDrum

Pantheon Percussion: 14 x 5 Single-ply maple used on “Gan Bei” by Lim Yin Liang

A nice shoutout from the good folks at Pantheon Percussion regarding the song, “Gan Bei”, that I recorded drums for. These guys built a 14″ by 5″ single ply maple custom snare that is inspired by the legendary Slingerland Radio Kings, and it is this snare that I used on “Gan Bei”

Pantheon Percussion

Have you heard our single-ply steam-bent snares? Here’s one that was used for a studio recording. This snare is a beautiful 14 x 5 Solid Maple snare with vintage chrome hardware, Blue Sparkle finish, and Canopus vintage dry wires. These wires were modeled very closely to vintage Slingerland wires in terms of construction and materials used, right down to the number of spirals in the wire. This beautiful and great sounding snare is one of our tributes to the legendary Slingerland Radio Kings snares, and we wanted to capture the spirit of the era. This track which brings back visions of old Shanghai, brought out the best in this snare; all thanks to the beautiful and very sensitive playing of Jason Benedict Cruz.

The bonus here is that the toms are from an all-maple nesting kit that we had built for the recording studio. Man do they sound sweet!

“This…

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