(Left) Gauger updated the RIMS mounting system in recent years by using aluminum to reduce its weight
It was one of those blinding moments of illumination, when drummers suddenly realized that they couldn’t live without something they’d never previously thought they needed. A tom mount called RIMS started to show up in drum shops in 1980, the brainchild of a drummer named Gary Gauger, who had long believed that the traditional mounting method — in which a big tom arm protruded straight into the shell — choked the drum’s resonance. His system wrapped around half of the shell and attached to tension rods between the counterhoop and lug casings. The difference in resonance was dramatic enough to entice drummers to retrofit RIMS to their toms, and Gauger ruled the roost through the ’80s and early ’90s, until Yamaha introduced its YESS system, which dared to touch the shell at its nodal point. But while the YESS system didn’t supplant RIMS, more importantly, it prefaced the rush that was about to take place when Gauger’s patent ran out in 2000. Now practically every drum company has its own design — some are direct RIMS knockoffs, while others add a new twist, such as Pearl’s Optimount, which, like RIMS, mounts to four tension rods, but splits them up — two near the top hoops and two at the bottom. And DW designed its suspension mount to fit around four of its distinctive round lug casings, thereby fully suspending the tom without employing the tension rods as an anchor. Suspension tom mounts are now just part of the scenery, and every company uses them. Do any of the new models actually improve upon Gauger’s original design? Well, that’s a matter of opinion.