More than once I have debated with drum makers about rack tom mounts — especially persnickety custom builders. It seemed as if for the longest time none of them could stomach the idea of mounting rack toms in the traditional manner, by installing an internal mount in the top of the bass drum shell. Their argument was that the big hunk of metal intruding through the shell would interrupt vibrations passing through the shell and inhibits the sound of your kick.
But I still believe that most drummers tend to muffle their bass drums to some extent anyway (I put a few small towels in mine, and make sure that they barely touch the batter head). I know very few drummers who play their bass drums completely wide open without some kind of damping. So if we all want to limit the resonance in our bass drums, why should we care if an internal bass drum mount slightly diminishes it?
But there’s another thing. Many times when I’ve played at a festival that provides backline, I wind up on a kit in which the toms are mounted either from cymbal stands or a rack. It always bugs me to see the toms (and if it’s a rack, my cymbals) bounce up and down throughout the show. I don‘t know about you, but I find it to be distracting and weird. But that doesn’t tend to happen with internal tom mounts — or else, not nearly as much.
Yet another thing. I’m a rock drummer (who also plays a lot of blues, reggae, and other pop-oriented idioms). I’ve never pretended to be a jazz player (even though I greatly appreciate the discipline). Whenever I see toms mounted from cymbal stands, the kit looks like a jazz-fusion configuration to me. Not my style. I think good old shell-mounted toms look like rock and roll, while being kind of vintage at the same time.
I agree with you concerning aesthetics(appearance). However, it is not just the mount that “muffles” the shell resonance. Two average size toms, along with the mounting hardware can way 10 to 15 pounds. That amount of weight can reduce kick shell resonance and fundamental pitch to a minimum. Imagine a drinking glass. When siting on a table(as a kick sits on the floor) it vibrates naturally. Place your finger tip on it and the vibrations lessen. The more fingers you place on it, the less it resonates. It is the same with the kick drum(and toms). But yes, most drummers use some type of muffling(and/or unless they have compressor/limiters/etc.).
When it comes right down to it, its about personal preference. I am primarily a rock drummer as well and my bass drums have no muffling other than Aquarian SKII batter heads, my toms are mounted with Pearl I.S.S. mounts with no muffling whatsoever, and my snare is wide open as well. The more wide open my drums are, the more our sound man can work with.
And yes, festival type shows always tend to provide kits that are usually “overkill” muffled, and horribly out of tune.
I also prefer mounting my one, small tom on the bass drum. As long as I can get a good sound out of the bass drum, I am not too concerned with theory. I have played with the mounted tom suspended from a cymbal stand, but that never seemed solid enough. I also hang a clamp with a cymbal arm from the mounted tom holder. Peace and goodwill.
I understand what you are saying about the physics of shell vibration. I just don’t think it matters much if you want a punchy bass drum with controlled resonance. Why would you care if the shell were unencumbered by a tom mount and the weight of one or two toms if you’re going to reduce the amount of resonance and ring by putting muffling agents inside the drum or on the head? An internal tom mount will just contribute to the resonance control, after all.
And the equation becomes even more skewed if you mike your bass drum and run it through a decent P.A. system. The chances are great that the soundman will gate your kick to eliminate some ring. And even if he doesn’t, those audience members at the back of the club will never hear the nuances of a wide-open bass drum when it has to contend with an amplified bass guitar for low-end frequencies. The kick will end up sounding punchy no matter what you do, unless you play soft, acoustic jazz with an upright bass.
Personally, I like for my snare and toms to be wide open and ring for days, but I want my bass drum to be punchy with just a little puff of air in the sound, and I’m able to get that perfectly well with a tom mounted on my bass drum.
Understood. However, the sound man cannot put into the system something that your drums are not putting out themselves. The more you do to limit sound and frequencies, the less room your sound man has to work with. If you want a dry, thumpy kick, a sound man can give you that. But if you want a big kick sound and your kick is full of pillows…well, you understand. I leave my kit wide open b/c I am always playing on huge p.a. systems. But yes, most people won’t even notice. To each his own
I agree. kick drum mounts are so much easier, my cymbal stands are kind of unsteady too, so if i had no kick drum mount im afraid i might knock one of my rack toms over, along with the cymbal stand it’s attatched to! And anyway, a tom mounted on a cymbal stand is naturally going to be more wobbly, cuz its not attatched to something steady, and heavy that anchors it down right, like a kick drum. that is the one major flaw I see in DW drums, you have to custom order a bass drum with tom mounts. its pretty annoying.
I use an Aquarian SKII just like Rev D. and with sound port in the resonant head and some careful tuning, you can get some great tone and punch at the same time from your kick without any additional muffling. This is coupled with a Gibralter rack for my toms because keeping them mounted on the bass drum was making a mess of my kick. I actually didn’t even get the rack for the toms, I got it so I wouldn’t have to keep lugging a billion stands to gigs, anyway, I mounted the toms on a whim to see if it was feasible, and my kick opened up like a…like a…like nothing I’ve ever heard before! Bottom line? With a rack system, your drums will still look good for any style of play and your kick will sound better. Whatever you choose to do, let your kick be as open as possible.
I agree though, hanging toms on cymbal stands is pretty dumb. they tip too easily and the bounce around way to much. so in any case, please refrain from doing that.
You’re right about rack systems solving the problem of bouncing toms and allowing the bass drum to resonate at it’s fullest. Personally, though, it seems like one more thing to carry, plus it takes up a bigger footprint on stage, which can be an issue on smaller stages . I’m still going to stick with my bass drum tom mount..
You’re right about rack systems solving the problem of bouncing toms and allowing the bass drum to resonate at it’s ullest. Personally, though, it seems like one more thing to carry, plus it takes up a bigger footprint on stage, which can be an issue on smaller stages . I’m still going to stick with my bass drum tom mount..
yeah, you’re right, the bass drum tom mounts are so much easier, all you have to slide the tom on to reach the memory lock, and you’re done, and you don’t have to have all the excess weight of the rack to carry around. Its a good solution for frequent giggers.
well to each his own i guess, but i prefer the rack cuz i really don’t take my kit anywhere. at least not the one with the rack. I a have a tama swingstar that goes with me everywhere. Its really beat up but its still kicking (pardon the pun) after all these years. its only a four piece so i just put the massive 14x12 tom in a snare basket right beside the kick. It’s kinda ghetto but it works pretty well.
Ya, I forgot about Bonham…you can shoot me later for that. Snare stands are endlessly useful. In fact at the first church I played for, the drumset consisted of a horrible kick, gut wrenching snare, and a tambourine duct taped to a snare stand. That was the first kit I ever played. I don’t even know what brand it was lol.
you win for the crappy set category lol about 2 years back my church band played a gig and I forgot my throne. A cardinal sin by anyones standards. I remedied the problem by simply taking my bass players amp off the amp stand and used that. Uncomfortable as all get up but it worked. plus it was kinda like have a really good buttkicker attached to your throne. anyone ever use those?
im a bit different i guess, iv had a Ludwig accent set that had bass mounted toms and the convinence was great, but when i upgraded to my GMS set i had to get the L rods for my toms. first i mounted on the cymbals just like everyone else but realized the weight was an issue and that wasnt goin to work. i took my old Ludwigs bass mount jamed it in to my old throne stand and let me tell you it works like a charm, not only does the stand hold as much weight as i want without shakin, but it lets the drum resonate as much as it wants to. now i know there is some quality differences, but my GMS bass sounds 1 million times better and more full then my Ludwig ever did. iv got the Evens emad muffler head on it and i love it. personally iv never been a fan of the drum racks for a couple reasons one being what Andy said they take up alot of room and when you dont have alot of that, its a problem. also the racks that iv played on, all shake just as much if not more then my cymbal mounts ever did ( untill they just fall over which can be an even bigger problem) which to me is the most distracting thing ever, when a tom i hit 5 mins ago is still shakin or is shaking from me hitting any other drum on the rack. i feel like without the bass mount im more free to make the toms fit where i feel most comfterable with them and being that im a lefty that plays open armed on a righty set it really allows me to make fine tune ajustments i could never make with bass mounted toms, or even a rack