Two floor tom set ups. 14/16 or 16/18?

John Q. Drummer

Well-known member
14/16 BY FAR.

#1 – In the thousands of gigs I’ve been fortunate enough to play in my life so far, I can count on my fingers and toes the number of times I’ve had enough stage space to even consider using an 18” floor tom. (In conjunction with a 16” floor tom that is.)

#2 – Of the 40+ drum kits I’ve owned over the years, I’ve only ever had two that had factory 18” floor toms. I quickly realized that I just don’t like 18” floor toms. They can sound OK when other people use them when properly miced with an adequate PA system. More often than not, they just do not sound impressive to me. Most folks ‘round these parts tune them so that they produce just a fat smack with no real tone, like a gong drum. I can’t think of where I would use or even need that sound. (If you do awesome. Not a judgement, just my own experience.) Even if I did, I wouldn’t have the real estate on stage to accommodate a sound I may use once or twice a night.

#3 – The sound of an 18” floor tuned more traditionally, for some tone and resonance, sounds too close to my bass drum. If I played a 22” or larger bass drums, then maybe. But over the passage of time, I’ve gravitated towards 20” bass drums tuned up a smidge. I don’t quite understand the point of having the sound of a floor tom that is too close to the bass drum.

So now that I basically complained about 18” floor toms for 3 paragraphs, I do use the 14/16 combo when I can. The 16” is plenty low for my needs.
 

beatdat

Senior Member
All three, ideally (with the 14” to the left of the snare).

Short of that, give me the 16” and 18”.

And I’ll take a 20” kick with it, too.
 

iCe

Senior Member
This thread got me thinking...
My first kit was a Pearl Export and came with a 16x16 floor tom. My second kit was an Osan Runner and had a 14x12 (maybe 14x11, can't remember) hanging tom. Obviously i missed the low end of the 16", but the 14" was tuned much closer to the rest of the toms and felt more natural. In 2012 i got my Pearl Vision and came with 14x12 and 16x14" floor toms. Liked both and had best of both worlds.

Somewhere early 2014 i got my Masters BCX and came with a 16x16, but also ordered a 14x14. Use both still today, but i feel like a 14" is lacking just a tadd too much 'oompf' and low end. The 16" sounds just perfect and i think low enough for me. Been thinking about 16 and 18" floors for years, but maybe a 15 and a 16" would do the trick as well. A 15" (like posted before) is easier to tune closer to a 14" with enough low end and let the 16" be the Mother of Thunder.

Ah well... who know what sizes i will get if i get a new kit ;)
 

petrez

Senior Member
16" and 18". 14" is too small for me, it gets kind of in between. But I usually prefer one floortom at the moment, I hardly use the far right one, so it has to be a 16" to have enough low-end... But if I were to add one, I'll go 18".
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
Though I would love having a 18", I also know that I wouldn't make any real use of it. Not reasonable. There is the real estate issue during gigs, and also transportation, I would never take it for a gig. The second problem would be the musical use, you need to pivot a lot to hit it in the middle, it's something to consider. I'm sure training would be necessary.
14 / 16 is already a bit of a problem to me because I'm used to having a 16" next to me in a standard setup ; and having two floor toms often means that I play the 14" where I would normally play the 16".

One of my dream setup would be 24 12 13 16 18 - but I would need a new car too !
 

MusiQmaN

Platinum Member
Though I would love having a 18", I also know that I wouldn't make any real use of it. Not reasonable. There is the real estate issue during gigs, and also transportation, I would never take it for a gig. The second problem would be the musical use, you need to pivot a lot to hit it in the middle, it's something to consider. I'm sure training would be necessary.
14 / 16 is already a bit of a problem to me because I'm used to having a 16" next to me in a standard setup ; and having two floor toms often means that I play the 14" where I would normally play the 16".

One of my dream setup would be 24 12 13 16 18 - but I would need a new car too !
Tbh I dont have any problems reaching for my 18 and hit it centre and im not that sporty 😬
 

PaisteGuy

Regular Poster
14” to the left of the Hi-Hats, 16”/18” on the right, and 20” gong drum. Bases covered, reverse if Your a lefty.
 
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incrementalg

Gold Member
I play a 14/16...mostly due to space, but I'm happy with the low end I get from mine. That being said, I love the sound of a well tuned 18"
 

scottser

Junior Member
depends on the rest of the kit, i suppose.
with a 22" kick then a 12" rack, 14" and 16" floor toms are classic
with a 24" kick i like 13" rack with 16 and 18" floor toms.
with a 26" kick then it has to be 14" rack with 16 and 18" floor toms.
as mentioned above, getting your left hand over to an 18" floor tom is for yoga black belts only.
 

DrumPhil

Junior Member
One more thought: choice of heads can help you achieve the sound you want regardless of size. If you want the big, beefy, low sound, you could put a 2-ply head, such as a Pinstripe, on a 16 (or even a 14) and get quite a big-bottom sound. Size matters, but it isn't the only thing.
 

dwsabianguy

Senior Member
I don't really notice much of an ergonomical adjustment between 14/16 and 16/18, so I use either one when the music calls for it.

Usually it's a 14x14 and a 16x16. I am blessed to have those sizes with both the SSB Gretsch and Yamaha BCAN kits. The Gretsch at home right now has the 20" kick, so it's a 12 up top and 14/16 down below.

But two months ago I had the 22" kick out, which got rented to a studio, so the 24 came out, and the tom setup became 8/10/12 up top and the 16x16 and 18x18, all Gretsch except the 8, which was a Yamaha and didn't get use for that session anyway.

I like em both.
 

Lefty Phillips

Regular Poster
This thread certainly got me to thinking. I don't really use the 16" floor tom I've got. It's pretty bombastic for the beats I'm playing. My other floor tom is actually a 12" mantle tom on a stand. Today, I'm going to pull the 16" away from the kit, put the 12" where the 16" is now, and see if I like it.

Thanks, guys, that never would have occurred to me!
 

s1212z

Drum Expert
As a TW fan, I would dig all three. I think I'd prefer the triangle spacing rather than a straight row.


 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
I have two kits, both with two floor toms. One has a 14x14 matched with a 14x16. The other has a 12x14 and 14x16. What I would really like is a 14x14 and a 16x16. That to me would be ideal. Never had an 18 so can't comment on that size.
 
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