Floor Toms + Placement

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Post Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:24 pm


All my favorite drummers play with 2 floor toms (Bonham, Mitchell, Jimmy Chamberlin, Matt Cameron, many others). I've never had the luxury of having any extra toms until recently. Now I'm finding that I can't get used to it! I'm tall, with long arms, too....so reaching shouldn't be a problem. Still feels strange to reach back to the farthest floor tom, though. The back floor tom just seems too far away. I even tried using smaller toms--I can only imagine the difficulty of reaching back to a 16" and an 18" floor tom in a row.

It doesn't seem like this should be a big deal, and it probably is just a matter of getting used to. I've always played just a basic kit with just one floor tom. Any suggestions would be welcome, though. Also...

Sometimes I see drummers play with a large tom next to their snare, maybe like a small floor tom. Does this solve the "reaching" issue of having 2 floor toms? Having one on either side of the kit, rather than both of them in a row?

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Post Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:30 pm

try setting it up a little ahead of your first floor tom. something like this....

it will help you so you're reaching a little more out rather than trying to reach behind you
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Post Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:41 pm

I've never tried a 2 in-a-row setup, it seemed like too much of a stretch to me too.

I've always kept an FT on the left. It breaks things up in a good way, but I'm sure you can't do everything you could with 2 in a row on the right. Of course, there are things you can ONLY do with this setup, so it's a trade-off.


Post Sat Dec 09, 2006 12:07 am

drummert2k has got the right idea, its much easier like that, you find yourself not twisting behind anymore than if you had a second snare on your left side like Smith and Lang do.
Last edited by Flatliner on Wed Dec 13, 2006 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Sat Dec 09, 2006 6:29 am

It's all a matter of getting used to it. I have a 14" and 16" floor tom and two bass drums, and I've still been able to reach them. And I'm only 5'4"
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Post Sat Dec 09, 2006 7:08 am

yeah im pretty tall too and i had a 16' and 18' floor toms set up right behined each other and i had no problem with it. mebay its a personal prefrence
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Post Sat Dec 09, 2006 8:23 am

I am 5'5" and I use a double floor tom setup. i switched over about a year ago from a standard 5pc setup. I have no issues reaching the floor toms at all, though it did take a little bit to get used to it. They are 16 and 18". Funny thing is I got a 24" bass drum to go with it and being short it is sometimes hard to reach the 14" mounted. I have noticed an improvment in my playing after switching, it seems to flow more than it did before, could be the new kit though.
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Post Sat Dec 09, 2006 6:01 pm

I keep one floor on either side as well. I wanted to get my left arm
in on the action a little more, and I like the symetrical design. If I ever hurt one arm and can't move it well, I'll still get thru the night. I hope.
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Post Sat Dec 09, 2006 6:31 pm

With this set up you can really tuck your ride cymbal in to your bass drum. Its one of my favorite perks about the set up. You shouldnt have a problem reaching both floors without twisting at all. I think its just a matter of getting comfortable with the set up.

Tuck the first floor tom in tighter to the bass drum and yourself and see how that feels. Coming from two up toms its gonna feel different for a while no matter what you do though.
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Post Sun Dec 10, 2006 1:06 am

I'm 5,7 and I have 16 and 18 floor toms. I have a 14 tom that I use as a floor tom, but I can't imagine myself playing 3 floor toms in a row(I like small setups). But I'll surely see how it feels like. Dennis Chambers has 14 16 and 18 floor toms.
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Post Tue Dec 12, 2006 4:01 pm

it is mostly gettin used to. i play double bass style with 2-4 toms dependign whats needed. and 2 floor toms. ive played alot with the setup that has a floor tom on each side. didnt like it alot. but good for jazz. i generaly play with the 14 and 16 floor toms back to back on the right. im not too fond of the 18 in floortoms. doesnt let my rolls flow good. i eventualy want to run 11,12,13,14 toms. and 15,16 floor toms. just how i like my setup. but thats once i get to optomizing it. back to the problem at hand. it is alot of getting used too. i mean im 6' 5''-6''. and it took me some getting used to. but was worth it. i also set my floor toms up alot like how that guy above showed in the image.but i tile them in some what. and move them out a little bit.
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Post Tue Dec 12, 2006 5:10 pm

I Have 2 floor toms on on of my kits, and 3 on another. On my first kit i have 14 and 16 floor toms. on the other i have 14,16, and a recently purchased 18. With these 3 toms, i set the 14 and 16 to my right , and to my left, i set my 18 next to a 12 sub snare, the snare being closer to the hi hat. I use this 18 to do different beats in conjunction with my sub...it acts as a tighter bass drum almost...in my 2 floor config, i either set them to my right side by side, place the 14 where my rack tom normally is like the drummer from franz ferdinand, or i plase the 14 beside my hihat on my right like pillars drummer. I find that when i set them up side by side, my speed decreases a little, but ive practiced in my fills how to use the lengthyer set up...honestly..i ve found the 14 on the right next to the hihat is the best....because its almost like having 2 kits... a tighter tom on the left and a deeper on the right ....its all about personal preference
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Post Tue Dec 12, 2006 5:48 pm

Try scooting back from the kick drum or scooting the kick forward. Adjust your seat height if it feels weird. It'll give you more room with the floor toms.
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Post Tue Dec 12, 2006 7:27 pm

I'm 6' and I love playing with my 16" and 18" floor toms. I have the 16" tucked in close to my right bass drum and somewhat under my 14" rack tom which isn't a big deal because it puts the center of the 16" much closer to the 14" so I can go around them faster. I have the 18" right up on my 16" with the ride kinda hovering right over the middle of both. I had and auxiliary hi-hat just over the 16", a china over the ride and a crash just over the x-hats so I had stuff to move to after finishing a fill on the 18". I'm thinking about adding a snare over the 18" when I get my new set so I can experiment with different blasts.
I tried the whole deal with the floor tom on the other side (or any larger tom) and I never played it.

I'll probably just take a little getting used to as well as some rearranging of the rest of your set..
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Post Tue Dec 12, 2006 8:59 pm

Its just a matter of sitting down and practice the way you feel comfortable, after you feel like it would work, then practice some more.
I started with a 10,12 and a 16 floor, i wanted to add a 13 and it was pretty wierd at first even had to move things several times to feel like it would work for me, im 6.2 with a long reach, plus im handicap, i have fusion on L4 L 5 so its hard for me to turn at the waist.
I find myself spinning my chair and using my feel to push off so i can go around my set.
Keep it up and dont get upset it will work it self out with a open mind.


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