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Mounted Toms on Your Bass Drum
Posted On 02/10/2010 16:39:39 by KenSanders

Let’s talk about the bass drum mounted tom holder.  It was quite a while, in the evolution of the drum set, until two mounted toms become somewhat a “standard.”  For many, many years the standard four piece drum set was a bass drum, a snare drum, rack tom mounted onto the bass drum, and a floor tom with legs.  That set-up is still very popular today, although the five piece set with two mounted rack toms on the bass drum seems more typical. 


Now there are all sorts of add-ons for even larger drum kits, but careful examination will reveal (as Neil Peart has often said) most of them have as their basis….the five piece drum set with two mounted toms and a floor tom.


I’m seen some drummers struggle with the positioning for the two rack toms mounted on the bass drum, although it doesn’t seem to bother everyone…..especially drummers that use a ride cymbal rather sparingly.  Hardware designs have certainly improved over the years, and one result is tom holders with all sorts of position variables for a “double tom holder” that is mounted onto the bass drum.


Still, some drummers still do not feel comfortable with the second rack tom being in the exact place where the ride cymbal would be on a four piece drum set.  I am one of those drummers.


I tried lots of different placement for my ride cymbal.


I tried placing the ride cymbal higher and about half way over the second rack tom.  I tried placing it lower and about half way over the floor tom.  I tried simply placing it on my left side, between the hi hat and the first rack tom.  I didn’t really like any of these placements for my ride cymbal and none of these was as comfortable as I wanted it to be. 


In a recent feature article in one of the better drum magazines, David Garibaldi mentioned that even though he liked playing a five piece drum set, that he did not like the way it forced him to put his ride cymbal into (for him) a less than perfect position.  If you have seen his set-up, he has two mounted toms (10” and 13”) on his bass drum and his ride cymbal is on a boom cymbal stand extended partially over the 13” tom.  He went on to say that even though he had played that way for years, that it wasn’t ideal for him.


He feels exactly the way I felt. 


However, I have now resolved this dilemma to my personal satisfaction by placing my two rack toms on a floor stand.  I have them positioned so that they both hang in front of my snare drum.  Now I can place my ride cymbal in a much more comfortable (for me, at least) lower position to my right…about where it would be if I were using a four piece drum set. 


I must note that I use Yamaha drums and hardware, so the placement experimentation I did  was easy because all of the hardware tube diameters are interchangeable.


Having your rack toms mounted on the bass drum may not present a problem for you either “reach-wise” or “comfort-wise”.  However, the simple change of shifting my rack toms to the left, solved my “reach’ and “comfort” concerns.  I can now play the ride cymbal with my right arm in a very relaxed position which improves confidence and stamina for me.




If this article helped anyone, then I’m glad that I’ve shared it with you.


Tags: Tom Placements


Viewing 1 - 1 out of 1 Comments

From: Ian_Borg
05/19/2013 13:47:05
Hi Ken

I had the same problem - I used to have my ride mounted way off to the right closer to the floor tom. I've never been a fan of having a tom mounted on the bass drum - I like to be able to put the bass drum out a little farther than a mounted tom usually allows. When I put together my current setup, I started off with a 4 piece setup and built out from there, so I could go with any size set I want from 4 to 8 piece. My ride is always in the 4 piece position, and toms are mounted in an arc to the left and right of that. It's very natural and comfortable for me now.
I read an article in a 1984 issue of Modern Drummer where Andy Newmark said he couldn't play a five piece because it gets in the way of his ride.

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