What’s your preference?

This week I conducted a survey via email and Facebook to determine a drummer’s preference on their rack tom placement. The question was whether the drummer preferred to mount their rack tom in a snare stand or on a bass drum. I prefer to set-up my rack tom in a snare stand as it allows more freedom to bring the drum closer. My rack tom is almost touching my snare’s rim with a slight angle between them. John Bonham and Dino Danelli both used this approach.

I found my preference to be a minority among responders. Of the 40 drummers polled, only 15 stated that they used a snare basket. Some of the comments in favor of that approach were: “I use a large rack tom (14”) and a bass drum mount simply isn’t strong enough to hold it.” and “I like to set my drums up perfectly flat and that works better for me.” Comments in favor of the mounts were: “I believe you lose tone by mounting your drum in a stand.” and “I like using multiple toms from time to time and a snare stand (or stands) wouldn’t work.”

Some drummers agreed that letting the drum rest in the snare basket without tightening the claws on the hoop, affected the sound minimally. Others argued that the sound was distinctly altered. One drummer went a step further to test for any difference. He added, “A snare basket will definitely affect the resonance (a.k.a. choke) of a tom if the tom is tuned low. If a tom is tuned medium to high, it has less effect on the sound of the drum. The way to find out if your drum is being choked by the snare stand is to compare how it sounds while in the snare stand to when you pick it up by the rim with your fingers and strike it. If you notice a difference in sound/resonance, then you know exactly what effect the stand is having on your drum sound. It might be a huge difference or negligent difference.”

My poll didn’t reveal any unexpected results. Like any drum set-up, it all comes down to preferences, in sound and appearance. What works for one drummer won’t necessarily work for another. My plan is to reconfigure my kit using a bass drum mount. Then compare both approaches. Beyond aesthetics whatever sounds best wins. (Or maybe not, my kit looks amazing as is.) Might I suggest this: It might be fun to try the other approach and see if there is anything that might change your mind. You’ll never know until you try.

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Filed under Drums and Drumming

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