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  • Dimensions of a Drum Kit

    The drum kit size will depend on what components are installed.Drum Kit The following setups are commonplace although there are numerous variations around.

    Basic Components

    A typical drum kit consists of a crash cymbal, the hi-hat, the bass drum, the floor tom, toms and snare drum. Additional components are the rototom, the china cymbal, the octoban, swish cymbals, tambourine, wood block and many more.

    The Standard Sizes: Rock and Fusion

    Most drum kits include the two toms, the bass, snare drum and floor tom. The dimensions of the kits are based on the individuals components. In the United States and other countries, the standard drum kit size refers to the “rock size”. These include a 14” snare drum, 22” bass drum, 16” floor tom and mounted toms (12”and 13”).

    Fusion is another drum kit setup which uses different components and dimensions. They include 10” and 12” mounted toms, a 20” bass drum, a 14” floor tom and the 14” snare drum. Note that in some cases the bass drum used is 22”.

    How Drum Kit Dimensions are Expressed

    Whether it’s tom, bass or snare, their dimensions are usually expressed by diameter x depth. For example a snare drum measuring 14 x 5.5” refers to the formula mentioned above. However, some manufacturers reverse the formula (depth x diameter). In this case the drum kit size will read as 5.5 x 14”. If you’re going to buy kits, you need to examine the specifications.

    Dimensions of a 5 Piece Rock Kit

    This configuration is usually known as “2 up 1 down”. In most cases, one rack tom measures 12 x 9” and the other 13 x 10”. The bass drum measures 22 x 18”, the floor tom 16 x 16” and the snare drum 14 x 5.5”.

    The depths for fusion drum kits are also fairly standardized. For the 20” bass drum it is 16”; for the 10” rack tom it is 8” and 9” for the 12” rack tom. For the 14” floor tom it’s also 14”. For the 14” drum it is 5.5”.

    Keep in mind the drum kit size will change if the configuration is altered. For example, some fusion drum kits employ two floor toms and just one rack tom. This can affect the dimensions, not to mention the sound.

    The space needed for the set will vary. However, a 5.5 drum riser will be able to hold a 4 piece kit with a couple of crash cymbals. A hi hat and china cymbals can also fit in.

    The sizes of the cymbals vary. Some are as small as 8” and go up to 14”, 18” up to 20”. The hi tom can measure 13 x 10”.

    Tone and Sound

    The bigger the drums, the greater the volume and sound. This comes at the expense of mobility. The only way to find the right compromise is to experiment with various drum kits.

    If you’re just learning, going for the starter drum kit size will be sufficient. Eventually you can upgrade it as your skill level goes up.

    One comment
    1. David C.

      February 13, 2012 at 8:23 am

      There used to be a “standard” in expressing drum sizes that dates back several decades. The depth was always the first dimension and the diameter was always the second dimension. For instance, the most popular sizes for a mounted tom would be an 8 X 12 or a 9 X 13. Of course there were many sizes like 10 X 14 and 12 X 15, etc. When “power toms” came into being, the 12″ diameter toms were then called 10 X 12. This standard stood the test of time and made it very easy to order drums and cases without the confusion associated with today’s ….uh….standard. Which is my whole point. There no longer is a standard. I recently searched for cases to match drums I currently own. Very frustrating as the companies no longer use the true standard of yesterday. A lot of case sellers do not describe dimensions in ANY detail and it’s a virtual crap shoot to see if you will get what you need.
      Ludwig still uses the standard, along with Slingerland, Tama, DW, Gretsch, and others.
      I say, “Why change what worked for years?”

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