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Keep the beat going with a great selection of Tom Drums
Tom drums are a staple of any standard drum kit. Customizing your drum kit with the perfect selection of tom drums can give you the ideal sound tailored to your own unique style and preference. Whether you’re looking to experiment with a new setup for your kit or recreate your favourite drummer’s setup, the perfect combination of tom drums is right at your fingertips.
What is a tom drum?
A tom (or “tom-tom”) drum is a cylindrical drum, similar to the snare drum but without the wires providing tension underneath. They typically consist of a single drum head, a metal rim, and a wooden shell—although there are multiple variations beyond the standard style.
Typical setup for tom drums
In a typical modern drum kit setup, two mounted toms often reside above the bass drum. These are the “high-tom” and the “mid-tom”. The high-tom is smaller in size and produces a higher pitch. The mid-tom is slightly larger and therefore produces a bigger, deeper sound. Many kits will also include a “floor tom” which is even larger and typically sits on legs directly on the floor rather than being mounted due to its size. The floor tom produces the lowest pitch of any tom.
While this is a frequently common configuration, there are no actual rules governing how many tom drums a drum kit may have, or where they may be placed. Every drummer has his or her own unique style and preference.
Size range of tom drums
The standard range for most tom drums is between six and twenty inches in diameter, however floor toms tend to be slightly larger and often come as large as twenty-four inches. The larger a tom drum is, the lower the pitch. This distinct range of pitches between small and large tom drums is one of the reasons why they really offer drummers the opportunity to really customize their sound with unique fills and accents to the beat.
Variations of tom drums
As previously mentioned, the most common variation of the tom drum is the single-head mounted tom, followed closely by the floor tom, which is typically double-headed and not mounted directly to the drum kit. At least 1-2 mounted toms and one floor tom make up a standard modern drum kit configuration.
Another variation of the standard tom drum is the “rototom”. A rototom is made up of a single head and a steel frame, but lacks the addition of a shell entirely. The rototom is so named for its ability to be quickly rotated—therefore changing the tension (and ultimately the pitch) of the drum. For this reason the rototom can be considered a tuned instrument, and played with varying pitch accordingly.
Finally, the “gong bass drum” is a larger single-headed tom with a drumhead that actually exceeds the size of its rim. It offers a sound not unlike that of a bass drum, but with a longer and more notable sustain (not unlike that of a gong), hence the origin of its hybrid name. They are typically set up similar to a floor tom, though often at an angle adjacent to an existing floor tom.