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Drumshell - Shell Sizes

Drumshell Sizes

The size of a shell is measured in diameter by depth. A 14 inch snare, with a depth of 5 and 1/2 inches would be notated as: 14x5-1/2 (5.5). A 12 inch tom that is 10 inches deep would be: 12x10. (Some companies reverse this notation, but we won't raise a fuss.)

We all know that the bigger the diameter of a drum, the deeper it will sound. For example: a 16 inch floor tom sounds much lower than a 12 inch tom. The depth of the shell also affects the tone, as well. The deeper the shell, the lower the sound and vice versa. But the depth effects more than the tone of a drum. A deeper drum will also be louder and therefore project more. A shallow drum won't project as well, but it will have better resonance and a purer tone. This is why power toms became so popular in the 70's, for rock music-- projection and low end thud. This is also why smaller drums are so popular with jazz music-- cleaner, fundamental tones.

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