Tom-tom drum

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1 Ride cymbal | 2 Floor tom | 3 Toms

4 Bass drum | 5 Snare drum | 6 Hi-hat

Crash cymbal | China cymbal | Splash cymbal | Sizzle cymbal
Swish cymbal | Cowbell | Wood block | Tambourine
Rototom | Octoban | Hardware

A tom-tom drum (not to be confused with a tam-tam) is a cylindrical drum with no snare.

Although "tom-tom" is the British term for a child's toy drum, the name came originally from the Anglo-Indian and Sinhala[1]; the tom-tom itself comes from Asian or Native American cultures. The tom-tom drum is also a traditional means of communication. The tom-tom drum was added to the drum kit in the early part of the 20th century.


Design history

The first drum kit tom-toms had no rims; the heads were tacked to the shell.

As major drum manufacturers began to offer tunable tom-toms with hoops and tuning lugs, a 12" drum 8" deep became standard, mounted on the left side of the bass drum. Later a 16" drum 16" deep mounted on three legs (a floor tom) was added. Finally, a second drum was mounted on the right of the bass drum, a 13" diameter drum 9" deep. Together with a 14" snare drum and a bass drum of varying size, these three made up the standard kit of five drums for most of the second half of the 20th century.

Later, the mounted tom-toms, known as hanging toms or rack toms, were deepened by one inch each, these sizes being called power toms. Extra-deep hanging toms, known as cannon depth, never achieved popularity. All these were double-headed.

Modern tom toms

A wide variety of configurations are commonly available and in use at all levels from advanced student kits upwards. Most toms range in size between 6" and 20", though floor toms can go as large as 24". Two "power" depth tom-toms of 12x10 (12" diameter by 10" depth) and 13x11 is a common hanging tom configuration. Also popular is the "fusion" configuration of 10x8 and either 12x8 or 12x9, and the again popular "classic" configuration of 12x8 and 13x9, which is still used by some jazz drummers. A third hanging tom is often used instead of a floor tom.

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