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Tom Drums

Tom drums are versatile types of percussion instruments that are used for many genres of music. A mount or rack tom can be played as part of a drum kit or solo, and they have many variations.

What types of tom drums are there?

Toms were added to drum kits in the 20th century. A mounted tom is a cylindrical drum without snares. They can range anywhere from 6 to 24 inches tall. Single-headed tom-toms drums are also called concert toms and are typically easy to tune because of their lack of a bottom or head adjustments. Rototoms are made simply of a head and a metal frame. This variation can play different notes and is sometimes written into music with actual tones to play. A gong bass drum is a large, single-headed tom that is similar to a regular bass drum. A floor tom sits on a stand and is typically as high as it is wide. It has a distinctly deep sound.

What are tom drums made from?

The shell is generally made from wood, like mahogany, falkata, birch, or maple, depending on the particular drum. Tone quality depends largely on the craftsmanship of the outer shell. Tension-mounted rims are made of metal that's attached using one of many mounting systems. Generally, toms are played with sticks or mallets.

How do you care for toms?

Wiping the drum down with a soft cloth after each use can help to maintain its quality. Be sure to check the lug nuts and bolts that control the drum’s tension. Over time, these can wear and become more difficult to screw. Try using a small amount of brass-slide grease, about the size of a pea, and apply it to the bolts with a cloth to keep them turning smoothly.

What types of music are toms used to play?

Toms are part of kits and can be used to play lots of different styles of musical pieces. Rock, jazz, and orchestral genres utilize tom toms for different pieces. Due to the variability in size and tone, toms can be relatively versatile when it comes to the styles of the pieces they play.

What kind of sound does a tom drum make?

Toms make rounded, hollow sounds of all different pitches. A drum will have a lower tone if it is larger or a higher tone if it is smaller. Additionally, toms can sound different depending on what other sounds they are combined with. A mount tom in a drum kit may sound different than a solo tom being played as part of an orchestral piece.