Floor tom

Floor tom

A floor tom is a double-headed tom-tom drum which usually stands on the floor on three legs. However, they can also be attached to a cymbal stand with a drum clamp.

Not all drum kits include floor toms, but when used they are the largest and lowest tuned tom-toms in the kit. A common size for a floor tom is 16x16; that is, 16" in depth and 16" in diameter. Other common sizes are 14x14 (e.g. for jazz kits) and 18 by 16.

Floor toms can be of one of two designs. Quite simply, floor toms with legs and 'floating' floor toms; usually attached to either a drum rack or a cymbal stand by means of a clamp. It is uncommon to see a floor tom at 16x16 using the 'floating' system, however, and is more commonly seen on 'fusion' or jazz setups whereby the floor tom is of a 14 inch diameter.

The floor tom was popularised by Gene Krupa in the 1950s, using a 16x16. At first he placed it between his two bass drums, on the far side of his snare drum, but quickly moved it to its now traditional position to the right of his right leg. A second 16x18 floor tom, to the right of the 16x16, appeared in the late 1960s and was popularised as part of the extended kits used by progressive rock bands in the 1970s. In kits used by rock and metal drummers, it is very common to find more than one floor tom. Roger Taylor of Queen uses two floor toms that are 16x16 and 16x18

The floor tom is also used as a small bass drum by some (mostly jazz) drummers. In that case it is mounted horizontally on a specially designed rack system. More recently, companies such as Pearl have come out with 'floor tom to bass drum conversion sets.' These commonly consist of strategically shaped rods that one can put in place of the floor tom legs in order to stand it up horizontally. Under this method, it's fairly common that a drummer get appropriately sized bass drum hoops to complete the conversion process.


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