rack and floor tom on snare standsImage from: Vintage Drum Forum

Mounting your tom on a snare stand is definitely a snappy idea (pun intended). It improves your set positioning, helping you drum up your game! (okay, that was two puns, but who’s counting?)

Using a snare stand as a tom mount isn’t just a hipster trend that makes your drum kit look cool, it’s also functional.

Not only does it give the set that rockstar, John Bonham-vibe (and, let’s be honest, extra points if your toms don’t match), but proper positioning of rack toms can also help refine your technique.

This is especially true if you’re rocking out on a cool and edgy 24 to 26-inch bass drum. Mounting your tom on a large bass drum places it at a high position relative to your sitting stance, which can lead to discomfort and poor technique.

A snare stand, however, allows you to place the tom at a comfortable height and position while accommodating the larger bass drum. It also allows easy adjustment of the tom drum if different players will play the set—now that’s versatility!

Today, we’ll share three tips for mounting a tom on a snare stand, and talk about:

  • Choosing the ideal snare stand for your tom drum
  • How to adjust the snare basket to avoid a dead, lifeless tone
  • How acoustic foam can help you get a more lively, resonant sound

Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, the tips here will help you improve your drumming game. And, who knows, maybe one day you’ll even have the chops to rival David Grohl himself (or at least the style to match).

1 - Use a Sturdy Yet Light Weight Snare Stand

drum kit with a rack tom on snare stand
Image from: Drum Forum

Though all snare stands might work great for a snare drum, some work horribly with a tom drum.

The ideal snare stand for your tom will be light-weight, yet sturdy enough to support its weight.

While a heavy-weight snare stand probably seems like the best option to support the tom’s weight, their strong arms make them difficult to adjust.

The basket arms also hold the drum too tightly, restricting its ability to vibrate and resonate, thus stifling the sound. This produces a dampened, choked-out sound, causing you to lose tone, which will affect your band’s overall performance.

Tip: A light-weight stand that’s under five pounds is easier to carry around and transport, making it a solid choice for all you gigging drummers out there.

On the other hand, a light-weight snare stand is a breeze to adjust and set up, not to mention it allows your tom to resonate more freely, resulting in a better, opened-up sound.

The following table compares the use of light-weight and heavy-weight snare stands as tom mounts.

Feature Light-Weight Snare Stand Heavy-Weight Snare Stand
Portability Easy to carry around and transport Cumbersome to move and transport
Ease of set up Easy to set up and adjust Limited adjustability
Sound Lively, resonant sound Dead, choked-out sound

But there’s more: You don’t have to sacrifice sturdiness for portability with a light-weight stand.

Expert Tip: Look out for double-braced legs to ensure maximum stability and avoid wobbling while you’re pounding out a drum solo. And don't forget about those rubber feet—they'll help prevent slippage during those intense drumming sessions.

The Griffin Light Weight Snare Drum Stand from Geek Stands has double-braced, chrome-plated legs and anti-slip rubber feet, and is easily adjustable.

snare stand illustration showing the adjustment knob

You can adjust it to a low height of 16 inches so that your tom drum is lower than your cymbal stands, or adjust the stand higher—up to 24 inches—and position it between other tripod stands in your setup.

Its gross weight of four pounds makes it perfect for a drummer who’s always on the move. It’s also easily foldable and collapses into one compact piece, which will help you save space while transporting your drum kit.

2 - Avoid Tilter Slips With a Heavy-Duty Basket Adjustment Knob

silver rack tom on snare stand
Image from: Drum Forum

One of the most common challenges with using a snare stand as a tom mount is that the tilter slips under a heavy drum during intense drumming.

A stand-tilter slip can completely throw off your rhythm or potentially cause wrist damage from overextending yourself.

To avoid this, use a snare stand with a sturdy clamp-style basket to hold the tom firmly at your desired angle. A modern-style basket that allows adjustment of all three arms helps tighten the clamps and keep your tom in place.

The following steps will help you firmly mount your tom on the snare basket.

  1. Place the stand firmly on a flat surface. Ensure the legs are properly extended and locked in place—you don’t want that bad boy toppling over during your performance.
  2. Insert the basket arm in the stand’s hollow tube to adjust the stand’s height and lock it in place. Ensure your stand of choice has a secure slip-proof locking mechanism to help you avoid sudden slips while drumming.
  3. Center your tom on the three arms of the basket. Centering the tom will help evenly distribute its weight, giving you more balance.
  4. Adjust the arms using the basket’s adjustment knob to accommodate your tom’s size.

    And speaking of sizes, ensure your preferred snare stand accommodates your tom drum. Different stands hold different-sized toms. The Griffin Snare Drum Stand, for instance, accommodates toms between 8 and 15 inches.

    Ensure the clamps hold the tom’s rim and none of the metal parts of the arms are in contact with the tom. Extra metal-to-metal contact affects the sustain of the drum. The more metal-to-metal contact there is, the more the drum resonates, and the longer the sustain of your drum.

    You might be thinking, “Whoa, a longer sustain is actually better for my performance.” Well, it isn’t. Too much sustain muddles the sound, making it difficult to distinguish individual notes, especially if you’re playing an acoustic gig.
  5. Tilt the basket like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Use the tilter knob to find that perfect angle that allows more of the batter head’s cross-sectional area to face you.
  6. Rock out to your favorite tune on the drum kit—you’ve played it, like, a million times, so you know all the notes. This will allow you to test out the tom’s tone and identify the stand’s height and angle that work best for you.

The Griffin Snare Drum Stand comes with a heavy-duty circle adjustment knob designed to hold toms with a diameter of 8–15 inches. It also has a sturdy clamp-style basket with a slip-proof gear tilting system that's adjustable to any angle.

It also has nylon bushing joints, so you can trust that the stand will remain securely locked at your preferred height, even during wild drum solos.

“I needed a snare stand that could sit my snare low and at a tilt. This stand fits that bill and at a very reasonable price.” - Petrus Lottering, Verified Buyer

3 - Experiment With Different Positions for More Sustain and Tone

floor and rack tom on snare stand
Image from: Drum Forum

To find the perfect tone that makes your tom sing, it’s crucial to experiment with different positions on the snare basket—finding the perfect tone is a bit like finding a needle in a haystack.

The best position for more resonance is when the tom sits firmly yet loosely on the basket without tilting over when pounded.

Here are a few tips to help you find that sweet spot:

  • Adjust the basket arms on the tom so that only a small bit of the rubber claws touch the drum.
  • Tighten the basket just enough so the drum doesn’t fall off the stand. Over-tightening the basket will kill the drum’s resonance and sustain. You just want to keep it snug—not too tight.
  • Ensure that none of the metal parts of the arms touch the tom drum’s rim. Metal-to-metal contact, as mentioned before, affects the sustain of the drum.

Here’s a table outlining the recommended tom drum sizes and their ideal heights when mounted on a snare stand.

Tom Drum Size (Inches) Ideal Height When Mounted On A Snare Stand (Inches) Recommended Tom Arm Length (Inches)
8 10–12 4–5
10 11–13 5–6
12 12–14 6–7
14 14–16 8–9
16 16–18 9–10
18 18–20 10–12
20 20–22 12–14

If your stand doesn’t have rubber arms, insulating materials such as packing foam or surgical tubing can help increase resonance and sustain. Just place your preferred insulating material on the basket claws and tighten the basket so that the drum doesn’t budge.

Some drummers have also found that tuning a tom drum a little higher than when using a suspension mount can help with the tone.

“...Over the years, I've also learnt that toms on a snare stand like to be tuned a little higher than the same drum on a mount.“ - El Roso on Drummerworld

Tip: Remember, what works for you might not work with your neighbors—especially the ones you keep up at 3 AM with your banging drums. Trust your ears, try different positions, and experiment with some DIY hacks. You’ll find the perfect tone in no time!

Refine Your Drumming Skills With the Geek Stands Snare Drum Stand

Snare Drum Stand Deluxe Percussion Hardware Base Kit

Every virtuoso starts somewhere—mostly always in their parent's garage. And it mostly always begins out as noise until it becomes refined, exceptional music.

Using a snare stand as a tom mount can help refine your drumming skills with better positioning. And the Griffin Snare Drum Stand from Geek Stands may be just the tool to help with that.

This light-weight stand ticks off all the features you need in a snare stand used as a tom mount.

It allows for stability with its double-braced legs, has rubber feet to prevent slippage, and is easy to transport. The snare stand also has a heavy-duty circle adjustment knob designed to hold the weight of tom drums with a diameter of 8 to 15 inches.

We also know that sound is important to you. That’s why our snare stand incorporates a vinyl sleeve inside the base pipe to minimize unwanted vibration and noise.

The basket claws also have rubber tips, which help to insulate the drum from the stand, increasing resonance and sustain. You can play confidently, knowing that the sound will be clean and crisp without any annoying rattles or buzzes.

Get the Griffin Snare Drum Stand today and say goodbye to frustrating tilter slips, unwanted vibrations, and wobbling stands. You'll enjoy a smooth, uninterrupted drumming experience that will be appreciated by your fellow bandmates.

Are you still not convinced that a snare stand is best for your tom drum? Here is a brief explainer with more reasons on the importance of rack tom mounts:

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