Advice and Setup for a Returning Drummer (Pics)


Senior Member
Hi all...

Firstly glad to be on here and I enclose pics of my new setup - unboxed and built a couple of days ago. It follows 4 weeks of mucking about with a 90's Pearl Export I picked up for virtually nothing.

I started playing when I was about 10 years old, took to it, took Grade 5 after a couple of years and passed with honours, gained a partial scholarship to a private school, then at the age of around 15 and having been forced into orchestral / bog band music by the school I gave up and sold my kit at 17 when I started driving. I am now 34, and have just in the last 4 weeks started playing again. It's a weird old time for me as I have forgotten a lot- however, I have retained a bit too, and am currently trying to hold myself back and start from scratch without getting carried away with crazy chops and stuff that as a kid I used to find impressive. No idea if any of you guys know Darby Todd or Louie Palmer but they were both friends of mine at the time, they have since gone onto the pro scene whilst I just got on with life.

Anyway - I want advice now please on how best to proceed. I am a little older now, hopefully wiser, and what I am doing is trying to keep it simple. I am focussing on timing, rudiment perfection (all 40), timing, variation, timing again, dynamics and stick control. Most of my drumming skill was not from reading music (I am poor at that although I do understand it and can read it) but from relentless play along to music, ad libbing and general creativity of my own. My plan is to spend a long time not getting carried away and perfecting all these old skills before going mad. That said I have been watching a fair bit of Drumeo and picking up some good licks. I can play pretty much whatever is laid before me, however perfecting it and getting it tight enough to throw in sub conciously will obviously take time.

What I really want is some direction and advice on how a "returning drummer" should proceed especially after so long away from the kit. Also from the pics some opinions please. ( Please not my cymbal setup at the moment is incomplete - I decided to spend my money on better second hand cymbals rather than a shiny new lesser quality box set, and in that I ended up subbing a crash for a splash ).

1) What advice can you give me on what I should focus on. Have I got it right with rudiments / timing / repetition of basic grooves to perfect dynamics and flow?

2) I have purposefully setup the kit this time for easy so I can reach everything and there is less reach between the drums. It looks good to me -are there any glaring errors?

3) I know many on here will advise one to one tuition, in an ideal world yes would love to, but at the moment two toddlers, shift work and money make this difficult. I genuinely feel that for the first year I can teach myself via online vids such as Drumeo - build up a base, develop my own style and then seek tuition, with a much better technique and skills base than I currently have. Putting a hand foot paradiddle together with a ride triplet sounds great and impresses the inexperienced audience - but I have enough knowledge to know that I have become very rusty and want to get back to where I was before moving on and seeking out tuition.

It's hard to say what style I play, but I would say rock / modern / groove. I am into "complexity" and being creative. At the moment my limbs are writing cheques that my brain can't cash - I am fine when I start but pro longed flow is often interrupted by timing / gaps in knowledge of where to go next. That will come in time, but all I want to do now is learn learn learn.

Thanks in advance and don't hold back, I am eager for the guidance. If it helps I have recorded a couple of 5 min videos which I am doing for my own reference, that are currently on youtube. They are not going to impress many on here, but it gives an idea of where I sit currently. I intend to do 1 a month and see where I am improving.



Platinum Member
You didn't link to your videos, so I put your user name in there, and this came out:

Anyways - setup looks fine.
"Have I got it right with rudiments / timing / repetition of basic grooves to perfect dynamics and flow?"
Sounds about right to me, unless there's something specific you run across that you'd like to work on.
If your initial training gave you a good grasp of fundamentals, and it sounds like it might have,
then some serious practice should get you back into shape.

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
Well, once a drummer, always a drummer. Welcome back to the drumming-scene.

How to proceed... my two cents:
Find a teacher that will take a short look at how good you are. Some people think they are good and they suck, while others think they suck but are good. If a teacher says: You suck, then you know, you have to learn stuff intensively. In this case: You have already found a teacher. Yeah. If the teacher says: You're good, then head over to Plan B:

Plan B: Find a band. You will learn more while playing with a band than by playing to tracks all the time. There is a huge difference between drumming to a preset timing and being the responsible musician who has to guide all other musicians with his timing. Knowing some chops is nice (show element), but not necessary in most musical contexts. Groove, feel and timing are way more important IMO.

Nice drumset. I don't really see any quirks in your setup.


Senior Member
Honestly to get back into it I'd just get an mp3 player and some headphones and just have some fun. Maybe do ten minutes of warmup with rudiments first, then ten minutes of something you wanna learn, then just mess around and have a good time. Once you've got the basics back down, then dive headfirst into learning new stuff.


Senior Member
Cheers all - good advice.

Finding a band is one thing - committing to one is another - I would drum all day every day - but my work and kids mean I only really get to drum daily for shot amounts. That in itself is lucky - I do at least get a real kit, undisturbed, with internet and TV on tap.

My sub of not being in a band is to drum to my music. I have already played to discs I used to, and found it far less easy. Timing always is the main issue. I get carried away with what I am doing. I have also found downloading a metronome to be very useful - nowhere to hide there.

I find it harder to play slower. Much of that comes from I think the ability I had before. Also general technique lost but found - on practice pad with rudiments I am quite happy. On a big kit - happy ish but sometimes overwhelmed.


Senior Member
I have just unlocked this video so it is public for you to see. What I will say is this:

It is on the old kit I picked up for free and recorded on a camera phone, so sound IS an issue

It is 4 weeks in to me picking up sticks in around 20 years

I am well aware that I am far too fast / bashing / over excited and trying to hold back the skills that my hands think I have.

For what its worth - this is me at the mo and I am just trying to allow my brain to consolidate an old skill.


Senior Member
Ha - I have just watched that video back.

At the time - it was all good - I had an idea of where I was going.
I totally appreciate the mess of how it sounds though - interchanging rythms and general sloppiness.

As I say - I am trying to piece together very old skills - the main issue from that that I notice is rushing / increased and unjustified pace / lack of dynamics.

And above all flow. Which to be fair is justified - as the recording alone adds pressure and at the moment this is a big new thing for me.

I look forward to more vids and advice. Please do be harsh - I need it. I was a preppy little private school boy who was told by his mum that he was good 20 years ago. My passion and feeling towards a kit is my own though, and something I think with a little leashing I can excel at.

Cheers all :)