Cocktail Drums are Coming BACK !!

Denise Johnson

Junior Member
I recently got my Trixon Kit....and I love it.

The site AllAboutCocktailDrums.com gives great information along with galleries, videos, etc to give u an idea of why they are gaining popularity again..

(you will see my video at bottom of page of AllAboutCocktailDrums.com)

i am now adding a remote hi-hat to see if I can add more creativity when using hi-hats with this stand up kit !! :)

Hope u like :)
Denise
 

Anduin

Pioneer Member
I love cocktail kits.

I don’t actually have one, and obviously there are serious limitations compared to a regular kit, but there’s something very cool about them. Some day I’ll get me one.
 

Spreggy

Silver Member
But is anyone playing rock gigs, three sets of standing on one foot with them? Can they really give you a passable bass drum sound?
 

Anduin

Pioneer Member
But is anyone playing rock gigs...?
When I saw Midnight Oil a few years back, the band opened the show with everybody all lined up across the front of the stage. The drummer (dunno who he was) was playing a cocktail kit, and it sounded great in a rock setting. (After a few tunes he went back and played his regular kit for the rest of the night.)
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
But is anyone playing rock gigs, three sets of standing on one foot with them? Can they really give you a passable bass drum sound?
I have played a cocktail drum for about two years (see Tiki set link below). About 80 percent of what you know on a sit-down set is transferable and you need to learn the other 20 percent that is unique to playing standing.

The bass drum is quite passable for the kinds of gigs you do with a cocktail set. In fact, a cocktail set is perfect for busking, or small gigs where a traditional set would be overbearing. The whole point is to have a smaller, quieter set, which is something other musicians and audience members appreciate greatly and of course you can mike them like any other set. There are many gigs i would never get if I didn't have my cocktail set.

To reduce fatigue, I switch feet on the bass drum. This is actually a good thing as it helps train my left foot to step out of its comfort zone. There is no hihat pedal, but I do use closed hats. Nevertheless, playing a cocktail set is inherently more uncomfortable than a sit-down set, but the cool factor can't be beat.

If it ain't standing, it ain't cocktail.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
I love cocktail kits.

I don’t actually have one, and obviously there are serious limitations compared to a regular kit, but there’s something very cool about them. Some day I’ll get me one.
Yes, there are limitations, but a traditional set also carries its own set of limitations. I have played my cocktail set in venues where the owner would freak out if you brought in a traditional set, but the cocktail set flies in under the radar and the much lower volume is welcome.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
When I saw Midnight Oil a few years back, the band opened the show with everybody all lined up across the front of the stage. The drummer (dunno who he was) was playing a cocktail kit, and it sounded great in a rock setting. (After a few tunes he went back and played his regular kit for the rest of the night.)
The drummer is Rob Hirst. I used to see the Oils play all the time. Rob's a great rock drummer.


... playing a cocktail set is inherently more uncomfortable than a sit-down set, but the cool factor can't be beat.

If it ain't standing, it ain't cocktail.
That's the deal-breaker for me. I saw a bar band in the 80s with a stand up drummer. Next day I tried it at home and it didn't take long before I had to stop.

I guess that's conditioning, but I like my Rhythm Traveler, dinky low end beastie that it is - it's like a cross between a cocktail and normal kit.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
The drummer is Rob Hirst. I used to see the Oils play all the time. Rob's a great rock drummer.




That's the deal-breaker for me. I saw a bar band in the 80s with a stand up drummer. Next day I tried it at home and it didn't take long before I had to stop.

I guess that's conditioning, but I like my Rhythm Traveler, dinky low end beastie that it is - it's like a cross between a cocktail and normal kit.
Yeah, playing a cocktail set is pretty uncomfortable and I think that's one of the limitations for a lot of people. I manage it by shifting between the left and right foot for the bass drum. I've seen some compact sets that allow seated playing using a floor tom instead of a true cocktail drum. Then they sometimes add hats and hat pedal, double pedals, tripod stands for cymbals and tripod stands for toms. At that point, it's not a cocktail kit any more but I'm a purist.

I have played a Rhythm Traveler briefly and they are great little sets, compact and easy to manage and they sound great.
 

Denise Johnson

Junior Member
The drummer is Rob Hirst. I used to see the Oils play all the time. Rob's a great rock drummer.




That's the deal-breaker for me. I saw a bar band in the 80s with a stand up drummer. Next day I tried it at home and it didn't take long before I had to stop.

I guess that's conditioning, but I like my Rhythm Traveler, dinky low end beastie that it is - it's like a cross between a cocktail and normal kit.
Yes... I do get tired when playing them as well. I am going to try a higher type stool in which I can lean back on but still actually be standing. I also practice with this kit than my regular kit now. I don't have the space and when I'm not using my Yamaha Electric kit...I just jump over on my cocktail kit and practice my rudiments.. It is about CONDITIONING... Most of my gigs right now require a full set up....
 

Denise Johnson

Junior Member
The drummer is Rob Hirst. I used to see the Oils play all the time. Rob's a great rock drummer.




That's the deal-breaker for me. I saw a bar band in the 80s with a stand up drummer. Next day I tried it at home and it didn't take long before I had to stop.

I guess that's conditioning, but I like my Rhythm Traveler, dinky low end beastie that it is - it's like a cross between a cocktail and normal kit.
I have seen the Rhythm traveler...... I may have to take a closer look ! :)
 

Denise Johnson

Junior Member
Yes, there are limitations, but a traditional set also carries its own set of limitations. I have played my cocktail set in venues where the owner would freak out if you brought in a traditional set, but the cocktail set flies in under the radar and the much lower volume is welcome.
Very true. I have played at some venues where I ended up just bringing in a bass drum, snare, hi-hat and 1 cymbal, because it was literally in the window of a restuarant in which space was limited. The owner was also concerned about volume of the drums.

I honestly haven't gotten used to the upside pedal. I love to do cool stuff with my foot and I haven't quite got the feel of the upside down pedal. Might need adjusting but feels slower to me...
 

Denise Johnson

Junior Member
I have played a cocktail drum for about two years (see Tiki set link below). About 80 percent of what you know on a sit-down set is transferable and you need to learn the other 20 percent that is unique to playing standing.

The bass drum is quite passable for the kinds of gigs you do with a cocktail set. In fact, a cocktail set is perfect for busking, or small gigs where a traditional set would be overbearing. The whole point is to have a smaller, quieter set, which is something other musicians and audience members appreciate greatly and of course you can mike them like any other set. There are many gigs i would never get if I didn't have my cocktail set.

To reduce fatigue, I switch feet on the bass drum. This is actually a good thing as it helps train my left foot to step out of its comfort zone. There is no hihat pedal, but I do use closed hats. Nevertheless, playing a cocktail set is inherently more uncomfortable than a sit-down set, but the cool factor can't be beat.

If it ain't standing, it ain't cocktail.
Wow...I will try switching my foot..... I now have a remote hi hat because I don't like not having flexibility of my hi hat.... Great points !!
 

Denise Johnson

Junior Member
But is anyone playing rock gigs, three sets of standing on one foot with them? Can they really give you a passable bass drum sound?
Yes...you can get a nice out of the bass drum. I have a video on Youtube... but there are some great drummers....different styles of playing on Youtube.

I mic'd my kit but I also played it without the mics so that you could hear the raw sound...
Tuning a muffling the skins (egg foam or whatever you choose, is necessary)
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
I manage it by shifting between the left and right foot for the bass drum.
That would be another kind of discomfort for me!

I've seen some compact sets that allow seated playing using a floor tom instead of a true cocktail drum. Then they sometimes add hats and hat pedal, double pedals, tripod stands for cymbals and tripod stands for toms. At that point, it's not a cocktail kit any more but I'm a purist.
Sounds like a nice middle ground, though. I see your point - there is a kind of presence from both standing and the minuscule size of the kit that is unique.


I have played a Rhythm Traveler briefly and they are great little sets, compact and easy to manage and they sound great.
I'm happy with mine with my loungey band for the most part. I'd like a little bit more depth the the 12" to reduce the boing, but I tune mine low because I need one deeper voice on the kit that's not the bass drum. It'd be good to find a concert tom with compatible fittings that was a few inches deeper, maybe 12 x 8. The 8" tom is fabulous!


Yes... I do get tired when playing them as well. I am going to try a higher type stool in which I can lean back on but still actually be standing.
That's a good idea. The hard part would be finding something light and portable. I started with a kitchen stool and used it for 20 years, but I don't recommend that :)
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I recently got my Trixon Kit....and I love it.

The site AllAboutCocktailDrums.com gives great information along with galleries, videos, etc to give u an idea of why they are gaining popularity again..

(you will see my video at bottom of page of AllAboutCocktailDrums.com)

i am now adding a remote hi-hat to see if I can add more creativity when using hi-hats with this stand up kit !! :)

Hope u like :)
Denise
Nice demonstration of the kit! Very solid groove. I've been intrigued by the cocktail kit ever since I was a child but I never got in to them, and I think it's because of my height (5'1" on a good day). When I saw the Steve Jordan cocktail kit a friend played while working at Disneyland, it was just too tall for me, but he played it great anyway.

It would be cool if they make a big comeback, but sometimes I think maybe the idea has had its time and that's why they fell out of favor. I myself can no longer enjoy a bass drum smaller than a 20, and the original cocktail kits with those 15" bass drums just end up sounding anemic. Later in the 70s when someone came up with the idea of the up-striking pedal and hooking it to an 18 floor tom to basically, eliminate the bass drum I thought that idea would really take off since you get a better bass drum sound. But I think many drummers still felt it was a novelty, and carrying around an actual bass drum isn't really that much more when you thought about it.

But I do like it when I see other people playing them and having a good time. I'm just too short!

Does playing an Octapad with a bass trigger pedal count? I had done that for years in really small playing areas ;)
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
I'd like a little bit more depth the the 12" to reduce the boing, but I tune mine low because I need one deeper voice on the kit that's not the bass drum. It'd be good to find a concert tom with compatible fittings that was a few inches deeper, maybe 12 x 8.
I'm guessing you're using the 12" as a floor tom, if it's the case, fittings is not an issue as such, you can attach a deeper 12" tom to the ride cymbal stand using some sort of clamps.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
I'm guessing you're using the 12" as a floor tom, if it's the case, fittings is not an issue as such, you can attach a deeper 12" tom to the ride cymbal stand using some sort of clamps.
Kind of, really it's my in .between drum. It has to do the job of both mounted and floor. It seems too much to ask of a 12 x 5 :) Thing is, I have really lightweight cymbal stands so a clamp with a tom would topple either of them.

If I could find a 12 or 13" concert tom with compatible fittings I could slot it on to the same fitting on the bass drum ... if that's too optimistic I'll see about having it custom made. If worst comes to worst, buy a 12" concert tom and get the RT fitting put on it.
 

mandrew

Gold Member
Cocktail drums are so cool! They were very popular in teh 40's into the early 60's. they were mostly used by latin and jazz groups, and mostly in small dinner clubs, not auditoriums. The music was mostly intimate dinner venues, for which these were perfect. Present, but not overpowering. Musicians then played in smaller sets, and more often. They were not standing for 45 minutes to an hour, so they got to rest a bit more. they would play from maybe 7:00-11:00, or 9:00 to 1:00 in big cities, with numerous short breaks.

It wasn't until bigger bands were more of a solo scene that bigger and louder sets were brought in, but these were for more of a concert setting, not quiet dinners with mood music. For shorter sets that do not require blastissimo volume, cocktail sets are perfect. We just need to let them rediscover there niche.
 
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