Cocktail Drums are Coming BACK !!

ohiodrummer1964

Senior Member
I am much more in demand with jazz combos with my cocktail set. I hardly ever play my sit down set any more in public. We play mainly coffeehouses and small clubs so a sit-down set would be overbearing and oafish or not allowed. Other musicians like the cocktail set because it is compact, lower volume and has a high a cool factor. Everyone says they notice no difference in sound between the cocktail and a sitting set, except much-welcome lower volume.

It's a big adjustment for me because I always have my left foot keeping time on the hihat. A cocktail kit is uncofortable and to combat fatigue I play bass with my left foot about a third of the time.

If you ask the musicians I play with, the much prefer the cocktail kit. What's not to love?
Deathmetalconga, would you mind sharing a couple tips on playing jazz on the cocktail kit with the closed hi-hats? I want to play jazz on my Trixon kit, and I'm used to the hats providing a chick on the 2 and 4 while playing the ride pattern with the right hand, so I'm trying to think of how to compensate for the change in the hats.

I'm thinking about getting a remote hi-hat, but if I can save money and play the cocktail kit more traditionally I'd rather do that.

Thanks,
Kevin
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Deathmetalconga, would you mind sharing a couple tips on playing jazz on the cocktail kit with the closed hi-hats? I want to play jazz on my Trixon kit, and I'm used to the hats providing a chick on the 2 and 4 while playing the ride pattern with the right hand, so I'm trying to think of how to compensate for the change in the hats.

I'm thinking about getting a remote hi-hat, but if I can save money and play the cocktail kit more traditionally I'd rather do that.

Thanks,
Kevin
If you get a remote hat, you would have to sit - which is all fine and dandy - but you wouldn't be playing a cocktail kit. You'd be playing a compact traditional drum set.

A cocktail kit is not a traditional drum set; it can do some things a traditional set can't do, and it cannot do some things a traditional set can. If you want to play jazz on a real cocktail set, you will have to learn how to do it without a hihhat. Sometimes I find myself moving my big toe inside my shoe to approximate the hats but then I get a cramp. Fatigue is a much bigger concern and I play bass drum about 30 percent with my left foot. Playing a cocktail set is actually pretty uncomfortable.

I am a big advocate of keeping the hats going in all genres, yet I play a cocktail set more and more and it has no movable hats.

What's most notable is that when I ask other musicians what they think of the cocktail set, they say they can't tell any difference from a sit-down set, except they don't have to keep turning up their volume to keep up.
 

Longfuse

Senior Member
I'm used to the hats providing a chick on the 2 and 4 while playing the ride pattern with the right hand, so I'm trying to think of how to compensate for the change in the hats.
Stick your foot through the loop of a tambourine and leave the rim resting on your toe. Tap your foot. Easy as that. This was an old trick before the hi-hat was invented (Louie Bellson learnt it from an old circus-drummer). An alternative is to rest your foot on the rim and tap. Lots of buskers use this technique, but it often requires you to sit.

I use an LP tambourine. I prefer brass jingles (louder for their size and warmer). Blends beautifully with brushes, but no reason why it wouldn't work well with ride.
 

gaz farrimond

Senior Member
I haven't seen this thread before.

I'm looking at getting, or building, a Cocktail Kit in the New Year for busking gigs with The Waterboarders over the Easter & summer holidays.
 

ohiodrummer1964

Senior Member
If you get a remote hat, you would have to sit - which is all fine and dandy - but you wouldn't be playing a cocktail kit. You'd be playing a compact traditional drum set.

A cocktail kit is not a traditional drum set; it can do some things a traditional set can't do, and it cannot do some things a traditional set can. If you want to play jazz on a real cocktail set, you will have to learn how to do it without a hihhat. Sometimes I find myself moving my big toe inside my shoe to approximate the hats but then I get a cramp. Fatigue is a much bigger concern and I play bass drum about 30 percent with my left foot. Playing a cocktail set is actually pretty uncomfortable.

I am a big advocate of keeping the hats going in all genres, yet I play a cocktail set more and more and it has no movable hats.

What's most notable is that when I ask other musicians what they think of the cocktail set, they say they can't tell any difference from a sit-down set, except they don't have to keep turning up their volume to keep up.
I agree, I think using a remote hi-hat would kind of take away the coolness factor of playing a cocktail kit. Unfortunately, I'm disabled and have to wear a leg brace and walk with a walker, so it's a necessity for me to sit on a barstool to play without falling, so I was thinking that as long as I'm sitting and not standing anyway, why not go ahead and get the remote hi-hat and be able to play jazz more traditionally.

However, I've only been learning on the cocktail kit for three days, and so far I have to use my left leg (the one with the brace) to balance myself on the barstool, so I think the idea of using the remote hi-hat is going to be a moot point anyway. That's probably a plus, as it will force me to learn to play jazz with the standard cocktail closed hats.

I've seen a youtube video of a cocktail player improving along with a track from John Riley's Art of Bob Drumming companion CD, so I know it can be done. So now it's time to practice, practice, practice.

Thanks for responding to my question. Also, thanks to the person who suggested the tambourine. I don't think I'll be able to do that due to my bad leg, but that's a cool little bit of drumming history I didn't know about.
 

Denise Johnson

Junior Member
Okay... 2014-NAMM Introduced the TAMA Silverstar Cocktail-JAM Kit ! This cocktail kit is made so that you can sit as well. I may have to purchase this ONE because the number one problem I had with my cocktail kit is trying to balance while playing. I kept a tall stool nearby, but love having the option to sit on longer gigs.

Here is video link from NAMM 2014 HERE

You can also view Wordpress article HERE

This kit has solved on major issues that drummers have with cocktail kit. Would be cool if they came up with a mini hi-hat stand..... (not mounted).

 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Okay... 2014-NAMM Introduced the TAMA Silverstar Cocktail-JAM Kit ! This cocktail kit is made so that you can sit as well. I may have to purchase this ONE because the number one problem I had with my cocktail kit is trying to balance while playing. I kept a tall stool nearby, but love having the option to sit on longer gigs.

Here is video link from NAMM 2014 HERE

You can also view Wordpress article HERE

This kit has solved on major issues that drummers have with cocktail kit. Would be cool if they came up with a mini hi-hat stand..... (not mounted).


I saw those up close at NAMM and they were very hip. I think if you wanted a separate hi-hat, one of their single-braced StageMaster hi hat stands oughta work out, don't you think?
 
OK. Here's a guy that rocks the stand-up kit! The outrageously talented Roger Manning Jr. of the terribly overlooked band, Jellyfish. I saw them in about 1994. They had such great songs and played and sang their asses off! I have no idea how he did what he did as the drummer and lead singer, standing up. He also wrote most of the songs, played multiple instruments and produced their records. This guy should have been a star.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bP1SkB-Sny4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAOEB8HtezY
 

Denise Johnson

Junior Member
Wow.... Love him ! His set has a regular bass drum without the upside down foot pedal. May have been custom made for him BUT I LOVE it ! Thanks so much for sharing. Will post his video on my website.
 

Denise Johnson

Junior Member
Will have to check out these hi-hat options. It would solve my only other discomfort of not being able to control my hi-hat for dynamics. Thanks !!
 

Olrocker

Member
Here's my Cocktail-Jam kit with traditional hi-hat and cymbal stands (the Tama hat/cymbal holder kit is backordered.) It's pretty cool!
 

Attachments

engravertom

Junior Member
I have been drumming cocktail style for almost 2 years at church. It allows me to lead singing, and interact with the congregation more easily than when sitting behind a kit.

here are some pics of a few configurations I have used.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/125141878@N06/14361181922/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/125141878@N06/14359390951/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/125141878@N06/14382884863/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/125141878@N06/14362702185/

]https://www.flickr.com/photos/125141878@N06/14176130530/
 
Last edited:
Top