Growing older as a drummer.........

DB7

Member
Hi . This is actually my first post here. I turned 51 this year and am really starting to feel it. My body is not the same as when I started drumming in 1979 as a 13 yr old.

I've played double bass kits all my life. I love to use two bass pedals . I think it may be time for my to downsize. Had should surgery 2 yrs ago. and I've gained some weight recently I'm working on losing.

Basically I'm in the midst of a whole personal lifestyle change to adapt and grow older gracefully and healthier. Anyone else go through this?

I'm selling my entire 8 piece Double bass Kit / with the whole Gibraltar rack locally. Going to get something I've always admired.......a John Bonham Ludwig vistilite kit. Going to adapt a double pedal to that large 26" and give my body a rest twisting and reaching for everything.

Anyone else go through the same life changes? What did you do and how did it work? Thanks...........
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Welcome! Nice to have you here, and you're in good company with a bunch of other cranky old men.

There should be a user group for all the cranky old men so we can discuss our knees and incoming storms.

As a more serious answer, depending on how serious you are about doing this drumming thing, schedule a few sessions with a local teacher and tell them you're most interested in developing good form and technique to minimize potential injury and prevent creating repetitive stress injury!

Once you've got good form, you can work on the music and playing aspect on your own, or keep going with your teacher!
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
I'm with ya Bro. I'm 57 now and my gear keeps getting heavier. I've been having back problems and I'm using old wood hardware cases I built in the 80s. I think I'm gonna try to get a couple or maybe three small bags suitable to carry hardware in. That may help. Putting the wood ones in the and out of the car really gets me. I think I want to go to bags for the drums too. I keep my cases overhead in my garage. They are molded plastic. With them all stacked inside each other I can barley get them up on the shelf. I use to pride my self on how strong I was. I'm a pretty small guy, and have worked weld shops all my life. I didn't look very strong. Now I'm starting to have trouble doing some of the harder things I've always been able to do. I learning to do things differently which helps. Like using smaller bags might help. We need bass drum cases with sides that fold down, so we don't have to bend over the case and pick that heavy drum straight up out of it. We will over come though. lol Necessity is the mother of invention.
 

Vintage Old School

Gold Member
Welcome DB7!

I've got a decade "plus" on you and I never consider myself getting old. I just like to think I have a nice patina.

Above all else protect your back!

Get a Ford Smart Ass drum throne with Swedish Memory foam. Depending on how often you practice or gig, this may be the single best investment for your back.

Get lighter hardware and lighter cases.

If you don't have a Rock-N-Roller Multi-Cart by all means get one to roll your gear rather than hand carrying everything.
 

DrumWild

Senior Member
Gonna be 53 at the end of the year. In early 2014, I had a labrum tear, which took me off the drums for about 18 months or so. During that time, I focused on my guitar studies, as well as finger drumming on the AKAI MPD18 [Addictive Drums via Reaper].

I'm also in an area where there aren't any lockouts, and I live in an apartment, so it's a rare occasion when I get to play my own drums. I'll take them out a few times per month.

For now, it's easier to do just about anything else besides getting behind a real kit. I almost found an open jam to join, but based on a conversation, it was only open to other musicians and not drummers. Oh well.

My band stopped doing shows in early 2009. We've been working on an album/musical for the past 5 years, and have spent almost a year mixing the various instruments, foley art, orchestral parts, and so on. No need for any more instrumentation, so I'm doing whatever I want.

At least I kept playing out until late 2013. A fellow drummer told me in 1996 that I was "too old," and that I should quit. Glad I didn't listen to him, because I got some more mileage out of it all.
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
I turn 50 in a month and I've never been better as a drummer. Its because i spent the last few years relearning my technique. I moved away from using a more muscle oriented technique to utilizing rebound lot more. I also moved to bigger/heavier sticks and that has helped me to not slam the drum so hard in order to feel the tactile response in a loud setting.

It's like in baseball, a pitcher who throws 100 mph as a 22 year old has to reinvent himself as a 33 year old.

I'm a touring drummer right now for rock and heavy metal bands. I do about 2 a year at this point because I'm old. I leave on a 12 day tour with Sunlord and D.R.I. tomorrow.

I don't this to call attention to myself but rather to say that, if you change your approach, you can keep going for a long time. Guys like Gene Hoglan, Dave Lombardo and Mike Mangini are all older than me.

Injuries are another issue. I lost almost 3 years due to a nasty thoracic spine herniation. But learning better technique will always help.
 

hippy chip

Silver Member
Welcome! Nice to have you here, and you're in good company with a bunch of other cranky old men.

There should be a user group for all the cranky old men so we can discuss our knees and incoming storms.

As a more serious answer, depending on how serious you are about doing this drumming thing, schedule a few sessions with a local teacher and tell them you're most interested in developing good form and technique to minimize potential injury and prevent creating repetitive stress injury!

Once you've got good form, you can work on the music and playing aspect on your own, or keep going with your teacher!
The guy has been playing since 1979---what does he need a teacher for?
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
" There should be a user group for all the cranky old men so we can discuss our knees and incoming storms." Funny Dr. Watso I've always wondered why older folks often get "cranky" ? I remember my Dad doing so, and now at 62 I know why-cause we can't hear or see crap, every injury and broken bone comes back to haunt you, and then you feel your strength is a fraction of what it use to be and you have to "pace yourself" to do stuff you use to knock out with ease. Hell yeah I'm cranky. On a positive note physicians and nurses tell me cranky mean old codgers usually live forever!
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
So far so good, at a few weeks from 61, I still have my stamina and I think am even faster than in previous years. No arthritis, and no major aches or pains. I don't really attribute that to anything, I really don't exercise or have an especially healthy diet, I think I'm just lucky. Of course it could catch up with me at any time now.

Bermuda
 

Rotarded

Senior Member
I'm a momth from the big 55. Fortunately I lead a very active life, with a job that has me sitting down only about an hour a day. Otherwise I'm on my feet, moving constantly. The only time I really feel it is when I do a 5am to 4pm workday, then gig that night. Fortunately that only happens a couple times a year.

The point is, if you lead an active life and take moderately good care of yourself(my dietary habits not withstanding), take precautions against injury (back), you will be able to handle anything drumming throws at you. If you are a sedentary 9-5er, you need to get some exercise to keep yourself limber, your muscles in shape, and your stamina up.
 
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Matt Bo Eder

Guest
Welcome! I just turned 51 in February and TBH - it's just a number. I still feel basically the same, and the same aches and pains that started in my later 20s I still have today and nothing has been debilitating at all. I've always played smaller kits (although I do own a Bonham-sized kit in thermagloss maple), so it's either a 4-piece or a 5-piece.

There are days I feel a little slower - like it takes more time to stretch out when getting out of bed - but for some reason when there's music to be made, regardless of how I physically feel, I'll start when it's time (like Bermuda, maybe everything will just catch up to me at an inopportune moment).

The thing that seems a little strange, is how do people make this the most important thing in your life like when you were in your teens? I did, at one time, live off of my early attempts at making music full time. When that slowed down, and I started my career as sound technician (which is my primary full time career), became able to buy a house and cars and vacations and maintain health insurances and have food all the time, I began to wonder how important is this drumming thing? Somedays I let it slip and don't practice, other days I feel like my identity as a drummer is so important, I must practice something new and exciting. I think I'm in this weird twilight zone regarding my drumming as a profession and as an activity to do. If I stopped tomorrow, I don't know if I'd be upset about it because there are so many other things I identify my self with already.

But I do love to groove, and when the band is great it's like flying a jet airliner.
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
The old farts thread.

I feel drumming, the movement of the wrists, fingers, limbs etc. is a great preventative to stuff like arthritis and joint probe, movement is good. Drumming could be considered low impact.

Major at risk would be hearing, hard to get around that one.
 

lsits

Gold Member
So far so good, at a few weeks from 61, I still have my stamina and I think am even faster than in previous years. No arthritis, and no major aches or pains. I don't really attribute that to anything, I really don't exercise or have an especially healthy diet, I think I'm just lucky. Of course it could catch up with me at any time now.

Bermuda
Do you have a portrait stashed away inside your drum warehouse? :)
 

DB7

Member
Some great pointers here!Thank you! I don't necessarily have a sedimentary job. I'm a police officer. So I'm not in an office, but yeah I drive about 8-10 hrs a day. Used to not bother me, but ive been feeling it. And I gained a good 40 pounds in 3 yrs. It just snuck up on me. I never smoked, I drink only occasionally so I'm in good health, but my drumming is feeling it. Especially twisting to hit my lower toms or cymbols on boom stands. The speed aint there. Ive been just "staying local".meaning drum fills stay in front of me. So......im just gonna pair it down.

My next thread will be if I should invest in a acrylic set or birch.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
The guy has been playing since 1979---what does he need a teacher for?
Didn't I explain that? To ensure that as he comes back to drumming at an older age, he's doing so with correct form and technique, to avoid injury. If being alive a long time made us perfect at everything we tried, then we'd never have to worry! Unfortunately...
 
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Matt Bo Eder

Guest
The guy has been playing since 1979---what does he need a teacher for?
Everybody could be evaluated and pointed in the right direction all the time. When I was in my late 30s, I took a couple of lessons with Ed Shaugnessy. The man had me sized up in three minutes and knew where I needed the work. At my age now I'm considering getting with another teacher to help me keep the fire - know what I mean?
 

mikel

Platinum Member
There are two schools of thought on this subject.

One: you are getting older so you should slow down, ease off and take more care of yourself.
Two: use it or lose it....you dont stop doing something because you get old, you get old because you stop doing something.
I lift weights in the gym three times a week cos as you get older you lose muscle mass. I dont do this for body building, merely to improve and maintain core strength and muscle endurance.

I an 65 now and have taken a middle ground. I have kept fit since my early 30s with running, then cycling. Its easier to keep fit than it is to get fit. I can still do 2.5 hour gigs, no problem, but I made slight allowances to make that easier.

I used heavy sticks back in the day and thrashed the drums, I now use 8D sticks but I can still generate lots of volume as most of it now comes from the fingers and wrists, and the lighter sticks make it easier to get round the kit.

I use a smaller, lighter kit with a 20" BD and lightweight hardware. I am only a little guy anyway, 5' 5", so playing and lifting big drums and hardware was never much fun.

I work on my flexibility by doing Yoga, I am convinced its the best way to stay young and fit. Fight back mate, start today, If I can do it so can you.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I'll be 43 in November.

I guess the biggest change I've made in the past year is that I've lost about 35-40 lbs since last August. For about the past 6 months, I lift weights 5 days a week, so my weight is all over the place. I have no back problems unlike the previous 5 years or so. Since I started lifting, my drum playing feels almost effortless compared to a year ago.

In terms of drumming, the biggest change I made was going from hard cases to drum bags, and I switched from a 22" kick in a hard case to a 20" kick in a drum bag. My EMPTY 22" hard case weighs MORE than my 20" kick loaded in a drum bag. I still carry my snare in a hard case though. It's all been a big help.
 

barnisinko

Junior Member
First post here too!

I'm only 46 but I've inherited some physical stuff from my Dad that makes me feel older than that. Had right shoulder rotator cuff repaired last year, and the left shoulder is not far away from a repair. Arthritis, knee problems, back problems, etc. Bad thing is I can't take much in the way of pain relief -
ibuprofen is the devil to me because it wrecks your kidneys.

After some time on the throne, my lower back is stiff and sore as the dickens, so I'm thinking about getting a new throne. Right now I have what must be one of the original SPL tractor thrones, from the early to mid 1990's.

I had taken a long hiatus from serious drumming for around 25 years, and got the urge to get my chops back after my shoulder surgery. As soon as I could, I asked the doc for the ok to play drums, and got it. I decided to change my hand technique due to some bad arthritis in my left forefinger. I changed to trad grip and thicker sticks and went to a teacher for a few months to make sure I wasn't doing anything stupid! It was worth it, as he recommended me for a trad jazz bad which gigs about 2 or 3 times a month. Its very rewarding! The only problem is the weight of the hardware/gear. I've been very tempted to get one of those Purecussion type sets (remember those? haha) but I know it wouldn't sound the same.

I hope to play for as long as I am physically able! Thanks for the tips everyone!

barnisinko
 

2bsticks

Platinum Member
Welcome to the forum. I'm 63, soon to be 64, way too busy gigging in the Summer months when working full time in a prison. I'm on a stretch starting tonight of 12 gigs in 11 days. The good part is most of these are 2 hour outdoor shows, I call it the Gazebo Tour :) Need to lose about 80 lbs too!

I am using 4 piece kits, bass drums all 20" except for my old Slingerlands but I leave that kit setup at home. lightweight hardware, Protection Racket bags for the drums and these must haves.

The whole kit fits on the cart. I pull the cart and push the Gator hardware bag. One trip and I'm done. Broken bone in my heel, so I was using a walking boot for a couple of weeks but that's healing so I'm on the mend.
 

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