Hi-Hat Placement

THC

Senior Member
Finding the most comfortable and natural position for each piece on the kit has been a continuous journey for me since I picked backed up the sticks about a year an half ago. Little tweaks here and there to see if something might be a little more comfortable is one of the things I sometimes find myself doing when I can't play but still want "drum time".

At first it was huge changes. I'd totally rearrange everything just to see what it was like. Now that I'm over that silliness, and have settled on the basic placement of everything, I'm now down to doing the occasional micro-adjustments to work out the little things that just don't feel right.

One thing I keep coming back to is hi-hat placement.

When I first set up my kit, I start with the throne. I sit comfortably balanced on the throne with my feet on the floor in the most natural seated position. Right there is where I put my kick pedal and my hi-hat and then I build everything else builds out from there. I'm tall with long legs, so I do have a make a few concessions to accommodate limb length. The main one being taking the toms off the kick and putting them on a stand.

With everything in it's most comfortable position, my hand position while playing hi-hat and snare ends up like this.



Here's another angle on the snare upstroke



With my right hand directly above the center of the left stick I occasionally whack my knuckles….and it just seems very tight in the whole area.

If I move the hi-hat further to the left, which put’s my hands over top of each other, it feels a bit better, and allows each stick to move in its full arc without interfering with each other, but that puts the hi-hat pretty far over over off my left shoulder.and opens up my legs into an uncomfortable sitting and playing position.



The other way isn't any better and I'd have to redo the toms.



If I move the hi-hat closer to me, it moves my right hand back out the way so it's stick over stick, but that put's my left leg in an uncomfortable bent position.

If I raise up the hi-hat to get some more clearance in there, it seems to throw my whole right arm into an uncomfortable position to play on top of the hats, and going from hi-hat to snare and back quickly is a mess.

The way I have it now seems to be the best compromise of legs, hands and sticks, but I still think I'm missing something.

thoughts?
 

Arky

Platinum Member
I haven't encountered some of the problems you have yet - because I don't have a full drumkit so I haven't run into e.g. tom placement issues. But even as a near-beginner I've learned that I want to have everything at comfortable height/distance/angles. I've found workable hihat/snare positions for myself but wasn't super satisfied with them. To have (way) more options and hoping/assuming that whatever I'll decide to go for my hardware will be up to it, I've ordered Bill Bachman's Remote Speedy Hat (by Legacy Percussion Gear), to be shipped within the next few weeks. I consider this a more important and "strategic" gear purchase than getting a new cymbal or double pedal, and I think this hihat stand will be a once and for all hihat placement solution (BTW, due to the pulley system, that hihat actually responds faster than usual hihat stands!).

http://www.remotespeedyhat.com/
http://www.remotespeedyhat.com/remote-speedy-hat.php

A review by Drummer Cafe (w/ 2 videos at the bottom of the page):
http://www.drummercafe.com/reviews/gear/legacy-percussion-gear-remote-speedy-hat.html

I decided to get that hihat (stand) because of 2 main reasons:
1) having full options of hihat placement/discance relative to the snare (my left foot didn't always like the pedal position when the hihat cymbal was placed in a comfy position, and once the foot was comfy the hihat seemed not placed perfectly relative to the snare)
2) having instant open handed options without having to learn open handed style the traditional way (which I was working on anyway)
 
A

audiotech

Guest
It just comes down to their playability factors. Neither hand should get in the way of the other. People like me who play predominantly traditional grip have even more problems keeping things in their places and unrestricted, especially playing two or three up. It usually turns out to be the hi hats height, but getting it too high, you run into problems playing the first tom since your high hats get in the way with a traditional grip. It's all experimental until you find something that works.

Dennis
 

Davo-London

Gold Member
It took me a few years to get this kinda sorted.

I watched some players to discover their RH back stroke for a snare hit was all the way up to vertical so it gives their LH snare backstroke space and there's no collision. Once I sorted this it meant that my hand positioning was less critical. Then it was a question of moving the hat and snare to a comfortable position. It looks like your hihat is too far away from your snare for speedy interchanges with hat and snare using both hands. Are you suggesting that your leg position in plan view, which seems quite splayed out is where you want them to be?

If so you could move the snare further to the left and so at least the hats and snare are close. I like my hats to be about 5-6" above the snare head. A recent poll suggested the range was 4-9". If you're quite tall then maybe you could go for a bigger gap but it's worth experimenting to see what's comfortable. I like to play the hat with LH and RH and so it needs to be comfortable ie not too high for the LH.

Keep going you will get there eventually. The important thing is to experiment which you are doing and this includes positions in plan view and elevation. Try other folk's kits when you can and see how they feel.

Davo
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Interesting. There is no way I would play with my hats that far away from snare, and being a short guy my legs would have to really splay out to cover bass and hi hats.
 

Toolate

Platinum Member
Can you just mvoe the snare to the L? More under the hats.

Hats look too far out- can you play with your legs a little closer together? I still have issues dropping stick from missing the hats on other peoples kits when the hats are too far away. Looks to me like you have a few toms mounted over the kick and you are going to need to move them to the R or your snare to the L.
 

B-squared

Silver Member
Firstly, I noticed you are in my neck of the woods. Hello from Colorado.

Secondly, it looks like you use some of the same sticks I do. Those look like Trilok Gurtus at the top and Zildjian Dipped Nylon in about a 5A or 5B down the screen. Am I close?

Thirdly, I am wondering about your technique possibly being the problem as opposed to your set-up. Are you playing with your wrists or your forearms? You should be playing with your wrists. Those Trilok Gurtus are really powerful sticks, especially for the shaft diameter. You should get plenty of power with a good wrist stroke. If you are playing with your wrists, you should be able to solve your problem by raising your hats and/or lowering your snare. If you are playing with your forearms, you need to rid yourself of that. It is a bad habit that will really hurt you, particularly at fast tempos. I hope this helps.

Good luck!
 

THC

Senior Member
Firstly, I noticed you are in my neck of the woods. Hello from Colorado.

Secondly, it looks like you use some of the same sticks I do. Those look like Trilok Gurtus at the top and Zildjian Dipped Nylon in about a 5A or 5B down the screen. Am I close?

Thirdly, I am wondering about your technique possibly being the problem as opposed to your set-up. Are you playing with your wrists or your forearms? You should be playing with your wrists. Those Trilok Gurtus are really powerful sticks, especially for the shaft diameter. You should get plenty of power with a good wrist stroke. If you are playing with your wrists, you should be able to solve your problem by raising your hats and/or lowering your snare. If you are playing with your forearms, you need to rid yourself of that. It is a bad habit that will really hurt you, particularly at fast tempos. I hope this helps.

Good luck!
Hey, from Colorado. Nailed the sticks on both, B. :) I really like the Trilok Gurtus. That's mainly what I use. The Zildjian dips were my daughters, but I occasionally grab them.

I do try to play mostly with wrist with little to no forearm swinging. My teacher and Tommy Igoe have pretty much the same technique, and that's the way I've been taught.



So it sounds like the hi-hat is a bit too far from the snare for everybody's taste.

I'm 6'2" with freakishly long femurs apparently. Playing heel down probably doesn't help either. I will try moving them in a little tighter, but just looking at the basic hand/stick position, which of these should I be aiming for? Which one is closer to the way you play?


Excuse my poor photoshop skills. I was just trying to move the hand position without taking a bunch of pics.

A:


B:


C:
 

BillBachman

Gold Member
Here's my take:

There are plenty of techniques to be used at any given second that use fingers, wrists and arms. You're best off having all of the options available to you with no unnecessary inconveniences or limitations.

Crossing hands and/or sticks is actually quite limiting and you fully realize this after playing with no crossing and watching your vocabulary open up. Plus you find yourself being more comfortable playing things without having to deal with the techniques sacrifices required by crossing logistics on many patterns.
 

Toolate

Platinum Member
B

My hats actually are close to overlapping my snare- not 5" away like yours- you have to move that 1st tom to play it with L hand tho...
 

Soupy

Silver Member
I cross in B fashion.

You need to place your hats first and your toms last. Hats are played constantly, but toms only occasionally. Get those hats over to the right.
 

THC

Senior Member
The tom placement was the main thing I had to change. With the long legs, I can't comfortably reach the toms when they are mounted on the kick drum. I had to take them off and stand mount them. Right now they are as far to the right as they can go.



I suppose an option would be to get another tom arm and put one tom on each side of the kick on it's own stand. That would rotate everything to the right about a foot and give me more room to play with the hi-hat placement.

I think I'm going to take the 10 off this morning and really play with the hi-hats to find a better position. Then I'll worry about how to get the toms rearranged.
 

Naigewron

Platinum Member
I think I'm going to take the 10 off this morning and really play with the hi-hats to find a better position. Then I'll worry about how to get the toms rearranged.
Hihat positioning is one of the reasons I've gone to a single rack tom.

Any kit setup is going to be a compromise. You'll just need to think about what you need more: A comfortable hihat position or comfortable tom position. My guess is that you hit the hihat a lot more than your rack tom.
 

Bad Tempered Clavier

Silver Member
I suppose an option would be to get another tom arm and put one tom on each side of the kick on it's own stand. That would rotate everything to the right about a foot and give me more room to play with the hi-hat placement
Or may be you could go for the rack option?
 

B-squared

Silver Member
Hi again, THC. I love those Triloks, they are great sticks! After looking at your last shot, I think Bad Temper has the easiest fix. A rack should help you arrange things more comfortably. Really nice looking kit, BTW!
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Finding the most comfortable and natural position for each piece on the kit has been a continuous journey for me since I picked backed up the sticks about a year an half ago. Little tweaks here and there to see if something might be a little more comfortable is one of the things I sometimes find myself doing when I can't play but still want "drum time".

At first it was huge changes. I'd totally rearrange everything just to see what it was like. Now that I'm over that silliness, and have settled on the basic placement of everything, I'm now down to doing the occasional micro-adjustments to work out the little things that just don't feel right.

One thing I keep coming back to is hi-hat placement.

When I first set up my kit, I start with the throne. I sit comfortably balanced on the throne with my feet on the floor in the most natural seated position. Right there is where I put my kick pedal and my hi-hat and then I build everything else builds out from there. I'm tall with long legs, so I do have a make a few concessions to accommodate limb length. The main one being taking the toms off the kick and putting them on a stand.

With everything in it's most comfortable position, my hand position while playing hi-hat and snare ends up like this.



Here's another angle on the snare upstroke



With my right hand directly above the center of the left stick I occasionally whack my knuckles….and it just seems very tight in the whole area.

If I move the hi-hat further to the left, which put’s my hands over top of each other, it feels a bit better, and allows each stick to move in its full arc without interfering with each other, but that puts the hi-hat pretty far over over off my left shoulder.and opens up my legs into an uncomfortable sitting and playing position.



The other way isn't any better and I'd have to redo the toms.



If I move the hi-hat closer to me, it moves my right hand back out the way so it's stick over stick, but that put's my left leg in an uncomfortable bent position.

If I raise up the hi-hat to get some more clearance in there, it seems to throw my whole right arm into an uncomfortable position to play on top of the hats, and going from hi-hat to snare and back quickly is a mess.

The way I have it now seems to be the best compromise of legs, hands and sticks, but I still think I'm missing something.

thoughts?
Gosh, that all looks incredibly awkward and unnatural. It amazes me drummers play in this way.
 

tard

Gold Member
It all comes down to whats comfortable for you and what you get used to. I read this thread yesterday and today I was looking at the Cozy Powell thread checking out videos and stuff and just noticed for the first time how far his hats are from his snare. Heres the link to the video. From 2:44 - 2:48 and again at 3:10 - 3:15 gives good angles showing how far he really has to reach for them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5ID15mv0gA&feature=related
 

Netz Ausg

Silver Member
THC - Can i ask what your shell sizes are? Could you try them mounted over the kick again? I'm a very tall guy (6'3" or so), but I sit at a medium height. I not too long ago started mounting my 2 rack toms back on the kick drum and have found it a hell of a lot easier to get around the set. Don't get me wrong, when I was rocking 2 kicks and my hats were way out, I could play all the same stuff, but a lot of this kind of issue vanished when I went back to mounting on the kick.

With the toms back there it takes restrictions away on the distance between kick pedal and hi-hat pedals. This makes me able to bring my hats more in front of me, as opposed to off the side (riding my shoulder line, as it were).

With the hats out of the side, it's not an issue playing normally, until you play both hands on it and you get second floor tom syndrome - twisting and/or unnatural arm positioning.

It would also get your left hand a little out of the shadow of your right.
 

Netz Ausg

Silver Member
looking at your pictures again I see that your pedals and your throne don't really make a very even equilateral triangle - by putting my hats further forward as oppossed to out to the side I found my legs sitting more evenly (even equilateral shape).

Just another thought for you.
 
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