House drum kit

brady

Platinum Member
I've had a few gigs lately where I've had to play the house kit...okay, 'church' kit, but the same issue still applies. First I'm most comfortable playing my own kit just most of you probably are. Now I usually don't mind playing another kit but 9 times out of 10 these kits are covered in a roll of duct tape and they have a mattress stuffed in the kick drum.

These are also the places that insist on us using their kit. I understand it's easier to switch between bands if there isn't a drum set up and tear down after every set but I would also like to play on a drum kit with some actual tone. It seems we drummers really get screwed in this area... I've never seen guitarists sharing the same guitar.

This rant does have a purpose: I was wondering if anyone out there with experience in this issue knows how to politely insist you play your own kit. I've already tried the 'better sound' and 'more professional' angles.

I don't want to sound like a diva but I just want to play on a decent quality drumset that is tuned properly.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
I hear your pain. I've had to play on house kits from time to time and whilst it was never my preferred option, it was just part and parcel of playing certain gigs.

If you've tried a couple of angles to get your own kit in and failed already, I'm not sure there's much hope. Take a couple of things to "remind you of home".....your own snare, cymbals and perhaps pedals....all can help you feel a lot more comfortable, I've found.....but other than that, it sounds like the price you pay to play in certain situations.

Just play 'em, grin and bare it, take your money and enjoy your kit all the more when you get back on it. :)
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
Can you tune the drums before you play them? Do you have, like, 5-10 minutes before you play, while everyone else is setting up their guitar/bass/keyboard/microphone setups? You can get them sounding better than their current state. I make it a point to always leave a house kit sounding better than it was when I got there, which often involves removing of tape, muffle rings, moon gel, and emptying out the bass drum. Then, tuning properly to the room. Most of those abused heads still have some life in 'em, but you've got to find it...
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
Can you tune the drums before you play them? Do you have, like, 5-10 minutes before you play, while everyone else is setting up their guitar/bass/keyboard/microphone setups? You can get them sounding better than their current state. I make it a point to always leave a house kit sounding better than it was when I got there, which often involves removing of tape, muffle rings, moon gel, and emptying out the bass drum. Then, tuning properly to the room. Most of those abused heads still have some life in 'em, but you've got to find it...
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I've done my share of house kits.

Where I've had the option to bring my own, I have.

Some multiple band events, there just is not the time to switch kits, so there is no choice but to deal.

And, as much as it can be uncomfortable, it's kind of nice to just get up after and not have to deal with all the gear. One of my better shows once was on a house kit.

So, as much I'd rather not use the house kit, I've done it enough times it doesn't really bother me.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
I've done it on occasion myself and I just like to bring my snare, kick pedal (I like more tension than most), and a couple cymbals (which I may not use).

Sometimes you get there and the snare is fine, and the cymbals are ones that you'd like to check out anyway so you don't really need your stuff. But it's nice piece of mind to know that at least that much is available if what's on the house kit is too far from what you're comfortable with.
 

brady

Platinum Member
I do bring as many pieces as possible. At a minimum I bring my own sticks, snare, pedal, and cymbals. If I have room, I'll bring some percussion stuff too. I've also gotten into a habit of bringing a couple cymbal stands as I have run into a few that were held together, 'memory locked' if you will, with duct tape. Additionally, I just purchased a Gibraltar Stealth rack for the right side of my kit which, so far, has drastically decreased set up/tear down time.

Caddy, I sometimes have 5-10 minutes, however, that time is spent arranging my own bits and getting my sound (monitor) squared away. I do what I can between songs during rehearsal regarding tuning.

Yeah, this is just what we have to deal with as drummers I guess.
I just wish we should pass a law that for one year, all guitarists playing a multi-band show have to share the same guitar. That way they would feel our pain and realize why we load in so much stuff when we play a strange drum kit.

Thanks for the input and for reading my rant...
 

JohnPloughman

Silver Member
Theres really no polite way to insist. You just have to do it.

Ive played some pretty crappy church kits.

I wont do that any morel.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Just do it. Enlist the help of friends, have your kit all set up ready to go, and when it's time, you and 4 of your closest friends can whisk off the crap kit and slide yours in. It's a church so it should be tolerated, but I'm just guessing there. You don't have to be a diva. Be pleasant but determined, and reassure everyone who squawks that believe you, they WANT you to do this. You're doing this for THEIR benefit, that's your angle. The stage will be returned to it's original condition when you're through.
 

rogue_drummer

Gold Member
Well put, LarryAce!

A cerrtain church I play at on occastion always has challenges, like the crappy kit,or the electronic kit with missing speakers, etc. so I've learned the hard way to bring as much stuff as I can. I keep playing because they are always very pleasant and the music is top notch with excellent musicians and it's always fun and challenging. Plus I always eat like a king when I'm there, so there is incentive to play. LOL

What I did on May 31st was to bring my own snare and cymbals and hardware just in case. I was told I would be playing on their house kit, which was a fairly new Pearl Forum, but already, the heads were shot and the snare was totally out of tune.

I played my equipment and put the kit back the way I found it. No biggie.
 

drumr0

Silver Member
I feel your pain too brady! I went to a revival at another church that was "in between" drummers, but had a house kit. The pastor knew I played and asked me to sit in with the band. When I sat down the batter AND resonant head of the snare drum was completely ripped from one side to the other. Fortunately, I was close to home and had time to get my snare to help out.

My DW's stay setup at church and when we have groups come in, I always offer them the oppurtunity to play my drums to help them save some time and setup. Some do and some don't. I kind of like it when they set up their own drums because at the end of the service we will get everyone together for a little jam session which is always fun.
 

brady

Platinum Member
Thanks all for chiming in. It's good to know I'm not alone in this boat.

Larry, I would enlist the help of friends but it's also my bandmates that insist I play a house kit. They think I'm 'so picky' about my sound. Well, I am. I like to sound as professional as possible.

drumr0, your post reminded me of the flip side of this issue: Having others play your kit. It's only been an issue at my church once. A couple weeks ago this kid came in and was apparently ripping on the drum set up and complaining about the tuning. (Well, it's the church's kit actually, but I'm pretty much the only drummer.) I came back the following Sunday to dented heads and a large blanket stuffed in the kick drum. I asked to have him not return. Evidently, he made quite a jerk of himself.

My 'outside of church' experience with having others play my kit have been a little frustrating. I've had heads and sticks broken...nothing too major. But it sucks to have to go play and you can't with a slit on your snare head. The one pair of sticks I did manage to get back (why do I keep loaning out these things?) was after tracking the guy down backstage. He played one song...one song...at this college talent show. When I got my sticks back they looked like beavers got a hold of them. He said, "Yeah, I like to hit hard." So excuse me, I'm done loaning stuff.

I understand the double standard of playing others' kits while I don't like others playing on mine which is part of why I insist on playing my own stuff.

Okay...I feel better now.
 
C

Crazy8s

Guest
Your 'pain' is that you are uncomfortable on different gear. What you can do to make it less uncomfortable is change your own set up frequently so that you can get used to playing on awkward set ups.

Move your tomtoms around, raise them higher, set them lower, play em flat, play em facing you, play em tuned higher or lower. Adapt your technique to accommodate your work environment so that you can build your resume to the point where you can call the shots.

If you shine like a star in more circumstances, it will get recognized and soon your employers/church will reward you for rewarding them. Perhaps if you can prove that you rock on lame gear, they will justify improving that gear so that their audience will get more enjoyment from your performances.

My .02. Hope it helps.
 

Fiery

Silver Member
Larry, I would enlist the help of friends but it's also my bandmates that insist I play a house kit. They think I'm 'so picky' about my sound. Well, I am. I like to sound as professional as possible.
Do they use the house amps and cabinets or do they bring their own?
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
You can take the optimist approach and try to look at it like this:

If you bring your own snare and cymbals, how much of the house kit are you really playing?

The bass drum. OK, but as long as it has a decent low end thump to it, it pretty much works as well as any other bass drum as far as the audience is concerned.

Outside of that is the toms, which you're most likely only to use to for fills, and most of your fills could be played on the snare drum instead. And even if not, how much of any one song is spent on tom fills? 1/10? Less?

So bringing your own snare and cymbals has eliminated a good majority of your "use" of the house kit, because, outside of the bass drum, 90% to 100% of what you are hitting is your own equipment.
 
Bringing your kick pedal, snare, and favorite hats/crash isn't too out of line for most churches. In the interest of preserving your relationship with the other musicians, I wouldn't get belligerent and insist on using your entire kit. It's not very useful if you sound better but everyone dislikes playing with you and you get removed from the lineup because your implication was that you were too good to play on their gear.

Instead, realize that if everyone at the church is used to hearing the house kit, nothing is going to sound any worse to them. They hear those same drums every week, unlike a house kit in a club/bar that may or may not get used every gig. In fact, if you bring a new level of playing to the band, it's just going to sound better to everyone around you. On the plus side, if you bring a few of your own items, you'll get most of the sound you're used to anyway.

Bottom line, really, is that a church is the last place to be a diva about your gear. Nothing wrong with politely making suggestions, but it's the one place where you are serving other people with your abilities, they aren't serving you.
 

brady

Platinum Member
Bringing your kick pedal, snare, and favorite hats/crash isn't too out of line for most churches. In the interest of preserving your relationship with the other musicians, I wouldn't get belligerent and insist on using your entire kit. It's not very useful if you sound better but everyone dislikes playing with you and you get removed from the lineup because your implication was that you were too good to play on their gear.

Instead, realize that if everyone at the church is used to hearing the house kit, nothing is going to sound any worse to them. They hear those same drums every week, unlike a house kit in a club/bar that may or may not get used every gig. In fact, if you bring a new level of playing to the band, it's just going to sound better to everyone around you. On the plus side, if you bring a few of your own items, you'll get most of the sound you're used to anyway.

Bottom line, really, is that a church is the last place to be a diva about your gear. Nothing wrong with politely making suggestions, but it's the one place where you are serving other people with your abilities, they aren't serving you.
I think you're kind of missing the point. I've never been beligerent nor have I implied that I have been. Most of these place will admit that their gear isn't great, and it's usually my bandmates that insist I play the church kit. As I said, I normally don't mind if it's a halfway decent kit, but have ran into little issues such as duct taped cymbal stands with the cymbal stuck, memory-locked if you will, 5 feet up in the air, an office chair for a drum stool (with wheels) I just try to bring as much of my own stuff to make the kit work for me.

And to answer Fiery's question, Yes, the others bring their own gear, amps and even keyboard even though there's usually one present.
 

brady

Platinum Member
Hang on, I'm getting lost. So who won't let you use your own kit....the church or your bandmates?
Both. But for the most part, it's the actually band that usually insist I play with whatever it there.

I just played a 3-band gig last night where we all used the headliner's kit. But before that was hashed out, the 2 openers were going to play the venue's kit. And for the first time, our singer mentioned that it did sound pretty bad, so maybe there's hope for him.
 
I think you're kind of missing the point. I've never been beligerent nor have I implied that I have been. Most of these place will admit that their gear isn't great, and it's usually my bandmates that insist I play the church kit. As I said, I normally don't mind if it's a halfway decent kit, but have ran into little issues such as duct taped cymbal stands with the cymbal stuck, memory-locked if you will, 5 feet up in the air, an office chair for a drum stool (with wheels) I just try to bring as much of my own stuff to make the kit work for me.

And to answer Fiery's question, Yes, the others bring their own gear, amps and even keyboard even though there's usually one present.
Understood, it sounds like you've been great so far but have been dealing with some horror stories. Please don't think I'm accusing you of being belligerent or a diva, my intent was to outline what I think the situation shouldn't turn into, but I got carried away with writing a response towards the people who are actually like that. Eek.
 
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