House Drumset - frustrating show

lwk

Junior Member
Last night my band played a battle of the bands. I show up first (being the one with the most to set up) with my baby (catalina maple) loaded into my car. After finding the girl who set up the battle, I told her I needed to set up my drum set. Now, we told her the day before that we would be bring our own drum set and after she asked what was wrong with the other kit, she said alright. So, she took me over to the drum techs and I told them that I needed to set up my drum set. He also asked why? He told me that drum set was the one everyone was using and he didn't want to have to remic all of the drums.


I ended up being able to use my snare (thank god) and cymbals. The drum set that they had set up for everyone was a bit past its prime (if it indeed had a prime to begin with) and wasn't the greatest thing to play.


Our vocalist is a bit temperamental and when he found out I couldn't use my kit, he was pissed. He told them previously we wouldn't be using that one and we would be bringing our own. He ended up arguing with a few of the guys who were setting up and micing the kit, including one man (who we found out later was one of the judges) who got very upset with us and was making a point to give us attitude the rest of the night.


Anyone else ever had bad experiences with a house kit? Is it unreasonable to want to play the instrument you are accustomed too? Would you ask a guitarist to play a house guitar? To many questions?
 

Drumsword

Pioneer Member
I too have bad experiences with almost every house Kit I used, (Not having my own kit to fall back on). The first one was so heavily taped and muted it sounded Like cardboard and I had to hit as hard as I could to get any sound and had no time to change heads or tune.

Second bad experience was an elctronic Kit That you had to jump as hard as you could on the bass drum to get ANY sound out of it. and My monitors had Lead guitar only so when I finally got the sound guys attention and tried to mouth that I could only hear lead guitar he thought I wanted MORE Lead and cranked him.

third bad experience, there were 5 bands and we were all to use the house kit. Except the headliner was a national act and when their drummer finished tweaking they wouldn't let the rest of us use it, so we ended up using minimal kits stuffed into small corners of the stage.

House sets are evil.........LOL
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
House sets are usually pretty hideous pieces of garbage from the nether-regions, but they do save having to haul your own kit. If I'm playing a show where there are multiple bands using the same kit, I have no problem with using one. If there's something about the kit that makes anyone sound bad, it will make everyone sound bad, and therefore not single you out as having a bad sound.

If I'm the only drummer for the evening, I like to bring my own kit, even if a house kit is offered. I worked hard to create my own sound through years of experience and tuning and playing, and I want to put my best sound forward. Plus, I feel more "comfortable" behind my own tubs and plates and know their nuances and idiosyncrasies.

When all is said and done, though, I will still sound like me on whatever kit I play.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
... we told her the day before that we would be bring our own drum set and after she asked what was wrong with the other kit, she said alright. So, she took me over to the drum techs and I told them that I needed to set up my drum set. He also asked why? He told me that drum set was the one everyone was using and he didn't want to have to remic all of the drums.
Welcome to gigging out. House kits, for good, or bad, have been around a long time. The girl who "set up" the "battle of" obviously was not in charge of lighting, stage management, sound etc. Probably anything beyond you telling her "yes, we'll play" was outside of her control. Clubs are like that.


Our vocalist is a bit temperamental
Gee, what a novel concept.
lwk;462852 said:
...and when he found out I couldn't use my kit, he was pissed. He told them previously we wouldn't be using that one and we would be bringing our own. He ended up arguing with a few of the guys who were setting up and micing the kit, including one man (who we found out later was one of the judges) who got very upset with us and was making a point to give us attitude the rest of the night.
Nothing like pissing off the staff "and a judge" to the point where they give you "stink eye" for the whole evening.
Anyone else ever had bad experiences with a house kit?
I've certainly had more "bad" experiences than good. But even the worst, I survived. Most clubs will let you use your own snare, pedal(s) and cymbals. So I learned back in the 80's, when I was driving a 10 piece kit, that I had to be able to cope with a 4 piece "house" kit, on a regular basis.

Is it unreasonable to want to play the instrument you are accustomed too?
If the house is supplying the drums, yes, it is unreasonable. Your say in the matter is simple. You play the gig or you walk.
Would you ask a guitarist to play a house guitar?
Most clubs will provide a back line, if more than just a house kit. So, they may have amps for the guitars/bass to use. It's simply a case of getting bands on and off stage quick. When you have to wait for each band to set up and tear down, and they always want to play "that 1 more song", then dilly-dally getting off stage, each following band goes on later and later, until the last band gets cut 'cause everyone else burned up their time.
 

gmrakich

Gold Member
gig with more than one band usually means one kit, house or supplied by a band. Takes too much time to dial in 6 new kits not to mention the change overs turning into a cluster****.
 

mrchattr

Gold Member
I can't think of any time when I did a battle where anyone WAS allowed to use their own kit. That's all part of it. Most battles are only a few songs per band, and they want to keep stuff rolling quickly. So yeah, it's completely unreasonable to expect them to re-mic everything, etc, just because you want to be (in their eyes) a diva. In many cases, it would take longer to re-mic the kit/move everything than your actual set.

I agree that it's best to use your own kit...we all work hard to get our own sound...but I have also learned over the years how to sound like myself on any kit.

Oh, and having band members go off on people in charge is just stupid. I know it's not your fault, you didn't do it, but being a dick can't help you in these situations, and can only hurt you. If a band needs to be cut for time, who do you think is getting cut if one band has pissed them off? If the sound guy is pissed, he can screw you over big time. When you are playing paying gigs, these people can control how much money you get, etc, even if you already have a set deal. Trust me, it's easier to just stay quiet, play the gig, and agree not to go there again, than it is to try to play a gig when the house is pissed at you.

How long was your set?
 

hawk9290

Gold Member
Welcome to the wonderful world of gigging. Just be fortunate the set didn't fall apart. But as others have said, its entirely unreasonable to allow a band to set up a whole kit in between sets unless there is a backstage riser that can be rolled out, and unless you're on a national level, you won't get that. If you are the only drummer that night, you can bring your set, but do so very early when the sound techs are setting up everything else so that it doesn't rush them to mic the drums in the last 5 minutes before the show. If there's multiple bands, just snare and cymbals if anything. But don't have any expectations whatsoever as to the kit being quality, and also be prepared for everything to go wrong- and don't let it phase you.

Some things from my experiences:
-Playing half set without a kick drum because the beater flew away and wouldn't go back in until I had time to get some duct tape.
-Falling IN a drum riser and getting various cuts and bruises while still keeping the hihat and snare going until i was able to sort of recover and someone else reset the throne on what was left of the riser.
-Cymbal stands collapsing and falling, as well as floor toms.
-Rack toms that were missing the arm locks so they would wander away and slide off
-Worthless kick pedals
-Fell off the back of a small drum riser once (that was kind of my fault though and made for some good laughs since it was at the end of the set when I leaned back)
-Playing on a kids set because the lady running it didn't know there were different sizes and thought her 9 year olds set would work (it was kind of fun, but myself as well as some of the other people were about to riot backstage and I got into it with a sound man over his choice of using a single pencil condenser pointed up from below the ride to cover the whole kit)
-Having the sound system cut out between sets during a jazz big band competition without the judge knowing and getting screamed at for 20 minutes for playing too loud (long story, but myself and the other drummer walked out in the middle of his criticism, and our whole band supported us for doing so! and Ndugu Chancler was another judge and he complemented me on my playing...what a weird world it is sometimes)

so its just a fact of life, house kits will suck, people will suck, gigs will suck, but life goes on and you can always drum the next day or play the next gig twice as well.
 

Jimothy

Senior Member
Harry, MrChat and Hawk have summed it up for you mate. This happens at battle of the bands, and many many other multi band gigs. Learn to live with it, be cool and respectfull to the people putting the gig on, especially the soundman!

As a drummer, be prepared to wing it on a heap of junk kit for 20-30 mins if you have to. As long as you have your own snare, high hats and your kick peddle you'll survive. It'll suck and you may not get to play your fancy fills, but you can still knock out a groove which is what it's all about :)
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Welcome to the wonderful world of gigging. Just be fortunate the set didn't fall apart. But as others have said, its entirely unreasonable to allow a band to set up a whole kit in between sets unless there is a backstage riser that can be rolled out, and unless you're on a national level, you won't get that. If you are the only drummer that night, you can bring your set, but do so very early when the sound techs are setting up everything else so that it doesn't rush them to mic the drums in the last 5 minutes before the show. If there's multiple bands, just snare and cymbals if anything. But don't have any expectations whatsoever as to the kit being quality, and also be prepared for everything to go wrong- and don't let it phase you.

Some things from my experiences:
-Playing half set without a kick drum because the beater flew away and wouldn't go back in until I had time to get some duct tape.
-Falling IN a drum riser and getting various cuts and bruises while still keeping the hihat and snare going until i was able to sort of recover and someone else reset the throne on what was left of the riser.
-Cymbal stands collapsing and falling, as well as floor toms.
-Rack toms that were missing the arm locks so they would wander away and slide off
-Worthless kick pedals
-Fell off the back of a small drum riser once (that was kind of my fault though and made for some good laughs since it was at the end of the set when I leaned back)
-Playing on a kids set because the lady running it didn't know there were different sizes and thought her 9 year olds set would work (it was kind of fun, but myself as well as some of the other people were about to riot backstage and I got into it with a sound man over his choice of using a single pencil condenser pointed up from below the ride to cover the whole kit)
-Having the sound system cut out between sets during a jazz big band competition without the judge knowing and getting screamed at for 20 minutes for playing too loud (long story, but myself and the other drummer walked out in the middle of his criticism, and our whole band supported us for doing so! and Ndugu Chancler was another judge and he complemented me on my playing...what a weird world it is sometimes)

so its just a fact of life, house kits will suck, people will suck, gigs will suck, but life goes on and you can always drum the next day or play the next gig twice as well.
Some funny stuff there. Laughed so hard and made my day!
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
On only two occasions in me 35 year career the house kit was equal to, or better than mine. Both of these gigs were organized by drummers that I knew and respected. My rule now is, If it's not my drums, I don't play. I play a lot of festivals with a modern Bluegrass jam band. Sometimes there are three other bands that play. I always work out a head of time that I'll be using my kit. I am in a position where I am fortunate, I am known and respected by the people who organize these festivals. There are some drummers from the other bands that don't seem to mind playing someone else's drums. They ask me ahead of time if they can use my kit. I take that as a great compliment.
 

Canuck Thundur 06

Junior Member
hola, newbie here just adding some two cents.
The only times I've had to use a house set weren't so favorable, but not too bad of an experience and the band still pulled off the gigs.

Both instances were battle of the bands, one was entirely my fault where I wasn't aware that I had to bring my own full kit. I would have definitely preferred doing so, but I'll never make that mistake again. The band was even filmed for a DVD of the performance, to make it even more of a sour taste in my mouth playing on this dinky 5 pc Yamaha kit. It was a real nice set of drums, but the heads were beaten-in, and the kick drum was over muffled with packing blankets and a superkick II batter head. I even had bought a double kick pedal just for that performance, that was money not so well spent

The only time after that was at the Knitting Factory in LA, I couldn't name the brand of kit but it was older and only a 4 pc. which is a configuration I have really never played. At the very end of the closer song, right before an intense double kick ending.. the left pedal becomes unlinked from the right pedal, that could have been more embarassing but we only had played 2 songs
 

crdirtRider856

Silver Member
Welcome to the wonderful world of gigging. -

Playing on a kids set because the lady running it didn't know there were different sizes and thought her 9 year olds set would work (it was kind of fun, but myself as well as some of the other people were about to riot backstage and I got into it with a sound man over his choice of using a single pencil condenser pointed up from below the ride to cover the whole kit)

-so its just a fact of life, house kits will suck, people will suck, gigs will suck, but life goes on and you can always drum the next day or play the next gig twice as well.
Harry' s post says it all, but this is just priceless and sums it up. Dont sweat it bro, it s called "compromise"(i think...) See the "sharing kits" thread. Play or walk says it all...
 

snidedrums

Junior Member
it is what it is

I would get used to it, you'll play a lot more shows with house kits.
Rule #1 - Be extremely cordial to the stage techs!
Rule #2 - Be EXTRA nice to the Monitor guy
Rule#3- Bring 2, and set up 1 snare drum. They don't want to mic up all your BS accessories like side snares, extra toms & whatnot.
Rule# 4 - set up quickly & quietly- hit the drums only when told to.
 
When there's a house kit situation, I usually bring a few more things than what I might need just in case. Snare, pedal, cymbals, maybe an extra boom stand with an extension arm for splash if that's needed. I might bring a spare snare stand because some of the snare stands on house kits have been kinda scary. I wheel it all in on a cart and try to have as much set up ahead of time because I know there's not much time between bands. It's always great to have a person or two helping you out, especially if there's minimal time. And.....always have duct tape.....every musicians secret weapon for when things go wrong.
 
M

Mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
Last night my band played a battle of the bands. I show up first (being the one with the most to set up) with my baby (catalina maple) loaded into my car. After finding the girl who set up the battle, I told her I needed to set up my drum set. Now, we told her the day before that we would be bring our own drum set and after she asked what was wrong with the other kit, she said alright. So, she took me over to the drum techs and I told them that I needed to set up my drum set. He also asked why? He told me that drum set was the one everyone was using and he didn't want to have to remic all of the drums.


I ended up being able to use my snare (thank god) and cymbals. The drum set that they had set up for everyone was a bit past its prime (if it indeed had a prime to begin with) and wasn't the greatest thing to play.


Our vocalist is a bit temperamental and when he found out I couldn't use my kit, he was pissed. He told them previously we wouldn't be using that one and we would be bringing our own. He ended up arguing with a few of the guys who were setting up and micing the kit, including one man (who we found out later was one of the judges) who got very upset with us and was making a point to give us attitude the rest of the night.


Anyone else ever had bad experiences with a house kit? Is it unreasonable to want to play the instrument you are accustomed too? Would you ask a guitarist to play a house guitar? To many questions?
If they've offered you a drumkit and that's what everyone else is using, suck it up and use it. It's standard procedure and remicing drums (and then having to soundcheck a second kit) really IS a pain. A big one. The worst thing you can do is then for someone to get an attitude with the sound guys - because they will not take that kind of attitude well. This has happened to me many times and I just get on with it. It doesn't make a blind bit of difference to me and there's no point worrying about it. It just happens.
 

PlasmicSteve

Junior Member
I'll flip this around and say, out of all the house kits I've played on (most did suck), the best was at the Grape Street Pub in Philly (before it became the Grape Street, and then the Grape Room). They had a five piece Tama Starclassic in great shape, solid hardware and everything - but they also had written on each snare and tom head "LAST CHANGED ON: XX/XX/XX" and the date - which was, from what I remember, only a couple weeks earlier. I asked the sound guy, and he said they never go more than a month without changing them, and even that was rare. I don't even think they forced you to play on the house kit, but most people did - and I have to say I think the drummers who played there treated it well because the venue showed such care and respect to begin with. If only more clubs would follow that example!
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Seems like a prevalent attitude for most people to treat house kits like second-hand furniture and just let them get abused. Plus, a lot of people who aren't drummers don't seem to understand the importance of maintaining drums, they just don't have a clue that they aren't supposed to sound that bad.

On the flip side, looking at all the thread here from people who break cymbals and drumheads and sticks at every show, I'm not sure I'd want to spend a lot of time and money on a house kit, myself. Granted, the majority of drummers I know here in the music scene I frequent are good, respectful players. but you never know when someone will get up there and try to do an Animal impression on those lovingly maintained Starclassics, leaving deeply pitted heads and two crashes hors de combat.
 

moontheloon

Silver Member
this wont be your last house kit experience ...get used to it

I have so many bad house kit stories that I could write a book
 

Charybdia

Member
Played a battle of the bands and a house kit tonight. The way it was positioned was terrible, my ride was too far out, and the stool couldn't even go up, was stuck at the lowest setting. Meant I was playing in the most awkward position ever. Right hand was in terrible agony playing at weird angles. The bass drum felt terribly boomy.

Playing on a house kit makes me not want to hit the toms... like I find I use them less. I always use my own snare on these gigs, but yeah being given little time to set up and reposition the kit... urgh.

Managed to soldier through and ended up winning though. I find bringing your own entire kit can be painfully annoying on the other hand too, tearing it down, setting it up, tearing it down again and then bringing it home to set it up... I hate having to get all the angles and positioning correct all over again
 

ineedaclutch

Platinum Member
Re: it is what it is

I would get used to it, you'll play a lot more shows with house kits.
Rule #1 - Be extremely cordial to the stage techs!
Rule #2 - Be EXTRA nice to the Monitor guy
Rule#3- Bring 2, and set up 1 snare drum. They don't want to mic up all your BS accessories like side snares, extra toms & whatnot.
Rule# 4 - set up quickly & quietly- hit the drums only when told to.
Bingo! I have had some nasty backline kits before. The worst was a Ludwig Accent. The kick was filled from top to bottom with blankets and the double tom arm on the kick would not hold up the toms. Both rack toms sat similar to this / \ (heads facing away from each other). It could have been worse though. It could always be worse.
 
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