How much will you compromise when sharing another drummer's kit?

cdrums21

Gold Member
I recently played a gig where there was some kit sharing going on. I had to use another drummer's kit and I wanted to try to be as cool as possible and try not to mess with anything at all if I could. Well, here was the dilemna....the kit was on a rack, the hats were mounted on the rack, the kit was alot smaller (size of drums) than I use and the cymbal arms were mounted on the rack and in completely un-user friendly spots. What made matters worse, the drummer didn't have a rug and set up on the bare tile floor. He used the spurs on his kick drum to "dig in" to the cracks between the tiles in order to keep the bass drum from moving. What was I to do?

Well, I used my snare drum and my snare stand, his was way too low and I didn't want him to have to adjust his. I used my hats and stand, luckily they were alot higher than his and just fit over them without having to touch his. I used my throne, his was way too low and not an easily adjustable model. That was all I could do without asking him to move alot of stuff. It was very difficult to play the gig and I ended up knocking sticks out of my hands and missing cymbal crashes. I play one mounted tom, a 12", and its right in front of me. His two mounted toms were 8" and 10", way farther to the right than what I'm used to and the mic's were in the way. They were his mic's and the cables were fastened to his hardware so I couldn't move them. His floor toms (12" and 14") were mounted very low, tough ergonomically for me and the pedals and kick drum ended up sliding all over the place. It sucked. I didn't want to be a jerk about it and have him move virtually everything, but my performance really suffered. Would you guys have done the same thing as I did and just suck it up, or would you have him move some things to make your playing experience better?
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
This happens. There's actually a kit that I have had to play on quite a bit at a local bar, they don't allow drummers to bring their kits at all... Anyway, it's a nightmare for me. I like a nice lean low-set 4 piece with the standard crash on the left, ride on the right. This kit has the high toms mounted at about my face level, with one crash setup dead center between and above them, and the ride over the low tom from the right. I miss that crash all the time, and my rolls are terrible on that set as well. One time I moved the crash to the left over the hats where I like it, and got a bunch of guff for that. They also look at me like an idiot when I haul in my own throne, but I don't know how anyone plays with the one they leave there.

In these situations, I usually just "dumb down" my playing a bit. I mean, no sense going for that big fill if you're not certain you can pull it off on that weirdly setup kit, right? Better simple and steady than flashy and sloppy.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
In this case yes, I'd have played it like you did. If I can easily move something and easily move it back to where it was, then I may move that hat stand or cymbal stand etc a few inches. But if they were on a rack as they were in your case, I'd have left it be. I'd never adjust tom/cymbal heights or angles etc unless I was told I could do so.

In these situations, I usually just "dumb down" my playing a bit. I mean, no sense going for that big fill if you're not certain you can pull it off on that weirdly setup kit, right? Better simple and steady than flashy and sloppy.
For sure. +1
 

cdrums21

Gold Member
Yeah, I pretty much had to "dumb it down". I'm more of a groove player anyway, but the position of some of the stands and stuff just messed me up enough to knock a stick out of my hand or go for a crash and miss completely or hit the side of the mount..lol...it's funny now but man, it was frustrating. Luckily I don't have any gigs like that in the forseeable future.
 

Bad Tempered Clavier

Silver Member
The last [non-professional] band I was in - it got to the point that I was so fed up with crappy shared kits at gigs and rehearsal rooms that I just arranged every song for bass, snare, hats, ride, crash. Usually I'd bring all my own hardware and throne (in addition to snare and cymbals) - all the venue would need to do was provide a bass drum [some would even struggle to do that].

I think the attitude towards shared kits these days is appalling. Especially, as someone already mentioned, if the venue doesn't let you bring your own kit. If that's the case, fine: let me use the gear provided exactly how I want to. I'll put it all back - I mean it's unlikely that I'll ever share a kit with Terry Bozzio. If anyone is precious about moving stands about etc - that's what memory locks are for.

Non-drummers don't think it's a big deal but I have lost count of the number of gigs where my playing (and the overall sound of the band) has suffered on account of stands that can't move, stands that fall apart mid set, wing nuts seizing up, un-mic'ed over-muffled inaudible toms, having to place cymbals beyond comfortable reach, unadjustable thrones, bass drum batter heads that have not been changed since 1987 and have holes taped up with gaffer tape . . .

I've almost got to the point where I feel like asking "why do you want a drummer here tonight? You obviously have no interest in having anything that resembles a good drum sound or making the drummer(s) feel comfortable. You know, drum machines are relatively inexpensive these days . . . "

Unless, of course, I'm getting paid: then I'll play on tin cans with chopsticks all night long.
 
I always had this problem in one of my old bands. At one gig in a bar/restaurant, the main band didn't turn up so I had to use a kit which was being kept on a shelf as a kind of museum piece (you know, in the same way some venues like to put old guitars on the wall). I'm a tall drummer and like to sit high, the snare stand was probably kids size. I ended up putting the snare stand on my guitarists pedal board case to give me a bit more height, and I was sat balanced on a combination of boxes.

I'm also fed up with venues who tell you beforehand "no need to bring your own kit, we have an excellent yamaha one here" and it's covered in tape, none of the stands adjust and you'd be better playing cardboard boxes. The same applies to rehearsal studios.

I hate to criticise other drummers setups but I've never understood why some drummers like to play with their legs 10 inch higher than the waist. I like to sit with my legs at a slight angle, and having my drums below me so I can play them easily. I don't like to have to reach for anything.

With all this in mind, I'm currently having my own minikit made up (bass drum/snare/hi hat/ride) which I can carry to gigs/rehearsals in one go.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
...

Clint, I empathize with you bro, but being the fine player that you are, Im sure you made out ok.


But if there is a real tale o' woe here, ask any lefty drummer ( guys who play left handed kits ) about " Compromise". People like us, specially if we are coming on after someone else, its like, "change what you can in 70 seconds and go"!

I've trained myself to play with almost any situation, as long as I have a snare between my legs a hi hat on my right and my left foot on a kick.
If I get that much, Im grateful, thats how pathetic our situation is. We are hell and gone from things like adjusting cymbals, toms. Ride could be left or right, cymbal/ toms, heights, angles, placements cant be moved because it would completely screw up the micing..

Cant tell you the number of times I've walked away from a gig with a sore back just because I didnt have enough time to adjust the throne.

No fair...but guess what. I think its made me a better drummer..



...
 

cdrums21

Gold Member
Thanks for the compliment Abe, I got by ok, and I guess I didn't consider left handed drummers. That opens up a whole new realm doesn't it? I guess any time you share a kit you have issues and it's you that has to make the biggest compromise because you're left handed. I'm glad you look at it in a positive light and consider the circumstances beneficial to your drumming....pretty cool.
 

Witterings

Silver Member
I hate playing other people's kits and I hate other people playing mine for exactly this reason and as others have stated ended doing gigs that you know you're "dumbing down" your playing for. One in paticular gig with big deep rack mounted toms mounted high, perfect for soemone 6'4 but not so good when you're 5'7, every single time I hit a rack tom I only managed to get the rim and not the head - horrible to play like that, just not fun when you feel uncomfortable.
 
I never thought about the left handed situation-you deserve my upmost respect, I used to do a lot of double gigs with a left handed drummer, his band always headlined so we used his kit, but he always set it up right handed at soundcheck (he'd obviously taught himself to play some songs right handed) so that I could soundcheck after and do our set. I always went out of my way, after our set, to help switch his drumset back to left handed.

On the 'not playing as well' front, that was always one of the most frustrating aspects about playing a kit I wasn't happy with. My band never understood, after all it's just a drumkit right? And all you do is hit things yes? I told them to try playing a song on a guitar they've never touched before, that's tuned differently with different size strings, a neck which is thicker or thinner than usual, with a guitar strap that's either too long or too short, and finally play it at an uncomfortable angle facing away from you. See how you play then.
 

AndyMC

Senior Member
I find it really depends on all the factors present how much I will change a kit. If I'm playing a short set I try and change as little as possible as long as bass snare and cymbals are reachable. If I play a set in a small POS bar for low pay then I also change as little as I need to. However if I have a full set/ multiple sets or If I'm playing anywhere that matters at all I change everything I need to in the time I have, afterwards I then put it back as closely as possible and tell the drummer what I changed. (I hate the feeling when something on my kit is close but not right.) It comes down to this, you will only be remembered for your performance, bad performance bad memories. Every time I step out on stage I give 120% and accept no half measures from anyone (my band, the venue, myself). This is my reputation on the line, and what happens if that night is the one where the record scout is out there (unlikely). Also whenever possible check out the venue before you have to play there, make sure their kit is up to standards and have your whole setup in the car just in case you need a better kit. If the bar manager gives you problems tell him to stop doing your job,you are the entertainment, you do this for a living/hobby and he has decided to hire you. I don't tell him what drink specials to run. So basically don't compromise, but be as helpful in putting it back the way you found it as possible.
 

Witterings

Silver Member
On the 'not playing as well' front, that was always one of the most frustrating aspects about playing a kit I wasn't happy with. My band never understood, after all it's just a drumkit right? And all you do is hit things yes? I told them to try playing a song on a guitar they've never touched before, that's tuned differently with different size strings, a neck which is thicker or thinner than usual, with a guitar strap that's either too long or too short, and finally play it at an uncomfortable angle facing away from you. See how you play then.
That's an analogy I always use with guitarists, I tell them to remove a couple of strings as well - - - why do you need 6 of them .......... they start to get it pretty quickly after that :)
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
...

Clint, I empathize with you bro, but being the fine player that you are, Im sure you made out ok.


But if there is a real tale o' woe here, ask any lefty drummer ( guys who play left handed kits ) about " Compromise". People like us, specially if we are coming on after someone else, its like, "change what you can in 70 seconds and go"!

I've trained myself to play with almost any situation, as long as I have a snare between my legs a hi hat on my right and my left foot on a kick.
If I get that much, Im grateful, thats how pathetic our situation is. We are hell and gone from things like adjusting cymbals, toms. Ride could be left or right, cymbal/ toms, heights, angles, placements cant be moved because it would completely screw up the micing..

Cant tell you the number of times I've walked away from a gig with a sore back just because I didnt have enough time to adjust the throne.

No fair...but guess what. I think its made me a better drummer..



...
And that would be me in the left-handed category. I've done all kinds of things: just switch the snare and hat to the good side for me and leave the rest of the kit the same, or if he has a double pedal (which most people do - although I've yet to hear double bass on a casual) I could just sit at the kit the way it is and play.

I try not to whine about my plight too loudly, I just groove better than normal and make the band wish I was playing the entire gig. Lots of times I'm cool enough to not want to sit in at all ;)
 

TTNW

Pioneer Member
I've run across every imaginable set up nightmare over the years.

If we're sharing my kit. I let anyone change anything they want as long as there is time for me to re set up before I play.

I've had other drummers ask me to not move a thing and if that's the case, I only ask if I can change the throne height if it needs it. I gotta have a good position on the snare at least. I've never run across another drummer that won't let me at least get the throne height set right.

I actually enjoy it. Sometimes, especially if it is a really cramped set up, I'll flub some stickings, so I keep it simple.

I just recently sat in on another drummers kit and he had a three up two down. All of the rack toms were way too high and flat. I don't know how he plays them since I'm 6'4" and he was about 5'6". I played a whole set and never once went to any of the rack toms. I just kept it to simple snare and floor tom fills. Also the ride was way over to the right over the floor toms, almost in the 3 o'clock position.

I always am surprised at how quickly drummers can adjust. It's so different than for guitar players. Most drummers can play a song or two and adjust their muscle memory for the new locations.
 

Bruce M. Thomson

Gold Member
Well at least you were smart to bring your own snare, I recently attended an open jam, it was a loose affair so no harm was done to my reputation but the snare I played was all covered in tape and the wires were completley loose so I had no chance for rebound or ghost notes. When the other drummer played the whole thing was perfect for him and sounded pretty good.
I knew better but next time I'm in that situation I will not forget to bring my snare. You did right not to switch things around too much on the other guy though, if it were me on the receiving end I would be pissed off. Just my opinion.
 

cdrums21

Gold Member
Yeah, I talked to the drummer a few weeks prior to the gig and tried to be as cool as possible, I wouldn't want someone screwing my stuff up either, which has happened many times. Unfortunately, he didn't tell me there would be no rug or that his kit was mounted on a rack. Oh well, it's over with now and it turned out ok, though it did suck chasing the pedals all over the place!

The last time I had someone use my kit, which I think is a really nice set up (see below), it was a drag. I have a nice, well tuned DW kit, 1 up 2 down, with everything easily in reach and player friendly. I had just changed heads on my snare and toms, so the kit was happening. First, the guy wants to use rototoms and has a percussion rack to get sounds from. He has to move my cymbals and hi hat out of the way to have his stuff in place. Ok, it ticked me off a bit, but I could easily put it back. Then, he used a pair of sticks with a round tip on them and when their set was over, my heads looked like golf balls. I was jacked! The guy was so drunk after their set, he bumped my floor toms together trying to stand up, then he got out from behind the kit, mis-stepped off the stage and did a giant belly flop on the dance floor. Served him right! Lol....it was funny, but I was pissed and out about $75.00 for new heads. Douchebag....that'll never happen again.
 

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RockNGrohl

Senior Member
My name is Derek, I'm new here. As for people using my kit i'm ok with it within reason. I grew up with all friends and their friends bashing around on my first beginner set, as long as they used my old sticks and not my good new favorite pair. I play a basic five piece, '22 kick '12 and '13 toms and a '16 floor tom. I pride myself on keeping it basic for me as well as others. Even my cymbals heights are basic so when they use theirs it's not a weird reach to get to everything. I keep them high enough be out of the way of the toms but low enough to be comfy to reach. I ask that guys not hit too hard and if they need to move something move it back after. I do use the Memory locks and know exactly how high i keep my stuff so putting it back myself is not a big issue. I don't know why drummer will let you sit in or use their kit with a bad attitude. Not letting you touch anything on drums you are going to hit? hmmm. plus it's worse when they feel they 'have" to let you use their kit but would rather you didn't. As if they were told they had to let the opening drummer use theirs and only begrudgingly let them. Any gigging musician should know better than to have an attitude like that. It won't win you any friends or networking opportunities! Having a nice set and being strict is one thing within reason of course. But still be kind to the other drummer and accomodate. He may just return you the favor!

I totally agree with the abysmal state of kits I see. The only times I'll go easy is if the drummer is new or young. They may have a cheapo beginner set. Or a crappy hand me down set. Or drums so old they're relics yet the drummer has got back into playing after 30+ years and hauled 'em out of storage.. (They can't all be vintage Ludwigs! *sigh!*) It does shock me though how many good drummers are playing awful kits. IMO of course. I know drums and gear is expensive, but some drummers I see have stuff that should be replaced or is not doing them any good yet they have to keep using it!

Or worse: You see the piece of duct tape holding the small tom on it's holder coming loose after he's played his kit. You reach over and gently re-stick it and it comes totally loose and the small tom rolls off the bass drum and across the floor! lol.. not a true story but I i've seen enough "duct tape fix its" to imagine this happening!
 

Otto

Platinum Member
I wont use someone else's set.

There is no such thing as a musical emergency demanding that I play...and I refuse to be half patootie about it...audience and myself deserve better.

The rest of the band deserves what I give them...little pieces of my soul either on fire or in icy shards...rarely inbetween.
 
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tard

Gold Member
I have played many festivals where its been 8 to 10 bands playing 45min or so sets from mid afternoon till early in the morning all sharing 1 drum set with very little time to change anything so I have learned to just play whats there with minimal changes to throne, snare and hats and live with the rest.
 
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