Just a rant....

turbojerk

Senior Member
I've faced this before. Here is what you can do to make it so you get what you want:

1. Find out who is the stage manager and call them. Don't text - texting when you could be calling suggests you lack confidence and social skills.

2. Show up very early and assess the stage, what it is like to load onto the stage, what the sound guy has available and what he has to deal with in terms of other instruments and vocal mics. The easier you make his job, the better your chances of pulling off the kit swap.

3. Get your kit set up and ready to load onto the stage. Cymbals, stands, toms, pedals, everything in its place and ready to put up.

4. Bring so help so you can move the house kit aside quickly and get yours up. Put everything back exactly as it was when you leave. Thank people who help you and thank the sound man.
Very good!

I have my kit (both) arranged so that they can be put in place in less then 5min's for my 6pc rack kit and even LESS time with my 4pc.

I don't even think that I'll need to move the house kit since there is a drum riser in place. I'm perfectly fine setting up on stage level with the other band members. Actually I kinda like that over some flashyass riser.

Bottom line is that I am and always have been flexible. I just get tired of the percussion taking a back seat that's all.

Quick joke:
What do you call in individual that hangs around musicians?..... THE DRUMMER! LoL!
 
M

mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
Right then, sorted.

Just trying to give some kind of perspective from being on the other side of the desk.
 

turbojerk

Senior Member
Right then, sorted.

Just trying to give some kind of perspective from being on the other side of the desk.
Understood!

As you can probably tell, I was kinda pist when I started this thread. The thing that really pushed me over the edge was that just yesturday I spent just about $200 on my vintage 4-pc kit for all new heads and to update some of the old (1958) stuff JUST for this gig. Not to mention the hours spent retuning (yeah I'm slow with that). So yeah I wasn't myself earlier today when that laid that on me...Sorry
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
This handling the sound man w/ kid gloves is another thing that steams me. Yes he has power over your sound. With that kind of power comes responsibility. If he messes your sound up because he doesn't like you, he should be fired. Who the heck is he to dictate stuff? I don't really give a care if the sound man has to work hard. I work hard at every effin thing I do. The pecking order is backwards. With all due respect to sound people, that's their job. If they have to change channel strip settings for a new set of drums, please don't whine about it. They don't get to be prima donnas either IMO.

To me, helping to clear off a drummers stuff, putting my stuff up, and positioning the mics on my kit...that's my job. All the sound guy has to do is tweak the settings a little for the new kit. I don't think that's asking too much, after all, IT"S THEIR JOB. It's not like I'm asking them to polish my kit or anything.

That's like the caddy dictating to the golfer to use cheap clubs because the good clubs are too heavy. It's backwards. The golfer should be the one being catered to, not the caddy.

I don't actually have this attitude with them in a real life situation, because I know how the game is played, but this is really how I feel about it.
 
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mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
Larry, I can see what you're saying but I'm just going to take another tack with this.

Moving the mics isn't something I would let most drummers do - personally. It's fairly obvious where they go, but sometimes it can take a bit more thought than 'just putting them on'. The angle you tilt the snare mic can be absolutely critical to how your snare sounds. Remember also that they are hearing it at the front and you are not. If they're a good engineer, it's plainly obvious and I'd hope that you would trust them with your sound.

As for 'tweaking the settings a little', well, you'd be surprised with just how much you have to tweak them after a changeover. What sounds great for one kit can sound terrible with another. Snares and bass drums are the obvious offenders here - a low-tuned snare drum needs a totally different EQ setup than a highly-tuned snare. These things take time and it's often a case of getting it right first time, either. It can take time to get it right, even with an experienced engineer - you just need to look at the painstaking work that is done in the studio to see how difficult it can be.

So, take that process and then multiply it by four for the guitarists, bassist and singer and it's not just a case of 'a few settings'. It's a case of a lot more than that and often drastic changes. They're not as physically demanding as moving a kit is, but there is often a lot of work going on there that people don't see. In the case of the drums, they really are often down the pecking order in terms of what an engineer might care about - after the lead singer, certainly. Being on a drum site, that isn't going to be a popular response - but that's just how it is.

This is why it's important for everybody to be professional. If you have a soundcheck arranged, turn up on time. Otherwise, the sound engineer isn't going to try and get the sound right and is far more likely to just stick with 'the average' because he has no idea where to start until after you hit the stage - by which point, it's too late and if it's not right then the sound engineer is the one who is blamed; not the band that were unprofessional.

There's no 'us and them' for me, because I do both. I've even gone behind a desk when the engineer has disappeared for a call of nature and adjusted his EQ, said engineer comes back and hears what I've done and loved it. If you discuss what you think you need and just communicate then there doesn't have to be an adversarial attitude from anybody.

One more thing I've noticed. A lot of players don't understand the process of soundchecking. If I ask you to play just the bass drum, just play the bass drum. Please don't use it as an excuse to play the bass drum and everything else, because I can't actually set it if the drummer is playing everything!
 

turbojerk

Senior Member
This handling the sound man w/ kid gloves is another thing that steams me. Yes he has power over your sound. With that kind of power comes responsibility. If he messes your sound up because he doesn't like you, he should be fired. Who the heck is he to dictate stuff? I don't really give a care if the sound man has to work hard. I work hard at every effin thing I do. The pecking order is backwards. With all due respect to sound people, that's their job. If they have to change channel strip settings for a new set of drums, please don't whine about it. They don't get to be prima donnas either IMO.

To me, helping to clear off a drummers stuff, putting my stuff up, and positioning the mics on my kit...that's my job. All the sound guy has to do is tweak the settings a little for the new kit. I don't think that's asking too much, after all, IT"S THEIR JOB. It's not like I'm asking them to polish my kit or anything.

That's like the caddy dictating to the golfer to use the wrong iron because he's too lazy to get the right one. It's backwards. The golfer should be the one being catered to, not the caddy.

I don't actually have this attitude with them for real, because I know how the game is played, but this is really how I feel about it.
You do have a point. I certainly couldn't tell my boss that I'm only going to do something once just because... I'd be out on my ass!

Part of their job is change overs!
 

turbojerk

Senior Member
Larry, I can see what you're saying but I'm just going to take another tack with this.

Moving the mics isn't something I would let most drummers do - personally. It's fairly obvious where they go, but sometimes it can take a bit more thought than 'just putting them on'. The angle you tilt the snare mic can be absolutely critical to how your snare sounds. Remember also that they are hearing it at the front and you are not. If they're a good engineer, it's plainly obvious and I'd hope that you would trust them with your sound.

As for 'tweaking the settings a little', well, you'd be surprised with just how much you have to tweak them after a changeover. What sounds great for one kit can sound terrible with another. Snares and bass drums are the obvious offenders here - a low-tuned snare drum needs a totally different EQ setup than a highly-tuned snare. These things take time and it's often a case of getting it right first time, either. It can take time to get it right, even with an experienced engineer - you just need to look at the painstaking work that is done in the studio to see how difficult it can be.

So, take that process and then multiply it by four for the guitarists, bassist and singer and it's not just a case of 'a few settings'. It's a case of a lot more than that and often drastic changes. They're not as physically demanding as moving a kit is, but there is often a lot of work going on there that people don't see. In the case of the drums, they really are often down the pecking order in terms of what an engineer might care about - after the lead singer, certainly. Being on a drum site, that isn't going to be a popular response - but that's just how it is.

This is why it's important for everybody to be professional. If you have a soundcheck arranged, turn up on time. Otherwise, the sound engineer isn't going to try and get the sound right and is far more likely to just stick with 'the average' because he has no idea where to start until after you hit the stage - by which point, it's too late and if it's not right then the sound engineer is the one who is blamed; not the band that were unprofessional.

There's no 'us and them' for me, because I do both. I've even gone behind a desk when the engineer has disappeared for a call of nature and adjusted his EQ, said engineer comes back and hears what I've done and loved it. If you discuss what you think you need and just communicate then there doesn't have to be an adversarial attitude from anybody.

One more thing I've noticed. A lot of players don't understand the process of soundchecking. If I ask you to play just the bass drum, just play the bass drum. Please don't use it as an excuse to play the bass drum and everything else, because I can't actually set it if the drummer is playing everything!
Again all well said and understood.

I have seen good sound guys do a change out fast, go back to the board, get it close and tweek durring the fist song with out a problem and they loved it cause they truely like doing sound.
 

theindian

Senior Member
There is a another side to using others' kits that has not been discussed here yet ... NO LUGGING!!
That is definitely a benefit. I have been using 3 piece with 3 cymbals for a church gig lately. It is so much easier to transport and set-up time is much shorter.

As someone pointed out earlier, there is nothing worse than using your own kit as the house kit for everyone else. Especially when some young basher comes in and pounds on the cymbals like there is no tomorrow. I had an old Ddrum kit I used in those situation & had the other drummers bring their own cymbals etc.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I think my feelings on this are well known. These days, I don't play backline kits, & I certainly don't allow my kit to be played, except in exceptional circumstances (i.e. a good drummer friend who's playing I respect). The reason I can take that attitude is because I can afford to. If I was relying on drumming to put food on the table, or trying to work as much as possible (building a pro career, trying to "make it", etc), I'd suck it all up & just get on with it. That's what I had to do when I did play drums for a living. Yes, it sucks sometimes, but you can get over yourself & accept the challenge if you're hungry enough.

These days, no way I'm putting up with that crap. A good point about my band is that our keys player uses a fairly complexed setup. There's no way he could use a backline keys setup, so the bar is set as far as what our band is able/prepared to accomodate. I agree with Duncan to some degree, but the fact remains that I've worked with many engineers who have no issue with gear changeout. Arranged properly, & with people on all sides that know what they're doing (especially the drummer), it's rarely an issue.

Drummers have a huge part to play in this. Please don't forget that many engineers are tainted by the greater portion of drummers who turn up with a kit that sounds like crap. Most don't know how to tune a kit, & certainly not specifically for each room/stage setting, so the engineer is often pissing in the wind from the start. If time is short, trying to throw 3 rolls of gaffer onto a 7 piece "boingfest" & getting it to sound something like a drum kit isn't an option.

Drummers: know how to tune your drums. Know how to communicate your requirements. Know the limitations of the system you're working with. Communicate & get an understanding well before the day of the gig. Do these things, & you'll lessen the chances of it all going wrong.

If I'm doing an event where the changeover is going to be challenging, & the required sound's promotionally critical, I'll bring in my own sound engineer if I have doubts about the stuff/staff provided.
 

AtomicFlapjack

Senior Member
Normally I'm pretty laid back and don't post messages that could be considered 'moody', but suck it up is all I have to say. There are millions of other drummers who have to use house kits so why should you not have to? Sure, if your band is good enough and lucky enough and you become proffesional then you can start complaining about this kind of stuff, but until then just deal with it. I have been playing for about a year and half and gigging for a year. I despised the idea of house kits at first as well. I hated 4 pieces because of the massive gap between the toms, I wasn't comfortable with it. But a year later here I am, packing up my kit to use at a pub today, only taking a 4 piece. When my kits at home I keep the same 4 piece set up, but put all my extra cymbals and toms around the kit (think Neil Peart on a smaller scale) so I can remove them and have the key kit left. You have a 4 piece, thats good. Learn to play on a 4 piece and you can always take drums away, learn to play on a 5 piece (like me) and things start getting diffiult when suddlenly you have to adjust to a 4 piece in a live situation.

You're using a 5 piece, take one of the toms off, its not that hard. Adjust their kit. Move that boom arm that you don't like where it is. House kits and headliner kits are about compromise, if you're using someone elses kit, they don't have any right to tell you that you can't adjust things (they could draw the line at tuning however). Be thankful you only have to take your breakables!

Good luck. I hope you take on my points without thinking I am too much of an asshole...
 

Mark_S

Silver Member
Having been on both sides myself, I agree with a lot of what you're saying. However - changing the settings is the sound engineer's job. When I've been hired to engineer gigs, I'm usually tweaking the settings throughout the entire gig because each song is different, different dynamics, different feel, etc. Often the more lazy sound engineers (which I think we are referring to more in this thread) just set it and forget it. I've seen them walk off and have a beer, or sit and read the paper, or whatever.

Also what you said about the snare - I absolutely agree, however the snare is the one main thing that does change between drummers even when using the house kit, so really it's down to setting up the toms and kick drum again, which as I said, is our job as a hired engineer.

Secondly, we are only re-inforcing the sound so I don't agree that it is quite as challenging as getting a good sound in the studio unless of course you're talking about stadium gigs where the majority of sound is absolutely from the PA (but we aren't, we're talking pubs and clubs). Some rooms though yes it is a real pain in the backsid to get a good sound. Then you get the bands that just turn all there amps up to full so the PA may as well not be there except for the vocals and kick drum and toms and then you just end up with a terrible mix anyway.

When engineering gigs, do you prefer to use your own gear? I always did - the few times I used the house PA I didn't like it, usually because the quality of the gear wasn't particularly great, especially with those budget speakers they often tend to have where the majority of the vocal came through the horn. Yuck.

Sound familiar? Same argument as using the house drum kit really...

Please note I'm not arguing with you, I agree with most of what you say, and I am fully aware of the sound engineer not being appreciated. I just don't think it is as demanding as the poor drummer who has to play on a bad drum kit, having been on both sides too.

Anyway nice to meet a fellow sound engineer here :) I've kind of given it up for now. I ran out of money and had a huge tax bill to pay, so sold up everything except my drums. I felt sad parting with some of it, especially the lovely Turbosound FOH set up which I think went to a Rod Stewart tribute act that sang to a backing tape, fake tan 'an all.. !! Oh well, needs must. Plus lugging all the gear about was getting tiring too! Getting too old for all that ;-)

Cheers.

Larry, I can see what you're saying but I'm just going to take another tack with this.

Moving the mics isn't something I would let most drummers do - personally. It's fairly obvious where they go, but sometimes it can take a bit more thought than 'just putting them on'. The angle you tilt the snare mic can be absolutely critical to how your snare sounds. Remember also that they are hearing it at the front and you are not. If they're a good engineer, it's plainly obvious and I'd hope that you would trust them with your sound.

As for 'tweaking the settings a little', well, you'd be surprised with just how much you have to tweak them after a changeover. What sounds great for one kit can sound terrible with another. Snares and bass drums are the obvious offenders here - a low-tuned snare drum needs a totally different EQ setup than a highly-tuned snare. These things take time and it's often a case of getting it right first time, either. It can take time to get it right, even with an experienced engineer - you just need to look at the painstaking work that is done in the studio to see how difficult it can be.

So, take that process and then multiply it by four for the guitarists, bassist and singer and it's not just a case of 'a few settings'. It's a case of a lot more than that and often drastic changes. They're not as physically demanding as moving a kit is, but there is often a lot of work going on there that people don't see. In the case of the drums, they really are often down the pecking order in terms of what an engineer might care about - after the lead singer, certainly. Being on a drum site, that isn't going to be a popular response - but that's just how it is.

This is why it's important for everybody to be professional. If you have a soundcheck arranged, turn up on time. Otherwise, the sound engineer isn't going to try and get the sound right and is far more likely to just stick with 'the average' because he has no idea where to start until after you hit the stage - by which point, it's too late and if it's not right then the sound engineer is the one who is blamed; not the band that were unprofessional.

There's no 'us and them' for me, because I do both. I've even gone behind a desk when the engineer has disappeared for a call of nature and adjusted his EQ, said engineer comes back and hears what I've done and loved it. If you discuss what you think you need and just communicate then there doesn't have to be an adversarial attitude from anybody.

One more thing I've noticed. A lot of players don't understand the process of soundchecking. If I ask you to play just the bass drum, just play the bass drum. Please don't use it as an excuse to play the bass drum and everything else, because I can't actually set it if the drummer is playing everything!
 

turbojerk

Senior Member
Normally I'm pretty laid back and don't post messages that could be considered 'moody', but suck it up is all I have to say. There are millions of other drummers who have to use house kits so why should you not have to? Sure, if your band is good enough and lucky enough and you become proffesional then you can start complaining about this kind of stuff, but until then just deal with it. I have been playing for about a year and half and gigging for a year. I despised the idea of house kits at first as well. I hated 4 pieces because of the massive gap between the toms, I wasn't comfortable with it. But a year later here I am, packing up my kit to use at a pub today, only taking a 4 piece. When my kits at home I keep the same 4 piece set up, but put all my extra cymbals and toms around the kit (think Neil Peart on a smaller scale) so I can remove them and have the key kit left. You have a 4 piece, thats good. Learn to play on a 4 piece and you can always take drums away, learn to play on a 5 piece (like me) and things start getting diffiult when suddlenly you have to adjust to a 4 piece in a live situation.

You're using a 5 piece, take one of the toms off, its not that hard. Adjust their kit. Move that boom arm that you don't like where it is. House kits and headliner kits are about compromise, if you're using someone elses kit, they don't have any right to tell you that you can't adjust things (they could draw the line at tuning however). Be thankful you only have to take your breakables!

Good luck. I hope you take on my points without thinking I am too much of an asshole...
No I take it as your opinion and that is fine. Seems like all of the a-holes wanna take shots at me personally buy saying I’m whining, or complaining, or “suck it up” BS and that’s really not what this is about. It was mainly to see if I was the only one that is tired of using backline kits. I’ve been playing for almost 25 years and at some point you just wanna do what you wanna do. That’s it! So if you wanna keep bashing me, a fellow drummer, go right ahead cause I really don’t care and you’re just taking cheap shots via the internet.
 

KarlCrafton

Platinum Member
So, a "House kit" is a normal thing?

I must be playing in different kinds of venues than a lot of you people then.
Maybe because I don't play in "cover" bands? Those venues (here) have ONE band all night....you bring all your own gear for those gigs....

These are just your normal 200-300-500 cap. clubs and such.
Even bars smaller than that you bring your own kit/amps....

The ONLY TIME I ever have to use a back line kit is at the festivals, or, in that one case at a club where there was multiple bands and the event is starting early.

Wow.

Clubs around here (Detroit area) don't have "house kits" that I've heard of.

My "suck it up" comments were pertaining to Turbojerk having a gig where he'd have to use a back line kit for a ONE SET performance, and didn't want to again because of what happened last time....so I'll take back some of what I said, and put the rest "out there" for general consumption....or flushing :)

In all the gigs I've played, other than the festival things (where you know going in), I've only had 5 shows where I had to "and that's the way it is" use another persons kit.

Two were with the same band eons ago (might as well not even count them), one was that POS PDP kit (that was fun anyway), and the gig with the comforter bass drum (THAT did suck). I knew ahead of time it would be a back line gig--except for the Stryper show.

WOW. Hmmm, well if it's a common thing, I see how it would suck.
It must feel like why even bother to have a nice kit if you have to play on crap all the time?
(Nice kit BTW Turbo).

As far back as I can remember, clubs have had 3 bands a night, a couple will have 4, and there's usually a 20 minute change over, and everyone has their own kit, amps etc.

They just put the mics up and get it all mixed (for that band) during your first song.

That's where I learned to make sure the kit sounded great with good tuning that projects the drums enough to overcome any potential bad, or uncaring sound person.
If the kit can sound great with no EQ and just any old mic making it go through the PA, I was good to go.
Thankfully, MOST of the guy's have been cool, and the worst have just been indifferent.
Attitudes change when people are treated as human beings though.

We just did a show with 5 bands, the place was jam packed and it was hard to get kits on and off, but that's just how they do it.
One guy had a rack and a large kit...they had lots of fun moving that off the stage...

I'd still rather have my kit, but at this particular place, a nice house kit would be OK to me.
The place is owned by musicians and they do it right there. It's the same place we did the Stryper show--and thinking back, it was SO packed that night I was glad I didn't have to part the Red Sea to get my kit off the stage after we played.

Sorry for the long post.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
So, a "House kit" is a normal thing?
Not common here either, except for festivals, & even then, I get my own way (by prior negotiation). Back in the day however, when I'd play any gig with anyone just to eat, I wasn't playing choice venues most of the time, & I came across the dreaded house kit quite frequently. Under those circumstances, you suck it up.

I do, however, completely agree with the hatred of our "second class citizen" status when it comes to who's the band member who'll have to suffer decision. Yes, lazy sound guys are sometimes to blame for this, but equally, not all drummers make it easy for the rest of us. We're regarded as a pain in the ass for good reason, it's because, as a "breed", we generally are!
 

Travis22

Senior Member
I've faced this before. Here is what you can do to make it so you get what you want:

1. Find out who is the stage manager and call them. Don't text - texting when you could be calling suggests you lack confidence and social skills.

2. Show up very early and assess the stage, what it is like to load onto the stage, what the sound guy has available and what he has to deal with in terms of other instruments and vocal mics. The easier you make his job, the better your chances of pulling off the kit swap.

3. Get your kit set up and ready to load onto the stage. Cymbals, stands, toms, pedals, everything in its place and ready to put up.

4. Bring so help so you can move the house kit aside quickly and get yours up. Put everything back exactly as it was when you leave. Thank people who help you and thank the sound man.
Perfect! I'd like it, if there was a like button. Haha! It's true, though, as long as you are professional about the way you approach it, and have the ability to get everything done in time, they usually don't care too much. If they are wishy washy on it, buy them a drink and say please.

I could be wrong, as I have never played on a big tour before, but I have attended many big touring shows, and every time they swap out drum kits. I went to rockfest a few years back with something like 15 national bands on 2 stages, and every band used their own gear. Sure, they have paid guys to make it happen, but it really doesn't take that long to switch out kits. Usually just as long as guitar cabs, if have it some what assembled before hand.
 

turbojerk

Senior Member
I know that you can attract more flys with honey then you can with shit! Even though I started off kinda cocky I would never act more then pleasant with anyone.

I was told to bring my stuff with me and I'll see what the engineer has to say. I'll politely ask if it would be a problem to use my gear, and so, so be it. I'm just going to remain positive at this point.

Thanks for all of the insight fella's. Good or bad.
 
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