New respect for gigging Drummers...

BigBelly

Member
My son and I are new drummers of only a year or so. Over the last few days, he has had talent show try-outs, rehersal, a student show and an evening show. He played a cover of 7 Nation Army by the White Stripes. I had to set-up and tear down each time he played. I didn't have his kit mic'd, no lights, no special effects at all. All I had to do was set-up a kick drum, snare, floor tom and two cymbals and it was a major pain in the rear.

I can't imagine what you folks who have an elaborate set-up must go thru. My experience compared to you is laughable, I know, but my new found respect for what you do besides playing the drums has grown incredibly. So for those of you that often get thanks for your playing ability, I just thought I'd offer up a thank you for everything else it is you do to give us a great show....or even a bad one.
 

bonzolead

Platinum Member
My son and I are new drummers of only a year or so. Over the last few days, he has had talent show try-outs, rehersal, a student show and an evening show. He played a cover of 7 Nation Army by the White Stripes. I had to set-up and tear down each time he played. I didn't have his kit mic'd, no lights, no special effects at all. All I had to do was set-up a kick drum, snare, floor tom and two cymbals and it was a major pain in the rear.

I can't imagine what you folks who have an elaborate set-up must go thru. My experience compared to you is laughable, I know, but my new found respect for what you do besides playing the drums has grown incredibly. So for those of you that often get thanks for your playing ability, I just thought I'd offer up a thank you for everything else it is you do to give us a great show....or even a bad one.
That's why I always tell club-owners that my band will "Play for Free" but you'll have too pay us to set-up & tear-down LOL.

Bonzolead
 

cathartic_j

Senior Member
My son and I are new drummers of only a year or so. Over the last few days, he has had talent show try-outs, rehersal, a student show and an evening show. He played a cover of 7 Nation Army by the White Stripes. I had to set-up and tear down each time he played. I didn't have his kit mic'd, no lights, no special effects at all. All I had to do was set-up a kick drum, snare, floor tom and two cymbals and it was a major pain in the rear.

I can't imagine what you folks who have an elaborate set-up must go thru. My experience compared to you is laughable, I know, but my new found respect for what you do besides playing the drums has grown incredibly. So for those of you that often get thanks for your playing ability, I just thought I'd offer up a thank you for everything else it is you do to give us a great show....or even a bad one.
Boy, that was nice of you to do the set-up for him; I considered myself lucky that my dad used to get the door and occasionally help take some of the hardware out to the car. You might want to let your son get some practice with set-up/tear-down logistics, so that if/when he's able to provide his own transportation, you don't end up stuck as his roadie. Also, if he's going to be doing this often at all, getting memory locks for the hardware is a worthwhile investment, assuming you don't already have them.

But you bring up a good point -- for those who do it, setting up and tearing down a kit night after night (not to mention lugging it around) is no small task. I've always had the utmost respect for drum techs, who have a world of knowledge about drum equipment and sound, who spend most of their time doing (to me) the least enjoyable part of drumming, and miss out on the enjoyment of actually playing a show.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
Thank you!

Yeah, it's tough having a career that most people think is nothing but getting to play music. There is a LOT of work involved, like setting up and tearing down constantly, dealing with promoting/booking, coordinating ensembles/rehearsals/repertoire, etc. Playing music actually ends up only being about 10% of the total amount of work, and that's all that people see.

You'll hear about a lot of the professional drummers (in this forum and elsewhere) that get smallers kits, consolidate their hardware, and do creative things to make their set-up and tear-down go quicker and take less trips. People that burn out quickly are the people that make too much work for themselves or have the attitude of "I'd rather be playing what I want to play! Waaaah!"

Your situation isn't "laughable" to me, but admirable. It's awesome that you are getting involved with music and supporting your son. A little bit of lugging gear around is just a piddle compared to the rewards of these experiences...
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Some tape for the drum rug, you do have a drum rug don't you, to mark all of the legs, and a few memory locks for the toms and stands will make things easier. Time will make it easier as you go along too.
 

cathartic_j

Senior Member
second worst yu forgot tuning
Well, my understanding is that a lot of drum techs do tuning as well. That said, I think I'd rather tune than do set-up; tuning might be more meticulous work, but at least it feels like there's an artistic component to it ... and there's a more appreciable reward for it, too. Setting up feels more like a "given," but doing a good tuning job gives you an extra edge over somebody playing with drums that haven't been tended to as carefully.
 

Eric

Senior Member
And it gets worse...Try loading into a downtown hotel for the first time through the loading dock, often past huge garbage dumpsters, through a busy kitchen getting dirty looks...I wish singers could try doing what we do just once to realize what it's like.
 
I treat is as a good 10 minutes (twice) of weight lifting :D

The hardcases I recently bought make it even heavier now. Should look ripped in about... a year? ha
 

mcbike

Silver Member
I have all my gear in hardcases and do 150+ shows a year, it gets easy after a while. I also have to help load/set up the p.a., and breakdown/load out the p.a. and all the gear. Usually It takes me 30 minutes to load in and set up my drums, drum mics, and vocal mics and run all the cables for that, and then I pitch in with the rest of the p.a. or set up lights. It only takes us an hour to get everything up and running, and only about 30 minutes to break it down.

Honestly the only thing heavy is the hardware case and that rolls. I have a rolling bass drum case, and a rolling cymbal case. The worst stuff is the main speakers, and the 4x10 bass cab with broken casters! grrrr.
 

BGH

Gold Member
Yup, its great that you're helping. Consider yourself lucky, if you're only doing a small kit. As others have mentioned, its usually loading in an entire bands worth of personal gear plus lights and PA equipment. How about playing in city hotels, where you need to load in through a back alley, haul the stuff up in elevators, set-up, sound check, park your car 3 blocks away for $20, go back and change your clothes, all before you play a note. Then, repeat the process at 1am, 30-60 minute load out, drive home, wind down and try to catch some sleep.

And guess what? Its worth every minute as long as you can do it. Respect to all of the warriors out there....
 

ChipJohns

Senior Member
Hey Gig with a band that has a keyboardist that has either a Rhoades or a B3...! @:-O

Actually, I love to set up. I love to play, but I love setting up too. I would love to Tech for a major drummer for a while. Part of my challenge is finding better ways to haul and more effective ways to set up once at the venue.

Neil's Tech setting up - Setup starts about 1:30 (I love this video)

Thinking about getting good at it, most of the major clinic guys... They show up, (granted the drums are usually on site,) but, their is a set of drums there they have never played. They get real good at setting the gear. Usually most drums now have some kind of memory, but these drums have never been set up... It's pretty cool at how good they get at setting new set up as quickly as they do..
 

mrchattr

Gold Member
To me, setting up has almost a zen-like quality to it. I have actually done away with tape on the rug, even, just because I KNOW my set up, and can eyeball my stand bottom set-ups without issue, where the bass drum spurs go, etc. Getting it all up there, building the kit I'm going to rock for a few hours...even averaging over 150 gigs a year, I love, love, love doing it.

Breaking down, however, and loading out, I hate.

Thinking about getting good at it, most of the major clinic guys... They show up, (granted the drums are usually on site,) but, their is a set of drums there they have never played. They get real good at setting the gear. Usually most drums now have some kind of memory, but these drums have never been set up... It's pretty cool at how good they get at setting new set up as quickly as they do..
Most of the major clinic guys that I have seen have riders in their contracts that specify exact heights and angles, etc. The guys at the drum shop (at least at Dale's in Harrisburg, which is where I usually go to see clinics) have to set the kit up, and then the clinician only makes minor adjustments. What's really hard is if you ever do a tour playing on house kits...you never know WHAT you're gonna get until you get there. I have played shows on 3 piece kits from the '70's, with original heads and hardware that is so rusty you don't know if it'll hold everything! I learned a ton about the hardware of all major and many minor brands through those processes.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
What I do on every one of my kits is to mark all of my stands with a black Sharpie pen.
I make a black ring at the point where the base ring alines with the center post on all of my cymbal stands. I mark a black ring at the point where the stand rods telescope. I mark my snare stand and my bass drum spurs in this manner also. I leave my bass mounted rack tom mount in one piece and I place it in my hardware bag this way.

I can carry in and set up any one of my three kits to perfection in ten to fifteen mins.
I have memorized the tuning tension of all of my drums. I use a Drum Dial to rough tune my drums before I leave for the gig or practice. I fine tune for the room if I have to after I set up.

I have also simplified things by having different kits for different gigs. I don't bring more drums than I need. I also have both light weight and heavy duty hardware to further exemplify the fore-mentioned thought.

I didn't post this to brag! I posted it to help. All gigging drummers have a system like mine.

Fast set up and tear down is a necessary skill that all successful gigging drummers must possess.

I compare it a military tear down and assembly of your rifle. The best drummers can do it fast under the most adverse conditions.

I like watching people in the club watch me as I assemble my kit. Keep in mind that I am an Automotive Technician so I use the abilities of my trade when I set up. The look on their faces is often priceless as they look on. Some patrons even make comments sometimes. They say things like "I see that you have done this a few times before" Things like that.

Thank you for the spirit of this thread.
 
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yesdog

Silver Member
What I do on every one of my kits is to mark all of my stands with a black Sharpie pen.
I make a black ring at the point where the base ring alines with the center post on all of my cymbal stands. I mark a black ring at the point where the stand rods telescope. I mark my snare stand and my bass drum spurs in this manner also. I leave my bass mounted rack tom mount in one piece and I place it in my hardware bag this way.

I can carry in and set up any one of my three kits to perfection in ten to fifteen mins.
I have memorized the tuning tension of all of my drums. I use a Drum Dial to rough tune my drums before I leave for the gig or practice. I fine tune for the room if I have to after I set up.

I have also simplified things by having different kits for different gigs. I don't bring more drums than I need. I also have both light weight and heavy duty hardware to further exemplify the fore-mentioned thought.

I didn't post this to brag! I posted it to help. All gigging drummers have a system like mine.

Fast set up and tear down is a necessary skill that all successful gigging drummers must possess.

I compare it a military tear down and assembly of your rifle. The best drummers can do it fast under the most adverse conditions.

I like watching people in the club watch me as I assemble my kit. Keep in mind that I am an Automotive Technician so I use the abilities of my trade when I set up. The look on their faces is often priceless as they look on. Some patrons even make comments sometimes. They say things like "I see that you have done this a few times before" Things like that.

Thank you for the spirit of this thread.
I use pretty much the same system you use. Some of my gear is memory locked , but I use a pen to mark my stands as well. I also have my own rug my kit sits on, I have used a marker to mark where all of my stands sit. 15 minute set up time, and by using my own carpet everything is in place perfectly every time.
 
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