Optimum settings

M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
So, hoo-rah! Tonight was my last night playing for the local show choir scene, and as usual, a drumset was provided for everyone to play on. Since I was one of the first guys on in the early morning, I'm always surprised at how some people set-up their stuff.

Of course, I'm already going to mess that up because, being left-handed, it gets handled as I move stuff around. But what really blows my mind is how inefficient somethings are. Case in point this morning: the bass drum beater was lowered so it would hit in the center of a tiny 18" bass drum. Well, this actually throws the weight off and shortens your stroke, so you never get a full stroke out of the pedal, and this just lowers the overall volume of a small bass drum. As far as tuning goes, "big and full" doesn't seem to be in the vocabulary of people who buy these little intermediate bop-like kits.

I decided since I got in there a bit early, I broke out my drum keys and just re-tuned the drums, and pull the pedal off so I could re-adjust it. I'm sure whoever the owner was was probably pissed off at my modifications. I tuned down the toms and the snare, as well as the bass drum. With the pedal basically put back into "out of the box" mode, it was easier to play the bass drum. But for the rest of the day, all of the other drummers didn't complain how the kit sounded (I think) and nobody put them back to how the were before I changed them.

When the evening festivities started up, I was surprised to find an entirely different drumset in place. And I had to do the same thing.

Does no one watch YouTube videos on how to set your drums up? No one ever listens to Simon Phillips when he talks about set-up? I find it very hard to believe. The second kit, a nice Gretsch Catalina Jazz in Champagne sparkle, had the weird "short beater" syndrome, so I had to fix that. And the owner didn't even set it up right - I had to readjust his spurs so they would actually work and hold the bass drum steady. The snare drum was a new 6.5 Supraphonic that just sounded like crap so I quickly fixed that drum.

I'm all for people learning on their own how to optimize their set for their playing, but if you're going to provide the backline for everybody, try to figure it out before someone like me comes in and re-does everything. I should charge for the service next time!
 

mikel

Platinum Member
I presume you play lefty? If so you can hardly blame them for setting it up for RH playing when the majority of drummers play that way.

Was this someones own kit or just a hire job? If a hire job then re tuning is fine but If its a guys kit from the band roster its probably a no no. Would you like someone messing with your kit?

Lets face it if you buy a Bop kit you are not concerned with "Big and Fat" probably bought for space saving.

As Buddy said once "Play it as it lays". Most session drummers can get a good sound out of anything, and play the setup in front of them, so I am told. I struggle to do this but using some of the odd kits in rehearsal rooms has made me more adaptable.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
So you're the guy who keeps changing my settings!

Seriously though, everyone is different, and plenty of people go for years with the pedal wrong, or the spurs backwards, or the toms pointing inwards, and they just get used to it. Some seem to like their hihat at shoulder height, others set it two feet away from the snare, etc, etc.

So your tale doesn't surprise me at all. But what really annoys me on shared kits is when there are tight memory locks holding everything in position, so its almost impossible to adjust a cymbal or move a tom, or get the ride close enough, or adjust the throne... At least you were able to adjust things and sort it out.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
On another note. You adjust everything to suit you, and the next drummer up sits down at the kit and thinks "What the hell........" Who is right?
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
We have seen it written a thousand times on this forum that "there is no right or wrong" , "do what feels right for you", "if the drums sound good to you then they sound good". Many cliches, and not everyone makes a living playing drums, listens to Youtube, or even may know who Simon Phillips is. And I don't think you can charge for a service that someone may have to undo to get their drums back to where they liked them. All the more reason not to take this kind of gig if the negatives outweigh the positives.
 

FreDrummer

Silver Member
Bo, you are well-liked and well-regarded on this forum, but on this one, I think you stepped over the line. You provided the answer yourself when you said, "I'm sure whoever the owner was was probably pissed off at my modificacations." If the owner of the set was around and you were talking about the kit and he admitted he just can't seem to tune them correctly, then you could offer to help. But to just do it with no one's knowledge? IDK... I'm not familiar with the in's and out's of a show-choir competition, but is it not possible to follow the shared-kit norm of bring your own pedal, sticks, and snare?
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Bo, you are well-liked and well-regarded on this forum, but on this one, I think you stepped over the line. You provided the answer yourself when you said, "I'm sure whoever the owner was was probably pissed off at my modificacations." If the owner of the set was around and you were talking about the kit and he admitted he just can't seem to tune them correctly, then you could offer to help. But to just do it with no one's knowledge? IDK... I'm not familiar with the in's and out's of a show-choir competition, but is it not possible to follow the shared-kit norm of bring your own pedal, sticks, and snare?
And my question is:
Would it be OK (proper etiquette), in this show-choir competition, for each drummer that plays to change the "settings" like Bo did, if thy wanted to?


.
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
Bo, you are well-liked and well-regarded on this forum, but on this one, I think you stepped over the line. You provided the answer yourself when you said, "I'm sure whoever the owner was was probably pissed off at my modificacations." If the owner of the set was around and you were talking about the kit and he admitted he just can't seem to tune them correctly, then you could offer to help. But to just do it with no one's knowledge? IDK... I'm not familiar with the in's and out's of a show-choir competition, but is it not possible to follow the shared-kit norm of bring your own pedal, sticks, and snare?
I say, if you provided a kit that was actually playable, then ok. I'll leave it alone. If you have music that calls for drums sounding deep and full, but you're presented with "small and wimpy", who trumps what? The client paying you? Or the guy who owns the drumset being provided? I say the music being played trumps the guy who owns the kit. People who hire me are expecting what they get when we rehearsed the music, and I'm there to make them happy.

GrAnted, if this were a club and I'm sitting in with the band, that's one thing. I may not change anything or I'll ask. You throw strange drums at me in a festival situation then there are no rules as to what I'd do, because I'm hired for a sound and I'm forced to play what's there.

In the past, these festivals allowed all drummers to use their own stuff and I was happy to comply. But at some point the festival folks thought it took too much time to swap drum sets and said they'll provide the drums - ironically the groups started bringing elaborate set pieces that took more time to set up than moving a drumset does, so there's probably more downtime between groups, allowing my time to alter the provided kit! So maybe if enough guys like me alter things, maybe they'll say, " let's go back to letting the drummers bring their own stuff" and everything will be good again. After all, guitarists, bassists, and keyboardists aren't provided with anything, since they have to have their sounds. Why does the drummer get penalized for trying to do his job right?

And if whoever owns the provided drumset is paid a rental fee, why should he care what happens to it? He's being compensated for it. I've rented stuff in the past and told the drummers to do whatever they want. In my case, I provided a playable instrument that already sounds good, so likewise, my stuff suffer the least in alterations.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
I agree with Bo in this particular situation.

I rented my drum set out once and I fully expected the player to tune and adjust it.


.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
As long as the set owner is paid a reasonable rental fee, I have to agree with Bo too. I thought this was a case of just one of the drummers letting his kit get used by everybody that day.
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
Well, I apologize if I was unclear as to the whole situation, so I can understand being misunderstood. But there's still a part of me that thinks that if you've convinced some kid into loaning you his drumset for the day to be played by others, than that person should understand things will get altered. If I walked into a club and was asked to sit in (a situation here everyone can understand) then that's completely different. And usually in a club band situation, the drums can sound half-way decent. I don't know what it is with these school drummers who do these extreme tuningS and expect everyone to go along with it. We're not playing with Miles Davis and this isn't 1965. So college guys take note: MEDIUM is good and were not playing the music YOU want us all to play!

(You'd think they would've figured it out when confronted with all the sequin dresses and Broadway show tunes....)
 

FritzDrummer

Senior Member
I have to agree with Bo. When you allow your kit to be played by others, things will get changed. I'm 6 feet tall, if I let someone that is 5'5" borrow my car, I expect that the next time I use it I'm going to have to move my seat, mirrors, and steering wheel.

When I allow my kit to be the shared one at a gig, I'm there to help any drummer who wants things changed with drum key in hand. I don't understand the problem with memory locks either. You have a drum key, move them! It's not like someone is going to take them off cause I'm sharing my kit tonight. You should have a drum key on you anyway!

Now when I am using someone else's kit at a gig, if it's only me and the owner of the kits band that is playing that night, I try to put everything back as close as possible to help them out. If there are multiple drummers playing there that night on the same kit, I won't change things back, just because the next drummer will change it to how they like it anyway.

Bo, I don't fault you one bit. If you know what set up and sound you like for a gig, do what you have to do to acquire that feel and sound. Chances are no one changed anything back because they aren't a great tuner anyway!
 

mikel

Platinum Member
No argument with altering a kit to suit the drummer, I dont think anyone is. The argument is, If its a drum share situation why moan about having to do that?
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
One thing I learned from going to PIT is if it's not my kit, don't spend too much time worrying about the set up and just play. You spend an entire year playing on 101 different kits, and none of them are you're own.

And in the gigging world, it can be the same thing.

If I'm playing a back line kit that everyone is going to use, or I'm on someone else's kit, as long as my seat height is relatively comfortable, I just don't care where everything else is. I'll just adjust to that.
 

vxla

Silver Member
Bo writes..

"Does no one watch YouTube videos on how to set your drums up?"

Refer to the thread in General Discussion of people who don't need teachers!
 

Headbanger

Senior Member
In my area, backline kits are usually not owned by a drummer but are rented from a shop and are set up by one of the staff (who could be a guitarist or DJ rather than a drummer).

This was made obvious to me when somebody had a rolled-up carpet leaning against the bass drum as a weight, instead of setting up on top of the carpet.
 

Juniper

Gold Member
Meh, one of those things I guess when it's not your own kit. Maybe they were rushed for time and had to make a quick job of it.

Maybe it's just things that work for other people, wouldn't put too much thought into it.
 

STXBob

Gold Member
I don't understand you chaps giving Bo guff. It's tuning an instrument. How is that objectionable? If I am handed an instrument, I expect it to be properly tuned, or I'm going to tune it. Drummers are lucky, in that drumset drums aren't tuned to specific notes. But we still need to tune.

Expectations are different for us, because it takes more work to return to a previous setting. A guitarist can stomp different pedals for different effects and return to a "clean" setting with another stomp. If I want to take a snare from "fat 1970s" to "reggae timbale" it takes more time. But that is no excuse to ignore tuning when I sit down to play reggae with a fat 1970s snare.

It's a problem with expectations. If you hand any other instrument to another musician, you wouldn't care at all if they immediately checked and adjusted the tuning. In fact, if I hand my guitar, or bass, or saxophone, to another player, I'd be concerned if they didn't fiddle with the tuning; I'd have less respect for them as musicians. But drums are somehow different? They're exempt? Please.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
I don't understand you chaps giving Bo guff. It's tuning an instrument. How is that objectionable? If I am handed an instrument, I expect it to be properly tuned, or I'm going to tune it. Drummers are lucky, in that drumset drums aren't tuned to specific notes. But we still need to tune.

Expectations are different for us, because it takes more work to return to a previous setting. A guitarist can stomp different pedals for different effects and return to a "clean" setting with another stomp. If I want to take a snare from "fat 1970s" to "reggae timbale" it takes more time. But that is no excuse to ignore tuning when I sit down to play reggae with a fat 1970s snare.

It's a problem with expectations. If you hand any other instrument to another musician, you wouldn't care at all if they immediately checked and adjusted the tuning. In fact, if I hand my guitar, or bass, or saxophone, to another player, I'd be concerned if they didn't fiddle with the tuning; I'd have less respect for them as musicians. But drums are somehow different? They're exempt? Please.[/QUOTE]

Read the rest of the thread. No one is saying you dont have to change things in a kit share situation, its the norm. Its Bo moaning about it that strikes some as odd. Bo has done loads of this type of gig.
 
Top