Using others' kits, and others using yours

Zero Mercury Drummer

Senior Member
Are you asked to use other drumsets a lot for live gigs and even recording?

Many times, going in to do a recording, the studio owner will give me heavy pressure to use his generic kit.
Same with live gigs. I actually switched to a four piece a few years back because everybody else played one and I was always on one for a gig.

Sometimes it bugs me a a little bit that our instrument is treated as "generic." You don't see guitarists or bassists forced to use other people's gear. It's not like we spent hours choosing shells, heads, sticks, and tuning them just so to develop our own sound.

Problem is, if you insist on your own kit you come off as a total prick and the soundman will stab you in the toes with a broken beer bottle.

Worse situation- they insist you use another kit, but that drummer isn't happy about it and gives you crap and watches you the whole time, and has a hissy fit if you move a tom one inch. OR the other drummer uses your kit and changes your seat height, hi-hat, flattens your toms and moves your cymbals around- giving you five minutes to re-adjust.
 

DevonWelch

Member
Haha, yeah since i'm only a new drummer about 3 years of playing, I usta like it because I could try different varieties of different kits/cymbols/pedals, but lately since i've got a good kit i'm starting to perfer using my own cymbols, snare and stuff like that because i'm so comfortable with the feel, there has been many times where people kits are just "not comfortable" and it totally effected my playing.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I hate using others stuff, because 99.9% of drummers I encounter have just god awful tuned and headed drums. That's just a fact. I don't mind lending my stuff. At least I get to hear a nicely tuned kit. I can't stand having no choice but to play on bad sounding drums. I have 2 festivals coming up. Of all the places I would like to have my own kit, its when I'm playing for a couple thousand people. Not gonna happen. What can you do? Make the best of things.

Just gotta suck it up. Sigh.
 

Zero Mercury Drummer

Senior Member
I hate using others stuff, because 99.9% of drummers I encounter have just god awful tuned and headed drums. That's just a fact. I don't mind lending my stuff. At least I get to hear a nicely tuned kit. I can't stand having no choice but to play on bad sounding drums. I have 2 festivals coming up. Of all the places I would like to have my own kit, its when I'm playing for a couple thousand people. Not gonna happen. What can you do? Make the best of things.

Just gotta suck it up. Sigh.
I happened to meet Adam Woods of the Fixx this weekend and asked what kind of kit he was playing up there and he said he had no idea. A different rental kit at every gig. That sounds like the ultimate nightmare to me.

My strategy is going to be to offer my kit and hope they are gentle. I think we are the last band so that should help.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I happened to meet Adam Woods of the Fixx this weekend and asked what kind of kit he was playing up there and he said he had no idea. A different rental kit at every gig. That sounds like the ultimate nightmare to me.
For many touring bands, that is life.

I have a buddy who plays with a singer who had a couple of big hits a few years back. 90% of the shows he does is all rental gear because most of the gigs are fly outs.

When Johnathan Mover subbed with the Tubes for two weeks, logistics means he used Prairie Prince's kit. More recently, Mover subbed for Glen Sobel with Alice Copper for a few weeks, and Mover used Glen's kit for the entire run of shows.

Even a lot of pros who are pictured always using their kits, many time it's a rental set up to approximate their kit.

Of course, I always prefer to use my drums, but I've done so many things where I couldn't use my kit, it just does not bother me anymore.

Drums, hit them, they make noise.
 

Ariffy

Member
I hate using other peoples kits because:
1) Usually they sound absolutely horrible.
2) They don't take care of their equipment.
3) Nothing worse than using another persons cymbal stands and you find that there's no cymbal sleeves and it's just the bare metal teeth on top which would just destroy your cymbals. (I ALWAYS bring spare cymbal sleeves!)
4) Wing nuts are tightened far too tightly and you can't loosen them
5) Even when you adjust the kit it still doesn't feel right.
 

NUTHA JASON

Senior Administrator
i like getting to try other dudes set up. it has over the years lead to a few changes to my own.

j
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Does it happen all the time? Yes. Is it always ideal? No. Do you end up on some POS kits? Yes.

Most of those pros on rental kits, I imagine, don't have the same crazy adventures that many of us do playing house kits in bars. I completely agree, nobody asks a guitarist to play a warped, crappy beginner guitar with 5 strings at a gig, but we get to settle for a CB700 with crappy hardware and dented heads.

Fortunately, the local scene I'm in is a bit easier to deal with; the only time I currently play house kits is when I'm at a blues jam or open mic night, and in those cases I know most of the guys who provide the drums, so it's usually not an issue. If possible, bring cymbals, snare, sticks, maybe a pedal (if the venue or drumset owner is amenable).
 

Bad Tempered Clavier

Silver Member
I actually switched to a four piece a few years back because everybody else played one and I was always on one for a gig.
A couple of years ago it got to the point where I couldn't even rely on workable toms from house kits. I played every gig [and rehearsal - where bringing my own kit was impractical] with one band with my own snare, throne, cymbals, pedal, and hardware and just used whatever passed for a bass drum from the stuff that was left for all drummers to use. Needless to say no one else in the band or audience noticed that I was only playing a 2-piece kit. It was actually quite liberating for a while.

I think there is a difference between a touring pro using a rented kit from a strange town and half a dozen drummers in fledgling bands on the same bill being forced to share a kit that's held together by gaffer tape and sounds like cardboard; I think the gripe I have with that kind of situation is that, if I'm honest, every band I was in that played under those circumstances was crap and therefore played crappy clubs with a crappy shared kit and idiot sound men who knew as much about "sound engineering" as a bag of fetid offal does.

I don't mind using someone else's gear if it's well maintained and can produce something close enough to the sound I want. Whether on stage or in the studio you know something is wrong when you are expected to play with substandard gear. When that happens - as the saying goes - This Drummer is at the Wrong Gig.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
Backline usually means amps and the basic kit provided. Guitarists and bassists bring their own axes and pedals but have to play though whatever the organizers have up there. Keyboards may be anything and some festival folks are perturbed if you want to switch out their Korg for your Yamaha. Drummesr typically bring pedals, snare and cymbals. Sometimes there are decent crashes and you don't need to bother with that. If it's a local thing, bringing your own throne and snare stand actually speeds changeovers and most stage managers won't complain. If it's a rental kit, move anything. If it's the headliners kit, ask first.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
What do you do in this type of situation when you play left-handed?
Should have warned the booking agent for the show. They may be able to insert an acoustic act or something to ease changeovers. Definitely warn the stage manager and sound-co patch monkey well ahead of time so they can be prepared for the changeover logistics. Maybe grab a couple extra hands to help. Also, don't expect to have a Neil Peart set up or time to clamp a bunch of toys to things. Basic 4 or 5 piece kit flipped around.
 

mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
Sniff, I feel so discriminated against.

The only solace I have is that only left-handed people are in their right minds.
 

Taye-Dyed

Senior Member
What do you do in this type of situation when you play left-handed?
Here is what I do: I rush to the stage as soon as possible and start switching things around while other guys are plugging in and the sound people are setting up mics. Always end up with a barely playable set up with toms and cymbals at odd angles and distances. Then at the end of the set, I have to put everything back the way they were. These are the times I really wish I played right-handed.

Besides the left-handed thing, I detest having to use someone else's kit for the reasons others already mentioned. Last time i used a house kit, the hi-hat clutch was "permanently" tightened with the hats barely open so I could not do much with the pedal. There was not even a double bass pedal, so I don't know what was the point of permanently fixing the hi-hats!

After the pain and expense we go through to fine tune our gear, having to play other people's stuff in front of the largest crowds we play for is a bit of an irony.
 

Big Foot

Silver Member
Using another drummer's kit is one thing. But, using a "non-drummer"s kit is a whole other nightmare.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I like playing different kits personally.

Every setup has something unique about it, instrument(s) that you particularly like and it shifts your focus and makes you play differently.

I used to be really pedantic about getting my setup "perfect" but since I moved to the city I'm always on a different kit and I've learned to quickly adjust a few things, jump on and play. Of course I'll be constantly adjusting things as time passes but I like the variety... and because I am very conscous of setup I've learned more about what angles, heights, pedal positions work best.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
A couple of the bars around here have taken to "providing house kits". Both are pieces of junk. One is a beat up 20 year old entry level Yamaha kit and the other is even worse, a no-name Japanese kit that looks like a 60's Pearl but with a piano store's name tacked on. And they get really offended if you don't want to use them. In their minds they are simplifying the bands logistics and making life easier for us. I'd rather play my $300 Safari kit than either of these beat out sets of laundry hampers.
 

Elpecs

Senior Member
I prefer playing other kits than bringing mine, I hate carrying drums, hahaha. I usually just bring snare/pedal/cymbals. When the toms sound that bad and I'm not allowed to tune them, I just don't play them, haha
 

mikeyhanson

Silver Member
My band tours with rental gear. With the exception of the most recent tour, I am usually able to pick and choose my rental kit. That way I can get it as close to my own kit as possible. We don't share our equipment. The tour is too long and packed together to be risking breakdowns or damages.

I think Lefties have it made....you walk up to the soundguy at the beginning of the day and tell him your a lefty drummer. He'll have to do something about that. Suggest you have your own kit ready to go, and you're in.

Some soundguys are lazy. Some promoters actually think that things go by faster if the drums aren't switched. I say bull-pucky. Drummers are much faster at setting their own kit up than they are at adapting whatever they need to a strange kit.

And it's not like you're being a primadonna saying you need to use your own kit. It's YOUR instrument. It would be like making all the guitarists share a single 12-string guitar for the night.....hey, you could break strings and not have to stop! Or all the bass players sharing a fretless.
It's insanity.
If you're in a situation where you know the house kit is significantly less quality than what you have, suggest everyone use your kit. Problem solved, and then you're in charge. Make the others guys play their own cymbals and snare and you're good to go.
 
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