What's the worst kit you've had to play on?


Senior Member
So my mom and stepdad had gone on about my drum playing down in Florida where they've retired to, and the band at their local lounge-watering-hole invited me to sit in for a couple of songs if I ever came down to visit. I'm like, sure.

Then I walk in and see this thing.

Aside from the glaring obvious things wrong with this refugee from the Tom Angles thread, there's no floor tom, the cymbals are jacked up to uncomfortable heights, and (I don't know if you can tell from the picture) the snare drum is up beside the kick. Like, underneath the left rack tom. It's canted at about 45 degrees towards me, it has a slackly tuned Pinstripe batter (not coated) with a washcloth duct-taped to it.

And the throne is broken.

As the band's drummer gets up to make a beeline to the bar, he snarls, "Don't touch anything!"

I limp through a song, I move to get up, the keyboard player looks at me and goes, "No, no, stay right there," and we go through two or three more songs. I guess they were happy to have someone sober playing the drums for a change. At one point the keyboard player points back at me and yells, "DRUM SOLO!" I swear, it's like a bad dream induced by eating bad Thai food or something.

The set ends and I slide out from behind this torture machine. The regular drummer comes up to me with a bottle of bubbly and says I did a <bleeping> awesome <bleeping> job, man (in front of my wife and mom). So we open it, have a drink or two, chilling. The band starts to reconvene on the stage... except for the drummer. He's passed out in a booth,

Guess who got to finish the set? (At least I moved the snare while he was passed out...)
This is just hillarious. I feel for you... but its still just too funny.


Silver Member
A church gig with a malfunctioning E-Kit that would cut in and out, and double/false trigger all over the place even when you weren't touching it. That was at least good for a laugh.

Starship Krupa

Senior Member
... the drummer had a beat to hell, 60's Ludwig champagne sparkle 5pc kit (it could've been gorgeous with a little work)... it was ALL original except for the heads - old, OLD pinstripes all around - each with a duct-taped 'X' from rim to rim...

The 5x14" matching snare was cranked way beyond choked -- it sounded kinda like a metal folding chair with a piece of cardboard on top... the strainer was somewhere between totally broken and rusted in place - which really didn't matter since there was little to no snare response anyway.

Did I mention that to go along with the metal folding chair snare - the toms sounded (and felt) like wet cardboard boxes?

Man, that sounds like abuse of a great old set.

Really curious, though, how did it sound when he played it? I've heard so many legends of crappy kits that the owners somehow managed to sound great on.


Silver Member
Whenever I have to play on a house kit, I bring my snare, my snare stand, my cymbals, and stands and pedals. And some duct tape. I expect the kit to have a bass, tom and floor, and at least a batter head on the drums. I expect the over-head tom to have a mounting system that is striped so I sometimes carry an extra snare stand for the over-head tom. I also expect to find missing lugs and lugs that do not tighten so make do with drums that do not tune.

I played a show in Brooklyn one time that only had a head for the floor tom on the bottom. The last drummer to use the kit turned the floor tom upside down. But, now the floor tom was only a few inches from the floor. I had to take the time to remove the head and lugs and put it on the top side because I sit higher on the throne.


Platinum Member
What has always amazed me is this; I owned and played a Pearl Rhythm Traveller kit and I was able to make it sound really good. I had a blast with it as I tried different heads and tuning tensions. I played the crap out of that thing.
I have played house kits, studio kits, and other drummers kits that are worth thousands of (insert fav currency here) more than my lowly Pearl Rhythm Traveller and they are just plain crap!
How does this level out? I mean come on, there are kits out there that are so messed up that they can't beat a Pearl Rhythm Traveller!
Sad, Sad, Sad, world that we live in :)


Senior Member
Man, that sounds like abuse of a great old set.

Really curious, though, how did it sound when he played it? I've heard so many legends of crappy kits that the owners somehow managed to sound great on.
Haaa... out front it honestly didn't sound THAT bad -- nothing great, but passable. Seeing the rack toms rock about like they were in rough seas was pretty funny though!


Gold Member
At The Absinthe Lounge in Dallas in late Novembr 2009. A guitar player in our band knew the guitar player in the main band playing there and they were kind enough to let us "open" for them, as they were looking for bands to round out the ticket. It was a nice deal in that our band was just starting to gig out and we wanted and needed the exposure. The deal was we played for 1 hour and got free drinks.

The kit was the main bands kit, a Pearl 4 piece kit with a Tobacco fade finish, and I was quite surprised to find the floor tom batter head was duck taped beyond belief. Wanting to show respect to their band I asked if I could adjust the stands and I was promptly told I could "adjust anything I needed to adjust, by golly. And have a beer"! Not wanting to turn down a free cold one, I gladly accepted a nice frothy mug of ice cold beer by some guy that looked like Atlas. He was "with the band" so to speak.

We proceeded to play our hour-long set and had a few couples dancing, so we were pleased. The next to the last song we played, the floor tom head completly ripped apart when I hit it. In fact, my stick stuck in the tom in the rip in the head and I came up empty handed. Luckily I had extra ones stuck within reach so I grabbed another and finished the set.

After our set, I immediately went to find the other band's members and tell them what happened and apologize. I even offered to pay for the head, but was told it was already ripped and they had tried the duck tape trick just to make it thru the night and "no need to pay us". And by the way "y'all sounded great! Have a beer!"

Visible Ninja

Junior Member
A Percussion Plus kit. At a local studio no less!

I put a tune on it and it played okay. Poplar shells, sounded mushy.
I'm with you in the Percussion Plus boat.

It was a red P+ Kit that had two toms, and no floor tom, the bass drum had sooooo much dampening in it, about 75% of the drum was filled with old quilts. The throne almost broke and threw me on the floor, the stock pedal had no kind of rounded cam, it was just a chain attached to a little piece of metal to kinda pull down the beater towards the head, it had no rebound
One of these little freaks of nature.
The Two toms were the same exact size which made me crazy, and the kid that owned it had no concept of tuning, he had tightened the reso head on one of the toms so tight the hoop was flush with the bearing edge of the drum shell (THE HORROR). Now for the hihats, OH GOD THE HI HATS, they were the only cymbals on the kit and were so thin i could bend them with my fingertips, and open they sounded like some sort of trashy stack, and they didn't feel like they were lathed to any standard I've ever heard of, and felt like and sounded like no metal that exists (Alluminum?).
Since it was in our schools band room our only alternative to a crash/ride was an old as hell Sabian AA Orchestral Suspended (The only thing that sounded good on the kit).

There's my horror story.....

Just so you know that's not the kit we use for our Jazz band (If it was I would have killed myself if that's what i had to play) we have an oldish Pearl Forum series kit in Black with a 21 inch Zildjian sweet ride which sounds sooo good, and an A Thin Crash 16, and some 14 inch Scimitar Hats.



Silver Member
I had to play a gig on a converted floor tom kick/small kit with no cymbals. I used a mic and beat boxed all the cymbal parts. it actually stole the show and was really funny everybody loved it.

another worse situation onetime our van broke down and the insurance company gave us a rental minivan so we couldn't take all our gear to the gig. I decided to just take kick/snare/hat. When we got the venue I realized I forgot my kick pedal so we had to do the whole gig with just hat and snare. Thankfully my bass player is pretty on point and he bailed me out a bunch and thumped in some of the breaks.

Funnily enough another musician friend was in the crowd that night and after the gig I was telling him about the ordeal and he said he didn't even realize the kick was missing.


Gold Member
Played a gig at Bar 122 (I think it's called) in Huddersfield a few months back.

We'd been told that we only needed cymbals and snare....YAY

The sound engineer was running a course for students when we arrived, so I sort of presumed that the drum kit was going to be ok...probably old, but reasonably respected and well looked after.

They went to drag this kit "out of the cellar" like it was some kind of backward child with a tendency to eviscerate people with chainsaws.

And the first tell-tale sign that all was not well was when they grabbed a large wooden block. The bass drum only had one spur you see. So this wooden block was used to wedge the bass drum in place.

They then went on to set up the kit. The tom was clearly not of the same kit. Different shade of silver. Totally oddball size (probably 10") and it was only a 1 up 1 down kit. The floor tom was whopping. 18" I think. The best I can describe the sound when going around the kit was Bish, ping, DONGGGGGGGGGGG GGGG GGGGGGGGG

Having had a quick shuftie around the kit (with a sort of bemused smile on my face), it struck me that the tom holder was NOT the right one for the kit and just slid straight through the hole on the bass drum. "Oh, don't worry, said the soundie, it just rests on top of the bass".....hmmmmm

After about 30 minutes p1ssing about with cellotape, my favourite sound engineer asked what I was doing. "I'm wrapping cellotape around these cymbal threads so that they don't cause my cymbals to keyhole"......cue odd look...."these cymbals are about £100 each. I'd rather they didn't keyhole"....."oh...ok then".

The hi hat stand was quickly dismissed as a total none starter. I just packed my hats away and moved the stand to one side. I can't begin to describe it. I was about in tears by this time.

However, here it is, the crowning turd on the sh1tpile. After a couple of beats on the bass drum I noticed it was dead. Sort of like hitting a paper bag full of dogshit with a bass drum beater. I then notice that the rim of the batter head was hanging off. Literally it was torn away from the bass drum from around the 12 oclock to about 7 oclock mark.

"Hey", said I, "your bass drum head is completely torn. It's gone. Do you have a replacement"

And my new best mate/sound engineer/roadie/hardware expert responded...

"Oh....we know that......just push all the padding inside so it's flush with the head. It'll work"

And on we played.....really, it was great. Really did justice to our music. We enjoyed every minute (with the exception of the first and the 30th, and the 28 in between)

(and I now carry my kit around with me whenever, and wherever, I travel, WITHOUT EXCEPTION).

All of the above is true....no exaggeration or misrepresentation whatsoever !!


Junior Member
Good Morning all!

I played the rare bar gig and as a lot of folks on here had to use the kit du jour, but the funniest part for me was the placement of a 70s style couch cushion (!) in the kick!! I mean this thing was CRAMMED in there!! There was a part of it hanging out of the mic hole!!

Of course when you stepped on your foot pedal, all you got was duh..... :)

Spent 3 sets in complete aggravation, but the crowd just danced away! ;) As said above, I bring my own kit no matter what!!




Junior Member
Oh I have one more, but it wasnt the Kit (well sort of :) )\

I did the Luther Vandross tribute tour and of course Yamaha is sponsoring so I had to use what they had (which is not a bad thing, lol) So in my rider I ask for 10,12,14,16 & 22 Recording Customs.

They provided just that.

I get to the venue for soundcheck and they were in the boxes....

Not cases, Brand new no heads on, no lugs, Boxes......

Can you imagine 2 hours before a show and the drums are sitting brand new in boxes?

I bring my own kit




Senior Member
I was doing a gig at a club in China once, and the "house kit" was some ply wood, student model kit with only a kit snare and floor tom. The hi hat pedal had broken and was rigged together with some wire. About 2 minutes into the first tune the wire gave out and I had to finish the gig on an already crappy set with no hi-hat.


Gold Member
The last band I was with had a practice kit that was really bad. An old Tama kit with duct tape on every head because the owner/keyboard player/band leader loved dead sounding drums. He actually said that. An old Zildjian 22" ride was the only thin on it I liked. He also had a HH bottom as a crash!?! And on almost every kit I have sat in on has crazy tom angles. Seriously what is it about tom angles?


Gold Member
I was once called in to play at a friend's church gig where a 20 piece orchestra would be playing. I accepted because I knew the choir director was good and could conduct both a choir and a band/orchestra. I later found out I'd be playing on an electronic kit. Okay, no biggie. I can do it.

We rehearsed one evening and wouldn't you know it, the sound guys were not there and the electronic kit's speaker was missing and the patch cords couldn't be found, so it couldn't run into the sound board, so I had to play a dead electronic kit. Thud, thud, thud everytime time I hit a head.

When it came the day of, I had to follow their teenage drummer on the kit because he played in a contemporary group right before us. The guy must have thought it was funny because he set the electronic kit's controls to "brushes", knowing full well I had to use sticks. So whenever I hit the drums, I blew everyone away because it was set to bruches and I was using sticks. The director gave me funny looks and finally motioned for me to "turn them down".

Here is where my lack of prep bit me in the butt. I didn't bother going over the finer elements of the control console. I had no idea where the volume knob was or where to reset the status from brushes to sticks.


Senior Member
My band played a few shows in our region with another band and we backlined the whole thing. The other band we were on the road with was super "indie", and had set the whole tour up...needless to say most of the shows were in tiny bars packed with hipsters, and the first night the drumkit I used had a hi hat stand where the top rod was bent at an almost a 45 degree angle and wouldn't open or close. The biggest show of the tour I had planned to use my friends 70's Ludwig kit, but the other band told us they had a kit set up that we could use....I get to the show and end up having to play an old CB 500 kit from the 90s that still had the stock heads on it...the sound guy had to do alot of work to get that thing sounding anything but terrible.