Sometimes I sit down at a gig and feel great, other times I don't seem to be hitting the snare drum correctly or feeling fully "in" the drum kit, but by pure chance I found a few things that may help me get it right in future.
We were at the rehearsal rooms we use last night and the kit was set up a bit too close to the wall and the drum stool was a bit lower than I'd normally have it. But neither was so "bad" as to be uncomfortable or to make it worth my time moving things about (especially heightening the drum stool, the crushed tubes and stripped threads on rehearsal room stools make it a long, arduous and dirty job). I also opted to leave my preferred 12" snare in its bag as there was already a perfectly good 14" EMI Hamma (Premier) steel snare set up.
So I sat down, lowered the hi hat cymbals, as I've recently dropped their height significantly to how high I used to set them, and started to play. After one song I fiddled with the snare drum height. And about an hour later I realised how fluid and easy everything was feeling. Looking around I realised the differences between that set up and what I normally do. I was sitting slightly lower than normal and slightly closer to the bass drum but the big difference was the hi hat stand. Because it was a heavy old beast I had barely moved it, but looking down I realised that the gap between the edge of the 14" snare drum and my left leg was about 6 inches. Up until now when setting up I've had the issue of stage space to consider plus I thought that bringing my legs close together either side of a 12" snare drum was somehow focussing the hi hats and snare together and making things easier. The snare drum itself was quite low, the top was probably level with my thighs, and I was striking it cleanly because my left hand wasn't getting "fouled up" on my left thigh.
Thinking about it it's obvious but up until now it had generally been height adjustments as opposed to width adjustments that I've done when setting up my gear. I only hope that the next time I set up I don't find that I was just in the zone the other night and my new combinations don't work!