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  #1  
Old 12-27-2011, 09:16 AM
Pimento Pimento is offline
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Default Trying to Decide if i NEED a rack.

Im kind of at an inbetween point with my drum set up. I was going for the big thrash monster kit, but i find myself slowly culling out elements i find i dont use that much.

Right now all the available gear i have is:

Drums

Gretsch Catalin Ash:

22" Kick

8", 10", 12" 13" Mounted toms

14", 16" floor toms

14" snare

Cymbals

Zildjian

14" A custom mastersound hats

18" A custom fast crash

20" A custom ride

20" Oriental china trash

20" A Rock ride

18" A Rock crash

12" A Splash

9" Zil Bell

Sabian:

17" AAXplosion crash
10" Chopper

Wuhan:

14" China



Now recently i took out the 13" tom and the chopper, both of them i used, but not too much, and with the 13" tom gone i can make room on my right side for a ride inbetween the mounted and floor toms. I do miss the chopper for some accent work, but use my splash and smaller china to replicate it anyways. I noticed a huge improvement in speed and accuracy while playing because my mounted toms stretched out way too far to the right.

Im just wondering if having a rack for all of this junk would allow me to use every piece and put it in a spot where i could use all 4 mounted toms and keep my ride nice and low between where the 13" would sit and the 14" floor tom if that makes any sense. The double tom mount on the bass drum seems to be the #1 thing holding me back at the moment. I have tried moving everything around with the hardware i have, and gave up after 3 hours of shifting junk and not finding a good setup.

The only additions i want to make to my kit would be an X hat for a closed hat while doing double bass licks, but im thinking a cobra clutch will eliminate that need. The REAL thing holding me back is that with the 3 mounted toms my setup is super comfortable, and i end up using my two floor toms way more, as i have been able to move them a bit closer. The flip side of the coin being that the 13" tom had a really neat sound when tuned either high or low, and was kind of a neat thing to spice up fills.

Any advice on this issue would help me out big time.
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  #2  
Old 12-27-2011, 10:57 AM
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Bo Eder Bo Eder is offline
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Default Re: Trying to Decide if i NEED a rack.

Having a rack would help you realize different ideas as to where the gear should go, making it more comfortable for you to use it all. But if you currently like what you're using and it's in the spots they need to be, do you really think you need a rack? What's the point? To make use of everything you have? Or to be able to play comfortably?

Perhaps you should look at it from the other way: does the music you're playing absolutely require everything you have? If it doesn't, you probably don't need to buy a rack. If it does, then having a rack will only help you. But 9 times out of 10 every drummer I see has too much stuff. It's even worse if he's trying to use it all the time because he has it and not the other way around. Most guys with alot of stuff who work all the time, know when to use it, and sometimes it's not at all. Considering your list of components, that's an awful lot of stuff!
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Old 12-27-2011, 12:25 PM
mediocrefunkybeat
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Default Re: Trying to Decide if i NEED a rack.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
Having a rack would help you realize different ideas as to where the gear should go, making it more comfortable for you to use it all. But if you currently like what you're using and it's in the spots they need to be, do you really think you need a rack? What's the point? To make use of everything you have? Or to be able to play comfortably?
Your approach has always interested me, Matt. You have so few cymbals compared to most other players and your cymbal approach is very traditional (i.e. ride, crash, hi-hats) but you know how to get all of the different tones out of them - especially with your hi-hat playing (which is as good as any I've heard, bar maybe Elvin or Alex Riel).

The approach Matt suggests is probably the best way of going about it. A lot of drummers have a lot of gear and play a lot of gear at home. There is nothing wrong with that at all but all too often they'll try to take the whole 'big' kit out to a gig and after maybe three or four gigs will be going out with a five piece with maybe as many cymbals!

If I used all the gear I owned, I would have something like a nineteen-piece kit with maybe eight or nine cymbals. I haven't played anything bigger than a five piece regularly for years though and that's because I found myself in a situation musically that didn't justify any more; not to mention that my playing couldn't justify any more. What I tend to do, however, is really tailor my kit for specific situations. If I need a different cymbal tone - I will swap cymbals around rather than taking two. I might exchange a crash for a riveted effects cymbal and get away with using another cymbal as a crash.

This is where the idea of the 'base layout' comes from. The 'base' is what you would take to an audition if you weren't entirely sure about what you would play. It should be a layout that will cover most things well and you should defer to and be most comfortable with. If your 'base' layout justifies a rack then go for it - but if it doesn't then it probably isn't necessary. You need to go through a process of identifying what you use all the time and the other items that you only use very occasionally. Are they necessary to put on your kit? Can you get away without them?

That's the attitude of a 'working' player. Somebody that has to move their gear every day to a different gig will use as little as possible. They've usually worked out exactly what they need and tailor appropriately.
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Old 12-27-2011, 12:51 PM
Pimento Pimento is offline
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Default Re: Trying to Decide if i NEED a rack.

Yeah, i think ive kind of bought everything i could "think" i would need, and now im kind of whittling it down to what i like the most. Im going to fool around with things the way they are for now and see how it changes the way i play
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Old 12-27-2011, 01:26 PM
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harryconway harryconway is offline
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Default Re: Trying to Decide if i NEED a rack.

Probably the answer to the need part of your question ... no, you don't NEED a rack. I have yet to see a drummer who does. Do you want a rack? Sounds like you do. Can you use a rack? Probably. Especially with the 4 tom thang.
A rack is just "another" tool. Wanting one, and using one ... just as relevant to the purchase of one. If you have the money to splash for one, do it. The cool thing is, you buy a new kit, you buy several new kits, the rack is yours. Whether it's set up, or pilled in a corner ... it's yours. For the rest of your life.
I own 2 Yamaha hex racks. When the word got out that Yamaha was discontinuing them, I grabbed a second one. That was two years ago. They still haven't fielded a replacement for it, yet. So, I'm glad I jumped on a "second" one when I did. It was one of the last available in the US.
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Old 12-27-2011, 08:41 PM
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Default Re: Trying to Decide if i NEED a rack.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mediocrefunkybeat View Post
Your approach has always interested me, Matt. You have so few cymbals compared to most other players and your cymbal approach is very traditional (i.e. ride, crash, hi-hats) but you know how to get all of the different tones out of them - especially with your hi-hat playing (which is as good as any I've heard, bar maybe Elvin or Alex Riel).

The approach Matt suggests is probably the best way of going about it. A lot of drummers have a lot of gear and play a lot of gear at home. There is nothing wrong with that at all but all too often they'll try to take the whole 'big' kit out to a gig and after maybe three or four gigs will be going out with a five piece with maybe as many cymbals!

If I used all the gear I owned, I would have something like a nineteen-piece kit with maybe eight or nine cymbals. I haven't played anything bigger than a five piece regularly for years though and that's because I found myself in a situation musically that didn't justify any more; not to mention that my playing couldn't justify any more. What I tend to do, however, is really tailor my kit for specific situations. If I need a different cymbal tone - I will swap cymbals around rather than taking two. I might exchange a crash for a riveted effects cymbal and get away with using another cymbal as a crash.

This is where the idea of the 'base layout' comes from. The 'base' is what you would take to an audition if you weren't entirely sure about what you would play. It should be a layout that will cover most things well and you should defer to and be most comfortable with. If your 'base' layout justifies a rack then go for it - but if it doesn't then it probably isn't necessary. You need to go through a process of identifying what you use all the time and the other items that you only use very occasionally. Are they necessary to put on your kit? Can you get away without them?

That's the attitude of a 'working' player. Somebody that has to move their gear every day to a different gig will use as little as possible. They've usually worked out exactly what they need and tailor appropriately.
Thanks. I'm very old school in my approach - after years of seeing guys like Buddy and Gene, and even guys like Earl Palmer and Anthony Jackson, to my current (within 25 years hero) Steve Jordan - they always made such great use of almost nothing. Mel Lewis even told Buddy that Buddy himself had too much stuff (if you can believe that)!
Most of my teachers were very "what the does the music require?" people. And for the most part they were right.

Even Tony Williams had a big double bass kit before he passed away, but of course, he never played it outside of his house. This is an approach I'm taking now too.

But the little voice in the back of my head always tells me guys have it wrong when they ask if they should have this or that added to their kits. I blame Modern Drummer magazine and the mega-ads put out by companies to sell stuff. Even the name, Modern Drummer is a misnomer. There's nothing modern about what we do at all. Players always come up with something new for their music and bands, but how many of those ideas actually stick with the drumming society? The basic idea is always the same for the successful drummer: lay down the boogie and play that funky music 'til you die. Anything beyond that is really superfluous.

Even Jojo Mayer, who could totally make use of a bigger kit, is down to a small kit now. Hell, he's scary with just a snare and a bass drum plus hats and one cymbal. I'm surprised no one harps on about that and comes here and asks, "how can I do stuff like that?" And I theorize the question is never asked because you're asking about an intangible - you don't have to buy anything to do it, you just have to train your brain and body to do it, and there's no magic bullet to help you get there. So the question never comes up. There's old video of Dizzy Gillespie doing complex 16th-note rhythms just clapping his hands together that a drummer with 20+ drums probably couldn't groove as good either!

So, I grew up thinking "sparse equipment" yet am able to give people what they want. About the only thing extra I carry is a cowbell. The rest is my hands and feet and whatever's in my stick bag. What people really need from the drummer isn't much. They just want it to groove and feel good, start and stop with everyone else, take your solo when given one, and just be on time like everybody else!

I have a double pedal, but that's probably not going anywhere either. My big kit is to show off, but you know what I've been practicing on it lately? Just playing simple grooves. I have to get my mind off of playing everything in front of me and playing what the music needs, and that's hard!

I admit though, if everyone took my approach to playing, this forum would be a really boring place. Not everybody is the same. And part of me likes that the percussion industry is so busy now - there's so many things to buy to help you get the job done that just didn't exist when I was a kid, and it keeps costs down for guys like me when I do decide to get something new and different. But if you really look at the needs of the music being played, you'll find that what you need to do it, isn't much. J.R. Robinson did all those Michael Jackson hits with a 5-piece Yamaha kit and maybe three cymbals! And didn't a few of Elvis' big hits involve playing on a suitcase? See? You don't even need drums!

Ever see Buddy Rich on the Muppet Show play the theater? That's how I'd do it!
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:37 PM
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Mad About Drums Mad About Drums is offline
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Default Re: Trying to Decide if i NEED a rack.

Yes! (Applause!) Bo has nailed this one perfectly.

Over my 30 years+ in drumming, my drumkits have just gone smaller and smaller, and recently I even gave up double bass drumming, to end up today with a kit configuration with one bass drum, one snare, one tom up two toms down, 2 hi-hats, 2 crashes, 1 ride and 1 china. I'm even contemplating to remove one of the floor tom.

My concentrating effort nowadays, is a "less is more" approach to drumming, and it's a hard one, you have to discipline yourself, it's so easy to "over play" or just place that fill you've been practicing for days, but I want to play for the song AND make it happen without the "extras", not an easy task at all as Bo said in his post. (it's funny, I'm going down and Bo is going up with the "new" pearl double bass)

I had a rack once on a 9 piece drumkit with 10 cymbals, and it was very pretty to look at, the rack wasn't an absolute necessity, but it offered a less messy arrangements with all the stands around the kit, making it looking much "cleaner" and had the advantage of memory locks all around the rack, so it was easy for put up and take down, but it was not quiker to set up the kit vs normal stands.

So now, the decision is up to you, if you really need all your drums and cymbals, you may consider a rack, but it's more a visual choice rather than a practical one, there'e is so much accessories on the hardware market these days, that you can find other options than a rack system to set up your drums.

If you don't really need the big kit you've described, then you don't need a rack.

Food for thoughts... ;-))
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:40 PM
sticks4drums
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Default Re: Trying to Decide if i NEED a rack.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad About Drums View Post
Yes! (Applause!) Bo has nailed this one perfectly.

Over my 30 years+ in drumming, my drumkits have just gone smaller and smaller, and recently I even gave up double bass drumming, to end up today with a kit configuration with one bass drum, one snare, one tom up two toms down, 2 hi-hats, 2 crashes, 1 ride and 1 china. I'm even contemplating to remove one of the floor tom.

My concentrating effort nowadays, is a "less is more" approach to drumming, and it's a hard one, you have to discipline yourself, it's so easy to "over play" or just place that fill you've been practicing for days, but I want to play for the song AND make it happen without the "extras", not an easy task at all as Bo said. (it's funny, I'm going down and Bo is going up with the "new" pearl double bass)

I had a rack once on a 9 piece drumkit with 10 cymbals, and it was very pretty to look at, the rack wasn't an absolute necessity, but it offered a less messy arrangements with all the stands around the kit, making it looking much "cleaner" and had the advantage of memory locks all around the rack, so it was easy for put up and take down, but it was not quiker to set up the kit vs normal stands.

So now, the decision is up to you, if you really need all your drums and cymbals, you may consider a rack, but it's more a visual choice rather than a practical one, there'e is so much accessories on the hardware market these days, that you can find other options than a rack system to set up your drums.

If you don't really need the big kit you've described, then you don't need a rack.

Food for thoughts... ;-))
What a wimp! Man I hope I never get as old as you. :) Just kidding. Kind of. :P I'm going to go have a ball on my 15 piece now. Yes size does matter, and no I am not compensating for anything. I am of average size. :)

Last edited by sticks4drums; 12-27-2011 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:48 PM
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Default Re: Trying to Decide if i NEED a rack.

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Originally Posted by sticks4drums View Post
What a wimp! Man I hope I never get as old as you. :) Just kidding. Kind of. :P
haha, yes.... it's in 10 years for you Sticks, so you still have time.... For me, I blame Simon Phillips, Neil Peart and Billy Cobham, I just loved their drumkits, so I HAD to have them, but when it comes to what I really need nowadays, I would really look stupid behind such monster kits. But I love to see big kits in other drummers (like your monster)... ;-))
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:57 PM
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Default Re: Trying to Decide if i NEED a rack.

Racks are very nice for large sets ups because they really help get everything in just the right spot.

And if you don't move your set often, got for it.

The down side of racks is they are difficult to move when gigging. You almost always need two people to carry it. If the stage happens to an odd shape or small, a rack can be very un-forgiving. I've also found many club provided drum risers are not level, which has a tendency to throw a rack off kilter, which makes it more difficult instead of less difficult, to keep everything in just the right spot.

I bought a rack in the early 90's. I still own it, because it's fun to have around if I'm in the mood to set up a large kit, but I realized a long, long time ago it was more of a pain in rear than anything when it came to actually playing shows.
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Old 12-27-2011, 10:00 PM
sticks4drums
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Default Re: Trying to Decide if i NEED a rack.

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Originally Posted by Mad About Drums View Post
haha, yes.... it's in 10 years for you Sticks, so you still have time.... For me, I blame Simon Phillips, Neil Peart and Billy Cobham, I just loved their drumkits, so I HAD to have them, but when it comes to what I really need nowadays, I would really look stupid behind such monster kits. But I love to see big kits in other drummers (like your monster)... ;-))
You know I'm just bugging you my friend. :) I love my large kit. I moved it from one end of the room to the other last month, and I knew I would not want to be moving it out and about any time soon. It is my basement play toy. :)
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Old 12-27-2011, 10:09 PM
sticks4drums
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Default Re: Trying to Decide if i NEED a rack.

This might sound kind of Cocky, but the way I see most people set their stuff up on a rack, I almost wish they would use stands. My rack set up is one of the few I have seen anywhere that actually shows off the drums, and not the rack. Racks take a great deal of thought to set them up properly. If you have a fairly big kit, then I think a rack is hard to live without. Every time you set up your kit, it will be exactly the same. I find set up a lot faster with a rack, that has all memory locks on it. My Mapex stands all have memory locks so it is much better than a lot of stands out there, but you still have to open the legs up the same amount each time, or your heights will all be thrown off. I think a rack is something everyone should try once in their drum life. I played electronic drums for the last 20 plus years, and the rack made setup, so easy, and everything was in its place.
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Old 12-28-2011, 12:25 AM
Pimento Pimento is offline
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Default Re: Trying to Decide if i NEED a rack.

Well, to be honest, I really like the look of the 1 up 2 down setup with just a ride, a few crashes and maybe a china. But I find that personally I like the 3 crashes I have cause it drives me nuts hitting the same ones over and over lol. Plus when I tried a 1 up 2 down setup I couldn't make it comfortable to play.

I think I really answered my own question in my post lol. I had a weird feeling about not using things I had purchased, but honestly I think that I have not only reached new speeds, but am starting to throw things like para diddles around the toms instead of variation of 16th 8th and triplet rolls. I was really inspired by the interview of pink Floyd's drummer when he said he tried to do something like 6 notes of a fill over 8 bars. Gonna try my current setup and tweak it a bit, my ultimate goal is getting rid of the bass drum Tom mounts, and having everything memory locked on stands.
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Old 12-28-2011, 09:40 AM
MrLeadFoot MrLeadFoot is offline
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Default Re: Trying to Decide if i NEED a rack.

Racks are much easier to setup at gigs than regular stands.

1) They enable you to get a perfect setup everythime, with no fuss or tweaking.

2) They take up less of a footprint than a traditional setup (no stand legs sticking out oll over the place).

3) Transport is a breeze. I put all tubes for my two tiered rack in a 48" Kaces roller bag, and cymbal arms and throne in a medium rolling travel bag, similar to an overnighter. I previously put everything in my Kaces bag, but I couldn't lift it into my suburban by myself. It's still on trip from the car for all rack and hardware. ;-)

I got a rack 30 years and never looked back. In fact, I HATE playing on regular mounts and stands, 'cause you're always fighting with stand leg placement, and tom mount tweaking. You're so limited in positioning, which is even worse when you're a in a small venue.

FWIW, my current setup is 3 rack toms, 2 floor toms, single kick, snare, 5 cymbals, hi-hat, electric snare trigger, music sheet holder, drum mics, two over head mics, and a vocal mic, and oscillating fan, and EVERYTHING including hi-hat and snare are mounted on the rack, except for floor toms. And, get this... my footprint is 4.5x4.5! Try that with a conventional setup! ;-)
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