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Old 03-11-2012, 03:15 AM
mo2vation mo2vation is offline
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Default My Heavily Modified Traps Kit - My new Travel Rig

Hey

Love this Forum.

I leave on Monday to go to Japan (I'm in SoCal) for 11 days. I'll be playing with a small group for most of that time.

The original idea was to bring my percussion rig (Cajon, bongos, and all the hand stuff, leaving the Congas at home.) As we started rehearsing and preparing, I began to re-think this. Essentially - we're going to be playing to a lot of the same people several times... and while I'm a monster on the Cajon, I don't even think I could sit through me mashing a box more than a time or two.

So I stated thinking about a travel kit. Something that would be flight friendly, but bring real tone. Something I could smoothly move between heavy electric performances and more intimate acoustic settings. Something professional grade. Did I mention I'm a tone monkey - and I need these things to sound good?

After reading a lot on here, and talking to some other folks, I decided on a Traps kit. Once I decided on the kit - the hunt was on to find a deal. I've never heard one (except in videos), never seen one, and surely never played one. This was a complete flier - a total leap of faith. I had no doubt this was going to be the kit for me. Now I needed to find the right one.

I've been on eBay since 1998. Thousands of transactions over the years. Its where I go for nearly everything. So of course, its my first stop.

I find an 8" tom for 40-something. Nice! I then find a full kit - with a bunch of extra NEW hardware, cymbals, a new PDP Snare, the standard three toms, the full Traps rack and the Traps travel bags.... all for about $500. A shop in NYC was selling them. They shipped this to me for $35. It cost them well over $100 to pack this into 4 boxes and get it out here. I gave them mad luv. Talked with them several times before I bought it. Excellent service.

The kit arrives in several boxes - and it is clean clean clean. I've been playing it the last two weekends at gigs and parties and events. This thing is amazing. It did not come with the original Traps snare. I bought one of those directly from Traps.

I expected more compromises. The compromises that I ran into were nearly all made for the sake of weight and size - and none were made for the sake of cheapness or at the cost of Tone. Real bearing edges, precision molding, thoughtful design. Do not be fooled, this kit is professional grade.

The baby HH stand that came with it (a new Stagg) didn't have rotating lets, and I want to take my double pedal. So I found a used Gibraltar ultra light for about $40 on Craigs. It also didn't come with the standard Traps snare basket... it came with a brand new HD Tama Snare stand - way too heavy, way too heavy duty. For $25 I found a beater Snare Stand on Craigs. I needed a tiny, light weight throne, as all of my Roc-N-Soc's are again way too big, way too heavy. Craigs to the rescue. $25

I have a total of about $650 into this thing. I've resold the New Tama Snare Stand, the New Stagg HH stand, the New IN BOX PDP 6 X 10 snare and two new HD Tama cymbal stand boom tops that came with this for about $200. So my All-In right now, as you see below is about $450 incremental. By the time I sell the New Sabian Crash, the very nice New Stagg ride and the New Meinl 14 hats that came with it, I'll be able to take another $125 to $150 off - dropping my all in to way less than $400 WITH THE CASES AND THE 4th TOM!

This thing is blowing me away. For the price, the value is amazing. The tone is lights out. The feel, the handling, the solid-ness... knocking me out. Mic'ed up in a 900 seat house last weekend, this thing sounded amazing. People were shocked when I brought this tupperware kit out from behind the drum screen.

THE GOOD
  • It has a small stage size. The footprint to tone ratio is unmatched for any specific travel kit I've ever been behind.

  • Its very fast set up and take down. I love that.

  • Its solid. Things don't move around. They stay where I put them.

  • Real bearing edges molded in.

  • It packs small. I get everything you see into the two traps bags. Drums, hardware, throne, cymbals - I can get it all into two checkable bags. Each weighs under 50 pounds. (the snare basket in the pic will travel in the bag when I play these locally... but it pushes these over 50 pounds... so it goes in my carry on with my sticks, brushes, mallets and field repair stuff.)

  • I have all these size toms on my main rig. 8, 10, 12, 14, 20" kick.... all excellent. So I had heads in inventory, I'm familiar with the placement, and I can set this up so it looks and fits nearly identical with my main rig.

  • These cases rock. I'm not even kidding a little. Retail on the pair is $182. If they didn't come with the kit, I'd have never bought them, as I've never seen them. These cases are easily on par with the Protection Racket cases I use. HUGE Delrin zippers (not the tiny crap zips that come on the "On Stage" or several other drum bags). Double stitched seams at all stress points, the handles are bar tacked very thoroughly. The round tom case has padded dividers sewn in and a rigid, full length ribbed rubber pad sewn to the bottom for it to set on. I'm serious - these cases are professional grade, and they're meant for travel.

  • Everyone I've read about comments positively on the Traps snare. They're right. The snare for this kit brings it. Very good tone over a wide range. Its a 12" snare with a proprietary throw off. I cut down some gel pads to calm it down a bit, and it sounds great.


THE BAD
  • Out of the box, everything requires a drum key to set up. Every bar, every cymbal stand, every everything. That is just lame. If stuff isn't going to move (like tom holders, T-clamps, etc.) - those are OK to set with a key. But stuff that moves and assembles, like the cross bars, up bars, drop in cymbal stands, snare stand basket.... please. Put a thumb screw on them.

  • The tension lugs are so short! Its very tough to finger them in and out.... I need to key them ALL THE WAY OUT... and I can't really start them with fingers. This added SO much time when I was going through all of the kick head configurations. I wish they had longer tension lugs. It'd make changing the heads much easier.

  • HATE the faceted Yamaha-esque tom rods. Please. Use a round bar or a Knurled bar like most people. It would make adjusting the toms a thousand times easier

  • The snare throw off is wacky. Not a fan. Its simplicity is elegant. But its adjustability could be improved. I DO LIKE the huge target that big blue handle is. I throw off and on frequently - often many times in the same tune - having that big target is nice.

  • You can't use Rim-mounted mics. The tolerances are too tight - the triple flange rim nearly sits on the frame. I tried my own Sennheiser E604's, and the venues Audix and Shures... NO GO. I had to take the rim and head off, clip on the mics, and then re-attach and re-tune. So bogus. If I keep these after my trip, I'm going to fabricate an add-on mini-edge that my 604s can clip to. I'll just fly a small section of triple flange from one of the several molding holes that are on the frame.

  • The thing I like least is the mounting of the kick. As it comes, the narrow kick rides parallel with the top bar - on the same vertical plane as the side bars - making it in-line essentially with the rack toms. For me, that puts the kick way too far away. Last weekend I remember feeling like I was stretching out to reach my pedals.... no fun. Without having to do a mod, I was able to bring the kick several inches closer, and push the rack toms several inches further away - bring the kit much more in line with the rig I always play. Its SO SO SO much more comfortable. I have details of that in the photos below.


That's really the list. My likes SO outnumber my dislikes of this kit.

THE MODIFICATIONS

I did some heavy mods to this kit. Again, I want this to be as close to my current rig as possible - in configuration and execution and tone. I'm using my main cymbals (old to ancient K's and 13" K/Z hats), my main pedals, and my main snare head (white coated single ply... generally an Evans G1). Most of my mods were to add speed and precision to set up and bring placement of the drums where I wanted them.
  • First thing I did was add Thumbscrews to all of the take-apart pieces. If I had to un-do it to break down the rig, it got a thumbscrew. I'm a Gibraltar guy, and I have tons of Gibraltar memory locks with thumb screws that fit the Traps Clamps perfectly.

  • Next, I added Memory locks to all the bars. Essentially trading out the Traps Key lugs and putting those into my Gibraltar rack memory locks. This assures a confident 'snick' as I put the bars in place. Just like my main rack - everything just goes into place, the same place, every time.

  • I added Memory locks to all the cymbal stands, the snare clamp, etc, etc. Traps molded all of their clamps to take Memory Locks. They don't come with the kit. I have tons so I locked everything.

  • Replaced the Pinstripe heads with Evans GC2's. Three of the toms came with them (the NYC core kit) and they sound great. I'm not a fan of two ply heads... but this kit needs them to deliver the nice deep pitch bend I like and stay away from the roto tommy ping. I had a GC2 8" around from a project - so I popped that on. The toms are wonderful.

  • I spent about 3 hours on the kick. I had 5 Resonant heads and 3 batters, and I tried all combinations. Uncut Rezo, Rim Vented Rezo (DW), Single Vented Rezo, Double vented Rezo, eMad batter, single ply batter, eMad with wide foam, with narrow foam, with no foam, etc, etc, etc... Hours!! This kick is funny... I'm of the 'just this side of no-wrinkle', generally. But with this kick, you can't do that, as you get this terrible plastic wobble. The kick heads need to move on this kit... but not too much. I got the sustain I wanted (that little bit, with mid decay) but I was getting a boxy tone from the plastic shell. I went to Home Depot and got some foam Weather Striping. OMG!! Perfecto. I was gonna cut up a pool noodle, but this was perfect. Kills the plastic boxyness, and now it sounds like a drum.

  • I added an 8" tom. I love 4 or 5 toms.

  • I added a short curved bar for the 12" and 14" floor toms. I prefer two suspended toms over on my right, so I added a curved bar I had here. Wonderful!

  • The 8" tom came with a cymbal clamp. The eBay guy must have found it... yea!! So I added that between the floor toms for my right crash... where I always have one.

  • I added a lot of stuff to the left. I always use splashes - so I added two with in-stock clamps and Gibraltar mini-booms.

  • I always have a tambourine over my HH. I decided to mount the LP Jingle stick over the snare. Its easy to reach and a lot smaller than a Tamb. Good for packing and traveling.

  • I added a Jingle Wedge to the snare. The snare has a very, very good snare tone. Right in my wheelhouse. But the side stick didn't crack. I used to attach this wedge to my Bell Brass snare to get a fun woody side stick - and it does the trick nicely here on this Traps snare. I'm not a fan of having the throw off in front of me (I prefer it on the left) - but with the way this snare is molded, the Wedge wouldn't fit anyplace else.

  • I added a Gibraltar mini-boom for the ride. I had a straight stand in the right corner, but the ride was a few inches too far out. By adding the mini boom, I get it in the perfect, familiar place for me.


Images below.

I love this kit. I'll be playing it tomorrow morning and tomorrow afternoon, and then packing it back up to get ready to check through to Tokyo when I leave on Monday!

So excited.

I'll add live pics from this weekend before I leave.


-Ken



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bags they pack into!



The Skeleton



Full Kit Top



Full Kit Front



Command Central



Kick Heads and Weather Stripping Semi-Mute



Kick Relocation - buy simply spinning the Clamps inward, and extending the inserts, I was able to move the kick back several inches into a much more comfortable playing position.


Detail


Thumb Screw Quick Disconnects added to the moveable parts







Snare Mod with Jingle Wedge



Detail of Wedge


Rim Clearance - Can't get a Rim Clip Mic in there



Mic Kluge. Under the Lug. Not geat, but works. Beats taking the head off and re-setting under the rim.



Last Weekend - Traps Kit V1. Using my Crav Snare and Ultra Adjust Gibraltar HH. All else is like you see it. It has the coated eMad that it rolled in with still on it, and I'm using my Roc-n-soc throne. This kit showed up last Friday evening UPS and just rolled it to the weekend performances to get some time on it before I schlep it to Japan for 12 days. This pic was shot before a lot of the mods above - namely the kick drum placement mod.

Last edited by mo2vation; 03-11-2012 at 03:28 AM.
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  #2  
Old 03-12-2012, 04:53 PM
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BradGunnerSGT BradGunnerSGT is offline
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Default Re: My Heavily Modified Traps Kit - My new Travel Rig

That looks like a very fun and compact kit to play on! I think you got a very good deal for all of that, especially when you sell off the extra cymbals that came with it.
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Old 03-12-2012, 05:29 PM
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Cameo Cameo is offline
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Default Re: My Heavily Modified Traps Kit - My new Travel Rig

Really ambitious thread, nice job! What kind of music do you play?
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:21 PM
mo2vation mo2vation is offline
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Default Re: My Heavily Modified Traps Kit - My new Travel Rig

Quote:
Originally Posted by BradGunnerSGT View Post
That looks like a very fun and compact kit to play on! I think you got a very good deal for all of that, especially when you sell off the extra cymbals that came with it.
Its SO SO TINY!

Seriously - it takes up 1/3 of my current kit which is the same config (4 toms 10, 12, 14, 16)

I generally use a combo of rack and floor stands - but this teeny rack rocks.

I played it this weekend and it just rules. The time I invested in the kick the other night was great time spent. It sounded terrific!

Its all packed, and I'm heading to the airport in 2 hours!! Can't wait.

I'll post more pics from Japan when we get this rolling.

-Ken
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:24 PM
mo2vation mo2vation is offline
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Default Re: My Heavily Modified Traps Kit - My new Travel Rig

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cameo View Post
Really ambitious thread, nice job! What kind of music do you play?
HI buddy

I'm not in a 'band' - I'm a collaborative artist, so I play all types. Mostly rock, prog, some metal, indy, singer/song writer, gospel, CCM, some jazz, pop.

When the phone rings, I play.

:)

-Ken
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Old 03-15-2012, 06:43 AM
mo2vation mo2vation is offline
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Default Re: My Heavily Modified Traps Kit - My new Travel Rig

Made it to Japan!!

I'm stoked.

I brought a real drum kit from SoCal to Japan.

One if the plastic clamps broke - I kinda jury-rigged it with a lighting C Clamp - it'll last the week for sure. One of the wing nut screws got bent - memo to self: tighten down everything before traveling.

I have a kit that sounds like me. My cymbals, my stands, my pedals, my drums.

In a country a zillion miles away.

I could not be more pleased!

-Ken

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Old 03-15-2012, 03:33 PM
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Garvin Garvin is offline
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Default Re: My Heavily Modified Traps Kit - My new Travel Rig

Awesome thread... I bought one of these for a 3 month gig in Costa Rica back in 2003. I ended up having to tape the bass drum to the floor every night. Went through a lot of duck tape! I hated the snare. I actually ended up using the "house" snare when I got down there. I left the traps snare behind when I left. Looks like they made some good improvements on the tom and bass mounts. Mine was just a tad on the flimsy side. But it held up.

I think the toms are the best thing about these kits honestly. Lemme know how you really feel about the "portability" of this kit when you're done. I remember struggling with the weight quite a bit. But the bags held up in the end just fine. I suppose if I were a little older and smarter at the time, I would've just kept a wad of bills in my pocket and had someone carry them around for me at the airports.

Safe travels! Sounds like an awesome trip you're on!
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Old 03-17-2012, 02:03 AM
mo2vation mo2vation is offline
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Default Re: My Heavily Modified Traps Kit - My new Travel Rig

Quote:
Originally Posted by Garvin View Post
Awesome thread... I bought one of these for a 3 month gig in Costa Rica back in 2003. I ended up having to tape the bass drum to the floor every night. Went through a lot of duck tape! I hated the snare. I actually ended up using the "house" snare when I got down there. I left the traps snare behind when I left. Looks like they made some good improvements on the tom and bass mounts. Mine was just a tad on the flimsy side. But it held up.

I think the toms are the best thing about these kits honestly. Lemme know how you really feel about the "portability" of this kit when you're done. I remember struggling with the weight quite a bit. But the bags held up in the end just fine. I suppose if I were a little older and smarter at the time, I would've just kept a wad of bills in my pocket and had someone carry them around for me at the airports.

Safe travels! Sounds like an awesome trip you're on!
Thanks, buddy!

Its been a great trip!

My view. I have the best seat in the house.

:)

-Ken

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Old 03-17-2012, 05:51 PM
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Garvin Garvin is offline
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Default Re: My Heavily Modified Traps Kit - My new Travel Rig

Awesome! That ceiling looks like the inverted hull of a ship.
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