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  #1  
Old 04-15-2012, 07:12 PM
IsaiahBenJamin IsaiahBenJamin is offline
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Default A most controversial position

A lot of drummers are going to have opinions on this;

How come virtually every instrument including piano, marimba, xylophone, bass, guitar etc, achieve a lower note by moving your hands to the left yet most drummers set up their kit with the low toms on the right? If you tell me it's because most people are right handed and it's easier or more natural to lead a roll with your right hand I'm calling bullsh*t. It's like why do drummers still insist on putting the high hat on the left despite the invention of remote hats? Pianists and most other musicians manage to use their left hand to great effect, Most drummers strive for ambidexterity. Drumming teachers often teach starting a beat with your right hand. Why? Sorry to question the basic assumptions but that's how I roll; out of the box. What's up with all that?
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Old 04-15-2012, 07:28 PM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

Ever try to fit a floor tom on top of your bass drum? And most remote hats are expensive and don't have as good action. Basically its equipment constraints, no one wants to cross your hands to play hi hat, and toms are really any way you want them as long as they fit, and with double pedals you can move your bass further away to achieve what you are after but that is a lot of money and there is no need for any order on toms unless you need to do rock 16th note rolls on the toms which are easiest with standard setup. There are no rules on how to set up your kit but the standard ways are easiest for most people.
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Old 04-15-2012, 07:32 PM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

Hmm. My one low tom is on my left....
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Old 04-15-2012, 07:45 PM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

Mine too...jejeje

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Old 04-15-2012, 07:46 PM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

I have seen several set ups where the lowest tom AND the hi hat are on the same side.
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Old 04-15-2012, 07:47 PM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

Not sure why on any of that, although standard positioning and methods have never got in my way. I suppose if anything didn't feel right or prevented me from playing certain parts, I would make the necessary adjustments, just as many drummers do. It's not so uncommon to see rack toms out of order, a 2nd floor tom on the opposite side of the hat, a remote hat, etc. And many drummers embrace an "open" playing approach where they don't cross arms/sticks - the left hand plays everything on the left-hand side of the kit, and the right plays the right.

Drummers do what's comfortable for them, and that should never be considered wrong, even when it's not the norm.

Bermuda
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Old 04-15-2012, 08:22 PM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

It's a tradition that we get used to and work with, however if it's a big deal for a certain gig it's normal for most players I know to change things around. Especially today when it seems to me that many players do all sorts of things.

For me personally, I might change things over time, but so far it hasn't been a hinderance for me. Only thing I change is that I don't always bring the whole kit. It's also nice to be used to a standard configuration, so you can easily work with other people's setups.
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Old 04-15-2012, 08:41 PM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

Since the bass drum was played with the right foot (by most people), when the bass drum pedal was invented, the later "low boy" (which was 2 small cymbals down at the floor) was played with the left foot.

Once the cymbals were raised to play with sticks, the hi hat came into play.
People must have naturally placed their "lead hand" on them to keep time, like they did on a ride.
As a remote hat was not invented until a decade or so ago, there was no other spot drummers could place the hats but on the left side.
Most people use their right hand on them, as that's how it had been done since the cymbals were raised.

Play how you want if you don't like the usual way. There are no rules, especially with the abundance of customizable hardware.

Billy Cobam plays open handed with his ride on the left, and his toms low to high....
Simon Phillips has played open handed for years also, but his toms are high to low...
Bill Bruford has his hats in the center with tom tones descending right to left....

Do what you want.
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Old 04-15-2012, 10:10 PM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

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Originally Posted by KarlCrafton View Post

Do what you want.
Exactly. Years ago, there were not many hardware options. Now you can buy customizable drum racks, remote hi-hats, etc... So if one wants to have toms starting low and ascending in pitch, it is entirely possible.

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Old 04-15-2012, 10:23 PM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

Because on a piano the right hand (generally) plays a busier role. The left plays rhythm. The layout of xylophones, marimbas etc are based on the piano. It would be silly to reverse it.

On a guitar you can reverse it if you're willing to turn the guitar upside down and play left handed....
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  #11  
Old 04-15-2012, 10:31 PM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

I think theres chances it may partly come from an african tradition. With conga and bongo drums, the lower drum is also normally placed on the right.
As far as the (African) balafon is concerned, I was once told that the lower notes were also on the right side, but that seems to be wrong
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baD3fn8GMjc&feature=related
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Old 04-15-2012, 10:34 PM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

All of the other instruments are of a size that they can be played in a straight linear fashion. Left to right, piano, organ etc. Back and forth, trombone, up and down, marching chimes or bells. Drums are too large to sit and play and have them all lined up side by side. Pretty simple. Also Tympani are played small to large, high to low, from left to right, congas, bongos. so It isn't just drum set. And as far as the hats being where they are, most people are right handed and the bass drum is played with the dominant foot and the ride, and hats, on the left, because of the only foot left over is the one on the left. With todays technology, hats can be where you want them but that is not the "norm" I find it all pretty simple and basic if you take the time to look at the history of the set and the population percentage that is right-handed. Keyboards are that way because the dominant hand is playing the melody and the off hand is playing the chords in most cases. And I say most cases for all of you that will argue that there is plenty of music where the left hand does more. there. I said it for you. Also look at the evolution of the set. Traps were added to the top of the set, then toms, one at a time, then another to the right , and then the floor tom. It all has to do with evolution not because some guy decided one day.


.......right hand I'm calling bullsh*t. The very reason Ringo played few runs. He was left hand dominant and set up right handed. It was hard for him to do fills going to his right
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Old 04-15-2012, 11:51 PM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

Quote:
Originally Posted by IsaiahBenJamin View Post
Sorry to question the basic assumptions but that's how I roll; out of the box. What's up with all that?
Hey, your a grown man. Nothing written in stone, about how you should set up. Set up any way you like. I do.
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Old 04-16-2012, 12:43 AM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

Quote:
Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post
Also Tympani are played small to large, high to low, from left to right, congas, bongos.
I play timpani low to high from L to R. I have never seen someone play high to low. See here: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...GofLcocg6uaiTw

bongos are low to high from L to R

and congas (when only using 2) are high to low from L to R
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Old 04-16-2012, 12:52 AM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

I misspoke. From left to right. large kettle to small kettle. I played in school and just typed wrong with all of the other examples.
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Old 04-16-2012, 12:54 AM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

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I misspoke. From left to right. large kettle to small kettle. I played in school and just typed wrong with all of the other examples.
Indeed. At least you admitted your error.
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  #17  
Old 04-16-2012, 12:56 AM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

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Originally Posted by IsaiahBenJamin View Post
but that's how I roll; out of the box.
That's rather conformist don't you think? have you not considered rolling into the box? Or maybe keeping the lid open with your right hand, allowing your left to go deeper ;)
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Old 04-16-2012, 12:56 AM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

Always..................
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Old 04-16-2012, 05:33 AM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

Quote:
Originally Posted by IsaiahBenJamin View Post
A lot of drummers are going to have opinions on this;

How come virtually every instrument including piano, marimba, xylophone, bass, guitar etc, achieve a lower note by moving your hands to the left yet most drummers set up their kit with the low toms on the right? If you tell me it's because most people are right handed and it's easier or more natural to lead a roll with your right hand I'm calling bullsh*t. It's like why do drummers still insist on putting the high hat on the left despite the invention of remote hats? Pianists and most other musicians manage to use their left hand to great effect, Most drummers strive for ambidexterity. Drumming teachers often teach starting a beat with your right hand. Why? Sorry to question the basic assumptions but that's how I roll; out of the box. What's up with all that?
I think the presence of the snare muscles out the larger drums. But when you look at kits from the 1910s and 1920s, they tended to go high to low with the percussion as well. I think that's the normal way to go. Whoever laid out the keyboard originally got it wrong!
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Old 04-16-2012, 05:45 AM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

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Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post
......and just typed wrong with all of the other examples.
Must be due to the lay out of the QWERTY keyboard. It forces your hand to type from high to low. As opposed to when writing with a pencil, which as we all know, flows from low to high.
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Old 04-16-2012, 09:27 AM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

Seems to me that since drums are the oldest instrument, the late-comers such as piano got it wrong. But as far as I am concerned, we should be accepting of other musicians and allow them to continue playing instruments which are incorrectly designed. Or maybe we shouldn't.
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Old 04-16-2012, 04:15 PM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

The other thing to remember is the drum set can be set up any way you want. Lefty, righty, ambi. however. So there is no wrong way to learn. There may be better ergonomic ways but no rules. Brass, strings, woodwinds, pianos et.al. are all manufactured one way with a particular method of fingering. But I still feel that it is primarily due to the evolution of the set that gives us the 'Norm" set-up.
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Old 04-16-2012, 04:29 PM
IsaiahBenJamin IsaiahBenJamin is offline
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Default Re: A most controversial position

Here are pictures of my acoustic and electric kits. I think I've solved the riddle...
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Old 04-16-2012, 05:57 PM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

It's as they said. Bass was right foot, then the low-hat was raised, then people just kept adding toms. First the floor tom to the right (so they could both be easily be played with the right - dominant - hand, I guess), then the first rack tom above the snare, then the second rack tom between the first rack and the floor, resulting in the standard 2 up 1 down configuration.

However, it might be good for you to change your set up once in a while, but make sure you remember how to play the standard kit.
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Old 04-16-2012, 06:22 PM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

The reason why we play "traditional set up" drums is because it works, that's about it.

I feel some guys just want to play different for the sake of being different and that's silly to me.

One guy I talked to played a simular set up to Bill Bruford. He was SO PROUD of it, and also was very derogatory about my "traditional setup".

I heard him play and I didn't hear any difference really. As a matter of fact, he sounded stiff to me. But I don't think that was because he played that particular set up. He just wasn't a good drummer.

However you set up, just play well. Doesn't matter where your floor tom is. I would never question Bill Bruford's playing...it speaks for itself...but I'm not going to question Dennis Chambers playing either...even tho he sets up "traditionally".
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Old 04-16-2012, 06:30 PM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

Its not like some dude in a suit designed the "standard" layout and everyone just conformed. It has EVOLVED that way over the last ~100 years because it works well for most people.

Your setup does look nice, but I'm not sure you solved anything new... It looks like Bruford's or Mangini's kit.

Just like any other engineering project there are trade-offs, and based on your needs you choose which is best.
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Old 04-16-2012, 06:44 PM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

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Originally Posted by IsaiahBenJamin View Post
Here are pictures of my acoustic and electric kits. I think I've solved the riddle...
I think I'd feel like that kit was a riddle. Too many distractions, and seeming redundancies to boot for my taste.
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Old 04-16-2012, 06:54 PM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

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Originally Posted by vinniewannabe View Post
The reason why we play "traditional set up" drums is because it works, that's about it.

I feel some guys just want to play different for the sake of being different and that's silly to me.
Same here. When I hear about drummers who change their kit to the opposite-handed configuration as if that somehow improves their drumming, I just scratch my head. Can't they play well enough on their standard setup?? Maybe there's an advantage for lefties who encounter a lot of right-handed backline or do a lot of sitting-in.

I mostly play matched grip, but when doing rolls or certain other rudiments, I change to traditional. I am occasionally asked why I don't learn to play those with matched grip, and I explain that I can already play them in the manner I learned them 45 years ago. Why learn a different method to accomplish exactly the same thing?

I know that sticking and kit configuration are a bit different, but the premise is the same. Why change something 'just because'?

Bermuda
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  #29  
Old 04-16-2012, 07:01 PM
IsaiahBenJamin IsaiahBenJamin is offline
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Default Re: A most controversial position

The electric kit is an attempt at reproducing the acoustic kit in a simplified fashion, It's meant to be a universal kit that anyone could play no matter whether they are lefty or righty. This is an old picture of my acoustic kit. Today it's half of what is depicted (finances dictated I sell half of it.) The current set up has the 10" hats on the right and a low tom on the left and the other two ascending towards the right. I've installed the 14" hats on the left without a foot control. I like it. that's all that really matters. I appreciate everyone's thoughtful responses. Evolution seems to be the driving force therefore this could be a peek into the future.
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:23 PM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

Quote:
Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
Same here. When I hear about drummers who change their kit to the opposite-handed configuration as if that somehow improves their drumming, I just scratch my head. Can't they play well enough on their standard setup?? Maybe there's an advantage for lefties who encounter a lot of right-handed backline or do a lot of sitting-in.

I mostly play matched grip, but when doing rolls or certain other rudiments, I change to traditional. I am occasionally asked why I don't learn to play those with matched grip, and I explain that I can already play them in the manner I learned them 45 years ago. Why learn a different method to accomplish exactly the same thing?

I know that sticking and kit configuration are a bit different, but the premise is the same. Why change something 'just because'?

Bermuda
Yep yep.

It's kind of the same with the "tradtional grip vs. matched grip age-old argument . What difference does it make? Grip is just a means to an end. The end is hitting the drums and making music.

I don't think Bill Stewart swings any less with matched grip or Stewart Copeland gets any less volume with traditional grip.

I mean, it's great that people are "thinking" out there...and trying different configurations, why not? But there IS a reason why traditional set up is traditional set up.....see: Reinventing The Wheel and the Reasons Why We Don't Have Too.
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Old 04-16-2012, 09:19 PM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

The standard is the way it is because of the way the set evolved, from a low hat to a high hat, and with a mostly-righty world wanting to play the bass with the foot that works correctly (imho).

This makes me wonder if the smart way to do things would be to play bass with left, hat with right, and arrange the rest from there. Double-bass players have certainly shown that a high degree of facility can be attained with the goofy foot.

I play the classic configuration because the crossed-arm thing looks cooler. Especially with sunglasses.
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Old 04-16-2012, 09:36 PM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

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Originally Posted by IsaiahBenJamin View Post
A lot of drummers are going to have opinions on this;

How come virtually every instrument including piano, marimba, xylophone, bass, guitar etc, achieve a lower note by moving your hands to the left yet most drummers set up their kit with the low toms on the right?
Drums in a drum set are percussive instruments, not melodic ones. They are generally not tuned to any given pitch or key, and as such, do not actually play "notes" the way melodic instruments do. They aren't used in the same way that pitched instruments or keyboard instruments are used. They're used by musicians with fundamentally different training and significantly different technique. So the examples of keyboard-layout instruments (pianos, marimbas) matter not. And arguing about guitars makes no sense. There is no absolute right-to-left progression in pitch, as one's left hand can easily move to the left to get a higher pitch on a different string.
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Old 04-16-2012, 09:44 PM
IsaiahBenJamin IsaiahBenJamin is offline
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Default Re: A most controversial position

[quote=Soupy;988864]Drums in a drum set are percussive instruments, not melodic ones.

There is a trend to play not only rhythmically but also melodically. That's where I'm headed. ex: Bozzio
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Old 04-16-2012, 09:52 PM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

Just get a kit like Peart, and you can spin 360 and hit drums of varying sound, and there is no start or finish to the layout.
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:25 AM
IsaiahBenJamin IsaiahBenJamin is offline
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Default Re: A most controversial position

At one point (before I had seen Peart's) I had the electronic kit behind my acoustic kit for a full circle of drumming. I've had many different configurations over the years and many lefty drummers sitting in. The latest of my electronic kits is the product of my tinkerings with setups. I like the technical end as much as the drumming itself. I've attached this lame photo of my current acoustic setup.
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Old 04-17-2012, 07:23 PM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

My toms go right to left. I'm sorry that you guys are all wrong. LOL
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Old 04-17-2012, 07:27 PM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

Quote:
Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
Same here. When I hear about drummers who change their kit to the opposite-handed configuration as if that somehow improves their drumming, I just scratch my head. Can't they play well enough on their standard setup?? Maybe there's an advantage for lefties who encounter a lot of right-handed backline or do a lot of sitting-in.

I mostly play matched grip, but when doing rolls or certain other rudiments, I change to traditional. I am occasionally asked why I don't learn to play those with matched grip, and I explain that I can already play them in the manner I learned them 45 years ago. Why learn a different method to accomplish exactly the same thing?

I know that sticking and kit configuration are a bit different, but the premise is the same. Why change something 'just because'?

Bermuda
totally agree with the matched to trad for certain rudimental configurations

trad just offers something matched cannot in certain situations.....and vise versa
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Old 04-17-2012, 07:36 PM
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Default Re: A most controversial position

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Originally Posted by IsaiahBenJamin View Post
Here are pictures of my acoustic and electric kits. I think I've solved the riddle...
Very nice. I am on the fence on those Gen 16's for my ekit.

For those that use remote hats. Do they get in the way when you are doing fills?
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Old 04-17-2012, 09:01 PM
IsaiahBenJamin IsaiahBenJamin is offline
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Default Re: A most controversial position

The Gen16s are quite controllable, within limits. Here's my basic review of them:


Buying new cymbals is a near impossible task. Unless you bring your brass to the store, until you set your new cymbals up with your other brass you aren’t going be exactly sure of what you bought. The tone of any acoustic instrument is the essence of the musical statement that can be made by that instrument. No two instruments are exactly alike. The cymbals you select to be your sound are going to be unique.
Try to get the cymbals that sound the best or do like the electronic drummers do and get the ones you have the most control over. For me that is the new Zildjian Gen16 setup. I am pleased with their performance, surprised at their individuality but missing the MIDI.
Over the years it has been revealed to me that disappointment lies in the gap between expectation and reality. That applies to Zildjian Gen16 Acoustic electric cymbals in its own way. If anyone owning a Gen16 system is disappointed it could in part be by the coincidental marketing of the Gen16 Vault packages in which so many great Zildjian cymbals can be recreated on your computer. The impression to the consumer was that these sounds are available for the AE Cymbals. In my mind, I pictured a small target for which I would be able to dial in any cymbal sound from a great hi-hat sound to a six foot gong. Well, as it turns out, it doesn’t quite work that way.
The AE cymbals are acoustic entities. The processing only augments the acoustic tone of the cymbal, filling in the holes, if you will. In fact, though the sound choices are limited to 20 per cymbal the weakness lies more in the physical reproduction of the sound more than the digital aspect.
The AE Cymbals are great because they solve so many of the problems of previous electronic cymbal triggering, the most important of those being stick-tip choice. From there all of the other missing aspects of real acoustic cymbals are captured for digital enhancement. Unfortunately, the worst aspects of acoustic cymbal reproduction had to be kept though dramatically improved upon (mic’ing). My expectation of a system, only described to me, would be one of cymbals that produced tones within a finite range and microphones that pick up only that finite range with huge rejection of other sounds not made by the cymbal being struck. The AE Cymbals vary in size because the ability to physically shape the sound is more limited than my gong expectation will allow. They also make an acoustic sound louder than one might expect. This is necessary because the DCP does have some latency and the acoustic tone of the cymbal is instantly there until the recreated sample can catch up to the acoustic variant of the cymbal strike. It fools the ears quite effectively, including in headphones and undetectably on recording. The only problem I have been having with my Gen16 cymbals is getting them into my monitors loud enough to be heard over the acoustic sound of the cymbal yet not so hot that they feedback. My experience is that that threshold is very thin. I would have to believe that an EQ help improve on my results with my two cabinets loaded with 15’s and horns. In my case, four channels of EQ just for the cymbals raise the cost. Overall, my impression is quite favorable, I still have a cymbal trigger in my system but the feel does not compare.

Life is s 7 Billion part harmony.
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  #40  
Old 04-17-2012, 09:04 PM
IsaiahBenJamin IsaiahBenJamin is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Montana
Posts: 17
Default Re: A most controversial position

[quote=LeftyDoug;989254] My toms go right to left. I'm sorry that you guys are all wrong.

Nice setup LeftyDoug! I'm guessing you kick with your left foot, too. Any issues with rolling to the left?
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