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Old 01-17-2014, 10:47 AM
BFrench501 BFrench501 is offline
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Default Is it considered anal to spend tons of time working out what drum to use for certain parts?

Sorry for the long title, and long post. I have Aspergers and shortening things isnt my forte but I hope you'll bear with me and give me some expert opinions.

I am in the situation at the moment where I have 13 cymbals and a set of hi-hats to play, I have 5 crashes, 5 splashes, 2 chinas ride and then hats. All the Crashes sound distinctly different apart from 15 and 16" crashes which are both Stagg DH. The splashes all sound very different etc. (If you guys want to know the set-up to answer my question easier, I'll happily oblige).

I don't play a big kit for show or to drum solo on, but purely because I feel that having one choice of crash to choose from is not acceptable. But all other musicians do is come out with the less is more stuff and forces me to be more creative. I'm not trying to make as much of a creative statement, as I am just having the right cymbal for the right part. If you give me an 18" crash and thats all I have to play then what if that is a K Custom which is very dark and dry, but I want some bright that cuts through? What if I have that A Custom when I want a darker sound?

I also like to perfect my parts (not to the point of being sterile but enough so that if I am to record then I know what instrument I'm playing where and when)

I guess my question is, am I trying to do too much or is there nothing wrong in wanting to do this? Non-drummers seem to resent the fact that I have big kits to play on. Well...I only play 10/12/16 with 14 on the left, or 10/14/16 so it's not like I have a Siamese Monster or something like that! I just want to be musical within the limits of my technical ability and while I'll always try to improve my playing, I want the correct cymbal sounds.

It's not just cymbal sounds, I have worked on tuning my toms so that they sound perfect for my sound, but bandmates just dont get when I go into an hourly room and all there is is a 26 kick, 13 rack and 18 floor by playing will sound completely different and Ill never be happy with the sound produced.

Am I asking for too much or should I continue to be this way mentally?

I hope some of this makes sense my writing is pathetic. Thanks for your patience and if your eyes are bleeding Ill send you some monopoly money for the medical bills ;)

Thanks
Barry
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Old 01-17-2014, 11:14 AM
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Default Re: Is it considered anal to spend tons of time working out what drum to use for certain parts?

2 crashes is enough for me but I couldn't care less if you want 5.

The only time using lots of stuff becomes a problem is when you have to transport and setup often. Even then you can persist with the big kit thing. Don't worry what anyone thinks.

Tell them it's because you've got aspergers :)
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Old 01-17-2014, 12:49 PM
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Default Re: Is it considered anal to spend tons of time working out what drum to use for certain parts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BFrench501 View Post
But all other musicians do is come out with the less is more stuff and forces me to be more creative.
Try a 4 piece kit (snare, kick, tom and floor tom) and 1 ride, 1 crash and a hi-hat and be as creative and different sounding as you can... then resume with your normal setup in month or two, it will be worthwile, I'll promise you.
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Old 01-17-2014, 01:00 PM
Haydenr25 Haydenr25 is offline
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Default Re: Is it considered anal to spend tons of time working out what drum to use for certain parts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad About Drums View Post
Try a 4 piece kit (snare, kick, tom and floor tom) and 1 ride, 1 crash and a hi-hat and be as creative and different sounding as you can... then resume with your normal setup in month or two, it will be worthwile, I'll promise you.
This x1000. I stripped back to this setup and since then all I've added is a crash and sometimes a china, depending on what I'm playing. Pick your favorite sounding crash (doesn't matter about dark/light/contrasting sounds), play them side by side and pick one. Then stick with it for a while.
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Old 01-17-2014, 02:43 PM
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Default Re: Is it considered anal to spend tons of time working out what drum to use for certain parts?

if the 15" and the 16" sound pretty much the same as each other, get rid of one and your cymbal count will go down to just 12.don't ever stop trying to find "your" ideal sound, but maybe pick a time and a place. if your band mates are getting upset it may be because their time is as important as yours. Half the fun of music is enjoying creating it with others, being in the moment and just having fun. some times striving for perfection can hold us back.
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Old 01-17-2014, 04:06 PM
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Default Re: Is it considered anal to spend tons of time working out what drum to use for certain parts?

Experimenting is great. finding the right sound for a song is important as well. But it can be overwhelming when you have to many options. I have gone from a 7 piece kit to a 4. From 6 cymbals to 3. ride and 2 crashes with totally different sounds. I don't play out so all of my playing has to suit only me. If you have a band that has some say in your sound then getting it right is important. I feel bad at times having toms and cymbals just sitting around but then they aren't going anywhere or going to decay so I live with it. I also feel that I may not be good enough to have 5 toms, so I now play 2. If you have the time to experiment, then I say go for it but would advise not having all of the kit set up if you dont like the sound of a component.
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Old 01-17-2014, 05:30 PM
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Default Re: Is it considered anal to spend tons of time working out what drum to use for certain parts?

Lots of drummers have lots of gear to choose from. There's absolutely nothing wrong with having options and wanting to make the right timbre choices for the song.

However, in a band or a gigging environment, like others have said, it all can get overwhelming. If not for you, for your band mates. The more gear you have the more stage space you'll take up, the longer it'll take you to setup and tear down, etc. Having a clean streamlined setup make you easier to work with and encourages better relationships and better music making.

I have a number of cymbal/drum options myself, but I don't bring everything to a gig. Depending on the musical style, the band, the venue, I'll bring what will work best. I normally have a 4 piece kit, hats, 3 crash/rides.. but the cymbals and drums I choose changes, and as I get more gear I'll have more options and more successes getting the right sound.
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  #8  
Old 01-17-2014, 06:21 PM
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Default Re: Is it considered anal to spend tons of time working out what drum to use for certain parts?

I don't think you're alone.

Neil Peart comes to mind as someone who meticulously plans out every note and every drum and every cymbal in advance and then strives for perfection. But then again, the music his band plays fits that level of thinking. And he has the luxury of playing his own kit every time.

Studio drummers rarely set it all up, but they will put a lot of thought into which cymbals, which snare and even which kit to use for a particular song. Most of the top studio drummers go to a session with 20-30 cymbals, and then pick which 4 or 5 best suite the music at hand.

But for the average drummer in a band, it's just not always practical. If you're in a band that gigs a lot, or tours at all, chances are you are going to be in situations where you have to use a house kit,or share a kit, or use a rental kit. And in those cases, it's just easier, and often imperative, you just go with the flow.

At it's root level, all percussion works the same: You hit it, it makes a noise.
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Old 01-17-2014, 07:12 PM
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BacteriumFendYoke BacteriumFendYoke is offline
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Default Re: Is it considered anal to spend tons of time working out what drum to use for certain parts?

It's all going to come down to what is practical, I'm afraid. Not necessarily an easy thing to do. I have a brother with Aspergers and I know it can make some of these decisions difficult sometimes, mate.

I would be thinking about what you're going to do when you're playing out. If you have to use provided backline, you're going to have to think about how you can still express what you want on your instrument. In some situations, musicality can also be about choosing what to leave out or how to adapt to what you've got. If you're used to playing on an 8-piece kit, then playing on a 4-piece can be a rewarding challenge.

I look at things impressionistically. I ask the question: 'Can I give an impression of what I would usually play?' I approach cover songs in the same way (usually) - I'm going for an impression rather than verbatim reproduction. If a drummer uses three high toms for a fill and I only have one, can I still reproduce a descending pattern or will I have to use just the high tom, or high tom and snare? Could I just mimic the rhythm? If I can't mimic the rhythm, what was the reason for the drummer playing that particular fill and can I still reproduce something with the same vibe? Was that fill actually integral or can I leave it out? I've been doing this for years, so for me it's something I can do on the fly - but it takes some time to get used to that way of thinking, especially if you're not used to it.

One thing I love to do is re-arrange pieces on other instruments, or re-arrange a song for the same instrument because of limitations. I've been working on a few songs that have two or three guitarists and condensing them into one guitar part. It's a challenge but it doesn't necessarily mean that I play more notes. It's the impressionistic thinking again. What I can get rid of? What do I have to keep? Which parts are really important?
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Old 01-17-2014, 07:44 PM
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Default Re: Is it considered anal to spend tons of time working out what drum to use for certain parts?

You should do what you do.


Personally, I'm a "just a drummer" drummer, which is perfect for me and what I play. I play with 2 crashes and they sound the same. The second one is just so I can use my left hand once in a while :)

You should feel free to be the most anal retentive drummer on the planet if you wish. If everyone played the same, music would cease to entertain.
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Old 01-17-2014, 07:52 PM
mymarkers mymarkers is offline
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Default Re: Is it considered anal to spend tons of time working out what drum to use for certain parts?

There's a happy middle ground. If you have 16", 17", and 18" A Custom, AAX Stage, and Paiste 2002 and you obsess over exactly which one is perfect for every crash in every song then it's excessive. If like you having a crash that cuts, a crash that blends, and a crash that speaks quickly then you're just giving yourself a few good options. There's nothing wrong with having a bit more gear.

That said, it's important to be comfortable with a minimal set up. Any drummer should feel confident with snare, bass, hi-hat, ride, crash, high tom, and low tom. I approach any kit- big or small- similarly to how BacteriumFendYoke described. I ask two questions: How would I play this on my preferred set-up? What's the best option with the gear I have? I actually go a bit further and think in the abstract. What am I trying to accomplish musically? For example, my two crash cymbals are a 15" HH thin and a 16" A Custom. The HH speaks quickly and blends nicely. The A Custom cuts but responds a bit more slowly. But I normally only play with one or the other. If I'm using the HH and I want something that really cuts, I might sizzle partly open hi-hats along with it. If I'm using the A Custom and I want it to blend, I just strike the cymbal more gently and right on the edge. It's really a matter of considering what I want to accomplish musically and choosing the best available tool. That's just a slightly more abstract version of the process you described for choosing which cymbal to hit.
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Old 01-17-2014, 08:18 PM
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Default Re: Is it considered anal to spend tons of time working out what drum to use for certain parts?

I play jazz on a 4 piece (or less) set. I do have different cymbals, snare drums etc to select from for each gig. In answer to your original question though...it is never a bad idea to work out which percussive item is to be used for what.
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Old 01-17-2014, 09:25 PM
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Default Re: Is it considered anal to spend tons of time working out what drum to use for certain parts?

Anyone trying to dictate the instrument you use or make you feel bad for your selection is an ass...get away from them...FAR away.
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Old 01-17-2014, 09:57 PM
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Default Re: Is it considered anal to spend tons of time working out what drum to use for certain parts?

I don't use that many cymbals, but if I did, my approach wouldn't be different. I like to go from light sounds on my left, to heavy and dark sounds on my right. Anything in-between would simply be placed by it's sonic qualities and it would make selecting the right cymbal sound the same as it always was... I'd just have more things to hit.
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Old 01-17-2014, 10:06 PM
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Default Re: Is it considered anal to spend tons of time working out what drum to use for certain parts?

THIS is the drumming bedrock! You´ve hit the nail´s head Henry... :-)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad About Drums View Post
Try a 4 piece kit (snare, kick, tom and floor tom) and 1 ride, 1 crash and a hi-hat and be as creative and different sounding as you can... then resume with your normal setup in month or two, it will be worthwile, I'll promise you.
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Old 01-17-2014, 10:24 PM
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Default Re: Is it considered anal to spend tons of time working out what drum to use for certain parts?

Use what you want. I'd take MAD's advice one step further.

Take one cymbal on a stand into another room. See how many different sounds you can pull out of that one cymbal, using as many different methods as you can think of.
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Old 01-17-2014, 10:37 PM
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Default Re: Is it considered anal to spend tons of time working out what drum to use for certain parts?

I think the most logical way to go about this is:

Take inventory of all your instruments.

Then think about what you are going to record or play live.

Ask yourself, "What instruments do I need for the music I am playing?"

In this method you can create different kit set ups by project or by song.

By asking that question you may be able to narrow down what cymbal and sized drum best fits what you need/want.

Music needs dry cymbals? Get rid of the brights.

Music needs strong, loud cymbals? Don't use any splashes.

Does my playing style (example: never crossing the center body plane with your hands) dictate the use of having duplicate cymbals on both sides of your body? Do so.

The scenario make it so that 2+ cymbals with minimal sound difference sound too much the same? Choose only one.

Am I going to do huge tom rolls that ABSOLUTELY need more than 3 or 4 for musical impact? Bring them.

Asking these questions can help narrow down what you need.

Sometimes boxing yourself in and limiting the voices you can produce makes your musical message easier for others to understand. It's like any conversation where an expert uses layman terms to talk about his expertise to non-experts. Jack Black used this technique for The White Stripes. He set 3 things that he wanted to achieve in a song, each song had to achieve exactly those three criteria (Seen in his interview with Conan O'Brien).
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Old 01-18-2014, 01:35 AM
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Default Re: Is it considered anal to spend tons of time working out what drum to use for certain parts?

There is a time to be precious about your setup and then there isn't. When it's costing other people money, you have to be willing to bend to whatever degree, or you'll become a pain in the "goods" (see the Michael Bienhorn thread). I can understand something being wildly different from what you are used to, such as that Bonzo setup you described, and maybe you are justified in putting your foot down to a point....but you won't be able to do that alone unless you're paying the bills. He who writes the checks writes the rules as well.

It sounds like some of what you are dealing with is really a matter of your own obsession, and the question I would ask is: does anybody listening to this other than me really care about the subtle differences between 15" and 16" crashes? My own setup is pretty absurd in most settings, but I am also flexible enough to make drastic changes if I'm really into the gig, and sometimes that's as much fun or more!
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Old 01-18-2014, 01:59 AM
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Default Re: Is it considered anal to spend tons of time working out what drum to use for certain parts?

I think gear should not get in the way...or be an impediment to having fun or hopefully playing well.At an open mic, rehearsal, etc...it's simply not that important to have everything "just so".

For instance, in an hourly rehearsal room, I think it is not so big a deal to use the stuff that is there and accept it for what it is. Don't sweat it. Ultimately in the rehearsal space you are trying to become tight as a band and your individual drum tones in that setting are frankly just not that important. For an audition in that setting, I might want to be a bit more particular and limit the variables. But for a rehearsal with a band you are a member of, just roll with it and bring a pedal and maybe some metal.

For a recording...say a band EP, Full Release or what have you; in that setting by all means you should be particular about using the sounds and gear you wish,..,.no question

If you are a hired gun and they want to specify something, although it is a bit silly, you might have to acquiesce to the signer of the check.
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Old 01-20-2014, 02:10 AM
iwearnohats iwearnohats is offline
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Default Re: Is it considered anal to spend tons of time working out what drum to use for certain parts?

I don't see any problem with being meticulous over what particular sound you want to use at a particular point in a song.

I've done the whole 4 piece + hats + crash + ride thing, and it's boring and unfulfilling. Yes, I "get it". Done it before, done it to death, got over it. My practise kit is 4 piece + hats + 2x crash + ride + splash + china. It makes the cut because I know what I'm doing, but it is not suited to playing all the prog and metal I do. The 12" tom is not 'right' for some parts because a 10" would sound better, and there are times when I wish I had my 14" to hit in place of the 16".

From a practicality point of view, it's important to have everything set up so that it is as easy to assemble and disassemble as possible. When I design my setup, I base everything around being able to strip down to a 4 piece + 2 crash + ride + hats setup without modifying anything. Now that I have a rack it is a lot easier and has a small footprint.

My main setup is 2x snares + 4x toms + kick + 4x splashes + 2x crashes + 2x chinas + 1x ride + 2x hats + 1x stack + 2x concert toms + 1x tambourine + 1x cowbell + 1x fire alarm bell. Plenty of stuff to hit! And sometimes it's just important to think "Should I hit the 6" or 8" concert tom at this point? The 8" splash will cut through better, but I think the 10" splash has a better tone."

So, in a world full of drummers playing cover gigs on a 4 piece kit, over-thinking stuff is overkill. But if you want to be creative and play how YOU want to sound, then have as much things to hit as you want! It's your kit, your drumming. Make the setup modular so you can reduce the size as easily as possible, but just remember that at the end of the day if you play by everybody else's rules then you are only stifling yourself.

Of course, there will be times when you need to compromise depending on what you're playing, every drummer knows this, but don't turn that compromise into the only thing you can do. It's far more important to express what is in your head through your playing as much as possible, and only compromise when you have to play that Beatles or Queen cover at a gig.

Just remember that music is art, and art is all about expression and creativity. Except, in the case of music, it is art that is accessible to most people and lacks the pretentiousness of a world where poo flung at a wall will sell for 6 or 7 figures.


Edit: Scratch that, there's plenty of poo flung at the wall in the pop music industry selling for 7 - 10 figures. My mistake.
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Old 01-21-2014, 10:12 AM
BFrench501 BFrench501 is offline
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Default Re: Is it considered anal to spend tons of time working out what drum to use for certain parts?

I've been reading this thread back now a fair few of you have gave constructive, helpful comments. It's amazing how their seems to be 2 opinions that collide, there's big kit players and small kit players.

What I get from this thread, and what I am going to do from now on forward is to reduce my kit setup only to what I need for the situation. I actually did this at an audition on Sunday where I didn't have much room to put any gear so was forced to play with just 2 crashes, hats and a ride.

It was physically uncomfortable because I was so crammed but I told myself 'this could happen at a gig so get used to it son' and while I don't know if I'll land the role of drummer I went away giving a good account of myself and resisting the urge to complain about how ridiculous it is to be cramped behind a kit.

Also I learned a very important lesson which I'd never have believed until MrPockets bought it up - if music is loud don't use splashes. There wasn't a situation for this band where splashes worked. I don't even think there was a situation where a China was needed, just a few different sounding crashes.

It was a nice realisation in a way, because I already had enough problems carrying a double pedal, cymbal bag, snare case, extra cymbal stand and my rucksack. Had I took all my gear I wouldnt have any upper body left to drum with :-)

It also felt natural which is good, so what I will do rather than expanding my pallette is refine what I already have so I can have the best sounds possible.

Thanks for all of the opinions guys, really appreciate all of your help. It's opened my eyes a little bit, all I do if I use everything is try to force a band to change their sound. They dont necessarily want drummers to change their direction, just to enhance it by playing good with the standard sounds they would hear.
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Old 01-21-2014, 01:44 PM
iwearnohats iwearnohats is offline
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Default Re: Is it considered anal to spend tons of time working out what drum to use for certain parts?

Well, that's a good learning experience then :).

It's also the very reason I can strip my kit down to a 4 or 5 piece with 2 crashes, ride and hats without modifying anything. Because you just simply won't always need all your stuff and there is no point in bringing the whole lot if you won't be using it.

Even with my prog band, a few bits and pieces like the auxiliary snare don't come with me purely because I don't use it in our set list.

If you feel cramped, though, perhaps that is just to do with how you actually had your kit set up rather than it being of a minimal size? In your case, perhaps actually spending some time playing on a minimal kit is actually something you need to do in order to overcome this, because if it is going to reoccur then it is a problem to be rectified.

You should always be comfortable behind just about any setup you have in front of you, within reason of course :).
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Old 01-21-2014, 04:56 PM
BFrench501 BFrench501 is offline
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Default Re: Is it considered anal to spend tons of time working out what drum to use for certain parts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by iwearnohats View Post
Well, that's a good learning experience then :).

It's also the very reason I can strip my kit down to a 4 or 5 piece with 2 crashes, ride and hats without modifying anything. Because you just simply won't always need all your stuff and there is no point in bringing the whole lot if you won't be using it.

Even with my prog band, a few bits and pieces like the auxiliary snare don't come with me purely because I don't use it in our set list.

If you feel cramped, though, perhaps that is just to do with how you actually had your kit set up rather than it being of a minimal size? In your case, perhaps actually spending some time playing on a minimal kit is actually something you need to do in order to overcome this, because if it is going to reoccur then it is a problem to be rectified.

You should always be comfortable behind just about any setup you have in front of you, within reason of course :).
Hi mate, I'll explain and hope you'll empathise,

The kit was pushed far back against the wall, in a studio that was cluttered with stuff everywhere. It was like a hoarders house but all music and lighting gear. They had a Pearl Masters kit but the highest the toms could go was as high as the snare because they didnt have clamps to attach to cymbal stands (to stand over the bass drum). So I had to have the tom really far left of the bass drum and then the 16 floor right next to my legs on right hand side, it was really uncomfortable.

My back was virtually touching the wall and as I was auditioning I couldnt go in telling them to tidy up lol. I just felt a bit more stiff in my playing plus they didnt have enough felts for cymbals so they were flying everywhere, I like my cymbals tight enough so I can have control to switch what I'm hitting but get a clean hit when returning to the cymbal I hit first.

I also wash-ride a little bit on the crashes as my ride is really thick (zildjian Scimitar - beautiful bell!!) and using 5AN's just wrecks them if I crash the ride.
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Old 01-22-2014, 01:19 AM
iwearnohats iwearnohats is offline
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Default Re: Is it considered anal to spend tons of time working out what drum to use for certain parts?

Fair enough, that's a pretty bad position to be put into!
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Old 01-22-2014, 02:22 AM
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Default Re: Is it considered anal to spend tons of time working out what drum to use for certain parts?

I agree with the average of all comments here, and I'm glad that things are working out for you. Please don't feel the need to apologize for your thread title, it's quite manageable IMO :)
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