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  #1  
Old 05-20-2018, 05:29 PM
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Default Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

I've been helping with sound at a local pub lately, and 6 out of 8 bands have had 18" bass drums, and 2 have been 20". Nothing larger than a 20 for a range of indie, pop, blues, jazz and Irish bands of 4 - 7 members, some of which are quite loud!. In my own bands I only play 18's or 20's too.

The local selling sites are full of second hand kits with 24" (and deep 22") bass drums, yet I never see anyone play one at a gig.

So I'm beginning to wonder if anyone (other than Bo of course) actually uses larger drums for live gigs?
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Old 05-20-2018, 05:45 PM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

Drummers have figured out a few things over the years. One being that small kick drums can do more than just make a bebop sound, and that microphones are the great equalizer. The light weight/portability factor is the icing on the cake. I sold my enormous sounding and heavy as hell Saturn kit for a 20-12-14 Yamaha Stage Custom birch; no buyers remorse here, believe it or not. Yes the Saturn sounded "better"; at this juncture I'll take the lighter weigh/MUCH easier portability. I can tune, and I have the cheap smaller kit dialed in pretty well IMO. I'm confident the SC will sound just about as good mic'd up at the big venues, and will work better for me in the small bars. I'm also on the lookout for a used Sonor Bop kit, but only for home practice (I just think those kits are cool, been wanting one since they came out).

Last edited by gish; 05-20-2018 at 06:13 PM.
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Old 05-20-2018, 06:09 PM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

I have both a 22" and a 20" base drum ready to go depending on which band I play with and which venue I play in. I've been using my 22" bass drum about 80% of the time. (One band I use the 22" for is a loud rock band.) I feel for me, both size drums are necessary to have.

I'm getting old and I do like the idea of hauling around only a 20" for all gigs. I use a 1963 Slingerland 20" bass drum. It's a rather low volume drum with great tone. If I spent some time and effort, I think I could find a 20" bass drum that would provide enough punch and volume to cover my need for a 22" drum. Maybe someday I'll do that.


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Old 05-20-2018, 06:42 PM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

I Played in loud rock and bands back in high school and college. I always used a Ludwig 20 inch. Many gigs were un mic’d and I never had issues with projection. The only decision I made was how much damping I used. I switched to a 22 long after I stopped playing in bands. I now wish I still had that 20 inch bass drum.

Even the 20 inch bass drum was a pain to haul around. I even had a truck at the time. Carrying up/ down steps. Tom mount And spurs would get snagged on something turning corners ( usually snagged on me ).

I’m thinking of a 24 inch for my next set. I’m keeping my vintage Ludwig set if I ever play out again.
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Old 05-20-2018, 06:52 PM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

I was glad to see the first couple of posts reflect understanding of what smaller kits can do. I'm not alone. :)

Someone tell my current band. It's a rock cover band, and I am playing a small 4 piece with an 18" bass drum. They keep making comments about how small it looks - that it almost looks like a children's kit. However, they do Love how it sounds. They think it sounds great. But they haven't stopped making comments about how little it is.

I'm never playing more than an 18" bass drum again. They are light and easy to move. [very important to me] With a mic, they can sound like Anything.

Can't imagine playing anything but compact kits for my remaining days.
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Old 05-20-2018, 07:12 PM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

I was at a Harley dealer party yesterday.
They had a 3 pc. blues/rock band and the drummer was using a small Ludwig set.
Pretty sure it was a Breakbeats.

Outdoors, we approached from the back of the stage, and to hear it, you'd never think it was that small of a set.
They sounded really good. It was mic'd up and running through a board...but still....
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Old 05-20-2018, 07:54 PM
Tony Marz Tony Marz is offline
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

Who cares about the bass drum size?
I'm way more concerned with the weight of my hardware bag!
Why does every company make these heavy double braced stands?
They are completely unnecessary.
I mounted an 11X14 Gretsch (which are known to be heavy) tom AND a 19" crash both on a single braced stand with no problems...and I'm a heavy hitter.
I drive a mid sized sedan and I can fit my 24" bass drum in the back seat with no problems.
I just had to replace my usual flight cases with soft cases to not scratch the leather seats, and because soft cases are smaller than flight cases.
But the hardware's weight is the real concern.
I ended up buying two soft cases for my hardware as well and now I split my whole hardware set up into two to put less stress on my back.
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Old 05-20-2018, 08:03 PM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank View Post
I was glad to see the first couple of posts reflect understanding of what smaller kits can do. I'm not alone. :)
Just curious: you don't use resonant heads on your toms and bass?

I don't mind smaller drums as it is the sound that matters - although the bigger-is-better bias always seems to be in ones mind - but in that picture the bass drum does look a bit small compared to the toms.
And without the resonant head - looking inside at 2 tubes and a towel - I can imagine some band members being concerned with stage presence might have other ideas. Just saying.

I only played 22" bass drums on gigs as they are the only ones I own.
But I did play some 20" ones when I didn't have to bring my own drums.
Smaller drums will be a bit easier to transport.
That being said, if you don't want to drag around all your gear, being singer comes to mind.
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Old 05-20-2018, 08:07 PM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

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Originally Posted by eric_B View Post
Just curious: you don't use resonant heads on your toms and bass?

I don't mind smaller drums as it is the sound that matters - although the bigger-is-better bias always seems to be in ones mind - but in that picture the bass drum does look a bit small compared to the toms.
And without the resonant head - looking inside at 2 tubes and a towel - I can imagine some band members being concerned with stage presence might have other ideas. Just saying.

I only played 22" bass drums on gigs as they are the only ones I own.
But I did play some 20" ones when I didn't have to bring my own drums.
Smaller drums will be a bit easier to transport.
That being said, if you don't want to drag around all your gear, being singer comes to mind.
Correct. :) No resos. I know I am in the miniscule minority these days, but, that's what I do.

I'm working on the emptiness of the bass drum. :) Putting a black batter on next week and then a band logo on the inside. :

But trust me - I am not in and never have been in a situation where at the types of gigs we were playing, any patron cared about the aesthetic of my bass drum. :)
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Old 05-20-2018, 08:53 PM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

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Originally Posted by Frank View Post
Correct. :) No resos. I know I am in the miniscule minority these days, but, that's what I do.

I'm working on the emptiness of the bass drum. :) Putting a black batter on next week and then a band logo on the inside. :

But trust me - I am not in and never have been in a situation where at the types of gigs we were playing, any patron cared about the aesthetic of my bass drum. :)
Cool, if it works for you then it´s fine. That is all that matters.

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Who cares about the bass drum size?
I'm way more concerned with the weight of my hardware bag!
+1.
I don´t know the weight of my hardware bag but, filled with Tama Roadpro stands, it is no joke.
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Old 05-20-2018, 09:39 PM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

Why not take the bass drum out of the equation altogether...?

Get a Roland KD-7, a TD6 or similar module and a few cables. That would give you 100 kicks in a package smaller than a 12" tom.

As long as your band is mic'd up what is the draw back?
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Old 05-20-2018, 09:56 PM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

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Originally Posted by Mongrel View Post
Why not take the bass drum out of the equation altogether...?

Get a Roland KD-7, a TD6 or similar module and a few cables. That would give you 100 kicks in a package smaller than a 12" tom.

As long as your band is mic'd up what is the draw back?
Because it looks very uncool. Nothing cooler than a bass drum on stage. I think an e-kit is very unsightly on a stage.
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Old 05-20-2018, 10:02 PM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

That is a high percentage of 18 kicks,esp over that many genres,but that may be the reason all the drum companies are offering configurations with an 18 in their affordable and entry level lines,they must be selling them to dru mmers other than the Jazz bop guys.Funny thing is I would bet most drummers 40 and under started with an 18 x 22.
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Old 05-20-2018, 10:38 PM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

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Originally Posted by opentune View Post
Because it looks very uncool. Nothing cooler than a bass drum on stage. I think an e-kit is very unsightly on a stage.
(Hint: I was being sarcastic....lol)
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Old 05-20-2018, 10:54 PM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

Don't think it's confined to big bass drums or drummers.

I know a lot of guitarists who have scaled their amps down. Still valve, still the same tone and volume but nowhere near the weight. My guitarist sold his Peavey Satriani amp + cab and only got £300 for it.

A bassist in a band I dep for now and again has this new Fender amp which weighs nothing, he rocks up with the amp in one hand, bass in the other that's it.

PAs seem to have shrunk in size but not output thanks to powered speakers.

Back on track, I've scaled down from 22/12/16 (maybe an 18 as well) to the Pearl Midtown 16/10/13 you still have to mic the bass drum regardless of size but I've done gigs where I haven't and there's been no problems at all, I've set the big luddy up at the lockup but I'm not missing gigging it.

I love my 24s and the 22x14 Ludwig is the daddy but convenience is a big thing and I'm less worried gigging a £350 kit than anything vintage or custom.
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Old 05-20-2018, 11:59 PM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

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Originally Posted by mikyok View Post
Don't think it's confined to big bass drums or drummers.

I know a lot of guitarists who have scaled their amps down. Still valve, still the same tone and volume but nowhere near the weight. My guitarist sold his Peavey Satriani amp + cab and only got £300 for it.

A bassist in a band I dep for now and again has this new Fender amp which weighs nothing, he rocks up with the amp in one hand, bass in the other that's it.

PAs seem to have shrunk in size but not output thanks to powered speakers.

Back on track, I've scaled down from 22/12/16 (maybe an 18 as well) to the Pearl Midtown 16/10/13 you still have to mic the bass drum regardless of size but I've done gigs where I haven't and there's been no problems at all, I've set the big luddy up at the lockup but I'm not missing gigging it.

I love my 24s and the 22x14 Ludwig is the daddy but convenience is a big thing and I'm less worried gigging a £350 kit than anything vintage or custom.
Correct..plus many guitarist/bassist I see go direct anyway. A Guitarist can get by with 2 bags, 1 guitar, one pedalboard/cables. Keyboardist can get by with 2 bags(Keyboard, stand), Singer can throw his mic in with the guitar or keyboard gear. The poor drummer needs a uhaul just to be able to show up for the gig. Life's not fair (This assumes players going direct and using 3rd party or venue PA-board)
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Old 05-21-2018, 12:04 AM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

I have to admit that one of the people I am playing with these days still hauls a very large Marshal stack to the gigs. I kinda chuckled under my breath when I saw it for the first time. :) Now That thing eats stage real estate. :)
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Old 05-21-2018, 12:39 AM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

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Originally Posted by Morrisman View Post
I've been helping with sound at a local pub lately, and 6 out of 8 bands have had 18" bass drums, and 2 have been 20". Nothing larger than a 20 for a range of indie, pop, blues, jazz and Irish bands of 4 - 7 members, some of which are quite loud!. In my own bands I only play 18's or 20's too.

The local selling sites are full of second hand kits with 24" (and deep 22") bass drums, yet I never see anyone play one at a gig.

So I'm beginning to wonder if anyone (other than Bo of course) actually uses larger drums for live gigs?
Not to fan the flames since I was kindly left out of this query, but this is one of those times when I have to ask why anyone wants to play drums when they know there's a fair amount of schlepping that goes into being a drummer?

Being older, I've gone through this phase where I wanted to travel real small to save space, and weight, and basically hold the inner belief that "size does not matter" and "I can still sound like a drummer". And a after a few years of that nonsense I've settled back to the comfortable 13/16/22 configuration for most work (14/18/28 for all my new gigs now).

Is it stage size? Is it space in the car? Is it the weight on your back as you haul stuff? I discovered that a tiny Pearl Midtown doesn't take up that much less space than my Ludwig Super Classic 4-piece on stage. With that thought in mind, I felt, "I might as well play what's comfortable", and I do. And I like the sound better.

I know I said Elvin and Max went 18" because they're traveling in station wagons with the rest of the band, so there is that, but who does that now? By the end of his lifetime Max was back to using 22" bass drums. And Elvin, well, he stayed with the 18" bass drum, but he also carried 12/13/16/18 toms! So I doubt he was saving anybody any space as well.

I do think, in addition to sounding good, that a real-size drum kit just looks better. If I'm hiring a band, I'd rather see adult-sized instruments on the bandstand. So I guess I'm proposing the question (always) as to why people play drums if they think they're too big? Of course, through electronics, any small kit will sound fine, and most patrons probably won't care what the drummer is playing anyway (especially if they're not looking beyond the singer anyway), but to me it's a matter of pride: I've studied and played long enough that no, I'm not going to disappear to the back row and not take up so much space. Dammit, that's why I'm there! I already have a job, so it's not like I need the money - you either take me the way I show up, or get somebody else.

Sorry - please resume your discussion ;)
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Old 05-21-2018, 01:02 AM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

Drums are awesome.

Drums should look awesome on stage.

Obviously the playing and the sound matters, but you are selling yourself (and the band) with your look, and I think trying to justify a lack of effort in that department with the age-old "nobody's gonna notice" excuse is just that; an excuse.
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Old 05-21-2018, 01:07 AM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank View Post
I have to admit that one of the people I am playing with these days still hauls a very large Marshal stack to the gigs. I kinda chuckled under my breath when I saw it for the first time. :) Now That thing eats stage real estate. :)
My regular bassist is the same, heavy cab and he's too tight to get a smaller amp. It's his spine the way I look at it :)

One of the best setups I've seen is a guitarist who deps for us occasionally. He got a 25 mesa boogie head and built a cab himself to match the head. (Carpenter by trade)

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaleClark View Post
A Guitarist can get by with 2 bags, 1 guitar, one pedalboard/cables. Keyboardist can get by with 2 bags(Keyboard, stand), Singer can throw his mic in with the guitar or keyboard gear. The poor drummer needs a uhaul just to be able to show up for the gig. Life's not fair (This assumes players going direct and using 3rd party or venue PA-board)
A singer with their own mic that's a first :)

I travel light to gigs, I can get everything in the boot, if I was bothered to get the Pearl bags and a hardware case for the kit I could get down to 4 cases, a fan and a rug.

It's all part of the slippery slope to one of these!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11LsglkS0Ig
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Old 05-21-2018, 01:40 AM
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Old 05-21-2018, 01:54 AM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

Bo,
You worded your reply in a very elegant fashion, and I agree with your opinion and sentiment.

I played a few gigs with 18, 12, 14 and while it's true that the drums can be mic'ed to sound larger, they can't physically get that big slow punch of a big bass drum.

...And the 18 looks feeble.
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Old 05-21-2018, 02:19 AM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

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Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post

.... "I might as well play what's comfortable"....

Me too.

At home, my 5 pc. kit with a 20" bass drum is most comfortable for me.
If I were to play a lot of gigs, I'd most likely want to bring my Jazzette.
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Old 05-21-2018, 02:24 AM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

I have two kits, one with a 16x20" kick and the other with a 14x22". And I actually find that the two inches of depth usually makes more difference on a small stage than the two inches of width. But I've never found the 20" to be lacking in punch when I use it. I tune up the 20" high for jazz when I need that high-pitched, boomier kick sound.

The things I find that impact stage footprint as much or more than kick drum size are extra stands, larger hi-hats, or larger floor toms.

I don't begrudge anyone who likes a certain size of kick, whatever the size. I would probably never go larger than 22" because I prefer the toms to sit low and don't want them a mile apart. I have played a 24" and I didn't particularly mind the feel, but it had 13" and 14" power toms on it - and I had to reach up to play them.
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Old 05-21-2018, 03:18 AM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

With a big etup the hardware is definetly more of a hassle than the drums.

I still generally see people use the size bass drum that fits the style or look. Main difference is more 18" with some big bands and that thre are some usable 16" BDs these days.

Bass guitar usually sounds fine direct, so there is an option to go ampless. Today that works with guitar too, but there are a few more factors to consider there.
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Old 05-21-2018, 03:22 AM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

Back when I gigged (30 years ago) I never had cases and I never took my crappy hardware apart. If I didn’t have pliers and duct tape, I wasn’t playing if I had to collapse anything for travel. I never knew what good hardware was until many years later. Those were the days
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Old 05-21-2018, 03:24 AM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

I realize you're talking about really big bass drums, but in my world, that's a relative concept.

I never planned to play my 18" bass drum at rock gigs, but that's how it's been going the past couple years. Space is a factor. There's one club we frequently play where they stick the band between two booths where diners can sit. I can barely get out from behind the drums between sets with my 12/14/18 configuration, let alone anything larger.

But last weekend, we played outdoors on a nice, big gazebo, and I brought the 13/16/22. Man, did it feel good to play that big bass drum. The guitarist mentioned how good it sounded. That was fun.

So in my world, a 22" IS a big bass drum!
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Old 05-21-2018, 04:11 AM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

I use my 22 x 16 about 98% of the time or more.

I have a 20 x 12 for tight areas, but it doesn't see much action.

It feels like a kids set when I use it, the 20. An 18" BD feels like a toy to me. It's amazing how much difference a measly 2" diameter smaller makes right? I feel very dominant playing a 20" bass drum with the toms down lower.

20's are the minimum size for me. I wish 24's were not as tall, because that's probably my favorite BD tone. But I'm really lacking for nothing with the 22. Plus my toms are not too far over my snare drum.

Personally, I think a 26 is insane. It wouldn't be appreciated in my world.

But a 28 is OK :P
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Old 05-21-2018, 02:21 PM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

Maybe Neil Peart can get DW to produce a 19 or 21 inch bass drum LOL
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Old 05-21-2018, 02:47 PM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

Similar to Bo, I had an 18" bass drum for several years. I used it to play blues and classic rock. We play a lot outside, and if it was not miced, it sounded puny. Now both of my bass drums are 22x18. Peace and goodwill.
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Old 05-21-2018, 03:02 PM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

Hey there everyone. Just wanted to say I gig with a 24" Kick. So far stage space hasn't been an issue.

J
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Old 05-21-2018, 03:04 PM
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Old 05-21-2018, 03:08 PM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
I have to ask why anyone wants to play drums when they know there's a fair amount of schlepping that goes into being a drummer?

Is it the weight on your back as you haul stuff?

I do think, in addition to sounding good, that a real-size drum kit just looks better. If I'm hiring a band, I'd rather see adult-sized instruments on the bandstand.
To be honest, I'd be surprised if any new and aspiring drummer thinks at all about the issue of hauling gear. I cetainly didn't. I was just completely enamoured with drums and their sound, that's the instrument I wanted. All other considerations came much later.

Regarding hauling the gear, I have to say that "the weight on your back" is an undeniable consideration. We're not talking practicality or logistics anymore, we're talking about our health. I've found this out the hard way. We may all have our preferences for kit sizes but I will never hold it against a drummer if they downsize out of a real or perceived need for their health.

Bo, I love your matter-of-fact way of referring to a "real-size drum kit", and we all know what that means :-).
While each uf us may have their preference, I think it is quite true that a downsized kit does look rather overly discreet on a large stage. It doesn't have to be stadium gig, a small to medium venue where the audience may be at 10m or 20m distance will already be enough to optically shrink a drumkit. I've said it before and I'll say it again: hats off to anyone who proudly carries the banner of large bassdrums for reasons of music and showmanship.
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Old 05-21-2018, 03:16 PM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

Maybe I'm in the minority, but I can definitely tell when the bass drum is smaller than 22 (yes, even through a PA with subs). It just doesn't have the same "punch". The attack portion of the sound is much brighter, and the balance of that part of the sound with the "thump" is affected. All of this is not a problem, unless the music needs to punch as well.

For big band, small combo, indie-rock, singer/songwriter? A small bass drum is fine, and can actually sound better. But for dance bands, blues, and rock, a 22 sounds "correct". 24's and 26's often get a little muddy through a PA, and can get lost underneath distorted guitars and growing bass.

C and C makes some kits with shallow 22X12 bass drums, which is a good way to save room on stage.
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Old 05-21-2018, 04:00 PM
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KEEF KEEF is offline
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

My last kit had a 22x20 (Bought it ten years ago - seemed like a good idea at the time! ) Now playing 22x16 - only difference i've really noticed is now my singer doesn't step on my mic stand every time he turns round!
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Old 05-21-2018, 04:05 PM
rebonn rebonn is offline
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

I had the old 26 Ludwig and also 24s. I seem to prefer the 18 depth of a 22. I like the deep 22 kicks most. I really never liked the sound on bigger and shallower kicks. 22 X 18 is the sweet spot for me.
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Old 05-21-2018, 04:16 PM
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No Way Jose No Way Jose is offline
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

I know a drummer that has Pearl Exports. He keeps borrowing my electronic kit to play gigs.
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Old 05-21-2018, 04:18 PM
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PorkPieGuy PorkPieGuy is offline
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

I gig with a 22" kick most of the time.
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Old 05-21-2018, 04:21 PM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

I gig with a 20 in my top-40 band and a 24 in my Zeppelin group until I can get my hands on a 26.
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Old 05-21-2018, 04:40 PM
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

I used to have 18x14 Gretsch bass drum, Catalina. It was a punishment to me : first, the sound, dry and high, second, the hassle of the lifter, third, it didn’t save that much space, once the stands were in place. True it wasn’t heavy and easy to pass doors. At that time I used a 22x18 Tama. I’m happier now with my 22x16 - I wish this size were easier to get.

If I need to go light : 22 12 14 and less cymbals.
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Old 05-21-2018, 06:45 PM
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Mike Stand Mike Stand is offline
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamaefx View Post
I used to have 18x14 Gretsch bass drum, Catalina... the hassle of the lifter...
Yep, seemed like a good idea when I got one. So easy to move the bassdrum around but that benefit is quickly negated by the need to use a raiser in order for the beater to strike the head closer to the centre.

The reduced contact with the floor also meant that this very light bassdrum had a tendency to move slightly out of place if the spurs weren't half screwed into the floor.

I bet Bo doesn't have this problem with his new 28" :-).
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Old 05-21-2018, 06:57 PM
rummy rummy is offline
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Default Re: Does anyone actually do gigs with large bass drums any more?

I gig a 24", because it's all I got. :)
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