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  #1  
Old 10-08-2017, 11:44 PM
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Default I finally get this small kit thing!!!

There have been so many threads about small kits being where it’s at and the freedom to be creative....this is not intended to be one of those.

I’ve always played 6 or 7 piece and every time I read one of these threads I would get super frustrated. Less toms were just less toms. My fils would still sound the same, because I was the one behind the kit. I have to admit that after all these years I finally get it. Not the freedom part, not the creative part, but why a smaller set was so absolutely frustrating. Every time I shed toms, it was the same thing...the same question...now what!?

I didn’t realize the appeal until I started taking lessons. A few sessions in and blamo! I suck! My foot’s fast, my timing is decent, but my creativity is hampered by the lack of skills. When I started the lessons I stripped off toms so I could practice the lessons I was going through in lower volume. Keeping things close made it easier is all. It hasn’t been long, but I finally get how some of you make it through the older songs with big fills. I also discovered I really don’t enjoy those as much as before.

Don’t know if my kit will stay as a miniaturized version of its previous self indefinitely, but probably the first time since I picked up sticks that a smaller kit hasn’t been annoying.

I think after reading all the threads and comments on how creative, what freedom, etc., it boils down to skills and preferences. I don’t hit things because they are there. Never felt that way about more toms. Shrinking things down can only help you be creative, if you have skills. TNo one seems to ever say that!

Thought I would post, this because I read and read and never saw no posts to this fact. At least for me. Maybe someone else found the same to be true?

Long live big or small kits, whichever you prefer. :)

Oh and one more thing! Less cymbals aren’t the same thing, unless I’m missing something there too!

Last edited by AzHeat; 10-09-2017 at 12:00 AM.
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Old 10-09-2017, 01:34 AM
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

I could tell you have been opening up to the Idea, it just took a while to really give it a go. I have noticed a change since you started taking lessons, more open to different idea's and how you practice. Im ready to get on the wagon with you, I have outgrown drum covers after making 60 + now. Glad to see the new Ryan.
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Old 10-09-2017, 02:11 AM
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

I guess the big revaluation was when I discovered it actually can work for me. Easy to be blind after 35 years of playing without lessons. Sad, but I guess better late than never. Weíll see how I feel about it in a year. I hit a wall with covers too. I just suddenly lost interest and had to look elsewhere. All the threads about finding a good teacher, etc. and had to try something new. Never had much luck with finding good teachers and life just got in the way. I can finally focus on trying to learn new skills. About time!
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Old 10-09-2017, 02:16 AM
Jake943 Jake943 is offline
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

I rarely ever hesitate when improvising a fill with a 4 piece over a 7 piece. It's not that I have to think about what I'm doing, it's just that I tend to feel the need to hit everything I can when playing subconsciously. And a four piece is much easier lug around, too. But when it comes to accessories, I tend to go crazy.
My main setup consists of a four piece, hats, ride, and crash, but with a hi-hat tambourine, jam block, cowbell, another high-pitched cowbell by my right bass drum pedal, and a 10 in piccolo snare.
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Old 10-09-2017, 02:24 AM
williamsbclontz williamsbclontz is offline
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

The best part is once you get your creativity up on a small kit you can go absolutely nuts on a large one!
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  #6  
Old 10-09-2017, 06:33 AM
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

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Originally Posted by Jake943 View Post
I rarely ever hesitate when improvising a fill with a 4 piece over a 7 piece. It's not that I have to think about what I'm doing, it's just that I tend to feel the need to hit everything I can when playing subconsciously. And a four piece is much easier lug around, too. But when it comes to accessories, I tend to go crazy.
My main setup consists of a four piece, hats, ride, and crash, but with a hi-hat tambourine, jam block, cowbell, another high-pitched cowbell by my right bass drum pedal, and a 10 in piccolo snare.
This is definitely a benefit. Iíve had 2 cowbells and three blocks for a long time, but have only been able to use one at a time. Working on world beats is part of regimen now, so having them all attached is a huge plus.

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Originally Posted by williamsbclontz View Post
The best part is once you get your creativity up on a small kit you can go absolutely nuts on a large one!
I so look forward to that. Iíve had to force myself away from prog rock for now, so I donít start missing my extra toms. Will be interesting to see what tricks I could pull off when I do. That genre has been a hang up to some extent I suppose. We just had the thread about playing as close to the original as possible and kinda tough to pull some of those prog songs off without a row of toms. Realistically though, if itís just me and my practice, why have I cared so much about being true to the original? Itís the part thatís kept me from changing things till I was forced to!

Itís been said here before. Recording yourself, really helps you find the rough spots. Nothing got me to hate my playing more than playing back my recordings. It was time to grow....
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Old 10-09-2017, 06:52 AM
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

Interesting discussion. My take on the big kit vs little kit thing is on the work you are doing. If you primarily make your income from being in a cover band covering certain types of material, then that should dictate what you do. Imagine going to see a Rush tribute band, and the drummer is using only four drums? Or if you see a Rolling Stones tribute band and the drummer has two bass drums on stage?

If you're playing your own music, or doing a mixture of things with your own twist, then use what you need musically. Some guys can speak volumes with there drums, other guys can't speak at all with Carl Palmer's set. It gets back to the music you make.
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Old 10-09-2017, 07:16 AM
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

You know, I got into the small kit thing through the sheerest of laziness.

I got tired of carrying a lot of equipment to bar gigs. So, necessity required that I learn how to do what I needed to do on as few pieces of equipment as possible.
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  #9  
Old 10-09-2017, 09:59 AM
Wave Deckel Wave Deckel is offline
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

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Originally Posted by AzHeat View Post
I’ve always played 6 or 7 piece and every time I read one of these threads I would get super frustrated. Less toms were just less toms. My fils would still sound the same, because I was the one behind the kit. I have to admit that after all these years I finally get it. Not the freedom part, not the creative part, but why a smaller set was so absolutely frustrating. Every time I shed toms, it was the same thing...
Well, if you want to make a small drumset sound big, of course you have to be creative somehow. But you also need a certain set of skills to transfer that creativity onto the small drumset. Without a certain skillset, you just can't speak on drums. And this is where paradiddles etc. begin to play a bigger role. You don't have to be a genius, but you should know some of them and be able to use some of them. They allow you to speak in a different way with just a snare and two toms. You have to get out of the "box"-thinking for many classic tom fills that we know from 80's rock, where you start on the snare, then run down all your toms, hitting each four times, until you reach the floortom and end it all with a crash. Tadadadadadadadadadadada-Pchhhhh!

This basic but widespread pattern cannot (and imo should not) be applied on a 4pc set very often, for obvious reasons. So you have to rethink the music, the fills and spread the hits differently on snare, tom and floortom, using one of them for a stronger accent maybe. Dynamics become important here, too. You might also end up not playing 1-2-3-4 but 1-e-a-2-a-3-4-e in a fill. If you listen closely to some popular drummers that use 4pc setups, like Joe Morello or Ash Soan, you can learn a lot about how fill patterns can be created, how they can sound, melt with the music. Listen closely and study them and you will get to know the little things that make fills special on a 4pc set.

For some, it will take longer to adapt to a 4pc-set. For others, the transistion will be faster. Don't rush yourself. Take your time. And keep your eyes and ears open, be open to new ideas. Sometimes something "silly" leads to something great in the end.

Quote:
Oh and one more thing! Less cymbals aren’t the same thing, unless I’m missing something there too!
Ugh, you might hate me now, but - you are missing something there, too. :-D

You can get many different sound out of a cymbal and the patterns you play on them are also numerous and have an effect on the "versatility" of a cymbal. Dynamics is again a very important part here (and many people do not care enough about dynamics on drums imo).

Do the following: Take one of your rides and just play that cymbal, explore its many facets. There is a bell, there is the upper bow, there is the middle section, the lower ow. You can play it with wood and nylon tips, brushes, mallets, rods, you can crash it, using the upper part of the stickshaft for a cutting sound and also the lower part of the stickshaft, which will result in a mellower, warmer sound. You can add a sizzlechain to it. You can put a bling ring on it and so on... Many many many sounds can be created with just one cymbal. Give it a try. ;-) Hihat, Ride and 1 or 2 crashes is all you need 95% of the time.

But in the end: We are all different. Some won't feel comfy with a 4pc. Nothing bad at that. Some people will always have problems with big drumsets. Nothing wrong with that. To each his own. Just keep your mind open and everything is cool.
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  #10  
Old 10-09-2017, 02:40 PM
LeftySlammer92 LeftySlammer92 is offline
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

I'm experiencing some of that too. I played a big 10 piece kit for about 7 years (kind of a Neil Peart/Phil Collins type rig, 4 rack toms, 3 floor toms, gong drum, the works lol), and having to downsize to a 5 piece kit for practicality's sake. Of course my setup shifted from that to 12,14,16,22 which wasn't so bad, since that was the core of my setup anyway, but now with my new kit the setup is 10,12,16,22 which is different since it's such a departure from what my "core kit" has been for as long as I can remember.

I feel like bigger kits just make you feel like a better drummer, but when you take all of it away, you have to find different ways to accomplish the same thing. Of course, every time you change, you also have to allot yourself time to get used to all of it as well.
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  #11  
Old 10-09-2017, 02:45 PM
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

For me playing a smaller kit is all about counting and spacing. Someone above recommended rudiments, but IMO that gets old on the ears fast especially if it isn't split across different drums. If you've got it a technical fill here or there isn't bad. I recommend getting some independence exercises to practice the accents.

I was at big open concert the other day Octobierfest, the music is too loud so I stand near the back, all I could hear were vocals and crashes, so IMO the rest was just there for the looks.
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Old 10-09-2017, 02:48 PM
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
Interesting discussion. My take on the big kit vs little kit thing is on the work you are doing. If you primarily make your income from being in a cover band covering certain types of material, then that should dictate what you do. Imagine going to see a Rush tribute band, and the drummer is using only four drums? Or if you see a Rolling Stones tribute band and the drummer has two bass drums on stage?
Yup, it's more about having the right tools for the job.
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Old 10-09-2017, 03:30 PM
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

I never understood why there has to be 2 mindsets. I think the same no matter what kit is in front of me. The only difference is more or less targets. What I feel the music needs changes not, if I'm on a 3 piece set or an 8 piece set. Obviously I can't do a big hero fill around the kit with a 3 piece, but I can play the exact same fill using less drums and it would still work as well as the same fill played over 5 toms. Sometimes it even works better on less drums.

Same thing with trad grip. Some guys feel music differently according to their grip. Which is cool. It's never been a thing with me, I feel it how I feel it. My grip is a utilitarian choice, not a musical choice for me.

But everyone is different. Everyone must seek their own path, no 2 of us are alike.
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Old 10-09-2017, 03:36 PM
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

Thanks All for your input. Part of my post sounds very simplistic. Itís like well duhhhhh! Itís a bit more than that though. Of course you can break up fills into more than the around the house 4 hits per tom for the big finish. Iíve done this for years, but I guess the bigger set and prog rock helped me hide and also get super frustrated with the changes. Iíd read how liberating a 4pc is and how it makes you creative and Iíd go from 10 - snare - 12 - snare - kick - 14 -16 - kick - snare on my ful set to snare 12 - kick - snare - 16 and uh oh! It all sounds exactly the same no matter what I do, and most of it sounded like pfpfpftttt.

Then Iíd start thinking how in the word does anyone actually keep true to the song like they say they do and pull it off on a small set. I finally realized you donít. Thereís really no way to, but you can create the illusion with dynamics and a decent set of skills. Of course you wouldnít try and replicate a rush song on a 4pc live. Before Iíd just add the toms in and say to each his own. Now Iím actually just pausing the music and saying to hell with the original, can I develop the feel with what I have and sit there for an hour.

I think itís the claim of true to original Iíve been struggling with, until it hit me. Itís not the actual fill, but the message the fill conveyed. Can it be said the same way using less without sounding mechanical, repetitive and just plain boring! Iíve discovered, yes, but have to shed the true to original piece, unless in a tribute band. Thatís where the disconnect was. Play for perfection, or communicate? Once I was over the it has to sound exactly like the original and started working in my sticking, suddenly the extra toms were nice to haves and not necessities. I think thatís where the bulb went off for me.

Wave Deckl, I totally get the different sound from cymbals thing, but while my ride can give me a lower crash sound than my 17 and 18, itís still not the same as the short trashy sound of my ozone. I can sort of replicate the short hit of a China on the hats too, but I just donít feel their in the same category as shedding toms. To me when you show up with hats a crash and a ride, unless itís a real small venue, I keep hearing the same psssst, ping, and whoosh over and over. Itís much more exhausting than hearing someone break down a nice fill on a small kit. Youíre just hitting them far too frequently, unless itís something like a piano bar where the big crash and ride are so mellow and warm, I just want to eat them!
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Old 10-09-2017, 04:22 PM
Wave Deckel Wave Deckel is offline
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

Of course a Hihat is not a China. But a 12" tom ain't a Gong-tom either. They are different instruments/voices that can or rather need to be used in a different way. Just like with toms, you need to think outside the box when using less cymbals. And no, even if you only have 2 crashes and a ride and some hats, it doesn't have to sound "boring" and "always the same". :-) And you should of course think about which cymbal will be a good fit in your setup and which don't. Sometimes you might want to use all cymbals from one series, sometimes from diffferent ones.

Just a quick and dirty example of how you can get different sounds out of three cymbals. Mark Guiliana is pretty good at that. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsf9dQuAIY4

Now is that really boring, monotonous? I guess the audience would say "nope, that's pretty cool". :-)

Last edited by Wave Deckel; 10-09-2017 at 04:33 PM.
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Old 10-09-2017, 04:31 PM
beyondbetrayal beyondbetrayal is offline
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

I like to learn on my small kit. when you can't do the "around the world" fills hitting the toms in succession it forces you to do linear stuff or move around back and fourth. Once I have a fill/pattern down like as no ones business adding in the other toms make use them being creative..

I played a gig a bit ago and the drummer who was sharing gear said he wouldn't be able to play as it was a 4 piece kit and not a 5. I said the patterns are the same you just need to change the placement but he had a very hard time with it. I noticed he was the 16th note 4 on each drum kindof guy, but still.

I used to play an 11 piece kit, going down to a small kit made me much more creative as I wanted different sounds and to not sound repetitive. Another thing that was game changing was all the left hand lead and accents I do. groups of 3,5,7, and over the barline stuff.
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Old 10-09-2017, 05:26 PM
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

I prefer small kits and have for a while now. I tend not to need additional toms or cymbals for the stuff i play. 2 things i realized: 1) 80-90% of my playing is done on the kick, snare, ride, and hi-hat. 2) the less gear i haul the quicker it is to breakdown so i get a chance talk with the people who have been so kind as to come out for the gig.. I want to address your point about cymbals. this depends on the quality and size in my experience. If you have a decently large and thin cymbal you can get an astounding variety of sounds out of it based on how you hit it. If you are using smaller or thicker cymbals they tend to be more one dimensional. I prefer to have hats and 2 cymbals.
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Old 10-09-2017, 05:37 PM
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

I think it's nice to have a big kit to select your small kit needs. I have played gigs with just one floor tom was all I needed, most just needed two toms (but I like a choice of 10" with 14" toms, and a 12 or 13 with a 16 tom, and then the rare four tom or more set up. Having a larger (22-26) and smaller kick(16-20) are nice options to have for picking your needs. But I like playing smaller kits.
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Old 10-09-2017, 05:46 PM
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

It's a great feeling when you figure that you can play anything on a 4/5 piece. I remember guys saying that to me when I was in my teens and I never got it until I started gigging lots and having lessons.

I've never looked back other than a Genesis tribute which was more for looks than anything else but was built around a 5 piece like Phil Collins.

I always feel a bit overwhelmed on a bigger kit but bigger kits are easier to play just harder to lug around!
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Old 10-09-2017, 06:55 PM
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

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Originally Posted by AzHeat View Post
I didn’t realize the appeal until I started taking lessons. A few sessions in and blamo! I suck!
Congrats on the revelation. Some guys go their whole lives without having to face their limitations. Now it's just many hours or practice ahead of you but practice is fun. Getting better and looking back on how far you're come is even more fun! My favorite part is pulling off a nice groove or fill that you wouldn't
have be able to play before.

Who did you find for lessons? Someone on the East Valley?
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Old 10-09-2017, 07:20 PM
LeftySlammer92 LeftySlammer92 is offline
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

I agree wholeheartedly about setting up for the music, but if you're writing your own music, the choice is really up to you.

Dave Weckl plays on pretty much a standard 5-piece kit and can still dazzle people, but he tends to break his fills up a lot so he really gets more out of his 5 drums.

Neil Peart uses more stuff, but also plays sweeping tom fills that span the whole kit, and in newer Rush stuff, he pretty much uses a 4-piece kit with the other toms used significantly less than before.
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Old 10-09-2017, 07:53 PM
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

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Congrats on the revelation. Some guys go their whole lives without having to face their limitations. Now it's just many hours or practice ahead of you but practice is fun. Getting better and looking back on how far you're come is even more fun! My favorite part is pulling off a nice groove or fill that you wouldn't
have be able to play before.

Who did you find for lessons? Someone on the East Valley?
I looked up Dom as you suggested. Like everything about the guy. I will hit him up in a couple of years. I went with Mike Johnstonís online lessons for now and just loving it. So much to explore. In a couple of years I figure Iíll be along far enough, that Dom will make a whole lot more sense.

Iíve really never enjoyed sitting and doing patters until their was a goal presented with something tangible to attain by stepping through. Iíve spent hours in boredom trying to force myself through rudiments, but with an app I hat I can change things around in I can practice something, change it to a swing or shuffle, add a kick in odd places, suddenly, I lost interest in playing covers. Iím so intrigued with the possibilities that practice is actually more fun.

Itís not the small kit vs big kit thing thatís been revolutionizing, itís knowing I can finally not want to jump off a cliff when you take away a tom!
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Old 10-09-2017, 07:58 PM
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

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Originally Posted by Wave Deckel View Post

Just a quick and dirty example of how you can get different sounds out of three cymbals. Mark Guiliana is pretty good at that. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsf9dQuAIY4

Now is that really boring, monotonous? I guess the audience would say "nope, that's pretty cool". :-)
I so want to listen to this, but at a conference. Iím sure itís amazing and canít wait to hear it. I love my HHX Evos too much to stare shedding any of them. I donít however feel I need to take all of them on a gig to feel complete. Not the same hook in my mouth that there wa with giving up a ton or two!
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Old 10-09-2017, 08:52 PM
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

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I looked up Dom as you suggested. Like everything about the guy.
Yay! Happy to help. You'll get a lot out of lessons with Don. Within 5 minutes of meeting me he pointed out some issues with my hand technique that were holding me back.
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Old 10-10-2017, 12:26 AM
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

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Originally Posted by Wave Deckel View Post

Just a quick and dirty example of how you can get different sounds out of three cymbals. Mark Guiliana is pretty good at that. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsf9dQuAIY4

Now is that really boring, monotonous? I guess the audience would say "nope, that's pretty cool". :-)
Well, that was pretty darned cool. No doubt the mellow tones keeps them from being so in your face and obvious. Kinda hard to argue with that, but Iím still going to say if the style of music really only lent itself to repeated crashes, they would still be obvious. Pretty amazing as demonstrated though. Canít hardly pull that off with small heavy cymbals!
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Old 10-10-2017, 12:54 AM
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
I never understood why there has to be 2 mindsets. I think the same no matter what kit is in front of me. The only difference is more or less targets. What I feel the music needs changes not, if I'm on a 3 piece set or an 8 piece set. Obviously I can't do a big hero fill around the kit with a 3 piece, but I can play the exact same fill using less drums and it would still work as well as the same fill played over 5 toms. Sometimes it even works better on less drums.

Same thing with trad grip. Some guys feel music differently according to their grip. Which is cool. It's never been a thing with me, I feel it how I feel it. My grip is a utilitarian choice, not a musical choice for me.

But everyone is different. Everyone must seek their own path, no 2 of us are alike.
I never felt I had to hit something just because I was there, but the how do I make it sound right when stuff is removed. With some styles it’s simply a non issue. It was mostly the hang up on prog rock that would make me go right back to my old ways in frustration. I had to do two things to get off that hang up. 1. Stop it with prog rock dictating “you need that or else”. 2. Had to stop thinking “I need that” to be true to the original.

It all started with a question I asked in one of Mike Johnston’s lessons about staying true to original big fills tracks on a small kit. He showed how you can play the “feel” without playing the fill and did In The Air Tonight and Tom Sawyer on two toms and my hang up was shattered. It sounded amazing and proved it was doable in the right feel, even if not the exact fill. I had no excuses at that point. All the years of “I need” was replaced with “ no you don’t! Shut up and learn!” No amount of saying it or reading about it proved I could be done like seeing it first hand.

Some may be exposed to great drummers and bands locally and see cover tunes played on minimalist kits. Out here, as I’ve posted before, cover bands love playing the same dead songs over and over and play them poorly, so I just hadn’t seen it till recently. As Yoda would say, live in a cave you do!

Last edited by AzHeat; 10-10-2017 at 01:09 AM.
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  #27  
Old 10-10-2017, 02:26 AM
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Dr_Watso Dr_Watso is offline
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

Fantastic! But I think I read back there that you don't think you'd feel the same way about cymbal use...

Definitely do not feel that's the case.

I challenge thee. Strip down and use only your most versatile cymbal in the traditional ride spot. Not only will you automatically get better at "reaching" across the kit to your right for a "crash" sound, you'll also get positive gains from the new need to pay closer attention to how you're sticking the various ideas you have. Since you can't fall back on a crash at either side of the kit, you'll have to orchestrate your movements so you can easily hit that cymbal when you want to. Additionally, you'll learn the hell out of that pie and get used to controlling it's different sounds because it's literally one of your only options to express with. Lastly, you'll start to utilize the high hats more as accents and even crash replacements, and this type of thinking on your feet is exactly what we're after.

Welcome to the enlightened club! =P

Also, never forget, another option, is space. You can be just as creative choosing not to play certain notes as you can choosing when to play them. Smaller kit practice also gives us ample opportunity to put more air in our playing.
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Old 10-10-2017, 11:55 AM
mikel mikel is offline
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

I did it years ago. I practiced with just snare, BD and HH, that's all.

I played the songs in our set, at home, with just those elements of the kit. It was a revelation. How many different sounds can I get out of the snare? How can I still make the groove sound interesting? How many sounds can I get out of the HH using the bell, mid, edge, open closed etc. Using the rim of the snare, the possibilities are huge when you HAVE to use your imagination.

After a month I added a crash ride to the basic setup and I felt like I had another whole pallet of sounds available. I then added a tom and it felt like I had endless possibilities, all because of one extra drum, but a drum I now knew I could get lots of sounds out of.

Try it. Sometimes a huge kit just gets in the way of one of the important aspects of drumming, CREATIVITY.
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Old 10-10-2017, 03:00 PM
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AzHeat AzHeat is offline
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

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2 things i realized: 1) 80-90% of my playing is done on the kick, snare, ride, and hi-hat. 2) the less gear i haul the quicker it is to breakdown so i get a chance talk with the people who have been so kind as to come out for the gig.. I want to address your point about cymbals. this depends on the quality and size in my experience. If you have a decently large and thin cymbal you can get an astounding variety of sounds out of it based on how you hit it. If you are using smaller or thicker cymbals they tend to be more one dimensional. I prefer to have hats and 2 cymbals.
That depends on the genre, but agreed. One of my favorite songs to play has been Mental Hopscotch. I had that song in the bag years ago. Really easy to play with a 3 up set up with the ride at the end of the rack toms. Hits acros all three toms and nail the ride bell as the last hit. Taking away a tom an moving the ride to a lower position was something my shoulders thanked me for, but that song went to hell! It took me a while to get fast enough with my left leading across the toms, but the ride was in an awkward position, but I could still nail the bell and get out of the way fast enough. Take away one more tom and I now only have a 1U/1D or 2D setup. Now I have to relearn the song again, which takes even more time to travel between toms, with the potential to turn myself into a pretzel finishing the same fill. That song really moves, so a snare, 12, 16, ride combination, compared to the original 8, 10, 12, ride combo is just night and day. Doable, but it has taken a while. Higher rack toms was another thing that had to go. I just couldnít hit them with my left and not get the rim.

Itís been an ongoing transition. Too much of this and on went the rack toms again. It was just too much, too fast.

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Originally Posted by GetAgrippa View Post
I think it's nice to have a big kit to select your small kit needs. I have played gigs with just one floor tom was all I needed, most just needed two toms (but I like a choice of 10" with 14" toms, and a 12 or 13 with a 16 tom, and then the rare four tom or more set up. Having a larger (22-26) and smaller kick(16-20) are nice options to have for picking your needs. But I like playing smaller kits.
Man I wish. The longer Iíve been searching for a new upgraded set, the more Iím struck with the reality that nicer kits just donít come in ĒallĒ sizes. Well, they sort of do by way of special order, but one extra tom can be half the price of the entire set. Very few options outside of a 5pc going up the chain. Saturn and Starclassic B/B is All I can think of in a 2U/2D configuration. The Starclassic Maples and Renowns are never seen with a second FT and an add on will put you squarely in Brooklyn territory. This limitation is another reason for seeing if I can do with less. It just opens up acquisition possibilities!
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Old 10-11-2017, 09:01 PM
BruceW BruceW is offline
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

I have a smaller kit that I use in some of the smaller venues we play in around here. 20" kick, 8-10-14 toms. I use both the 8 and 10 toms, cuz going with one less doesn't really shrink the footprint much. Depending on the venue and the material we're playing, I might go with 16" and 18" crashes and a 20" ride, or add another crash and a china for the more aggressive material. The last gig I did with this kit, it was just the smaller combination of cymbals.

After the gig, I found myself wanting to get an even smaller kit for those sorts of gigs....maybe one of those with the 18" kick...

It was a revelation for me. I always enjoy playing my full size 5-piece kit with all the cymbals. I really enjoyed playing that gig with the smaller stripped down kit.

Options. (And getting to get more gear, lol)
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Old 10-12-2017, 03:51 AM
williamsbclontz williamsbclontz is offline
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

I've seen Steve Jordan playing a few gigs recently with just a snare drum, bass drum, ride and hi hat. The fills he plays inbetween the snare and bass and open hi hat are actually pretty cool too. Just an example of how little you actually need to still be able to pull off some cool tricks, doubt he'd ever use that kit extensively though
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Old 10-12-2017, 05:26 AM
gf2564 gf2564 is offline
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

Perhaps someone should define the term "Creative"..........is it only considered "creative" if it is done on a small kit?
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Old 10-12-2017, 11:51 AM
mikel mikel is offline
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

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Perhaps someone should define the term "Creative"..........is it only considered "creative" if it is done on a small kit?

Not at all. The point I was making was that with only the bare basics you have to be creative with every element of the kit to produce different sounds and textures, you cant simply hit another drum or cymbal. So when you add another drum or cymbal into the mix it opens up a world of possibilities. I was not talking groove or chop creative, simply sounds and textures.

The size of the kit is meaningless, its what you do with it.
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Old 10-12-2017, 02:31 PM
gf2564 gf2564 is offline
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

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Not at all. The point I was making was that with only the bare basics you have to be creative with every element of the kit to produce different sounds and textures, you cant simply hit another drum or cymbal. So when you add another drum or cymbal into the mix it opens up a world of possibilities. I was not talking groove or chop creative, simply sounds and textures.

The size of the kit is meaningless, its what you do with it.
I wasn't trying to be argumentative nor directing my comment to any one specifically. I have just read so many of these type threads and the common theme many times seems to suggest that it "forces you to be more creative" if you have just the small kit. So, just to play devil's advocate, I would argue that it is also being "creative" when you are making sounds or textures with more options and possible even more so with these additional options.......just another point of view that I rarely hear mentioned when this topic comes up (almost weekly!).
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Old 10-12-2017, 03:17 PM
mikel mikel is offline
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

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Originally Posted by gf2564 View Post
I wasn't trying to be argumentative nor directing my comment to any one specifically. I have just read so many of these type threads and the common theme many times seems to suggest that it "forces you to be more creative" if you have just the small kit. So, just to play devil's advocate, I would argue that it is also being "creative" when you are making sounds or textures with more options and possible even more so with these additional options.......just another point of view that I rarely hear mentioned when this topic comes up (almost weekly!).

No , I made the same point. If you spend time "Practicing" with the bare basics It forces you to look for different ways to get more sounds out of EVERY element of any kit. If its all you have to hit you either play it so simple as to bore yourself witless, or you become more creative. Then when you play or gig with your full kit the possibilities are endless.

If you have a 20 blade knife you look through it to find the obvious one for the job. If you only have a single blade knife you have to find a way to make it do the job. That's creativity.
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Old 10-12-2017, 05:46 PM
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Tamaefx Tamaefx is online now
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

Small kit versus big kit often take a snobish way.
"I can be more creative on a 4 pieces / 2 cymbals set than you on your 7 pieces, 8 cymbals sets".
It's really a matter of needs, ability and musical style. If the song needs twin bass work or china sound, or work on tom, it needs it - stop.
I like playing small kit - it's not a problem for me, I do adapt myself.
But, being what I am, and what I play - if I can, I prefer having my china, my 4 toms and twin pedal ; and that doesn't mean I use my china splash on every song, and that i play single strokes on every toms before every chorus ;-).
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Old 10-12-2017, 06:17 PM
Drumolator Drumolator is offline
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

I like playing a 4x4 kit: four drums, four cymbals (hats counting as one). I have been doing it for so long that anything else seems like too much. But we never play Rush songs. Peace and goodwill.
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Old 10-12-2017, 06:35 PM
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Bo Eder Bo Eder is offline
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

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I like playing a 4x4 kit: four drums, four cymbals (hats counting as one). I have been doing it for so long that anything else seems like too much. But we never play Rush songs. Peace and goodwill.
I guess I must be playing a 4x2 kit? Four drums and just hats and a crash/ride most times!
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Old 10-12-2017, 07:58 PM
gf2564 gf2564 is offline
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

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Originally Posted by mikel View Post
No , I made the same point. If you spend time "Practicing" with the bare basics It forces you to look for different ways to get more sounds out of EVERY element of any kit. If its all you have to hit you either play it so simple as to bore yourself witless, or you become more creative. Then when you play or gig with your full kit the possibilities are endless.

If you have a 20 blade knife you look through it to find the obvious one for the job. If you only have a single blade knife you have to find a way to make it do the job. That's creativity.
I hear you and don't totally disagree........I guess, in some instances, there is a fine line between being "forced to be creative" and being "forced to settle" because that is all you have/brought! Like many have said, the music should dictate how you play.

Over the fifty five years I have been playing on and off, I have used four, five, six, seven and eight piece kits. About 10 years or so I settled with two up and two down and that is what I feel most comfortable with. I have also tried hard to resist the mentality of "hit it because it is there"! That does come with musical maturity I suppose. I currently have a four piece set at one practice place, a five in another and my main six piece at home. (I let a former band mate "borrow" my eight piece; doubt I will ever see that again!) While it is interesting to revisit the different configurations as I go from one kit to another, the six piece feels most natural.

For ME, I have not found that the smaller kits make me feel any more creative at all, but to each, their own. I don't play out as much as I used to but the venues I do play have a pretty easy load in/out. Because of this, even at 62, I don't mind making an extra trip to the car to get that extra tom or two.
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Old 10-12-2017, 08:16 PM
dmacc dmacc is offline
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Default Re: I finally get this small kit thing!!!

At what point is a small kit no longer small?

I've played gigs with snare, bass, ride and hi-hats. I've played gigs with 6 piece sets. All of my gigs within the last 20 years has been on 4 pieces.

Most times I have a 4 piece set up. Lately it's been 6 piece.

I fail to see where small = more creativity or where more = less.

Just because I have a bigger hammer doesn't mean I make bigger furniture.

How about cymbals? Does one make me more creative than 2? Am I more creative when I have 1 crash set up versus 3?

It's music... our instrument is the voice. We hopefully convey music with it no matter what the setup option we chose at the time.
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