A Lesser Kit For Gigging?


Platinum Member
It's a daft idea, I know. You buy your (current) 'forever' kit, and then plot a beater kit for playing out. How stoopid is that?

My kit is a Mapex Saturn, which I like very much indeed. Last night my band played a pub gig, which included the offer of a house kit. The house kit was beaten almost beyond recognition, and was utterly crap. BUT, it did mean that I didn't have to pack a kit, and for that I was grateful.

So today I find myself contemplating a beater kit for occasions when set up time and stage space are limited. Possibly a 1 up, 1 down setup with a 20" bass drum.

Anybody gone down this route? And was it worth owning a backup kit that was miles less good than your main kit?

Have at it...


Platinum Member
Anybody gone down this route?

Plenty. And plenty on this very forum.

I've never been one of them though. I guess I just enjoy playing my shit too much to leave it at home.

That said, most of my money is in snare drums and cymbals. The newer kits I've dragged all over hell's creation have been intermediate level. I have often gigged vintage kits that have great sentimental value to me though, so it's not a complete case of not practicing what I preach.


Senior Member
Yes. My main kit is a DW Collectors kit. I play it at most of my gigs. However, I have 2 lesser kits. One is a Sonor Safari kit (16" kick) for when I a) have limited space, or b) Am carpooling w/ band members. The other kit is a 70s stencil kit (20" kick) that actually sounds good but isn't the prettiest.

If I needed a good quality kit but didn't want to take the DWs, I'd take my Tama Granstar kit. I've kept it in great shape and it still sounds awesome -but it's heavy.


Platinum Member
This is standard practice in my neck of the woods. I myself drag around a kit that is "worse" than my bigger "main" kit. It's nice to not worry about anything.

On rare occasion or for a really good gig where I think it will matter sometimes I still bring out the more expensive kit. But in general literally nobody gives two craps about my drum kit.

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
It's not a general thing.

It depends on the band and type of venues. I wouldn't bring the nicest stuff where there's beer being thrown around and little rspect and/or care for gear.

Also, if it's a cover band playing every weekend it's nice to just have one that lives in the band's van.

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I hate using "lesser" drums for a gig. They can be smaller, or there can be less of them, but they cannot be "lesser". All my stuff has to work and sound great - I'm always interested in putting my best foot forward. That's why I buy those things - to play them in front of an audience.

Yes, I can play pretty much any drum set, and have often used whatever was available if my direction was to not bring my own stuff. But if I'm going out on my own and bringing my own gear, I tend to use the best stuff I have.


Silver Member
A few years ago when I was gigging/touring, I had a 1965 Ludwig set in white marine pearl that was my beater kit. (It was a player's kit to be sure.) While the kit was fine and sounded nice, literally every time I gigged with it, I would find myself longing for my "good" kit. I finally sold the vintage Ludwig and played my C&C kit exclusively for gigs/tours.

I just found that if I wasn't too precious about my gear, I could enjoy just playing and enjoy the sound of the music.


Gold Member
I know the DW Design and Performance series have been popular with guys with Collectors kits not wanting to them out on gigs.


Platinum Member
Did it for a year with the midtown. For the price I couldn't fault it.........but you miss the sound and quality of playing good wood. Is it a personal thing yes, does 99.9% of your audience notice or care...heck no!

I sold the midtown and got a saturn v tour kit 20/12/14. Thanks for the recommendation folks! Most bang for buck you can buy full stop, plus easy to transport.

To summarise buy a gigging Saturn, all boxes ticked!

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
When I first saw the thread title I thought you meant this...


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The kit I have is a Yamaha Stage Custom. I’ve defilitely played other people’s kits at shows and also when I practice with my band I either play the bassist’s or singer’s kit that they have at their houses that sound like absolute garbage.. It really makes me look forward to playing my own, much nicer kit at shows. The times when I do share someone else’s kit, it is honestly a little disappointing that I don’t get to use mine because I love them. That said, it is a lot of work packing them up and loading and unloading them. I think if we ever started playing shows like once a week or more, I’m going to get a second kit and probably just keep it packed up all the time and ready to go, to try to make it less work for myself. But, I’d want my second kit to be at least as nice as the one I already have. I definitely don’t want to be playing shows on some beginner tier kit that’s missing lugs or something.


Platinum Member
I own two kits - an older Stage Custom and my Ludwig Standards that I rehabbed and updated with Atlas mounts and modern bass drum spurs. I don't take the SCs out hardly at all unless the Standards are already set up somewhere. Last fall they were in the pit for a musical, all miked up and plugged in, so I took the SCs to a side gig. I don't play any places where folks are disrespectful to my drums that I can think of right offhand, so I don't mind taking my nice drums to gigs.

I honestly thought I'd gig the SCs all the time and leave the Ludwigs home, but that hasn't happened at all.
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"Uncle Larry"
I'm of the mindset, if you got it, flaunt it.

I gig my best drums, I just don't care about a ding here or a scratch there. Yes it makes no logical sense, but passion and logic are mutually exclusive in my world. It's worth it to me to share what I really dig, when I gig. Maybe I haven't been exposed to places that are not the kind of place you take a multi thousand dollar kit to. The places I play....I have no reservations about bringing my Sunday best.

Plus my drums are so unique looking, I can't keep them in solitary confinement. That would be just wrong for me. I have to let the world see them. That to me would be a waste of good money, sequestering them. But I do understand wanting to keep them safe. The thing is, nothing is safe. You could gig a beater set and your house could catch on fire. So better to use them publicly IMO. Like I said, logic and passion are mutually exclusive with me.

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
It depends on what lesser means. A used $300 Gretsch Catalina Maple I'd certainly gig with. Any Sonor. Mapex Saturn heck yeah. They're not much lesser than more expensive kits. Leave something like a Craviotto at home and gig a Catalina Maple.


Platinum Member
I'm thinking about just recording my drums for each song and then play them back as I "air drum" with my invisible drum kit. I'll tell the audience it's a real invisible kit and not some lame lip-sync like issue. You can only see them with the special glasses of which I'm out else I'd be glad to sell you for a mere $500-invisible drums are like 10 grand so you can see that the technology to see them is very expensive. Since you really want it is as more of a back up kit why not something more bop sizes-though small probably sound better than a beat up kit with bad heads. Keep them in the trunk of your car.


Gold Member
I play any of my kits at any type of gig. I like playing good sounding instruments regardless of whether they are expensive or not. I gig at least 8 times a month and add in another 4 rehearsals a month , it would be a shame to keep my favourite kits at home to gather dust. If you have a kit you like, gig it!

Darth Vater

Senior Member
Gig the good stuff. Look good, play good, feel good. I use to think it was a good idea to have a cheap kit but in the end, they sound like crap and are a waste of money and space.

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I doubt anyone's talking about playing crap, just not always the nicest stuff.

Cymbals and snare will always be good and it will be well tuned goods sounding drums.