After 33 years......I appreciate 1 Up 1 Down

River19

Senior Member
After playing 5 to 7piece kits for the past 33years and only occasionally playing a 1 up 1 down configuration for the odd jazz or small venue gig I have spent the past 4 weeks playing my kit as a 1up 1down 4pc while we redo the basement and I love it......WTF haven't I done this before?

I take back everything I may have or have not said over the years about 4pc kits.....

Normally I'm set up as 8,10,12,14,22 and now just 12,14,22......having the ride in that comfy position and eliminating that invisible pull of "you carried it all in so you have to hit it all" that tempts everyone with larger setups.

Since I'm more classic rock to Sturgill to mainstream "country" these days this setup may be here to stay for a while. The ergonomics of the setup is just fantastic.....but everyone already knew that......but me.

There I needed to admit my stupidity on the interwebs......thanks, I feel better now.....
 

TripleStroke

Senior Member
I have always fancied a 6 or 7 piece kit myself as a comfy studio kit where I don't have to move them.

Only after doing gigs for 1+ year, I realized, I am just not gonna bother with all this transportation hassle and take my 20/12/16 along for the ride. Works well for me because I can just re-adjust the way I do my RLL's and how long my triple strokes last around the kit
 
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Ghostnote

Guest
I've had bigger kits in the past, but 2 or 3 toms always ended up stacked in the corner of my drum room, so I just stick to 1 up 1 down.
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
I've been thinking about trying a 4 pc again. I normally like 5 or more. I only have 5 now anyway.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
Every time I try 1 up 1 down I'm totally lost! I do fine with some stuff, but then I try and play prog rock and trying to do a big fill split between two toms just doesn't seem to complement the music at all. I can get 4 sounds from the toms playing outside and inside edges, but something is just not the same. Every time I read threads like this I keep thinking there's just something someone hasn't told me. Sure would save me a ton of cash on my dream set!
 
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Matt Bo Eder

Guest
I keep trying to play bigger kits (currently I'm in a 2-up, 2-down config), but I grew up on a 4-piece, so I always go back to that anyway. Maybe just to have an added voice, I'll keep the two floor toms, but I play best on only four drums.

Glad you found your voice!
 
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gf2564

Guest
After fifty five years, I am still fine with hauling and setting up my six piece.....
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
More than happy with 1 up 2 down or 1 up 1 down. As long as I have the perfect ride position. The OCD kicks in if I don't.

For set up and pack down the smaller setups are always going to be better as long as you don't have a forest of cymbals or you have a stainless steel kit that weighs more than your car :)
 

River19

Senior Member
I do think style of music does play into things.....as mentioned above by a poster, prog rock or metal, particularly leaning towards the thrash or prog side probably would be where a 4pc doesn't make much sense but......

For me it currently is all about comfort and finding a new more ergonomic position to play in, as what worked fine when I was 21 is a little different at 42. I have basically played the same setup for the better part of 15-20 years.....3 up 1 down, double pedal, 2 crashes to the left 2 to the right ride above the floor tom, a couple splashes thrown in......with this current setup I was like "well, let's just start with redefining the position of the core of the setup".....back to basics like I was new, so I started with a really comfortable spot for the bass, hi hat and snare which made me realize I am over my "dugga dugga dugga" stage and the double pedal was dropped. Then I put the ride where I wanted it.....then the toms and put up one crash to the left, one to the right and a couple splashes and boom......Eureka.

I find myself now facing slightly more straight on than I was before as I was really sitting way to the left and really spread out by comparison due to the pedal setup and habit.

I have also been forced to play things differently obviously with less shit to hit and incorporate into fills......but I found myself really refining and focusing more on playing clean comfortable grooves with musical fills and finding additional "voices" on the kit......which sounds cliche' and like a bad quote from a magazine but it is true.

If/when I add toms back, I don't think my ride is going anywhere from a position perspective.
 
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JohnoWorld

Guest
I have just gone from 1 up 1 down to 2 up 1 down (10,12,14)

I have always used the 4 piece setup as a basis for my kit. Sometimes I'd add 1 rack tom to the left of the hi-hat, or to the left of the other tom.

Now I've taken ages setting up as 2 up 1 down, I don't like it.

I guess it's just because I have a 12" tom then i feel I have to use it.

Look at Neil Peart, he has essentially a 4 piece setup with bazillions of add-ons.

I have the worst shoulders know to man (4 operations) and reaching up (above the 2nd tom) or round (above the floor tom) to hit the ride is really painful.

I'm going to give it a month or so, see how much the tendonitis plays up
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Over 20 years ago, I started with a 6-piece. As our band got more and more popular, I started leaving more equipment at home.

Although I'm in a different band now, here's my current set-up. I couldn't be happier:

 

Masheanhed

Senior Member
Amen brother. I used to think I had to set up every piece of equipment I had. I found that I felt like I had to make sure I utilized everything through the course of the night whether it was needed or not. I finally realized that I was focusing on quantity rather than quality. I further came to appreciate when middle age kicked in. That ride position is a lot easier on the old worn shoulder.
 

River19

Senior Member
Now that you got that ride in a comfy spot I bet you never go back,

I know I won't!
Exactly. In the 3up 1 down config I had 2 toms mounted on the bass and a suspended 14" "floor tom"....the ride was low over the FT. Wasn't horrible for 25 years or so but damn this is SO much easier. I find myself much more open to new patterns etc. Plus that simple change literally is about an 18" difference in my right hand position while on the ride. That extra 18" reach caused more tension in my arm than I thought as the new position allows me to play so much more relaxed and with better technique especially for freer flowing quick ride patterns......much less fatigue.

Additionally my old ride location limited me to a 20" ride as a 21" or22" would put the bell even further over widening my chest up even more to play it. This position.....feels like I could put a friggin' gong there if I wanted to.

Amen brother. I used to think I had to set up every piece of equipment I had. I found that I felt like I had to make sure I utilized everything through the course of the night whether it was needed or not. I finally realized that I was focusing on quantity rather than quality. I further came to appreciate when middle age kicked in. That ride position is a lot easier on the old worn shoulder.
Eliminating that subconcious feeling that I needed to incorporate everything into my playing and fills needed a lot of "voices" has been really liberating. Again, much more than I ever thought. Now I find it more rewarding to incorporate even more dynamics into my playing and fills. It sounds stupid but now I find myself incorporating various parts of the drum into my fills vs. just the sweet spot of the toms, incorporating rims, the bells of every cymbal including my sweet new set of 15" Avedis hats etc.

Playing more musically.

I know damn near everyone has already had this eureka moment but admitting this on the web was cathartic....kinda like I needed to hear/read myself saying:

"4 Piece......I'm sorry I was a shit to you all these years and thought you were a hipster throwback fad...."
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
Exactly. In the 3up 1 down config I had 2 toms mounted on the bass and a suspended 14" "floor tom"....the ride was low over the FT. Wasn't horrible for 25 years or so but damn this is SO much easier. I find myself much more open to new patterns etc. Plus that simple change literally is about an 18" difference in my right hand position while on the ride. That extra 18" reach caused more tension in my arm than I thought as the new position allows me to play so much more relaxed and with better technique especially for freer flowing quick ride patterns......much less fatigue.

Additionally my old ride location limited me to a 20" ride as a 21" or22" would put the bell even further over widening my chest up even more to play it. This position.....feels like I could put a friggin' gong there if I wanted to.



Eliminating that subconcious feeling that I needed to incorporate everything into my playing and fills needed a lot of "voices" has been really liberating. Again, much more than I ever thought. Now I find it more rewarding to incorporate even more dynamics into my playing and fills. It sounds stupid but now I find myself incorporating various parts of the drum into my fills vs. just the sweet spot of the toms, incorporating rims, the bells of every cymbal including my sweet new set of 15" Avedis hats etc.

Playing more musically.

I know damn near everyone has already had this eureka moment but admitting this on the web was cathartic....kinda like I needed to hear/read myself saying:

"4 Piece......I'm sorry I was a shit to you all these years and thought you were a hipster throwback fad...."
So, I agree with all of your points. I shed the 8" tom after moving my ride over the bass drum for the same reasons you mentioned. Just too much of a stretch and once I got my 21" ride, that extra one inch was enough to constitute a move. Reading your post about incorporating the different parts of the drums, rims, bells, etc., into a fill has been something that I've done for years and didn't need to reduce the number to explore. That said, tom positioning does make it way easier to incorporate rims, especially if they can be moved into a flatter position. With three rack toms, I was forced to accept more angles, so it was tougher to do rim shots across the toms. With 2 up, I was able to get the toms a bit closer and flatter. A 1 up configuration with 12" on a stand would get things flatter yet, though I'm not sure it would add any value, since my rack toms are pretty low and flat as is and my hi hats where comfortable. I have zero issues getting to my 16" FT without twisting. It's just there, so stripping it, would only make sense If I had to save stage space. I get the whole less is more thing, but sometimes less is less.

I don't mean to be negative here, but really trying to understand why everyone feels liberated stripping things off and having limited voices, when it frustrates the hell out of me. Next fad I'll be reading here is I bought a spongbob kit and added a 30" crash/ride and never realized how limited I was with a traditional 4 pc! I'm so musical now....

I guess I'm an old dog, so new tricks have to be beaten in!!!
 

River19

Senior Member
So, I agree with all of your points. I shed the 8" tom after moving my ride over the bass drum for the same reasons you mentioned. Just too much of a stretch and once I got my 21" ride, that extra one inch was enough to constitute a move. Reading your post about incorporating the different parts of the drums, rims, bells, etc., into a fill has been something that I've done for years and didn't need to reduce the number to explore. That said, tom positioning does make it way easier to incorporate rims, especially if they can be moved into a flatter position. With three rack toms, I was forced to accept more angles, so it was tougher to do rim shots across the toms. With 2 up, I was able to get the toms a bit closer and flatter. A 1 up configuration with 12" on a stand would get things flatter yet, though I'm not sure it would add any value, since my rack toms are pretty low and flat as is and my hi hats where comfortable. I have zero issues getting to my 16" FT without twisting. It's just there, so stripping it, would only make sense If I had to save stage space. I get the whole less is more thing, but sometimes less is less.

I don't mean to be negative here, but really trying to understand why everyone feels liberated stripping things off and having limited voices, when it frustrates the hell out of me. Next fad I'll be reading here is I bought a spongbob kit and added a 30" crash/ride and never realized how limited I was with a traditional 4 pc! I'm so musical now....

I guess I'm an old dog, so new tricks have to be beaten in!!!
Well, I can only speak for myself here......but 30+ years builds a lot of patterns and habits around a kit, at least it did for me. Having "more shit to hit" partly established those patterns and habits. So really the added "musicality" is just due to looking at the kit differently than I have for 20+ years. It wasn't that I never incorporated rims, bells etc. into my playing over the years, just those options took a distant backseat to the "more shit to hit" buffet in front of me.

I would maintain it isn't a fad per se....it is more like a point in a process for some people much like a chef goes through....where coming out of culinary school they are making complicated dishes with exotic ingredients because they can and are trying to build a reputation as a technician etc. then after X years they strip it all down in a back to basics approach where they "highlight the quality of the ingredients" vs. having 30 elements in a single dish.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
After playing 5 to 7piece kits for the past 33years and only occasionally playing a 1 up 1 down configuration for the odd jazz or small venue gig I have spent the past 4 weeks playing my kit as a 1up 1down 4pc while we redo the basement and I love it......WTF haven't I done this before?

I take back everything I may have or have not said over the years about 4pc kits.....

Normally I'm set up as 8,10,12,14,22 and now just 12,14,22......having the ride in that comfy position and eliminating that invisible pull of "you carried it all in so you have to hit it all" that tempts everyone with larger setups.

Since I'm more classic rock to Sturgill to mainstream "country" these days this setup may be here to stay for a while. The ergonomics of the setup is just fantastic.....but everyone already knew that......but me.

There I needed to admit my stupidity on the interwebs......thanks, I feel better now.....
Welcome to the club. It's great that you've figured out the indisputable fact of how small kits are better than big kits.
 

DrummerCA35

Senior Member
That's totally cool. I know there are a lot of advantages of a kit like that.

For me, though I could never get used to it, try as I might. For me, just having that extra tom (two up one down) feels sooo much better, though I of course don't use each tom in every fill.
 
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