Are You a Tweeker or No?

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Inspired by Bo's ergonomics thread, moreover this statement in said thread:

For me, proper ergonomics are not just a matter of comfort, but playing ability as well[.]
This got me thinking. Are comfort and ability related to my drumming? For me it's a resounding yes. Because of this, I'm constantly tweaking stuff. Have been for close to 30 years now. Move this drum a 1/4", tilt and lower that cymbal a hair, so on and so forth. I don't mess with my seat height. That's about the only untouchable, the rest is fair game. And it's all because if I move this here, it makes getting there easier, if that makes sense. All in my quest for easier speed. I move things ever so slightly all the time.

The downside is, because of this, I have a difficult time playing any kit but mine. Everything is so exact in where I want it, every other drumset feels wrong. My muscle memory must be converted into thought. I don't wanna think and drum, just drum.

So are you a tweeker? Or maybe a set and forget? Perhaps you move stuff so much it doesn't matter anymore? What say you DW, is feeling good good enough or it's never good enough and I can't leave it alone?
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Interesting topic. Nothing could be more individualistic, or more vital, than one's setup.

I play a four-piece configuration. My bass is virgin, my tom in a snare stand. That leaves my snare and floor tom, as well my high-hat, ride, and three crashes. I haven't altered this arrangement, either in position or height, in a very long time. It's my ideal layout. Everything is comfortable and readily accessible. I know every inch of it with my eyes closed. Muscle memory makes finding my way around the kit a subconscious operation.

Many years ago, I was quite a tweaker. Now I don't give it much thought.
 
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beatdat

Senior Member
Every. Single. Day.

I swear, I never thought a 1/4" could drive me so mad. But it does. Snare height, snare angle, throne distance, bass drum angle, hi-hat height, tom height, tom angle, tom distance, ride placement, ride height, ride angle, cymbal.. well, you get the picture. Anyway, you name it, I'm probably still fussing over it. And not just as a matter of comfort. Oh, no, if everything's not set up Just. The. Way. I. Want. It, then I can't frickin' play - or at least I tell myself that.

But not my throne. That pretty much stays put. Same with my pedal adjustments. Thank God for that...
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Nah, I just like a kit to be setup in the "usual" manner and as long as things aren't setup too high I can roll with it. When stuff is too high it drastically raises my chances for hitting rims when I want to hit drums and also for catching sticks and losing them. Other than that I'd rather play music than mess with gear. I also don't like being "locked in" and only feeling comfortable when things are "just so", so I prefer to go with the flow usually. It's helped so many times when I roll up to a city venue with broken adjustments and missing toms and the whole laundry list. I just play the music.

I guess I'm also a little finicky about not having the hi-hats too low.
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
I'm constantly rearranging cymbals. Mostly trying to get the aux hihat in the best place relative to the ride. But when either of those gets moved, my RH crash and china have to move too.
I'm also always trying different tom and bass tunings, and after 10 years I'm still going back and forth between my Tama and Axis pedals about every month, because surely this time the other one is the one I will like best.
 

beatdat

Senior Member
For those who do tweek, is it a once in a while thing, does it come and go in phases, or is it an all the time thing? Anyone tweak just for kicks?

Asking for a friend.
 

Juniper

Gold Member
No, as I know what personally works for me after playing all these years.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tinkered throughout the years to get to that stage but these days if something is moved it’s because I’ve introduced something new to my setup and I’ve accommodated that.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
I'm kinda both. I have a "basic" set up that I find comfortable but I also like to play around with different set ups.

I spent a period about 10-12 years ago where I re-evaluated literally everything about my drumming. I was really unhappy with my playing and decided I needed to start from scratch and toss out almost everything I "knew" about drumming. I tore down my whole set up and stopped trying to make my body fit the drums and instead placed everything around me where each piece should go. It not only helped me feel a lot more comfortable, and it made me a lot more aware of what my ideal set up should be. It also helped me know how to adjust myself to play on other kits with different set ups, even if they aren't the way I'd set them up.

Since then about once a year I still go back and tear everything down, take off the memory locks and rebuild the whole kit from scratch. I see it as a chance to refresh how I think and approach my set up.

I actually just did a tear down/rebuild last week and a full retune yesterday. I have all these tom toms lying around and since I'm kinda bored right now I thought it would be fun to go back to a big 'ol seven tom kit again.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
The short answer is yes - I kinda mess with the tiny adjustments all the time. I find my body just feels different on different days, and so things get tweaked. To play my very best, or perhaps to stretch beyond my everyday best, things have to be just so.

That said, I can sit down and play competently on any kit, pretty much. Just not my best...
 

Xeno

Member
When I added a rack to my setup I spent more time tweaking than playing. Lots of fun though.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
No.

Between going to PIT and then numerous gigs with house kits, I've played in all sorts of situations where I had to perform on a drum kit that wasn't mine and not set up for me.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I'm kinda both. I have a "basic" set up that I find comfortable but I also like to play around with different set ups.

I spent a period about 10-12 years ago where I re-evaluated literally everything about my drumming. I was really unhappy with my playing and decided I needed to start from scratch and toss out almost everything I "knew" about drumming. I tore down my whole set up and stopped trying to make my body fit the drums and instead placed everything around me where each piece should go. It not only helped me feel a lot more comfortable, and it made me a lot more aware of what my ideal set up should be. It also helped me know how to adjust myself to play on other kits with different set ups, even if they aren't the way I'd set them up.

Since then about once a year I still go back and tear everything down, take off the memory locks and rebuild the whole kit from scratch. I see it as a chance to refresh how I think and approach my set up.

I actually just did a tear down/rebuild last week and a full retune yesterday. I have all these tom toms lying around and since I'm kinda bored right now I thought it would be fun to go back to a big 'ol seven tom kit again.
There's probably value in this system. If nothing else, changing things up every now and then confirms that the way you were doing things before works better. Sometimes you have to back away from the familiar to appreciate it more. In my case, because my kit is relatively small, there isn't a great deal to vary. My setup kind of lends itself to simplistic persistence. The less you have, the less you can screw with.
 

drumnut87

Well-known member
the main thing i change positioning of is my snare, depending on if i wanna play trad grip or match grip, and what snare im using. for the most part i leave the rest of the kit alone unless something calls for me to change positioning or setup style (such as a smaller venue or stage where everything i play is more closed in)
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
For those who do tweek, is it a once in a while thing, does it come and go in phases, or is it an all the time thing? Anyone tweak just for kicks?

Asking for a friend.
I change out my toms & cymbals for whatever I’m playing. Need only one tom? I remove the others (this drastically cuts down on sympathetic vibrations, making the recording from the overheads much cleaner.
 

Jasta 11

Well-known member
The last two studios i recorded in the sound men were super thankful i just sat down and played their kits which were already miced up. they said that the drummers usually take an hour of fooling around to get everything just right. i can sit and play anything and withing minutes i dont have to look at the kit and i know where to teach to hit everything. I think its from years of open mic nights.
 

beatdat

Senior Member
1/4 of an inch? Try 1/16th 😷

For real!


I change out my toms & cymbals for whatever I’m playing. Need only one tom? I remove the others (this drastically cuts down on sympathetic vibrations, making the recording from the overheads much cleaner.

I knew that's why you tweaked!



I was being facetious earlier when I said I tweak every single day. It's actually dependent on whether I feel my kit is set up as ergonomically as possible. When I feel my kit is set up the way it should be, I leave it alone; when I feel it's not, or my developing technique reveals it's not, I usually end up tweaking the whole damn thing... not at first, but eventually I will before I get it right. And it just so happens that I'm going through a tweaking phase right now: I've been experimenting with the angle of my snare drum, and I'm finding it easier to play free strokes when it's angled a bit.


I put it down to growing pains.
 
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