Atypical Kit Not a Typical Kit

JimFiore

Silver Member
Some of you may recall that I ordered a Tama Starclassic Maple (in antique maple) several months ago. It has arrived. A little background first in order to explain the configuration: Back in the dark ages (1970s) I had a 2up/1down Gretsch birch kit (12,13,16). I added some Roto Toms and eventually had an all Roto Tom kit, leaving just the original kick and steel snare. Let's just say that I was overly influenced by Bill Bruford in those days (not a bad influence in retrospect by any means). For a variety of reasons, including ease of recording, this gave way to a Simmons SDS 7 analog/digital kit and then a digital kit of my own design using keyboard samplers (we're talking mid to late 1980s now). This gave way to a series of Roland e-drum kits, culminating in a few different kits that used custom made drum triggers made from Keller shells. Why am I telling you all this? Well, after literally decades of playing small (mostly 8" and 10") pads, my aim and accuracy is much better than it used to be. I've also gotten used to placing drums where I want them, not where they fit. Unfortunately, I am not used to reaching very far to play something anymore!

I had planned on making a symmetrical layout for the Tama as I've been playing various sym layouts for a while. My desired layout turned out to be impossible given the shell sizes so I had to try something else. I am right handed but it turned out that everything "fit" if I arrayed the toms left handed over a right handed HH/kick/ride layout. This is not a huge issue for me as playing the sym kits has strengthened my right to left move with left hand lead. Importantly, though, it also limits me from falling back on a traditional left-right fill which I think is good because it forces the brain to come up with other stuff.

Another cool thing is that it better reflects the pitch layout of most popular instruments in that moving from left to right creates a higher pitch. It's a little weird to stand at a marimba or to play the bass and think of the pitch arrangement as backwards from the drums. Not a big deal, just an observation.

Anyway, here it is. Some cymbals have been cut from the pic. There's a UFiP china to the right and an old Zildjian pang to the left. It is going to take a little time for me to get used to the new reach requirements but I look at it as just another skill to exercise. Consequently, it will be a little while before I post any audio of it. Besides, I still have to experiment with recording, heads, etc. Oh, and I ordered some Ultraphones. The loudness level is just too much after years of nearly quiet mesh heads and headphones.

If you're wondering why I went to these after years of playing e-kits (part of my mini sym e-kit is visible in the background), it's because I began to miss the subtlety of tonal variation, especially the cymbals.

Oh, and I should mention that resonance on these is amazing. My old Gretsch kit sounded like cardboard boxes by comparison.
http://www.mvvc.edu/jfiore/tamakit.jpg
 
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toddmc

Gold Member
Very nice Jim. I've wondered for a while now how I would go if I went back to acoustics (even though I play an A2E so tom sizes are the same).
Let us know how you get on with the transition (and maybe some pics of the e-kit wouldn't hurt either) : )
 

mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
Looks like my set up - only there's a floor tom is where my hi-hat would be.

Very nice kit!

Oh, and you know the drill… get some decent heads. ;-)
 

porter

Platinum Member
Looks like my set up - only there's a floor tom is where my hi-hat would be.

Very nice kit!

Oh, and you know the drill… get some decent heads. ;-)
The Tamas come with G2s over G1s as far as I know, just with that branding- not 100% on the resonants but the batters are G2s for sure.

It's gorgeous, Jim. I'm guessing you were trying to do 10-8-12 left-to-right for your symmetrical thing. Did you consider flipping that so the deeper drum would be on the left and you might not have to raise the toms as high as with the deep one over the kick?
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Looks like my set up - only there's a floor tom is where my hi-hat would be.

Very nice kit!

Oh, and you know the drill… get some decent heads. ;-)
Actually, those are decent heads. When I got a new Starclassic B/B kit a while back, it came with Evans G2's on top and G1's on the bottom. The bass drum had an EQ4. That's why it pays to buy pro-level sometimes. You don't have to pay more money for better heads like I did with my little Vision bop kit.
 

mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
The Tamas come with G2s over G1s as far as I know, just with that branding- not 100% on the resonants but the batters are G2s for sure.
Actually, those are decent heads. When I got a new Starclassic B/B kit a while back, it came with Evans G2's on top and G1's on the bottom. The bass drum had an EQ4. That's why it pays to buy pro-level sometimes. You don't have to pay more money for better heads like I did with my little Vision bop kit.
Ok, the two of you have proven me wrong. I can't be right all the time! ;-)
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Jim, I like the setup and see some BB influence - the level drums at the backline and and don't know if your "marimba" decision to set up ascending mounted toms but it's something BB has done. He always figured that if you didn't line your drums up from highest to lowest then that would force him to do something less usual than running down the toms.
 

JimFiore

Silver Member
Thanks for all of the kind comments!

Very cool. So do you never have to do two-handed hi-hat disco beats?
Drums look great. Can you reach that hi hat with that floor tom in front of it.
The pic may be deceiving. I can play the HH with my right hand although it does require a bit of a reach. That's a cable HH if it isn't clear so it's more "over" the 14" floor than it appears. I would never do a disco beat but I do like moving a two handed HH beat between the HH and the ride. If the accents are right it has a really nice lilt to it.


It's gorgeous, Jim. I'm guessing you were trying to do 10-8-12 left-to-right for your symmetrical thing. Did you consider flipping that so the deeper drum would be on the left and you might not have to raise the toms as high as with the deep one over the kick?
Yes, that's what I planned and I also tried flipping the 10 and 12. It just wasn't enough. That's one nice thing about the e-kit, the kick is mere inches high (I use a self contained beaterless pedal that is no longer made-it was the first product produced by the company now known as Axis). I think I'm going to like this arrangement though as it's yet another different configuration for me to wrestle with. Good brain stimulation.

Jim, I like the setup and see some BB influence - the level drums at the backline and and don't know if your "marimba" decision to set up ascending mounted toms but it's something BB has done. He always figured that if you didn't line your drums up from highest to lowest then that would force him to do something less usual than running down the toms.
Right, it becomes a challenge to play the old fill but if you use the same sticking and motion for the old fill, you get a different sound. It just opens doors. BB was never one to stand still.

(and maybe some pics of the e-kit wouldn't hurt either) : )
Okey dokey. Here is pic of my large sym e-kit from a few years ago. The toms were in descending pairs, left/right. So from top to bottom they'd typically be tuned as 6/8, 10/12, 13/14, 16/18. HH center with rides left and right. I really liked having two rides. I would program the left to have rivets most of the time. Double kick pedals with different sounds. Later, I added another kick pedal and a second HH pedal so I could use my right foot on the HH. Never mastered that bit. Too much else to do. Those are 8" and 10" Keller shells, the snare is a converted Pearl 10" Firecracker snare. Cymbals are converted cheapie Paiste, Meinl and Zildjian (the two black ones are Rolands for the ride with a smaller Roland for the HH). This kit was taken apart and the rack hardware used for the new Tama.

The second pic is my mini sym kit. From left to right the toms are 14/10/12/16. This one is still up. I'm keeping it for quiet practice times and the fact that it's very easy for me to position a music stand without it getting in the way. If I get really lazy I will buy a second throne so I don't have to transfer between the two.

http://www.mvcc.edu/jfiore/ekit1.jpg
http://www.mvcc.edu/jfiore/ekit2.jpg
 
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Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Okey dokey. Here is pic of my large sym e-kit from a few years ago.
That's a beast of an Ekit, & almost orchestral in it's vibe. Actually, one of the few Ekits I've seen I'd be tempted to play with :)
 

utdrummer

Senior Member
Gorgeous drums...did you think of placing the bass drum on the left under the smaller toms and use a lefty double pedal? Worked for me in the past and I am going back to this type setup with my Premier Genistas due to a 24" bass. Everyhting sits so much lower and closer together ...again, nice kit
 

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Coelacanth

Member
Gorgeous drums...did you think of placing the bass drum on the left under the smaller toms and use a lefty double pedal? Worked for me in the past and I am going back to this type setup with my Premier Genistas due to a 24" bass. Everyhting sits so much lower and closer together ...again, nice kit
That's an interesting idea, there. If I had a lefty double pedal, I'd consider trying out that arrangement.
 
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