Bigger Kits

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Some interesting comments on this. Thanks. I just saw a Youtube video of a guy playing a tribute to Neal Peart and YYZ, and he was playing a 2 up 1 down kit, and for my money did a very good job. One of the comments was something like, "You shouldn't even attempt to play that without a bigger kit." He was playing at home so no one there to impress, just a tribute.
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
How many of you would play bigger kits if you didn't have to transport or set them up.?? Just wondering.
Oh man - I absolutely would.

I currently tour and backline with a four piece bop sized kit with two big ol' rides and when the backline folks are kind enough to bring me a third stand I'll use a 18"/12" efx style stack.


However - if I didn't have to haul it up stairs, etc. or worry about some poor PAC trying to source a big backline - I'd probably have the kit I USED to play with - a 7 piece (standard 6 piece with aux snare) - and a couple rides, couples crashes, couples splashes - aux hats and some EFX stacks and the trusty Roland electronics.

But the anxiety of trying to replicate that or travel with it have led me to distill it down to the bare minimum to get to through a show.
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
Some interesting comments on this. Thanks. I just saw a Youtube video of a guy playing a tribute to Neal Peart and YYZ, and he was playing a 2 up 1 down kit, and for my money did a very good job. One of the comments was something like, "You shouldn't even attempt to play that without a bigger kit." He was playing at home so no one there to impress, just a tribute.
Sometimes, you see people playing kits that don't seem to fit the music, although it sounds well. I listened to a band that only plays Dark side of the moon / Echoes, the drummer played a four piece 20 10 14 which was odd. Of course the music wasn't that much altered, but still, I personnaly would have been bothered to play classics on such a kit. I saw a tribute maiden which was good and the drummer was playing on a fusion style DW 22 10 12 14 16, far from the typical Burr / Mc Brain kit.
 
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CommanderRoss

Silver Member
How many of you would play bigger kits if you didn't have to transport or set them up.?? Just wondering.
Depends on the definition of "big kit".
I have a 5 piece (1-up/2-down) that have big tom sizes (diameter first: 14x12 rack, 16x16 & 18x18 floor, 22x20 kick). I'm still a fan of the "power tom" sizes and will admit this set up makes me a tuning and damping master. As well as knowing what beaters & sticks to use so as not to overpower the songs.

More to the point, hauling this around isn't too bad as I'll pick and choose what I need to use for a particular gig. If I taking the whole rig, I'm happy that I have an SUV.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Depends on the definition of "big kit".
I have a 5 piece (1-up/2-down) that have big tom sizes (diameter first: 14x12 rack, 16x16 & 18x18 floor, 22x20 kick). I'm still a fan of the "power tom" sizes and will admit this set up makes me a tuning and damping master. As well as knowing what beaters & sticks to use so as not to overpower the songs.

More to the point, hauling this around isn't too bad as I'll pick and choose what I need to use for a particular gig. If I taking the whole rig, I'm happy that I have an SUV.
Commander, my use of the term "bigger" is simply bigger than what you play or tour with currently.
 

Flow

Active member
IF I had roadies, AND there was plenty of room on the stages, AND money were no object, then I *might* add a second floor tom to my four piece, three-cymbal kit, but that's it. And tbh, I probably wouldn't even use it.
 

roncadillac

Member
IF I had roadies, AND there was plenty of room on the stages, AND money were no object, then I *might* add a second floor tom to my four piece, three-cymbal kit, but that's it. And tbh, I probably wouldn't even use it.
My version of your floor tom would be a gong. Never hit the damn thing once but it would look cool.
 

moxman

Silver Member
There are some killer jazz drummers in town that use minimal setups, small kick drum, 1-2 small toms, snare and 1-2 cymbals.. if you didn't look at the kit you would think they had a giant elaborate kit as they squeeze so much character out of every piece.
.. and yeah, as mentioned most of the time it's kick, snare, hats and cymbal(s) - so pocket and groove is king.
.. I can get by with 2 toms - but I prefer 3 to cover most songs. For big shows I used to use 4 toms.. but I haven't done that for over 15 years.. as that band required a Ronnie Tutt impersonation (it was like a Vegas show band)
Since then.. it's just not necessary for most of the material I play.. I don't play Rush covers - or any music that requires massive cascading tom sounds.
- I guess the summary is - bring the right tool for the job!
 

Pootle

Well-known member
I play and gig with a 4 piece with a couple of cymbals and hats, pretty much always have for decades. However, if money, space and noise were no problem, I would definitely get a double bass Tama Artstar 2; 10, 12, 13, 14, 16, 18 2 x 22 bass drums, bird’s eye maple, Tama Titan fully extended counter-weighted boom stands with a shit-ton of cymbals. Maybe even a cage. Possibly a gong drum and octobans. I grew up drooling over those catalogues in the 80s. I’d definitely keep the four piece but those massive kits are just drum porn fun. Doubt I’d take down the local pub though..
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I play and gig with a 4 piece with a couple of cymbals and hats, pretty much always have for decades. However, if money, space and noise were no problem, I would definitely get a double bass Tama Artstar 2; 10, 12, 13, 14, 16, 18 2 x 22 bass drums, bird’s eye maple, Tama Titan fully extended counter-weighted boom stands with a shit-ton of cymbals. Maybe even a cage. Possibly a gong drum and octobans. I grew up drooling over those catalogues in the 80s. I’d definitely keep the four piece but those massive kits are just drum porn fun. Doubt I’d take down the local pub though..
definitely have to have the boom stands with the counter weights...that screams 80's!!! and Octobans for sure!!!
 
IF I had roadies, AND there was plenty of room on the stages, AND money were no object, then I *might* add a second floor tom to my four piece, three-cymbal kit, but that's it. And tbh, I probably wouldn't even use it.
I used to play with 2 floor toms and it was actually pointless. Not one member of the audience noticed nor did it make a single difference to my sound. Just another thing to set up and barely hit. 4 piece all the way!!
 

iCe

Senior Member
I always use(d) a big kit, but I've stopped playing live when i left the rock band i was in and the project i'm in doesn't perform live. Having said that, with the project I'm in i use a large kit: 2 bass drums, 3 toms, 2 floors, 3 rocket toms, snare and a bunch of cymbals. I can't let it set up in the practice room it's in since we share it with 2 other bands/projects, so i have to set it up and tear it down each and every time i play there (once every 2 weeks). Totally worth it though, but if we (hypothetically) would be gigging i would need a van to haul it around (my car it too small for it).

But if we would gig i would most likely use a double pedal on one bass to save hauling it around, but still would use the rest for all the sonic options i would otherwise miss. I just like to have all the options at my disposel (spelling?) to set a mood. I just compare it to a guitar or piano; you never hear someone say 'do you really need 24 frets and 6 or 7 strings to make music?'.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I always use(d) a big kit, but I've stopped playing live when i left the rock band i was in and the project i'm in doesn't perform live. Having said that, with the project I'm in i use a large kit: 2 bass drums, 3 toms, 2 floors, 3 rocket toms, snare and a bunch of cymbals. I can't let it set up in the practice room it's in since we share it with 2 other bands/projects, so i have to set it up and tear it down each and every time i play there (once every 2 weeks). Totally worth it though, but if we (hypothetically) would be gigging i would need a van to haul it around (my car it too small for it).

But if we would gig i would most likely use a double pedal on one bass to save hauling it around, but still would use the rest for all the sonic options i would otherwise miss. I just like to have all the options at my disposel (spelling?) to set a mood. I just compare it to a guitar or piano; you never hear someone say 'do you really need 24 frets and 6 or 7 strings to make music?'.
the bass player for my one band always gets on me about the amount of cymbals that I use...but he uses a pedal board that has at least 7 pedals on it ...(and I rarely notice him using any other than a bit of the overdrive pedal)...so when he tells me I need to leave some of the cymbals off of the set, I tell him to skip the pedal board and run dry...to which he always replies: "no way man. That is my sound..." And I come back with the same reply.

This is all in jest of course cause we get along really well, and spend most of the practice cutting each other down "Spinal Tap" style...
 

roncadillac

Member
the bass player for my one band always gets on me about the amount of cymbals that I use...but he uses a pedal board that has at least 7 pedals on it ...(and I rarely notice him using any other than a bit of the overdrive pedal)...so when he tells me I need to leave some of the cymbals off of the set, I tell him to skip the pedal board and run dry...to which he always replies: "no way man. That is my sound..." And I come back with the same reply.

This is all in jest of course cause we get along really well, and spend most of the practice cutting each other down "Spinal Tap" style...
I mean... If you hit a deep open chord with a delay on 'ping pong' and a phase shifter running simultaneously you can then alternate between using a pitch shifter with one foot and a synth wah with a other foot to build these impressive chaotic swells and drops ala Tera Melos or (old) Russian Circles. But, we are talking about a bassist here so you may instead what to advocate 'just hanging on an open G' lol.

Or another joke I said to my old bassist when he got a new 5 string and was stoked about it, I said, "who cares, you are only going to play the low G with a pick every song anyway!"
 

rocker261

Junior Member
I get bothered by the big kit envy that I encounter often. It seems there are so many drummers making snide comments about those with big kits just because they have a big kit. Like you have to be a big name in order to justify a big kit. Playing a big kit has challenges a small kit does not. You have vastly more movement you have to be in order to move around to get the left and right extreme sides of the kit. And because it's big, everything if further apart, so you can't do those little quick movements between drums nearly as easily. I play a 13-piece kit. The main reason I like that is the pitch differences in the tom. I've got 8" to 15" rack toms, with the dual floor toms. I love being able to use the small toms for some stuff, and big toms for others. It provides a lot more range and colors to play. If you had a piano with only one ocatave, or a guitar with only 2 or 3 strings, you would lose the range, regardless of how well or poorly one plays. If a drummer is really good, they can make the most out of very few drums. But give them more tones to use, and it just sound more interesting. Yes Neil Peart could play with only a kick, snare and 2 toms, and do amazing things technically, but give him all the toms and now you have a more colorful, wide ranging set of pitches and tones to use.
 

NackAttack

Active member
I would have as many toms as I could reach! I upgraded from an Export to a Starclassic B/B but I lost 3 toms. I thought it would be okay if I missed the extra toms because I could always just buy more. I said, “These birch bubinga shells are great! Surely they won’t get discontinued anytime soon. I can wait a while to buy some more toms. While I’m at it I can get this weird finish and dark hardware that will make it even harder to find used odd sizes for!” Anyways... yeah, I’m a metal head so I want a roll that sounds like sliding your fingers across a piano haha.
 

roncadillac

Member
I would have as many toms as I could reach! I upgraded from an Export to a Starclassic B/B but I lost 3 toms. I thought it would be okay if I missed the extra toms because I could always just buy more. I said, “These birch bubinga shells are great! Surely they won’t get discontinued anytime soon. I can wait a while to buy some more toms. While I’m at it I can get this weird finish and dark hardware that will make it even harder to find used odd sizes for!” Anyways... yeah, I’m a metal head so I want a roll that sounds like sliding your fingers across a piano haha.
Guess it's time to get a birch/walnut! ;)
I heard a 24" in that line that made my tummy rumble lol
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
As I don't gig, I almost never move my drums around.
And I have a whole large room that I could fill with drums if I wanted to.
But I'm perfectly happy with my 5 pc. sets.

So no.
I wouldn't like a bigger set. Neither bigger number of drums, nor bigger sizes.
 
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