Bop kits

mrfingers

Senior Member
What’s up with the sudden “explosion“ of bop and safari drum kits? And who uses the them? Do we really want/need them?
 

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
I'm not sure if there's an explosion. Some gigs, I'm guessing just don't require a "full size" kit. I think a few of the companies re-designed the bop kits they already had on the market, so you're seeing an influx of new models. But they've been there.

Space saving for sure. I picked up a used Ludwig Breakbeats a few months back. I think I could set that up in a phone booth.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
There is a sizeable market for compact kits these days. Lots of small stages and/or low volume gigs that require a small drum kit. And the portability factor is huge for some people too.

One thing I think is overlooked by most is that drum shell construction has improved so much in the past 25 years. Back in the day, a tiny kit would've sounded bad. Almost like a toy. But these days tiny kits sound bigger than they actually are.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
It's somewhat of a gimmick, flowing from the belief that certain drums and cymbals are better suited for specific genres and that you need several setups to possess a well-rounded arsenal. Don't hurl tomatoes just yet. I know bop kits are smaller and are generally used for higher tunings. I'm not saying they're pointless or ridiculous. What I'm advancing is that you can play bop, or any kind of music, on any drum set. You don't need a different kit (or different cymbals or sticks) for each style of music you perform. You just need to be a flexible drummer.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I have a Pearl Midtown. I purchased it because I moved and lost my music room. The available space in my new home was not enough to provide adequate room for my full size kit. I was hesitant at first to buy a tiny kit. Let me tell you, that little kit is a blast.

So to answer your questions, I use one and yes we need them.
 

planoranger

Junior Member
The reason why kits used during the Bop Period became smaller in size had absolutely nothing to do with the music. It was pure logistics. Bop groups (normally quartets or quintets) travelled by car rather than by buses used by big bands. So everybody PLUS their instruments had to fit in one or two cars (that was the normal number of vehicles used). Cars back then were pretty big with extremely sizeable trunks (boots for our British friends). Even so, something had to give, so, since the size of the acoustic bass couldn't be changed, drummers got smaller sized drums.

Take a look a some of the images here in DW of Max Roach, Art Blakey, and Kenny Clarke earlier in the Bop Period. They all had "normal sized" drums.
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
What’s up with the sudden “explosion“ of bop and safari drum kits? And who uses the them? Do we really want/need them?
I wouldn't say sudden - it's been ticking up yearly since the Yamaha Hip Gig which came out like...almost a couple decades ago now?

I personally picked up a Safari to have a light, small kit that I can easily throw in a car and play a show with some decent punchy sounds - and at the price point, I don't mind if the finish gets scuffed up a bit or something out of the ordinary happening to it.

I do really like the fact that they legitimately can be used in setting that one wouldn't picture something like a 16" kick being able to handle.

However - I had my first show with the 22" kick last night and.....it blew the 16" and 18" out of the water for depth and punch and volume. Not even close haha.

It's like anything else - just another option.
 

johnwesley

Silver Member
I'm not sure if there's an explosion. Some gigs, I'm guessing just don't require a "full size" kit. I think a few of the companies re-designed the bop kits they already had on the market, so you're seeing an influx of new models. But they've been there.

Space saving for sure. I picked up a used Ludwig Breakbeats a few months back. I think I could set that up in a phone booth.
And emerge as SUPERMAN?!!
 

Lee-Bro

Senior Member
I got a steal of a deal on a Sonor Safari about 4 years ago ($150, new in boxes). I had planned on flipping it but the band had a couple private gigs come up where I needed a smaller footprint PLUS transporting my regular kit was going to be a challenge, I ended up keeping it and used it on those 2 gigs.

The configuration is a 10" tom, 14" floor and 16" kick. I ditched the stock heads, put thick 2-ply heads for batters and Remo Ambassadors on the reso's to fatten up the sound. I'm probably one of the few bop kit owners that doesn't want a "bop kit sound."
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
I got a steal of a deal on a Sonor Safari about 4 years ago ($150, new in boxes). I had planned on flipping it but the band had a couple private gigs come up where I needed a smaller footprint PLUS transporting my regular kit was going to be a challenge, I ended up keeping it and used it on those 2 gigs.

The configuration is a 10" tom, 14" floor and 16" kick. I ditched the stock heads, put thick 2-ply heads for batters and Remo Ambassadors on the reso's to fatten up the sound. I'm probably one of the few bop kit owners that doesn't want a "bop kit sound."
I've found that to be a lot more normal anymore than people that actually crank them up into the bop territory - I know at least 3 people I've run into in the last few months that have safari (or the quest love ludwing kit) that are rocking thick 2 ply heads and something like an EMAD on those 16" kicks. Including me haha - I have some frosted EC2s on my and it's a fat little kit for sure.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
The reason why kits used during the Bop Period became smaller in size had absolutely nothing to do with the music. It was pure logistics. Bop groups (normally quartets or quintets) travelled by car rather than by buses used by big bands. So everybody PLUS their instruments had to fit in one or two cars (that was the normal number of vehicles used). Cars back then were pretty big with extremely sizeable trunks (boots for our British friends). Even so, something had to give, so, since the size of the acoustic bass couldn't be changed, drummers got smaller sized drums.

Take a look a some of the images here in DW of Max Roach, Art Blakey, and Kenny Clarke earlier in the Bop Period. They all had "normal sized" drums.
But a small jazz combo doesn’t really need a bigger, louder kit. I think if the music would have sounded better with a bigger kit, they’d have found a way to haul around bigger kits.
 

tfgretsch

Junior Member
There is a sizeable market for compact kits these days. Lots of small stages and/or low volume gigs that require a small drum kit. And the portability factor is huge for some people too.

One thing I think is overlooked by most is that drum shell construction has improved so much in the past 25 years. Back in the day, a tiny kit would've sounded bad. Almost like a toy. But these days tiny kits sound bigger than they actually are.
There is a sizeable market for compact kits these days. Lots of small stages and/or low volume gigs that require a small drum kit. And the portability factor is huge for some people too.

One thing I think is overlooked by most is that drum shell construction has improved so much in the past 25 years. Back in the day, a tiny kit would've sounded bad. Almost like a toy. But these days tiny kits sound bigger than they actually are.
well said
 

roncadillac

Member
I've gigged these 'micro' kits for years now, currently driving a pearl midtown (10t,13t,16b,13s) and it's hands down my favorite kit I've ever owned. I used clear hydraulics over mesh reso's on the toms, UV1 over clear 300 w/ puresound blasters on the snare, and clear emad with small ring over stock reso with 4" port and no pillow/laundry/additional muffling. Most would assume my drums would sound dead based off those sizes and head combos but it's far from it. Every drum has a surprising amount of sustain with a solid punch, plenty of projection, and great sensitivity. Every where I go I get compliments on that kit. It sounds equally good in a large boomy room as it does in a small dampened room, works great live both mic'ed and acoustic, and records like a dream.

I play everything with this set up. Hip hop, spaghetti western, surf rock, jazz fusion, prog, and it's covering the 3 album portfolio of the band I'm currently filling in for perfectly.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I've gigged these 'micro' kits for years now, currently driving a pearl midtown (10t,13t,16b,13s) and it's hands down my favorite kit I've ever owned. I used clear hydraulics over mesh reso's on the toms, UV1 over clear 300 w/ puresound blasters on the snare, and clear emad with small ring over stock reso with 4" port and no pillow/laundry/additional muffling. Most would assume my drums would sound dead based off those sizes and head combos but it's far from it. Every drum has a surprising amount of sustain with a solid punch, plenty of projection, and great sensitivity. Every where I go I get compliments on that kit. It sounds equally good in a large boomy room as it does in a small dampened room, works great live both mic'ed and acoustic, and records like a dream.

I play everything with this set up. Hip hop, spaghetti western, surf rock, jazz fusion, prog, and it's covering the 3 album portfolio of the band I'm currently filling in for perfectly.
I've heard lots of good things about the Pearl Midtown. MrInsanePolack has one and loves it. But I'm not surprised. Pearl rules in my book.
 

Ryan Culberson

Well-known member
Fact, at least in my little corner of the world... smaller drums “look” quieter to venue managers/owners. 95% of the gigs I do (did, pre-COVID) are in restaurants and/or wine bars. The expectation is the band play quietly. Most of the venues I work don’t even normally allow drummers, but I’ve gained a reputation in town as the quiet guy. I certainly don’t jeopardize that reputation by bringing in the Howitzer’s. I bring in bop-sized drums that look cute to the venue people. I even go so far as to only bring subdued-finished drums, to appear even quieter. In theory, it’s pretty silly. In practice, it works and works well.
 

bongoman

Junior Member
I put together a bop kit with a 16” bass, partly just to try it out, and partly because most of the stages I played were very small. I ended up liking it so much that I left the regular size bass at home most of the time afterward. The only case where I’ve needed a big bass has been outdoor gigs with no PA.

The thing described above about bop kits having a psychological impression is true, and it’s ALSO true about big bass drums. A lot of people are dead set convinced about the sound or feel of a large bass, when really the biggest factor is what it does for them psychologically.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Those are just "drums" to me. People like them because they're fun to play, you can reach everything easily, and they're controllable, and it's easy to get a punchy sound out of them. And they're good sizes for young drummers.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Fact, at least in my little corner of the world... smaller drums “look” quieter to venue managers/owners. 95% of the gigs I do (did, pre-COVID) are in restaurants and/or wine bars. The expectation is the band play quietly. Most of the venues I work don’t even normally allow drummers, but I’ve gained a reputation in town as the quiet guy. I certainly don’t jeopardize that reputation by bringing in the Howitzer’s. I bring in bop-sized drums that look cute to the venue people. I even go so far as to only bring subdued-finished drums, to appear even quieter. In theory, it’s pretty silly. In practice, it works and works well.
I don't doubt that account. To those who have no familiarity with drumming, looks are deceiving, but the skilled drummer knows that volume is in the hands, not in the shells. A player with dynamic mastery can manipulate a cranked-up marching snare at a whisper. Quietude is the offspring of technique, not of construction.
 

Ryan Culberson

Well-known member
I don't doubt that account. To those who have no familiarity with drumming, looks are deceiving, but the skilled drummer knows that volume is in the hands, not in the shells. A player with dynamic mastery can manipulate a cranked-up marching snare at a whisper. Quietude is the offspring of technique, not of construction.
Absolutely! It’s funny what the non-drumming public perceives. I caught on pretty early and have been milking it for quite awhile. Hilarious to me to bring in an 18” or smaller bass drum to appease the venue then stick a mic in it and make it as loud as any size bass drum!! 🤪😂
 
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