Gig on Someone Else's kit...

thelimpingtoad

Senior Member
My band has a gig for a charity function at the end of next month. We will be one of like 10 bands playing. To save time on set-up/tear-down we will be using one of the other band's drums and just adding our own cymbals and stuff... back-lining gear on the side before the band is finished so we can just jump up there and be ready in a couple of minutes.

I have no experience with gigging on someone else's kit so I wanted to see if anyone out there has any good tips or can share some horror stories about what all can go wrong. I just want to make sure I'm prepared for this.

Right now i have no details as to what type of kit will be used, the setup/size of the kit, if it uses a rack or anything like that... so I can't even begin planning for it.

Any Suggestions?
 

Naigewron

Platinum Member
I play gigs on venue supplied kits or other drummers' kits all the time. Basically, I always bring certain items with me:

- Sticks
- Pedals
- Snare drum
- Drum throne
- Cymbals

The sticks and pedals are obvious, they are what transfer my movements to the drums and cymbals, so I need to be as comfortable as possible with what I use.

The reason for the throne is threefold:
- The supplied throne might be shoddy (slipping down while I'm playing, unstable, etc)
- Adjusting the height of a throne until it's comfortable usually takes more time than just setting up my own
- My ass gets pretty sweaty when I play live. Assuming I'm not alone in this, I prefer not to rub my ass in other people's bodily fluids if it can be avoided.

As for snare and cymbals, I don't always use my own, but I always have those items with me in case the stuff that's supplied at the gig isn't up to par (which is more often than I'd prefer).

I also sometimes bring a stand, since most of the kits I come across "only" have three stands, and I like to play with two crashes, a ride and a china. However, I've been doing this less and less, finding that I can manage fine without the china on most gigs.

As for adjusting the setup to suit me: If it's a kit supplied by the venue, I adjust everything to as comfortable a setup as I can manage as quickly as possible. If the kit belongs to another drummer, I always check with him/her about what I can and can't move and adjust. Sometimes they don't care, other times they insist everything is left as it is. This means I may have to play on a kit that's awkwardly set up (for me), but hey, it's all a learning experience. The more flexible I am, the less problems I will have in these situations in the future.

Most kits I encounter in these situations are standard 5-piece kits (two rack toms and a floor tom), but I've played on a couple of 4-piece kits as well (one rack tom, one floor tom). I play a 5-piece myself, so I'm generally fine in adjusting to just one less tom, but I suppose that if you're used to having a large number of toms you might run into problems if you've never tried playing your songs on smaller kits before.
 
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thelimpingtoad

Senior Member
The reason for the throne is threefold:
- The supplied throne might be shoddy (slipping down while I'm playing, instable, etc)
- Adjusting the height of a throne until it's comfortable usually takes more time than just setting up my own
- My ass gets pretty sweaty when I play live. Assuming I'm not alone in this, I prefer not to rub my ass in other people's bodily fluids if it can be avoided.
see... I would probably not have even thought about taking my throne. haha... that's nasty... this is why i think the gym is a disgusting place.


Most kits I encounter in these situations are standard 5-piece kits (two rack toms and a floor tom), but I've played on a couple of 4-piece kits as well (one rack tom, one floor tom). I play a 5-piece myself, so I'm generally fine in adjusting to a missing tom, but I suppose that if you're used to having a large number of toms you might run into problems if you've never tried playing your songs on smaller kits before.
I am used to only having a 4 piece... the only thing that worries me is the right-side remote hi-hat i play with.
 

bdrums777

Junior Member
i have had to play other kits many times. i play a four to five piece kit but it varies between having two racks and a floor or one rack and two floors. i kinda keep myself guessing so i get used to playing different setups. i played a last minute gig last night at a church and the church has a great setup as far as sound. click, in ears, drumsheild. but the kit they had was old and in a setup of 10" rack, then 13" and 16" floor toms. that alone was odd, then add to the fact that the crashes were all cracked. it was insane. i ended up having to use a 20" a custom ride they had near by as a crash.

i completely agree that its a safe bet for any drummer that cannot use his own kit to bring the essentials...

sticks
pedal(and sometimes backup pedal)
cymbals
snare
throne
maybe extra stand with boom capabilities
sometimes even a snare stand because some drummers sit higher or lower than others.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
If you use the search function in this forum, you'll find all kinds of horror stories about peoples' kits being used and thrashed, but not so much about using OTHER peoples' kits. My advice...be respectful of their gear!
 

Stoney

Senior Member
I have no experience with gigging on someone else's kit so I wanted to see if anyone out there has any good tips or can share some horror stories about what all can go wrong. I just want to make sure I'm prepared for this.

Any Suggestions?
I started a thread not so long back called 'why should I share my drums?' Have a read

But to name a few things that can go wrong...

1. He may not let you adjust anything so you're uncomfortable for the whole gig
2. His drums might sound rubbish (badly tuned)
3. A combination of 1 & 2
4. He may have an expensive kit that you accidently damage... (things happen) ££££
5. A combination of 1,2 and 4

Hopefully it will all go smoothly though and you have a comfortable gig and don't end up having to fork out a fortune in repairs...

Unfortunately the only way you can be sure though is to take your own otherwise be prepared for the worst.
 

rogue_drummer

Gold Member
This is good news and good advice. The rhythm and blues band I play in now may be rehearsing at a local bar on Mondays. It gets us out of a very confined rehearsal space and puts is in an environment that has a great sound system, house amps, and a house kit. I'll definately keep these lists handy so I can somewhat be prepared. Thanks again!
 

Ethan01

Senior Member
I'll add, if you're playing the kit and it's positions are not comfortable for you, try to tone down the frills and flashiness. Or, you can go off on just 1 instrument (the snare). Just make sure the hats, snare, and kick are placed well and play what you're comfortable with on that kit.
 

thelimpingtoad

Senior Member
well... now i'm scared...
of course I will be respectful of their gear... i am really hoping that they are understanding enough to let me reposition some things... i don't see how they could justify letting the other drummers use their gear without letting us adjust stuff though.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
well... now i'm scared...
of course I will be respectful of their gear... i am really hoping that they are understanding enough to let me reposition some things... i don't see how they could justify letting the other drummers use their gear without letting us adjust stuff though.
Some people are just like that. My other advice...get in touch with the kit's owner before the gig. Give him a call (or e-mail or text or whatever) and ask what his preferences for his kit are about re-positioning, using his snare/pedal/cymbals or not, tuning his kit, etc. The best thing you can do is communicate ***beforehand***. If you think he's being a bit anal about his kit, it IS his kit, and you should respect his wishes as he is letting a bunch of other people use it and you don't have to haul yours.

That, and cross your fingers that it's not a totally crappy kit with dented heads and no tone...
 

Stoney

Senior Member
well... now i'm scared...
of course I will be respectful of their gear...
Sorry didn't mean to scare you. Just saying be prepared for the worst, that way things can only get better ;)
I will say though that if the guy is willing to share his kit with 9 other bands I wouldn't hold any hopes of his kit being any good! It certainly wont be by the time he gets on it anyway (if he's last on).
Sure you will be respectful towards his gear. Lets hope everyone else is too.....
 

thelimpingtoad

Senior Member
Yeah... well quality isn't as much of an issue for me since i've been playing on a pretty crappy set recently.
I am just worried about all the unexpected variables that could come up.
I am definately trying to find out contact information for whoever is providing the drums though so I can ask those questions about adjustments and stuff beforehand.
Thanks all for the advice.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
In one of my drum magazines, Drumhead or Drum, there was an article on throne care and hygiene. It is not a bad idea to even take a towel to cover what someone else sat on if lugging your own throne is not an option. The atricle was quite enlightning as to what grows on yonder throne.
 

Stoney

Senior Member
YI am definately trying to find out contact information for whoever is providing the drums though so I can ask those questions about adjustments and stuff beforehand. .
Yes, best to try and speak to the provider of the kit beforehand rather than on the night. In fact it would be pretty rude not to and I'm sure the guy would appreciate it. Maybe even give you special treatment? The promoter should have all the bands contact info.

Have a good gig!
 

Spreggy

Silver Member
One thing a teacher impressed on me long ago is that it's important to develop an attitude that ou can sit down to any kit, they're all fine, don't go nuts adjusting them just sit down and play.

If someone else is providing the kit, set up and torn down for me, I am stoked. I'd take that gig in a heartbeat.
 

Stoney

Senior Member
One thing a teacher impressed on me long ago is that it's important to develop an attitude that ou can sit down to any kit, they're all fine, don't go nuts adjusting them just sit down and play..
Yes, anyone can sit down and play on any kit if need be. I'm pretty comfortable behind any kit, it's just the stool and snare height that is imperative to me. However no matter how flexible you are, some kits are going to be more comfortable for you to play than others. No different to driving a car... the chances are if it's not yours you're going to have to adjust the seat and mirrors before you can drive off comfortably.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Yeah... well quality isn't as much of an issue for me since i've been playing on a pretty crappy set recently.
Then you might need to avoid overplaying if the kit is much better than the one you're using. As Ethan said, best to keep it uncomplicated and feel your way in. It can be weird moving from a brash snare to a refined one or vice versa too.

I've used other people's kits heaps. It's doable but harder than playing a kit you know and love. I should have done what Naigewron and bdrums did and brought along my main main "voices". I never thought about throne hygiene OMG!
 

Stoney

Senior Member
One thing a teacher impressed on me long ago is that it's important to develop an attitude that ou can sit down to any kit,t.
Also I personally don't think that's much to be impressed about. Just a sign of laziness if anything. What's wrong with being picky with your set up? It's your instrument, your voice, your living (sometimes). I never see a guitar player (decent ones anyway) being happy to play anything. They're mostly very picky about their set up, pick ups, strings, etc. Sure they can play on anything if need be but they would rather not.. it's they're instrument, their voice, their living (sometimes).

Pick anyone of your favorite drummers and I'm sure he/she is not happy to just let any Tom Dick or Harry set up their kit. I'm sure they're nothing less than excruciatingly particular about their set up! Their drum techs would be out of a job otherwise!

But yes I realise he has no choice but to share a kit here but I say... GO NUTS adjusting everything if you can. Nothing wrong with making yourself as comfortable possible. But I would recommend taking your snare, cymbals, stool, pedal and snare stand to be on the safe side.
 

thelimpingtoad

Senior Member
One thing a teacher impressed on me long ago is that it's important to develop an attitude that ou can sit down to any kit, they're all fine, don't go nuts adjusting them just sit down and play.
Well that's cool but my problem is really that I play a non-traditional set-up. I have a remote Hi-hat so if i can't place the HH on my right side i'm completely screwed. I haven't played cross over in years.
I think there is a definate balance here between playing in ideal conditions (rearranging the entire kit) and playing on a set that I'm completely not used to (not rearranging it at all). I'm sure I'll be able to come to a happy medium.
If i talk to the guy and he says he doesn't want anyone to adjust anything then I'll just volunteer to use my drums for the first couple of bands (we're on 3rd).
I appreciate all the comments and suggestions i've gotten here. Definately gives me a lot more to consider to be ready for this. It also scares me to think of all that can go wrong as I said before.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Yeah, that's awkward with the remote hats, but if you bring your gear won't that be weird for the drummers in the first two bands?
 
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