Help! Help! Help! - Should I tell my tutor or not.


Junior Member
Hi Guys

My first post so please excuse me if I don't explain this well.

I have been interested in drumming for probably over 15 years (im now 35 and i hope in 2018 to buy my first ever kit) Just haven't had the room in the house until now - Ive played a real kit a few times but just messing about with friends, school kit etc when I was younger... I currently use the yamaha DD65 drum machine so I can still practise etc but my arms don't get the chance to roam as much as a real kit...also different response to rebound etc etc so I know getting a proper kit will be very different and will take time to adjust.

I am a huge Queen fan so Roger Taylor is my idol so Ive had many years of doing world class air drums. Now Roger is known for his big sound and has always played big drums, he is now 68 and in my opinion drumming better than ever and still plays a huge kit..24 bass, 10/12/14/16/18 toms and large cymbals - the one thing about his kit is it sits quite high around him so his toms would be chest height and his cymbals would sit just above his head - see pic attached

And this is where my problem lies....

I received some drum lessons as a birthday gift but I feel my tutors kit is very small in size and the positioning of toms and cymbals doesn't fell natural however I don't want to say anything that would be offensive or critisize the guys kit - I still appreciate the opportunity to practice and learn.
My tutors kit has a 20 bass and has 2 rack toms, and a floor. One crash to the left above high hat/left tom and a ride to the right.

So you may or may not have guessed where I am going with this...I have spent years playing air drums with imagined visuals of Roger Taylor's kit around me....I've studied all the concert DVDs so I know where my arms like to go naturally . ie high cymbals, chest height toms etc etc.

Because my tutors kit only has a 20 bass the toms sit straight on top of that with little air between them, therefore the crash above that feels very low -
also the ride on the right is angled very down that you can only really ride cant hit the edge very well to crash it. Its also very low just above the floor tom. Roger's ride is above the floor tom but the edge would also just slightly higher than his right hand 14 inch rack tom. My tutors kit only has a single floor and I'm really struggling with not having a second. Also lack of cymbals....just the one crash...again Roger plays a 17 and 19 on his left a 20 above the ride on the right and then another 20/21 back again from watching all his stuff over the years I know where my hands want to go in terms of different cymbals for different notes/colours.

So I know everyone has to start off somewhere but I feel that Roger's kit is so visually stapled in my mind that I can't play with less. In my lessons we're practicing Queen songs because that's what I know but because I know how Roger does certain things and what he's hitting, I don't know how to do the same with less around me and those things not at the correct height / angle of what i'm visualizing so sometimes I actually go to hit a cymbal that isnt there.

I'm going to get a pdp concept maple 7 piece (22 bass, 8/10/12/14/16) so not quite as big as Roger's but still 3 up 2 down and I know I can adjust the height of things to suit me.

Should I say anything to my tutor about this and have you any other advice for me. My lessons are only 30 mins long so I know he has to have his kit the same because the next guy coming in after me, and he teaches kids also but it just does not suit me but i'm embarrassed/scared to discuss with him.

Any help or advice would be appreciated. Thank You.




You should probably get your acoustic kit, set it up how you like, and practice a bunch. It could just be the difference between playing an electric vs acoustic. BIG difference. You have so much to learn that is much more important than this. Focus on playing every day and the longer you take lessons the less of an issue this will be.

Playing someone else's kit like a house kit, teachers, or friends is always weird at first but after playing for a few minutes you should be able to adjust without too much difficulty.


Playing someone else's kit like a house kit, teachers, or friends is always weird at first but after playing for a few minutes you should be able to adjust without too much difficulty.
Perfectly stated. I'll add that when I took lessons as a kid, my teacher (Howie Mann, RIP) had a kit that felt gigantic compared to mine. I remember being so uncomfortable sitting so high. But I dealt with it for the 1 hour I was with him and concentrated more on my technique and coordination than how high I was sitting.


Senior Member
Is this a real post or somebody just messing around...

SO... You've never played a real kit before and your complaining about your instructors kit not being setup like the 'imaginary' kit you've been playing for 15 years?

Just trying to get this straight in my head.



Senior Member
My lessons are only 30 mins long...
I think that this should be your actual concern. My drum lessons had always been one hour long, and I've consistently gotten something solid out of them.

When I started taking guitar lessons, the store offered half-hour lessons, so I tried that. I didn't feel that I was really getting anywhere, so I stopped for a while, and then picked back up later with one-hour lessons.

With the one-hour lesson, I'd sometimes have these "a-ha! moments" at around the 40 minute mark.

This particular guitar teacher is from another country. When I told him of my experience with the one hour lessons, he said that one hour is the standard in the South American countries where he's taught. The same was true when he was teaching in France.

He thinks that the half-hour lesson is an American thing, for people who are in a rush.

I'd recommend looking into the one-hour lesson, if you can. In my experience, half-hour lessons are a waste of time and money.

As for the drum kit at the lesson, I think chances are good that he's got a rather standard setup there, so learning new concepts and going through them shouldn't be too painful. I do feel that muscle memory is a thing, to a degree, but I also know that I'm able to successfully adjust when I find myself on a kit that is not of my particular size, configuration, and layout.


Platinum Member
If you tell your teacher any of this he's going to lose all interest in teaching you. Disabusing someone of this many fundamental misconceptions is way too much work. If you're going to learn how to actually play the drums, you're going to have to forget your years of air drumming, and all the rest of this junk you think you know. Playing the drums is completely different than everything you've been doing with music as a fan so far.

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
That post reads like a joke but in case that this is serious, forget Queen, air drumming and all that. Listen to your teacher and start from scratch. There is a reason why teaching drumsets are set up the way they are.


Gold Member
Not sure if this post is serious but regardless just on the below point.

the one thing about his kit is it sits quite high around him so his toms would be chest height and his cymbals would sit just above his head - see pic attached
That photo is taken from a perspective below or level with the bass drum, i.e. The photographer is looking up- so the kit setup looks higher than it actually is.

Doesn't look to be that high to me with the above in mind. Looks pretty standard. The cymbals will be around the shoulder or chin height, give or take a few inches.


Platinum Member
At the risk of feeding a troll, I'm just gonna leave this. If not for the OP then at least for the next 13 or 14 year old, who are the usual demographic for this line of thought.

To paraphrase something Gene Krupa once said: "If you can't do it on a snare, bass drum and hi hat, you can't do it."


Platinum Member
I say tell your drum teacher.

Tell him to get big power toms and mount them up high along with the cymbals... I mean, come on, Roger Taylor can't be wrong.RT.jpg


Junior Member
Firstly yes this is a genuine post and yes I have played a real kit a fair few times just never owned one to get proper regular use and practice......but im looking to start properly now....I do appreciate the responses and feedback

I know this is a psycological thing so to discuss some of your comments

I know there is a huge difference between rubber pads and real drum heads it will take a while to get used to it...point well taken

I think your right about 30 mins lessons not being long enough..i came out of the last one feeling that I was only really getting into it before I had to defo will ask about 60 min sessions.

Another point I would admit is that I probably am a bit obsessed with one band and one drummer...just the music really gets me so possibly I just need to focus on learning basic techniques without Queen in the picture and just learn how to drum the basics well with what Ive got....again because i know what drums / cymbals roger is hitting when he is playing a certain fill or part of a song, when i try to play it im thinking how do i do the same with not as many cymbals for example,

Roger actually holds the left hand stick by the tip end and strikes with the butt. It gives him more definition on the snare. Right hand is normal. Again for many years I have been doing this also...and as odd as that sounds im just used to it now and it feels very balanced to hold both sticks the same way feels very odd...all im saying here is i have picked up habits over the years which to reverse would be hard to do

I think the one thing which would help if my tutor could do it would be to add one extra crash to the right above the ride same height as the one on the left....when im doing a fill going round the drums im instictively looking for a crash on the right side which isnt there...if i finish on the floor tom to crash im swinging my right arm all the way over to the left to find the why am i doing that you ask? answer: again another thing that Roger doesnt do which is left hand lead on the left side crash.....his right arm does all the movement and his left is pretty much static on the snare...if he is playing a ride pattern he will always crash with the right hand on the right crash...very rarely would he crash on the opposite side...the only time he hits a crash with his left arm is when he hits both left and right together for end of song rolls etc but for the main backbeat he doesn’t do just pointing out another habit ive grown up with and whilst I know hitting the air and hitting a real drum or cymbal is 2 different things there is definitely muscle memory that has built up in where im naturally expecting to hit things in certain regarding the point about the camera angle of the photo and the height of the kit I accept that so i dont think thats the issue, its the quantity im struggling with and in particular the lack of cymbals.

Again appreciate any further feedback...i know im starting late in life but i do genuiinely want to get better and just be a better drummer....ive probably just developed tunnel vision by trying to copy the style of one particular drummer and one band's music and I need to explore other syles of music and do the basics right on the kit im learning on so will defo focus on that going forward

I also know its difficult to progress well in my lessons if i dont have a real kit to practise on in between so need to buy the damn thing lol

Thanks for your help and abuse...its ok i get it...its very weird and can understand why u think this is a joke...just telling the truth

Red Menace

Platinum Member
Another point I would admit is that I probably am a bit obsessed with one band and one drummer...just the music really gets me so possibly I just need to focus on learning basic techniques without Queen in the picture and just learn how to drum the basics well with what Ive got
Bingo. Don't worry about what the drummer from Queen is doing for now. Get your fundamentals down and start practicing correctly till you don't know any other way to play. Eventually when you have had a chance to really play on a few kits and try out some gear you may in fact find that your tastes change.

Happened to me. I started as a matched drummer and I just knew that I wanted a kit with a massive bass drum and a 24" ride. Now about 8 years later I play trad grip and my massive bass drum sits in a case on the shelf. I think I have gigged it twice. I have owned 2 24" rides and sold them both to the same heavy metal drummer friend. It's not too late if you're willing to put in the work and time it will take to get good.

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Well, it sounds to me like you won’t be happy until you have a drum setup similar to Roger Taylors’ kit from Queen. And in my experience if a person is not happy when they play a musical instrument, if they don’t experience some joy when playing a musical instrument, then they will not continue to practice and they will not learn how to play the instrument.

Therefore you need to get yourself the drum set that you desire as soon as possible. Even if it is built with cheap drums. And you need to express your feelings to your drum teacher. If he is a good teacher he can guide you to where you want to go. You can do both; play like Roger Taylor and learn basic drumming techniques. If you are struggling and you are unhappy because you wish to emulate Roger Taylor, then you will not progress. If you are unhappy, your lessons are wasting your time and your teacher’s time.

The reason you are getting advice from this website regarding learning the basics is because we assume that someday you will want to play with other musicians and play other types of music. But that does not sound like that is your main goal right now. Your main goal seems to be to play along with Queen songs. That is fine if it makes you happy. Music is all about joy, personal happiness and sharing that joy with others. However, if you want to play with other musicians you will ALSO need to learn how to play on a standard drum set up like your teacher has. Because it is most likely how the drums will be set up at open mic jams and when you are sharing a kit with other drummers.

Good luck on your quest.



Platinum Member
Another point I would admit is that I probably am a bit obsessed with one band and one drummer...just the music really gets me so possibly I just need to focus on learning basic techniques without Queen in the picture and just learn how to drum the basics well with what Ive got....again because i know what drums / cymbals roger is hitting when he is playing a certain fill or part of a song, when i try to play it im thinking how do i do the same with not as many cymbals for example,
No shit!!

It's great to have a goal. It's great to have a role model to base your foundation off and take your inspiration from. But you also need to be able to see the forrest for the trees as you go too. And at the moment, you simply can't. Your posts are living testament to that. You're bogged down in minutiae that will ulimately hinder, rather than help.

I'll bet you London to a brick that Roger Taylor didn't start his drumming journey on that kit that you can't seem to move past. Nor did he "air drum". Nor did ignore the need to crawl before he could walk. Or walk before he could run. Or otherwise bog himself down in needless, irrelevant wankery.

No one with that kind of creativity and musical expression on a drum kit has. Until now.........perhaps.

Fair enough, you may not be trolling. But it's also kinda difficult to take you seriously at the same time. I've gotta question how serious you are about this whole caper to begin with?

I get that there's quite a specific scope that has brought you to this instrument. You wouldn't be the only one. But honestly, I can also say that you're not gonna progress nearly as far as you'd like to think you are unless you're prepared to broaden your horizons........even just a little bit.

I'll friggen' guarantee you Roger Taylor did. If you're so intent on being like him, then why not least try and subject yourself to the same sort of approach as he, no doubt, would have?

You owe yourself that much, surely?


Junior Member
Guys thanks this has been a great help....for many years its been a big interest of mine just financially ive never got myself in the position for it to really happen because I know its not a cheap its actually going to become reality

I take all your comments on board, i am extremely passionate about it just probably too passionate about one drummer and one style of music.....for me i just dont want to be playing in my garage...for me i want to get good that perhaps i could even get into a wedding band or something like that inside the next couple of years s I can bring in additional income so i know i will defo have to explore other styles of music to be able to do that...but getting the basics right first of head has defo been up my own arse and Roger's for that matter for too long and its time to pull it out. I take the point about its ok using people as big influencies but yes I need to develop my own style of play.

Think I will bring this up with the tutor but im not going to complain about his hit set up or anything just need to say that Ive tried to copy a certain person too much that it has become a blocker in my development and probably my own desire to learn what i actually need to learn

Thanks for all your help

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
You can have any kit you want at home. If 11 toms in gren sparkle with pink polkafots is your thing, then go for it.

Understand though that, drum lessons are about the fundamentals of technique, reading, rhythm, independence, styles and basic musicality. You can go through an part of a Queen song that you need help with at a lesson without x amounts of toms, cymbals.....

As for hights of setups... Those high cymbals is a big part of drummers developing physical issues. It was either about looking cool or being able to see.

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
... or about keeping cymbals far enough away from tom mics back then, so the cymbals don't cut into the signals of the toms.

Anyway, even if you air-drummed.. you know that Taylor had different setups now and then... did you adjust your drumming to the setup he used for a particular recording? Hehehe.. Joking aside, it is absolutely okay to have an idol. But keep in mind that you will never be Taylor. Your drumming will never be like his. You will never replace him at Queen. So why do you try to copy him so much? That said: Start to be YOURSELF. Find out what makes YOU interesting as a drummer, search for YOUR voice. Tons of "hobby-drummers" want to play like XYZ and have the drumset of XYZ (I have lost count on the dozens of Bonham-wannabe-clones I have seen in my life) and fail to see that the goal of making music is to express yourself, not to imitate someone whom you are definitely not.

I know that it is a for many people long journey to find "their voice". But it's worth to search for it, to develop it. And the more basic the drumset is on which you learn the essential basics, the less you are tempted to hit everything all the time only because it is there. Take the basic 5pc setup with ride and crash and then go from there, add or change the stuff that you really want to be different, once you have gained some experience. Other cymbal-sound? Okay, get others. Completely other snaresound? Okay, get a different one. And so on...

Btw: Keith Moon was my teenage idol. I dreamed about having a kit like the one he used for "Live at Leeds". Then I started playing drums on a 5pc kit. Nowadays, I play a 4 pc kit. Go figure.