In defence of multiple toms.

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Actually, you could get there too. You're not going to like how to get there, though. It requires that you ditch your other toms and practice getting new tones out of fewer, and do it all the time so you're not tempted back to the old "down the toms" deal.
Great reply, & one I've thought about in some depth. The clips I posted were just selected at random, but I actually go up the toms at least 20% of the time, & much more frequently than that, select patterns within my tom selection. I agree that it's completely possible to tease different tones from toms, & use those differences to add voices greater than the number of toms. I frequently use both dynamics & head position to alter timbre, including rimshots & glancing the head. Where I lack skill, is in combining those in a single fill. Still, all of that said, no amount of tom mastery can emulate significant pitch variations afforded by multiple toms. Whether such pitch variations add musically to the piece is a whole different discussion.

Using subtle nuances & changes to emulate pitch variation or add voices is a noble pursuit indeed, but specifically in my band gigging context, such options are lost in a very big band sound, so multiple toms is the most direct route to getting the job done in a way I want it to be presented.

hahaha git!!! I have never been called a git!!! I actually always wanted to referred to as :
A henchmen, thug, sidekick, drinking buddy, golfing buddy,HRH,Master spy, something along those lines. Git, thats funny!!
A username change to "Ald Git" is therefore mandatory, your Royal Highness ;)

I'm assuming that the sound of that vid just came from the cam rather than the desk and even so they sound fantastic!
Thanks, yes, straight from a Zoom Q3 camera, although the bass drum camera sound will have benefitted from some FOH bottom end spill.

I say it's more than refreshing, it's unheard off... such behavior from a guitarist... unless is an ex-failed drummer.
Never picked up a pair of sticks in his life. He is, however, not only a superb guitarist, but a great musician. As such, he takes a strong interest in anything that contributes to the overall presentation. Frankly, the best guitarist I've ever worked with, & such a humble guy too :)

If I sold drums I'd want people to be into having lots of toms too ;0)
Hahaha, nice poke ;)
 

randomrod

Junior Member
I've been using a bop sizes four-piece lately. I do miss the second rack tom, but just having a 12" rack and 14" Floortom actually sound nice, is a joy.
I've never played out with more than a six piece kit, but in my experience with previous multiple tom setups, tuning can be hard work.
Nowadays with the 10, 12, 14, 16, ensemble, sonic separation is easier to achieve.
I've never been able to get 18 and 16 Floortoms to sound good side by side.
I'd love one of these huge setups you see on facebook, but that would be a permanent fixture in my drum studio, if I had one!
As I get on in years, it's more about portability and playing in the song, rather than doing exciting fills!
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I've never played out with more than a six piece kit, but in my experience with previous multiple tom setups, tuning can be hard work.
I'm with you on the getting older thing :(

I never go beyond a 6 piece either. My 8, 10, 12, 14, 20 is very compact too, yet affords me a very flexible range. I used a 4 piece for practice last night, & even when hanging everything off two stands (including the 14), it's stage footprint is larger than my rack based 6 piece.

As for tuning, I get your point there too. More toms = more work. That said, I'm so used to tuning for multiple situations/rooms/demo's, etc, it's not a difficulty for me.
 

drummer-russ

Gold Member
I make no judgements on a drummers kit, large or small. I think the genre does play into it a bit though. And if you are doing covers of Rush and Van Halen it can come across as missing something if you do not have something smaller than a 12" tom.

The most important person to judge ones drums is oneself. If you feel good behind it and it looks good to you then it IS good!
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
Judging drum set sizes seems ridiculous to me. At the end of the day, you either can play, or you can't. And Andy, you can play.

Also, Andy, if there's anyone who puts thought into his drums and what he needs out of them, it's you. I mean, nobody can make a four piece kit sound like a Peart's or Bozzio's. I would be pretty disappointed if Neil played all those runs around the drums that start on a 6" concert tom and end on an 18" floor tom on one drum.

Rock on with the 6-piece, my man!
 
My philosophy is that whatever makes you happy! Drums are, after all, supposed to be fun to play. If you play a certain style and it requires more or less, then there you go. There is no right or wrong. You as a drummer should NEVER have to defend your setup, the idea of having to do so is just crazy to me! I have just as much fun playing a 4 piece kit, as well as a 6 or more piece kit.

I also find it to be a lot of fun playing on other people's setups. Sometimes you find something about theirs that you like! Always have an open mind and a pair of sticks.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
if you are doing covers of Rush and Van Halen it can come across as missing something if you do not have something smaller than a 12" tom.
Yes, that high end just has to be there :)

Judging drum set sizes seems ridiculous to me. At the end of the day, you either can play, or you can't. And Andy, you can play.

Also, Andy, if there's anyone who puts thought into his drums and what he needs out of them, it's you.
Rock on with the 6-piece, my man!
Thanks for the props :) Of course, I'm rocking the Spauns right now (out of necessity). Great drums (as hopefully you can hear on the camera footage), but I'm already getting very excited about the new Guru set that will appear soon (ish). Now there's one hell of a lot of thought gone into that!!!

Scoop: it's a 6 piece, but minus the 8", & two toms the same diameter :)

Always have an open mind and a pair of sticks.
Now that's a great drummer's mantra :)
 

BillBachman

Gold Member
I like all of the options, from big kit to 4 pc to no kit. A smaller kit can surely force you to be inventive/more expressive to do more with less, but I'll take that a step farther: two sticks on a picnic table also represent the same opportunity. Having the ability/vocabulary to make music totally stripped down like that really gives you options wen you add more colors.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, progressive rock can really benefit from the complimentary orchestration a big kit can offer. When I was playing with Neal Morse I had 5 toms, two sets of hats, multiple china types and they all had their place to compliment some other parts within the music.

That said, I usually play a 4 piece with ride/hats and 1 or 2 crashes and hype doing a lot with that. It's rare that I'm left wishing I had another color to hit playing that set up.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
On the opposite end of the spectrum, progressive rock can really benefit from the complimentary orchestration a big kit can offer. When I was playing with Neal Morse I had 5 toms, two sets of hats, multiple china types and they all had their place to compliment some other parts within the music.
"Orchestration", that was the blindingly obvious term I missed out. Thanks Bill :)

Put simply, I can readily identify the role each kit element contributes. Just about the only piece that doesn't entirely justify it's real estate is the big china, although it is used on about 4 songs in the set. Maybe the wind chimes fall into that category too, but they're used on 5 songs. Neither essential of course, but their contribution is noticeable on those songs.
 

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
I completely agree. The number of toms really does not effect how good or creative a drummer is. Music is about freedom, so why should a drummer who loves his instrument have to be limited as to how many toms he can play? Personally, I have tried many different sizes of drum kits... 4 piece... 3 piece... 5,6,7,8,12, you name it.

I've even played gigs with nothing but a snare drum and a bass drum. But that is beside the point. I believe that if you are going to at least use the entire drum kit a little bit, then you may use how ever many toms you want. Although a lot of drummers say that a 4 piece makes you a more creative drummer, just because a drummer uses 3 or more toms does not make him lazy. A drummer should use how ever many toms he feels he will use, but not more than that. Personally I believe the 4 piece is definitely the most EFFICIENT of drum kits, but certainly not anymore "creative" and "innovative" than any other size drum set.
I agree. The idea that a 4pc makes you more creative or a larger kit causes you to over play is nonsense. If you don't have the discipline as a player you will neither be more creative on a small kit or more controlled on a larger kit. The number of drums is irrelevant
 
I agree. The idea that a 4pc makes you more creative or a larger kit causes you to over play is nonsense. If you don't have the discipline as a player you will neither be more creative on a small kit or more controlled on a larger kit. The number of drums is irrelevant
I think the idea is that less drums can make you more creative because there are less "drum" possibilities, so you have to use your mind and skills to come up with more mental things. I understand the logic, sometimes it is nice to break down to a hat, snare, floor tom setup and see what you can come up with. Where, if you have a huge kit, you have tons of "drum" possibilities, therefore you don't think about doing more with less. However, it depends on the drummer as well, because there are super creative guys out there, on all kits.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I agree. The idea that a 4pc makes you more creative or a larger kit causes you to over play is nonsense. If you don't have the discipline as a player you will neither be more creative on a small kit or more controlled on a larger kit. The number of drums is irrelevant
This is a load of crap. Having less to "work with" forces most people to be more creative with what they do have. I've seen it countless times.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
This is a load of crap. Having less to "work with" forces most people to be more creative with what they do have. I've seen it countless times.
So in this theory, a guitar with one string is better than a guitar with six? Should pianists use a three octave keyboard instead of a full piano? Painters only use two colors and one brush? Architects be limited to 8x8x16 CMU blocks?

I'm sorry but creativity is in the individual, not the tool. A creative person will be able to expand their creativity with an expanded tool set, and should not be limited to a certain set of parameters.

Creativity should not be forced.
 

Dracovyrn

Senior Member
So in this theory, a guitar with one string is better than a guitar with six? Should pianists use a three octave keyboard instead of a full piano? Painters only use two colors and one brush? Architects be limited to 8x8x16 CMU blocks?

I'm sorry but creativity is in the individual, not the tool. A creative person will be able to expand their creativity with an expanded tool set, and should not be limited to a certain set of parameters.

Creativity should not be forced.
Exactly. The limits of a human being is within one's self. No matter the size or lack thereof. Now, I play a six string bass. In the talkbass forums, most see it as completely unnecessary, I see it as more options to creativity. Are the wrong? No; But they certainly aren't right. :p
 

Bad Tempered Clavier

Silver Member
Creativity should not be forced.
Absolutely. This less-is-more horseshit really does get tiresome: I couldn't care less if someone recorded their last album in one day on just hats, snare, and bass with no overdubs and everyone crowded in one room so they only had to use one mic and get everything in one take and the drummer used some old rusty kit that everyone laughed at when he brought into the studio but with his special voodoo-drummer magic he made it sound magical blah blah blah . . .

Let's be honest - the only people who endlessly bang on about how using a 4-piece kit makes you play better are the ones whose favourite drummers typically had that configuration at their disposal when they learned to play almost a century ago and stuck with it. Well guess what? Buddy Rich is dead, Elvin Jones is dead, Joe Morello - dead . . . time moves on, you know. These days drummers have options that extend beyond trap-trays and low-boys and the vast majority of drummers who have come after the likes of Morello et al ain't ever gonna be anywhere near as good as them whether they play one piece or 20 - so don't pretend that it was the drums that made those drummers what they were . . . "4" is NOT the magic number.

Seriously, these people should all club together to buy a Flux Capacitor so they can sod off back to The Good Old Days.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
So in this theory, a guitar with one string is better than a guitar with six?
What? No, we're talking about totally different instruments. The base "6 string" is really all you need to be creative on a guitar. Most folks don't worry about more strings, or double necks, because they don't need all the extra crap. Sure, once in a while, some people like to whip out the double-neck guitar and get creative with that, but for almost any application, all the extras are just distractions and un-needed.

Should pianists use a three octave keyboard instead of a full piano?
Should we keep comparing melodic instruments to percussion?

Painters only use two colors and one brush?
Monochrome imagery most certainly spurs creativity in a lot of people. Ansel chose black and white long after he could have used color for his prints. It allows you to take out the extras and be more mindful and creative with the tones you have.

I'm sorry but creativity is in the individual, not the tool.
To an extent. All I'm saying is that restraints and limits can push creativity much farther than "more, more, more" in a lot of people.

A creative person will be able to expand their creativity with an expanded tool set, and should not be limited to a certain set of parameters.
Unless they want to use those limiting parameters as a spring-board for even more creativity.

Creativity should not be forced.
Nonsense. Taking the path of least resistance and avoiding forcing yourself to do things differently in your creative path is a mistake in my view.
 
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MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
What? No, we're talking about totally different instruments. The base "6 string" is really all you need to be creative on a guitar. Most folks don't worry about more strings, or double necks, because they don't need all the extra crap. Sure, once in a while, some people like to whip out the double-neck guitar and get creative with that, but for almost any application, all the extras are just distractions and un-needed.

Should we keep comparing melodic instruments to percussion?

Monochrome imagery most certainly spurs creativity in a lot of people. Ansel chose black and white long after he could have used color for his prints. It allows you to take out the extras and be more mindful and creative with the tones you have.

To an extent. All I'm saying is that restraints and limits can push creativity much farther than "more, more, more" in a lot of people.

Unless they want to use those limiting parameters as a spring-board for even more creativity.

Nonsense. Taking the path of least resistance and avoiding forcing yourself to do things differently in your creative path is a mistake in my view.
A six string guitar with 22 frets has 132 sound choices. Are you saying that because a guitar is a different instrument its qualifications as a creative tool differ than that of the drums? Or is it because guitar players are "real" musicians so therefore they are allowed more choices?

The piano IS a percussion instrument.

Try explaining Ansel to Picasso, who not only used paint in his art, but other media such as glitter. Does that make him less creative? Ansel is a photographer, BTW, my example was of painting. Apples and Oranges in your thinking. Don't agree, see your comment about guitars above.

Yes, limits can push creativity in some, or create frustration in others that can't achieve their creative goals without a complete tool set. Try writing a book using only four words.

How is having a drum kit with more than 4 pieces "the path of least resistance"? Its not. On the contrary, the 4 piece IS the path of least resistance. No matter how bad ass your chops may be, you still only have 4 sounds. Buy claiming to have to "force" yourself to be creative, you are actually tossing creativity out the window and have now entered into the world of thought, and calculated movements are not creative.
 
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