Actually, some of the first stringed instruments only had 2, 3, and later. 4 strings. It wasn't until the 1700's that the modern day guitar had six strings.What?
Should we keep com pairing melodic instruments to percussion?
Now lets compare to non-melodic instruments. The modern day marching multi-tenor was not brought up until the 1960's. the originals consisted of only one tom on each individual, until a highschool mounted two on the harness and marched as such. with that same attitude, no one would have ever moved on to create the modern day quints or sextets. There is always room for progression! Now, Rhythmically, I think a person should practice on one drum. creativity goes far with rhythm, I will agree, but not with shape. If I had only three keys on the marimba to play, sure, I could probably make one of the greatest rhythmic solos of all time! But sadly, with only three keys, there's not going to be much shape. :/
So! With this discussion, I have come to a conclusion. A person should study rythms with as little as one drum.
Should also study with many drums to create great shape! So honestly, If you have great skill in rhythm, extra drums do nothing to change the rhythm, it just gives extra sound.
So who's to say that any one person is less skilled or creative if they can play the same rythms on a 6 piece or higher that a person can on a four piece, and use extra drums in the process?
So maybe you have one thing right: A smaller set builds true ryhtmic practice with the bare minimum, but having more creates shape. Therefore, those who have great rhythm probably use smaller sets, and those who make great shapes, probably use bigger ones.
Lets come to a conclusion by working thoughts together! Not by attacking.