Just a rant....


Platinum Member
As some of you know I play a weekly television show with a backline kit that has the bass drum nailed to the floor. I put up with it to keep peace in the studio where I also do other work where I deal with a lot of the same people. But I separate the soundman sound issue from the backline kit issue because having other kits around is a tremendous help in a place where the primary transportation is a tiny Dacia taxi. After a while you get used to it and learn how to make any kit sound OK because most times its not the drums making you sound acceptable...it's you.

Since the last time we discussed this I actually counted and in the month of May I played publicly on nine different drum sets. Now it doesn't even enter my mind and after a while you learn to live with less to make more.


Senior Member
So, a "House kit" is a normal thing?
House kits or headline act kits are the normal here. In fact, it is very unusual for there to be only one band playing a gig, and where there is more than one band on, there is rarely ever a change in kit. Having said that my band is playing 'alone' tonight, but we are playing at a pub where its more of a cover gig, with our originals thrown in.

I must be playing in different kinds of venues than a lot of you people then.
Maybe because I don't play in "cover" bands? Those venues (here) have ONE band all night....you bring all your own gear for those gigs....
This seems to be in stark contrast to you. I think you are implying that original bands are more likely to use all their own kit as opposed to cover bands, where you live? I don't really play with cover bands, and all of the original bands I play with all share kits. How very different!


Silver Member
So, a "House kit" is a normal thing?
I think the norm is kit sharing more than anything. Around here all the bands either use the headliners kit or the house kit if there is one and the headliner hasn't brought theres. Usually the headliners kit isn't too bad (though most of the time it is a 4 peice - I don't remember the last time I saw a 5 peice or more in a pub/club type venue).


Platinum Member
Take your stuff, use as much of it as you can, and have have fun!

I am left handed and right footed. I play open handed with the ride just above the hats. I always try to play my own snare (with my stand), bass drum pedal, and cymbals. I may just get away with adding a ride on the left, but that is all I require. The rest is just desire.

If the kit is not owned by one of the other drummers, adjust away! If it is owned by one of the other drummers, find him or her and discuss your concerns.

Good luck.


Platinum Member

Since the last time we discussed this I actually counted and in the month of May I played publicly on nine different drum sets. Now it doesn't even enter my mind and after a while you learn to live with less to make more.
As far as I'm concerned, [/end thread] right there.

At the end of the day, all drums work the same, you hit them, they make a noise. It's up to you to hit them, or not.


Having been on both sides myself, I agree with a lot of what you're saying. However - changing the settings is the sound engineer's job. When I've been hired to engineer gigs, I'm usually tweaking the settings throughout the entire gig because each song is different, different dynamics, different feel, etc. Often the more lazy sound engineers (which I think we are referring to more in this thread) just set it and forget it. I've seen them walk off and have a beer, or sit and read the paper, or whatever.

Also what you said about the snare - I absolutely agree, however the snare is the one main thing that does change between drummers even when using the house kit, so really it's down to setting up the toms and kick drum again, which as I said, is our job as a hired engineer.

Secondly, we are only re-inforcing the sound so I don't agree that it is quite as challenging as getting a good sound in the studio unless of course you're talking about stadium gigs where the majority of sound is absolutely from the PA (but we aren't, we're talking pubs and clubs). Some rooms though yes it is a real pain in the backsid to get a good sound. Then you get the bands that just turn all there amps up to full so the PA may as well not be there except for the vocals and kick drum and toms and then you just end up with a terrible mix anyway.

When engineering gigs, do you prefer to use your own gear? I always did - the few times I used the house PA I didn't like it, usually because the quality of the gear wasn't particularly great, especially with those budget speakers they often tend to have where the majority of the vocal came through the horn. Yuck.

Sound familiar? Same argument as using the house drum kit really...

Please note I'm not arguing with you, I agree with most of what you say, and I am fully aware of the sound engineer not being appreciated. I just don't think it is as demanding as the poor drummer who has to play on a bad drum kit, having been on both sides too.

Anyway nice to meet a fellow sound engineer here :) I've kind of given it up for now. I ran out of money and had a huge tax bill to pay, so sold up everything except my drums. I felt sad parting with some of it, especially the lovely Turbosound FOH set up which I think went to a Rod Stewart tribute act that sang to a backing tape, fake tan 'an all.. !! Oh well, needs must. Plus lugging all the gear about was getting tiring too! Getting too old for all that ;-)

I don't own my own PA Gear (lack of money and space) and I don't do it often. The last time I did anything reasonable was about four years ago and that was a theatre show for about two months. We were playing to about three hundred and were running sixteen radio mics, a nine-piece band and I was even running a voice transformer for one of the leads! - so my experience is limited. I do more studio-based engineering and I've just finished a degree of which a large part was sound engineering, so I'm not an 'old pro' or anything like that - I just know what I'm doing. Most of what I have done live is with smaller venues, so I'm with you on the 'reinforcement', but the volumes that promoters demanded were very high - which I thought was ridiculous. I wasn't usually an engineer then, I did help out, but usually I was actually in one of the bands! It's something I picked up over time.

I agree absolutely that tweaking is part of the game. Absolutely - you never stop tweaking, if you do a miracle has occurred! With that said, it still takes time to dial in even. It's a bit like tuning a drum - sometimes you get it right away and sometimes it takes just a bit longer. Snare changes are part of it - and rightfully so, I would never ask a drummer to use someone else's snare. With that said the 'changeover' really is a totally legitimate reason not to want to change an entire kit. It takes time and even if you're experienced it can take fifteen minutes and THEN you start tweaking. Which is why soundchecks and professionalism are so important. If a band is professional, I have no objection to changing between sets at all; but otherwise it can be an utter nightmare.

What's really important is communication and professionalism. Without either one of those, you're up a proverbial creek.


Silver Member
If you can come up, to a kit that's not even yours, and preform great. I think that's pro! I like to come with just a pair of sticks (Know i bring two pairs....) And preform somewhat okay.
Im totally confident that i could preform better on my own kit, but i don't have to express it. I don't want to be embarrassed, but i don't want to look like a douchebag either.

Nick G.

Senior Member
i dont mind it too much tbh
ive got the attitude of - meh im no good anyway, ill play on this

but my favourite was when the headlining band drummer came up to me and said "hey erm, i dont know how to tune drums, can you tune mine ?"

was a fun gig none the less :p
and im just happy to be playing out :)


Senior Member
I played a gig last night. We were playing jazzy material and supporting a hard rock band. I had to use his kit, my cymbals and snare; and brought my stool and snare stand, just to avoid adjusting his set up and play with maximum comfort. The toms and crash were set up way too high for me; but after some caution I could use them sparingly and comfortably. I discovered that I prefer his ride positioning to my own. That was a win!

I let the sound engineer know what I needed out of the kick drum and he delivered on the whole shebang. The night definitely went much smoother because the headlining drummer set up things the way he wanted them hours in advance with no time pressure.

I still missed a couple of notes due to the setup (or rather, my technical limitations in adjusting to it) and once I dropped a stick coming out of a four bar solo because it caught between the toms! No problem, kept the right hand simple and did what I prepared to do and reached my stick bag.

But hey. I figure if I'm going to sound crap because of the wrong kit setup; then I'm going to sound crap if I sleep 6 hours instead of 7 or fail to warmup for 3 hours or I eat the wrong kind of cheese and then I really don't have the fundamentals in place firmly enough anyway to deliver solidly on stage except the occasions when some magical luck on every level occurs. I do not have to be the best drummer in the world but it is up to me to sound good when things go less than ideally (which is most of the time). I seem to have saved myself a lot of aggro...
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Senior Member
Just FYI since this thread was pulled up from the grave,… I did play the back line kit for the gig. Luckily the sound tech was a drummer so he had them tuned very nicely. I played VERY well to my surprise!! Still would have preferred my own equipment, however it wasn’t as bad as I thought… I have vid’s if anyone’s interested in hearing the sound of the supplied drum equipment…

The Gedge

Perhaps you might get used to it if you buy a useless kit, although I'm speaking from a position of extreme inexperience.


Senior Member
Headlining a gig this weekend, so I'll be using my own equipment. So stuff that in your pipe and smake it! BOOM!

LoL! :)


Senior Member
Nothing beats your own kit. Prior negotiation is mandatory. Sometimes you have a gig where morre bands play and the people there do not have enough time to take drumkits down and set others up. It totally depends on the gig.


Gold Member
A little late on this thread, but here's my opinion.

As much as I love my drums and cymbals, I also love playing on other people's and house sets. I just find it a lot of fun to play on all sorts of different sets, whether it's a $200 Cannon or a $5000 Reference. When I'm doing a gig on another set, I'll usually just bring a pedal and a drum key. I like to get there a half hour earlier than I normally would and tune them to perfection!
Sometimes I'll also bring one or two of my cymbals if there aren't many there, and I really need more for the setlist, but most of the time, I like to make the best with what I have.

The worst house kit I've played on was probably one where the bass drum moved forward a little bit each time I hit it! I didn't notice it till we started the set! Luckily the first song had a few pauses, so I could move it back towards me a bit. But there were times when I could barely reach the pedal, and had to miss a few notes to pull it back! Me and the band had a good laugh about it afterwards.

I've also played with a broken throw off that keeps turning off, lol very frusterating, and cymbals that wobble so much they go almost vertical!

But most of the time it goes smoothly, and how can you beat not having to drag your kit to the gig!
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