Kinda miss those 80's kits!!

synergy

Senior Member
I was just flicking through my channels and caught Van Halen's jump.

I had never really focussed on it before but I realised the drummer has 4 bass drums, not just 1 rack of roto-type toms but 2 plus a menagerie of floor toms and what appear to be congo's off to his right side next to his 2 or 3 floor toms!

Oh and dont forget the staple 'dont-leave-home-without-it' 60 inch gong!

I can understand to an extent a player and kit like Bozzio's- where I believe everything on that is for a reason and will actually be played.

However those kits in the 80's always looked like the production team just went around the warehouse and duct-taped what they could find to the drummer's usual 4-piece!

Any of you guys out there who were gigging through the 80's were you playing on kits like that at your local bars?
 

m1ck

Senior Member
I wasn't gigging in the 80s but I was going to a lot of rock concerts. Big kits were in. Rock and metal is big on drums in general, but I think a lot of it has to do with stage presence. Alex Van Halen's kit, I think, was exemplary.
 

jjmason777

Senior Member
Not quite like that, but I still have my '82 7-piece Rogers double bass kit. Big drums. I'll sell it to you if you miss big kits that much!
 
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trkdrmr

Guest
There was a lot to look at, and IMO---pretty cool. The drummers from that era that are still around seem to have re-evaluated thier usefulness. With very few exceptions (Portnoy, McBrain) everyone has downsized, even if by a drum or two. Alex van Halen radically downsized since 1984. Some folks keep two kicks around for looks, but many had two kicks back then due to the lack of decent double pedals. Anyone remember Randy Castillo's massive Ozzy kit?

It was a different era to be sure.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
Anyone remember Randy Castillo's massive Ozzy kit?
I remember seeing him with that kit (Purple Tama) with Ozzy, and then a few months later, saw him playing those same drums, but as a 5 piece (1 up, 2 down) at an "after hours club. And honestly, I liked his playing on the 5 piece much better. Same thing happened with Jonathan Mover. Saw him with Alice Cooper, behind an "arena" kit (again Tama), and then a few months later, he's with Joe Satriani, and playing only 1/2 his kit.
 
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trkdrmr

Guest
I remember seeing him with that kit (Purple Tama) with Ozzy, and then a few months later, saw him playing those same drums, but as a 5 piece (1 up, 2 down) at an "after hours club. And honestly, I liked his playing on the 5 piece much better. Same thing happened with Jonathan Mover. Saw him with Alice Cooper, behind an "arena" kit (again Tama), and then a few months later, he's with Joe Satriani, and playing only 1/2 his kit.
Yeah, I have a few Satrini albums with me, and Movers work was all done on smaller kits. Gregg Bissonette sit in as well on some tunes. There is a point---even with big setups--- where drums stop becoming separate voices and actually replicate the function of other drums, at least from the listening/non drummer perspective.

IIRC: back in the late 70's early 80's you could actually get a kit that had 11 toms from 6" to 20" and two kicks, even more than an octa-plus Ludwig. That's a 14-piece kit from the catalog.

I am a small to medium kit guy myself.
 

Drumsword

Pioneer Member
I played a lot in the mid-late 80's even though I was still in High School. I used a double bass pearl export with 4 racks, and 2 floors, 10 cymbals and a 28" gong.

in 1993 I scaled back to a 5 piece, 1 up 2 down until 1998 when I went back to an 9 piece set up, 2 bass, 3 racks and 2 floors, 2 snares.

NOW, I have 3 sets (Pics below) and 30+ cymbals. I don't play everything at once but I use what I need for a gig or what is appropriate. But I have a 4 piece keller, a 6 piece ddrum and an 8 piece gretsch, (2 Kicks, 2 racks, 2 floors and 2 snares). But I Loved the 80's kits, half the fun of the shows was seeing what the drummers would be playing. The conga's you mentioned on Alex's Kit were octabons, he had 2 of them over his floor tom in that vid. I just watched it.... for the 23,675th time. lol
 

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Togg

Senior Member
Hmm well I guess you could say I am still playing a kit like that... Had these (well the basis parts) since the 80's and it has just got bigger and bigger

Based on Roger Taylor's (Queen) kit.

Big toms, big cymbals big sound... We Will Rock You...
 

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Togg

Senior Member
You had to ask didn't you..........

10x9 13x12 14x14 16x16 18x16 24x14
Snare 14x8 or 14x6 1/2 maple or a 402
Classic Maple, mixture of ages, Bass drum 76'
Toms 2005' snare's 79' 81' and 2007

Ludwig hardware
DW 900 double pedal

Cymbals
Zildjian K's
17, 19, 20, 22 ride
4 spash (I think it's a 4?)
8 splash
14, new beats
22 Oriental Trash
23 Dragon China mid 80's
20' Oriental Crash of Doom

Heads, Remo Emperor
Super Kick
Powerstroke 3 on snares.
Sticks Vic Firth 5B

I also have
13x9 & 14x10 Ludwig classic maple toms, mid 80's
A pretty full set of Paiste cymbals
Sound Edge hats
2002 17, 18 19 crashes
20 Sound creation ride
A Sabian 15 crash
6 Meinl splash

V Old Simmond kit (V basic just goes 'Bing bing')
Old bass drum pedals including a Premier 252

RotaToms 8, 10, 12
Timbales 13, 14
Premier Bongos

Protection Racket cases by the dozen!!

And finally a big car to put it all in....
 

synergy

Senior Member
After my original post- I was still looking at vids and found Portnoy who is still using 3 basses....

I would love to play one of those- just couldnt be bothered to load all the stuff!!!!

Must take longer to load and setup then the show they play in!

I'll stick with my 4/5 piece
 
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trkdrmr

Guest
Although they looked cool, I never liked power toms (squared sizes like 12x12 13x13, 14x14). They took up way too much space (vertically) and they had a pillowy feel. I built a kit last year (Keller) with power toms, and I hated it. That size of tom just lost it's punch compared to standard toms. I didn't like the lack of tuning range and the boomy, diffuse sound.
 
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trkdrmr

Guest
Check out Nicko Mcbrain's sonor hi-tech drumkit from 1986: 6,8,10,12,13,14,15,16 in "square" dimensions, 18 width by 19" depth floor, 24X18 BD and a ludwig 402 snare.

And he still uses the same sizes today with premier!!!
Nice pic! I have not seen him on that color sonor. I have seen a zillion pics of his concert/arena kit with single heads from back in the day. I like Nicko, I am listening to DOTR now. You know, if Sonor sponsored him again, I bet he'd get a heavy-shell SQ2 to match what he had back in the day (IIRC signatures?) He used to have them raked toe-out at a steep angle.

Premier must have made him a big offer, unless there was some other reason he left Sonor...which almost *never* happens with any Sonor artist.
 

LTNINGFan

Member
I love large kits..I know with the 80's hair metal bands that they weren't utilized very much, but it sure gave me some ideas when I finally was able to buy my first double bass kit.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Although they looked cool, I never liked power toms (squared sizes like 12x12 13x13, 14x14). They took up way too much space (vertically) and they had a pillowy feel. I built a kit last year (Keller) with power toms, and I hated it. That size of tom just lost it's punch compared to standard toms. I didn't like the lack of tuning range and the boomy, diffuse sound.
Most drum sets have square size toms in them. How they sound depends on heads, shell density and tuning. I have only square size toms and they have more punch than Jonestown, but I have thick heads and extremely dense shells - the best of all worlds.
 
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trkdrmr

Guest
Most drum sets have square size toms in them. How they sound depends on heads, shell density and tuning. I have only square size toms and they have more punch than Jonestown, but I have thick heads and extremely dense shells - the best of all worlds.
Yeah, the Keller shells I used were 5.4mm, and didn't do anything good with any type drumhead. I'd bet those shells you have would respond a lot better, and would suit square sizes.

That's another thing I didn't even think of. Nicko's kit was a heavy shelled sonor, something like 13mm. New shells like those I use would be less rigid.
 
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