Lefty-drummer's pet peeve

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Matt Bo Eder

Guest
So, akin to the thread about "not sharing":

For years, whenever I was invited to sit in (which wasn't often) on a right-handed kit, I was always nice and said I'd have to flip a couple of things. I always just flipped the floor tom, snare, and hi-hat, and I'd leave the rest of the kit the way it was. Sometimes I wouldn't flip the floor tom and just push that out of the way farther to my right.

Always in these situations, I would never complain, was appreciative, I wouldn't mess up the time and I'd groove like it was nobody's business. Over the years I've either taken gigs or been offered other gigs because of these few-and-far-between sit-in sessions.

So why is it, when I, the left-handed drummer, become the cool host and let right-handed players play my kit, that they MUST FLIP EVERYTHING OVER? I'm not saying I do this anymore, but looking back on it over the years, there was never a single time when a right handed guy just flipped what he needed and made do. Everything had to be switched. And it really broke up the groove of an evening. You might as well have taken an extra band break!

So what is it with you righties? Why you gotta have everything right just to play Mustang Sally?

A friend of mine, who is also left-handed, he eventually developed a kit that never needed to be flipped. He would bring his big Ludwig kit with four rack toms, and those would be set-up left-to-right high-to-low. He wouldn't bring a floor tom, but he brought two snares, one where the floor tom would go. And all he had to flip is the hi-hat for anyone who wanted to sit-in. It made him play and sound unique, but I wonder if he would've become a better player had he just stuck to his guns and played his left-handed kit the way it should've been for him.

He did all this to accommodate any right-handers who may come in. Amazing. Right-handers never set-up thinking some left-handed drummer might want to sit in. Right there that makes the lefties cool people, don't you think?

Again, I no longer get into these situations, and if I let people sit-in, it's because we're friends already and we're having fun (like who can tell Bermuda that he can't play my kit?) I don't go to jamming open-mic nights, and if I'm on a gig, the mentality is that we don't let people sit-in because they're not getting paid to be there - we're not letting strangers come in to possibly ruin a gig.

What do you think, right-handers? Can you do what we left-handers do when allowed to sit-in?
 
So, akin to the thread about "not sharing":

For years, whenever I was invited to sit in (which wasn't often) on a right-handed kit, I was always nice and said I'd have to flip a couple of things. I always just flipped the floor tom, snare, and hi-hat, and I'd leave the rest of the kit the way it was. Sometimes I wouldn't flip the floor tom and just push that out of the way farther to my right.

Always in these situations, I would never complain, was appreciative, I wouldn't mess up the time and I'd groove like it was nobody's business. Over the years I've either taken gigs or been offered other gigs because of these few-and-far-between sit-in sessions.

So why is it, when I, the left-handed drummer, become the cool host and let right-handed players play my kit, that they MUST FLIP EVERYTHING OVER? I'm not saying I do this anymore, but looking back on it over the years, there was never a single time when a right handed guy just flipped what he needed and made do. Everything had to be switched. And it really broke up the groove of an evening. You might as well have taken an extra band break!

So what is it with you righties? Why you gotta have everything right just to play Mustang Sally?

A friend of mine, who is also left-handed, he eventually developed a kit that never needed to be flipped. He would bring his big Ludwig kit with four rack toms, and those would be set-up left-to-right high-to-low. He wouldn't bring a floor tom, but he brought two snares, one where the floor tom would go. And all he had to flip is the hi-hat for anyone who wanted to sit-in. It made him play and sound unique, but I wonder if he would've become a better player had he just stuck to his guns and played his left-handed kit the way it should've been for him.

He did all this to accommodate any right-handers who may come in. Amazing. Right-handers never set-up thinking some left-handed drummer might want to sit in. Right there that makes the lefties cool people, don't you think?

Again, I no longer get into these situations, and if I let people sit-in, it's because we're friends already and we're having fun (like who can tell Bermuda that he can't play my kit?) I don't go to jamming open-mic nights, and if I'm on a gig, the mentality is that we don't let people sit-in because they're not getting paid to be there - we're not letting strangers come in to possibly ruin a gig.

What do you think, right-handers? Can you do what we left-handers do when allowed to sit-in?
I apologize on behalf of my right-handed bretheren. Usually if I have to play on a Left handed kit I'll just adjust the throne a bit and play open handed. The only problem comes in with the kick, obviously I'm not gonna be as good with my left foot.

It does seem really unnecessary to flip everything. Really I'd think that the most stuff you'd have to flip would be the snare, hats, and floor tom/s. I don't know about you, but I can't stand having a floor tom on the side of my non-dominant hand. It just feels insanely awkward to use, plus I can't do any type of quick fills between two toms.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
I think everyone wants to be as comfortable as they can be when they play, but Its not always posible or practical. If someone asks me to sit in and they are a lefty I usualy say no, as I would have to change the kit around. If they dont mind that, and insist, then I will change what I need to, and change it back when I am finished.

Usualy, as its someone elses gig, I dont sit in as I feel it just breaks up the night and the audience, including me, have gone to see the band not some numpty showing off.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
I think some drummers genuinely believe they can't play unless everything is where they like it. The best ones are the ones who complain because your kit isn't set up to their liking?!??!?!?!

I'm pretty lucky that I could play left handed if needed for a jam, wouldn't be fussed about showing off as long as it was holding a groove down but other than that I'd switch the floor, snare and hats over too, but most of all be grateful someonone has let you use their instrument!

Glad I don't have to play with other drummers or let people touch my kit. Drummers as a species are solitary, highly territorial beasts.
 

EssKayKay

Senior Member
Not to be confrontational here, but I think left handed persons are more ambidextrous in general. Of the lefty’s I know, they adapt much easier to our “right handed world” then us righties (examples: using a scissors, keyboard mouse, even golf clubs, etc.). So, when it comes to playing on an “unfamiliar” kit, they just can’t adjust. Again, not that this is correct, just an observance.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Just the way it is. Sucks to be you. Nothing you can do but suck it up, you're in the minority. Tough love here lol.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
It's simple really, you have the flip the kit often so you've had more opportunities to refine your rationale on the scenario.

/thread
 

Winegums

Silver Member
All I can say is that it's a problem that will exist forever. Not often is a kit setup as ambi and a large amount of drummers don't have the equipment.

If I knew there would be a left handed player playing I would setup as ambi since I have enough gear and the show must go on.
 

Bull

Gold Member
I am left handed and set up right handed. I didn't get my first kit until I was 15.I had been playing on school kits and friend's kits until that point. It was easier for me just to adapt. If I am playing a multiple rack tom set up,I still prefer that my toms go from right to left,but it isn't a necessity. With one rack tom,my kit is total righty.
 

GrimmReefer

Senior Member
I think people need to always adapt in situations where you are using someone else's kit. I am not going to lie, it would be awkward for me to play a full lefty kit but i would be happy to do it. The only part that would throw me off is the hi hat foot.
 

2underpar

Silver Member
Bo (and other regarded members), after reading your post I'm going to put together a ambidextrous kit. I have a little annual (2nd year) concert in the park called "The Couch Potato Jam" that my township puts on. It's this Thursday evening so I don't have a lot of time to spare with work and all.

Last year was kind of a bust for me personally. The kit was set up righty and stayed that way all night. Everyone was kind and offered to flip the kit for me but I declined because I knew it would be a mood breaker and the groove was flowing great nonstop.

Trust me, I had a great time playing my assortment of World Drums. I even purchased a new set of Alex Acuna Gon Bops (Conga & Tumba) and I'm really excited to play them for a larger audience than just my wife and assorted family and dinner guests.

As I type another thought occurred, I can take 2 kits. The setting is a large outdoor pavilion with plenty of room. I'll have to get another mat. I could actually set up a Lefty kit with all my good cymbals (you know, the ones you cringe when another drummer even looks at them, let alone plays them).

Well, that's it. 2 kits it is. I knew there was a reason I had 5 of everything (except drum mats). Thanks everyone for helping me solve my dilemma (I guess the answer lied within me all along, I just had to think it out). I hope to post a few videos to my YouTube page afterwards.
 

hippy chip

Silver Member
left or right aside---if you can't play my kit without changing everything around---forget it---same thing with guitars---if you have special needs bring your own gear!
 

Headbanger

Senior Member
I hate to break it to you, but lefties can be just as bad when sitting in on a righty kit.

I have a theory that it's related to performance anxiety. Some people are very nervous about playing even when they're in their “comfort zone”. So if you give them some unfamiliar music or a setup they haven't practiced on, you could provoke a full-blown panic attack.

Mr. Eder, if you want to fly me out to Disneyland, this righty will gladly play your southpaw kit without changing a thing.
 

drummerfish

Senior Member
i guess i'm lucky that i never had to use a righty kit for gigs were everyone used the same kit. and also lucky that no one attempted to play my kit because its set up lefty.

i only get on a righty kit if it was just some friends jamming, i was asked to show them something or setting up kits at namm, drum shows or back when i was a drum tech.

believe it or not, to me when i see a righty playing a lefty kit, it looks like they're not hitting things correctly. like it seems so foreign to them that its difficult to hit the kit. weird.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
If I was a Lefty I would have learned to play the kit right handed, Imagine how strong my snare hand would be now, playing conventional cross handed on the hi-hat. My right hand would also be super strong due to all the hi-hat and cymbal work, and having to lead right handed. Oh, if only.
 
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Matt Bo Eder

Guest
I hate to break it to you, but lefties can be just as bad when sitting in on a righty kit.

I have a theory that it's related to performance anxiety. Some people are very nervous about playing even when they're in their “comfort zone”. So if you give them some unfamiliar music or a setup they haven't practiced on, you could provoke a full-blown panic attack.

Mr. Eder, if you want to fly me out to Disneyland, this righty will gladly play your southpaw kit without changing a thing.
I don't deal with people who have performance issues. They're in the wrong business if they don't have their $&/! together. And get yourself out here. If you wanna cut it with me you can pay for it ;)
 

Mikeyboyeee

Senior Member
Sorry to hear that Bo -- I typical NEVER approach a drummer to sit-in (left or right handed)... but I have a couple lefty friends who I'll sit-in on their kits and swapping FT/Snare&Hats is all I'll ever fool with -- if I was a little better playing open-handed, I'd just suck it up and go with it.

My experience has been that the more someone asks to sit-in (Lefty/Righty, doesn't matter) and the more they adjust/swap your kit around to suit them -- the more they suck... Just my experience - maybe I've been very unlucky!
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
I almost never sit in with anyone, no matter how much they ask. There are a couple times I've given in, but it's rare. Mostly because I hate dealing with stuff like this, adjusting gear, etc.
 

JimFiore

Silver Member
I never have this problem because people are just confused when they see my kit, lefties and righties alike. Kick, HH, snare, ride set up right handed. Toms set up left. HH is remote and I play open handed.

I like the low stuff on my left, like it is on the other instruments I play.

I'm a rightie at most things but a leftie when I vote.
 
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Matt Bo Eder

Guest
Another peeve of mine is when people come up to me and ask to play. Like every gig is a party or something. What we do is actually work, you know? And unless the client wants us to let someone sit in, I'm reluctant to just let people come up and play. We don't know if these people can play, or if they're going to make everybody stop dancing, etc.,...what is with that anyway?

I think I posted in some other thread, a young man came up to me in the late 80s, and asks if he can 'jam', then holds up a picture of Michael Anthony from Van Halen and declares to me that that's his 'cousin'. Right, buddy. Who cares? I wasn't about to let some untested amateur take over the best seat in the house while it's rocking' and making money for the owner. Where do these people come from?
 
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