One less tom/cymbal - stripping down kit

timmdrum

Silver Member
Increasing or decreasing the number of items in a kit has nothing to do with creativity. It's not how much or little you have, it's what you do with what you have. Quantities are simply a matter of personal choice. Elvin would still be awesome on Neil's kit, and vice versa.
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
I think you guys are a bit early on the “less is more” discussion....

It hasn’t been a full three weeks since the last time it was discussed.
Hold your thoughts in case we need to delete this thread and restart it on January 25.

Small thought: just because you *can* play “In the Air Tonight” or YYZ on a four piece kit doesn’t mean you should...lol
 
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oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
..I have never believed this. Having fewer targets has no correlations to more focus on anything in my experience..
..Go listen to and watch Nate Smith..

How about Steve Smith..?

(Who can also play pretty ok on a small set up btw..)

Anyway, as far as i know, creativity exists in someones brain (or not) and is not depending at all on someones set up..

To change a set up (to bigger or less) can be inspiring though and therefore maybe means more creativity, but thats also no golden rule or guarantee at all..
 

TMe

Senior Member
I watched Stewart Copeland's video about The Police where he commented on his kit getting bigger and bigger and said "And why not? I don't have to set it up."

I think most of us would go for a bigger kit if we had the chops, the stage space, the money, and someone else to carry it, tune it, set it up, mic' it, tear it down, maintain it...

I play a four-piece and I'm constantly trying to figure out how to make things work. I don't think that if I had Neil Peart's kit (and chops and money and support) I'd be spending a lot of time wondering how to make it sound like a four-piece.

To the OP I'd say be careful about considering a crash/ride cymbal. For the most part, crash/rides are an abomination. ;)
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Anything to share about your experience in going from three toms to two?
At one point, I was playing a 3-up, 1-down kit with like 3 China's, 2 crashes, 3 splashes, a ride, and hats. As I got busier playing out, I started leaving one of the China's. Then another, then a splash. Then I started leaving one of the toms at home, then two...

These days (20-something years later), I can play 3-4 hour set of rock, country, Southern rock, etc., on the set you see pictured. No one in the bar cares that I didn't even bring a rack tom. "Come Together" sounds just fine on one floor tom at 11:30pm after all of the patrons are about 3-4 drinks in.

 
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toddbishop

Platinum Member
It's not a question of “less is more”, it's that it's exactly the same instrument, and it's about what you play on it. On a 4 piece set with two cymbals or on a ???-piece set with multiple cymbals you've got a bass drum, a snare drum, a hihat, some tom sounds, some crash sounds, some ride sounds. Most of time the extra gradations of tom pitches and cymbal timbres are totally meaningless. It's why you rarely see jazz musicians shlep more than two tom toms to a gig-- even though they solo more, and generally play five times as many notes as the average rock player.
 

BonsaiMagpie

Junior Member
I've played entire tracks on a snare drum and rims. Many of us have played tracks, or even sets on high hat, snare and bass, even more with a crash or ride.
But honestly, I feel so much better with a 6 piece and 5 cymbals. It's just me, if that makes sense. When I play without, there is something lacking for me physically, even if the overall sound can be achieved with less.

If I absolutely had to lose one as I have many times gigging for whatever reason, I'd lose a 14 or 16 inch floor tom, and a splash or secondary crash. I would be happy about it, mind. :)
 

TMe

Senior Member
Is this really the yardstick we should be using? If the musicians don't give a damn, how can we expect an audience to value what we do?
In another thread, it was pointed out that with a smaller kit each drum gets a bigger chunk of the spectrum when fed through a PA. One argument for a smaller kit is that it can end up sounding bigger, or better, through the PA. I also find the drums sound more "tuned" and there's less cross-talk with a smaller kit. Most bars have smaller stages these days, so a big kit with two bass drums just looks a bit dumb, and doesn't leave any room for the 12 pedals that the guitarist can't play without. So it isn't all just to make life easier, although that's part of it. I like playing drums, but it was never my dream to be a roadie and spend evenings hauling gear up and down stairs and crawling around on disgusting stages adjusting equipment.

Ah... should have learned to play the piccolo.
 

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
In another thread, it was pointed out that with a smaller kit each drum gets a bigger chunk of the spectrum when fed through a PA. One argument for a smaller kit is that it can end up sounding bigger, or better, through the PA. I also find the drums sound more "tuned" and there's less cross-talk with a smaller kit. Most bars have smaller stages these days, so a big kit with two bass drums just looks a bit dumb, and doesn't leave any room for the 12 pedals that the guitarist can't play without. So it isn't all just to make life easier, although that's part of it. I like playing drums, but it was never my dream to be a roadie and spend evenings hauling gear up and down stairs and crawling around on disgusting stages adjusting equipment.

Ah... should have learned to play the piccolo.
Thats all well and good (I don't agree though) but that is not what was said. It was justified as "the audience won't know the difference"
 

oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
..It was justified as "the audience won't know the difference"..

Which is sadly oft the truth and amateur players sometimes act accordingly to that..

Pro players however will (hopefully) always play (and bring required gear) according the high standards they have for themselves..
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Is this really the yardstick we should be using? If the musicians don't give a damn, how can we expect an audience to value what we do?
Which is sadly oft the truth and amateur players sometimes act accordingly to that..

Pro players however will (hopefully) always play (and bring required gear) according the high standards they have for themselves..
If all of this is in reference to my comment that audience members won't know the difference anyways, y'all need to lighten up. It was supposed to be more of a joke than anything else. I guess this is the disadvantage of not being able to hear vocal inflections. The only times I don't use the rack tom is when there are issues with too little space on the "stage" area (the word "stage" is a joke at the majority of places I play). I play a ton of small-ish rooms, and there's simply not enough room for a rack tom AND a crash cymbal, so I opt for the crash. It works best with how I play. I'd much rather play with the rack tom, but I just make the best decision for myself on a given evening to keep everyone happy.

Just play the gear you like, the songs you like with people you like, and bring everything you need or want to make that happen. Peace.

If the statements WEREN'T geared towards me, forgive me for thinking they were. Y'all have a great day!
 
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Jbravo

Senior Member
[QUOTE="TMe, post: 1675795, member: 196940To the OP I'd say be careful about considering a crash/ride cymbal. For the most part, crash/rides are an abomination. ;)
[/QUOTE]

im guessing you haven’t tried Paiste Big Beats. 😊
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
Like many drumming related subjects this particular subject has NO right or wrong answers-period.

The ONLY ‘correct’ answer, or opinion, is:

“THIS works best for ME in THIS situation.” We may agree or disagree as far as our experiences go, but nobody can declare anything emphatically.

And anybody who tries to go all “it MUST be this or that” should be called out on it....

You like it...you haul it...you play it-period.
 

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
At one point, I was playing a 3-up, 1-down kit with like 3 China's, 2 crashes, 3 splashes, a ride, and hats. As I got busier playing out, I started leaving one of the China's. Then another, then a splash. Then I started leaving one of the toms at home, then two...

These days (20-something years later), I can play 3-4 hour set of rock, country, Southern rock, etc., on the set you see pictured. No one in the bar cares that I didn't even bring a rack tom. "Come Together" sounds just fine on one floor tom at 11:30pm after all of the patrons are about 3-4 drinks in.

If space is that tight, you need to look at the Gibraltor Stealth racks and get rid of those massive tripods. You could shave a few feet off your footprint
 
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EricT43

Senior Member
I've experimented with lots of different setups for my rock and blues gigs, and I will say that a 4-piece with hats, a ride, and 2 crashes is totally fine for about 90% of what I need to play at a gig, and the other 10% can be done "well enough" with that kit. But, I enjoy playing more when I have a 5- or 6-piece setup, and at least one FX or china cymbal to add to the 2 crashes. I like the tonal options of multiple toms. It's all about making compromises. For a big gig on a big stage, I'll take the full kit, and I'll probably be getting paid more and have a great sound system to play through, so it's worth it. For a little cafe, I'll take a 12" and a 14" and maybe only 1 crash, because there's no room for anything more and the biggest challenge of the gig will be playing quietly enough not to disrupt the conversation of the diners 10 feet away from me.
 

Frank

Gold Member
A great deal of my preference for a 4 piece has a whole lot to do with - laziness and decreasing energy over time.

As Copeland said, if I didn't have to move, set it up, tear it down, and move it again - I would enjoy playing a larger kit. :)
Would love nothing more than to - show up and play. And walk away. But that ain't happening. :)
 

timmdrum

Silver Member
Most of time the extra gradations of tom pitches and cymbal timbres are totally meaningless. It's why you rarely see jazz musicians shlep more than two tom toms to a gig-- even though they solo more, and generally play five times as many notes as the average rock player.
This was actually born out of necessity in the bop era in NYC- the reality of needing kits to be able to fit in a cab.
 
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