Setting up just 2 of the toms. Which ones?

TWerner

Senior Member
I bought my son a drum kit. He played on just a pad for 9 months and then a Hi-Hat/side snare/bass drum pad for 2 or 3 months. He's small, so I wanted a set with a 20" bass, but got a super deal on a set with a 22" bass. Thing is, it has 8x10, 9x12, 12x14FT, and 14x16FT. I don't want to have him trying to play a 6 piece set, so I figure he should start with one rack tom and one floor tom.
Is 10,14,22 and a 14" snare a good set up? Or 12, 16, 22?

Also, he's currently playing the hi hat with his left hand because he didn't want to cross his arms. Do you guys think it's still OK to put the ride cymbal over the bass drum for his right hand? Seems that way he'll get experience playing the steady Hi-Hate/Ride parts with both hands. He's cross dominant, so not really right or left handed, but maybe a touch closer to right handed as a drummer. Tough to tell since he can play the beginner hi-hat parts with his left hand or left foot just as easily.
 

KirbyM

Senior Member
You can use any combination of any of these drums. A traditional approach would be to set up the 9X12 mounted tom, and the 12X14 floor tom or maybe the 14X16 instead. These sizes are closer to what most drummers would use in the most usual settings. However, some drummers may choose the 8X10 as their only mounted tom.

Playing the hi-hat with the left hand in a right-handed set-up is called the "open-hand" technique. A few instructors use this method in order to help develop better timing skills and stamina with the left hand. Of course, the reverse is true with a left-handed set-up.
 

TWerner

Senior Member
Thanks.
So in open handed drumming, do drummers usually play the hi hat with the left hand and the ride with the right? Or do they put the ride next to the hi hat and play both with the same hand?
 

drumdevil9

Platinum Member
Thanks.
So in open handed drumming, do drummers usually play the hi hat with the left hand and the ride with the right? Or do they put the ride next to the hi hat and play both with the same hand?
That would depend on the drummer. If your son is interested in being able to lead with either hand then you can leave it on the right. If not then move it to the left. Don't be afraid to experiment.
 

KirbyM

Senior Member
There is no right or wrong answer as to which hand a drummer uses for a ride cymbal, or which side the ride is located. Typically, if a drummer is playing a right-hand kit in the "open-hand" technique, the ride cymbal is still placed on the right. In this arrangement, the kit is set up in a way that any right-handed drummer would be used to seeing. It's just that the drummer chooses to play the hi-hat with his/her left hand instead of crossing over with the right hand. Again, there is no wrong or right. It is up to the individual as to where everything is placed.

The Monkees' drummer, Mickey Dolenz, was not really a drummer when the show started in 1966. The drum kit he was using on the show was set up for a left-handed drummer. Mickey did not know the difference, and played the drums in the "open-hand" technique, with his right hand on the hi-hat. As a 10-year-old who had just started drumming, I could not figure out why he did this. A few years ago, I had the chance to talk to him and was told the story. Mickey was the first drummer I ever saw who did not cross over to play on the hi-hat!
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
First rule of drumkit setup and playing style is this.
1) There are no rules.

Let him choose the drums, setup, and style of play that he likes.
 

TWerner

Senior Member
Why do you think that he shouldn't be playing a 6-piece drum set?
Your question made me think about this, and I guess it's to progress with reasonable steps. When you learn to juggle, you start with one or two balls, then you juggle with 3. You don't start with four balls, and with kids, you often don't even start with balls, you use scarves to make it easier.

Most drum teachers said start with just a pad, so he did. It was good advice.
For about 3 months he's been using a snare, Hi-Hat, and a bass drum pad, and it was a manageable step. Adding the ride and 2 toms will double the number of pieces in the kit, and seems like enough added confusion.
 

Piebe

Senior Member
It seems logic that the longer you drum, the more pieces you can use, but on the contrary i went back from a five piece to a four after a few years of drumming and have played four pieces ever since.

So my suggestion would be to set him up a four piece kit with the biggest rack and floor tom you have however he pleases it. The hi-hat left or right doesn't matter, whatever he likes better like stated earlier in this topic.
 

drumdevil9

Platinum Member
For about 3 months he's been using a snare, Hi-Hat, and a bass drum pad, and it was a manageable step. Adding the ride and 2 toms will double the number of pieces in the kit, and seems like enough added confusion.
The common drum set includes a ride and some toms. I don't think 4 toms is an unreasonably large amount of toms. So I don't think having all the toms set up will add any "confusion", it will just add to the pallet of sounds. By your logic a beginner guitarist should have only one string on his guitar.

I would just let him decide on his setup.
 

TWerner

Senior Member
By your logic a beginner guitarist should have only one string on his guitar.
That's funny.

Kids actually do learn to play strings one at a time, and even adults will often learn 3 or 4 string chords because trying to learn fingering on 6 strings is confusing and frustrating.

It's true we don't take the strings off, but that's mostly because it's impractical. I think a lot of kids would love to start with only 4 strings. Not having 6 strings would also limit a kids ability to learn guitar technique fairly soon after they start playing.

It may be that someday, not having 4 toms will limit my son's ability to learn drumming. I don't think that's the case right now given he's a 10/11 year old beginner. Do you?

On the setup, I will let him decide. Seems to be the universal advice. Thanks.
 

drumdevil9

Platinum Member
No I don't think that only having 2 toms would be limiting to learning drums at any level. I just don't agree that having more (within reason) will lead to more confusion.
 

Anduin

Pioneer Member
Since he’s small, I’d go with smaller drums. That is, the 10 rack tom and the 14 floor.

I’d put the ride on the left side so his same hand plays time whether it’s hi hat or ride.

I also recommend starting with a smaller setup. When people start with a big kit, it’s easy to make lots of different sounds by just hitting different drums. But that tends to lead to boring playing. If you have a small kit you’re forced to be more inventive to get more sounds out of the limited instrumentation. That will definitely be a benefit in the long run.
 
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