Small drums , big gig

evilg99

Platinum Member
Just to further illustrate my point about 18" bass drums being the right size for some gigs:

The gig :

Downtown Halifax, NS. Christmas Tree Lighting event. 3500 - ish people outdoors. Temperature is a moderately balmy 57 degrees fahrenheit for this time of year, which I am thankful for.

The situation :

I am playing a bar gig tonight ( played there last night as well ) right after I am finished here. Finish playing at 6:30 - out of here by 7:30 , playing at bar at 9 pm and it's about a 20 minute drive from here. Traffic is going to be a nightmare. The city gave us some parking spots close to the stage and was able to make one trip from the car to stage. I have my wife's small car ( my Tiguan is not available right now ) and can't fit much in it...plus I have the keyboard player with me.

The drums :

All the above calls for a small kit.
WMP is kinda Christmas-y ...so...

Yamaha Birch Custom Absolute
12x7 (custom) , 14x12 on legs , 18x14 bass drum that I made out of a Yamaha mahogany marching bass drum, Maple custom 14x3.5 snare (great for brushes)
Byzance 14" jazz hats, Byzance 17" medium crash , 20" Bosphorus Wide ride, DW Utralite hardware, and a new generation Sonor Perfect balance pedal. All the hardware fits in a DW rolling canister throne.

The PA company of course has a lovely high end Line Array ~ lots of sub...great monitors. The bass drum sounds absolutely amazing as does the rest of the kit. There's enough bass drum to kill here if need be. And it's LOW. Not a high punch.

Here's a picture about an hour before show time -(now) I'll post more after.
 

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Frank

Gold Member
Cool. If I am seeing the pic correctly, that looks like a nice size crowd.

In my pitiful music life, I haven't played to a crowd like that in - never.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Nice. But you know if there's a sound company there, you could play an even smaller kit and it would work.
 

slingerlandfreak

Senior Member
I think it is great how you think and what you are doing....simple , practical and very good sounding solution for working drummer, beautiful
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
Electricity - the Great Equalizer

I heard a mic'd up kit with a 16" bass at an outdoor concert that was difficult to believe.
It's all in the board at that stage.
 

evilg99

Platinum Member
Yup electricity is my friend here.
Bo - you're right I could go even smaller but 18" is as small as I go.
And big PA or not , I would NOT be happy playing that^^ kit if I were up against loud guitar amps playing rock tunes. For that I would play 12/16/22 or my Sonor 13/16/22. It has to feel right, and an 18 just wouldn't feel very good in that situation. I do understand your point of view on bigger sizes.

But in that stage above , there are no guitar amps (acoustic guitar only) , a small 112 Markbass bass amp and no KB amp either. So bass amp and monitors - and we were playing Christmas tunes ; half the audience were little kids , there to see Bob the Builder and Paw Patrol !

So now I'm at my evening gig - playing Sonor Vintage 12/14/20/14x6.5.
I will admit that I'm tired now 2 of 3 sets down. To be completely honest I wish right now that I had brought my 13/16/22 kit to this gig. Bigger sound , less work. At least the tempos feel good tonight. :)
 

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evilg99

Platinum Member
Cool. If I am seeing the pic correctly, that looks like a nice size crowd.

In my pitiful music life, I haven't played to a crowd like that in - never.
Well I don't play to this size audience very often ...and it's not all that glamourous, playing Christmas tunes for kids. But hey, it was fun. Easy gig. Everyone liked us it seemed , promoter booked us again for next year on the spot.

I think it is great how you think and what you are doing....simple , practical and very good sounding solution for working drummer, beautiful
Thanks ! I do spend a lot of time and thought into my setups. It's my happy place. Lot of work but worth it. I always say: just giving a f$#k is half the battle.
 
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Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Yup electricity is my friend here.
Bo - you're right I could go even smaller but 18" is as small as I go.
And big PA or not , I would NOT be happy playing that^^ kit if I were up against loud guitar amps playing rock tunes. For that I would play 12/16/22 or my Sonor 13/16/22. It has to feel right, and an 18 just wouldn't feel very good in that situation. I do understand your point of view on bigger sizes.

But in that stage above , there are no guitar amps (acoustic guitar only) , a small 112 Markbass bass amp and no KB amp either. So bass amp and monitors - and we were playing Christmas tunes ; half the audience were little kids , there to see Bob the Builder and Paw Patrol !

So now I'm at my evening gig - playing Sonor Vintage 12/14/20/14x6.5.
I will admit that I'm tired now 2 of 3 sets down. To be completely honest I wish right now that I had brought my 13/16/22 kit to this gig. Bigger sound , less work. At least the tempos feel good tonight. :)
I commend you for using a small kit. I've tried several times and find that I can't really use any bass drum smaller than a 20". I just feel better on bigger because it gives me more voices to play with. Every time I've used an 18" (or even a 16") I always felt like they had this great gut-punch in popular music gigs, but I don't like what they sound like if I'm feathering it in a little jazz setting. This is why I just stick with using a four-piece with a 22" for everything. I've just learned how to speak better on the bigger bass drums.
 

evilg99

Platinum Member
I commend you for using a small kit. I've tried several times and find that I can't really use any bass drum smaller than a 20". I just feel better on bigger because it gives me more voices to play with. Every time I've used an 18" (or even a 16") I always felt like they had this great gut-punch in popular music gigs, but I don't like what they sound like if I'm feathering it in a little jazz setting. This is why I just stick with using a four-piece with a 22" for everything. I've just learned how to speak better on the bigger bass drums.
It really took me years of struggling with an 18" before I felt I could play it out. I used to bury the beater a long time ago, and forced myself to 're-learn' my right foot technique. I've always been (and still am) a heel up player, but can now release or bury the beater as required. But I loved the challenge of making that work.

No question, agree 100% that a 12/16/22 kit can cover any style of music, really well. I wish I could commit to one setup like that, it would make my life so much easier. Sigh. I commend you for doing so.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
It really took me years of struggling with an 18" before I felt I could play it out. I used to bury the beater a long time ago, and forced myself to 're-learn' my right foot technique. I've always been (and still am) a heel up player, but can now release or bury the beater as required. But I loved the challenge of making that work.

No question, agree 100% that a 12/16/22 kit can cover any style of music, really well. I wish I could commit to one setup like that, it would make my life so much easier. Sigh. I commend you for doing so.
You're not able to commit to one size kit? I figure the footprint between your kit and my kit (13/16/22) isn't that huge of a difference. I just tell the band this is what they get and we make it work.
 

ineedaclutch

Platinum Member
I like the smart little set up. I can commit to one size kit, but I don't have to, nor do I want to. 26" one night, 18" the next, and 22" the following just to split the difference.
I'm interested to learn your thoughts on the canister throne. I remember seeing them way back in old videos and I always thought they looked awesome wrapped in the same finish as the kit.
 
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BertTheDrummer

Gold Member
A good friend of mine used to gig all the time with his 16x16. He's done that forever, even before the smaller drum thing kinda became more popular. He had it specifically setup to sound good through a kick mic and PA. Wasn't anything special acoustically, but sounded great miked up.
 

JoePasko

Member
The city gave us some parking spots close to the stage
Whoaa !! This one little factoid of yours is what got me ! My band plays numerous municipal public events, and we never get any reserved parking for performers. The best we ever get is an email advising us in advance that "parking may be tricky", as if that is equally as helpful.

We are booked to play "First Night", the annual New Years Eve celebration in Saratoga Springs, NY. I am already getting anxiety about the load-in/parking situation.

Canada is looking better and better to me, every day : )
 

evilg99

Platinum Member
You're not able to commit to one size kit? I figure the footprint between your kit and my kit (13/16/22) isn't that huge of a difference. I just tell the band this is what they get and we make it work.

Well, I am fortunate to have good bandmates and they don't really mind what I play - so space is not an issue with them, we always work it out even though we do play on some ridiculously small stages sometimes. I just have too many drums and I do like those options and variety. Call me a collector of sorts (or hoarder LOL) It makes me tick. One could argue I have too many options though....need to 'thin the herd' for sure.

I like the smart little set up. I can commit to one size kit, but I don't have to, nor do I want to. 26" one night, 18" the next, and 22" the following just to split the difference.
I'm interested to learn your thoughts on the canister throne. I remember seeing them way back in old videos and I always thought they looked awesome wrapped in the same finish as the kit.
Yes, DW has re-introduced their hieght adjustable canister throne ...I think to go along with redesigning all their ultralite hardware : http://dwdrums.com/hardware/6000/hardware.asp

I have the older one, no handle on the side but it has wheels and a pull out handle, like rolling luggage. It's really handy. You really need the ultralite hardware ; I doubt it would hold much of anything else. You need to take apart every piece/ tube of each stand so that it fits inside, otherwise you need to set the height too high.

It is height adjustable , but it has to be empty to do it and you have to remove three bolts...then twist/ turn and pull up. I like that the seat has a hard plastic cover to protect it in transport. You can also throw a couple drums on top and kinda use it as a dolly. Well done DW! Mine is black...new ones are either black or WMP only and like I mentioned, no wheels.


A good friend of mine used to gig all the time with his 16x16. He's done that forever, even before the smaller drum thing kinda became more popular. He had it specifically setup to sound good through a kick mic and PA. Wasn't anything special acoustically, but sounded great miked up.
Yes, I have done the same with 16x16...but the acoustic thing is the deal breaker for me...and the feel! It's hard to play a 16" bass drum I think. It can wear me out, feels like I'm slammin' plus it doesn't feel that solid. But yes it can huge through a big PA - most of what you're hearing in this case is the PA - the excursion of the 18" speaker in a tuned cabinet. That is to say, I bet you could drop down a cardboard box, mic it up and have it sound decent. Not that you would want to :)

Whoaa !! This one little factoid of yours is what got me ! My band plays numerous municipal public events, and we never get any reserved parking for performers. The best we ever get is an email advising us in advance that "parking may be tricky", as if that is equally as helpful.

We are booked to play "First Night", the annual New Years Eve celebration in Saratoga Springs, NY. I am already getting anxiety about the load-in/parking situation.

Canada is looking better and better to me, every day : )
Yes, we are lucky to have worked up a really good relationship with the city event staff...they include us in their preferred / VIP parking lots. I hear you, stressful load ins suck.

Last week, (another double header day, these have to stop LOL) - I had to be loaded out and gone within 1 hour of being finished playing to avoid a parade, the hotel was within the parade route! Just made it with 5 minutes to spare.
 
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G

Ghostnote

Guest
The drum performance that blew me away more than any other I have ever seen was seeing Philip Fisher with Fishbone at the Comodore Ballroom in Vancouver in '96, just before the release of Chim Chim's Badass Revenge. The whole band was having "one of those nights", probably excited to be out playing all these great songs that no one had heard yet, and Fisher was absolutely on fire. He sounded like he had a third arm growing out of his ass and was using a 12,14,18 kit with a 5x14 snare and it sounded perfect. Definitely not lacking in power, punch, or tone. The PA IS the great equalizer, and knowing how to tune a kit for the PA and having a good sound man is way more important than the sizes and quality of kit you're playing.

I've never played an 18, but I gigged a 10,14,20 kit with a 5x13 snare extensively for 15 years back in the day and I used that kit for everything from small, quiet jazz gigs in resturants to loud, high energy rock shows in big rooms, and it worked for everything. The sound girl at the Starfish Room in Vancouver told me my little Maple Custom kit was the best sounding kit she had ever worked with and I always got compliments on my sound. People were alway surprised at what a big sound I got out of a small 4 piece kit. Being able to switch on that killer instinct and really going for it come showtime with everything you've got is where energy and power come from, not the sizes you're playing.
 

spleeeeen

Platinum Member
Last week, (another double header day, these have to stop LOL) - I had to be loaded out and gone within 1 hour of being finished playing to avoid a parade, the hotel was within the parade route! Just made it with 5 minutes to spare.
Wow Neal, sounds like your gigs lately have been including some kind of "challenge round" for you. ;-)

Thanks for sharing the pics and experiences my friend!
 

evilg99

Platinum Member
Wow Neal, sounds like your gigs lately have been including some kind of "challenge round" for you. ;-)

Thanks for sharing the pics and experiences my friend!
Hey Jason!
Yes, challenging indeed. At least I didn't have to be the sound man for these gigs as well, which is sometimes the case. And PA transport and setup, and mix monitors, etc etc etc

Sometimes, the smaller gigs can be more difficult and more stressful than the big ones....I bet I'm not the only one who has experienced this...

I'm thankful that while it was a crazy big day - nothing really stressful about it - I left out the part about me showing up to that downtown gig without my snare drum stand. Luckily, the local music store was really close...rented one for $5. Back in time for the sound check....again, thankful for the VIP parking!
 

evilg99

Platinum Member
The drum performance that blew me away more than any other I have ever seen was seeing Philip Fisher with Fishbone at the Comodore Ballroom in Vancouver in '96, just before the release of Chim Chim's Badass Revenge. The whole band was having "one of those nights", probably excited to be out playing all these great songs that no one had heard yet, and Fisher was absolutely on fire. He sounded like he had a third arm growing out of his ass and was using a 12,14,18 kit with a 5x14 snare and it sounded perfect. Definitely not lacking in power, punch, or tone. The PA IS the great equalizer, and knowing how to tune a kit for the PA and having a good sound man is way more important than the sizes and quality of kit you're playing.

I've never played an 18, but I gigged a 10,14,20 kit with a 5x13 snare extensively for 15 years back in the day and I used that kit for everything from small, quiet jazz gigs in resturants to loud, high energy rock shows in big rooms, and it worked for everything. The sound girl at the Starfish Room in Vancouver told me my little Maple Custom kit was the best sounding kit she had ever worked with and I always got compliments on my sound. People were alway surprised at what a big sound I got out of a small 4 piece kit. Being able to switch on that killer instinct and really going for it come showtime with everything you've got is where energy and power come from, not the sizes you're playing.
Cool, thanks for that...those rooms are very nice spaces for live music!
I played a Yamaha 10/14/20 13snare setup for years and years, I'm totally with ya!
 

RacingBeat

Senior Member
Cool deal,

Speaking of the marching bass drum, I found a similar kit on craigslist recently, one of those 18" bass drums along with two brand new stage custom toms. Going to give it to my 10 yr old son for Xmas,
 

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RacingBeat

Senior Member
Cool, thanks for that...those rooms are very nice spaces for live music!
I played a Yamaha 10/14/20 13snare setup for years and years, I'm totally with ya!
Another vote for this config, I have a Yammie RC in the same sizes, although typically a 14" snare. Works well no matter where they are set up!
 
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