So what's with the leaning away of everything?


Platinum Member
So a friend of mine moved to Nashville and within just a few months scored a nice gig as a drum tech for a touring country act. He just posted the picture below to his Facebook page. It prompted me to start this thread. If you notice, this guy angles all his stuff away from him. (EDIT: I guess not all. You can just see his rack tom, and I guess it's angled normally.) I've been noticing this new thing about angling cymbals away from you, and apparently now there's folks angling everything away from themselves.

I try not to be an old, stodgey, "get the hell off my lawn" sort of old conventionalist, I really do. But I am struggling -- struggling! -- to think of any benefit to this sort of setup. To my mind, you're always having to reach up over something to hit it.

I get why folks used to angle the snare away from them slightly, because of trad grip and marching drum habits and stuff. Got it. But do any of you huys do this, and what do you find it does for you?

I'm not griping, complaining, or saying it's stupid; I'm just really legitimately curious. Unless you're just doing for the visual effect. Then I reserve the right to judge you judgingly with judgment.


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Les Ismore

Platinum Member
Not to worry, if this catches on and everybody starts doing it, leaning towards will come around again and be the cool thing to do. Bring it on.


Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Tilting cymbals away allows them to be hit harder with less effort. The shoulder hits and not the tip. I have an 18 inch Med Zildjian A that I have flatter than the thinner cymbals but not reversed.

Red Menace

Platinum Member
I angle my snare away from me, really only for gigs where I'm going to need a rimshot. I recently discovered at my church gig that I don't need the tilt so I play with a flat snare. All trad grip BTW.

I don't get the angled cymbals or toms though. Unless he is playing a lot of rimshots on his toms; who does that? The angled cymbals looks like a great way to break them. What happened to a grazing blow on the bow of the cymbal? I can get a great, loud sound out of that.


Platinum Member
That looks very difficult to play, to me at least. I can see the cymbal shoulder thing but it will make not shouldering the cymbal difficult and playing the bell almost out of the question.


Platinum Member
Those cymbals are too high to reasonably assume that that drummer knows the principle behind it, but the principle behind it is indeed to get the angle between the stick shoulder and the crash edge as small as possible. Often, though, I think people are kind of just doing it to look interesting, because unless your elbows are way up in the air you're just increasing the angle between stick & edge which is... a bad idea.


Silver Member
If that's a trend, I'll just add that to the rest of them I won't be adopting.


Gold Member
I'm guessing it's a visual thing. Not just the way the kit appears to the audience, but by the way the drummer has to move his body to play.

Anon La Ply

Rimshots? There is probably method to what might look like madness. The player pictured in the OP is obviously doing well for himself so I presume he knows what he's doing :)


Senior Member
Look at the guns on the guy too! Those cymbals are toast! Although, I suppose you play in front of that many folks then the dosh ought to warrant a couple of cracked pies.....


Platinum Member
The snare tilt I can understand, if the snare was flat he'd have some impressive bruiding on his legs. Lots of marching grip players do it with the snare and floors which makes sense.

That cymbal tilt looks expensive for the drummer. I was alway taught to glancing blow when crashing as your cymbals are less likely to break because you're not hitting into the cymbal. How do you glance the crashes on that kit with the shoulder of a stick unless you stand up?

Touch wood haven't broke a cymbal for 6 years and even then it was a 2nd hand top hi hat. I'd be annoyed with myself if I broke a cymbal at a gig.


Silver Member
for matched i have it angled towards me, for trad i angle it away from me. Just how it feels comfortable, but i couldnt have toms or cymbals angled away from me.... feels weird. That and i dont strike the bow of a cymbal with the neck of the stick full blast, i just glance it with the tip, so wouldnt be able to do that with them angled away. Looks bad for your sticks though...


Platinum Member
I'll just leave this here:


Gold Member
I'm pretty sure it's not hard to figure out.

The logic of it is flawless. It still stinks to heaven of "trendy," because I see more and more people doing it.

Clearly the first player does it for [REASON], people notice his setup because he gets famous, then other people start doing it not because [REASON] but because [PLAYER] does it.

In this instance, the first guy (I think that's him in Naigewron's post just above this one) might angle stuff like that because he sits really high and likes his stuff low and still wants to hit them properly. The guy in the OP photo isn't doing that. He can't; look at the angles. He can only just hammer into the edge of the cymbals with the shaft/shoulder of the stick, which is stupid, poor technique, unless he stands up and moves closer.

[I strongly suspect that the chap in Naigewron's picture chose to set up like that because he was looking for an angle to set himself apart visually. That's not necessarily a bad thing.]


Platinum Member
I wonder if you can play the bell of a cymbal from underneath?
Or play a ride pattern upwards from below? Using 'thumb control' instead of finger control...


Platinum Member
Rimshots?? I rimshot my snare for accents and I sometimes rimshot the toms for a Latin feel, but I still have the kit set up in a fairly trad way and dont find it a problem. Cymbals?? I like to play different parts of each cymbal for different sounds, having them angled away from me would make that very difficult.


"Uncle Larry"
This whole thread needs to get off my lawn. Not really.

I keep cymbals flat because of what Porter said, smallest strike angle possible.

Saves energy, I don't have to crash as hard. Plus it can add a quality to the sound that a tilted cymbal can't. I'm talking about the way a cymbal can blossom and swell. You can't get that with a heavily angled cymbal. I like the cymbal edge available to me, I can finesse a cymbal on the edge quite readily, but if it's angled down I can't get at it easily. I don't like the decay of an angled cymbal, I'd rather have them angled slightly away from me as towards me, because the edge is right there. Plus when they're flat I can see the crowd better.

That said, the guy in the pic....I don't think I'd be comfortable playing that guy's setup. But hey whatever works for him is fine with me. I wonder if some people do the reverse tilt just for the unconventional look of it.