Struggles of Short Drummer and 5-Piece with Offset Toms

dragonfly66

Member
Even for me at 5' 00", that looks really cramped. How do you wind up to hit anything? I have most of my stuff out a bit because I like a nice big swing when I go big dynamically. There's a Billy Ward video where he talks about how drummers stay in their safe spaces, then when it comes time for a big fill (or a fill in general), they have to stretch out, and then no longer feel safe, and this slight trepidation screws up the time, and I think he hit the nail on the head for a lot of drummers I've seen. You should check out his "Big Time" video, he touches on all those set-up aspects and how to feel comfortable.

I just learned from watching someone like Tony Williams play - he's not a huge guy, but his kit is big, and the way he sits it's like he's standing up, but he gets this huge sound and he has no problem flying around the kit.
It does looked cramped, doesn't it? I'm still figuring this out. I'm sure it will evolve as I play more. Right now I don't "wind up" to hit anything, LOL! Thanks for the video suggestion.


...Dragonfly, rotate your snare feet so they are a triangle pointing toward you. It will get the left out of the way of the hi hat pedal. Then if you want you can rotate the hi hat stand inward just a bit so the pedal is more where your foot wants. It won't be perfectly straight under your foot, but would reduce your stretch a bit.
Thanks for the suggestion on the snare feet and hi-hat, I'll give it a try.
 

dragonfly66

Member
Jojo Mayer has an interesting approach.​
The 10" on the other side of the floor tom. This tell me the 10" isn't important to Jojo because the further out a drum or cymbal is the less priority is has. I guess it thought about going this route I would just eliminate the 10 altogether.
 

dragonfly66

Member
Wow, nice kit and cymbals. That looks ergonomic but tight, almost nothing going on in the right side. If you finished a fill at the floor tom there is no crash there. Your snare stand feet could collapse a little and give more room for your bass drum foot.
That said, every body is different, and I think it takes time to tweak a new setup and get one's body working around it. Definitely a change from 4 piece to 5 piece.
I had the crash to the right of the ride, but moved it for easier (ergonomic) access, BUT I do see your point about a fill finish.

I need to get a low profile snare stand. The feet are super wide on my current snare stand in order to lower the snare drum to a comfortable position.

I'd invest in a couple of cymbal stands. It's an awful lot to ask of a stand to fly two toms, a splash and two crashes.

One, it's really negatively affecting crash placement, and two, it forces you to have the leg spread on the tom stand really wide, preventing you from moving the stand closer to the right.
There is only the small splash and one crash, not two crashes. The stand itself is a TAMA stand that is sturdy so I have full confidence it can take it, but you are right, the crash placement is sucking right now. I got the TAMA stand so that I could do the two toms and two cymbals. I'm living and learning :D
 

Gottliver

Senior Member
This is good to hear, thank you for sharing.

You are right about that. All of this is weird, so I'm trying to listen to my body and let it tell me when something isn't right. My knees scream right away, but my back and shoulders take a little longer to let me know.
Stop experimenting and get a qualified instructor now and start taking lessons. There is no reason why you should feel any pain. That’s not normal.

Ps. If your knees hurt, try raising the throne and play heel down.
 

whiteknightx

Silver Member
that new setup looks pretty tight and compact to me.
I would make just a couple small tweaks, but that looks pretty good to me.
As mentioned by someone else, I'd reduce the spread of the snare legs, and have one leg pointed towards you. Stands are always more stable if one leg is aimed towards the throne.
I'd move the second crash over top of the ride a little more, maybe 4" to the right and back a bit towards you, and I'd move the floor tom about two inches further out to the right, just for a touch more space for your leg.
I usually put my 12" tom about a fingers width above the bass drum, that might allow you to shift the high toms just a touch more to the right, which might help bring your hi hat closer to where you like it.
 

dragonfly66

Member
that new setup looks pretty tight and compact to me.
I would make just a couple small tweaks, but that looks pretty good to me.
As mentioned by someone else, I'd reduce the spread of the snare legs, and have one leg pointed towards you. Stands are always more stable if one leg is aimed towards the throne.
I'd move the second crash over top of the ride a little more, maybe 4" to the right and back a bit towards you, and I'd move the floor tom about two inches further out to the right, just for a touch more space for your leg.
I usually put my 12" tom about a fingers width above the bass drum, that might allow you to shift the high toms just a touch more to the right, which might help bring your hi hat closer to where you like it.
I adjusted the toms again last night and they are higher, a little less than a fingers width. They are more reachable and the angle at which I hit them is better. Didn't seem like making them higher would be better, but it is. Now that the rack toms are in a good place I'm not as bothered by the hi-hat placement.

I moved the cymbals some too. Changed up Crash 1 and the Splash to make that situation a little less awkward on the stand. I also already did what you said with the second crash.

Until I get a low profile snare stand I won't be able to do much about reducing the spread of the snare stand legs, because it will cause the snare to be too high. I do have the one leg towards the throne now though.

I did push the floor tom out because my sticks weren't hitting it in the middle on the head. It feels much better after the move.

When I sit now I can reach everything and hit all of the cymbals properly. I'll use this setup this weekend and see how it goes.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
If you are mechanically inclined, you could save money by modifying the snare stand. All you would really need is a pipe cutter to shorten the tubes. They are easily found at any hardware store in the plumbing section. I have done this before with great success.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
Glad you're dialing things in. It takes a while, sometimes, to find out what you want. Or need. Fortunately, there are a lot of options available, as far as gear goes.​
 

dragonfly66

Member
If you are mechanically inclined, you could save money by modifying the snare stand. All you would really need is a pipe cutter to shorten the tubes. They are easily found at any hardware store in the plumbing section. I have done this before with great success.
I was thinking about this! Good to know it has been done before. I'll try that out. AWESOME!
 

ineedaclutch

Platinum Member
Exercise caution when cutting the bottom tube. If you cut it to short you may not be able to collapse the stand.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Exercise caution when cutting the bottom tube. If you cut it to short you may not be able to collapse the stand.
Yes, definitely measure this first. Also, you want to use the cutter that is a wheel and rotates around the tube. The ones that look like pliers will pinch the tube out of round. Some light filing around the cut might be needed. The cutting wheel will flair the tube ever so slightly. Any metal file will fix this. In like a minute. It really is that miniscule.
 

dragonfly66

Member
Exercise caution when cutting the bottom tube. If you cut it to short you may not be able to collapse the stand.
oooh thanks for the warning.

Yes, definitely measure this first. Also, you want to use the cutter that is a wheel and rotates around the tube. The ones that look like pliers will pinch the tube out of round. Some light filing around the cut might be needed. The cutting wheel will flair the tube ever so slightly. Any metal file will fix this. In like a minute. It really is that miniscule.
Got it!
 

lsits

Gold Member
I would just take it to a machine shop. You'll get it done cheaper than the cost of a good quality cutter.
 

ineedaclutch

Platinum Member
If you don't have a pipe cutter you could cut it with a small hacksaw in a few seconds then file, grind, sand, or rub it on a brick to make it smooth. I've done that with DW dog bones, snare stands, and cymbal stands a few times. You're going to put the collar back on so you won't see the cut anyway.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
If you don't mind me saying so here, I think the idea of the two off-set toms is flawed. And the number one reason is because it causes you to push your hi-hat a little farther out of the way than would be comfortable, just so you can have a drum in there that you'll only use maybe 15% of the time. And you'll be using your hi-hat at least 90% of the time.

So the idea is to have the instruments you'll be using more, in a comfortable spot. And then everything else follows around those. So, bass drum, snare drum, hi-hat, and ride cymbal, need to be where they are comfortable for you.

Your feet and legs shouldn't have to be doing anything strange to be on the pedals. Sitting on your throne shouldn't be too different from how you would sit correctly in a chair, or on a stool. Once you accomplish the proper placement of those four pieces, everything falls in around those, and you will be in ergonomic nirvana.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
I'm still waiting for DF66 to post a pic of her set with the toms mounted on the bass drum.
Taking the lift off should have been all that was necessary,
to get those toms at the same height as the tom was on her bop kit.
The hi hat could be moved into the normal spot and all would be fine.
Maybe she'll get around to it on the next try - ha ha.
 

dragonfly66

Member
If you don't mind me saying so here, I think the idea of the two off-set toms is flawed. And the number one reason is because it causes you to push your hi-hat a little farther out of the way than would be comfortable, just so you can have a drum in there that you'll only use maybe 15% of the time. And you'll be using your hi-hat at least 90% of the time.

So the idea is to have the instruments you'll be using more, in a comfortable spot. And then everything else follows around those. So, bass drum, snare drum, hi-hat, and ride cymbal, need to be where they are comfortable for you.

Your feet and legs shouldn't have to be doing anything strange to be on the pedals. Sitting on your throne shouldn't be too different from how you would sit correctly in a chair, or on a stool. Once you accomplish the proper placement of those four pieces, everything falls in around those, and you will be in ergonomic nirvana.
I was thinking about this very thing, that the hi-hat is far more important to the kit than having a second tom. It is the reason why I'm still leaning toward a one up one down set up.

If you don't have a pipe cutter you could cut it with a small hacksaw in a few seconds then file, grind, sand, or rub it on a brick to make it smooth. I've done that with DW dog bones, snare stands, and cymbal stands a few times. You're going to put the collar back on so you won't see the cut anyway.
Had planned to use a hack saw, since that is what we have on hand.

I'm still waiting for DF66 to post a pic of her set with the toms mounted on the bass drum.
Taking the lift off should have been all that was necessary,
to get those toms at the same height as the tom was on her bop kit.
The hi hat could be moved into the normal spot and all would be fine.
Maybe she'll get around to it on the next try - ha ha.
You may get your wish if I ultimately go back to the one up one down setup. I dont want two toms above the bass drum because I want the ride in that right spot.
 
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wildbill

Platinum Member
.....
You may get your wish if I ultimately go back to the one up one down setup. I dont want two toms above the bass drum because I want the ride in that right spot.

All I'm saying is keep an open mind and don't dismiss the idea before you've tried it.
 

Craig J

Senior Member
Jon Fishamn of Phish is 5'3. He plays a very tight setup. Type his name into google images and you'll find a lot.

 
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