Switching Gear DURING a set.

Traditional Grip

Senior Member
This doesn't seem to be a common move, but does anyone here switch around their gear in between songs?

I only like my ride cymbal in on place, however, I pretty much only use ride cymbals (As rides and crashes). I like my cymbals to be flat just above snare level, over my floor tom. I generally like to switch rides during the set but hate having one on my left where it's uncomfortable for me to play. Ideally, I want to have my ride to right of me, regardless of which cymbal I'm using as a ride.

It is "Cool" to switch around cymbals in between songs? I guess the same could be said for a snare.

Thanks!
 

DHA

Member
I'll sometimes change snare tuning during a set, otherwise my gear usually stays the same. I think it's good to mix it up if the track calls for it... e.g. a nice sizzle ride for a quieter song, then swap it for a heavier track afterwards. I'm all for doing things that differentiate between songs (especially when playing originals) to help each track stand out.

What are your reasons for switching?
 

Traditional Grip

Senior Member
I'll sometimes change snare tuning during a set, otherwise my gear usually stays the same. I think it's good to mix it up if the track calls for it... e.g. a nice sizzle ride for a quieter song, then swap it for a heavier track afterwards. I'm all for doing things that differentiate between songs (especially when playing originals) to help each track stand out.

What are your reasons for switching?
Some songs call for a flat ride, some call for a traditional ride, some require ones that respond well to brushes. I like to have whatever one I'm using during the song to be in my ideal position.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I like appropriate sounds for appropriate songs, but changing-out drum gear during a set is indulgent, and disruptive. Yes, I know guitar players change guitars, and apart from making a very obvious switch from electric to acoustic, or a 12-string, I don't hear a difference. A strat sounds like a tele to me. By the same token, in the context of a song, cymbals and drums sound the same to the audience.

So when I say changes are indulgent, I mean they're more for the drummer's personal taste than for the song's benefit. If really obvious 2nd snare or additional cymbal sounds are required, put them on stands so that they're part of the kit, and no physical moves need to be made. The extra coordination just looks bad, and adds dead air to the set. Plus, the singer may make a rude comment about the drummer having to switch gears or something.

That said, I do make a single, transparent, non-disruptive change on local gigs, and it can happen several times throughout a set. I attach/detach a hat-trick tambourine on the hh rod, depending on the song. I want a tambourine where it sounds right in the song, and more importantly, I don't want it where it doesn't belong, or may sound strange depending what my foot does. There are one or two "on/off" hat-mount tambourines that are logistically more elegant, but they don't sound good and aren't loud enough.

Bermuda
 

hippy chip

Silver Member
I agree with Bermuda---no one but you is going to hear the difference between a flat ride and a traditional ride. Do what you want between sets, but futzing with cymbals between songs is distracting to everyone.
 

Juniper

Gold Member
Can't see a massive issue with it but do you really need to swap rides around in the first place?

Like others have said no one in the crowd is really going to notice any difference between ride sounds so it just seems like unnecessary distraction.

Hardly crime of the century though I guess.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
I agree with Bermuda too.

However, if you are playing in a band that plays very very quiet music, maybe like an acoustic gig or a piano, upright bass jazz trio,
the audience might, and I say "might" hear the difference.

So here's an idea. Get the band to arrange the set list so that there is a break between the songs that you feel require a drum hardware change.


.
 

Traditional Grip

Senior Member
I agree with Bermuda too.

However, if you are playing in a band that plays very very quiet music, maybe like an acoustic gig or a piano, upright bass jazz trio,
the audience might, and I say "might" hear the difference.

So here's an idea. Get the band to arrange the set list so that there is a break between the songs that you feel require a drum hardware change.
.
That's actually exactly the type of situation I was referring to (Upright bass/Piano).

Good idea about the set list! I have to do some significant experimenting during practice to see how little gear I can get away with.

Another thought occurred to me. Just switching sticks might make enough of a sound difference to do the trick, also putting on/taking of a sizzler on the main cymbal.

Also, thanks Bermuda for the excellent comment! A response from you is always a blessing!
 

Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
On occasion I'll set up two Rides or two Snares if I know I'm going to need different sounds for different songs. But I leave them up all night and just have a bigger kit.

If I need two Rides it's typically because some songs need something loud and pingy, and others need more warmth and wash. I'll set them up slightly overlapping one another to my right. This is most common when I'm playing with blues bands.

Snares, same deal. Sometimes I need something high pitched with a lot of crack, and other times I need something deeper and warmer. Especially with pop and electronic music. So I'll have the deep one as my main snare, and the 2nd snare to the left of my Hi Hat. Typically a 10" Birch popcorn snare.

The only time I've ever taken one snare off and replaced it mid set is if I broke a head and needed to change to my backup snare. (I always bring two snares to every show just in case.)

I understand changing Guitars in-between songs for things like Bermuda said. Changing to a 12 string, or acoustic to electric. The only other time I see anyone do this is for guitars that need alternate tuning. Having one guitar in one tuning and the other in the alternate is much more pro than tuning onstage.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
However, if you are playing in a band that plays very very quiet music, maybe like an acoustic gig or a piano, upright bass jazz trio, the audience might, and I say "might" hear the difference.
Certainly there's a difference, and appropriate drums and cymbals should always be chosen accordingly for any particular gig. But it's hard to imagine that a jazz trio gig would suddenly start rocking out in a set and need more aggressive sounding gear. Would a flat ride and rock ride ever be necessary in the same band, on the same gig? I've never wanted to do that in my 40+ years of gigging.

But, if it's genuinely necessary, set up another stand with the alternate cymbal on it. More gear looks better, right?

Bermuda
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Another thought occurred to me. Just switching sticks might make enough of a sound difference to do the trick
Oh crap! Of course. Why didn't I remember this.
The type of stick and the nylon vs wood tip can make a lot of difference in the sound of the cymbal. I just recently discovered this while shopping for cymbals.

.
 

hefty

Junior Member
Several years ago I saw Lucinda Williams with Butch Norton on drums (he was just great btw), and he switched out ride cymbals several times. If I remember right the changes made sense to me and I could hear why he had done them, but I'm sure a large portion of the crowd couldn't hear a difference, and probably didn't notice him even making the change.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
This doesn't seem to be a common move, but does anyone here switch around their gear in between songs?

I only like my ride cymbal in on place, however, I pretty much only use ride cymbals (As rides and crashes). I like my cymbals to be flat just above snare level, over my floor tom. I generally like to switch rides during the set but hate having one on my left where it's uncomfortable for me to play. Ideally, I want to have my ride to right of me, regardless of which cymbal I'm using as a ride.

It is "Cool" to switch around cymbals in between songs? I guess the same could be said for a snare.

Thanks!
It is a good question, almost like having to retune the cellos when the symphony changes keys.

I've seen the argument that these distract from the song in the thread above, I don't think this is true, each song can have a different ideal arrangement of percussion, which can clearly be heard on many full length recordings. Whether or not the lead on the set has enough taste to orchestrate these changes, by playing a few songs with similar arrangements or gracefully incorporating different instrumentation is another question. My experience is the lead which can change from minute to minute will tastelessly jerk you around just to see if you get caught out of position, especially on your coolest triangle part.
 

V-Four

Senior Member
Certainly there's a difference, and appropriate drums and cymbals should always be chosen accordingly for any particular gig. But it's hard to imagine that a jazz trio gig would suddenly start rocking out in a set and need more aggressive sounding gear. Would a flat ride and rock ride ever be necessary in the same band, on the same gig? I've never wanted to do that in my 40+ years of gigging.

But, if it's genuinely necessary, set up another stand with the alternate cymbal on it. More gear looks better, right?

Bermuda
This.

It does make sense.
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
Switching gear in between songs may also be awkward, trying to do it fast in the dark and drop a cymbal or get your feet into the cables, I don't know, I wouldn't do that personally. I would definitely put an extra stand and have second ride. The removable sizzler is a good idea, simple and efficient. When I have songs that should sound different, I play with the snare tension, the muffling on toms, snare or cymbals and of courses, sticks and the way I play.
Once I played for two different bands, with different sound, between the set I adjusted differently the muffling, and the biggest difference was the way I played and my sticks.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
I would simply have another stand and the second ride there to use. Why complicate your gig by throwing an equipment change into the middle of it?
 

MustangMick

Senior Member
Occasionally I'll swap my main ride out for a Rivet ride or lay an old drumhead on my snare drum for a deeper sound.

Have an album launch gig coming up (Country/Ed Sheeran singer songwriter) where it runs from pure Country to Electro Pop on the same album. I wasn't the drummer on the album, he's not available.

I will have 2 snare drums (14" and 12" side snare) but a couple of songs I'm considering swapping out my 14" hihats for a pair of 12" ones to change the sound. Have a fixed x-hat but it might be easier swapping the cymbals over on the main stand using a spare hihat clutch

Will try it at rehearsals

Mick
 

Woolwich

Silver Member
Swapping hi hats with a spare clutch in place would be barely discernible to anyone in the audience, I often tighten up my clutch mid gig and this is barely a step more. However changing cymbals is a whole other issue. It's hard enough setting up things in the first place what with other band members/equipment/guitar stands/cabling all in the mix, the idea of hefting 20" of cymbal with or without stand and replacing it with another gives me chills.
On a slight tangent, using the equipment we like makes us play better but there has to be a limit. In an amplified setting (I'm not sure if this one is or isn't) I doubt that anyone would notice these nuances. And while I like to use the cymbals I like and don't use other types/brands of cymbals as I've got my (simple) tastes dialled in, on the other hand I've never turned a record off or walked away from a gig because the drummer is using a cymbal line I don't like.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
I've experimented with 2 rides on my set before but that lasted about 2 gigs as it's more things to carry in and set up.

I'd be more concerned damaging a cymbal between songs during a quick swap over.

As Bermuda said you can do a lot with different sticks. You can also get those sizzle bead things or the meinl cymbal tuners. Even felts make a difference

Makes sense in the studio to have different sounding cymbals but for gigging it's not for me. Too much silence between songs.

Snare wise I have the BFSD and that can be thrown about literally so I get 2 snares for the sake of a bit of plastic.
 
Top