The influence of setup on your technique

larryace

"Uncle Larry" - Administrator
Staff member
I've never changed where the components of my kit sit. My goal is to get into a meditative mindset when I play. I can't do that if I had to remember that I moved components of my kit around. I want to know exactly where it is with my eyes closed. I still am no where near mastering the setup I've had all my life.
 

Ransan

Senior Member
Things fairly tight and rim to rim, almost touching.

I like my hats low as I accent or add rolls with my left, whether the right stays on beat or I need to change up. Cymbals I accent as well and like them low to mid height.

I’ll change my throne distance marginally.
If I’m playing heel toe technique I’m further away from my long board pedals to have a flatter rest position, if I’m playing slide or swivel I’m over the pedal not stabbing but drawing more power, and closer to the kit.

For comfort and quick exchange, I like my toms flat and as low as possible to kick, snare low as well.
The Luddies are more robust and difficult for me to do this, I try my best for ergo and it does take some getting used to.

I play different configurations all the time, but always subconsciously have a 1 up 1 or 2 down configuration foundation. The tom in the 1 up position will mostly be 10”- 13”.

Whether I have a second tom will dictate whether I use the ride over kick or in a high post or far right over floor tom, which is how I grew up playing the ride.

Looking at these you can see the 1 up 2 down foundation.
60EAB839-3CDB-4158-9F33-5BF502B9EECF.jpegF92F2890-C778-4B02-BBD8-75EDE53C759A.jpeg12365DCA-A2D8-4F1E-BDF4-ABC2C841F94A.jpeg55714842-399D-4C2C-AB7A-71DECA8EA83E.jpeg
 

Otto

Platinum Member
It was a very comfortable setup, I simply lacked the creative thinking, technique or style to make good use of it. Seems like someone who marched tenor drums, or a creative mind like Bruford, or someone looking to do something unique with drumming could benefit from setting up that way. I'm a meat and potatoes pop/soul/country drummer with hamfisted technique and no desire to create anything new on the drum set. Backline kits are also a regular part of my drumming life, so I try to stay as "normal" as possible.

@Otto, do you have any pics of your rig? I'd love to see how much tighter in you get everything. I've got an albatross wingspan, so I found I needed to spread things out a bit in order to not feel cramped.
Alas, i do not. I actually live WITHOUT a cell phone...as I have no family I need to be THAT accessible to...and no real camera to speak of...well, I have one on a Kindle 10.5" That I Jail Broke...guess I could use that.
 

spelman

Senior Member
Depends upon you ergonomics.
Colaiuta had to lower his throne by having part of the tubing cut down.
I need to set high to be comfortable.
Bruford flattened all his tom angles.
And then he had to get a new throne and raise the seat again, because the low position messed up his back.

VC: I've raised my seat height.

RF: Why?

VC: First of all, because I was starting to develop some lower-back problems. One night, I made a move while I was playing, and I was frozen still. I screamed out, and it was horrible. So I've been gradually changing it; I'm still changing it, because I want to get better leverage. My right foot feels weird, which I think is partially because it's still healing since I fractured it


(Modern Drummer 1987).

From
Bxnl9vadKaLVB3ScERf-4StHApChe8q8zDlaTojmbrc.jpg

To
vinniecolaiuta.jpg
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
All my stuff is low and in close. I dont reach for anything. That saves energy by eliminating unwanted movement.

I don't have this set anymore, but I gravitated to 20 and 18 bass drums so that I could set up like this:

Seat1 - Copy.jpg

Drums are all at the same height, and if I push them together the rims touch.
Anything else feels awkward to me now.
All my playing (or vocabulary) as someone put it, is based around the 5 pc. setup I've always used too.
So setup and technique are closely intertwined for me.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
And then he had to get a new throne and raise the seat again, because the low position messed up his back.

VC: I've raised my seat height.

RF: Why?

VC: First of all, because I was starting to develop some lower-back problems. One night, I made a move while I was playing, and I was frozen still. I screamed out, and it was horrible. So I've been gradually changing it; I'm still changing it, because I want to get better leverage. My right foot feels weird, which I think is partially because it's still healing since I fractured it


(Modern Drummer 1987).

From
View attachment 126479

To
View attachment 126480

that first pic is probably the most uncomfortable drumming position I have ever seen!!!
 

AdamI

Active Member
I'm not sure if this is exactly what you're getting at but probably the single biggest thing for me has been moving things away from me/sitting further back.

When I started playing I sat close to my snare, had my hi hats and kick drum brought up really close because it gave me a sense of confidence and control.... what I was actually doing was creating tension and locking myself up by not giving my hands enough room.


My playing is much smoother and more free flowing since started sitting further back and moving things away from me.

A little adjustment can make a big difference too. Moving my hats away from me by a centimetre or so has allowed me to start playing some more complex hi hat patterns and play faster stuff because my right arm is extended out enough to relax and flow freely, as opposed to constantly having my elbow pulled back slightly and my shoulder locked in position.

It seems counter-intuitive (for me at least) that it's easier to hit something that's further away, and it was a bit disorienting at first but once I got comfortable with these new distances my playing improved a significant enough amount.
 

planoranger

Junior Member
I'm not sure if this is exactly what you're getting at but probably the single biggest thing for me has been moving things away from me/sitting further back.

When I started playing I sat close to my snare, had my hi hats and kick drum brought up really close because it gave me a sense of confidence and control.... what I was actually doing was creating tension and locking myself up by not giving my hands enough room.


My playing is much smoother and more free flowing since started sitting further back and moving things away from me.

A little adjustment can make a big difference too. Moving my hats away from me by a centimetre or so has allowed me to start playing some more complex hi hat patterns and play faster stuff because my right arm is extended out enough to relax and flow freely, as opposed to constantly having my elbow pulled back slightly and my shoulder locked in position.

It seems counter-intuitive (for me at least) that it's easier to hit something that's further away, and it was a bit disorienting at first but once I got comfortable with these new distances my playing improved a significant enough amount.
There's "close" and then there's "too close". I sit "close", but everything from my shoulders down to my feet are relaxed. You are right. You need to have freedom in your limbs in order to play loose and relaxed. You also don't want to sit too far away so you have stretch awkwardly in order to get to a tom or cymbal. It's a balancing act for sure.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
I'm not sure if this is exactly what you're getting at but probably the single biggest thing for me has been moving things away from me/sitting further back.

When I started playing I sat close to my snare, had my hi hats and kick drum brought up really close because it gave me a sense of confidence and control.... what I was actually doing was creating tension and locking myself up by not giving my hands enough room.


My playing is much smoother and more free flowing since started sitting further back and moving things away from me.

A little adjustment can make a big difference too. Moving my hats away from me by a centimetre or so has allowed me to start playing some more complex hi hat patterns and play faster stuff because my right arm is extended out enough to relax and flow freely, as opposed to constantly having my elbow pulled back slightly and my shoulder locked in position.

It seems counter-intuitive (for me at least) that it's easier to hit something that's further away, and it was a bit disorienting at first but once I got comfortable with these new distances my playing improved a significant enough amount.

yeah....for me growing up, I was "stranded" by the 50's era hardware on my dads drum set, so everything was too close ,and not ergonomically placed right. I was trying to learn Rush, Iron Maiden, Queensryche, Kansas etc on a 4 piece 2 cymbal set, and it was difficult to say the least. As I started buying my own stands, I was able to "liberate" my self a little bit.

When I got my own kit, I ordered it with a virgin BD and a rack so that I could put things where I needed them for the best comfort. My set seems "normal" to most people as ar as distance goes, but as I have gotten older, my cymbals have lowered a bit
 

AdamI

Active Member
There's "close" and then there's "too close". I sit "close", but everything from my shoulders down to my feet are relaxed. You are right. You need to have freedom in your limbs in order to play loose and relaxed. You also don't want to sit too far away so you have stretch awkwardly in order to get to a tom or cymbal. It's a balancing act for sure.
Yeah, I think it might have been better to say being really deliberate about distances and really dialling that in is important.

It happened to be moving things further away for me but I could see the inverse being equally true.
 

AdamI

Active Member
yeah....for me growing up, I was "stranded" by the 50's era hardware on my dads drum set, so everything was too close ,and not ergonomically placed right. I was trying to learn Rush, Iron Maiden, Queensryche, Kansas etc on a 4 piece 2 cymbal set, and it was difficult to say the least. As I started buying my own stands, I was able to "liberate" my self a little bit.

When I got my own kit, I ordered it with a virgin BD and a rack so that I could put things where I needed them for the best comfort. My set seems "normal" to most people as ar as distance goes, but as I have gotten older, my cymbals have lowered a bit
I sit kinda high and have my cymbals around chest level. I don't want to have to reach too far for them, and they're already far enough away that my arms are free'd up to hit them in a natural arcing motion.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
I sit kinda high and have my cymbals around chest level. I don't want to have to reach too far for them, and they're already far enough away that my arms are free'd up to hit them in a natural arcing motion.

yeah...in my younger days, they were higher up, but not like Steve Jordan or Will Calhoun high....more like Neil Peart high

these are before I got my rack, but everything is the same set up wise....
set1 copy.jpg

set2 copy.jpg
 

AdamI

Active Member
yeah...in my younger days, they were higher up, but not like Steve Jordan or Will Calhoun high....more like Neil Peart high

these are before I got my rack, but everything is the same set up wise....
View attachment 126524

View attachment 126525
Everything looks comfortably and logically placed to me.

I'm just a one up one down and a couple of cymbals guy but it doesn't look like it would be a massive leap to get comfortable behind your set up.... except I have my hi hats much closer to where they slightly overlap my snare.... and they used to be even closer still.
 

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Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I guess my big kit is sort the samemost of the time, but I rarely take it out like that.

I'm going t the yearly drum camp soon and I was contemplating what to bring. Ended up with a 4 piece with my biggest toms + TSS on the side and no standard cymbals, only Factory Metal stuff.

I only bring what's needed and so often I have to put something together to simply handle what would be several percussionists jobs or you know, sounds for a play etc..

When I set things up again it's rarely exactly the same. Things get fine tuned based on what I've done since I had the whole thing up last.

Not being able to play unless things are optimal is not very practical. Any fear of moving tuning on the fly has to go imo, because that's how life generally is unless all you do is play in very specific situations. As a teacher that's sort of how it is to and training for that does mentally prepare you for when oter aspects are not optimal even if you have your own setup perfectly dialed in. Focusing on the music and the best performance regardless of what comes in the way.
 
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