The magic of a simple kit

Lennytoons

Senior Member
Lately I've gone back to playing my three piece kit and loving it. It's a standard one up one down 22,13 and 16 configuration. My other kits are either five or six pieces and for the life of me I don't enjoy playing them as much so they just sit most of the time. Part of it I'm sure is that I grew up with this setup along with a hi hat, one crash and one ride. I find that I play better with a simple setup and my creativity comes to life. Not to mention gigging is much easier of course. Anybody else experience this?
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Yup. When I first started, I had a 3-up/1-down set up, and I ended up (at one time) with hats, a ride, two crashes, two chinas, and three splashes. The more I played, the more I started leaving stuff at home.

Fast forward about 25 years later, and I played a New Year's Eve gig with a kick, snare, hats, and a crash/ride. Granted, most of the time I play with a 4-piece, but I like smaller kits. When people ask me about playing a bigger kit, I usually say something like "If I can't get it done with a 4-piece, well, then I probably ought not be playing that kind of music." :)
 

hawksmoor

Senior Member
I use the one-up one-down set-up a lot but I still get overly worried when I'm moving round the kit that I'm not going to make the floor tom from the rack tom, they just seem so far away? I tend to simplify my fills to take that fear out of the equation.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Lately I've gone back to playing my three piece kit and loving it. It's a standard one up one down 22,13 and 16 configuration ... I find that I play better with a simple setup and my creativity comes to life. Not to mention gigging is much easier of course. Anybody else experience this?
FYI, assuming you have a snare, your 22/13/16 is actually a 4-pc. :O

I always keep my local kits simple, normally 4 pcs, occasionally just 3, and with one band a few years ago, just 2 - a kick & snare. On tour I go nuts, I use 5 pieces.

Bermuda
 

mrfingers

Senior Member
I’ve tried the same set up and it’s just fun having a giant, 12 or 13” up tom target but...to me there’s not enough tonal difference between those and the FT. All my fills were too “low” sounding to me. So I’m back to 10-12-16.
 
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Lennytoons

Senior Member
FYI, assuming you have a snare, your 22/13/16 is actually a 4-pc. :O

I always keep my local kits simple, normally 4 pcs, occasionally just 3, and with one band a few years ago, just 2 - a kick & snare. On tour I go nuts, I use 5 pieces.

Bermuda
Yup, Got a snare in there so you're right, it's a four piece...sounds too large now. :)
 

Lennytoons

Senior Member
I use the one-up one-down set-up a lot but I still get overly worried when I'm moving round the kit that I'm not going to make the floor tom from the rack tom, they just seem so far away? I tend to simplify my fills to take that fear out of the equation.
Hawk, I know the feeling. The good news for me is it forces me to play better, cleaner single stroke rolls on the floor tom.
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
I try to not let myself get comfortable with any one setup so I'm all over the place, size-wise.

My practice kit at home is a 7 piece (3-up 2-down) but the kit I'm gigging with tomorrow night is your typical 5 piece. At rehearsal, I play a 4 piece. On top of that, I alternate between mounting toms on the kick drum and offsetting them on stands.

The reason that I do all of this is to foster versatility no matter what I'm faced with. I've played enough backline kits to know that I need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable...

But yeah, simple setups have their charm.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
FYI, assuming you have a snare, your 22/13/16 is actually a 4-pc. :O

I always keep my local kits simple, normally 4 pcs, occasionally just 3, and with one band a few years ago, just 2 - a kick & snare. On tour I go nuts, I use 5 pieces.

Bermuda
^^This guy is OUT OF CONTROL!!! Wacky!
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I totally get it.

I've been using mainly a 4-piece for several years now and I enjoy it. This might have been different before before I'd developed on my current level, but I don't really feel I lose the ability to play a bigger kit at all either. For me personally, I also feel it helps me stay focused on the important stuff when practicing.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
FYI, assuming you have a snare, your 22/13/16 is actually a 4-pc. :O

I always keep my local kits simple, normally 4 pcs, occasionally just 3, and with one band a few years ago, just 2 - a kick & snare. On tour I go nuts, I use 5 pieces.

Bermuda
Yep. One can barely see Bermuda on stage with all 5 pieces surrounding him. Just believe it actually is him back there.
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
I keep it as simple as I can (2 up 2 down). My playing tends to be more deliberate, less automatic, than on my former 9 pc, where I almost felt obliged to include as many pieces as possible in a fill, lol.

On cymbals I can't get by without at least a few effects cymbals. Those are increasingly becoming a vital part of "my sound".
 

DrummerCA35

Senior Member
I've tried the four piece kit at different times, and I've NEVER been happy with it. I've always been most comfortable with a 5 piece kit (two up, one down). Also, having the extra tom, to me, adds so many more possibilities and variations in fills that i sorely miss when I've tried the one up own down configuration. While I totally get the idea of forcing yourself to work with less drums, the times I've played with a four piece I found limiting and somewhat boring. But that's just me, and I totally see the advantages that come with one up one down.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I've tried the four piece kit at different times, and I've NEVER been happy with it. I've always been most comfortable with a 5 piece kit (two up, one down). Also, having the extra tom, to me, adds so many more possibilities and variations in fills that i sorely miss when I've tried the one up own down configuration. While I totally get the idea of forcing yourself to work with less drums, the times I've played with a four piece I found limiting and somewhat boring. But that's just me, and I totally see the advantages that come with one up one down.

I have no problem understanding that perspective. If your vocabulary is based on a 5-piece it may take some time to discover the other possibilites and it is sort of a forced thing. I just decided to do it to focus and it didn't take one session to get there. More like a year or two. I think it's been worth it to me, but I wouldn't push that on anyone. It depends on what type of stuff you want to or have to play.

I took away my left BD pedal for over a year as well.
 

Gottliver

Senior Member
I played a 4 pc at my last rehearsal, snare, kick, bd, ft, hats, crash and ride. We play a mix of classic rock from the 60s and 70s. No one seemed yo notice the missing rack tom and the guitar player said I must of been practicing my a## off over the holiday break because he’s never heard me play so well. Fact is, I stuck to the grooves and played simple transition fills on the snare and FT.

I think most musicians want a simple, tight and groovy drummer. Of course there are exceptions, prog rock, metal being a couple....
 

Yerdaddy72

Junior Member
I use 5 pieces with 2 crashes, ride, hi hats, a China and a splash...also cowbell and rototoms. However when I bring drums inside to the basement for winter I knock down to 4 piece no rotos and have a ball playing that way too and think it's good practice to use different setup.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I just got rid of my rack, the 8 inch tom, and the third crash. Now, 2 up, 1 down, 2 crashes, ride and hats. The rest didn't make me any better
 

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jimzo

Senior Member
Re: The magic of a simple kit

Perhaps, in how comfortable one thinks their bare-bones kit should be?
My perspective would be the essential kick/snare/HH, then one MT or RT, and one FT. Everyone having different skills and strengths, and wants to play a kit that highlites, and reflects their talent.
We are not including hardware and how modular and compact, but we are discussing the drums here, not including cymbals.
Which lends to the drummers expression and happy place. Why some drummers prefer big thick cymbals playing against their slower beats or bpm, and others prefer thinner cymbals for fast attack & wash articulating their faster tempos. Where implementing the thicker cymbals would react too slow. Some will add two cymbals putting emphasis on each individual stroke, where another will not mind hitting a cymbal twice expressing their comprehensive style.
Smaller kit does not necessarily mean you need tons of skills to execute your game-plan, as I would imagine having, and playing a solid beat supersedes this. YMMV ;-)
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
I've never used more than 2 crashes, ride and hats, but I don't get on with a four piece as well as with more drums.
It has nothing to do with being more creative. It has to do with more appropriate fills.
I rehearse with a four piece and there are some songs I recorded with using more drums that do not translate to a four piece.

I would prefer a four piece because I'm lazy and it looks better to the low-brow crowd, but it works in a crappier way for me than using more drums.

Also, tuning can be thoughtless simplicity with a four piece, where it gets complex with more drums.
 

BertTheDrummer

Gold Member
Part of it I'm sure is that I grew up with this setup along with a hi hat, one crash and one ride. I find that I play better with a simple setup and my creativity comes to life. Not to mention gigging is much easier of course. Anybody else experience this?
I think this is probably as at least a part of it. That's how I started years ago, and even though I've had larger kits, I still feel most at home with a more simple setup.
 
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