The simplest is...


Well-known member
This is solid advice, and, thanks. :)

Trying to figure out me as a drummer is part of why I asked the question....

I find I like polyrhythmic playing and having lots of accents available... splashes and Chinas, etc. I definitely enjoy having it all available.
But I think I want to play without the extra toys for a while, just to appreciate the basics and maybe build on that.

Right now I have hats, an 18" crash/ride, a 17" rock crash, and a 22" ride. I may put the splash back up next.

I think you should put some thought into what kind of drummer you want to be, and then figure out how to get there. There is no single path that all drummers must travel, so whatever you choose should be satisfying to you. Did you enjoy having a bunch of cymbals on your kit? If so, don't let someone else's notion of what a beginner should be doing stop you.

Yamaha Rider

Well-known member
When you're sitting behind your drums and there are so many choices, you tend to forget the music and think only of what to hit next and find yourself mentally apologizing for not "using" what you have. Photo is of my monster kit which presented the very problem, so.....I downsized considerably and VOILA!!! more at ease and more in tune with the music. The kit is so big you can't see the 2 additional cymbals set up high. The stands hoever show in the lower right of the Union Jack and semmingly coming out of the hi hat. In all 10 drums and 13 or 14 cymbals. Way TOO MUCH.
View attachment 93695
Do you climb on the snare to reach the outer planets there?


Silver Member
Do you climb on the snare to reach the outer planets there?
Used a small step stool. The only real stretch was the 3rd floor tom between and outside the 2 on the right. Then it was a pretty much full arm stretch and turn to the right. That was always pretty much against my method of wanting all drums, cymbals etc. in front so there's minimal turning to smack something. Current set up is just that. Even crashes and efx cymbals can be played without turning to look for them. Simple and straight forward. Now to find what to do with the small step stool.


Senior Member
I have played quite a few gigs with just hats and ride. Either 14" Meinl Byzance Dark hats, and a 21" Byzance Dark ride. Or 14" Meinl Extra thin Jazz hats, and a 22" Byzance Sand crash ride.

In those cases, I usually pare down drums aswell; to snare, kick and floor tom. Inevitably I end up being more creative, and do more between all four limbs.

Simple is good!

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
To focus on the basics just means working on the foundation, what you need to do the job.

It has litte to do with your setup, but it can be a good exercise to change it up a little bit.

After playing for years and never really using my full kit, or my own kit for that matter, I reduced my kit in the shed to a 4-piece, hats, ride and one crash. I even took my left BD pedal off. Slowly over a couple of years I built the kit back up.


Senior Member
It all depends on the music and how you feel like expressing yourself. Having said that, i find the idea of a smaller setup very appealing. But always when i scale down, after a while i miss the sounds i'm accustomed to and in the end add the cymbal again.

When i start a new band/project i use the bare minimum. Hats, ride and 2 crashes. If we do a cover that needs an alternate source like a splash or china, i add it. But for quite a while i used hats/ride/2x crash/china with the rock band i was in and not until the end of my time with them i added a stack or mini china because i wanted an alternate sound for a certain fill.

I'm busy with the idea of changing my setup to a more comfortable and smaller setup. My setup now is 2x hi-hat (one on x-hat), 2 crashes, 2 chinas, 2 stacks, 2 splashes and 1 ride. I like the idea of a higher and low pitched version of each sound, so that's why (except for the ride) i had everything double.

I use 2 splashes and a stack, but thinking of ditching the 8" splash since i have a love/hate relationship with it (miss it when it's not there, but when in hit it it's too high pitched). Love the 10" splash and the stack, so i want to keep those and use the stack for the stuff i usually used the 8" splash since it has a short sound as well. Since i use a stack on the right side as well, i think of ditching the 13" x-hat as well. The stack has a shorter and trashier sound, but can double as a closed hi-hat like sound source. That reduces my setup a bit haha, but the rest (hh, 2x china, 2x crash and ride) are still 'mandatory' for certain songs hehe


I usually gig with just hats and a ride. For almost 3 years I gigged with just a ride and no other cymbals with the most recent band I was in (and most active band I've ever been in). I've gigged with just a snare and brushes and nothing else. I've been playing almost 20 years now and when I first started I always thought 'more is better' and quickly learned that's not always the case. My biggest set up I ever gigged was hats, ride, 3 crashes, splash, and China with a 5pc kit. That set up quickly became a 4pc kit with hats, ride, crash, and china. Pretty soon after I took down the china, then the crash, then the rack tom. I gigged a 3pc with hats and ride for a long time. The current band I'm filling in for calls for a lot of tom work, something slightly out of my norm, so for them I pull out my 'big' kit: 4pc with hats and ride lol. I honestly can't ever see myself playing in a musical situation again in my life that would call for more then that. I play a variety of styles with it from pop, to heavy, to hip hop, to jazz.

You get hired to play because of your feel and your restraint, not because of how many cymbals you have. Me personally? I'd much rather have 2 things that make many different sounds then 10 things that each make 1 sound.


Platinum Member
Smallest set up is hats and medium ride that crashes.

Other than that it's hat, x2 crashes, ride. Anything more than that it is more than I need for gigging.