What's ONE piece of gear that made you change the way you play your whole kit?


Platinum Member
I've been playing for quite a while, and to say that my playing has evolved over time is an understatement. The drums, cymbals, and other gear I've used over the years has evolved as well, but most recently, I bought a set of Heartbeat cymbals back in October 2018. I feel like the ride cymbal I play now has really made me change my approach to playing the whole kit. The ride cymbal I bought is a 22" Custom Dry. It's big, dark, and thin. It rides great, has a terrific wash, and is an amazing crash cymbal as well.

How has it changed the way that I play? I think for the first time in forever, I actually started to relax when I play. Because it doesn't take too much to get this cymbal to open up, I don't have to hit it in the same way I would a Zildjian A or a Sabian AA. I also don't have to be as timid with it because the pitch is lower and it doesn't pierce the air the way my other cymbals have done in the past. I can just relax and play like I feel like I'm supposed to without too much fear of hurting anyone else I'm playing with at the time. The tone and playability sounds and feels "warm and buttery." I find myself treating my whole kit like this now. I feel like I'm much more of a dynamic player than I used to be. I feel that because I now have a ride like this, it's helped me feel like I can really manipulate the entire kit like I want it to sound. (Having a full set of these cymbals doesn't hurt either!) I hope all of this makes sense.

How about you? What's one piece of gear that has caused you to change the way you play your entire kit?



Senior Member
Interesting question. I've also changed my playing after getting a different ride cymbal. For many years I played a 22" Zildjian A Ping Ride, because that's what Neil was using when I went cymbal shopping. It's very heavy, bright, and not at all crashable. After a lot of experimentation, I've settled on darker medium- to thin-weight cymbals, and being able to crash it and strike it in different ways without sounding obnoxious has opened up a lot of possibilities.

But I'd say while not changing the WAY that I play so much, the two pieces of gear that have had the most impact on my enjoyment of the drums are the Tune-Bot and my Roc'n'Soc throne with extended base. The Tune-Bot because I couldn't tune very well and now I can make my drums sound good every time. And the throne because a) it's comfy to sit on for hours at a time, and b) I'm a tall guy and the extended base finally allows me to adjust my throne to a height that works well for me.

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
When I got my DW 3000 bass pedal, it absolutely improved my playing. I had been using an old pedal that probably came with my Crestline kit--we're talking early 80s. Then when I was finally able to my own equipment that I wanted, wow.

I don't know if this is exactly what you're asking, but it certainly changed/improved my play. It just made things happen with less effort.


Platinum Member
Numerous things over time. When I was first starting, it was a cowbell. I flew it off the bass hoop and it was in my way of the toms (2 up 2 down), so I offset them and moved the ride in. That was quite an eye opener.

I then went to 3 up 2 down. The cowbell moved, as did the ride. I bought a rack and that allowed me to push the kicks out some which really helped my feet out substantially.

Then it was 1 up 2 down. I added a ride to the left. That really changed things. Double rides add a whole new universe of possibilities. Double strokes on two rides is quite enjoyable. Open handed started to become a thing.

Now it's 0 up, 1 down (left) and 2 down (right). I centered the hats on the snare, moved each ride in closer, mirrored around the hats. I can now move effortlessly between the 3 cymbals and the snare. It still feels odd, but it's a somewhat new concept for me. I really dig it though. The third floor is there, it just didn't make the pic.


Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
It's the throne, or rather the fact that I occasionally raise it a little bit.

Pretty much any ergonomic issue has been solved by raising the throne enough. Pretty much comes down to comfortable tom reach and shoulder fatigue from ride placemet on the 6-piece. These are issues no more.

Though I don't really change the regular kit much, everything else is not really set in stone at all. It just depends on what I'm doing and what I need/feel like bringing.


Silver Member
In-ear monitors
seconded!! i can actually hear what everyone in the bands doing now and i can play WITH them instead of over/under them!


Senior Member
For me it was finding the right sticks for my hands.

Once I did, my playing became smoother, more efficient and took less effort to play.


Platinum Member
As with the above Microphones and isolation headphones - put a floodlight on my sloppiness. A frightening awakening!

Quiet cymbals and pads - as much as I hated those at first and put up a big fuss, they further amplified the discoveries made clear by mics and isolation headphones. Don’t need the isolation headphones at this point for practice, but the floodlight effect is still very much at play. Absolutely amazing how much we (I) can’t hear when on top of the kit, playing at full volume. My apologies for everyone subjected to the torture fest I called playing!


Senior Member
Probably more things as well, but I would say getting a double pedal changed my whole outlook on drumming, since I started listening and playing along to the music I still love today (thrash/death metal). Before that I was usually only playing with a school marching band, and at the most pop/rock stuff. So getting a double pedal in 2002 (I just turned 18 that year) was a eye-opener, 10 years after I first picked up drumsticks.

Could also say getting bigger crashes (18"+), a china cymbal and floortoms with legs. None of that were something my dad liked/used himself, he is a blues drummer. I got to use his gear up until I was 18, he was all into small cymbals, suspended floortoms and a china cymbal was completely unheard of...
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Gold Member
Maybe my floor tom. It's the one surface I have that absolutely does not work with me to fluff out doubles or fake slickness....every note on the floor tom, is an intentional and fully stroked stroke. Floor toms forced me to get my hands a bit more together, perhaps a bit like playing on pillows.

Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
It's split between a GoPro and in-ear monitors. One showed me how messed up my form was & the other helped me hear the mistakes better.
Both helped me play better in the long run of course.


Senior Member
Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 USB audio interface. Drums sounds pretty good when miked. In fact they sound much different. Coupled with wearing headphones, it creates a completely different playing experience vs un-miked, and thus I play differently.

For runnerup, I would say the Peter Erskine signature "Ride" sticks for jazz playing... my ride patterns sound much better. Oh yeah, the Sabian 14" Artisan hihats make me want to play more, they sound so good.

Runnerrunnerup, noise cancelling headphones. For the reason they let you whack that snare without putting your head and ears into a spin.
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Silver Member
Tie between mirror and video camera.

Oh, that's a good one. Definitely a video camera (actually my iphone). I started to record myself playing and was shocked at my technique and form. What I thought I was doing was definitely not what was actually happening. It helped me change my form, get rid of some bad habits, and improved my playing significantly.

The second thing would be a metronome app.
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Senior Member
I'd definitely have to say sticks. When I attended a Todd Sucherman clinic and he talked about his maple ProMarks, I had to give them a try.

WOW! the lighter stick felt great but the larger diameter was easy to grip. It solved a bunch of issues and (at that point) 25 year search for the right tool. Been using them for about 12 years now and order them by the brick.


Platinum Member
My 10" tom.

It was the 90's, I was using a 12" and 14" rack toms live, with a 16" on the floor. I had a 10" tom from my prog band days, but I didn't need it in this particular band.

We went into a name studio to record one song. I just knew for this one song, it would sound better if I used my 10" and 12" toms instead of the 12 and 14.

Not only did that song turn out well, but I found I really enjoyed the 10, 12 16 set up. So I stuck with it.

People thought it was odd, but I loved it.

Years later, lots of people started doing it and now it's a typical setup.

Now, I can't even imagine how the hell I used to play a 14" power rack tom over my bass drum.