When to expand beyond a 3 piece kit?

octatonic

Senior Member
I've been playing for about 4 years now and getting to be a decent-ish (but still learning) drummer.

I've been playing a 3 piece kit since I started but always thought I'd like to go for a 3 up, 2 down kit *at some stage*.

I know this is a fairly open ended question and depends on many variables but when is it a good idea to expand the kit?
I see both sides of it- spending time working on fundamentals and being musical with less seems like a good idea.
Having more options also seems like a good idea.

What do you reckon?
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
If you have snare, 2 toms and a kick it's called a 4-piece.

I always played a 6-piece, but sometimes less.


Skill has nothing to do with it. If you need or feel you need a certain kit, then that's the kit for you.

Reason for going small is sometimes taste, but it's often just logistics.

For practice you use what you need for practicing certain things, but if it's important for your style to be able to move around, that stuff has to be practiced to as anything else.

There's not even any rule that says your kit has to look "normal" in any kind of way.

Here's what a friend is using on his current gig.

 

opentune

Platinum Member
it's great you started small. go where your heart and the music takes you. if that is 4 more toms.....sure.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
Nothing wrong with adding more pieces now. If you like a bigger kit, keep it. Wanna go back to a small kit ..... you have that option, too. At one time, I was gigging with a 10 piece kit. I've also gigged with a two piece (kick, snare). Do what makes you happy.​
 

Magenta

Platinum Member
If you like a bigger kit, keep it. Wanna go back to a small kit ..... you have that option, too. Do what makes you happy.

^^^ Yep! I started off with a 5-piece and often felt obliged in some way to use the second rack tom because it was there, rather than because I needed it. Now I use a 4-piece but I still have my 5-piece that I can use if I ever want to play "White Room" :)
 

octatonic

Senior Member
If you have snare, 2 toms and a kick it's called a 4-piece.

I always played a 6-piece, but sometimes less.


Skill has nothing to do with it. If you need or feel you need a certain kit, then that's the kit for you.

Reason for going small is sometimes taste, but it's often just logistics.

For practice you use what you need for practicing certain things, but if it's important for your style to be able to move around, that stuff has to be practiced to as anything else.

There's not even any rule that says your kit has to look "normal" in any kind of way.

Here's what a friend is using on his current gig.

Ah right- noob mistake- yes, I have a 4 piece.
 

JustJames

Platinum Member
The good thing about a 5 piece kit is that it is logical to play a phrase around the kit with 1 beat (which may be broken down) on each of the snare and the three toms.

The bad thing about a 5 piece kit is that it is predictable to play a phrase around the kit with 1 beat (which may be broken down) on each of the snare and the three toms.

I started out with a 5 piece, went to a 6 piece for a while and then back to a 5 piece. Sure, the 6 piece looked cool, but it's a bit like peppering conversation with polysyllabic verbiage, when simple words often work better.

Yes, I know. I'm a cunning linguist.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
If you feel You need to expand, then do it. I always tend to buy a drum set that's a little bit bigger than what I actually need. This way, I have options for different configurations for different gigs. Buy what you feel you need.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
I see both sides of it- spending time working on fundamentals and being musical with less seems like a good idea.
Having more options also seems like a good idea.

What do you reckon?

Having more gear doesn't mean that you can't practice fundamentals and being musical. I've never needed more than a 3 or 4 piece for what I do, but everyone is going to be different, and everyone will form their own vocabulary. If you feel you'd like to expand, then go for it.

I recently moved to a four piece, but I spent the last 10 years playing a 3 piece (snare, floor tom, bass drum), with HH and one or two rides. You can get an incredible array of sounds out of drums and cymbals, but if you feel you'd like more than go for it!
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
There's no right answer. Simon Phillips plays trio jazz with his monster double-bass, ten-tom setup; there's plenty of metal guys on four-pieces. What does your current kit have, or not have, that speaks to you?

The advantage to having a small kit is that there can be intense creativity and beauty in saying all that you want to say with that smaller selection of voices. Some might use the word "limited", but it's not limited by anything except imagination. Once you find all the voices, tones, and applications for those drums and cymbals, you may find yourself in new territory that is uniquely yours.

The advantage to having a large kit is flexibility -- i.e. you can go to a small kit if you want to/need to, but you always can add the other pieces back on. The danger is that you may start to get over-fancy for the music because it's there, and you paid good money for it, and by gum let's get those melodic 6" toms into every song and hit every one of the 36 cymbals at least once.

I have a small kit and a large kit, with very different construction and voices, that i use for different applications and different types of music. But there's no hard-and-fast rule. I have played prog rock on my four-piece and Zeppelin covers on my seven-piece, and it's still drumming. It's still music. I just challenge myself in different ways with each setup.

In the end we're all here to serve the music, and the tool -- our instrument -- should serve that purpose. Nothing more, nothing less.
 
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