Where do you draw the line with Frankenstein?


Silver Member
For a couple of years now I've been using Mapex Saturn drums with a 22" bass drum as a main kit. As you may know, they are notoriously heavy. I have been carrying a 20x16 Tama Starclassic B/B bass drum in its place simply because it's so much easier to transport. Thus, right now I'm gigging with Frankenstein.

I read somewhere a story Steve Smith told about playing with Jean-Luc Ponty. When he first got the gig he combined a couple different four or five piece kits into a Cobham-esque fusion setup, but soon Jean-Luc requested that he use drums that matched, as he thought it looked too unprofessional on stage.

In my completely biased opinion, I see no problem with "Frankensteining" kits for practical, musical purposes. Where do you/would you draw the line? A wedding/funeral? A big tour? A TV appearance?
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Anon La Ply

There are no limits for me, but my band gets paid diddly and no one seems to care as long as I make vaguely appropriate sounds.


Gold Member
Motown guitarists weren't allowed to play Fender guitars because they weren't as dressy as Gibsons. Okay... the funny part is that a lot of people in the 70's were interpreting Motown material (sight unseen) with strats and tele's from Fender. I guess the mixes made the Gibsons sound thin. Much to the surprise of many... these timeless classics weren't recorded with Fender guitars... The electric bass parts were, but not the guitar. And if you look at the electric bass pics, they were the top of the line fancy model fenders.

Anyway.... I have wrap, silver sparkle, that I put on my shells at some point, if they stay in rotation. I chose silver sparkle because it has been around forever and you can always match it. If some drum stays in the rotation or in the shed for any length of time it gets wrapped. Personally, I would play 5 gallon buckets if they sounded good, but for the sake of the band leader... they would match... so I guess I would be using Sherwin Williams 5 gallon buckets!
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Platinum Member
When I was younger, there was NO WAY I would have Frankensteined a (color) kit together.
Probably becauce when I first started playing, then playing out, I had a cobbled together kit of different brand bass drum and toms. The color matched, but that was it. Once I could buy things, it all matched.
Now, 20+ years later, it wouldn't be a huge deal to me to have some miss matched gear.

The bigger stages its where it's LESS noticeable if things don't match. There's so much space, your eye doesn't focus on small areas.
As long as the kit wasn't obviously duct taped together, people in the audience wouldn't likely even notice if each piece was different. Either that, or they'd assume it was supposed to be that way.

As for hardware, nobody notices, or thinks anything of it (other than the person playing) if it's different brands--which usually it is on some part of the hardware.
From 25 feet away, stands all just looks like chrome sticks holding cymbals up.


Platinum Member
I'll Frankenstein my snare with the rest of the kit. That's about it. I DID do a sparkle Frankenstein kit once (blue bass drum, red tom, gold tom, silver floor tom, green snare), but that was clearly intentional and very noticeable.

I don't think it makes that much difference, as long as it looks nice. If it's too distracting to others, THEY are the ones with "the problem."


Platinum Member
Lines are for snorting, not drum kits. Play whatever you think sounds best, is my SOP. A lot of the time I don't want the 24 bass drum but I do want the other big tom sizes from that kit, no reason not to mix and match.


Senior Member
My kit couldn't be closer to Frankenstein if I pulled the electrical switch and said, "It's Alive!". :p Nobody has ever said anything, people have complimented my drum sounds a lot even though I use a Gretsch bass drum, pearl toms, and a Pork Pie Snare. The only line I draw is if what you want to use and if it works and sounds good.


Platinum Member
I would consider venue inappropriate messaging on the set itself to be unprofessional...no need for profanity graffiti at a family wedding reception....otherwise, who cares about the non-compensated etiology of your set?

..now if you are not honoring your endorsement contracts....that's something else..

I say "Its Alive!"

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I think if the colors match, then you're not "Frankenstiening" if you're mixing brands. Some kits, like jellybean vistalites, look pretty cool, but most of the times I try to have a matching colored-kit everytime I go out. I do have a FRankenstein kit, but they're all black, so nobody would notice anyway. Of course, if it looks unprofessional, and the client doesn't like it, be prepared to do what's asked. What you have to say on the instrument is more important than what you want it to look like.


Senior Member
There is no line for me. I love Frankenstein kits. Seeing a kit with all the same brand is goofy IMO.


Gold Member

Seriously though, Frankenstein is the only way to go. I have a brass snare two matching green grain lacquer session series bass drums and a blue lacquer export series with long lugs on snare stand, and a Brazillian tamborim on LP mic clamp. Exactly what I want.

It is really annoying how incompatible various mounts are though, especially when trying to adapt more traditional percussion into the set.


Senior Member
I don't see a line. If someone wants different types, colors, brands of drums played together - then that's obviously fine. I choose to keep my kit homogeneous. Probably from when I was young and broke. I didn't want my drums appearing cobbled together. Back then I chose additions to my kit that were of the same blue sparkle even if different brands. Personal preference only. I couldn't care less what anyone else wants to play.


Senior Member
Apparently Bill Rieflin, one of three drummers (incuding the estimable Gavin Harrison and Pat Mastelotto) in the new version of King Crimson isn't concerned about his Frankenstein kit!