Why is the drumset considered a generic instrument?

Zero Mercury Drummer

Senior Member
The drumset is continually treated like a piece of stage hardware rather than a highly personalized, expressive instrument. ("hey, you don't mind sharing kits, do you?")
It is such a struggle to be able to use your own kit- venues and soundmen consider them a generic part of the stage backdrop, like a PA system, microphones, or a lighting system.
This bugs me to no end...why bother spending years developing your own sound via choice of drum brands, drumheads, tuning, drum sizes, shell types, and muffling etc.?
Even drummers I know that tour with some pretty big bands find themselves on a different rented kit each night. I wish there was more respect for drummers in this regard.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
A lot of this kit share thing is down to simple time and convenience issues. Kits are big and difficult to transport and set up. Having one kit on a stage and multiple bands using it just saves space and time. Guitarists and bass players often use supplied backline as band changeovers can be tight timewise.

I use a supplied kit at our practice studio as it saves me the time and effort humping my own kit there. I use my seat, snare and cymbals and it still sounds like me playing.......sadly.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
here's what you do. You start your own band. You tell the other members that you will be playing out front on one side and the lead singer will be out front on the other. The guitars and bass will be in the back. you will get the visual from the audience and they will become the back drop. It's worth a try.
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
here's what you do. You start your own band. You tell the other members that you will be playing out front on one side and the lead singer will be out front on the other. The guitars and bass will be in the back. you will get the visual from the audience and they will become the back drop. It's worth a try.
Remember that Terry Bozzio did that with Missing Persons ;)
 

Erberderber

Senior Member
I'm with the OP on this one regarding personal preferences being completely disregarded. The view of others is a kind of 'there you are, it's a drum kit, now play it' type of attitude. Drummers should remember that what is glaringly fundamental and game-changing to them goes largely unnoticed to most people, a kit is a kit and that's it.

Surely most of you guys have turned up to a rehearsal really excited because you're trying out your new gear with the band for the first time and want to show it off only to be greeted with shrugs of indifference. 'Yeah, it's a cymbal, and.....?'

But yes as others have mentioned there is the practical side of it which means we have to compromise and make do with kits readily available at gig venues and rehearsal rooms. Due to this and my apartment being tiny, I haven't used my kit for months (cue sad violin music).
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
I know so many pianists who insist on bringing in their 9-foot Steinways sometimes.
 

Zero Mercury Drummer

Senior Member
here's what you do. You start your own band. You tell the other members that you will be playing out front on one side and the lead singer will be out front on the other. The guitars and bass will be in the back. you will get the visual from the audience and they will become the back drop. It's worth a try.
I think that's a different point. It's not about being out front and being noticed. I am mainly talking about the fact the drumset is treated as part of the stage gear.
You don't see them handing a guitarist or bassist a "club guitar" because it would never work. It's not set up for them, and doesn't enhance their sound or approach. Same with drums. But 90% of the time it's not your kit, and that goes for pro live and studio drummers too from what I have seen.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Generally speaking, no one appreciates drums as instruments, except drummers. Fact of life. It's something you just have to work around, because it's not changing anytime soon.

Oh wait, it just changed.

Nevermind.

:p
 

bonerpizza

Silver Member
Bands sharing a drum kit at a show normally only happens for convenience and to make sure the change out times between each band are minimal, and in that situation each drummer normally uses their own snare and cymbals and usually their kick pedal.

A touring drummer using a rented kit every night is also ussually for convenience, maybe they're from overseas and don't want to ship a drum kit over to the US or don't have the room to haul a kit around.

Either way it's not always a terrible situation but I've played on some really terrible house kits in my time, but not having to load in, setup, sound check, tear down, load out, etc is pretty convenient!
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
Don't know if it helps, but the same thing happens to bass players all the time. They bring their amps all dialed in just right only to have the sound guy intercept their signal *before* it gets to the amp, and run as a DI to the FOH and monitors.

I did a couple tours thru Europe, so obviously I couldn't take my own kit. Just brought my cymbals and spent 15 minutes dialing in whatever kit was provided at the venue. Not ideal, but not a huge deal. I did get to play some pretty sweet kits.

It is a bummer when you can't tune anything or make adjustments because the kit owner is a tool. That sucks.
 

JustJames

Platinum Member
Just so I can be sure I understand the way this works...

As drummers, we bitch and moan when we have to lug our kit in and out of the venue.

As drummers, we bitch and moan when the venue provides a kit.

Is that right?
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Just so I can be sure I understand the way this works...

As drummers, we bitch and moan when we have to lug our kit in and out of the venue.

As drummers, we bitch and moan when the venue provides a kit.

Is that right?
Completely correct ;)

I'm running a festival over the next three days. More than 18 bands on the main stage, & each drummer will use their own kit. I assure you, if there's a will, it can be done, & there's instruments that can take infinitely longer to swap out than drums. Keyboards immediately spring to mind.

On the flip side, I'm (Guru) sponsoring a big rally show in October. I did so last year, & supplied the rear line kit. Each drummer was contacted well in advance of the show to ensure we had both the number & sizes of drums required, yet two drummers still bitched (before they played the drums) because they weren't bloody DW or Yamaha. Strangely, no bitching afterwards though ;)
 

Beam Me Up Scotty

Silver Member
You hit them. How complex could they possibly be?

Amirite?
I think this pretty much sums it up, sadly.

I'm lucky enough to be in a band where each musician is interested in each other's gear, and always takes the time to listen when some one has something to say about a new instrument. Hell, my band mates often comment on my gear. It makes me feel appreciated, lol.
 

paradiddle pete

Platinum Member
Because Dancing Keyboard players with shoulder pads and Funny Haircuts said so in the eighties and no-one has moved on since. so there .
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
I think every drummer should ALWAYS bring three things with them.
Just like a guitar player would bring his own guitar.

Those three things are of course the most important parts of a drum kit.
Snare drum.
Cymbals.
Bass drum pedal.

If all of us did that ALWAYS, I think it might make a statement and change the way drummers and drum sets are viewed by others.

.
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
I think every drummer should ALWAYS bring three things with them.
Just like a guitar player would bring his own guitar.

Those three things are of course the most important parts of a drum kit.
Snare drum.
Cymbals.
Bass drum pedal.

If all of us did that ALWAYS, I think it might make a statement and change the way drummers and drum sets are viewed by others.

.
Actually, I found out that I had to carry my own throne to some supplied-drum gigs. Apparently, lots of people neglect having a proper throne, and I've seen thrones you couldn't adjust, or they spin too much, or are uncomfortable. I've actually hurt my lower back sitting on a throne that was too low (weird that I was the shortest guy there the whole evening and no one else complained about sitting too low). But me being comfortable is the name of the game and having the proper throne is necessary for me.
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
Generally speaking, no one appreciates drums as instruments, except drummers. Fact of life. It's something you just have to work around, because it's not changing anytime soon.

Oh wait, it just changed.

Nevermind.

:p
This. Very, very few audience members (outside of musicians) give a horses' arse what drums sound like or look like - they just want a BEAT of some kind to tap their feet or sway around. Does not bother me in the least. '

GeeDeeEmm
 

Chollyred

Senior Member
This. Very, very few audience members (outside of musicians) give a horses' arse what drums sound like or look like - they just want a BEAT of some kind to tap their feet or sway around. Does not bother me in the least. '

GeeDeeEmm
Shoot! Most guitarists care less about what drums look like or sound like. When I started playing with an oldies rock band, I was playing some real cheap beater drums. During the process, bought some much nicer quality drums; and other than the looks, nobody noticed anything about the sound except me.

Sometimes I think we all get too wrapped up in the perceived quality of our equipment. If we are recording, we might notice a difference. But on stage or in somebody's garage or basement? Nobody cares.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
Drummers are not alone here. Our female singer sounds great through her Sennheiser 965, an expensive condenser vocal mic, but whenever we perform at major venues, they insist she has to sing into one of their SM58's, which doesn't suit her voice at all.

Pianists in venues with a grand piano have to use what's provided, and hope its in tune and set up nicely.

Bass players at festivals usually have to use the supplied amp, which may be nothing like their own.

The whole thing cones down to convenience and consistency, especially when several bands are playing.

At least if you bring your own snare and cymbals you have some control.
 
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