Wot, no security blanket?

bigiainw

Gold Member
So, I have a gig this weekend in Skye (an island off the west coast of Scotland). We usually travel up (just under 200 miles) on Saturday afternoon, play the gig, have some drinks, stay overnight and head down on the Sunday. Normally I have use of our family minibus (big family!) but we have ordered a new one, due to be delivered in 2-3 weeks and have just sold the previous on- it went today.

Now, we decided a few weeks back that we would do it with 2 estate cars, but the fact is that the gear will have to be trimmed to accomplish this. My usual gigging kit is bass, snare (and spare snare), 3 rack toms, floor tom, all mounted on a pearl rack with 3 crashes, a china, a splash, a ride and hats, as well as attendant amplification gear etc.

I've decided to go back to stands and a 4 piece kit with 2 crashes and a ride as this is logistically much more reasonable, but I haven't played a 4 piece live for 10 years. Does anyone have any little pearls of wisdom for me as I head out without my personal cocoon of drums and cymbals?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
The only pearls I have are session customs.

I think either you're going to love the change.

Or it will be a disaster with stick drops, missed fills and less sound choices.

One of those two,
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
I don't have much advice other than I adore the West Coast. It's my favourite part of the World. I spent some time in Arisaig when I was a teenager and absolutely adore it there and Skye is just as beautiful.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Think through the main drum parts which use the toms and figure out how to get a similar effect with fewer drums. You'll do more back and forth between drums than running down them. That's what I do when I leave the toms at home, anyway.

Break a leg, Ian :)
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
This resonates with me Ian, as I've recently started to use a 4 piece at band practices. I play a lot of stuff live on my 6 piece using X hats - open handed, so that's another "translation" challenge. I don't have any issue with playing 4 piece, but it is somewhat restrictive in melodic rock passages. If you can get on the 4 piece prior to the gig, that would be a good idea.

Making the jump is much worse if you really do use all the elements in your bigger kit. Even then, it's mainly fills that catch you out if it's material you're conditioned to do on a larger kit. That makes life a bit easier, as fills can be parred down no problem.

Good luck Ian. Sounds like a wonderful gig location.
 

bigiainw

Gold Member
Don't hit the drums/cymbals that aren't there.
Strong advice there, with a real bit of realism. Thanks for that! ;0)

Making the jump is much worse if you really do use all the elements in your bigger kit. Even then, it's mainly fills that catch you out if it's material you're conditioned to do on a larger kit. That makes life a bit easier, as fills can be parred down no problem.

Good luck Ian. Sounds like a wonderful gig location.
Thanks for that Andy. The biggest concern for me is that 4 of our songs have tom rhythms that I'm used to playing over the 4 drums and they might lose some impact over just 2. That and the audience might be able to see me!

The only pearls I have are session customs.

I think either you're going to love the change.

Or it will be a disaster with stick drops, missed fills and less sound choices.

One of those two,
You've covered all of the bases there Larry!
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks for that Andy. The biggest concern for me is that 4 of our songs have tom rhythms that I'm used to playing over the 4 drums and they might lose some impact over just 2. That and the audience might be able to see me!
Hahaha, the audience should see you Ian!!!! Come out from behind that insecurity wall and be purdy :)

4 toms down to 2 on tom pattern rhythms is an easy one mate - just double up :)
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Years ago my band was booked to a club, and for some reason the stage manager insisted I use the house kit.

It was a 4pc. I played a 5 pc. We were an original bands, and we practiced liked crazy back then, and every fill was perfectly orchestrated and rehearsed to be just right. So losing a tom meant having to re-think fills that were very hard wired into my brain, and the brain of my band mates. I'm pretty sure we also had some songs based on tom rhythms, so those had be re-thought out as well.

And so I thought, well, I can at least use my cymbals stands so my cymbals will be in the right place, until I found out this 4 pc house kit was mounted on a big pearl rack (which made no sense). So nothing was in the right place.

So I had to re-think everything I had rehearsed on the fly.

And just to add to the pressure, someone from a major record label was there to check out. Mistakes were simply out of the question.

Oddly, it ended up being one of our better shows.
 
A

Anthony Amodeo

Guest
in my opinion this should be your first lesson in being more flexible

you should be able to kill the show if they provided 3 cardboard boxes and a trash can lid

as a musician creativity is our greatest strength and if a couple less drums and cymbals makes that big of a difference to you.... you may want to start thinking about strengthening your versatility muscle

this should make absolutely no difference in your performance whatsoever

go kill the show
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
When I play the drums, I think in terms of the rhythms I'm playing, not the kit pieces. When I hear a rhythm in my head or in music, I just express that in the best way with what's in front of me... I play too many different kits to get stuck on having a fill sound a certain way. Hell, even a "house kit" with something as simple as a different size high tom, but totally the same setup will still change the texture and feel of a fill if it were on my own kit. That goes double for cymbals, though that's usually easier to swap out for your part of the gig.

When I first sit down at a foreign kit I take a moment to experiment with all the different sounds, textures, and colors of each thing in front of me... Then I try to hold onto those sounds and use them as my paint-brush for the rhythm canvas of each song.

I'd suggest that right now, you take off almost everything from your kit. Get rid of everything except for total basics... Ride, hats, snare, bass... Give yourself a floor tom, too. Now play your whole set list. Keep doing that until you're able to come up with something to play for each part of each song... Then when you get to the gig with your "small kit" it will be no sweat at all... You'll know that you could even do it with less!
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
. I play too many different kits to get stuck on having a fill sound a certain way.
In general, this is true too.

I've played on so many different house kits over the years, I really don't sweat it.
It's a drum, you hit it, it makes a noise.
 

bigiainw

Gold Member
When I play the drums, I think in terms of the rhythms I'm playing, not the kit pieces. When I hear a rhythm in my head or in music, I just express that in the best way with what's in front of me... I play too many different kits to get stuck on having a fill sound a certain way. Hell, even a "house kit" with something as simple as a different size high tom, but totally the same setup will still change the texture and feel of a fill if it were on my own kit. That goes double for cymbals, though that's usually easier to swap out for your part of the gig.

When I first sit down at a foreign kit I take a moment to experiment with all the different sounds, textures, and colors of each thing in front of me... Then I try to hold onto those sounds and use them as my paint-brush for the rhythm canvas of each song.

I'd suggest that right now, you take off almost everything from your kit. Get rid of everything except for total basics... Ride, hats, snare, bass... Give yourself a floor tom, too. Now play your whole set list. Keep doing that until you're able to come up with something to play for each part of each song... Then when you get to the gig with your "small kit" it will be no sweat at all... You'll know that you could even do it with less!
Oh I know I can. My daughter's 4 piece is the only kit I play at home. Its whether I really feel the love for it. I'm sure I'll be fine, but there is a comfort in knowing if I fire a stick "out there" I am going to hit something!

Hahaha, the audience should see you Ian!!!! Come out from behind that insecurity wall and be purdy :)

4 toms down to 2 on tom pattern rhythms is an easy one mate - just double up :)
Oh, I'm not so sure about the seeing me bit...
 

bigiainw

Gold Member
Well, an evening spent setting things up and making sure that I have everything that I need and I have to say that the kit looks great in it's striped down form, with the cymbals and rack tom much lower than I usually manage. I'll take some pics on Saturday night so you can see what I mean. as a bonus, I should get to the bar more quickly too!

Wish me luck!
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Well, an evening spent setting things up and making sure that I have everything that I need and I have to say that the kit looks great in it's striped down form, with the cymbals and rack tom much lower than I usually manage. I'll take some pics on Saturday night so you can see what I mean. as a bonus, I should get to the bar more quickly too!

Wish me luck!
Absolutely wishing you luck Ian - go get 'em!!!!
 

bigiainw

Gold Member
Well, I didn't manage to get any photos- the bar was way too busy!

As for the gig, it all went swimmingly. In fact, I think I rather enjoyed the challenge. The lead guitarist commented at the end of the night that he thought my playing was more focused and clean and that I had used my cymbals more, which is probably exactly how I felt .I need to tweek the set-up slitghtly- I found myself overreaching for the rack tom slightly at times and the crash that was on the stand that it was attached to, but I have to say, I'm thinking about repeating the experience at our next gig.

I particularly liked my ride position and the lower vibe of the kit sounds. For the next gig, logistics won't be an issue as it's local, but I really liked feeling challenged by the set up.

I also got to the bar quicker afterwards.... not that that is in any way related to my enjoyment of the smaller set-up.

Honest....
 
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kristy

Member
It sounds like even with a 4 pc set you are going to be limited on space, especially if any of your family/group packs like I do(my family say I try to pack the whole house). Have you considered trying a luggage rack and roof top carrier such as the Yakima or Thule? Since you have all the gear, luggage and family might be worth looking into. And yes I know the carriers are ugly(I have one on my car).
 

bigiainw

Gold Member
It sounds like even with a 4 pc set you are going to be limited on space, especially if any of your family/group packs like I do(my family say I try to pack the whole house). Have you considered trying a luggage rack and roof top carrier such as the Yakima or Thule? Since you have all the gear, luggage and family might be worth looking into. And yes I know the carriers are ugly(I have one on my car).
I have a relatively big car- my 7 piece fits no problem without other folks and their gear, and I play so I can get away from the family! I have a roof box too and it is where all roof boxes should be, hanging from the roof in my garage!
 
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