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Biggest game changer for your kit

waynel

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Cymbals or tuning can always change the feel. For practical space efficiency a Yamaha hex rack made a huge difference for my permanent practice kit which doesn’t get moved. It cleaned up the clutter of stands and made the room safer and easier to get around. Although I still prefer the look without the rack and I wouldn’t have one for my gigging kit, for a practice/studio kit it works great.
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Realize that this post needed some photos
 

Houndog

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For me, hands-down it's the Kelly SHU system. Getting a great bass drum sound consistently was/is a game-changer. Being able to do so with a closed front head, knowing it's always going to sound great and not having to think about it, makes me play better. And I need all the help I can get! :) For me, getting a great bass drum sound is the most important aspect of my overall sound.

Kelly SHU - final answer.
I couldn’t agree more , I’m in the process of putting the SHU in another bass drum .
Eventually I’ll have one in every bass drum ..
 

bpaluzzi

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Rock n' Roller Cart.

Technically not something on the kit that makes a sound, but definitely affects my ability to play and be relaxed once the gig starts. Plus eliminates me sweating through another shirt just for load in :)
 

Johnny 20

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I have 2 huge contributors to my approach on the drum set:
1) Zildjian K Light ride 22" has a feel to it that I've never experienced before. It's plush yet responsive under stick and the tones are what I've craved for years. It has changed my playing, particularly dynamically.
2) DW MCD single pedal has replaced my DW5000 single pedal and Tama Iron Cobra 900 single pedal. The adjustability and design fit my style perfectly, allowing me to really push technique, speed, and accuracy to the next level.
 

The Ruckus

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Switching to a bikini kit, 18x12” bass, 4x14” snare, with one cymbal, an 18” ride.
I just ordered something similar for an always up/very mobile-n-easy to set up kit:
USA Customs 20x12 kick, 5.5x14 snare, then just hats and one crash/ride

Back to the OP - I always start with the kick then snare to define the feel/vibe of the kit. I tune these two pieces to define the rest of my sound. I have found drum brand to also be significant, which is probably obvious. My switch to Gretsch drums has had a huge impact to feeling the sound
 

dtk

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I like to add a small concert tom next to my one up melodic. It made my fills more interesting and its nice to have that other voice ....
 

Tornado

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Probably going to a 4 piece for most everything. Ride is always in a comfortable spot, easier to position a single "up" tom ergonomically, less thinking about how i'm going to play all the drums just because I brought them. Makes it much easier to play the same things on any kit instead of trying to adapt stuff from a larger kit to a small one. Basically, a reduction in brain compute cycles wasted on "how am I going to play this fill on this kit?" Just for myself, if I can't do it on a 4 piece, I probably don't need to be doing it.
 

Tommy D

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Switching to Evans Heads. I had Remos for the 10+ years at the start of my drumming life. I didnt know any better so I kept buying them. I always struggled with tuning and getting my drums to sound how I wanted them to sound. Took a break from drumming for a while and when I got back in to it I decided to go with Evans heads for a change. OMG my drums finally sounded how I wanted them to sound. No crazy ringing, no slappy attack, the Emad revolutionized how my bass drums sounded. Hands down the best change I ever made to my kit.
 

Rick

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Biggest ? Very early on I discovered that my limb independence came more naturally as a lefty drummer which required me to rearrange the positioning of .... everything . Later in life I was diagnosed as cixelsid .
You know 5 out of 1 drummers have dyslexia. I used to have it but now I'm KO...
 

Houndog

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Switching to Evans Heads. I had Remos for the 10+ years at the start of my drumming life. I didnt know any better so I kept buying them. I always struggled with tuning and getting my drums to sound how I wanted them to sound. Took a break from drumming for a while and when I got back in to it I decided to go with Evans heads for a change. OMG my drums finally sounded how I wanted them to sound. No crazy ringing, no slappy attack, the Emad revolutionized how my bass drums sounded. Hands down the best change I ever made to my kit.
I think this just happened to me ….
I’ve had Emads and loved them …
But dang I forgot ……
 

kevmill70

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Seismic drum and cymbal changes.

DRUMS:
I bought a 20 bass drum to use as the foundation of a small kit for jams/small gigs and immediately discovered that I preferred it to the 22s that I'd been playing all my life. It quickly became my primary bass drum and I built a kit - and my playing - around it. Since then I can count on one hand the number of times I've used a 22, so I've finally decided to sell off all my remaining kits with 22s.

The move to the 20 also created a domino effect in my equipment and also (I believe) in my playing. It came with a Pearl twin tom receiver, which I soon discovered to be (for me) the perfect way to mount my tom(s) and/or ride cymbal. I've always liked using multiple rack toms, but when I went with this 20, I decided to circle back to playing just a 4-piece kit again, but this time the single rack tom and ride cymbal were placed lower and in a more comfortable playing position. I think my playing has become more economical now and much more comfortable as well. When I do need more toms, I don't hesitate to bring them along, but for the most part, I prefer to keep it to a 4-piece kit.

I enhanced the ergonomics provided by the 20 by shifting to short stack tom(s) or piccolo tom(s). Depending on the situation, I sometimes leave the floor tom (which has also shrunk from a 16 to a 14) home and just play a 3-piece. Hardware is also reduced since I only need a single tom post and a boom cymbal arm (plus floor tom legs and one lightweight cymbal stand) to cover most of my gigs.

* I should also mention that I experimented with fiberglass and carbon fiber drums before I got the 20 (which is carbon fiber) and came to the conclusion that I prefer them to wood, not only for sound but also for their light weight and durability. The older I get, the better I like them.

CYMBALS:
Ever since I attended a Roy Burns Rogers/Paiste clinic in the late 70s, I have been a convert to Paiste - they just seem more musical to me than other cymbals. That said, I have one notable exception that proves the rule: a Sabian 18" prototype raw bell ride. Having downsized to the 20 and smaller toms, I wanted to shift to smaller (and fewer) cymbals as well. I absolutely love the Paiste signature and 2002 series but couldn't find an 18 (or 19) to suit me. I stumbled across the Sabian prototype on ebay and bought it as an experiment. I had a friend drill it and insert 4 rivets and it has become my all-time favorite ride for jazz and rock (although I use a Paiste 18 gigabell ride when I know things are going to get really raucous). I luckily found a used Paiste 2002 18 flat ride to pair with it for my jazz gigs, and I'm as happy as I can be about it.

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all of the above, but I use a 22" kick. Ride and toms mounted to the kick via the tom holder. And a Roc N Soc Nitro throne that has saved my drumming career
 

swarfrat

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I'm thinking about giving up my ride and just going crash/hats. It's not without precedent.
 

dxtr

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Sound change

Jojo Mayer fierce hats and crash. So dark and complex and learning how wildly versatile they were.

15" floor tom. Can't live without it.



Style change

Switching over to the following setup.

18x18 Kik
2 snares - 1 medium high tuning / 1 bagged out
Hats
Crash ride

I got way more gigs when I simplified my kit and just played pocket. I want a really busy drummer anyways but still made a huge difference
 

dxtr

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I did sort of the reverse of what you’re suggesting… I subtracted the hihat from my playing 3-4 years ago, and it’s absence completely changed the way I approach thinking about and playing the drums.
Tell me more!
 

waynel

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For me, hands-down it's the Kelly SHU system. Getting a great bass drum sound consistently was/is a game-changer. Being able to do so with a closed front head, knowing it's always going to sound great and not having to think about it, makes me play better. And I need all the help I can get! :) For me, getting a great bass drum sound is the most important aspect of my overall sound.

Kelly SHU - final answer.
I've got to try one of those mounts.
 


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