Carry As Little As Possible

DavedrumsTX

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I don’t know about any else and I am most certain it is age, but I find myself taking less and less gear to gigs. When I first started gigging in my teens, I would bring everything but the kitchen sink

I remember playing a wedding and showing up with six toms and 7 cymbals. I was so into Neil Peart at the time and I thought it was cool. I am sure the band (who was much older) was laughing at me.

Now I bring the minimal amount necessary. I did a brush gig recently with an 18” bass drum, no toms, snare, 16” crash and hi hats.
Is this just me?
 

BRIAN

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I have been to several drum clinics and I love it when they say "they fly me in, everything is set-up and ready to go"......someday
 

Neal Pert

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I don’t know about any else and I am most certain it is age, but I find myself taking less and less gear to gigs. When I first started gigging in my teens, I would bring everything but the kitchen sink

I remember playing a wedding and showing up with six toms and 7 cymbals. I was so into Neil Peart at the time and I thought it was cool. I am sure the band (who was much older) was laughing at me.

Now I bring the minimal amount necessary. I did a brush gig recently with an 18” bass drum, no toms, snare, 16” crash and hi hats.
Is this just me?
I guess I'm lazier than you are. By the time I was 19 I'd scaled down from the 8 piece double bass kit to a four piece bop kit with three cymbals and I've more or less stayed with that configuration ever since. I even got into a good-spirited argument with a band leader when I told him I didn't need toms for the gig even though he wanted them for the looks.
 

drumstuff66

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I used to just bring everything - but once I started gigging heavily, it's just what's needed, nothing less and definitely nothing more!

My usual set up is a 4-pc kit, hats, ride, one crash, and a cheap B20 chinese crash wih a splash inverted or stacked on it for an effect type thing. I also bring a cheap wooden tamb to throw on the hats sometimes. I'll add a cowbell for the classic rock gig I do. Mostly lightweight hardware. BD cymbal mount. This is the most I'll bring and often try to find ways to leave some home (or in the car) depending on the gig.

Neal Pert's story made me remember reading an interview with Kenny Aronoff talking about how live Mellencamp made him mount two chinas way up high (one on either side of him) because he liked the look. If I remember correctly, Kenny wasn't into it and said he never onced used them...
 

Soulfinger

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I´m down to a bikini kit these days - snare, bass drum, hi hat, two cymbals. I never really used more than a five piece anyway.
My role model is Joey Baron. He brings nothing but his stick bag to a gig and makes do with whatver the venue provides. Unfortunately I usually don´t play venues which provide anything except maybe free beer. :)
 

Deafmoon

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The largest set I ever brought out was an 8 piece Tama Superstar kit in the Aqua and I think I had 10 cymbals including splashes and a china. But in those days I was doing fairly large venues. And my drums were always mic'd requiring afternoon band soundcheck too. These days I am back to a 4 piece and if it's mic'd its 2 mics at most. I no longer bring anymore than ride/crash/hats in cymbals. Even when I was in a Folk Band and Blues Band though, I still brought out a 4 piece with a floor tom and rack. Less is More.
 

Deafmoon

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I used to just bring everything - but once I started gigging heavily, it's just what's needed, nothing less and definitely nothing more!

My usual set up is a 4-pc kit, hats, ride, one crash, and a cheap B20 chinese crash wih a splash inverted or stacked on it for an effect type thing. I also bring a cheap wooden tamb to throw on the hats sometimes. I'll add a cowbell for the classic rock gig I do. Mostly lightweight hardware. BD cymbal mount. This is the most I'll bring and often try to find ways to leave some home (or in the car) depending on the gig.

Neal Pert's story made me remember reading an interview with Kenny Aronoff talking about how live Mellencamp made him mount two chinas way up high (one on either side of him) because he liked the look. If I remember correctly, Kenny wasn't into it and said he never onced used them...
And Kenny is one of the smartest & creative drummers around. He studied with Gary Chester around the time I did and Gary & I went to see a Modern Drummer Show at Montclair State College where Kenny came on right after Dave Weckl. Of course Dave pulled out all the stops and just left everyone with their mouths open. But Kenny comes on right after Dave and does the most beautiful; thing ever. He brings a freight train groove on stage and then breaks it down for everyone with the his feel. Man he tore it up with simplicity! I will never forget that. Maybe that was '86? Not sure.
 

Skyrm

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I used to play a 7-piece kit with a timbale in the side, and 15 cymbals, all mounted into a pearl rack.

Now that I only play in my church, all I bring is a stick bag, and sit down and play! We don’t even rehearse. :)
 

DavedrumsTX

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And Kenny is one of the smartest & creative drummers around. He studied with Gary Chester around the time I did and Gary & I went to see a Modern Drummer Show at Montclair State College where Kenny came on right after Dave Weckl. Of course Dave pulled out all the stops and just left everyone with their mouths open. But Kenny comes on right after Dave and does the most beautiful; thing ever. He brings a freight train groove on stage and then breaks it down for everyone with the his feel. Man he tore it up with simplicity! I will never forget that. Maybe that was '86? Not sure.
There is a reason Kenny is still working. He’s the Consummate pro. He plays just what is needed. Nothing else. I took a lesson with him a few years back and have seen him play a number of times. A great guy and a great player. I am still working on his part for Love and Happiness.
 

pwc1141

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Never more than 2 rides and a crash, hi-hat, 2 toms. bass and snare. Often a lot less depending on the gig. If a house kit that I have to use has 2 mounted toms, i would normally take off the larger of the two. I have played 4 piece kits too long to want or need much else.
 

CC Cirillo

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I’ve been rocking one up one down for 20 years. Ride on the right, crash in the left.

No desire whatsoever for more than that.

The studio I rent for rehearsal provides a nice kit with four toms and four cymbals. I still only hit two of each.

This minimal approach helps me remained disciplined and focused on the song.

I have never once in my entire playing career have a bandmate tell me they wished I’d brought more gear.

I’ve had a club owner tell me once,“You know I usually use a DJ, but I knew we were going to be ok when I saw you have a basic set.”
 

Ludwigboy

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For the most part I have played a 4 piece set with the exception of a late 70's Tama 5 piece ; always 2 cymbals..ride and crash and hi hat.
As I have gotten older, the size of the actual drums are smaller ; I use 22/13/16 or 20/12/14.
 

cribbon

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I think the general consensus here seems to be that most of us who have been playing for decades have - for one reason or another - reduced the size of their gigging drum sets (by reducing either the size of the drums & cymbals or the amount of them or a combination of both). Opting for lighter hardware also fits into this trend.

If I were still playing gigs where I needed a lot of toms & cymbals, I'd bring them, but I'm not, so I don't. For the last fifteen years I've been able to cover most gigs with a basic 4-piece kit and two cymbals. If I need more than that, I'll bring it, but I try not to lug more or less than what I know I'll need to do the job properly.

Back in the day:

MikedToms001.jpg

Currently:

IMG_9515.JPG

IMG_9516.JPG
 

mydadisjr

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Years ago... I had some ankle problems and was doing some low volume jazz gigs.

I decided not to bring a bass drum for a few gigs, had a snare and a tom plus a few cyms (hihat of course). The other guys in the band never even noticed.

I played that way for about 6 months, no kick.

My regular at home practice setup is 4 piece Ringo style, one ride, one crash, hats.
 

hsosdrum

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I've always played "kitchen-sink" drumsets, and always will. A couple of times when I recently gigged with a surf band I brought a 1-up/1-down single-bass kit with 3 or 4 cymbals and playing just wasn't enough fun to make it worthwhile. Next time I brought all 7 drums and 10 cymbals and had a blast. (The only thing that stays home is my 34" gong, which doesn't fit in my Chevy Volt, even all by itself.)

"I like big drumsets, and I can not lie!"
 

TonyVazquez

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Been there done that, played a 7-piece Ludwig kit once during my 30s.
At the time I was residing in Buffalo NY right smack in the Allentown district
surrounded by club venues within walking distance... I had no car,
and I was in 3 bands almost simultaneously during the mid to late 90s.
Whenever I couldn't fit my drum kit in a car, I carried it to a venue
on a shopping cart early in the evening before load-in/soundcheck
so I was at the venue early setting up my monstrosity drum kit, lol.

On one occasion, late in October, after fitting all the gear into a car
I had to ride in the TRUNK! Lucky for me the venue was less
than two miles away, or else the gas fumes inside the trunk
would've killed me or laid me strung out! lmao

In December of 2000 I relocated to the NY Capital region.
Since then, I had cut down my kit and I had learned that I could do
a lot with less instruments on my drum kit...
...I bit the bullet and stripped down to a basic 4-piece kit, with a couple
of percussive add-ons only when I needed them.
I still have no car, so I must keep a minimal drum kit to fit in a
band member's car on the way to shows.

Less = More...
I would prefer to be Terry Bozzio playing a small QuestLove pocket kit
rather than look like a novice trying to play Terry Bozzio's massive drum kit.
And I'm no better than either of these two drummers.

Last year, I auditioned for my current band... I was expecting to play
on just a snare, kick drum, hihat, and a crash-ride cymbal.
Since then, my kit expanded into a 3 piece setup when the 14" floor-tom
was added and I converted my 16" floor-tom into a kick drum;
and I added a 14" Sabian China stacked with a 10" toy First Act cymbal
that I play as a "splash" which sounds like a little china cymbal...

As I'm typing this, I had just got done assembling a 10" Remo roto-tom
that I will add as the 4th drum to my kit... and I will add an 18" Zildjian
Oriental China-Trash. I now have two heavy-duty boom cymbal stands
with clamps and mounts ready for more percussive add-ons........

.......But even so, I still need to keep my drum kit at a minimum,
because I still have no car.
My band is a 3-piece. My guitarist/lead vocalist, and my bassist both
use practice-sized amps with DI Outputs for live shows.
We have to fit their amps AND my gear into a small Kia SUV hatchback,
AND still have seating room in the car for the three of us.
Cos I Aint Ridin In Nobody Trunk No Mo! LOL

98% of bands require their members to have their own transpo.
I'm lucky to be in the 2% of bands that are okay with driving
me and my small kit to gigs. Key word: small.
I offer money for gas and tolls, but my band mates refuse my money.
Count your blessings, you no-car drummers!

As long as I still don't have a car, I gotta keep my drum kit minimal.

But... I also enjoy doing a lot with LESS!
 

Ox Han

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I’m good with a kick, snare, hats and one crash/ride. Kick gotta be a 20” though.

I’ve been thinking of the ultimate travel kit That is only needs one stand: 20”kick, 14x4 snare mounted off a double braced boom stand. Remote hi hat pedal also mounted off same stand. Obviously, crash/ride is on that stand. Would it be too heavy for one stand?
 

GiveMeYourSmallestSticks!

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Like many here, I've shrunk my kit over time, but not for the purpose of lightening my load. As I tried to get serious with my technique, I decided that my 7 piece Tama kit was actually distracting me and functioning more like a crutch than a tool. My thinking was that if my technique was strong enough, I'd be able to coax many sounds out of a modest kit. Rather than playing one 5 tom fill after another, I'd be forced to be resourceful and creative to achieve variety with a limited set up.

I've played a four piece Gretsch kit since then, and have significantly improved my technique as well. I'm certain this isn't true for everybody, but for me, my bloated kit was in line with my insecure but bloated ego. With my small kit and focus on learning technique came a greater sense of humility, my kit being an analog of my ego.

I've also become far more interested in acquiring sophisticated and versatile instruments that I can draw many sounds and dynamics from, relying on technique and instrument quality rather than instrument quantity. I've seen plenty of fantastic players on gigantic kits, but I was always most impressed with what a great drummer can achieve on a minimal set up.
 


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