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Drummers that are NOT gear-centric?

notINtheband

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Yesterday I was hired as drum tech (and to provide the backline kit) for the Make-A-Wish foundations music event.

Spent the day helping various bands drummers adapt my kit with their snare/cymbals and such.

What an eye-opening experience.

But the subject of this post comes from my experience with 2 of the drummers of the day.

Both were excellent musicians and played with passion and skill.

One was an absolute joy, fun, funny, gracious and sweet, a 20-something animal that hit harder than any drummer I’ve ever seen live. Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins could not have hit harder.
His snare was literally covered in blood splatter.
REAL blood splatter. Not decoration.
The guy broke 4 sticks and destroyed his own 18” Zildjian A Crash during the set. I mean split it nearly in two.

Despite that description he really was a great drummer. His band was phenomenal as well.
But he had to have cost himself more in destroyed equipment than he made for the day.
Still he left all smiles and I so enjoyed the guy.

The other drummer also had excellent skills and chops.
He also brought his own snare and cymbals.
His cymbals were high quality.
His snare, a Joey Jordinson Pearl.
But when he put his snare on the stand I noticed it was trashed! Extremely bent and warped top hoop. A MISSING lug! Snare wires broken and hanging down from the bottom (at least 4).
Yet out front it didn’t sound terrible. Sounded like a snare.
When finished, he slipped his trash-can ready snare into a vinyl snare bag and left.

It made me consider, seems like most here (myself included) are really focused on our gear, it’s precise tuning, the nuances of the sounds they produce.
But out in the world, there are a whole category of drummer that show almost no attention to these things and yet they perform and gig with success.

Where do you fall?
And does it matter??? Lol
 

feelyat

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I make a distinction between being gear-centric and taking care of my gear. I always show up to a gig with a working instrument in good shape. Heads are always in good playable condition, if not new. Always several pairs of backup sticks, even though I've literally never broken a stick at a gig. Drums and cymbals arrive in sturdy cases.

That said, I always make a calculation when looking to purchase new gear: will this make an appreciable difference in my playing? I.e. will the difference between a Pearl snare and a Craviotto be something that will come through in my playing? Can the audience (or I) hear a difference between those K Con hats and my old pair of New Beats? That question -- is it the gear? -- has held me back from pulling the trigger on a lot of purchases.
 

DrFrankCoco

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I have been playing since I was 7. I'm nearly 40 now. I grew up playing metal, jazz and funk. I can hit hard when needed. I have never broken a head, cracked a cymbal. Maybe once broken a old stick. If you are breaking your instruments you are doing it way wrong.
 

dbone

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Opened for a band and their drummer had a really nice 22” trans stamp on stand. I complimented him on it and asked how he liked it, if he used it in other musical styles etc.

He said “I don’t know, man. It’s a cymbal - they all sound the same.”
 

Sequimite

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Early on I was poor, so I flipped a lot of sets to collect my cymbals then played a $225 Slingerland kit for decades with a Gretsch 4160 which was parts in a box that came with a kit I flipped.

Then I made money, but didn't really have time to mess with changing gear.

With retirement I observed a bewildering array of gear and was curious and so acquired a ridiculous amount of stuff. I admire the guys that stick with their first instrument but I'm having a lot of fun, learning a lot and can afford it.

It has been my experience that the audience never hears 90% of the nuance that I obsess over.
 

DamnSingerAlsoDrums

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One of the absolute best musician/performer I've had the pleasure to play with was a drummer in my very first band (I was lead singer at the time). This guy was 5'6", skinny as a rail, with hair down almost to his buttcheeks. He'd always play bare chested and wore the weirdest, cringiest spandex tights you've ever seen. And more to the point I've never once seen him with a matched set of drums. Always had a mish mash of of old beat up Ludwigs with a few orphan add-ons of dubious origin. Same for the cymbals. But he had that Keith Moon-ish charm and energy to him. He didn't have an iota of self doubt and went for broke without any hesitation whatsoever, be it by pulling strange accent displacements/beat inversions, over-the-top fills and grooves or taking the spotlight by breaking out in incendiary solos.

His absolute confidence in "what I play is the right thing" made him virtually fearless on and off stage. And it became clear pretty soon that the tame-ish rock-folk-pop blend of music we did at the time wasn't the best playing ground for someone of his ilk and we parted ways.

That was 25 years ago. But I walked into him about 3 years ago as we launched my current cajun band's first record. So we invited him to guest as a washboard player at that night's perfirmance. Well believe it or not, our beautiful weirdo took a solo and had an ovation... Litteraly tore the house down... On a washboard...

I take care of my gear as well, but frankly, ultimately, talent has got nothing to do with how shinny your hoops are... ;-)
 
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James Walker

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A few years back, I went through a phase of six or seven months when I really got some serious and productive practice time in. After a few months, I noticed that whatever snare drum I put up on my kit, it sounded better than I remembered it sounding previously. My sound had improved, and as a result my drums' sound got better.

The next thought was, "All this time I've spent chasing gear - buying this, selling that, trading this, going to drum shops, surfing web sites - what if I had taken that time and devoted it to practicing, and getting my own playing together?"

My gear acquisition slowed way down at that point. Not that one doesn't want good quality instruments to play, and getting new stuff can be fun, but at the same time, there comes a time when you stop chasing that next bit of gear - and definitely stop thinking that "finding just the right (fill in the blank: drum, cymbal, etc.)" will be your salvation.
 

Squirrel Man

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This is a great thread so far.

Everyone's brain works differently, especially the mind of an artist which lies like anything else on a spectrum. There's no one way for everyone.

I'm a practicalist, I don't need (or want) really high end or flashy gear - I would feel uncomfortable playing it. But I want good gear. It doesn't have to be in pristine shape also, it just needs to function and not look like total junk knowing that an appropriate level of care and maintenance needs to go into it.

I bought a few things over the last couple years after getting back into drumming because I wanted to try them out. I decided what worked for me and sold off what I really wasn't using. I don't like collecting things, I don't need 20 snares or 7 kits - and I'm not knocking those who do have them. That's the "everyone's brain" thing, what works for me doesn't work for you and vice-versa. No one is right or wrong.

And that kid with the trashed snare who rode it like a rented mule - that works for him apparently. Is he right or wrong?
 

EyeByTwoMuchGeer

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The gear always matters until it does not, and at that point, it never matters until it does.

I buy too much gear.

I love watching Aaron Sterling and especially his older videos where he was basically recording the drums for hit records in his house with (relatively) cheap mics, drums, and room treatments.
 

Steech

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Yesterday I was hired as drum tech (and to provide the backline kit) for the Make-A-Wish foundations music event.

Spent the day helping various bands drummers adapt my kit with their snare/cymbals and such.

What an eye-opening experience.

But the subject of this post comes from my experience with 2 of the drummers of the day.

Both were excellent musicians and played with passion and skill.

One was an absolute joy, fun, funny, gracious and sweet, a 20-something animal that hit harder than any drummer I’ve ever seen live. Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins could not have hit harder.
His snare was literally covered in blood splatter.
REAL blood splatter. Not decoration.
The guy broke 4 sticks and destroyed his own 18” Zildjian A Crash during the set. I mean split it nearly in two.

Despite that description he really was a great drummer. His band was phenomenal as well.
But he had to have cost himself more in destroyed equipment than he made for the day.
Still he left all smiles and I so enjoyed the guy.

The other drummer also had excellent skills and chops.
He also brought his own snare and cymbals.
His cymbals were high quality.
His snare, a Joey Jordinson Pearl.
But when he put his snare on the stand I noticed it was trashed! Extremely bent and warped top hoop. A MISSING lug! Snare wires broken and hanging down from the bottom (at least 4).
Yet out front it didn’t sound terrible. Sounded like a snare.
When finished, he slipped his trash-can ready snare into a vinyl snare bag and left.

It made me consider, seems like most here (myself included) are really focused on our gear, it’s precise tuning, the nuances of the sounds they produce.
But out in the world, there are a whole category of drummer that show almost no attention to these things and yet they perform and gig with success.

Where do you fall?
And does it matter??? Lol
It matters a lot to me but I might be a slightly different animal than many of the drummers here.

I’m a hobbyist and play exclusively by and for myself. I have no intentions of playing in a band or even jamming with other musicians.

So if someone describes a drum or cymbal as sounding great recorded or to the audience then I’m generally not interested. I know that some companies focus on how their drums sound away from the drummer and I’ve played a number of kits like that and been disappointed.

So….I absolutely need my drums and cymbals to sound and look great to me because I’m the one and only customer.
 
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Squirrel Man

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The gear always matters until it does not, and at that point, it never matters until it does.

I buy too much gear.

I love watching Aaron Sterling and especially his older videos where he was basically recording the drums for hit records in his house with (relatively) cheap mics, drums, and room treatments.
I pause to consider stuff like this when I get an itch to buy gear. I did buy a Supra but I sold off 4 snares I really didn't need.

When I see guys on Youtube with kids sets or sets they made out of buckets and shovel heads making them sound like magic that says a lot about the need for quality gear.

IMHO
 
S

swarfrat

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I've been on both sides of this discussion a bunch of times on various forums. I think there's a reason. Someone on another forum likes to say "Talking about music is like dancing about architecture". And he's right. But a forum is a text and pictures thing. It's much easier to talk about gear.

A video is kind of a major production. Even those members who have actual gold records on the wall don't put out video content on a weekly basis. For one they'd be giving away the store. They don't want to put out stuff that's less than their A game because it devalues their brand. And even if we were all legendary drummers if every post was video content of playing the place would be flooded and worthless. No, this place is what goes on at the bar before and between sets. And that's ok.
 

Seb77

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When I was at conservatory, me an my peers played the same practice kits, or took turns at ja sessions. It soon became obvious from listening to and watching the other guys that it was about practising and getting your sound out of whatever instrument was available. I would never look down on any trashed kit, my mission was rather to get my sound out of anything.

At the same time, I wasn't really content with my gear; I somehow wasn't good at getting the instruments I would have really liked. I have since moved on to another career and with drumming as my new hobby, became quite gear-centric, drums, tuning, cymbals, sticks, mics etc. Also thanks to the internet, I have been exposed to much more gear, and that part of my sound has improved -

but, I should play and practise more, focusing more on making music again. Good to hear these stories, they put things in perspective.
 

boomstick

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I recall some forum post that summed this up well. Something like "to most of the audience, the bass drum goes BOOM, the snare goes CRACK, and the cymbal goes PSSSHT, and that's all they hear." I think that's pretty accurate.
 

MrDrums2112

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I just have never understood how people can just trash their gear like the OP mentioned. It just makes no sense to me, and it's just poor technique, IMO. At a certain point, it's just not musical. I totally understand hitting hard, and playing larger stages might dictate that, even with a fully mic'd drum set. But over the years, I have learned a few things about my own technique, and I constantly work on those things to the point where I know I can generate just as much volume and power without ever breaking a cymbal or drumstick, or trashing a snare drum. Most on this forum can do the same. It's not hard to take care of an instrument.
 


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