Setup - Ease and Tricks?

jmato

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What are your best suggestions for speeding up load-in and setup at a gig? It seems to take forever, even with a Rock n Roller cart and fewer trips to the vehicle.

(Apologies if this topic has been worked over already. I searched and did not find much.)
 

NobleCooleyNut

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Rock N Roller cart is a must .
I also use Beato Pro 1 Combo bags ( multiple drums in one bag separated by thick padded dividers ). It is amazing the amount of time this saves . It also sits better on the RnR cart then separate bags do .
I atypically use the following and I can get in the door in one trip .
1) 20/12/14 kit with both a metal and wood shell snare - this goes into three Beato Pro 1 bags - bass bag , Tom combo bag and Snare combo bag .
2) Protection Racket snare drum bag that has a zippered section to put the snare stand . I use this bag for my throne top , throne base goes in the snare stand section and my Sonor Perfect Balance version 1 pedal goes inside as well .
3) Cymbals go into a Paiste backpack cymbal bag .Stick bag goes in the cymbal bag .
4) Tama Classic series hardware pack with padded bag . I added an extra cymbal stand and Classic Tom stand in this bag .
5)Kaces crash pad drum rug which fills up into its own bag .

Everything goes on the RnR cart, with the Protection Racket bag with the throne and bass pedal on my back ( it has back pack strap. In the door in one trip .
 

nmosko

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My tip is this: use only Tama/DW/Pearl ultralight stands. The ones that are like 3 lbs with the goat bases. Not only do they look better because you don’t have so much chrome, they are super stable. They make load in and set up a breeze because the are so easy to use and move.

now of course if you are hitting like a heavy metal guy, this may not work. But I’ve seen some HARD hitters use the Dw ultralights and they didn’t budge

these stands also allow everything to be so light that you can get it all in just a single trip.
 

Dave HCV

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First, get a cart that will allow you to bring everything in from the car in one trip. I use a Rock n Roller cart that can hold everything for a four-piece set. When playing a large kit (3 up, 2 down, one bass drum maximum), everything except the hardware case fits on the cart. My hardware case is on wheels so I can push the cart with one hand and pull the hardware bag with the other.

Second, put marks on your drum rug for at least a few key components. I have the locations of the bass drum and throne marked out. Once those two items are positioned, everything else falls into place.

Third, memory locks on EVERYTHING. For cymbal boom stands, I have set the boom angles where they work and then put a colored sticker across the two halves of the pivot. Then use a knife to cut the sticker along the split of the pivot. When setting up the boom, just align the two halves of the sticker and the boom will be at the desired angle. I use these stickers on the floor tom legs and lugs so I can easily put every leg in its correct place the first time.

I have a flashlight in my tool kit that has a magnet a the back end. When working on a dimly lit stage, I can stick the flashlight onto a stand (or any other steel surface) to position it to provide light where needed.

If you have to mic your kit, that's the same as with stands. Use memory locks to get everything to where you want it fast. Also buy some electrical tape in assorted colors and mark each end of every cable. Then you can quickly see where cables go as you're setting up (i.e., you're holding one end of a cable with a white tape strip on it, look at your kit and see that the left overhead mic is connected to a cable with a white tape strip on it. And so on.)

Obviously, how much you can leave in set up position (like fully extended mic or cymbal stands) will depend on the size vehicle you drive. The inside dimensions of my Acura wagon is such that I have to full collapse all of my cymbal stands. Your situation my differ.
 

cplueard

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What are your best suggestions for speeding up load-in and setup at a gig? It seems to take forever, even with a Rock n Roller cart and fewer trips to the vehicle.

(Apologies if this topic has been worked over already. I searched and did not find much.)
The advice given by others is good. An idea of your setup would help get down to some nitty gritty. My kit has two hanging floor toms and I cut down a crazy amount of time by just having one small rack cross section that can hold both toms, ride, crash, and a china if I'm going full setup. But that's only as useful because my floor toms are hanging so helping get yours squared away would be easy with more info.
 

jmato

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Thanks all thus far. Excellent suggestions.

I typically gig with a 1 up, 1 down setup, but sometimes vary it with 2 down, and even sometimes 2 up 2 down. That is not really the time-suck though, regardless of number of toms.

I almost always play with 3 crashes, 1 ride, and a Roland SPD-ONE. I have tried everything -- including flying three cymbals from one stand, dog bones with cymbal arms, etc. All those "innovations" seem to just take more time. I'm leaning toward reasonably lightweight stands for each item, numbered for placement, with memory locks everywhere, the stickers for the boom tilt (great tip Dave), and the tall gear bag for minimal stand collapse. That seems like it will help a great deal.
 

TheBeachBoy

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I got a bigger Rock n roller when I upgraded my drum mixer and subsequently the case for it was bigger. I stack all my drums in a way that I can put my SKB golf case on top. Two reasons: One trip and so I can unload it without having to bend over all the time.

I use fairly lightweight flat based stands and have a memory lock (or hose clamp) on everything, including the floor tom legs. Put the rug down and place stands sort of where they go, set up the bass drum and pedal, toms, snare, bass mounted cymbal arm, and put everything into playing position. Next is the mixer/ Senn e604 mics with a short cable already attached. All my bass drums have a built-in mic and XLR jack. That takes about 3 minutes. Then the cymbals takes about a minute with Camber T-Tops and a Gibraltar quick release clutch. Total time from my car to the first beat is about 15 minutes, sometimes about 12 if I'm really hustling.

The biggest trick is getting there before everyone else so you're not running all over each other running cables or putting away cases, etc.
 

Carlos McSnurf

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Already above a lot of advices I use myself for shortening unload time/save the power etc. especially by using light hardware (Tama classic), every possible case on the wheels (including cymbal bag), or transported on caddy. What saves time are memory locks or any kind of markings, on a stands and legs for exactly same setup. If you use mics, internal bass drum mic, clip on snare mic and one large diaphragm to catch whole set is all you need for most situations.
I have all utilities and spares (snare, cables, stick bag, pedal, personal mixer, seat, mics) in wheeled case on stage with me, working also as table. I consider to convert it to rack for ready for plug in cables going to/from PA system.All I use are drum cases, cymbal cases, hardware cart and the stage case. The only loose item is carpet.
 

RIDDIM

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Just bring what the gig needs, no more, no less. Visualize carrying this stuff upstairs.

Use lightweight hardware and presets where possible. If gear is in your car, maybe use bags.

Definitely get a Roc'n'rollr R12 cart or whatever the current version is.

Bunjee cords help keep stuff falling off your cart.
 

jptrickster

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Cymbal toppers and quick release hat clutch. Memory locks on floor Tom legs , bass spurs and Tom mounts. Long hardware bags so you don’t have to set up or break down stands just fold or unfold tripod base and your done. And most importantly don’t let anyone help.
 

thejohnlec

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The theory with me is that even the tiniest adjustment in the routine can result in time saved.

Another vote for memory locks here. I line up the split in the mem lock with the split in the height adjustment clamps on the stand bases and tom holders (Pearl and Yamaha hardware). Sets up exactly the same way every night.

I set all the angles on all the boom stands and tilters so they fit in the hardware case without folding. Drop them in the bases during set up with literally zero adjustment time - huge time saver.

Sounds weird, but I don't tighten any wingnuts when I'm putting the bases in the hardware case. Saves the threads and cuts down on the time a little bit. Most of my Pearl hardware is over 30 years old.

Tama Quick Set Cymbal tops. Very rugged, work really well, and I never drop them. Squeeze and remove, squeeze and apply - great products.

I don't clamp down either snare stand basket (main snare and side piccolo). It lets the snares speak more naturally and allows me to quickly swap the snare out in case there's an issue. The snare mic is attached to a nearby cymbal stand to accommodate quick swaps as well.

You may have this, but creating a routine, fine-tuning it, and sticking to it saves a ton of time. Get to the point where you unload everything, set up everything, pack up everything, and load everything in your vehicle/trailer the same way every time. This saves you from having to take inventory on every gig, before or after. If everything is packed in the car in a certain way, I know I'm done and I don't have to worry about leaving anything behind. I still do a check, but the time saved is key and I get to the final check faster.

Hope this helps!
 

Radio King

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In addition to a Rock-n-Roller cart, I use a tall upright trap bag that allows me to keep all my stands intact and at the correct heights. Huge timesaver. I have a Gator GP-DRUMCART (two of them, actually), so no more bending over to pull out stands. The wheels are a godsend. One trip for the R&R cart; one more for the hardware bag.
 

stevil

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I’m a fan of the Gibraltar Stealth Rack because, with the help of they guitarist, I can carry a good portion of my kit on and off stage already set up. As a bonus, the rack guarantees that my kit is set up exactly the same every time I play.

Also second the quick release cymbal/hi hat toppers.
 

bodinski

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I use a double pedal and never collapse the linkage, so the distance between them is a constant. My bass drum legs have locks so they’re always the same length. The hihat footboard aligns with and butts against the left pedal.
Instant foundation.
The ride flies on a small boom that’s preset & drops into the bass drum.
Crashes are on lightweight straight stands with infinite tilters, requiring minimal adjustment.
The floor tom legs have hose clamps for locks.
The snare basket stays a little loose & it’s angle is preset.
And as previously stated, don’t let anyone help!
 

Drumworm

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Here is my current set-up. Kick, snare, 3 toms, 2 crashes, ride, HH, China, and a splash.

My biggest time savers... Trick cymbal toppers (I'm a big fan), a Tama quick release top HH clutch. Other than the HH stand, only two other cymbal stands on the floor. All my toms and snare go in one roller case (with floor tom with legs on as well). And the biggest time saver for set-up (which has already been stated)... be the first one there.

I can get set-up in just shy of 15 minutes, tear down is about the same unless it is a small place where everyone has trouble getting around each other. I have the case for my toms and snare, a hardware case, kick drum case, cymbal bag, and a large back pack for my stick bag and misc gear.
 

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