What percentage of the time do we need more than a 4-piece kit to play music?

komodobob

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With the style of music we play, I really have no need for anything larger than a 4 piece kit. Actually, I very seldom even use the floor tom. Most of the time it serves as a shelf for holding my sticks or brushes, depending on what I'm paying with at the time.
 

KevinD

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For Jazz gigs, a 4 piece, for most other stuff, if I'm bringing my own set it would be a 5 piece.. But if using backline, 4 piece is fine, I don't think it is that big of a deal either way, you make do with what is available.

I remember back in the early 90s there used to be a Rush tribute band that played the Jersey shore (can't remember their name) but the 2 times I saw them the drummer had a 4 piEce kit (playing a bar with no real stage, set up in a corner on the floor) .. they killed it.
 
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MrDrums2112

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I look back on pictures of gigs when I was in college and I have no idea how I ever lugged all those drums and double-braced boom stands around. I certainly could not do that today. It’s always a 4 piece set up for me (sometimes less). If it’s a theater gig, I bring an assortment of percussion as needed. As others have said, ergonomics have become very important as I have gotten older - if I have to reach too far over or upward then things start to hurt. Like my ears over the years, that damage has been done.
 

Squirrel Man

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My comfort zone is three up, one down, third up is the stock 10 tom on a cymbal stand just for effect mostly. One down because I don't like things behind me. Comfort zone thing and one floor is fine for me.

I haven't gotten back into gigging mostly because of the zombie apocalypse and I live in a one horse town, not a lot of options but the itch has been scratched to the bone.

If/when that happens, soon hopefully I'm using my Roadshow kit because the kick is shallower then the Decade which is really deep. Figuring I'll use just 4 pieces with the extra bass mount for a jerry-rigged ride and one crash and maybe an effect, splash or bell or something but I'm getting ahead of myself.

I ain't lugging a trailer worth of gear for bar gigs lol and my wife back in the day already told me her roadie days are over.

:p
 

Houndog

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My comfort zone is three up, one down, third up is the stock 10 tom on a cymbal stand just for effect mostly. One down because I don't like things behind me. Comfort zone thing and one floor is fine for me.

I haven't gotten back into gigging mostly because of the zombie apocalypse and I live in a one horse town, not a lot of options but the itch has been scratched to the bone.

If/when that happens, soon hopefully I'm using my Roadshow kit because the kick is shallower then the Decade which is really deep. Figuring I'll use just 4 pieces with the extra bass mount for a jerry-rigged ride and one crash and maybe an effect, splash or bell or something but I'm getting ahead of myself.

I ain't lugging a trailer worth of gear for bar gigs lol and my wife back in the day already told me her roadie days are over.

:p
I really love 3 up one down the best .
In the pic I posted I was seeing how sparse I could get with 2 stands ...
I was having fun with 5 up 3 down on this kit too ...
 

CC Cirillo

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For the music I play:

100% of shows I only need a 4 piece.

For recording 70 % four piece; 30% bikini.

For rehearsals 30% four piece, 70% bikini.

There’s a set at my rehearsal studio with two up, two down. I still only play it as if it were just a four piece and there have been times when I go for a few hours and play only snare/ bass/ hats.
 

DanRH

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Zero but sometimes we have to have some fun, don’t we?
 

supershifter2

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I can play ANY song of ANY type of music with a snare and bass. No hh no ride no tom. BUTT it will be boring and bland after a bit. Have your geetar player use just 2 stings and see what happens. How about only 4 keys on the keyboard. BORING ! I like 4 toms. I like a verity of tom sounds. I played 2 toms when I first started and about 6 months later added a 3rd tom and never looked back. For about the next 15 years I played 3 toms 1 bass drum hihats a ride and 2 crash cymbals. Sometimes I only hit one tom,sometimes 2 and sometimes 3 depending on the song. Around 1985 I bought another new kit with 3 toms(10x14,16x16,16x18) and 1 bass(16x22). I couldnt get the bass drum mounted tom holder to put the tom where I wanted it so I bought tom stand. One tom on the stand made it unstable so I bought a 4th tom(12x15) to balance the stand. I loved having 4 "DIFFERENT" tom sounds and never looked back. I had a big hole between the hh and bass drum. I decided to order another bass drum but no pedal to fill the hole and make the kit look good to the audience. I also have a 7 CT kit for those kinds of sounds.


TAMA3.jpg



tama drums overhead 2 numbered.jpg


tama 15 16 b.jpg





.................
 
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drummer5359

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I own a shell bank that includes three high toms, three floor toms, including an 18", and four different bass drums, 18" through 24". In the 45 years that I've been a gigging drummer, it has generally been doing rock covers. Since the 1990s my setup has usually been a two up, two down six piece kit.

The sizes have varied depending on my mood and the stage size. If I'm using a 20" bass drum the toms are usually 10", 12", 14", 16". With a 22" bass drum it has varied more. 10", 12", 14", 16", or 12", 13", 14", 16", or even 12", 13", 16", 18". When I use a 24" bass drum it is usually with a 12", 13", 16", 18" tom setup. When I first went to lightweight stands a few years ago, I played one up two down setups for a few gigs. I really missed having that extra high tom.

I played with a lounge act for a while in the 80s which was always a four piece, and with a band a few years ago that did pop covers from 1955 until today. I used a small bass drum with two or three toms.

I guess that I didn't/don't "need" four tom setups, but it is fun to have.
 

mtarrani

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I have noticed many of us are always on the hunt for that matching 2nd floor or even 3rd floor tom (14”,16”, and 18” wow) or 10”,12”, and 13” toms and the list goes on and on. Some just enjoy having all the matching drums, feels good and it’s cool, but I suspect that’s a “need”.

Question comes up for me, what percentage of the time do you actually need more than a bass drum, a rack tom, a floor tom, and a snare, your standard 4-piece kit. If you have been playing for 30-40 years then you have good data. Give me a percentage!

Assume your friend calls you up says take your tubs and meet me at Dave’s bar in downtown we are gonna jam and make this crowd feel good, no questions asked, how many drums are you gonna setup?
Interesting that you brought this up. I was thinking along similar lines with respect to cymbals and my personal use for them. But to your question: an easy 70% of my playing is performed with just a hi-hat and snare drum, with another 20% with those plus a ride cymbal and bass drum. The remaining 5% of my playing time (gigs - not rehearsals) uses a 1 up/1 down kit. In the past I would configure that full kit with a single ride cymbal. These days I use three rides (sometimes just two) comprised of a flat, a regular and a sizzle (or in the case of two rides, just a flat and a regular) ... and hi-hats of course. I don't own, nor will I ever use a crash cymbal since those do not fit my playing style. I do own a china with a normal bell that I use as a special ride, but I rarely use it.
 

CSR

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If you play a large kit, you’re playing it for you. In a gig situation, the typical audience can’t detect the differences between tom tones in a live situation other than high/low. And they don’t care anyways. Most won’t remember your slick multi-tom visual after the song is over. Be honest...you’re not really playing Neal Peart or Terry Bozzio tunes. Even in recording, more than a four-piece kit isn’t really required. You may think people really care, but they don’t. If it makes you happy to play a large kit, play on...but realize you’re doing it for only you.

I think of the famous drummer who had a two bass drum set, but the left bass had no pedal. He said that his audience expected to see it. That’s fine if you have roadies, but working drummers who are loading their own drums tend to downsize with age and maturity.

Go ahead....open fire!
 

noreastbob

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You certainly don't NEED any more than a 4 piece kit. But then you don't need 4 pcs do you? You can play any type music on a cowbell (or tambourine) if that's your cup o' tea.
I don't understand the profound pertinence of some threads.
 

John DeChristopher

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Zero point zero percent do I need more than four drums. My band plays a bunch of Who songs and I love playing them on my 4pc kit. I started off on a standard 5pc kit then changed to a "one up/two down" Bonzo/Buddy kit, then moved to a Terry Bozzio-inspired Roto Tom kit in the 80s, followed by a 7pc. "three up/two down" Simmons kit, but I've never felt more creative in my playing than with a 4pc. kit. But then again, you know who my favorite drummer is, so this should come as no surprise :)
 


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