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

TonyVazquez

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I've used shopping carts too, awesome!!
Shopping carts are all the rage, man! You know how folks go shopping
at their local market, and haul their groceries home in a shopping cart
and they abandon the cart on the streets...

...I grabbed a couple of carts. I cut one down to make it into a flat-bed dolly
to haul my hardware in a footlocker trunk, while the other cart had the basket intact
for hauling the drums (and a small PA gear).
So I had my own "caravan" of carts rolling down the street to the venue,
while folks in traffic were just checkin me out hauling my gear in mid-traffic
and trying to stop the carts from rolling downhill! :-D

I lived in the city pf Buffalo NY at the time, in Days Park right around the corner
from Nietzsche's where I used to play often.
And for the venues in the downtown Buffalo Theater district along Chippewa Street,
Franklin Avenue, and as far as the Mohawk Place venue further downtown near the arena
I've had to roll my gear that far while traveling down Elmwood Avenue.
The shopping carts were a huge help, even rolling them back uphill heading home
after a show downtown.

The one time I didn't use my carts was the night of the Stanley Cup Finals
(Buffalo vs Dallas, 1998... the infamous "foot in the goal" caper)
when I loaded my band mate's car with his guitar gear and my 4-piece drum kit.
His Lexus was packed with gear and there was only seating room for him to drive...
...and so I rode in the trunk, on our way from my house in Days Park all the way
to the Mohawk Place venue downtown.
Even with the trunk cracked barely open for air, I arrived to the venue buzzed
T F Outta My Mind from breathing gas fumes while the Stanley Cup game was
blasting through the rear speakers! :-D ...No more trunk rides for me!
I was lucky my roommate came to the show, and so after the show I loaded
my drum gear in his van.

Nowadays, the shopping carts have wheel locks which activate to prevent
the cart from being removed from the supermarket's property lot. lol
 

Dryfly

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All of which I'm perfectly fine with and completely understand, but you didn't stop with what works for you and why. You sort of stated that everyone that did it different was actually wrong. Mistaken about why we were doing it - not for the music, not for audience, not for the leader... but "just for us". If we might think we need a larger set for a session - you explained that we were wrong. Etc... Even in this reply - you are presuming to define what is "typical". And focusing on what the audience might say or think - as a working player, when you get down to it, why would I care what the audience thinks about my set-up. "Typically" that audience doesn't hire me - never has (except when leading my own band) - the people I'm playing with and/or for are who I have to please.

I can pretty much say - since playing high school dances with my first band, to pick-up club work, working the wedding circuit (from casual to high society), working in jazz clubs, doing rock sessions, jazz sessions, TV/Film sessions, production shows, and touring with artists - through all of that (virtually every level of being a sideman) - I've never once made an equipment decision or a musical one based on what I thought the audience would think/feel/care about it. My work since I was 16 years old has come from focusing entirely on what the people I play with need and want. Please that "audience" and the "average audience out front" is more than taken care of.

So yes I too am completely fine with strong opinions - but the case for the value of your opinion isn't made stronger by telling everyone else that does it different is wrong. How you are approaching things set-up-wise sounds like it makes all the sense in the world for what you are doing, etc... but we have lots of different folks here. We have rock guys in their 20-30's (and probably older) and their "typical gig" carries far different requirements than your "typical gig".

Frankly I'm not sure that with the vast shrinking of live playing (pre-Covid) opportunities - that any one playing demographic claim lay claim to being the most "typical".

Any way all I'm asking is please share how it's going with you, how it works best for you and why you think that's the case - but tread lightly when comes to speaking about what other do... because we often don't really know that much about someone else's thing without having walked in their shoes.
How would the average listener even know the size of" your" Tom's or what a Chinese cymbal is. I learned a long time ago, you eat what your taste calls for.If a person's likes playing a 40 pc kit,then so be it as long as I don't have to lug it LOL
 

CSR

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How would the average listener even know the size of" your" Tom's or what a Chinese cymbal is. I learned a long time ago, you eat what your taste calls for.If a person's likes playing a 40 pc kit,then so be it as long as I don't have to lug it LOL
That was one point I was trying to make...you play a large kit for you, and the longer/more often you gig, the smaller your kit was likely to be. It didn’t come across too successfully judging from the blasting I got.
 

CSR

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Shopping carts are all the rage, man! You know how folks go shopping
at their local market, and haul their groceries home in a shopping cart
and they abandon the cart on the streets...

...I grabbed a couple of carts. I cut one down to make it into a flat-bed dolly
to haul my hardware in a footlocker trunk, while the other cart had the basket intact
for hauling the drums (and a small PA gear).
So I had my own "caravan" of carts rolling down the street to the venue,
while folks in traffic were just checkin me out hauling my gear in mid-traffic
and trying to stop the carts from rolling downhill! :-D

I lived in the city pf Buffalo NY at the time, in Days Park right around the corner
from Nietzsche's where I used to play often.
And for the venues in the downtown Buffalo Theater district along Chippewa Street,
Franklin Avenue, and as far as the Mohawk Place venue further downtown near the arena
I've had to roll my gear that far while traveling down Elmwood Avenue.
The shopping carts were a huge help, even rolling them back uphill heading home
after a show downtown.

The one time I didn't use my carts was the night of the Stanley Cup Finals
(Buffalo vs Dallas, 1998... the infamous "foot in the goal" caper)
when I loaded my band mate's car with his guitar gear and my 4-piece drum kit.
His Lexus was packed with gear and there was only seating room for him to drive...
...and so I rode in the trunk, on our way from my house in Days Park all the way
to the Mohawk Place venue downtown.
Even with the trunk cracked barely open for air, I arrived to the venue buzzed
T F Outta My Mind from breathing gas fumes while the Stanley Cup game was
blasting through the rear speakers! :-D ...No more trunk rides for me!
I was lucky my roommate came to the show, and so after the show I loaded
my drum gear in his van.

Nowadays, the shopping carts have wheel locks which activate to prevent
the cart from being removed from the supermarket's property lot. lol
.
I’ve read that these cost about $100 per.
 

Dryfly

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If you're a pretty good player, you can play nearly any style or venue with a small rig. Watch kick-snare-hat videos to see the possibilities of just those 3 elements.
True that. I played a Wednesday night gig for a whole year, bass, snare, hihat,crash/ride. Although I must admit that wasn't my choice but that was all the space that was available.pl
So after a week or two I got used to it.Actually it caused me to think differently which gave me ideas to bring back to my full kits
 

Dryfly

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That was one point I was trying to make...you play a large kit for you, and the longer/more often you gig, the smaller your kit was likely to be. It didn’t come across too successfully judging from the blasting I got.
Well,after all this is a forum.If you post an opinion expect to get many in return.Some of us as drummers have been dumped on for so long we tend to be a tad bit sensitive at times when it comes to our setups,what we do and don't listen to,etc.etc.etc.
 

Dryfly

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Well,after all this is a forum.If you post an opinion expect to get many in return.Some of us as drummers have been dumped on for so long we tend to be a tad bit sensitive at times when it comes to our setups,what we do and don't listen to,etc.etc.etc.
When I was younger going to jam sessions on a daily basis I would only do them if I was allowed to bring every drum and cymbal I owned. Later in life as I became older ,played more and got paid much more ,I didn't want to have to deal with as much equipment. Now I even older but have started taking more pieces because I hear more sounds. GO FIGURE LOL
 

TonyVazquez

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.
I’ve read that these cost about $100 per.
Yes the carts are expensive to replace; that is why supermarkets now have
GPS electronic devices to locate them if they get taken off the property.
Before that happens, the wheels automatically lock, the moment a cart gets
wheeled off the property... the parking lot has sensors, if a cart gets taken
out of range the wheels are triggered to lock so the cart can't be rolled.

But back in the day, I wasn't thinking about all that.
Living within a 5-mile radius of the local venues had afforded me to manage
my own gear transpo without needing a car, and without troubling anyone
for a ride to gigs with my gear, unless I had a show outside of town.

The objective is to maintain your gear Manageable, no holds barred, so that it doesn't
take its physical toll on you... of all musicians it's Drummers, Upright Bassists,
Percussionists, Keyboardists (Pianos included), and Tuba players who have to
carry large instruments and protect them along the way.

Many of us un-signed bands don't have/can't afford roadies, and so we haul
our gear any way possible.
And, in a Rock band, the Drums are the most tedious instrument to haul around.
Playing a large drum kit, or minimizing it is all up to you the Drummer.
Necessity is the order of the day.

Whether it's the size of your drum gear, or how you transport your gear,
you learn to "MacGyver" your way through this industry/artistry
because you always Have To Get There with little time for explanations. :-D
 

dcrigger

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How would the average listener even know the size of" your" Tom's or what a Chinese cymbal is.
How would I know? Since I didn't say they could. Heck I don't think I can identify "for sure" what size the drum is from any given drum hit. Who could? Drums can be tuned in overlapping ranges.

CSR claimed that "the typical audience can’t detect the differences between tom tones in a live situation other than high/low" in a life setting. "Detect" - not identify. I stated that I believed that statement was nonsense - that even the most amateur ear can distinguish between a "Hawaii 5-0 descending tom fills" and a "George of the Jungle" hi/low drum fill... not describe in musical terminology, nor be able to transcribe - just "distinguish" between the two - to tell the two apart.

I believe audiences can. Just as they can tell when things are out of tune - of course, they may not say "Oooo the bass is so sharp" or "My that singer is singing flat" - no, they are more likely to say "hmmm, they really don't sound very good" or even just "yeah, I didn't like them at all". Just because someone can't articulate a musical fault in exact musical terms doesn't mean that fault doesn't effect them just the same.

I learned a long time ago, you eat what your taste calls for.If a person's likes playing a 40 pc kit,then so be it as long as I don't have to lug it LOL
Yes, but from a working player standpoint, my taste isn't always the deciding factor. Even if things aren't being dictated to me - and they honestly rarely are. Because it is an accepted concept that I'm responsible for knowing what will work best for the music and thus make those I work for and with happy - and if I can't do that, then the consensus will generally be that I'm not the right person for the job.

I think most people in this thread are in fact doing exactly that - bringing to the gig what works for the people they're working for or with - and yes, no more than that.Or no more than they believe they need to accomplish what they are trying to accomplish.
 

5 Style

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When I started palying drums as teenager in the early 80s I always wanted a really big kit. The best that I could do though was my Rogers "Big R" 5pc kit and then a really crummy snare with the bottom head removed as a kit of timbale high tom (so really a 6 pc). That lasted a few years but then when I went away to college and was faced with buying a kit to play with very little money, I ended up with a 4 pc kit made up of really thrashed orphan drums and I realized that I was pretty much fine with that. Later I used a 5pc for a while, but most of my playing like I've ended up using a 4pc. In my life I've mostly played in original rock bands and for the last 15 years or so in some jazz standards type bands. Both of these settings allow me pretty broad latitude in interpreting (and occasionally co-composing) the music and so I'm not really in situations where I have to copy somone's ho played some kind of monster kit. Recently though a friend of mine who's a guitrist/songwriter guy and has a very fine home studio hired me out to play drums on a recording of his music. He bought a big 6 pc Yamaha Stage Custom kit (which are surprisingly nice drums BTW, particularly for how inexpensive they are) and wanted me to play the full configuration as his music has some kind of Zappa-esque parts in which he wanted a sort of unison melodic tom thing to be played along with the melody. It took a bit of a adjustment, but I got into playing this bigger kit, even if I felt like I really only scratched the possibilities of what one can do with such a kit. That being said though, I still feel like for me there's a nearly infinite amount of possibilities for playing a 4 pc kit and I have no plans to change.

Not that I'm a very advanced jazz player (or even rock player!), but since having gotten intersted in jazz and seeing so many great drummers play a typical 4pc bop kit, I was impressed by just how many colors they can get from this modest setup. By the way that they move patterns around the kit; the way notes are accented; the dynamics; changing textures by using single, double and buzzed strikes; alternating sticks, brushes, mallets, hands, etc there seems to be an infinte number of colors and shadings with just a 4pc kit. One could arguably use even less, but the high-low tom thing seems to really be the sweet spot. More than that you do have more sounds, but not necessarily more colors, particularly with the way that a lot of big kit drummers work (suing lots of the same roundhouse kinds of fills). I feel like a smaller kit allows me to concentrate on what's really important: the dynamics, syncopation, the swing, the overall texture, etc... and none of that stuff requires a lot of toms to move around with.

There are practical considerations as well of course. I hate to drag a big kit to rehearsals and gigs (not that I've been doing a lot of that lately) and even setting up something so large in small club isn't a really great proposition. I have a few different kits with one being a smaller bop sized kit, but they're all set up in pretty much the same configuration and I like that. I don't like to have to make too much of a mental adjustment to playing different configurations as I like to rehearse at home with what I'm likely to play at a rehearsal somewhere else (where I may have another set of drums set up) or at a gig. This would all mean that if I had a 6 pc kit set up at home, I'd want to have three kits that big, one packed up in cases for gigging and another beater kit for rehearsals somewhere else... which would all be more expensive (to get quality stuff) and much harder to find to get the kind of drums and in the sizes that I like...
 
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Canbeats66

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It all depends on what the music you are playing demands. I play Tool, Metallica, Slayer, Rush, Dave Matthew's Band, Dream Theatre...heck even some Queen, Pink Floyd and Yes songs..Genesis, Phil Collins, Frank Zappa all require more than a 4 piece kit. It doesn't matter how creative you are, It just isn't possible.
 

sternerp

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Most of the time, all I use is a kick, snare, rack tom, hats and a ride cymbal. I'll usually bring a floor tom, too. But on tight stages, I've had to reduce to as little as a snare drum and hats just to fit. After I got over not having a whole kit, I rather enjoyed the challenge of adapting my playing to what I had to work with.
 

5 Style

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How would I know? Since I didn't say they could. Heck I don't think I can identify "for sure" what size the drum is from any given drum hit. Who could? Drums can be tuned in overlapping ranges.

CSR claimed that "the typical audience can’t detect the differences between tom tones in a live situation other than high/low" in a life setting. "Detect" - not identify. I stated that I believed that statement was nonsense - that even the most amateur ear can distinguish between a "Hawaii 5-0 descending tom fills" and a "George of the Jungle" hi/low drum fill... not describe in musical terminology, nor be able to transcribe - just "distinguish" between the two - to tell the two apart.

I believe audiences can. Just as they can tell when things are out of tune - of course, they may not say "Oooo the bass is so sharp" or "My that singer is singing flat" - no, they are more likely to say "hmmm, they really don't sound very good" or even just "yeah, I didn't like them at all". Just because someone can't articulate a musical fault in exact musical terms doesn't mean that fault doesn't effect them just the same.



Yes, but from a working player standpoint, my taste isn't always the deciding factor. Even if things aren't being dictated to me - and they honestly rarely are. Because it is an accepted concept that I'm responsible for knowing what will work best for the music and thus make those I work for and with happy - and if I can't do that, then the consensus will generally be that I'm not the right person for the job.

I think most people in this thread are in fact doing exactly that - bringing to the gig what works for the people they're working for or with - and yes, no more than that.Or no more than they believe they need to accomplish what they are trying to accomplish.
Yeah, I agree with that... 100%! I've heard that same kind of noise from so many folks, the whole "it won't matter if...(we skimp on one thing or another)," or the "it won't make any difference..." and it just doesn't add up. Though there may be a few details that are so minor that the audience really won't even notice it, the fact is that everything is made up of a collection of small details and as soon as you start skimping on the components, the final product suffers. If you're playing for audiences who truly don't care about how the performance sounds, then that might be the once case where the details really don't matter, but if that's the case, then you have to ask yourself why you're even bothering to perform for that crowd...

If you're really in doubt that some detail will be worth the trouble to deal with because you're not sure of the audience will notice, do it anyway and give the audience the benefit of the doubt and yourself more confidence that you're doing the job right.
 
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Vistalite Black

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When driving, I only use my blinker about 1% of my driving time. I only use the brakes 15% of the time.

Is the suggestion that turn signals and brake lights aren't completely necessary?
 


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