The second part of my (purely personal) good gigging guide comes under the heading musicality (click here for Part 1 - Preparedness). Some of these things may seem obvious, some may seem like I’m having a dig at people, but I’m not - they are just my take on the matter.
Take what serves you, leave what doesn't!
I've been gigging for more years than I care to mention (over 20) and it's so easy to forget to serve the music, either through bad choices or the wilful pursuit of other goals.
Time to break stuff down into manageable chunks!
Quite a brief blog this week, covering my cymbal rig...
(the matching snare to my kit)
14” x 4” Piccolo Maple Custom Absolute Nouveau in blue-purple fade.
Featuring offset, single point quick release lugs, die cast aluminium hoops and an upgraded Gibraltar/Dunnett strainer.
It has been fitted with a ported Evans Genera batter, Hazy 300 snare head and Puresound Blaster snare wires.
Tuned high for a tight funk sound.
The first version of this snare with the wood grain shell, maple custom-style lugs and twin strainer.
Fitted with an Aquarian reverse dot batter head, stock Remo Ambassador snare side head one DW truetone snare wire and one Pearl snare wire,
The snares are tensioned so the Pearl is tight and snappy, the DW is looser and fuzzy, giving a variety of snare tones by having either or both wires engaged. This snare is also used when an open ringy tone is needed without snare wires (for example U2’s "Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", where the DW snare is just too focused).
Cast Aluminium shell with four different interchangeable snare wires, this drum can sound like a marching side drum, military field snare, electronic gated snare or a whole variety of other interesting unusual snare sounds (or just a regular metal snare if you are being boring!!!) It's great as a secondary effects snare.
Bought for me by my amazing, awesome wife as a present!
I have a choice of eight different snare wires, these are:
- 4 strand phosphor bronze for an open airy classic snare sound.
- 4 strand synthetic gut for a old school field drum snap.
- 1 strand wooden beads, sound artificial and gated in a good way.
- 2 strand red glass beads, very rattly snare sound almost like a Roland 808.
- 6 strand grey cloth cord, an ultra dark warm fuzzy snare that also acts as a damper if used in combination with the other wires
- 6 strand medium blue coated cable, a very military marching type sound.
- 8 strand thick stainless steel cable a very dense tight snare sound
- 6 strand uncoated stainless steel cable, bright lively and slightly ringy snare tone.
The snares can be turned on and off individually, or dropped together.
Feel free to post comments telling us about your snares, or dream snares!
We'd love to hear from you - the geekier the better.
The next blog will be cymbals...
Most of the kit is a Yamaha Maple Custom Absolute Nouveau, in blue-purple fade. All of the shells have single point quick release Nouveau lugs, and have the upgraded maple hoops.
The maple shells give a great warmth to the drum sound with a rounded attack that is enhanced with the addition of the wood hoops. They end up sounding larger than they are which is a big bonus - all the tone, but less volume and easier to carry.
The third rack tom is a 12” x 8” and is mounted to the left of the hi hat.
The two floor toms are 13” x 14” and 14” x 14”, the 13” being a very unusual drum deeper than its diameter, only done on this series and only for a brief time.
All toms have Evans G2 clear batter heads and G1 clear resonant heads, with e-rings on the 10”, 12”, 13” and 14”.
I have been asked why I use e-rings rather than moon gel, damped heads or just tuning them open. Well, firstly the band I am in is playing mostly 80’s songs so that wet, slappy sound is what I’m after - if I was doing more modern stuff then they’d probably come off.
Secondly I am really pushing the floor toms to be a bit lower pitched than they would comfortably be so the rings help them sound less flabby. I’ve always loved small drums for the ease of transport, but they need help to sound rocky!
Lastly they do help quieten down the kit a bit - I play a lot of pub venues and always carry mics for bigger gigs, so generally speaking quieter is better.
The main kick is a 20” x 18” (considered extra deep when I bought it!) It is fitted with an Evans EMAD clear batter with a Remo double Falam Slam patch (which I need to replace!), Sonitus kicker and resonant black front head with a custom graphic from the awesome Glenn Grey (pictured below).
Having pre-damped heads AND a kicker is more to reduce onstage volume than tone control, as I always mic the kick.
My second kick is only used for big gigs as a special effect, and I’ll blog about that in a separate geek blog!
My next blog will be the snares...
First up, Protection Racket small drum rug. Why a small rug? Well, for years I have been setting up with stands on or more or less on this rug, so logically if the rack kit fits on this it will fit in anywhere the other kit did but with a neater footprint, allowing others to set up amps/guitar stands/keyboard stands where tripod legs would have been.
The mat is fully marked out with a combination of Protection Racket mat markers and white velcro (cheap sew-on stuff from a pound store). You may just be able to make out a Baskey Kickstop screwed into the rug to hold the slave side of the double pedal. This, added to the velcro on the bases of the double pedal give a very firm foundation to everything.
To save time when setting up and weight, and to allow the kit to be set up and moved very quickly the main bulk of the hardware is actually three separate, non-connected rack units.
The first runs radially out from the stool to take the snare, the first two rack toms, main crash and three splashes, and is set low but with enough clearance on the bar to bridge over the connecting bar of the double pedal.
The third is a half rack on the left with a mini T-leg, upright and curved cross bar that clamps onto the hi hat stand, this takes my main hi hat, remote wire hi hat, tambourine clamp, china, third rack tom and fourth splash (OK, I have an addiction).
The hi hat also has a stick dock and a small clamp at the bottom which clamps the remote hi hat pedal to the main pedal allowing the whole thing to move as one piece.
All rack tubes are cut to a minimum whilst still allowing for some expansion and almost all cymbal mounts are boomed on short booms to cut weight but still allow flexibility.
Having separate racks also allows the rack to be used in tighter gigs, I just lose the third rack and play the hi hat normally with only the stick holder and tambourine clamp.
In Part 2, I will show how the drums are set up on this rack configuration...coming soon!
Drummer, drum geek, reluctant blogger and eater of cheese!
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