So, having spent some considerable time, money brainpower and bruised knuckles on reconfiguring my large rack kit into something a bit less unwieldy I thought I’d share some of the ensuing drum geekery with the wider world.
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!
So, you're thinking of buying your first drum kit. Maybe you have had some lessons or just fancy trying a bit of drumming. What should you look for in your first drum kit? Acoustic or electric? How many drums should there be? Or cymbals?
Over to Dave for a quick run-down...
The first thing to look at when buying any drum set is the player, most drumkits will be adjustable to fit even very small players so often it is a better idea to buy a full-sized kit which will then grow with the player, rather than a “kids” kit - these are not usually good value for money and they will quickly be grown out of.
If the player is on the small side, look out for “fusion” style kits with 20” diameter bass drums as they will be easier to play whilst still retaining sound, performance and (if a child) the player can grow with them.
Next it is worth considering what the kit is for - are they playing purely for fun or will the kit be used for structured practice with an aim of taking formal grades?
If they are looking to take grades then the kit will need to be a “five piece” kit (you only count the drums), consisting of a bass drum, snare drum and three tom drums, usually two mounted toms on the bass drum and one floor tom either mounted from a cymbal stand or free standing on it’s own legs.
It is also very useful to have a full cymbal set consisting of a pair of hi hats, crash cymbal and ride or crash/ride cymbal. Quite often cheaper sets only come with two of the three (although there is a strong argument for getting people going with a basic set and upgrading cymbals to a full set later).
It is worth noting as well that where most cheaper kits sound fine, especially if you put better drumheads on them (which is a cheap and easy upgrade), the cymbals that come with most starter kits are usually the weakest part of a set, so most people will end up upgrading them at some point.
The final thing to look out for is the hardware on the kit, the metalwork and stands that hold everything together, the better quality they are and the sturdier, then the less likely you are to have problems with them and get a return on your investment should you ever need to sell them, either if the player gives up or hopefully moves on to a better kit in the future.
Hopefully that was a useful introduction, but please don't hesitate to get in touch if you'd like any further advice.
Drummer, drum geek, reluctant blogger and eater of cheese!