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!
This week we're delighted to present a guest blog by Matt Dudley of Matt Dudley Drumming.
Matt is from across the Pond - Lake Waccamaw North Carolina to be exact, and has been a drum and percussion teacher since 2003.
As well as his website and blog, Matt also has a podcast - Behind the Kit - that you can check out here.
Matt's been kind enough to lend us one of his own blog posts on The Purdie Shuffle, but first a bit more about him...
Something that's come up a few times recently at gigs have been comments along the lines of “really enjoy working with you guys”, “always nice to work with musicians who know what to do on a gig” and “great to work with musicians who know how to use their equipment” - all from professional sound engineers.
Also comments from a few dep gigs “your kit/playing always sounds great” and “how do you seem to set up so much faster than our drummer?”
All of these comments, I think, are prompted by the same skills - preparedness and musicality.
In this blog I’ll be outlining some ideas on being well prepared for gigs.
I’ll leave musicality for the next one!
We're very excited to publish a guest blog by Kate Kuziakina, a young lady from Ukraine who is passionate about drumming.
Let's find out why...
Five years ago my family and me were at a fair or concert in the park. We stopped near the stage where a music band played their compositions. I looked only at their drummer, stamping my feet to the beat of the music. Suddenly the drummer stood up, approached me and gave me his drumsticks. I was speechless!
I don't know exactly who that man was - just a drummer, or an Angel who handed me my destiny 😊, but after that I began to drum everywhere and on everything: on chairs, tables and so forth. When I was 6, my dad bought me my first drum set.
Since then I have never parted with the drums.
In the last three years I have won the Grand Prix's and first places at offline international competitions in the USA, Spain, Finland, and Ukraine. I was a finalist of the online Hit Like A Girl (HLAG) contest 2016 and the winner of the HLAG 2018 Week 1 (drumset category, division under 18 years old).
I performed with Ukrainian rock bands (Ot Vinta, Numer 482, Mad Heads, Tabula Rasa, Vopli Vidoplyasova, and High Score) on TV shows, at festivals, battle of orchestras and clubs.
I play drums for two or more hours every single day.
But even after all this I ask myself from time to time: "Why do I play drums?"
We've had a super-busy first half of the year here at Dave's Drums.
Notably, we have been told that we are the largest retailers of Code drum heads and accessories in the UK. As you can imagine, this keeps us very busy as we aim to keep to entire Code range in stock where possible and most of our sales are online, meaning that they all need careful packaging before dispatch.
If you're looking to buy any Code in the next few weeks, there are a few lines which are quite low on stock (these are out of stock with the distributors and won't be available to us again until mid-late August).
Lines currently affected are:
~ 14" Zero snare batter heads (Sterling or TRS are great alternatives, however)
~ 22" clear Blast bass drum batter heads (we do have coated Blast)
~ 14" DNA clear heads (these are single ply heads, but we have coated DNA or clear Generator in 14")
~ 16" Law donut dot heads (we still have some of the older style Law in 16")
~ 12", 14" & 16" RR (Reso Ring) heads
I have been so busy in the workshop with refurb jobs for customers, I've had hardly any time for our own kits, meaning we have a backlog of over 20 kits waiting for my attention!
These include a quirky Pearl Rhythm Traveler (now in the workshop!), at least 3 Pearl Exports, a couple of Yamahas and a number of beginner kits - if you're looking for a kit, give me a call as I may have something waiting in the wings that could be reserved for you.
I've been busily gigging quite a lot of weekends (with a few gigs unfortunately cancelled during the snow in March). My biggest gig by far was a fundraising event at Stotfold Watermill in May, to a packed marquee with my band DeLorean.
I've also had a few gigs with my Ska band (The Skandal), which are a huge amount of fun - if you're local to Reading, we are playing at the Moderation on July 21st, so come on down and say "hi" if you're able.
Both of my bands are having a break during August, but I've got some dep work booked in - if you're away over the summer and looking for a dep, don't hesitate to ask.
Blogging Top 10
We get a LOT of kits through the door at Dave’s Drums but some are just a bit different.
And this was definitely one of those kits!
Where do I start?
Well, pretty much the first thing that came to mind when the kit arrived was just the sheer size of it - the number of drums was more than a little daunting for anyone.
So, first off, a quick run down of what I was looking at:
- two 24” x 14” bass drums with tom mounts
- 8”, 10”, 13”, 14”, 15” and 16” single headed concert toms
- an 18” double headed floor tom plus mounting hardware.
My first task is always to determine the overall condition of a kit - trying to see through the dirt and assess what is good and salvageable and what is going to need more extensive restoration or even replacement.
On this kit, the larger drums were in fairly good condition - the typical scuffs, scrapes and war-wounds from a life of playing, but nothing too scary.
A couple of the smaller toms had the wrong mounting brackets, and a few drums were missing lug screws and washers. The only other missing parts were some of the internal dampers on some of the toms.
My next job was a quick check to see what heads were needed. I’d had a sound profile outlined by the owner, who had sensibly opted for single ply clear Evans G1s on the single headed toms, a G2 batter over G1 resonant for the 18” floor and EMAD clear bass drum batters with smooth white ported EQ3 resonants. All of these were in stock with the supplier, but here we hit the first hurdle.
With this age of kit, I’m always a bit paranoid about sizes - are they going to fit standard heads? So I whipped the old (very battered) heads off and checked for fit using spare heads I had lying around the workshop. All good apart from the 10” tom. A quick measurement brought it up as 9.5” rather than 10” - it was a (very uncommon) Pre-International 10” tom and Evans don’t make a head for it!!!
I could get a Remo Ambassador (Pre-International) clear head new, but these are only available by special order, with a very long lead time from the States. Discussing the problem with the owner, it was decided to press on with the restoration, even on the 10” tom, and wait for the head.
For the next few days it was mainly leg work, stripping each drum down to it’s component parts and cleaning or replacing parts as I went. Luckily I have a fairly good stock of old Premier bits, so I was able to replace with good condition vintage parts where the originals were too badly corroded or broken.
Some before and after photos
Most bits were small and easy to replace - bolts, washers, wingnuts and the like. The only big parts to need replacing were the tom mount on one bass drum (which had a casting crack) and three of the tom brackets (which weren’t original). The bass drum bracket I happened to have in stock (I even surprised myself!), but I only had one spare tom bracket.
Out of the blue I got a phone call from the owner. He’d located and purchased a pair of concert toms on eBay (10” and 12”) - in a slightly “dubious” brown wrap, but they looked like perfect matches for the kit shell-wise. They just need to be re-wrapped and restored.
This is one job I definitely don’t do. As anyone who has visited my workshop can vouch for, I’ve got loads of spares, bits and Boxes of Drummy Delights, but what I don’t have is a lot of room, and re-wrapping just needs space. So I stripped off the parts and the shells were made ready for a trip to deepest darkest Wales and Leigh at Cariad Drums.
Looking over the drums, there was a crack in the ply of the 10” tom, but the 12” looked good. It seemed that it should be an easy fix on the 10” tom, but before I got started, I did my usual paranoid check on sizes. Lo and behold, the 10” drum was a 9.5” (despite the seller on eBay being asked specifically to check!). So the plan was now keep going on the original 10” black drum, order some Remo Pre-International heads and just get the 12” re-wrapped.
On the up-side, the two brown concert toms had correct tom mounts so I could use the mount from the cracked 10” on another drum, leaving me just one short (easily found on eBay as it happens). I was also able to replace a few less-than-perfect lugs on other drums using this one as a source for parts.
Multiple hours of cleaning later, I now had this magnificent beast back on its feet.
I am still waiting on the custom order Pre-Int Remo heads to arrive, but I’m sure you’ll agree it’s now looking rather lovely. All of the drums are back to their original spec, with correct tom mounting brackets and all of their lugs looking great. The only things missing are three of the internal dampers on the 8”, 10” and 12” drums (moved onto the larger drums where they are more useful), and the kit is back and ready for many years playing…
“I can feel it coming in the air tonight…duh-duh, duh-duh, duh-duh, duh-duh! Bam! Bam!”
2 snow days this week meant that we were effectively snowed in (in terms of driving), the kids were all at home as their school and college were shut and most pupils couldn't make it to us (apart from 2 hardy souls with 4 x 4s).
So...what to do...?
Well, what we didn't do was let it stop us from getting parcels out!
With the help of JackJack, a sledge and a trusty little Jack Russell (Lexie), we trudged through the snow to take parcels to the local courier drop-off point...
It was also a great opportunity to get some serious work done on the Premier concert tom kit that's in the workshop at the moment. Headphones on, grinder in full swing.
Just 2 bass drums left to service...(and new heads to put on).
I also spent some time finishing off this gorgeous Pearl Session kit (which is currently available to buy from our web store).
It really was a pleasure to work on such a glorious kit...
Then, of course, were the obligatory snowball fights - with 5 kids in our family, you could run, but you couldn't hide!
How did you spend your snow days?
| || |
DNA clear heads are suited to both batter and resonant use. They are constructed of a single, clear 10mils PET, giving great attack and depth and a wide, open tone with long decay. The heads also have a wide tuning range, increasing their versatility - great all-rounders.
DNA clear heads are available in 8"-18".
DNA COATED SINGLE PLY (Batter)
A great all-round head for any genre from light jazz through to rock. DNA coated heads can be used on toms or snare. The construction is 10mils single ply with a textured coating. The coating helps reduce overtones and gives a warm, big, fat sound. Strong attack and medium decay.
DNA coated heads are available in 6"-18".
Law Single Ply with Surface Donut Dot (Batter)
| || |
Single 10mils clear ply with a 5mils PET donut dot. The PET dot gives extra durability and brings out more of the mid-tones for a classic retro sound. They can also be used as resonant heads. Also great for use on snare drums to give a unique and timeless sound.
Law heads are available in 8"-18".
We do also have limited stocks of the old design Law heads with a solid centre dot, although these have been discontinued.
Generator Twin Ply Clear (Batter)
Generator heads suit the heavier hitter who wants a punchy and controlled sound. The 18” can also be used on kick drum. Constructed from 2 x 7mils plies with bonded ring around the outside edge, which focuses and controls the sound and overtones and also gives the skins fast attack and decay. For a more open sound, use with DNA clear as the resonant heads, or for a more deadened sound, use with Reso Ring (RR).
We currently only stock the clear Generator heads, but can order the coated variety for you.
Generator heads are available in 8"-18".
Reso Ring (RR) (Resonant)
| || |
Clear single 7mils ply with a narrow dampening ring around the outside edge. Developed to prevent drummers from having to use tape or taping tissue etc to the bottom of their toms to reduce the ring! The dampening ring helps to reduce unwanted overtones. Gives a punchy and controlled sound with reduced overtones and short decay. The heads make it much easier for sound engineers to control the sound of the toms when the drums are mic'd.
RR heads are available in 8"-18".
All of our prices in our web store include shipping to the mainland UK - if preferred you can collect your heads in person (at slightly lower costs due to lack of fees etc - please ask for a quote).
If you'd like any advice on selecting the best type of heads for your kit, drop me an e-mail, I'll be happy to help!
Drummer, drum geek, reluctant blogger and eater of cheese!
Code DNA Clear
Code DNA Coated
Code Port Holes
Code Sterling TRS
Code Tom Heads
Drum Kit Servicing
One Day Drum Shop
Snare Drum Heads