Percussion provided

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by quantumq4, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. quantumq4

    quantumq4 Member

    Calling all percussionists, what did you think of the percussion the organisers provided?
    Whenever I wandered past the 4th section hall on Sunday (LSC) I listened to the timps and thought the tuning was a bit wild, but when we FINALLY got in (we were last to go on!) I discovered why.
    In short, they were CR*P! :frown:
    I've used some pretty ropy timps in the past but these were really bad.
    For example, when I want to change down quickly I expect the pedal to go up on its spring, not to just sit there and need lifting up with my foot! :eek:

    It's bad enough having to quickly get used to a new instrument on stage as it is, but it should at least work properly! :mad:
  2. I can see where you are coming from on this.

    I played at an entertainment contest last year and the timps were absolutely useless!

    I think percussion should be allowed to go and look and have a wee shot with the instruments before contests to get the feel for them. Its not like the brass players who play their own instruments and no what they are capable of.

    I think us percussionists are taken for granted somedays!
  3. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

  4. We are also very lucky here in Scotland at the Championships but other contests not so. Its bad enough going on stage without having to learn how to use there timps in the process of trying to play. It just doesn't do much for your self esteem. I have seen myself come off the stage in such a strop I'm ready for hitting anyone who says anything!

    There was one incident with a set of timps and instead of pushing the pedal down to go up it was vice versa. Luckily I wasn't playing that time but my fellow percussionist who was was absolutely fuming to say the least!
  5. Mr Guinness

    Mr Guinness Member

    Not too many bad experiences here I don't think. As mentioned above - Ray Payne always does a top job. Butlins gear has been a pleasure to work with in my experience for example.
    That said, I also agree with the comments above regarding percussionists having time to 'review' the gear. In a lot of cases, the equipment is actually better than I'm used to.
  6. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    If percussion is provided, it should be adequate to the needs of all the competitors

    Many (many!) moons ago a percussionist suggested to me that all perc. players went on stage with just their sticks, and all brass players with just their mouthpieces, and the band had (say) 2 mins to come to terms with their provided instruments. (Music, unmarked, on the stands...)

    How many PC's - how many brass players - would go for that? So you've rehearsed your solo on a Xeno cornet, and on the day you have to play a Sov.? Or a 4-valve compensating tuba, and on the day you're given a 3-valve non-comp?

    We (a band I was then with) played a contest where percussion was provided - couldn't use ours - where all the timp registers had been shoved to one end, presumably by the band before us. The timpanist tried to sort it out - she had note changes during the piece - but we almost fell foul of the four minute rule, and she eventually had to guess.

    At another contest, we needed four pedal timps. There were seven available. Three worked the same as ours (pedal down to raise pitch). the other four t'other way, so we had to go with a mix, and hope.

    Both times, timpanist (two different young ladies) ended up in tears. (More due to delayed panic than mistakes, I have to admit, but that's not the point...)

    So, yes, provide percussion, but don't penalise a band in any way for using the kit they've rehearsed with if it's better/different

    Not unless all players in the contest have the same 'opportunities'
  7. DMBabe

    DMBabe Supporting Member

    We've all seen that happen, shocking and immature as it is! :mad: My hubby has had it happen to him a couple of times and now hovers at the side of the stage for most of the previous bands performance and is straight on as soon as they've finished so they'd totally be caught in the act if they did! I've seen me having to leave doing the stage setting to help him tune timps when it did happen but now he's wise to it! Sad that he's had to go to such lengths and people probably think that he's really impatient/overly keen. :confused:
  8. MarkGillatt

    MarkGillatt Member

    Hopefully, most percussionists won't indulge in this rather annoying and pointless excersise of "detuning" the timps. It is pointless and petty. I myself will go out of my way to help the incoming percussionist as I leave the stage and they come on, warn them about any strangeness with the equipment, luckily we are in Yorkshire and have the incredible Mr Payne providing top quality kit, so we don't have too many problems. I remember one year the tubular bells caused me a massive meltdown tho as you needed to press the pedal to dampen them, instead of the releasing, meaning for the bell to ring on, I had to stand there as long as I could before launching myself 6 feet across the stage to hammer a fff Tam Tam note.
    Still, it gives some people something to look at I suppose, all part of a godd performance. :rolleyes:
  9. quantumq4

    quantumq4 Member

    In the past few years all the local bands have been put in the morning draw, so I always got there early to set up the gear in the wings and have a look at the timps. For some unexplaind reason the organisers decided to stick us 'locals' in the afternoon draw this year so I didn't get to do that.
    In the past we've been provided with gear from Impact Percussion (London), many moons ago I spent a week in their workshops and saw the state of their hire fleet, not good!
    This year not only were the pedals naff, but the heads were out of tune and on their last legs...........
  10. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    I have heard instances of this happening. The simple solution to my mind is to have the timps tuned and then mark in felt tip on the side of the gauge where each slider should be. They will change during the day given temperature changes, but they won't go that far away from the markers so at least each timp player has a good idea where to start and doesn't have to guess.

    The question of percussion is a difficult one. I used to be one of those who thought they should just get on with it but having seen both sides of the argument I am more in agreement with the percussionists and don't see why they should be penalised for using their own kit.

    At the recent Scottish Open Championships our band supplied the set of Majestic timps on the stage because the supplied timps a) had a different pedal arrangement and b) didn't have the largest diameter timp. In general the organisers of the major contests in Scotland are aware of the timp difference and do try to ensure that there is a choice for percussionists. The smaller contests though do not always do this and often rely on the goodwill of member bands to supply equipment because the cost of hiring two full sets of timps is prohibitive.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2008
  11. animal.22

    animal.22 Member

    Hi Guys,
    Just to shove my sixpeneth in,although we have had gear collapse on stage under suspicious circumstances before I would still prefer to hav all "cusion" supplied as it negates ALL the stress of having to A) wait outside and get it all rained on(Buxton) and B)carrying a full kit,timps,concert bass,bells,
    xylo/glock/vib,up and down off stage(Buxton) or up and down a very narrow staircase not designed for the job (Malton) As has been said before Ray Paynes gear has been very good.
  12. Oh I've had issues with trying to lift tubular bells up a flight of stairs! Not a very clever move, as I pulled a muscle.

    I've never came across sabotage with moving the notes on the timps as such but have heard about it from other percussionists in the band I play in. People obviously have major problems if they feel the need to do that. Percussionists should stick together.
  13. bigcol

    bigcol Member

    It must be a regional thing because we cannot speak high enough of Ray Payne's help and assistance not only in providing the percussion for the contests we do, but he's always on hand on stage to help with any queries our percussionists may have.

    Everyone needs a Ray!
  14. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    A slight tangent to this topic - at our area (NW 4th section) the organisers specified that the percussion could not be moved from its position on the stage. Imagine the outcry if (for example) bands weren't allowed to change where the tenor horns sit - thus penalising bands who put them in front of the trombones.

    We had to re-arrange our bandroom to rehearse in the "stage position" - those bands who don't have the space to do this must be at quite a major disadvantage, suddenly finding the timps/tam-tam behind you must be a surprise....

    I actually made our regional secretary put in writing that if the timps weren't in the same order we'd rehearsed them, we could move them. Although all our shed-builders are talented players, the stress of finding all your gear in a different place on the stage must be a bit of a nightmare.
  15. Mr Guinness

    Mr Guinness Member

    Absolutely!! On occasions where bands with two percussionists are playing a part written for three - the position of equipment is critical, for example.
  16. Sueperc

    Sueperc New Member

    Not being able to move the perc to where you wish is a terrible thing to do to a player.:(

    The timps were off this year especially the smallest one in the sports hall. Not a bad as last years glock though.

  17. quantumq4

    quantumq4 Member

    We always take our own glock (alot of bands do), firstly because there are two different note widths between makes that can really muck up your spacing but mainly because ours is a Really good one.
    Last year the one provided was covered in rust!!
  18. quantumq4

    quantumq4 Member

    Oh, we were in the sports hall aswell (why Do they call it a concert hall when there are basket ball hoops hanging from the ceiling?) :dunno .

    The stage crew must have known about the state of the timps as every time I made a quick change I heard a sharp intake of breath coming from behind me :eek:
  19. Sueperc

    Sueperc New Member

    We took our own glock aswell after last year.

    I just wish occasionally that brass players knew what it was like to wonder what your instrument was like and whether it worked like the ones you were used to. (Percussionist moan now over);-)

    Tuned Percussion
    Wantage Silver B

  20. Brass have no idea what we go through. Somedays I get so mad at them because they seem to think its easy being a percussionist. They don't take into consideration the amount of instruments you have to be able to play. I bet a few of them wouldn't know how to hold claves?! Or be able to control a tambourine?

    Or maybe I'm just being silly and only happens to me?