Small drum kits

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by TooLoud, Apr 20, 2014.

  1. TooLoud

    TooLoud New Member

    Have any drummers used small drum kits with brass bands? I'm thinking about a 'Jazz' size kit, ie. 18" bass drum. I'm considering one for easier transportation, less storage space and less weight. Do the bass drums have enough punch?
  2. For getting on for four years I have been using a kit consisting of 18” bass drum, 14”snare drum, 10” and 12” mounted tomtoms and 14” floor tomtoms. The reasons for choosing that kit were similar to your own, and because my main brass band is small and plays in tight venues. However, I also use the kit in full-size bands, sometimes minus tuned percussion, incidental percussion and the odd brass player or two.

    Where there is no concert bass drum, the sound of a kit bass drum is always a compromise vis-a-vis the “real thing”, especially where rolls are called-for but, bearing that in mind, I am pleased with the job that my 18” does.

    My kit is well up to the job, and I wouldn’t want anything larger. However, as you probably know, whether other similarly-sized drumkits are adequate depends on shell construction and heads.

    A short time ago I played another kit of similar dimensions when sitting in another band’s rehearsal and had to work too hard to make the bass drum heard where significant volume was needed.

    I would expect that a thin-shelled 18” bass drum with reinforcing rings would lack the necessary potential volume, and that a one-thickness shell of 6mm or so would be needed.

    I would try the kit out before committing yourself to it and, if possible, to get another player to test it while you listen from within the audience.
  3. Matt the Shed

    Matt the Shed Member

    I've used a Yamaha Hip Gig Junior kit (cheapy 16" bass drum) for the majority of brass band gigs I've done over the past 7-8 years and can still normally manage to cut through even the loudest band, though obviously it does lack a little depth. I also have a decent 18" that I tend to use for more for formal gigs that sounds pretty decent and a 22" bass drum with a fat Remo Powerstroke III head on it for when the basses can't stay in time :) TBH, I've found the 22" too much for most brass band gigs unless I want something a bit special on the contest stage, plus I'm too lazy to cart it about.

    If I could only have one bass drum for all gigs, including brass and non-brass band gigs, I'd make it a 20", which is Ironic given I own a 16", 18" and 22"! Don't forget you can completely change the sound / vol with different drum heads and beaters - I use a coated ambassador with little dampening and a softer felt beater for jazz gigs (both on the 18" and 22"), or the ambassador with a pillow and hard felt beater for a punchy, but controlled sound. Add something double-ply (such as the Powerstoke III), then mix it with a plastic or wood beater and you're cutting through guitars, even when using a smaller drum.