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  1. Ninja Pro

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    Exclamation General Guidelines to Setting Up a Drum Kit.

    Hey guys, I'm kinda bored so I thought I might be able to help a couple people (somehow) by writing up a guide. There's a lot of threads lately that bash on other people's setups, and sometimes people don't seem to listen to their advice, so I thought I can sum up mostly everything and make a general guide based on other people's own time proven knowledge as well as my own opinions. Well here it is:

    There are no "specific" rules on how to set up a drum kit other than making sure you can hit every drum or cymbal without having to walk 3 feet to reach them, and that the bass drum pedal is actually clamped on to the bass drum hoop (a little joke there ), however the following will provide general guidelines for setting up a drum kit properly and comfortably. Setups will vary from player to player and may not strictly follow these guidelines, but setups should at least be based on these basic principles to ensure an efficiently setup kit.

    1. Start one piece at a time, starting with the basics: Bass, Snare, and Hi-hat. Place these in positions in which your body feels natural and comfortable, otherwise relaxed.

    2. When you add toms, auxiliary snares, and so on to the kit, place these in positions in which your body can spend the least amount of effort and energy to move around based on the positions of your bass, snare, and hi-hat. Rack toms should be a low as possible without hitting anything or affecting overall sound (i.e resonant side too close to the bass drum that would result in a muffled or choked sound). Floor toms should be close to the snare and bass without being to cramped to fit your leg between the drums comfortably.

    3. General rule of thumb is that the placement of the hi-hat and first floor tom to the right (or left if left handed) should be around 150-180 degrees relative to your seated position (your throne in the center, floor tom in the east position, and hi-hat between the west and northwest positions), but no more. A separation larger than 180 degrees facing the front may force your body to twist excessively in order to move around the kit, ultimately causing back, joint, and muscle problems later on.

    4. As explained in other threads here, pedals should be set up in a circular array, that is, relatively curved around your throne. This makes it natural for your legs to move from pedals as your legs while seated move in a similar circular fashion.

    5. It is preferred to have the drum heads in a position that when you strike them with the stick in a relaxed fashion, that the stick almost lies parallel to the surface of the drum head (this concept is explained in Jojo Mayer's DVD). This allows maximum rebound and better sound, as well as preventing excessive denting of the drum heads due to sticks hitting the drum heads at awkward angles. For those who still don't understand, this is the reason why many people say to "flatten out" rack toms and have your snare and floor toms relatively flat as well, because you get the most power and best sound (and at the same time preserving the drum head's integrity) when your drumstick's tip hits perpendicular to the drum head, as they are allowed to naturally rebound back (like a kid bouncing straight up and down on a trampoline). And honestly... no one wants to see your resonant heads facing the audience right?

    6. Whether using stands or racks, cymbals should be placed in positions where they are easy to hit (without having to stretch or hop out of your seat) but also don't get in the way of other drums (to prevent you from accidentally hitting them during a drum fill or lick). Again this makes cymbal heights vary from player to player, as taller people can place their cymbals higher and still be able to reach them comfortably, but shorter people may have to place cymbals lower and find ways to have them set up comfortably without getting in the way of toms, other cymbals, etc.

    7. What bugs me the most is when people place their ride where they really really have to reach for it. It's usually used just as much as the hi-hat so it deserves to be placed in an easily accessible position. 4 piece/offset setups generally have it easier as the ride is placed above the bass drum, however if you have larger setups, the ride should generally be placed either flat and low above the edge of the first floor tom, or higher up and slightly angled (unless you're open handed, that's a different story). Again it is personal preference, but make sure that you are able to play the ride in a relaxed manner and be able to reach the bell (or crash it if you do) without having to get off your throne. If you don't have a boom arm/stand for the ride, I'd suggest you get one. It makes placement of the ride (as well as other cymbals) easier.

    8. Try not to have your crashes/splashes/chinas overly angled, but also try not to have them too flat. Having them slightly angled towards you, and having the wingnuts relatively loose will allow the cymbal more room and give to absorb even the hardest of hits and help prevent cracking. Also, having your crashes high and flat (emo-scene style as most people would call it) may actually make you hit only the edge of the cymbal inwards rather than downwards. This is the similar to the same effect as dropping a cymbal on its edge

    9. Everyone who uses stands should know that one leg should always be under the mass the stand is carrying. Therefore, if you have a heavy ride cymbal, or toms clamped on with a multiclamp to a stand, ensure that one leg is directly under that mass to carry and hold the load properly. Usually, the load bearing leg also faces you.

    10. If you have problems with your bass drum moving (I suppose many PDF members don't), check to ensure that the spurs are facing towards the front of the bass drum so that the rubber/spikes can prevent the bass drum from moving forward.

    11. For multiclamp users, ensure that both wingnuts on each side of the clamp are level with each other to ensure that the jaws/clamps are relatively parallel to each other to ensure maximum gripping force.

    12. Finally, if some of you are offended by this, or by people "bashing" at your ridiculous tom angles, or 90 degree pedal setups, lighten up. Its a matter of both form and function and that the setup should adapt to the body, and not the other way around (again this is a concept in Jojo Mayer's DVD). A setup that is for example overly angled or too far apart causes more side effects than benefits to both the body and the drums themselves. Such setups causes the body to over exert itself and thus causes early exhaustion or even worse, injury to the back, spine, joints, and so on. Also, such setups can also cause your drum sticks to hit your drums and cymbals at unreasonable angles, thus causing dented or broken drum heads, cracked cymbals, or broken sticks. With a properly and efficiently setup drum kit, you can play and move around the kit faster and more precisely without having to overexert or force movement out of your body. Check out the setups of many greats such as John Bonham, Buddy Rich, Thomas Lang, Dennis Chambers, Jojo Mayer, and so on, and you'll see how they can play fast and relaxed around the kit because it is setup in an efficient manner.

    Thanks, and I hope this thread is sticky worthy
    Last edited by Falken Zero; 07-29-2009 at 12:22 AM.

  2. InGlorious Basterd

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    im sure some of the XXhardcoreXX drummers wont appreciate the slightly angled crash comment

    nice post though, this should be stickyed for the newbies!
    "To the heart of me and your spilling grief, To answer to a God who never answers you"
    Oceansize

    Brass Sensitone & cymbals

  3. Ninja Pro

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    Quote Originally Posted by ant View Post
    im sure some of the XXhardcoreXX drummers wont appreciate the slightly angled crash comment

    nice post though, this should be stickyed for the newbies!
    Always here to help out! I hope I wasn't too too harsh

  4. Stanton and Me!

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    Awesome thread Falkan! I agree with everything you have posted here. Scene kids need to read this...

  5. Ninja Pro

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aggressivec View Post
    Awesome thread Falkan! I agree with everything you have posted here. Scene kids need to read this...
    Thanks and rep to both of you! I'll get some pics up tomorrow hopefully, I've only had 5 hours of sleep and squeezed out the last of my energy making this thread for you guys

  6. hammer jammer

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    Useful thread man

  7. Stanton and Me!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Falken Zero View Post
    Thanks and rep to both of you! I'll get some pics up tomorrow hopefully, I've only had 5 hours of sleep and squeezed out the last of my energy making this thread for you guys
    Why, I think I'll rep you back ! You deserve it anyway. This is a marvelous thread. Let me ask you though, I have my china in a great spot, but I cannot mute it without falling out of my seat. Granted, I do not mute it much, but do you think I should move it closer to me even though where it is right now I am comfortable hitting it, just not muting it?

    *EDIT* Too much rep today for me. I'll do it tomorrow!

  8. Ninja Pro

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aggressivec View Post
    Why, I think I'll rep you back ! You deserve it anyway. This is a marvelous thread. Let me ask you though, I have my china in a great spot, but I cannot mute it without falling out of my seat. Granted, I do not mute it much, but do you think I should move it closer to me even though where it is right now I am comfortable hitting it, just not muting it?

    *EDIT* Too much rep today for me. I'll do it tomorrow!
    If you feel like you have to, it's always worth a try experimenting. Getting used to setting up and finding your most efficient setup is really based on trial and error and experience. If you don't really choke your china, then it's probably fine where it is. However if you feel a need to or eventually want to, you can always move it closer.

    Personally my cymbals are all chokable with minimal effort aside from lifting my butt off the throne just a little bit. My china is placed above my floor tom so it's actually chokable within arms length (and I like being able to do that) .

  9. #smangitdrums

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    This is truly an A+ thread, dude! Great stuff. I believe that these are mostly good guidelines to use when starting out with setting up the kit. However, I don't believe that all of it is correct for every drummer (as you have probably stressed). Make sure to edit the thread & state that results do & will vary, depending on the drummer. Different approaches work for different for different drummers; different strokes for different strokes, ya' know.

    Yes, this should be stickied.

  10. Ninja Pro

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbonedrumcam View Post
    This is truly an A+ thread, dude! Great stuff. I believe that these are mostly good guidelines to use when starting out with setting up the kit. However, I don't believe that all of it is correct for every drummer (as you have probably stressed). Make sure to edit the thread & state that results do & will vary, depending on the drummer. Different approaches work for different for different drummers; different strokes for different strokes, ya' know.

    Yes, this should be stickied.
    I believe I mentioned that there's no specific rules and that every drum setup varies to the drummer, but if I didn't, then I did just now

    Thanks!

  11. Registered Goofball

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    great post, should have been made long time ago!!

    Have some Rep!
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    Mate, you just make me spit coffee all over my monitor for laughing so hard LOL

    Now go get a Pearl Masters snare or I'll disown you:D
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    GET YOUR MP3 CLICKTRACKS HERE!

  12. F. & A. M.

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    Kudos for taking the time and effort to make an excellent post.
    Rep.

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