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  1. Registered User

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    May 2019
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    Default Drum Setup Ergonomics: Asymmetrical vs Symmetrical

    Have you ever noticed the classic two rack toms over the one bass drum to floor tom setup has literally 4/5ths of the drums to the complete right side of your body? This setup feels most natural to me for some reason, like it makes playing from tom to tom more flowing and ergonomic, I'm not sure. But it's weird that you're basically playing in a right twisted motion the majority of the time, is it not?

    I have seen a lot of guys put one rack tom to the left and one rack tom to the right, but then the hi-hat is shoved out to the left some, so compromise I suppose unless you are using small toms. It even feels weird to have one bass drum since you have two feet, having a double pedal helps but doesn't feel the same as two single pedals admittedly.

    Maybe playing drum set isn't supposed to be symmetrical, as you go from high sounding notes to low sounding notes from left to right and have to cross your arms for hi hat play and naturally leave your arms open for ride cymbal play. My brain just enjoys symmetry, but maybe drum set isn't ideally symmetrical, unless you're Mike Mangini and playing his drums would be a nightmare imo. He has to twist around 24-7 to do a tom run in natural succession. It seems like that's the epitome of "looks symmetrically pleasing but not ergonomic to play" examples.

    A lot of guys are playing 4 piece drum sets again with one rack tom. That makes going from the rack tom to floor tom less ergonomic imo so I prefer having a 2nd rack tom over the pass drum to connect my drums together like Steve Gadd, etc. Seems to have best flow. Second option being two rack toms with one on the left and one on the right with maybe a third over the bass drum with them all.

    How do you guys setup your drums? What feels most NATURAL to you? Is it a symmetrical looking setup or no? Thoughts?
    Last edited by Invicta; 06-06-2019 at 09:50 AM.

  2. Registered User

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    Well this was a pretty cool read:

    https://drummagazine.com/how-to-set-...nd-efficiency/

  3. Registered User

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    Mar 2018
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    I'm a 3 up 2 down guy, reaching around for the 16" tom is quite tricky IMO so it barely gets used.
    Pearl Prestige Session Select SRX 1998 in black mist
    8-10-12-14-16F-18F-20BD 14x6.5" Masters Custom Maple Snare

  4. Drumming Since 1943

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    Jun 2005
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    This paragraph says it all and emphasizes why I always turn my kick a few degrees to the right when I set up:

    “Most drummers see nothing wrong with it, and that’s the way they set up: drums and drummer both facing straight ahead. But if the bass drum is facing straight ahead, that means that the bass drum pedal is pointing straight back. This creates a need for what I believe is an unnatural “turning in” of the bass drum foot.”

    I always scratch my head when I see a bass drum aimed directly at the audience. Do drummers LIKE being uncomfortable?
    Way Too Much Crap

  5. Registered User

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    Mar 2018
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    Exactly JY. When I setup my kit in the big band, its rotated quite a bit clockwise (a) so I'm more central (b) the other members of the rhythm section are on my right so I stand a chance of actually being able to see them.
    Pearl Prestige Session Select SRX 1998 in black mist
    8-10-12-14-16F-18F-20BD 14x6.5" Masters Custom Maple Snare

  6. Registered User

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    Mar 2014
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    I I’ve always enjoyed the ergonomic set up of a double bass kit, and when I play a single kick, I still set up and play as though the second kick was there, as JY and Bodgit do.

  7. Music Lover

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    I use four drums and four cymbals. That has become natural to me. Peace and goodwill.
    Mark Wellman ><>

    "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

    Mapex Saturn (snare, bass drum, and toms); Mapex MPX (snare); Sabian AA, AAX, HHX, and SR2 ; Evans ; LA Backbeat

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  8. Chomp, Chomp

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    Quote Originally Posted by JY Kelly View Post
    This paragraph says it all and emphasizes why I always turn my kick a few degrees to the right when I set up:

    “Most drummers see nothing wrong with it, and that’s the way they set up: drums and drummer both facing straight ahead. But if the bass drum is facing straight ahead, that means that the bass drum pedal is pointing straight back. This creates a need for what I believe is an unnatural “turning in” of the bass drum foot.”

    I always scratch my head when I see a bass drum aimed directly at the audience. Do drummers LIKE being uncomfortable?
    I can understand why many drummers with bass drums that have have artwork and their band’s name on the reso head would want to have their bass drums facing straight ahead. I was one of them. Today I still face my bass drum forward, but my body faces the way my throne is situated and I look out between my 10” and 12” toms. I have too much stuff to my left to face forward. I actually prefer a round throne seat for the flexibility around the kit and used them until a few years ago when I realized it was exaggerating my sciatica pain down my right leg. I changed to a cycle seat and noticed a difference immediately. Trading pain relief for less flexibility was a no brainer. There is a pedal out there that swivels left and right that would allow drummers to face their bass drums forward without having to twist their leg.
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  9. Registered User

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    I have to say I grew up playing two bass drums since my dad did and it’s all I knew. Tom on each side of snare, facing forward, one floor Tom. When I entered high school And was introduced to the typical five piece drum set with two toms over the bass drum I remember being incredibly uncomfortable. I can play on anything now but prefer what I grew up with.

  10. life start at 125bpm

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    Quote Originally Posted by quicksticks View Post
    I can understand why many drummers with bass drums that have have artwork and their band’s name on the reso head would want to have their bass drums facing straight ahead. I was one of them. Today I still face my bass drum forward, but my body faces the way my throne is situated and I look out between my 10” and 12” toms. I have too much stuff to my left to face forward. I actually prefer a round throne seat for the flexibility around the kit and used them until a few years ago when I realized it was exaggerating my sciatica pain down my right leg. I changed to a cycle seat and noticed a difference immediately. Trading pain relief for less flexibility was a no brainer. There is a pedal out there that swivels left and right that would allow drummers to face their bass drums forward without having to twist their leg.
    exactly . BD can be settled up straight flat toward the audience,then sitting a little off set to the BD ( and the audience) do the trick .ergonomiclly speaking, you must respect the natural bend in the leg to play confortably .
    RUSH FOREVER RUSH
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  11. Registered User

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    I have my kick facing the audience square on, but that doesn't mean that I do, too. I physically cannot play like that, so I'm facing a little more towards stage right. As a result, I have my toms offset slightly so that the ten is directly in front of me and the twelve is centered over the kick (I don't like them centered on me and I definitely can't abide them being too far off to my right), and it's always entertaining how many people, including drummers, look at my set and ask me why I set up like that and how I can play it until they see me actually sit down and do it, and then it makes sense. Everything about my kit is completely natural, ergonomic and organic. My body flows like liquid when I perform and I don't ever have to bend anything in a way that's uncomfortable for me.

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    Don't pick a fight with a drummer... we beat things for a living.

  12. Drum sales/service

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    Nov 2009
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    Off Set pedals are the answer to all the problems mentioned in previous posts.
    Read about them here:
    https://offsetpedal.com/
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