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WHEN SHARING A KIT

In battle-of-the-band situations or double/triple header gigs, bands often agree to share a drum kit (usually belonging to either the last band playing on the evening or the guy with the best kit or most generous heart). Often it is my kit that is the shared one. It surprises me how few drummers know the etiquette of sharing a drum kit. After much experience both of lending and borrowing kits over the years here are the rules as I believe they should go:

If you are going to use another person's kit...

1) Make contact - preferably in advance but certainly when you get to the gig, find the guy shake his hand, exchange names, reassure him that you have got the other 'rules' down, ask him if you can help him in any way, buy him a beer maybe...

2) Bring your own - cymbals, bass drum pedal, snare drum, snare stand, hi-hat stand, stool and sticks. Cymbals and snare are a minimum requirement but the other stuff on the list cuts down set up time between bands and allows you to still have much of the feel and heights (settings) of your own kit ... which leads to...

3) Be quick. When you finish your set do not come off the stage for backslapping, a beer and a chat. Straight away, after the last song, get your cymbals and stuff off the shell kit and stowed away. The next guy needs time to set up and adjust.

4) Be thorough. Do not lose any of the other dudes washers or felts or wing nuts. Put them all on the floor tom to allow a quick set up for the next guy.

5) Hands off the settings. As much as possible do not fiddle with their hardware. particularly on drum racks. You should be a good enough drummer to play drums regardless of if the crash is exactly the same place and angle as your one at home or not. Adapt and evolve. I nearly hit a bloke once when he started to try to adjust my hi tom into a Lars Ulrich-like angle and nearly dropped it onto the bass drum. Also toms at those angles are most likely to get dents on their skins at my expense.

6) Be thoughtful. Turn your snare wires off when not in use. Make sure your bits are right out of the way, safe and silent before the next band strikes up.

7) Be thankful. offer the kit owner another beer or to help carry his stuff at the end of the evening. But in the least just find the guy at the end and say thanks. You never know. This guy might need a substitute drummer for a gig in the future. Make friends in the drumming community and develop a reputation for professionalism and respect and opportunities may come your way.

Unbelievable as it may sound I have dealt with guys who break any and even all of these rules. These days, if I’m sharing my kit, I’m really stubborn. If a guy doesn't have the common sense to obey these rules I will tell him he is not playing on my kit. I’ve forced a  drummer to rush home to get his cymbals. If we all make these rules better known and enforce them stubbornly they will be less likely to be broken.

FURTHER THOUGHTS…

- I'm not so bad. Once I played a guy's kit and he made all the other drummers give him a deposit.

- I would say your own snare is essential. Not only is it tuned up for your preferences but also, if six bands are playing the same kit, it can be really monotonous to have just one snare sound all night. Apart from the bass and hihat, the snare is the most played drum and much sharper and louder than the other two. Merely changing the snare sound between bands can make the over-all kit sound totally different. Also some snare sounds are pretty genre specific... for example: a deep death-metal  snare is not going to work too well in a reggae outfit .

J

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