Drum Tip: Set Your Drums Up Consistently
A couple of days ago Ed Francis shared a tip about spiking your drum set hardware layout with tape to make sure that you set your drums up exactly the same every time, which leads to a more efficient set up and comfort when playing. His post reminded me of another important aspect of setting your drums up: consistency when setting the height and angles of your cymbal stands and hardware stands.
Memory Locks on Drum Hardware
One of the main ways to consistently set your drum hardware up the same for every show is by using memory locks. Memory locks are basically small metal pipe clamps that you attach to your hardware stands to mark and stop at a certain height/angle that you like to have your stands at. These memory locks are moved up and down the stand by tightening or loosening the lock with a drum key.
The Sharpie Method
Memory locks are great, but I have a very small SKB hardware case that doesn’t have enough room for me to completely disassemble a cymbal stand, which is basically what I would have to do if I used memory locks on my stands since you wouldn’t want to move the memory lock every time you put it back in the case. In order to fix this problem I just started marking my heights and angles with a fine tipped Sharpie! This completely eliminates the need for memory locks, and allows me to collapse my hardware inside itself enough to fit everything in my hardware case.
This small SKB case fits my kick pedal, 3 boom cymbal stands, hi-hat stand, snare stand and 2 tom L-rod brackets.
Mark the base of your cymbal stand with a sharpie when you have it set up exactly to your specifications. (I used a fine tip sharpie to keep it looking clean, but you can use any sharpie.)
Mark the angle of your cymbal boom arm by making a straight line across the angle adjustment piece. Line the marks up for your perfect angle!
Use the same method for marking any angle you might deal with when adjusting your cymbal stand.
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Marking the hardware is an excellent idea. I had a little twist to your method if there are multiple drummers using the same kit:
Have every drummer use a different coloured sharpie. When one guy finishes playing, he can easily adjust the stands for the next drummer based on the different coloured sharpie markings.
Thanks for the idea! This will work great in churches where they have multiple drummers playing from week to week.
Jon, Great tip! It would make a lot of sense to use this technique at a church with a house kit! Those early morning band calls would be much more productive if it only took 1 minute to set the drums up the way you like them!