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  • Drummers Be Flexible

    By Dendy Jarrett |

    5318ee80e784b.jpg.bd05c24c0f18a770c5f96228902c86d9.jpgWhen necessity becomes the mother of ingenuity

    by Dendy Jarrett


    The Need

    I recently received a call to do a label showcase for an artist. But the venue was tiny, so I was asked to perform the show without a bass drum or hi-hat stand because of the limited stage space. WHAT?


    Being Flexible

    Like many drummers, when I was younger my kit had to be ‘just so’ for me to feel comfortable playing a show. Had to be my way or the highway … and don’t ask me to use the “house kit.”  As I started playing in Nashville, I became critically aware that you have to be flexible if you expect call-backs. And many times, you're forced to use the “house kit” (and it may be a dog!).

    I really liked the songwriter doing the showcase, so my wheels  started turning immediately about how to meet the criteria for this special request. I started thinking about cocktail kits and the like but due to the budget, using a cocktail kit wasn’t really an option, and there just aren’t dozens of them floating around Nashville that you can borrow.

    And here enters the part about being flexible. Being creative, able to explore options, and open to making a situation work can really be the difference between your getting calls and not getting calls to play. You need to learn to be flexible in your mind as much as you need to keep your limbs flexible!


    Meeting the Need

    I began by assessing my available gear. I grabbed my DW 5000 pedal and started researching online how to disassemble the pedal’s cam assembly with minimal effort or effect on the pedal. This required having some “handy man” knowledge and a good set of Allen wrenches (hex keys). It didn’t take long until I had my pedal apart and had inverted the beater to throw upward, versus the stock setup of throwing the beater forward.

    I took a picture before and after so I would remember how it would need to be reversed.

    Then I found a universal clamp that was lying around. I pulled out a 14” Natal Maple floor tom, and worked with it for a while to determine how I could mount it to a floor tom leg so that it could hold the bass drum pedal, which would then play the floor tom's bottom head (my impromptu bass drum). I used this floor tom because I could play the top head as a tom-tom, and let the kick beater play the bottom head as the bass drum.

    The next challenge was the lack of a “hoop” for mounting the pedal. The solution was a four-inch cowbell post: I mounted one side of the clamp to the leg, and in the other end, I mounted the 4” cowbell post. The pedal hoop clamp was clamped to the cowbell post. It worked like a charm!

    Next up, the hi-hat stand solution. For the snare drum, I was going to use an 8” Natal side snare that I owned with a DW snare stand that has a snare basket made specifically for smaller snare drums. To that stand, I mounted a DW X-hat stand with a pair of 12” Sabian hi-hat cymbals.

    One more add-on was a DW dog bone (the part that extends up through the floor tom leg mount) mounted to my floor tom leg post. I added an 18” Sabian Crash Ride to this.

    Voila! I had my own cocktail kit that I could sit down and play.



    The criteria for this gig set the stage for my building this “acoustic” or “coffee house” kit. Keeping your mind open to opportunities also keeps your stretching your reach in the market. The kit went over great. It had lots of side benefits as well: it was less to carry (which is becoming more important to me), and I was able to control dynamics so much better than with a full blown kit. And thanks to the minimalist approach, I was actually the first person ready to play – I beat the guitar player with respect to setup time!

    I'm now asked by this particular artist to bring the “funky” little kit to the subsequent gigs I'll be playing for him. The great thing about the little kit is that mentally, it  took me back to the basics.

    So, keep an open mind when you're called to do a gig. Remember: it is about the music … not about the drumming. As long as you have the basics to carry the groove and a great attitude, you can get the calls for work.

    Meanwhile, I'm going back to my little funky kit to jam!


    Kit from the front at the showcase:



    The kit from the rear at the showcase:




    DW5000 Pedal:


    DW Dog Bone:


    Multi-Clamp I used:


    Natal Maple Drums:


    Natal Side Snare:


    Sabian Cymbals:



    To Discuss Drums and Drumming:




    5318ee80efd0e.jpg.7187eec63770a8912e997f25925af090.jpgDendy Jarrett is the Editorial Director and Director of Communities for Harmony Central. He has been heavily involved at the executive level in many aspects of the drum and percussion industry for over 25 years and has been a professional player since he was 16. His articles and product reviews have been featured in InTune Monthly, Gig Magazine, DRUM! and Modern Drummer Magazines.

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