Does size really matter when it comes to drumming?


New member
I have a small set and i love it, but all my idiot friends insist that i need more toms, cymbals, double pedal etc. :x my set a 22x18 bass, 14x6 1/2 snare, 16x16 floor tom and paiste pst3 14''crash and 18'' crash ride w/ sabian B8 hi-hats and pearl pedal single pedal, and i play it just fine, basically im asking, why do you need a large set to be a skilled drummer?


New member
I'm willing to bet your "idiot" friends aren't drummers. My friends tell me the same thing "get more toms, get more cymbals, use a second bass drum instead of the double pedal." Usually it's the singer who only has to carry a mic to the club who's suggesting this too. Use what you're comfortable with. If you can make a 3 piece rock, there's no need to add any drums. IMHO it takes more talent to make a 3 piece rock than it does a 9 piece. I've played both and found it more challenging to find ways to express myself with only 3 drums. It forces you to find new ways to play your drums to get new sounds. I do miss my 9 piece, it was a blast to play on, but it would take me half an hour or more to set it up for a gig, which is just unacceptable. Next time someone tells you to get more drums, find a video of Buddy Rich playing on a 4-piece and show them that. Hopefully they'll learn it's not the drums that make the drummer.


New member
i coulndt agree more. i hear people tell me all the time "you should use more cymbals and more toms because it looks cool" my response is always, "who cares how it looks, its about how it sounds." if you're comfortable playing a 28 piece kit play it, if you like playing a 3 pice with only a hi hat and ride play it. you're the one behind the kit, not anyone else. do what you like.


New member
actually most of them are metal drummers, a few non-drummers have said that, but i also feel a smaller set u can play faster, fills are kept short and sweet yet sound great and not over done, ive played large sets and its sort of overwhelming with the unneccesary additions, ive always liked the john bonham set up w/ two floor toms one tom and a huge bass, i think BR had a similar setup also two floor toms and the single mount


New member
Hey, I think size matters in the diameter of youre drum, but not in the size of youre kit. I was at Beklee College of Music for a concert and Horacio Hernandez played He didnt brign any of his own set, he just used a 4 piece drumset and cymbals supplied by the school based on what there was lying around in the hallways. He used the kit in the most amazing way imaginable, using sides of drums, the floor, his body and drum rims instead of additional toms. Watching him play that day was proof you dont need a huge drumkit. I myself found my 7 piece doubble bass kit limiting, so im selling it now and playing a 4 piece, sometimes a 5 piece with a 2nd floor tom.

Some people just want a huge kit, and thats fine, but its not essential. Someone posted in a drum forum on this size that they get annoyed when they haveto play on someone elses kit thats a 5 piece or smaller. I think thats a bad attitude to have towards drums. If youre really a good drummer, you should be able to get by with just a snare and a bass, but on the flip side, when you sit behind someones huge set, you should be able to use it in a creative, musical way.


New member
Ok...I am one of those Idiots who has a big kit and enjoys it. I find it to be alot more fun when i can do the same sort of fill, but with different sounds coming from my kit instead of the same 2 or 3 sounds.

So...*shrugs* it's all a matter of how you see it.


New member
no im sayin your an idiot for playing larger kits, its people that think you can only be skilled if your set is more than 6 pieces


New member
I'm lefty, I play a 5 piece set- 1 tom and 2 floor toms. But when I play a gig there's a backline drumset with 2 toms and 1 floor tom. I just remove one tom and play a 4 piece, although I like to play a 5 piece with the small toms reversed(13 12 16 or 12 10 14). I just think that the vibe is more important than the fact that I'll play a fill using 3 drums or 2 drums etc. But my bass player gets really annoyed by this, because he thinks my solos should be more flashy :p


New member
I play a relatively small kit, and try to keep the sizes small. PDP CX kit with 22" inch bass, 12" and 14" and a 12" OCDP snare. I've got 14" hats, 12" splash, 16" and 18" crashes and 20" ride, all ZXT's (unfortunatly). I find this more than enough for the music i make, although I do quite fancy a 14" crash and I'm pondering whether or not to enquire with DW for an 18" bass drum that will fit in with the rest of the kit.
On the subject of big kits though, I don't think there is anyone here who would really complain to having a bash around a Terrry Bozzio sized kit, but I myself will never gig with anything more than a five piece.
As for soloing, I'm more impressed with a solo that can hold my attention on a small kit, then one on a big kit, but that's just me.


New member
The biggest difference in the size of a drumset is how long it takes to set up and break down. The size of the set has nothing to do with skill. It is a real drag to spend two hours putting your set together before a 4 1/2 hour gig, and then spend the rest of the night breaking down and packing out in the rain or cold. Bigger may look impressive but I prefer a four piece anyday. I can get a four piece kit set up, mic'd, sound check and ring out the pa in less than an hour. I run sound too so I'm always last to be ready to play.

I have a 4pc DW with a 22" kick in the trailer. For smaller "show and blow" gigs, I have a Premier XPK Heritage with an 18" that will fit in the cab of my truck. I have a Genista 5pc that I like to use for recording and I sold the 6pc kit. I wouldn't even consider anything larger except to maybe set up at home for practice. I'm the same player with the same skills regardless which kit I'm playing. My bandmates prefer the full size DW 4pc kit for the sound. They never mention any differences in the parts I play with different sets.


New member
honestly I think great drumming can be done with small kits its a subjective question. For example Jon Theodore makes his 4 piece kit sound amazing and Danny Carey makes his big kit sound great but the drummer from Great White has the biggest kit of all and he uses I think all of 4 drums.

What ever makes you happy is what you should do. Less can be more.
Wo cares what others think? I don`t! I`m the one behind the kit. I`m very very proud to say I have a 30 Pc Tama GRANSTAR kit with 27 PAISTE cymbals. VERY proud! I also use a smaller Mapex for practicng at a friends: 12,14,20 ,snare, hats, ride, 2 crashes. I can sit behind either kit and find lots to play.

The only limitation a drummer has is the one he (or she) gives themself. The only time size matters is for visual effects BUT if the drummer is good, nobody cares how big the kit is. When it comes down to it, everyone involved should only care about the sound. What`s the sense in having a 200 pc kit if you can`t play it?

Play whatever size kit YOU are comfortable with. Be selfish, it`s about you, because YOU are the drummer.

There are times, on my big kit, that I won`t even play half of it---I force myself to use only a few select drums (pretending like I`m on a smaller kit) because it forces creativity out of me.

I`m not sure if I made my point or just look like I`m rambling on. I`ll shut up now.



New member
Great thread!

Recently I've been taking the STEVE JORDAN approach. Kick, Snare, Hihats, Crash, Ride.

People dig my - SNOT POCKET kit.


New member
why do you need a large set to be a skilled drummer?
you don't.
you 'need' a kit appropriate for the music you play.
for some, that means having more colors available in the palette; for others, a bare minimum is plenty to accomplish what's needed.

You tailor your kit to your personal needs, not what someone else dictates. That's why, in my opinion, saying "Less is more" is just as disingenuous as saying "big kits are better." (no personal offense meant towards those who use that phrase, I just don't agree with it)
Nobody should tell you what to play.


New member
Why would anybody be so stupid as to think size matters, I have been told many times that I need a bigger set or a Double bass pedal or more toms or more cymbals. The way I look at it for the most part i can do 88% on my smaller 5 peice set that the "BIG SET" players can do on theirs sure there is that other 12% that i cant do but there is things i can do on my set that they cant do on theirs. I mean they could play the parts on their big sets but alot of them dont have the chops I have no offense to the big kit drummers that actually can play.

But realy what i am trying to say is that it is the drummer that makes the set not the set that makes the drummer.


I like small kits for jazz and funk, and big kits for most everything else. Its my theory that small kit jazz drummers started the war when they saw all the attention the big kit rock drummers were playing. Why can't we get along? I wanna see a drumset duet along the lines of terry bozzio and tony williams.


New member
I have both. The set I use will depend on, 1, the size of the stage, 2, the size of the room, 3, am I being miked up and what is needed for the music im playing. I really dont have a consistant size kit. I just bought a bunch of different size drums and I pick and choose what I feel I need for that paticular gig. I do alot of jazz fusion type stuff as well as pop tunes. All with different musicians in various situations.
Cymbals are the same way. Am I doing a classic rock type gig with loud bass and guitar amps or more of an jazz gig with horns and acoustic bass? The music and the other instruments will pretty much determine how big a kit and the size of the drums I bring to any gig. Its really fun this way, keeps me on my toes and thus keeps the music fresh. Little kits can sound amazing.
Ive shown up to gig with an 18" kik a 5x10 snare and 8 and 10 inch toms and im 270 lbs....kinda funny lookin, 270 lb drummer and this lil tiny kit.... I do need to geta pair of 12" hats and a 24" kik drum thou.....

drum man

New member
it all depends on what you are playing. if your gona play jazz, rock, hardcore, or classic then go with the 2 toms (rack, and floor) if your playing metal then go with more toms. and same with double pedles just use them if you need them.
but seeing thats all you have thats obviouly all you want so thats your choice not your freinds.
i like the simply 2 toms and a double bass pedle.
oh and cymble same thing.


New member
I play an 8pc, (8x7, 10x8, 12x9, 13x10, 14x15, 22x16, 22x18, 5.5x13) and I have about 10 cymbals. Sometimes I only bring half the drums and 3 cymbals when I am feeling minimalistic. But when I bring the whole thing (only takes 15 minutes to set up, thanks to memory locks) a lot of times other musicians will scoff at it while listeners will be mesmorized by it.

Basically my druming philosophy is keep the simple parts ultra simple and make the spicy parts spicy as can be. Just havign the 2 different size kicks makes a HUGE difference in how your fills sound. Any hand/foot combo you do will sound like you're playing with 8 arms thanks to the different tone between the kicks. But I have no problem bringing less that half my kit with me to a show. Its just another way I can change it up and that only makes me a better drummer.