Doing more with less...


New member

I'm not a super technical drummer. At the same time, most of my favorite drummers use at least 3-4 toms.

I've always had 2 rack toms + a floor. The other day, I played on my friend's kit (who is a badass drummer)--he only has 1 rack + a floor. I wasn't able to get a lot of variety out of it.

I know it's all about being creative...

Saw a band recently--the drummer only had a floor tom!

I'd like to get more creative + learn to do more with a "minimal" setup. But with just a rack tom + a floor tom, I quickly run out of ideas--doesn't seem to be enough variety.

Anyone have any advice on getting more out of a scaled-down kit with just 2 toms? A lot of drummers can make 2 toms sound like many more...I'd like to learn this.

I guess I'm just used to having a high pitch, medium pitch, and low pitch to mix up. When I remove one, it narrows my options. But I love the idea of minimizing. I've always thought it's ridiculous to have millions of toms...but only having 2 is a challenge for me...


The Heel

New member
You really should be able to play a night in most circumstances with a kick, a snare, a hi-hat and a ride.

Mostly everything else is color(Of course there are MANY exceptions... I'm talking mostly funk, most rock, R&B and jazz here) Try practicing with your band one day with no toms at all. You might be surprised with what you find yourself doing, it also lets you concentrate on the groove. Sometimes Less really is more.

When you play with less toms, such as the traditional jazz kit of one up tom and a floor... you end up doing more doubles with your hands to compensate for the missing tom. It feels different because you need to approach it differently.

Its like setting your kit up lefty and playing it. Its different... but its not a bad different. It ends up being preference.


New member
I only use 2 toms and I find that changing dynamics (pf-f, ff-f, etc) can help create the sonic illusion of more toms when doing a roll. In other words, go from soft to loud, or loud to soft while doing a fill, and of course, adapt the number of strokes to the number of drums. I also do a lot of shows in smaller venues with just a kick, snare, hats, ride and crash. Maybe try it. That will really help focus on grooving as the heel said.