One of the biggest downfalls of being an OCD drummer is the equipment dilemma. How much is too much, how little is not enough? I will confess, I own 3 full drum sets. Each set is from a different manufacturer and of varying quality, but each one is set up exactly the same, cymbals, stands and drums all set up within inches of each other. Why 3 drum sets that are basically the same set up? Well, contrary to popular belief, I have not reached the level of stardom that affords luxuries such as my own personal drum tech and a roadie to load in, load out, set up and tear down all my stuff every time I practice or play a show. Yep, that's right, I get to load it in and out each time. Since it takes about 45 minutes to load in and set up, and another 45 minutes to tear down and load out, each one of my sets has it's own specific purpose. I have a drum set that stays at home for recording. I have a practice set that stays at the Band's rehearsal studio, and I have one that travels with me for our shows.
Just a little background on my career before we talk about the practice kit. I started playing drums a LONG time ago at age 11. I did the whole school band thing, I marched in High School, I played in Jazz Band, Played for our Show Choir, and all through High School and college I played in multiple "good and bad" Rock bands. After college I played with a good country band up until age 26 when my son was born. Ten or fifteen shows into his life, I realized a drummer / father was no longer in the cards. I hung up the sticks, sold all of my gear, and called it quits for good, I thought. Fast forward 16 years and I get a phone call out of the blue, from the bass player in the country band. He wants me to play music again? At age 42?? I don't have any equipment!! What if I don't remember how to play? What if I don't want to play anymore? I can't spend a bunch of money on a drum kit! What I didn't have in my previous generation of drumming was Craigslist! I searched for a couple days, and there it was! The cool thing about getting back into drums after a 16 year hiatus was the fact that I was gainfully employed and had access to cash that my wife did not know about.
The Practice Kit:
I found it on Craigslist advertised for $400. A black 5 piece PDP Z5 entry level kit. 12" mounted tom, 14" floor tom, 16" floor tom, 2 crash cymbals, a ride cymbal, hi-hats, drum throne and kick pedal. Everything a 42 year old needed to get started again! After driving to a somewhat sketchy residence, a very very quick look over of the drums, cymbals and stands; an offer was made and I received a quick counteroffer from the seller. Finally, for $350 I was loading all of the stuff into my truck. I even got the seller to help me load as well. Once I arrived home, it was time to start the cleaning process. I removed the heads, hoops and hardware, and they got a wonderful windex wash down.
One thing I know about drum kits is with the right drum heads, good bearing edges and the ability to tune, you can even make the cheapest of kits sound pretty good!
Next stop; The music shop! About $200 later I had all new heads. I put the super clean drums back together, put on the new heads and tuned them properly. I could've spent twice as much on a new kit, but for half the money and some time and effort, I had a kit that would last me until I got Kit #2 a few years later. And guess what?? They looked pretty good and they sounded really good. Cash, knowledge and elbow grease, they go a long way together!