This week's lesson began as another practice room rant.
Every time I arrive in a new practice room, whether it's my own, after a band has used it...
...or any of the myriad rooms I've used, literally around the world...
(and no, the irony that I'm touring practice rooms - not stages - around the world, is not lost on me😉)
...I find the same stupid setup mistakes.
If you're a more experienced player, you know what I'm talking about. When you arrive and find the drums setup the way a non-drummer thinks they should look, from the movies. (Including Whiplash.)
But, as I dug deeper, things got...complicated.
Because, for every asinine setup mistake I could flag, some great drummer has used it at some point.
Case-in-point: stratospheric, nearly-vertical cymbals.
Gosh, where to start?
Vinnie? Tony? Simon Phillips? How about every metal drummer in the 80s?
Ditto with everything else I could think of.
But - and some drummers who are physical therapists have already mentioned this in the comments - that doesn't mean you should set up your drums that way.
Indeed, every one of the drummers above still playing...has reverted to a more boring, more ergonomic way of setting up their drums.
So, dispensing with the great-drummers-who-you-shouldn't-copy thing...
...experienced drummers in this day-and-age do tend to coalesce around certain setups. Or at least certain rules that motivate their decisions.
Whether they can reach the drums comfortably.
Whether their posture and stick angle will be right, and easy.
It's just like real fighters versus actors playing fighters. Just as my fighter friends can tell Mark Wahlberg wasn't really Micky Ward, pros can tell Miles Teller's kit in Whiplash wasn't set up the way a real drummer would do it.
So, what are those setup quirks that flag you as an amateur (even though, annoyingly, tons of great drummers did them too)?
To learn, just watch the lesson.
Back next week with another.