Drum Wagon

All things percussive

One of the more pointlessly time-consuming aspects of setting up an electronic kit is plugging everything into the module. For trigger inputs alone there are 16 cables that you need to plug in for a Roland TD-20. Digging around in a bundle of 16 jacks and plugging them all in can be a major drag, worse still, if you should mix two up and don’t have enough time for a sound-check so that you can discover the mix-up, you’re gonna be in for an interesting show.

Enter the Kable Keeper!

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September 24th, 2007

Posted In: DIY, hardware, present

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Hadley Hill is performing for the first time on October 10th in Cotati California.

If you’re in the area, come on out and see us!

September 17th, 2007

Posted In: gigs, present

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So I’ve been stepping up my double-bass game lately– no, not what you’re thinking, I promise it will be classy. Anyway, I have a very specific fill that is needed for one of our tunes, which is essentially an undulating set of sextuplets across an entire measure. This is commonly referred to as a “double-bass quad”. This name has always thrown me because when I think ‘quad’, I immediately think of something divisible by 4, as in a 16th or 32nd note phrase, but these are clearly done as sextuplets (sixes). I guess the term ‘quad’ comes from all 4 limbs being used and not the actual phrasing.

So to get to the point, when researching the “proper” method to perform these, I’ve discovered that I’ve been doing them utterly the opposite way from the rest of the world. Every mention I’ve seen (outside of the “ladder” technique) states to start with two toms followed by the two kicks, moving from right to left, as in RH,LH,RF,LF. The odd thing is, I’ve always been doing this the other way.. starting from the kicks and then moving to the toms, moving from left to right, as in LF, RF, LH, RH. I think this comes from years of using this little flam trick I do with a single bass to end fills, where I’d go RF, LH, RH. On double kick the leading left foot just sorta slips in there naturally making it LF,RF,LH,RH. I use this to end the last bar of very busy sections, usually ending with the right hand on 4, leaving the rest of beat 4 as empty space. This flurry of low-end notes followed by dead space alleviates the tension and then allows me to return to a tighter, more controlled beat on 1 of the next bar. A nice little trick for the end of choruses or more importantly, bridges.

So anyways, tell me, how do you execute double-bass quads. Am I just a weirdo, or do you do them “backwards” too?

September 16th, 2007

Posted In: present, technique

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Just got a new toy, a Tama Air Ride stand for my snare. This thing is perfect for mounting a PD-125, which is generally too small to fit into a standard snare basket comfortably. Air ride stands come in two flavors, one with Star-Cast mounts and one with just an L-rod. Since the Roland PD-125 already has an L-rod mount, I went with the latter.

This is simply an awesome snare stand.. small yet massive, it hardly takes up any room between my pedals but doesn’t wobble a bit while wailing on it. A perfect match for a Roland TD-20 kit.

Daniel and I took some pics while setting it up

September 10th, 2007

Posted In: hardware, present

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I picked up this Pacific Chameleon kit off of craigslist for a song. Nothing fancy, but they really don’t need to be since I’m just going to be outfitting them with triggers. I likely won’t be using this kick since I’ve already converted an 18″ one that I’m more fond of.

Chameleon kits are so named because they have Mylar heads on one side, and mesh on the other. The mounts are set mid-shell so that the tom and bass can be reversed, so that you can quickly change from a live to a practice setup. A nifty gimmick I suppose, although I can’t imagine using these as acoustic drums. What interests me is that they have smaller shell sizes and already come with a mesh head. The toms are 10, 12 and 14″ and the snare is 13″.

The single-ply heads it came with are a bit too flimsy I feel, so I will be using them as the bottom heads, and using double-ply heads for the batters instead. I also picked up the triggers, cones and rim silencers I’ll need off of eBay. I’m still playing around with ideas for the crossbar, but otherwise I’m ready to start the conversion process. I’ll be taking photos along the way to chronicle the job.

September 9th, 2007

Posted In: DIY, hardware, present

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There’s been much ado about hardware in the drum cave as of late.

Up until recently, I’ve been using my electronic kit for practice and group rehearsals, with the intention of using my aging acoustic kit for live shows. However, since being bit by the virtual drum bug, I’ve begun to loathe the thought of using the acoustics for anything of importance. The pros of the electronics just so far outweigh the cons. The sonic palette, the ease of recording, the overall reduction and control of raw sound output.. all very cool things. The only real con to using them is the look. Whether entitled to or not, some people still hold prejudice against the visual aspects of electronic drums.

So, to that end, I’ve decided to build a second set of electronics, one that is identical in function to my rehearsal set, but with a more traditional look. This will involve converting existing acoustic drums into triggerable ones, and possibly the addition of bronze cymbal triggers. When complete, I’ll have 3 drum sets in my arsenal: my old acoustic one, my current electronic kit (relegated to practice only) and the new electronic gigging one.

In going over my current setup, I’ve noticed a heavy sense of symmetry that hadn’t previously occurred to me. While the size of my kit has waxed and waned over the years, the core of it has always been what is technically a 6 piece kit. With kick and snare, two rack toms and two floors toms (although also rack mounted). I like to have one of the floor toms to the left of the hat under my left hand, and a broad selection of cymbals to flail at – it’s just my style. Anyway, I noticed that if you classify the hat and ride in the same category (as time keepers), then my kit is very symmetrical along the axis of the snare. In other words, the left side of the kit is roughly the same as the right. Take a look at my acoustic layout to see what I mean:


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September 6th, 2007

Posted In: hardware

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