When you see a drum kit, your first word association probably isn’t “portable.” Luckily for gigging drummers, many venues may already have drums set up and waiting. If that’s the case, what you have in your gig bag is crucial to making that foreign drum kit your own for the night and ensuring the right sound comes out.
Once the following drummer tools have been added to your gig bag essentials, you’ll be set for anything.
1. Drum Key
A drum key is necessary for tuning and changing out drum heads. Without a drum key, you’re at the mercy of the last person who played the drums, so always make sure you have one (or two) in your bag.
You can find a basic drum key at any music store as a backup, but for peace of mind, it’s worth considering the Pearl TT13 Techtool. This multitool gives you everything you’ll need for drum maintenance, not to mention a bottle opener for post-gig celebrating.
2. Cymbal Hardware
The last thing you want when setting up is to find the venue’s cymbals in bad shape. It’s important to make sure that among all your drummer tools, you have extra cymbal hardware. This includes but is not limited to a hi-hat clutch, wing-nuts, and cymbal felts.
3. Drummer Headphones
Never underestimate the importance of ear protection. Poor protection or none at all will lead to tinnitus (ringing in ears) and eventually complete loss of hearing. For your own well-being, it’s crucial to do research and find a decent pair of headphones made specifically for drummers.
The best method of research these days is to find a good review of the best headphones. The best headphones will allow you to still hear the music while reducing the destructive noise.
Putting dampeners on your drum heads will reduce unwanted ringing, overtones, high pitches, and volume. They give you more control and customization of the sound, which is why having dampeners at your disposal is always a good thing.
5. Drummer Apps
Drumtune PRO (iOS and Android) is a great app for accurate tuning of your drumheads. You can save presets and tune drumheads based on overall tone or edge frequency.
Soundbrenner Metronome (iOS and Android) is the ultimate in time-keeping. You can customize the speed, volume, and pitch of the ticking, as well as which beat you even hear the tick.
Both of these apps may just be a digital substitute for hardware, but the less you have to cram in your gig bag, the better.
Assemble Your Drummer Tools
While the rest of your band may be panicking about lost tuners and misplaced capos, you’ll be cool and collected with all your drummer tools: ready to show the world what you can do. For more articles like this, check out our Tech or Education archives for a wide variety of advice.