TOP 5: Drum Gear to good to wait on.
There are so many cool gear items to get as a musician and drummer.
They often compete for our attention with the latest tech goodies and everyday needs, like eating (if only that was funny). Have you stood in the store, or on ebay/amazon/mycymbal.com/etc hemming and hawing about a gear purchase? Only to leave that gadget orphaned in the shopping cart yet again? Or even worse, come back to the drum shop to find someone else jumped to buy that perfect cymbal?
I have, oh too many times. Which leads me to this blog topic.
What are 5 pieces of gear that I have that really made the difference.
See, you've probably felt the same way, "Will it really make that much difference?" "I can wait until the price goes down." "This thing is awesome, but I already have something that kinda does that, anyhow." Or any other inner dialogue that we use to talk us out of it.
If you've played for very long at all, you've been broken-hearted by gear purchases, or at least just put it aside to collect dust and be forgotten. Then years later stick it in a cardboard box and give to that kid drummer who is getting started because you couldn't sell it on ebay. Sound Familiar?
The worst part is, we'll buy some little thing that is cheaper, just because you want to buy something, anything, to feel like it wasn't a wasted trip to the music store.
You don't need a cymbal stacker.
You don't need ANOTHER novelty drum key.
YOU DON'T NEED COLOR CODED FELTS!
you could use this stuff.
Here it is, my
TOP 5 pieces of drum gear to good to wait on.
To make the list, they have to be,
1. Something I purchased.
2. Something that improved my playing immediately.
3. Something I have recommended to others with rave reviews.
#1: An iOS device
WHAT you say, my android is more than capable of doing everything I need for drumming.
Well, you'd be right, they are extremely capable devices but the capability isn't the issue, its the software. There are 2 apps that I use everyday in my drum practice that just don't have a comparison product for your android. Having a dedicated iPad or iPod touch is a great Idea.
So, here is my argument: buy a used iPad 3 or 4 for $100 on ebay. Buy these two apps for $10 total, and you have a $110 practice room computer. Some would say I'm crazy, but a pro featured stand alone metronome used to cost $149. Remember the Korg Beatlab or Roland's DR120 or even the Tama Rhythm Watch? Yep, I had them all at one time or another. (I still have the BeatLab on my stand in my practice room). An iPad with only these 2 apps will easily be worth the investment.
What are these apps you may ask?
Tempo Pro, from Frozen Ape: It is a fully functional met with my 2 favorite features, timer and automator. This allows you to keep your hands on your sticks and your mind on the exercise for a specific amount of time while the metronome increases the tempo for you.
Then here is MIMICOPY: I can remember in 2001 you could get a Denon CD player that would slow down playback by up to %15 (and badly too). My older brother had one and it was $600. Now for $7 you can get an app that not only allows you to import any MP3 file then slow down and speed up by up to 50%. You can pitch adjust, and set multiple loop points. OH... and it sounds GREAT, where the Dennon sounded awful. I can't overstate what a valuable tool this app has been for me in my practice.
#2 The DWSP511
I have owned a DW 9002 since 2005, and I remember thinking when the Pearl Demon Drive pedal came out I wondered, "this linkage is so awesome, why doesn't DW make something like this for the 9002?" So in, I think 2012, I asked our sales rep, (the amazing) Scott Cameron that question. I told him I'd purchased a Pearl Demon Drive linkage a couple years back, when will DW bring something like that to market? He said "We introduced the DWSP511 at NAMM 2 years ago."
I ordered one that day.
I have always tried to set up my right and left pedal identically, so if i were playing my left pedal with my right foot, the feel is exactly what I'm used to.
There was always a delay because the standard DW link, (and everybody elses) has a little bit of give. My original DW linkage would audibly click when I twisted it in my hands.
I'm not sure my words are getting the point across, but this is the single best single piece of gear that I have purchased as an add on, I really think DW should put this as standard equipment on their 5002 and up. It will fit on all DW pedals and many other brands as well.
It did actually make me sound better immediately.
#3. Moon Gel
Hey you cant beat these things. A great product that is versatile, reusable, and even when people use a look alike product, they still call it "moongel" which speaks for itself. I always have some of these in my stick bag. I don't always use them, but i use them often, they can be a lifesaver depending on the room that you are in. As relatively inexpensive as they are (as gear goes) they are a value and do make you sound better right out of the box.
#4. HD video recorder with HQ audio:
There are many options for this piece of gear, but you need to own one...
and use it.
The cost of recording yourself to listen and assess is lower than ever. I bought a ZOOM Q3 HD many years ago and still use it every day. The new version of it is the Q2n.
It is great too and at about $149, it is far less money than its predecessors.
You can also use your iPhone ore iPad camera paired with a Shure MV88.
The only problem is you may use your phone for your practice audio or your metronome and you can't use it for both simultaneously.
You may be in the majority of tech users and using an Android device, no worries, you can use the Shure MV5 and it works in much the same way as the MV8, and you can keep your phone in the case too!
I'll throw this idea out there again, get a used iPad or iPod touch and use it as a dedicated device for audio visual recording of your practice.
It bears repeating,
you have to use it for it to work.
You must set it up, push record AND review it.
Do that and...
It'll make you sound better (almost) right out of the box.
#5. Westone Professional In Ear Monitors
Lets be serious, without your ears, drumming is pointless. You really need to protect them. But you have to hear the music still.
If you have a small space, and you play live with a full pa often, you should really have some of these.
I put this purchase off for many years, but wished that I hadn't.
They are a fantastic product used by top pros all over the world, and pound for pound the best product at the price. These are the dual driver variety and they are $299 retail.
Usually bang for buck comparisons mean that you have to sacrifice something, and in this case it is the custom molded ear piece, but you lose nothing in the way of audio quality, isolation, and durability. It was a revelation how much better I could hear, and thus perform, when I used them for the first time. I also didn't have the least bit of ringing in my ears after the gig that I would have, even though I always wear some type of hearing protection.
Be smart, get some of these as soon as you can do it!
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Or call Hubbard's Music at 575-526-8884