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Author Topic: My hi hat set-up  (Read 53355 times)
KenSanders
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« on: November 30, 2007, 07:53:26 AM »

I've had some members ask why I have my hi hats set up to maximum height.  They have noticed my hi hats sitting up "very high" in the photos on this site.   

I believe you can see exactly what they are asking about in these pictures:  http://www.drumsoloartist.com/live/user/gallery/view/name_KenSanders/id_732/
http://www.drumsoloartist.com/live/user/gallery/view/name_KenSanders/id_755/


Well, I've been doing this since the 70's here's the reasons why.

    So I don't EVER AGAIN worry about hitting the top of my left hand with a drum stick while playing the hi hats with my right hand.  If you have ever suffered a drum stick strike on the top of your hand, then you can realize just how painful that is.   Angry

    Because I also set my snare drum up a bit higher than most drummers do.  I do that because I didn't like my knees bumping the bottom sides of the snare especially when doing double bass patterns.  Those two positions (hi hats and snare....both up tall) have solved those concerns and feel very natural to me.  Roll Eyes

    The taller hi hat height allows me to place my 1st (highest pitched) rack tom in the most comfortable position.   Lips sealed  As you see in the pictures, my hi hats are setting up a bit higher than the first rack tom.

    It also facilitiates better isolation between the snare microphone and the hi hat microphone according to the Sound Technicians.   Cool


    So for those who wondered why.....there's the reasons.  Wink


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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2007, 11:34:42 AM »

Thats interesting... And brings me to the "idea" that I had a while back...

Why did they teach me to play Hi Hats that stand on the left side of the snare with my right hand??

In my opinion it is SO impractical, because IF you would not have to cross your hands constantly for hitting the Hi Hat you would have half of the drum set available for your left hand to play with!

I tried to relearn to play the hat with my left hand (and did have a BIG progress with this) but in the end I just added a second Hat from the right side of the snare, and made it my permanent Hi Hat. Cheesy
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KenSanders
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« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2007, 12:32:24 PM »

PASHA

I can answer part of the question.  The answer to why the hi hat is USUALLY on the left side is because it is usually played with the left foot.  But we have to go back to the era before the hi hat even existed to examine that a bit further.  The ancient predecessor of the hi hat was the Wallberge & Auge “low boy”.

 http://home.hetnet.nl/%7Ehidehitters/pedals2/lowboy/lowboy.html

The “low boy” was played with the left foot because the drummer’s right foot was playing the bass drum.  The hi hat soon replaced the “low boy”, thus allowing the drummer to play the cymbals on the hi hat stand with sticks, as well as with the left foot.  However, drummers were already oriented to playing the ride cymbal with the right hand and the snare drum with the left hand.  So when the "NEW" hi hat device was played instead of the ride cymbal; it was just natural for them to use the right hand….although it did require the puzzling but familiar crossover maneuver.

Crazy or not, that’s where we have been for decades until the invention of the cable-operated, remote hi hat.  We are now in a period of change and who knows what will become “normal” over the next few years?

To follow up on PASHA’s comment about playing the hi hat with the left hand (for right-handed players), I’ve never discussed it, but I play both right-handed and left-handed on the hi hat depending on the tune.  I don’t work this out, it just happens.

My examples of first realizing that I was doing that are both old tunes.   The songs “Hurts So Good” by John (Cougar) Mellencamp and “Old Man Down the Road” by John Fogery; both have repeating patterns played on three toms, and I do that with my right hand.  It was just easier to play the eighth note hi hat pattern with my left hand and the snare and tom patterns with my right hand.  I really have no other logic for the switch……it’s just easier.

I also play hi hat with my left hand on some other tunes with that old “Al Green” type beat where a tom replaces the typical snare drum role for the back beats.  Let’s see there’s an old Doobie Brothers tune “Taking It to the Streets” where I play the hi hats left hand because of a tom pattern also.  As I think about it, usually anything with a repeating tom pattern that I have to play with my right hand makes me automatically switch my left hand to the hi hat. 

It’s maybe analogous with the traditional and matched grip changes that I do…..they just happen without me really thinking about it because it seems natural to do it that way.

I’ll add some probable reasons for this seemingly “natural” ability to switch.  My father was left-handed, and although I do write with my right hand, there are many things I do left-handed because he taught me to do those things (opening jars, pouring, cutting food with my knife and fork, etc.)  Since I also play keyboards and guitar, my left hand ihas had a lot of hours being trained to be strong. 

Anyway, your post made me think about that all of that stuff.
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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2007, 05:20:47 PM »

Wow!! - I never knew about the low boy - We do learn something new everyday are'nt we??

Thanks, that make sense Smiley
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KenSanders
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« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2007, 01:58:37 PM »

Here's something to really think about and appreciate.  Think how BIG a deal the Barney Walgerg's 1926 invention of the hi hat was!.  It changed the course of drumming history.  Jo Jones (of the Count Basie Band) was the first drummer to actually shift the the timekeeping role to the hi hats.  Who did he influence and virtually pave the way for?  How about no others than Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, and Louis Bellson!  BIG DEAL?   I certainly think so.

Can you imagine jazz, rock....bascially ANY drum kit playing without the hi hat.

Maybe we take it all for granted today.................but man, what a GIANT step for drummers. 
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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2007, 03:11:00 PM »

This is so true!
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KenSanders
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« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2007, 04:59:57 PM »

PASHA, you have me thinking about this now.  

So, I'll pose it a forum question in this thread (and I'll assume you are right-handed, but change the question around if you are left-handed).

I'm wondering how many other drummers switch to "left hand on the hi hat" when they have a multi-drum pattern they have to do with their right hand? 

If not, how do you handle the situation.

These responses should be interesting.
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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2007, 07:45:39 PM »

I am right handed, and with my current setup, I do have to switch to left hand... almost never?? - I have my "primary" hi hat from the right Grin

But before I had the hat moved to the right, yes I did had to switch, and although it did surve the purpace I never feelt 100% comfortable playing my hat with my left hand Embarrassed
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KenSanders
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« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2007, 10:57:04 AM »



RE:  I have my "primary" hi hat from the right. 

I may have to give the "hi hat cymbals relocation" another try.  I just have so many things located on the right, it would have a domino effect of having to re-locate some other components as well.

I'll have to set up my pratice kit that way and see how advantageous it might be for my current playing situations.
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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2007, 07:46:04 PM »

Try it, but keep in mind that I do have 3 hats in my setup, and so I do have a hat from the left side also.

I mean ... At times, depending on the rhythm, you will need your hat to be on the left, and thats when you may run in to little trouble IF you have only one hi hat and it sits on the right side of your snare.
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KenSanders
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« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2007, 09:08:33 AM »

Yes, of course, I would keep my primary hi hat on my left.

Yesterday afternoon, I tried locating the remotes (2nd set) on the right side of the show kit beside my ride cymbal set up.    If the remote hats DO prove to be useful, I'll need to relocate several other items to create a playable space for them.  I'm going through some TEST TUNES today to determine how I feel about that.

We'll see.
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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2008, 03:44:02 PM »

A hi-hat on my left is a must, my drumming style dictates this.  I am contemplating...ah hell...I'm going to get a remote hi-hat and see what kind of fun I can have with that.  I'll get back to you on the results
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KenSanders
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« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2008, 03:32:33 PM »

Hey Tomm:

Let me know how it works out for you.

Most of my playing is jazz, funk, blues, and fusion styles.  I tried the remote hi hats once again recently.  For me.......... they are a superfulous add-on, because I've already adapted to "unconcisously" switching to left hand on the hi hats if there is a reason to free up my right hand for playing a pattern that certain tunes require.

Now, I am totaly cool with drummers that can...... and do use a second set of hi hats....for whatever reasons.  Always do what rock YOUR world, not mine.  The remote hats are just not useful to me because I can simply switch to left hand on the hi hat if that is needed.

For me, the second set of hi hats also got "in the way" of the comfortable cluster of gear on the right side of my typical set-up.  Adding the second hi hat meant relocating my ride, crashes, and swish.  Plus, I didn't like the new placement of those components.  So that was strike three.

So, I'll just confess..........I'm a "one set of hi hats" drummer, but I think my reasons are logical.

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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2008, 01:19:26 AM »

..........I'm a "one set of hi hats" drummer....

I'm a one set of hi hats drummer!  Grin

That is such a cool phrase! - Although I am not a "one set of hi hats drummer", I will have to borrow this one from you!!!  Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

Cheers!!!
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« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2008, 12:19:30 PM »

I'll certainly will let you know how it works out Ken.  Although I envy those of you who can switch right to left on your ride line, I can't afford the time to learn it myself because I have a non-musical job that takes 48 to 56 hours out of my every week.  (that's paid hours, which doesn't include the 2 hours of prep and travel every day...10 to 12 additional every week). 

On the better news side of life, my son is a full time entertainer/instructor, and he plans on helping me incorporate the remote H/H into my style.  I'm definitely looking forward to the expansion of my abilities and sounds.

Yes, I will be in touch...Tomm
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KenSanders
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« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2008, 02:52:07 PM »

Hey again Tomm:

The most important aspect of a second set of hi hats (to me at least) is that it permits you to have a different hi hats voice for certain tunes (or passages within a tune).  I’ve seen David Garibaldi use his remote hi hats on certain Tower of Power arrangements to give the tune that sound contrast, and it was totally cool.   Smiley

Although the placement of the secondary hi hats on the same side of your kit as your ride cymbal should facilitate a comfortable playing position; I imagine that you too, are more interested in the sound contrast capabilities.

I’ll switch back to again mentioning my own technique of sometimes playing hi hats (from a right-handed drummer’s perspective) with my left hand.  Drummer Kenny Aronoff, has mentioned that he uses right hand on the hi hats for a tight, precise feel.  But, he ALSO uses his left hand on the hi hats for a more loose sounding feel.  I found that a pretty cool concept.

Now I realize that it is not something every drummer can or even would want to spend time working on.  However, for those who might find it interesting, it might be worth trying the left hand on the hi hats to determine if you can get a “very different” sound and feel.  I will add that for me, it is also a way to strengthen the dexterity of your left hand,

It is something that works well for me…..but then again…..that’s one of my personal “things”, and it may not work effectively for other drummers.   I guess we all tend to have some “signature” sounds, licks and tricks anyway don’t we?   Cheesy

Regardless of what gear you or other drummers decide to utilize in your own personal set-up; the main goal is to get comfortable with it and make best use of it.   I ALWAYS encourage drummers to set up in whatever way that inspires them to play their very best.   In other words…..do what rocks YOUR world….not mine. Cool

Anyone using THREE sets of hi hats on their kit?  Anybody using more than three? 

Just curious.   Wink

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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2008, 11:19:17 PM »

Since discovering how Carter Beauford uses his hi-hat(s) and working many of his licks into my work, along with my own creations relating to two handed hi-hat cadence and alternating accents and snare cadence I have developed some very interesting licks.  After I add the remote hi-hat and develop a feel to incorporate it, I am hoping to evolve into some sounds that will be uncharted territories for me.  I'll let you know.
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« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2009, 04:36:27 PM »

I have fabricated 85% of my right side hi hat system and have found that the placement of the additional foot pedal is a bit of a pain in the foot (figuratively speaking).  I'm contemplating working bot hi hats off of one pedal.

Any thoughts or experiences on this?  At this point I haven't even considered what two sets slapping simultaniously  would even seem like.   What do you guys (gals too of course) thing?
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KenSanders
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« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2009, 10:10:40 AM »

PASHA uses three sets of Hi Hats in his solo project set-up.  Since I use only one set of Hi Hats when I play, I haven't researched the question you pose.

I'll yield this one to PASHA and perhaps some of the other drummers that may have experience with the situation you're asking about.

I am anxious to hear the responses!   Wink
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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2009, 10:47:38 AM »

I dont have a solution to this, but I keep the cable hat pedal on the right side of my primary bass drum pedal and play it with my right foot.
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« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2009, 11:49:20 AM »

Referring back to your Nov. 9th post, Ken, the different hi hat voices is something that I will concentrate on intently because that is very important  And what you brought up about Kenny Aronoff should ring out to be interesting too, because if you stay in the normal rythmic patterns of modern standards, using the left actually gives the ride of the beat a constant up-stroke identity, as compared to the norm of the rides' down stroke accent.

Patafla;  I think if I tried that...right foot right hi hat; heel on bass?/left foot picking up bass where right foot leaves off.as right foot acts like left on hi hat???..I think I would have to go to therapy before and after the attempt.
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« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2009, 06:09:10 PM »

“Old Man Down the Road” thats a kick ass tune Ken!!

Was that a Tama Artstarll?

+nice to see Kenny Aronoff mentioned, such a great drummer
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« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2009, 09:30:49 PM »

Well adding an extra Hat Pedal is always a pain in a conventional drum set... - Too many "hardware legs" in the way...

Personally I have 3 Hats (1X13" and 2X14") - I have the 13" far on the left side and it is positioned with the idea to be the "Conventional Hat" (played with both hands and a pedal) - it is the one with the extension truss.

Than I got yet another hat on the left side, it is a 14" hat and it is positioned under my 10" tom. This one was never meant to be played with hands - Only by the feet (left) - It is a closed hi hat with a special hardware part that actually holds a drumstick over it.

So by pressing on the pedal the stick just hits the hat. - It was done that way because I wanted to get a "hand" sound from the hat while playing it with the feet.

The third hat is positioned on the right side and while it does not have a pedal (it is fixed), it is my primary hat.
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« Reply #23 on: March 30, 2009, 07:37:52 AM »

Tomm,

Im not shure what you are asking me about. How you set up your pedals will ultimately depend on what you are going to play. Its very difficult to tell someone else how to setup his/her drumset. This is something that evolves over time and cames down to technique, ones taste and the goals that you have.

I keep the cable hat pedal on my right side since it suits my needs. I have a third hi hat which is allways closed and does not have a pedal. However if and when I get to adding more hi hat pedals who knows where they will end up in the lineup. Like I said it would depend on what I was going to play.
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« Reply #24 on: March 30, 2009, 11:58:15 AM »

That was just the humorist in me admitting that I can't even attempt to make that drastic of a change in my style (especially at my age).  What I am doing is adding the new hat system so I'll have quicker access to the right side of my kit while still using the hi hat as my primary ride system when it is called for.  I shall send in a demo after I get the system down pat.  Although it may be a short (more humor "short") time.
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