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Placement of the cowbell - Drum Solo Artist

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Author Topic: Placement of the cowbell  (Read 18655 times)
KenSanders
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« on: December 26, 2009, 01:05:59 AM »

I had an email from a young drummer who asked my opinion of the best placement (position within the drum kit) for a cowbell.  I place mine on the left  side of my kit, via a clamp on the hi hat tube.  However, that's because I play it with my left hand.  I told him that a traditional way to place the cowbell was with a clamp on the hoop of the bass drum.  However, over the years I have seen cowbells mounted so many different ways....so I tend to say that there is no "BEST" way.

My advice to him was....place your cowbell where ever it is easy to play, but yet it doesn't get in the way your ability to play the other major components of your kit.  That's another reason mine is mounted to my left.

With all of the clamps and mounts available today, I assured him that he could find something that would place his cowell in the ideal spot for HIS playing needs.

I told him to also check for posts on the DSA Forum, so does anyone else have suggestions for him?


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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2009, 12:54:59 AM »

Ken, I have tried the cowbell placement tricks too. What I finally came up with was having my cowbells ( I have 4 ) suspended over my hi hat. Enough height in between the hats and bells to ensure no contact when hats are open, probably about 1/4".
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Johnathan
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« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2009, 06:08:08 AM »

Ken,

I agree with you, the placement should be were one is most comfortable and natureal far as reach.

I too am left handed so I have mine same place you do and it works for me. 

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Tomm
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« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2010, 09:22:28 PM »

Okay Ken, we need to clarify here...I think you are right handed.  Johnathan...this means nothing.  I just want Ken to admit if he is ambidextrous or not.  I'm really not sure if we'll get an answer.
I am ambidextrous, but rarely admit to it, because people have doubts and me having to prove it sucks. 
All that aside, I place my cow bell on the action stem of my left high hat.  Reason being?  I like to hit a moving target. I'm going to get another soon, since I have two functional hi hats, so I can have one on my right side also.  How that works out?  We'll see. After all, we need something to look forward to here...Your welcome for the opportunity...lol.
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PASHA
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« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2010, 11:21:36 PM »

Reason being?  I like to hit a moving target....

LOL That is an idea! - I'll try that! Cool
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KenSanders
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« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2010, 01:03:56 PM »

RE: Okay Ken, we need to clarify here...I think you are right handed.  I just want Ken to admit if he is ambidextrous or not.  I'm really not sure if we'll get an answer.

KEN'S REPLY.  Cheesy

Tomm, I am right-handed.  However, I began playing piano when I was five and started developing good dexterity with my left hand.  Later, around age twelve, guitar playing facilitated even more left hand dexterity.  There are also some things I “naturally”did left –handed….I suppose because I mimicked the way my father did them.  He was left-handed.

When I began playing drum set, I had the common place four piece set-up with the hi-hat on the left and the ride cymbal on my right.  However, as I learned to play the drum parts for certain songs; sometimes using my left hand on the hi-hat cymbals made more sense (i.e., if there was a repeating tom pattern, etc.)  I later noted that with my right hand playing the hi-hat cymbals, I got a more precise tight feel.  With my left hand on the hi-hat it seemed to produce a looser “Charlie Watts” type feel. So I incorporated that logic into my playing as well.

I think as drummers we all develop our own aresenal of skills and our own mechanics for producing certain feels. I don't know that "my way or my approach to drumming" makes any sense to other drummers....but that's one of the cool aspects of drumming.....we can all do it our own way.

After many years of “just playing which ever way made more sense for the pattern” I now swap hands back and forth without thinking about it. Quite often drummers ask me if I’m right-handed or left-handed. My answer?  "Depends on the tune being performed". Wink Grin Tongue Roll Eyes

Getting back to the original topic about the cowbell; when I tried mounting my cowbell on the bass drum hoop, it just kind of "got in my way".  So I have it on a clamp attached to the upright tube of my hi-hat stand.  That allows me to play the cowbell with my left hand and move my right hand freely between the snare drum and toms to create rhythmic counter-parts.

I'll add that....in my the military firearms training, I qualified expert both right-handed and left-handed.  I play golf right-handed.  I brush my teeth left-handed.  I open jars and doors left-handed.   Huh

So to answer the question about being ambidextrous, I believe the honest answer is maybe 90% true.


For drummers who want to develop more "natural" dexterity with their "weaker" hands, I'd suggest they try doing lots of daily tasks with the weaker hand.  Maybe it will help strengthen those lesser used
muscles. 
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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2010, 06:34:21 PM »

We really got an answer on that issue, thanks Ken.  I was just kidding when I said I didn't think we'd get an answer...you never fail to do so.  It was very detailed in the whys and what fors.  I can only attribute my own double handed abilities to necessity due to injuries, and the knowledge that for some reason in my infancy, my Mother and Grandmother saw that I was developing as a left hander and they were having no part of allowing that.  Forced this little kid (me) to use the right hand instead.  Prior to the necessity of it all, I didn't have a clue about this ability.  ANYWAY...put your cowbell in the best place for you...then maybe move it once in a while to give yourself a new challenge.
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Reno
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« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2010, 07:50:20 PM »

interesting trivia:
The standard drum set, as typically used by a right handed player, completely abandons the traditional percussion layout. Every other percussion instrument (piano, xylophone, glockenspiel, etc) has "high" on the right. The drum kit has high on the left. Unless the kit is a 'lefty' kit, then it conforms to the standards. This proves once and for all that left-handed people really ARE the only ones in their right mind - myself excluded, I am left handed and have only played a 'righty' kit so I guess this means I'm insane.....

Good post Ken, the bottom line is to place the cow bell where it can best be played, according to your style and the type of chops you like to play. The same can be said with the hi-hat, Ginger Fish (manson) has his hat right in the middle of his kit, due north of the snare. Easy reach with either hand.
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KenSanders
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« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2010, 08:58:49 PM »

I'm going to continue this discussion under a new thread
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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2010, 09:22:54 PM »

I thought we might.  I'll be watching.
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