Packing my stick bag again...?
Recently, I was packing my stick bag for a gig, and because I have not played in a long time, I was thinking about what I needed in my stick bag. As I was going through my checklist, I thought about how many drummers are starting to play out again or thinking and planning for playing out again soon.
So, this is a great time to make sure our stick bags are equipped for all musical situations we might encounter. Is you stick bag ready? Read below to see what tools you may be missing...
Drumsticks = the heart of every stick bag.
If you are playing a drum kit, these will be the most important and most frequently used tools in your bag. What you pack and how many, is up to you though. Most drummers have a stick size that feels best to them, and you may only take this size stick. And you may want to have a few extra pairs on hand. However, some drummers like to have a variety of sticks available, especially if you play in a wide selection of venues or genres. This ensures you always have the best option for the job at hand. For instance, I like to have a light weight pair of sticks for smaller rooms and a pair of maple sticks for when I really need to bring my volume down on cymbals.
Multi-Rods offer drummers and percussionist a variety of options from adding texture to your sound to volume control, and they can be used on all types of percussion instruments from cajon to drum kit. Various materials offer unique sounds and add layers of texture and sensitivity. It’s no secret that drums are loud, so most drummers keep a pair of multi-rods in the bag in order to keep the groove going on those acoustic and low volume gigs.
There’s an old drum myth that brushes were invented by club owners who did not like drums. That may be a funny joke, but there is a lot more to brushes than playing soft jazz. While sticks may be the main tool we use on the kit, most of us eventually learn the subtleties of brushes and the wide world of musicality available from them. From country train beats on a snare or a bossa nova groove across a coated head to lush ballads on riveted cymbals, brushes produce a unique tone and feel for various genres, songs and venues. You can even fatten up your backbeat with the right brush. Add a pair to your bag for that desired sound and choose from a wide range of materials and options. After all, you never know when that tune is going to get called on the bandstand that requires a pair of brushes.
This is one of my favorite tools for adding an epic element to my drumming. Specifically, I use them around the drum kit for the toms both driving the music and for low dynamic work underneath the music. Also, they are great for cymbal swells and soft crashes on sizzle cymbals. When it comes to auxilary percussion, sessions, overdubs, and orchestrated percussion, mallets are an invaluable tool to get the most out of each performance. To help you find the right mallet, there is a variety of firmness options: Super Soft, Medium or Hard felt.
One of the most interesting things about drumming is creating your individual sound and trying out new things. So called Alternative sticks help both drummers and percussionists achieve new sounds or play in a more efficient manner. These unique tools can be applied to a wide range of percussion instruments.
The Stick and Brush line of accessories are tools that can help you solve problems drummers face both on and off of the drum throne. Make sure your bag is stocked with these key items as well.
Who would go to their gig and not take a drumkey? Me, yep. It’s happened before, and we all know that every drum needs a tweak before and sometimes during a show. The drumkey is our first tool for making any drum sound better for the gig, dialing in our own sound, and adjusting hardware so that we are comfortable while playing. Plus, we all know how easy it is to lose a drumkey at a gig or leave it behind. Thankfully, Meinl Stick & Brush offers two keys which means, we should all keep at least two in our stick bags. Then, we are guaranteed to always have one when needed.
The Drum Tech Multi-Tool is a sleek, all-in-one unit that includes 10 common tools needed for quick fixes and maintenance around the kit. This can really save you when an unexpected problems arrises. Included is: a standard drum key, Philips head screwdriver, flat head screwdriver, socket wrench, hex wrenches (2, 2.5, 3, 4, and 5mm sizes) and a bottle opener
Stick Wrap / Stick Wax
Have you ever dropped a stick in the middle of a song on stage? I know I have, and sometimes it is due to not getting a good enough grip. We have two items that counter this problem and supply you with additional grip, either all the time or as needed.
I often need a bottle opener when I am the most thirsty, but there is not one near by. Plus, we all know at the feeling at the end of a long set, when we want to just relax. In order to always make sure you stay hydrated and cool, keep our 5B Bottle Opener in your stick bag. This also helps to keep the rest of the band happy as well.
Don't forget to take care of your ears. Wheather you are playing on stage with in-ear monitoring or you prefer monitor wedges right next to your drum set – make sure to always have your In-Ears or ear protection in your stick bag. Once your hearing is impaired, it becomes difficult to rehabilitate it.
Another tip recommended by many drummers is to have a spare beater in your stick bag. This is great if you are playing a house kit and prefer your own or their beater is damaged. Also, I have had beaters break or come apart while playing a show.
Drum Honey is one of my preferred accessories in a stick bag, especially when I know I am playing a house kit. The drum honey can really make a difference when tuning old heads or tuning your kit to a room you have never played in.
Bacon is another great accessory to keep in the bag so that you can throw it on a cymbal anytime. Sometimes I will do this for one single song, like a ballad.
You can find out more about Drum Honey and Bacon at meinlcymbals.com/blog.