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  • Bass drum support

    I am not a drummer but our band is having a tough time keeping bass drummers. We do have a small bass (actually, I think, a large tenor drum) but still most of the people who have played it either switch to pipes or snare or drop out all together. We did have a strapping big fellow who played but just left the band for family medical reasons. Are there any devices that could help someone carry the bass without having to bear the entire weight?

  • #2
    Can you be more specific? Do you mean rollers with a stand? Or you'd want the drummer to indeed carry the entire drum weight but in a more ergonomic fashion?

    Andrew
    Andrew T. Lenz, Jr. • BDF Moderator
    BagpipeJourney.com - Reference for Bagpipers

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    • #3
      I was thinking some sort of rolling support. There may also be an issue with supporting the drum while standing for a performance. As far as I know, the harness used is fairly ergonomic, holding the drum close to the body, but I have never tried it so don't know for sure.

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      • #4
        Our bass drummer is a slender lady in her 50s and has no issue with the shoulder bracket thingy (I think the one to which you're referring). Like a caber, I think it's as much about balance (as in distributing the weight). That said, I've often wondered if there is a rod, with one wheel, that could be attached at the bottom to provide more support without being quite as obvious.

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        • #5
          As a bass drummer who has transitioned from dog collar, to harness, to Kilpatrick harness (still working on that one to be comfortable), to my knowledge there really isn't a way to carry and play the bass while moving unless it's attached to you (or you're sitting/standing on a parade float and it's on a stand...I kind of like that idea for a parade since our bass is 18x28).

          Pretty much bass drummers need to work on strengthening their core if possible, which helps alleviate back issues and lessens the focus on the fact they're carrying this big ol' thing and focusses on how much fun you could have supporting all the sections. It's not an instrument for everyone, but we are the heartbeat of the band, whether the rest believe it or not.

          Do you write scores for your bass? If they are a new drummer, but not given much direction, that may bump the frustration level as it may seem "everyone else" is having more fun? Hard to say. Maybe rotate your tenors on and off bass will get more people comfortable playing it? It sounds like the drum size isn't an issue, so maybe the perception of the role itself within the band?
          Margaret

          Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Margaret View Post
            Pretty much bass drummers need to work on strengthening their core if possible, which helps alleviate back issues and lessens the focus on the fact they're carrying this big ol' thing and focusses on how much fun you could have supporting all the sections. It's not an instrument for everyone, but we are the heartbeat of the band, whether the rest believe it or not.

            Do you write scores for your bass? If they are a new drummer, but not given much direction, that may bump the frustration level as it may seem "everyone else" is having more fun? Hard to say. Maybe rotate your tenors on and off bass will get more people comfortable playing it? It sounds like the drum size isn't an issue, so maybe the perception of the role itself within the band?
            Hear, hear on being the heartbeat! And great advice, to boot!

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            • #7
              Thanks, all!! I will pass this on to our bass drummer. Hopefully she will be able to continue providing that heart beat!!

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              • #8
                Greetings to All,

                Waaay Back--when "Steam Was King!" :-) my beginnings with The Piping
                Game were under the auspices and tutelage--of an older fellow--and a fine
                piper--who was also--a bloody good bass drummer!! :-)

                And since he was so accomplished and adroit at both--he was the band's
                "Go To" and "Stand In" bass drummer--when ever that need--would arise.

                Under his benevolent--but watchful eye--I was started out on the bass--and
                seven months thereafter--and not having made a bollix of it--I became the
                "First Call" bass drummer for our band--from the excellent teaching I was
                given.

                After those seven months of Parade Duties--and playing for the band's regular
                engagements--I was started out--on the pipes. And after have risen to--parade
                piper status--I--also--would switch to the bass--when ever need arose. (And this
                is a position I have held in my other bands--through all of these now many years.)

                I mention all of this--only because--it has been both my experience--but also
                my observation--of many other bands--and bass drummers--that playing a bass
                drum in a pipe band--whether on long and hot (or cold) parades--or in the many
                back-to-back inside engagements that sometimes happen (Saint Pat's, et al) is
                not unlike--finding ones self--in a really intense--jujitsu tournament!! :-)

                The size of the drum--and the size of the drummer--just as with any opponent in
                jujitsu--be they large--or small--is never--nor should be--any major consideration.

                Rather--it is--and solely--the technique--in one's carriage--that is properly brought
                to bear--that then--and only then--makes possible--good bass drumming.

                From a famous class given by Ethel Barrymore--"Well, yes. With hard work you can
                give a good performance, but can you sustain a good performance, through those
                multiple acts on stage, that is so necessary?"

                Many is the number I have seen--of large--and--picked for their size--bass drummers--
                who did not--could not--make it through--a hot summer's--multiple parades day.

                And so--whether it is with the old crisscross canvas harness--or the sole neck collar--
                or the now newer metal harnesses that mount on the shoulders--it is seldom--if ever--
                simply a matter of brawn--but--and rather--it is a matter of balance--and of technique--
                that then guides--and sustains--the bass drumming--and the band.

                Trusting that these observations--may be of some assistance, and with,

                Regards to All,

                Pip01






                Last edited by Pip01; 09-28-2021, 09:40 AM.
                My friends all know,
                With what a brave carouse...

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