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Question about Kenny


drumtrav

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I have always admired Kenny. The way his soul comes through the playing is just fantastic.

Does anybody know why/when Kenny started to play with his two front rack toms reversed? Does anybody else do this? Seems like a good idea, but I haven't tried it yet.

 

Drumtrav

Drumtrav
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OK, Drumtrav:

I see you moved this question out of the Kenny feature thread and started an entirely new post! Great way to get the squeeky wheel noticed!

Last time I heard, Kenny was about 200 e-mails behind, but I am going to e-mail him this thread in hopes that he will answer you directly!

I want to know the answer as well!

Thanks,

DJ

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Well, I'm not Kenny, but I'll tell you why he does this. Nobody can answer this better than Kenny can, but in the mean time ... here goes.

 

I do know that he reversed his toms for several reasons, the first being that he can play around the kit starting with the snare ... and never has to cross-over. By this I mean that he would hit his snare drum with his left hand, rack tom 1 (which is reversed) with his right hand, rack tom 2 (which is also reversed) with his left hand, and finally the low tom or floor tom with his right hand. When you are playing a groove, assuming your right hand is on the hihat and the left hand is on the snare, it's very easy to move that right hand over to the reversed tom which is now in the tom 2 position. Try it and you'll see what I mean. This set-up really opens up the body!

 

Another reason Kenny uses this set-up is that it gives him a creative edge; coming up with new and interesting fill ideas using the standard stickings we've all become accustomed to. If you didn't know he reversed his toms, you'd be having a tough time playing some of the fills he plays!

 

One final thought is that when we move around the kit, the "standard" way would be to start with the snare, continuing clock-wise around the drum set, moving to toms 1, 2 and 3. Since Kenny usually uses a 5 piece kit, he can move from the snare to tom 2 without having to make a big leap, then continue on to tom 3 ... thus skipping his smallest tom (which is reversed). This would sound more like a four piece kit AND allow you to play all of the larger drums in the process.

 

I personally use 10, 12, 14 and 16 inch tom toms, and I don't like to always play my 10" tom (my smallest tom) when playing the old "around the drums" type of fills. By reversing the toms like Kenny does, you can easily skip that 10" tom when going from the snare drum to the NEW first tom tom ... which would be my 12" tom. From that NEW tom 1, I would continue on to my 14" tom (Tom 3) which is down where a floor tom would normally be on a 5 piece kit. From the 14" I would then move on to my 16" floor tom. If I played four sixteenth notes on each drum, starting with the snare and skipping my 10" tom (now reversed), it would sound like a five piece kit with 12, 14 and 16" toms. This is really great for BIG and/or FAST fills ... when you need the "meat and potatoes" in there, working your deepest toms.

 

I have used Kenny's set-up ideas in the recording studio on several occassions. In fact, I like to create different set-ups depending the sound and feel that I'm looking for. It's fun and definitely creates some cool (and easy to create) sounds.

 

We as musicians are so used to playing within the confines of our instruments and/or set-ups. Think of all interesting possibilities a bassist or guitarist would have if they could change the order of their strings. Another great example is the Chapman Stick! http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/eek.gif It would be tough at first until you learn the new set-up. One way to get around this would be to de-tune some of the strings (ie. change the low E string to a D). One guitar player I work with on occassion likes to de-tune his entire guitar down a whole step, then capo on the second fret. This gives a fuller sound to his guitar, enhances a different set of harmonics ... and makes it easy for him when he wants a Open D tuning.

 

Be Creative!

 

 

 

------------------

Bart Elliott

http://bartelliott.com

Drummer Cafe - community drum & percussion forum
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I am with you on this, Bart. In another thread entitled, Alternative Setups, I explained that I use my 10" as my main "normal" positioned ride tom. I use the 8" tom next, in the gap between the ride tom and the suspended 12" suspended floor tom. (the 8" is suspended in the gap using a DW dogbone attachment) I then use my 15" suspended floor tom to the left of my high-hat. This allows me to travel a typical walk-down fill using a natural right-lead progression.

 

I get a lot of odd looks from drummers when I first set this kit up!

 

DJ

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