Crazy No Stand Not A Cocktail Drum Kit

This is basically the same exact crazy drum kit as the last post, but I have improved it significantly. It went through two iterations that I tested for a few weeks each.

On the second version  I added an 8" Buffalo drum. I moved the snare wire from the 12" drum to the 8" drum. I still had to use a hi-hat stand (I have been trying to get away from stands altogether.)

The kit sounded nice, however, the 12" drum and 14" floor tom were both tuned to the same note. Since the 12" drum can't be tuned, I tried different tunings with the floor tom but nothing really sounded as good as the note I originally had it tuned to. Two toms tuned to the same note is pretty pointless, so I went ahead and removed the 12" drum.

Another issue with this version was the location of the ride cymbal. It covered a LOT of the floor tom head.  Because it was just slipped over the tom leg, it couldn't be raised up any more than it already was. I added a cymbal mount to the floor tom shell on the left side. This created 2 new problems: The 12 inch Buffalo drum was now almost completely covered (because of the ride and hi-hats) and the added weight made the drum kit a little bit unstable. I moved the cymbal mount to the right side.

Bird's eye view of version 2.

 I mounted a closed hi hat to the floor tom shell with a pair of 12" splash cymbals (completely mismatched but they sound great, both given to me by strangers at no cost). The little white mount peeking out just above the snare drum in the photograph is a post mount. I had mounted it to the 12 inch drum for use as a snare in a different drum kit. When I decided to use the Buffalo drum on this drum kit, I removed the post mount and drilled the floor tom to match the already existing holes in the Buffalo drum. When I added the hi hat arm, the post mount was my natural choice as the floor tom shell was pre-drilled for it. Modular drum building 101!

Version 3. Hi hats added, ride cymbal moved, 12" drum removed.

I'm using the same kick pedal, same ride cymbal, etc. This is a really compact drum kit - no stands. It is definitely NOT a cocktail drum kit - just a regular sit down drum kit configured differently.

This kit sounds fantastic, has a small footprint, and is easy to move - just pick it up and put it where you want it. It's really comfortable to play and is a very fast kit. I have been trying to build something like this for years.

I have owned a cocktail kit in the past and I was never really satisfied with the sound or the awkward (for me) playing position. I really like the Whitney Sidekick drum kits but they are out of my price range. This crazy drum kit is a compromise, using the best elements from both the cocktail kits and Whitney's Sidekick.

This kit was inexpensive to build.The bass drum pedal came from a cocktail kit that I bought for $40. I sold the kit and kept the pedal. I made a tidy profit on the kit so the pedal was free. The hi hats were free. The white post mount came off a snare drum that I sold, so it was free. The cymbal arm was free. My buddy Mikey gave me the (really nice) heads for free.

The floor tom came from a 4 piece kit that I bought for $40, so call it a $10 floor tom. The cymbal post mount was $10.The ride cymbal was $40. The Buffalo drum was $30. The hi-hat post was $20.

Total: $110.00 - for a real functioning drum kit that sounds great.


Crazy Tiny Not A Cocktail Drum Kit!

My newest crazy kit. I am too short for a normal sized cocktail kit, but I really like the idea of the "two in one" tom and bass drum.This kit sounds really amazing.14"x14" mid 60s Maxitone MIJ floor tom with a  Remo Black Suede head on the bottom, Remo Renaissance RA head on the top. Early 60s Ludwig Universal Speed Master kick pedal with a Vater Vintage Bomber  lamb's wool style beater. 12"x3.5" Remo Buffalo snare. The vintage no name 16" ride is on a super lightweight cymbal arm that just happens to slide down right over the floor tom leg. Early 60s Zildjian 14" hi hats on an early 60s Ludwig Model 1123-1  hi hat stand with Spur Lok heel plate. This is a fast little kit. The RA head really opens up the floor tom, allowing a nice deep tuning. The floor tom is one of the nicer MIJ models, with 8 lugs (offset!) The snare is just a Remo Buffalo drum that I screwed some snare wires into right under the head. There's a post on this blog showing how to do it - I love the way a Buffalo snare sounds - dry, dry, dry! I drilled two holes in the floor tom and bolted the snare right to the floor tom shell. Voila! A nice little 3 piece kit. I keep this one right beside my bed. I'll post some more pics here soon as well as video.


Crazy Solid Reso Head Bass Bikini Drum Kit!

It took a long time, but here is the latest crazy drum kit! The snare is a 12" Remo Buffalo drum with snare wires attached right under the head - my go to snare. I have been playing it with the snare off to the side - awesome playing position. I don't have to crossover to hit the hi-hats. Pretty cool. The bass drum is a 22" Pearl bass drum from the late 1960s, cut down to 5.5". I installed a re-ring on the resonant side for support. The resonant side has no bearing edge cut - it's flat! The resonant side head is a 1/4" thick piece of maple glued into the shell. The port hole is 3 inches in diameter. I used an Aquarian Superkick I on the batter side. The hoop is 1 1/2" 12 ply maple from my friends at Precision Drum. The drum sounds amazing - punchy, low toned, and a bit muffled - classic rock style thud. I will post video of it in action soon!


Crazy Mini Buffalo Kit!

Introducing the Crazy Mini Buffalo Kit!
8" snare, 10" tom and a 14" bass drum - all mounted to the snare stand.

Click here to see a video of me playing it.

It took a little wrangling with clamps to get the bass drum stable and positioned correctly. I'm no fan of muffling drums, but the 14" Buffalo drum was a little too pingy, so I put some foam in it. The foam really gives it a nice thud.

The tom sounds like a roto-tom and the snare is very dry and popcorny.

The whole thing weighs about 8 pounds - including the snare stand and clamps.

This would be a great kit for busking - super portable and it sounds great! I'm going to cut down some crappy hi-hats that I have to a 10" diameter - the 14" hats are just too loud for this tiny kit.

Front view:

Side view - look how shallow the shells are!

From the driver's seat:

A view of the clamps I used to attach the bass drum to the snare stand.
The black clamp is a rim-mount accessory clamp. The silver clamp is a post clamp.
I picked up the threaded rod at a hardware store for about a buck.


Crazy Buffalo Drum Kit updated!

Well, here is the finished version of the Buffalo Kit! This drum kit is pretty crazy! It is also one of the most portable kits I have ever built  - without the hardware and cymbals, the six shells weigh maybe 12 pounds. I have added 2 more toms to it. You can't really see it in the picture, but there is a 5/16" foot long screw screwed through one of the pre-drilled holes at the top of the bass shell. The screw goes through a post clamp that is mounted to the ride cymbal stand. This helps to keep the bass drum super stable and prevent it from moving, since there are no spurs on it. I originally tried mounting the long screw through the side of the bass drum shell, but it wasn't nearly as stable as the current through-the-top version. My buddy Mikey came up with the idea of putting the screw through the top. The bass drum doesn't move at all now. The tiny shell by the hi-hat is an 8" snare; there are 8", 10" 12" and 14" toms as well. All the shells are 3.5" deep. All the toms and snare are bolted together using the pre-existing holes in the shells.  The entire snare/tom assembly sits on a snare basket. No hardware, no tuning, weather proof, water proof, bullet proof (nearly!). I love this kit. The hi-hats I'm using are 1961 Zildjian 14" beauties - they are really jazzy and dry. The ride cymbal is a 20" Sabian B8 that I found in the gutter one day. (Really!) That's a poster of Neil Peart and his Time Machine tour kit on the wall behind me.

I loved this kit - it incorporated all the elements I was trying to include in my crazy drum kits - lightweight, easy to set up/tear down, weather resistant, and inexpensive. However, as of February 2015, there is no more Buffalo Drum kit - I sold the various parts. I'm waiting for Remo to figure this out and bring out their version of it.

Truly an amazing little crazy drum kit, and I'm glad I made it!


Crazy Buffalo Drum Kit!

I've been using a snare drum that I made from a Remo Buffalo Drum for almost 2 years now. There's a post on here somewhere showing how to do it. I absolutely love the dry sound I get from my Buffalo snare. I decided to make a whole kit from Buffalo Drums. I had a 22" Buffalo Drum laying around that I had intended to turn into a portable bass drum. I drilled a couple holes in a board and used 2 bolts to attach the 22" drum to the board. The board allows me to use a bass drum pedal with the Buffalo Drum (since there is no rim). I then taped some sheets of cork to the bottom of the non-batter side of the board in order to lift it up and make it level. The cork is also nice and non-slip, an unexpected benefit. I used some hippie ass looking duct tape to secure the cork to the board. I bought the board at a thrift store for one US dollar ($1). The sheets of cork were 25 cents apiece. I used three sheets of cork to level the board. The pic below shows the board and bolts. (All of the Buffalo Drums come with convenient holes pre-drilled in them for rope handles. The holes are 5/16").

22" drum bolted to the board.

The finished bass drum assembly.

I had been using my 14" Buffalo drum as a snare, but I wanted it for a 'floor' tom. I cut some snare wires to length and screwed them into an 8" Buffalo Drum (which makes a super dry popcorn type snare sound, almost like a drum machine snare sound!). I then bolted the 8", 14" and 10" Buffalo Drums together to create my tom/snare set up. The pic below shows the snare wires and bolts. These drums are so light that I can put the whole thing in a snare basket!

The bottom side of the snare/tom assembly.

Top view of the snare/tom assembly. Snare is on the left.

The Buffalo Kit is pretty high pitched and there's no way to tune it. It sounds like hand drums being played in kit fashion (of course, because that's what it is!). It's a lot quieter than a normal drum kit, making it perfect for apartments or small spaces. I want to add two more Buffalo Drums to it as toms. The snare/tom assembly weighs maybe 4-5 pounds, the bass drum assembly maybe 4 pounds (without the pedal). I set the tom/snare assembly up in front of the bass drum. This is a super fast kit, with no space between the drums at all! It sounds great though! Set up time is about ten seconds. Put the drums in the snare basket, clip on the bass pedal and it's ready to go. This is a great kit for people on a budget! The Buffalo Drums will cost you about $160-190 total, depending on which sizes you buy and how many you use. This is a great practice kit - leave your full sized kits at the rehearsal studio and play this bad boy at home!

The fully assembled Buffalo Kit!

I have given away every Crazy Drum Kit that I've built, but this one is a keeper and will be with me for many years to come. (LIES! I sold most of these.) The shells are weather proof! Super light, super easy to set up/tear down, and the shells are only 3.5 inches deep, making them easy to nest inside of each other. Although this kit does not sound like a full sized kit, it's a great alternative for small spaces where you need to play quietly.This kit is good for playing outside too! Another benefit is that you never need to tune it. I really love this little bastard. I've been playing the shit out of it.