Cheap Ways for Drummers to Lighten Their Hardware Load

For working drummers — especially those with larger or more complex setups — the battle between pounds and portability is neverending. Extra kick drums and 24” ride cymbals aside, the biggest offender in terms of pure weight is often not the drums and cymbals themselves, but the hardware.

Fortunately, there are a lot of fairly inexpensive ways to pare down the mass of your metal without sacrificing needed stability.

Single-Braced Hardware

Double–bracing has been the proverbial law of the land since the mid–1980s. But the reality is that unless you’re an extremely heavy hitter, or are mounting multiple large items on one stand, double–braced legs aren’t going to do a whole lot besides add unnecessary weight.

Products like DW’s 7000 Series or the Yamaha’s 750 line offer a modern take on the single–braced concept, whereas Ludwig’s Atlas Classic and Gibraltar’s 8000 Series go the retro flat–based route.

You don’t need to go all–or–nothing, though. For example, you can keep that beefy Ludwig Atlas Pro Pillar Clutch stand for your 20–pound bell brass snare but still invest in some lighter Atlas Classic Straight Stand models for your 16" and 18" crash cymbals. You’ll still be saving your back some strain after the gig.

Weigh Your Options

Sometimes, investing in a heavier stand to serve as a double or triple mount can actually save weight (and space) once you account for the additional stands you’re leaving at home.

Let’s say you’ve got a rack tom in a snare drum stand, a boom stand with a large crash just off to the left, and a boom stand with a china cymbal above the hi–hats.

For this type of situation, consider a stand like Gibraltar’s 9713PM Platform Mount, which will allow you to mount all three items on a single base. Then you can simply use the top boom sections of your cymbal stands, add a tom mount arm, and now you’re bringing one tripod stand to the gig instead of three.

Clamps On Clamps On Clamps

Universal multi–clamps are, in this drummer’s opinion, the greatest percussive innovation of the past half–century. Light, tough, and extremely affordable, these little problem–solvers are available in all sorts of configurations for nearly any application.

Similar to condensing multiple stands’ worth of gear down to a single platform, simple tri–clamps like Pearl’s ADP30 and Gibraltar’s SC4429 are best for paring down already flexible items like boom cymbal stands.

If you need something with more built–in adjustability for tom arms or harder–to–reach areas, try a ratchet clamp like the Drum Workshop DWSMMG–4 or Tama MC7. Smaller items like splash cymbals and cowbells can even be mounted off tom or bass drum hoops thanks to small adapters the Latin Percussion Claw or Dunnett “Scarab” Universal Hoop Clamp.

Think Used…

Depending on your budget and the size of your setup, you may be better off shopping used. This can effectively kill two birds with one stone. Oftentimes, older hardware is lighter, and it’s almost always cheaper than buying new.

Try looking for lesser–known brands like Pulse, Dixon, World Max, or Sound Percussion. Often these stands come from the same OEM factories producing hardware for more well–known companies, meaning you’re not sacrificing build quality or sturdiness.

...Or Vintage

If you’re really looking to go portable, there’s nothing better than vintage flat-based hardware. Though it won’t work too well if you’re slamming in a Zeppelin cover band, a set of 1960s hardware will be the ultimate solution for the small–group jazzer or street busker.

Generic Japanese–made items can be had for as little as $25 to $50, while name brands like Ludwig and Slingerland will fetch about double that. You may not get the same positioning flexibility or maximum height of a modern stand. But for a simple setup, these will get the job done. In some cases, they’ll even be small enough to break down into a backpack or small suitcase.


Sketch It Out

If you’re having trouble finding a redundant piece of dead weight to eliminate, nothing beats taking measurements and sketching out a bird’s–eye view of your current setup.

You may find, for example, that two of your cymbal booms are long enough to reach the same stand, or that your ride cymbal and second tom could be mounted from the same point without altering their actual positions.

From there, all you need to do is scout Reverb for the necessary clamps or mounts needed and you’re ready to make your lightweight gigging rig a reality.

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