The Magic Carpet

December 01, 2011

Many drummers consider their drum rug as nothing more than a means to keep drums and stands from sliding on hard surfaces. And a good drum rug should certainly do that. Several commercially available drum rugs have built-in barriers to keep your bass drum from moving. Some also have reinforced sections under the spots where bass drum and hi-hat pedals are likely to go.

But whether you use one of these hi-tech drum rugs or a household carpet remnant, that rug can also provide you with an invaluable service. It can be the take-everywhere blueprint for your perfect drumkit configuration. All you need in order to create this blueprint is a roll of gaffer’s or duct tape and a permanent marker. (Gaffer’s tape is more durable; duct tape is less expensive.)

First, lay out your rug, making sure that it’s smooth and flat, with no wrinkles. Next, set up your kit, carefully putting everything in the optimum position. Keep stand legs untangled, and be sure your pedals are exactly where you want them. Finally, tear off short strips of tape and use them to mark on the rug where the foot of each stand and the tip of each bass drum spur is located. Do this in a U-shape, with the open end pointing back up along the stand leg or spur. Do the same around the heels of bass drum and hi-hat pedals. For floor-tom legs, create small squares around each foot.

Whether your setup is complex or simple, it’s a good idea to put pieces of tape on one or more foot of every stand, as well as on the foot of each floor tom leg. Mark a code number or letter on these pieces of tape, and put the same number or letter on the tape markings attached to the rug. That way you can match them up quickly and accurately, ensuring that you have the correct foot of the correct stand in the correct location every time.

The beauty of this system is that it’s completely flexible. As you add, subtract, or reposition items on your kit, you can simply remove and replace the tape markings on your rug and your stands. In addition, if you should happen to use different kits (or kit configurations) for different gigs, it’s a simple matter to use different-color tape for each one.

There’s actually no “magic” to this process. It’s really simple to accomplish. But you’ll be amazed at how quickly and easily your set-ups will become—to say nothing of how comfortable you’ll be on every gig. And that’s a pretty magical feeling.

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