Hey guys, first time posting in this board.

I'll try to keep this short: my band's been offered to play an acoustic set for a benefit concert this spring. However, my drummer seems a bit butthurt over the fact that we can't bring a drumkit to the concert.

So what can my drummer do during the set besides sing backup vocals and look awkward? We don't have bongos or anything like that. Just a standard 7 piece drum kit.

Why can't he play drums? Have him use dowel rod sticks
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Buy some bongos or some sort of percussion for him to play?

Failing that; sit back and enjoy the show from the audience :P
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A drumkit's not allowed- the concert people are looking for a more laid back acoustic vibe. No loud things unfortunately.

I'd sugget to go for a cajon or a set of bongos but we're all super tight on cash...
have him play drums with brushes
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he could:
- go the bar and chat up girls for the aftershow party
- play tambourine
- play back-up to the back-up guitar
- play quietly (like this)
- lend some bongo's from someone?
- play the piano?
- sit in the audience and start the mexican waves and a "mosh pit" if necessary.
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The brushes are a really good suggestion. Did some searching and they're inexpensive. Maybe have a snare and hi hat set up?

edit-tambourine would work too. but he hates them...he said they're what the singer uses during a solo and doesn't have anything else to do
Last edited by You Ruined It at Dec 6, 2011,
Tell him you'll make it up to him if he takes one for the team and is cool about it. If the gig is good for your band via exposure, then he needs to understand that this is a one-off thing and will help in the long run.

Just like every song doesn't always keep each band member equally involved, each gig might not do the same for everyone.

But if you guys are a full band, try throwing him a bone and don't book any more acoustic gigs.

In the meantime, let him know how important percussion subtleties are to making a song into a piece of art. It doesn't always require crushing cymbal crashes and mega-fills.

Triangle? More cowbell?
Just bring like a snare or a tom and have it on a strap, like a old drummer boy or something.
Hey can bang in time, better than nothing.
1. Im all for the brushes/snare.

If you can't do that:

2. He doesn't have to be there.
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Maybe have him harmonize with the lead singer while tambourineing
Or have him clap and get the audience going. (clap/snap)
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Using brushes is the obvious answer yeah.

Otherwise a small percussion instrument, like a tamborine or something, anything to keep time.

If not, get him on backing vocals, or some other instrument which could easily be integrated into the set. It'd be a shame to not use him, or have him just standing there.
Assuming you 100% can't use a drum kit, you have these options:

Option 1) percussion that isn't a drum kit

Option 2) instrument that isn't percussion

Option 3) try to make him understand that he just will have to sit this one out

Option 4) don't play the gig
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Ever heard of a Cajon Drum? It's basicaly just a wooden box with a sound hole cut out of it.

Simple to make, easy to play for any drummer, you just sit on them (many Cajon drum players fasten a cushion or a piece of foam to the top of them) and knock, tap and slap a rhythm out, you can also use soft ended sticks (hard drumsticks tend to damage them) and brushes on them.

Lots of acoustic groups use them. Quite a versatile, simple little instrument, the tone changes depending upon where you hit them, bassy in the middle, more treble near the edge.
Last edited by SlackerBabbath at Dec 7, 2011,
Thanks everyone for the tips!

Talked it over with the guys in the band. The drummer and the bassist agreed to sit out the acoustic set but they just want to find another gig around the same date where all of us could rock out. B)
He can use his Tom's like bongos and hit them with his hand. Really cool if he has like 3-6 Toms of different sizes
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