Should You Move Equipment When Borrowing Someone Else’s Drum Kit?

Should You Move Equipment When Borrowing Someone Else’s Drum Kit?

As a drummer, there are times when you may need to borrow someone else’s drum kit. Whether it’s for a gig, practice, or studio session, using another drummer’s set can be a great convenience. However, there’s an unwritten etiquette that comes with this scenario: Do not move every piece of equipment. Here’s why this guideline is widely agreed upon in the drumming community and how you can navigate the situation respectfully.

Understanding the Drum Kit Owner’s Perspective

A drum kit is a deeply personal piece of equipment. Each drummer sets up their kit in a specific way to suit their playing style, physical ergonomics, and musical preferences. Moving the components can disrupt this setup and potentially cause issues for the owner when they return to play their instrument.

The Practical Reasons Behind the Rule

  1. Time and Effort: Setting up and adjusting a drum kit takes considerable time. If you move every piece, the owner will need to spend time readjusting it to their preferences. This can be particularly problematic if the kit owner has a performance or practice scheduled soon after you.
  2. Wear and Tear: Constantly adjusting hardware, moving drums, and altering configurations can lead to wear and tear on the kit. Drum kits are not only expensive but also delicate; frequent adjustments can cause long-term damage.
  3. Comfort and Performance: Each drummer has their ideal setup for comfort and optimal performance. Changing the arrangement can affect their playability and potentially hinder their performance, especially if they don’t have time to readjust before their next session.

How to Borrow a Drum Kit Respectfully

  1. Communicate Clearly: Before you start playing, discuss with the kit owner what you need to adjust. Most drummers will be understanding if you need to make minor tweaks.
  2. Minimal Adjustments: Focus on adjusting only what is necessary for your playability. For example, minor changes to the throne height or cymbal angles are often acceptable. Avoid moving the bass drum, toms, or changing pedal settings drastically.
  3. Mark Original Positions: If you must adjust anything significantly, mark the original positions using small pieces of tape. This way, you can easily return the kit to its original setup.
  4. Be Gentle: When making any adjustments, be as gentle as possible to avoid putting stress on the hardware. Tighten and loosen clamps with care, and avoid over-tightening which can strip threads or break parts.
  5. Clean Up: After you’re done, make sure to clean up the kit. Wipe down any surfaces you’ve touched to remove sweat or fingerprints. This small gesture shows respect and consideration.

When It’s Okay to Move More

There are exceptions where more adjustments might be acceptable:

  • Long-Term Borrowing: If you’re borrowing the kit for an extended period, more significant adjustments might be necessary. Discuss this thoroughly with the owner to ensure they’re comfortable with the changes.
  • Owner’s Permission: If the owner explicitly states that you can move more components, then feel free to adjust as needed. Always ensure that you have clear and explicit permission.


Borrowing someone else’s drum kit comes with a responsibility to respect their equipment. The general consensus is to avoid moving every piece of equipment unless absolutely necessary. Communicate with the kit owner, make minimal adjustments, and always handle the kit with care. By following these guidelines, you’ll maintain a good relationship with fellow drummers and ensure that borrowing a drum kit remains a positive experience for everyone involved.

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