Last week I attended the Summer NAMM (The National Association of Music Merchants) show here in Nashville. This is the show where a ton of music vendors come and whore their wares to music stores, artists, and other unsuspecting buyers of musical merchandise. I leaned a lot while I was there. For example, guitarists need special lotion and if they don’t use it their hands will not channel their soulfulness into their music accordingly. The irony is that I thought I was a terrible guitarist. Turns out I was just using the wrong hand lotion.
In addition, I had no idea how much musical kitsch was out there. I’m not talking about bags, shirts, and other stuff with logos on it. I’m talking about really tacky useless things like pick holders shaped like a pewter dragon and playing cards with sharps and flats on them.
The great part about the show is that a lot of the instrument vendors set up drum sets and cymbals and they shove sticks into your hands as you walk by them. You can try the latest models of drums and percussion instruments from just about every brand out there. This is how I learned one of the most important lessons at the NAMM show: sitting behind the wrong drum set can make you look fat. So here are a few tips to help my fellow drummers look good on stage:
1. Choose the right color of drums. Dark drums are slimming. Avoid spiral designs or anything with stripes, regardless of whether the stripes are vertical or horizontal.
2. You need a pretty low BMI to pull off white drums. Avoid them unless you’re already exceptionally thin.
3. The larger the drums, the thinner you look sitting behind them. If you’re a portly drummer, you may also want to consider adding extra toms because you will look smaller when dwarfed by the volume around you.
If you are particularly self conscious of your weight, add a gong behind you. Large gongs will distract the audience from your waistline. The shimmer can also be hypnotic to viewers.
Cymbals represent who you are. These are the accessories that no drummer can live without. Large glossy symbols are the most slimming, but take into account the color and finish of your drums so that the cymbals don’t clash.
Finally, once you’ve narrowed down your choice of drums based on these criteria, you can then listen to how they sound.
Enough of this fun. What I really learned at NAMM is that there are much better sounding cymbals out there than the ones I’m currently using. I now suffer from cymbal envy. However, therapy for this condition can be quite expensive. In fact, I’m pretty sure that it’s cheaper just to buy some really nice cymbals. Problem solved.