My Setup


Your setup affects your playing. Your playing influences your setup. My setup is in constant change. I implemented and rejected many ideas. The solution is to re-think thus leaving familiar habits behind.
Open Handed Playing has long been part of my playing. I’ve implemented it in an unusual way, and assigned the snare to a new place.

Over the past years I searched for a drum setup that would make it possible to play relaxed while realizing my musical ideas.
After some detours I found my current setup. The newest picture is the first one, find the development down below.

MY DRUM SETUPS FROM 2002 to 2016

It all started in march 2002: I could not play free with crossed arms anymore. It was difficult for me to combine a loud snare with a low Hihat because the hand below ccould not raise, and I wanted to avoid a small movement or a reflex motion with my elbow (“powerstroke”).
“Open-Handed-Playing” was the solution BUT: I didn`t want to play hihat with my left hand or install a second hihat. So the hihat had to move to the right hand. My left hand should also reach the hihat. So the middle was the best position:
I left the toms like they were before and everything stood on the right side. I tried different setups which were all uncomfortable to play.

I remembered setups from drummers like Bernard Purdie, Kenny Aronoff and others who mounted the smalI tom on the right side. I tried it out and my set was easier to play. The breakthrough came when I put the lowest tom to the left. All the years it was positioned on the right side and I got accustomed to that very much. But it had to be changed. Tom #1 and #3 where positioned on the right and #2 and #4 on the left side. I used a double bass drum pedal and a cable hihat.
For the first time I could play the set without any problems. All my ideas were easy to realize:

Drumset_Unger_02_1 Drumset_Unger_02_2

Variants of that setup in the studio:
Drumset_Unger_04_2 Drumset_Unger_04_1 Drumset_Unger_03

In November 2004 I used two bass drums which were located far on both sides of my setup. I used two double bass drum pedals to reach the drums. I moved the bass drum to the right because the hihat needed too much space in the middle of the setup. I now play this drum with the left pedal of the double bass pedal. Then I added a second bass drum which I placed on the left side. I played this drum with the right pedal of a left foot double bass pedal.

Therefore I was able to move the toms more to the front:
Drumset_Unger_05_2 Drumset_Unger_05_3 Drumset_Unger_05_1

In May 2005 I combined the two bass drum pedals to a single one. I attached the left pedal of my right foot pedal on the left side of my left foot pedal resulting in more space for the cable hihat a little more on the right thus creating space for a tom right above the bass drum.

Drumset_Unger_6_1 Drumset_Unger_05_08 Drumset_Unger_6_3

After that I had the idea to position both toms on the left. The bass drum was still placed right in front of the snare. The mounted toms were placed on the left side of the snare. I put the ride cymbal right in front of me. I added two splash and two china cymbals:
Drumset_Unger_6_2 Drumset_Unger_06_05

August 2006: I removed the slow cable hihat and added a DW 9000 for it.

In August 2006 I had a smaller second setup which I used for rehearsals in Spain:
Drumset_Unger_06_08_V2_1 Drumset_Unger_06_08_V2_2

January 2007:
Drumset_Unger_07_01_2 Drumset_Unger_07_01_3 Drumset_Unger_07_01_1
February 2007: The set I used for a gig in Madrid:

This setup in April 2007 had best of both worlds. I thought this setup could last longer but I had to sell it for the money. Too bad for these former Claus-Hessler-drums:
Drumset_Unger_07_04_1 Drumset_Unger_07_04_2

August 2007: It´s the same setup as last August but with other cymbals:

In October 2007 I used the same setup in the studio but with only two crashes and with Ludwig drums:

In November 2008 I made a crucial step forward. I realized: Abolute symmetry was only obtainable when putting the hihat more to the middle and the snare more to the left:
The result was a completely relaxing symmetric open handed position of both hands. The idea derived from playing with both hands on my thighs. No more accidental hihat tones while playing side sticks on the snare. At that point I did not need toms on the left.

Drumset_Unger_120713 Drumset_Unger_120713_feet Drumset_Unger_121012

Drumset_Unger_130318 Drumset_Unger_130318_front Drumset_Unger_130901

Drumset_Unger_140206 Drumset_Unger_140313 Drumset_Unger_140729 Drumset_Unger_141018 Drumset_Unger_141230 Drumset_Unger_150111 Drumset_Unger_150111_feet Drumset_Unger_150118 Drumset_Unger_150118_2


APRIL 2016

This is my newest setup:


The snare is positioned right in front of my left knee, the Hit in front of the right one. An absolutely symetric setup. I tested this principle back in November 2008 and forgot to go through with ist. My left hand is free to ad toms whenever needed.


After a long journey I returned to the standard setup. It feels like coming home. After being able to playing more quiet even in a recording session, I don´t need as much room to reach up with the left hand for a stroke.
That all had to do with my new kit from Slovenian custom drum builder MANICdrum.