after some fun gear talks i’ve had with members of various bands that we’ve shared the stage with lately, i decided to do a gear post about my current rig.
the kit is a red stained yamaha birch custom absolute, 20″ bass drum, 8″ rack tom, 10″ rack tom and 18″ floor tom. it was a gift from my dad in 2000. i’ve used vintage ludwig snares for the longest time, but i have fallen in love with mapex’s black panther snares and currently play a 13×7 blaster black panther. all the drums and cymbals are suspended from a custom black gibralter rack, with the exception of the floor tom which is on legs and snare drum, which sits on a yamaha stand. instead of a conventional hihat stand, i use a DW remote hihat which allows me to set the hihat up directly in front of me over the rack toms, mounted to the rack.
i like the smaller drum sizes, tuned very low. i have always been able to get the birch shells to sound good in all the tuning ranges; low, mid and high, but for my ears i like the low, tight wood-y tone of the heads tightened just a little more than finger-tight. i use evans ec2s on the toms and the evans emad on the bass drum. these heads sing at a surprisingly loose tuning and add to the ‘punch’ frequency inherent in birch shells.
the blaster snare has amazing depth to it’s tone and the crazy snare sensitivity that seems to be a signature of the black panther line. tone stays consistent from the quietest qhost note to the loudest rim shot. the snare is a recent addition and still has the original remo ambassador head it came with. i tend to leave drum heads on as long as possible, especially snare drum heads.
with nature by numbers, i play 80% of the time with the snares disengaged. the blaster mixes particularly well with the yamaha tom and bass drum tones with the snares off. that combo of maple and walnut in the snare shell cuts through the birch of the toms but has a warmth similar to the birch so the kit as a whole sounds like one instrument.
as long as i’ve played i’ve almost exclusively used zildjian cymbals, with the exception of a stack by hammerax which is part of my current set up. from left to right (drummers perspective); 15″ a custom medium crash, 14″ a custom efx stacked on top of a 12″ oriental trash china, 10″ zxt trashformer stacked on top of a 10″ a custom splash, 13″ hats k top hat and quick beat bottom hat, 18″ a custom efx stacked on top of a 18″ oriental trash china, 20″ a custom ping ride, 17″ custom hybrid, 15″ custom dark crash and finally a 12″ hammerax crash corse stack.
my cymbal set up has been the same for most of the past 3 years, but the cymbals themselves are in a constant state of change as i try different sizes, stacks, models, etc. though i’m quite happy with the color palette of my current cymbal set, it will undoubtedly change and soon as i continue to experiment with different sounds. in general, i like one larger crash (17″-19″) to the right that is used for large crash punctuations but also as a ride for heavier song sections. i like 2 smaller crashes, one to the left of me and one to the right for crash accents and as a ride option in heavier sections. one large stack used as a trashy ride, 2 smaller stacks to the left used for quick trashy accents, usually struck with my left hand on off/up beats. the ride is used more as a crash ride. the hammerax stack is used as a trashy substitute to the high hats. the hats themselves i wear out on the town, they go great with my slacks;)