My setup always varies depending on the gig, but the gear I use with Bumblefoot is pretty consistent.
Q Drum Co. Mahogany kit (occasionally random brand rental kits, but always in sizes close to the ones below):
16″x24″ bass drum
9″x13″ tom (on snare stand, sometimes 8″x12″)
16″x16″ floor tom (sometimes 15″x15″)
16″x18″ floor tom
6.5″x14″ Q Drum Co. “Black Qeauty” black nickel over brass snare, or:
5.5″x14″ Q Drum Co. plate copper snare
Sometimes 12″ or 13″ side snare
19″ 2002 Crash (sometimes 19″ Signature Dark Energy Crash Mk I)
15″ 2002 Sound Edge Hi-Hat top / 15″ 2002 Medium Hi-Hat bottom
20″ 2002 Medium
24″ 2002 Ride
20″ 2002 Medium
20″ 2002 Novo China
20″ 2002 Crash
I’ll use a 16″x24″ bass drum 90% of the time, but sometimes a 14″x20″, or whatever a particular studio or rental company may provide. The four basic tom size configurations I generally end up using, depending on the situation, are:
– 12″ tom, 16″ floor tom
– 13″ tom, 16″ floor tom
– 12″ tom, 15″ and 18″ floor toms
– 13″ tom, 16″ and 18″ floor toms
People ask me why a 15″ floor tom, and not a 14″. I find the sweet spot on a 14″ floor tom to be too small of a target, and when hit even slightly off-center, 14’s tends to sound very weak. They’re generally very unforgiving. 14’s also tend to choke easily when you hit a flam on them, and the pitch of 14″ floor toms is generally too high for my taste. I really dig 15″ floor toms because that one inch makes a huge difference and pretty much eliminates all those things, while still being decisively smaller than a 16″.
Generally, I’ll use bigger drums on bigger stages, and smaller drums for softer music and/or in the studio or on smaller stages. I love larger cymbals for the simple fact that they have a lower pitch that blends into music much better than smaller cymbals, which tend to stand out more and are more often found “annoying”. I also simply love the timbre and sonic textures of large cymbals.
I’m all about 15″ hi-hats. I prefer 15″ hats over 14″ hats because they tend to have a lower pitch, which often blends into music better and doesn’t become harsh. In order of volume/loudness of the gig, my favorite hats are:
15″ Formula 602 Modern Essentials Hi-Hats
15″ Signature Dark Energy Hi-Hats
15″ Signature Sound Edge Hi-Hats
15″ 2002 Sound Edge Hi-Hat Top w/ 15″ 2002 Medium Hi-Hat Bottom.
I’ll sometimes use the classic 15″ 2002 Sound Edge Hats pair as well. I’ll pick whichever of those fits the music best.
I absolutely love 20″ crash cymbals. I’ll use any combination of crashes from Paiste’s Formula 602, Formula 602 Modern Essentials, Masters, Dark Energy, Signature and 2002 lines for light to medium loud situations. For heavier music I’ll use either 2002 Medium crashes, or Signature Heavy Full Crashes.
Not many situations call for a china type cymbal these days, but when one does, the 20″ 2002 NOVO China is my very favorite. Its incredible dynamic range makes it respond very well to soft touches as well as loud hits.
Ride cymbals are a tricky thing. Every situation requires a ride to have just the right balance between volume, definition and wash. My current favorite ride is the 24″ Masters Deep Ride, which is John “JR” Robinson’s signature ride cymbal. This thing is special. The “ping” is strong, yet not too bright, and the wash is very controlled yet the cymbal isn’t super dry. For louder situations, I like to use the classic 24″ 2002 Ride. For lighter work, I’ll often use a 22″ Signature Dark Energy MkII Ride. But when recording, I will pick whatever fits the music from my large collection of rides.
My three favorite snare drums, and studio workhorses, are:
5″x14″ Q Drum Co. copper plate (3mm shell) snare
6.5″x14″ Q Drum Co. black nickel over brass snare (1 mm shell)
5″x14″ Ludwig Standard (aluminum) snare (1969)
I definitely love brass and copper snares, but I’ll use whatever fits the music from my collections of 20-odd snares. Below are some pictures (a few snares missing).
I use different types of snare wires. Whatever works best for each snare, or I may switch them around to get different sounds. My favorites are Puresound Custom Pro brass wires, Puresound Blasters and standard Ludwig wires.
I use a variety of Remo drum heads (always a P3 on the kick, Controlled Sound or Controlled Sound X on snare, Coated Emperors or sometimes Black Dots or Clear Emperors on toms).
My main stick is Vater‘s 5B (wood tip). For lower volume situations, such as a bar or small club, backing up a singer-song-writer in an acoustic setting, I might use the Blazer (sugar maple) or the Los Angeles 5A (hickory, wood tip)
On tour and at my studio, I use all DW 9000 series hardware, with a 5000 series hi-hat stand and either 9000 or 5000 series single or double pedals. For local shows and sessions, I’ll often use a combination of DW 3000 and 7000 series stands because they are lighter and easier to transport. I use a Carmichael Throne throne top, custom fitted with DW throne base clamp.
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