My Gear Page
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This page is dedicated
to my life long love of the drums. It started back in 1964 and I've been playing
in one form or another ever since then. I've been in many bands starting back in
South Florida until I moved out to Northern California in 1984.
I've been "on the cusp" of making it several times, but it has eluded me. Who knows, was it luck? Probably or lack of it. Was it lack of talent? I don't think so, although I've never thought I was a good as some people say I was. As a matter of fact, I think I've always been OK. I'm a groove player. in 4/4. I play many styles OK. I've been playing over 40 years and I'm an OK player in my mind. Am I depressed because of it? No. I love playing and I love the drums. That to me, is enough. But I'll always strive to be the absolute best as I can. Do I practice? Not really but I should be. I'd rather be riding my bicycle during the day when I have off.
So, with that uplifting introduction, here's what I use and why I use it.
Currently, I have seven acoustic drum sets that I use at live gigs (more on them later). I use a combination of Gibraltar, DW, Tama and Pearl hardware with all the sets, including an Tama Speed Cobra double kick pedal. I use a full rack in my drum studio.
And I can't forget my throne, an often forgotten piece of the puzzle. Bad throne? Bad experience ;-). I use Roc 'n Soc throne's. I actually have four. One for the gigging kit, one for my practice kit at my home drum studio, one left in Florida where I do an annual reunion gig with my band from the 60's and 70's and one that is left at a band rehearsal space. It is the best throne out there as far as I'm concerned!
I always use a Yamaha Clickstation for tempos and the liveBPM app on an iPad mini to help keep my meter steady.
The microphones I have are as follows; an Audix D6 for the kick; four Sennheiser e604's for the toms, a Shure SM-57 for the snare, and a Shure PG81 or an Acutune condenser used as an over head. These get sent to the bands main mixer. These mics are owned by that band. It makes for an easier setup and in most situations, simpler is better. A sound company is usually used in bigger venues with this band.
I currently have a Rolls PM50S, coupled with Shure ear buds that I use as an ear monitoring system.
I've now got seven acoustic kits. The number is always changing because, hey I love drums. I buy some and I sell some. An incredible Jenkins-Martin fiberglass kit, an incredible Maple and Poplar C&G Gladstone kit I love, a nice little Premier Genista Maple kit I store in Florida for my annual reunion gig, a really cool Pearl Wood Fiberglass kit, a vintage 1980's Tama Superstar kit, a Remo MasterTouch kit and most recently, a beautiful Craviotto Birds Eye Maple kit. I have a few snare drums that are listed below but that list is in current flux.
How I set these drums up and do I carry spares?
Through the years, I've changed my setup many times. Currently, I'm most comfortable with actually using less drums. You've heard the saying "less is more". It really is. Having less drums makes you think about using the tools you have accessible. So, with that, I'm most comfortable using a one up/one down configuration where I'm using one rack tom and one floor tom. Or one up/two down, with one rack and two floor toms. On occasion however, I will throw an extra rack tom on top, just to mix things up. When I do that, I have to move my ride cymbal over to the right and a little higher. Also, the days of having cymbals high are long gone. Low is the word, because you can get to them quicker and it's easier on the body. It looks cool too ;-). Also, I always carry spares to things that I cannot do without when I'm at a gig if it breaks. And that would be an extra snare, pedal, and drums heads for the snare and bass drum. With that rule, I'll always be covered unless I forget something...
Craviotto Birds Eye Maple Kit
Unbelievable quality. This a kit of one ply birds eye maple. Incredible resonance, warmth and tone. I'm proud to finally own another. This one will not be sold! 14x22, 9x13, 16x16.
Yamaha Recording Customs in the Sea Foam Green Lacquer finish
I always knew I would come back to a Yamaha Recording Custom kit. I bought these brand new (ouch!) but it was worth it. I waited an extra three months for the custom 14x22 sized kick. Again, it was worth it!
Tama 1983 Superstar Kit in a glossy natural finish
I got this kit because I play in a Tom Petty Tribute band (The Big Jangle) and this is the kind of kit Stan Lynch used to play with the Heartbreakers...sort of. A great sounding birch kit. Awesome rock & roll kit!!! My sizes are 16x22, 9x13 rack tom and 13x14 and 16x16 floor toms! I use this drum set exclusively with The Big Jangle.
Click here for a video with the Tama's
Pearl Wood Fiberglass kit in Platinum Mist Finish
This is a new kit that Pearl resurrected from the 70's. It is a great drum set made of kapur and poplar with a thin layer of fiberglass. I have a basic kit with the perfect sizes, 14x22, 9x13 and a 16x16. I soon will be getting additional add on drums to make for a great large setup if I need it.
Jenkins-Martin Fiberglass Kit
I recently ordered this kit because of my love for my Blaemire snare drum. I was not disappointed. Very small company that is dedicated to producing phenomenal drums. Just a great sounding kit. 14x24 bass drum, 9x13 rack tom and 14x14 and 16x16 floor toms. I actually have extra drums which are a bit smallerr in size, which I use for smaller venues and/or funkier gigs. The sizes of those drums are a14x22 bass drum, 8x10 and 8x12 toms.
Premier Genista Maple Kit
I use this kit in Florida for my reunion gigs I have every year. So, it gets played one week out of the year. This kit was cheap! Brand new!. I think I paid $500. Brand new maple. It sounds awesome. I put good heads on kit, tuned it up and boom. Premier has never disappointed! I think this is a mid level kit that was being blown out. It's got a cool wood sunburst finish. 16x20 Bass drum, 9x12 rack tom, 5x14 snare and a 16x16 floor tom.
Click here to see a video with me playing these drums with my old band from Florida, The World of Matter in 2014!
Remo MasterTouch (2) Regular & Bop Kit
When I saw this drum set posted on Craig's List for $350, I bit. The reason the set was being sold for so cheaply was because it had water damage. The finish in it's veneer was bubbling in places. Also, the set is made of basically pressed cardboard. BUT, this set has a very good reputation for being a great sounding kit. I picked it up and decided to re-wrap it in Vintage White Marine Pearl. I think it came out great! I actually made this drum set into two separate kits. One is a regular sized four piece kit with a 16x22 bass drum I recently purchased from a fellow drummer that was used by Slingerland drum company for their very inexpensive line. Certainly not the old Slingerland we all know of BUT the shell was fine. I also purchased some old Remo lugs that matched the rest of the kit. Also, I purchased new wood hoops and various hardware to build up the 22 (which I prefer). I then wrapped the bass drum with the same wrap as the rest of the kit. Completing the regular sized kit, a 8x12 rack tom and a14x16 floor tom. I decided to make a second, jazz bop kit because the original kit came with a small bass drum (14x18). I was never a believer in small bass drums. But, since I'm not a strictly jazz player, I never really sought out the smaller Jazz Bop kit. I gave it a try and you know what? The drum set sounds awesome. Since I always use a microphone on my bass drum, the size is not really a factor. Except for that it responds quicker when I play it. Sizes are 14x18 bass drum, a 8x10 rack tom and a 14x14 floor tom. Result are in the pictures on the left. Huge sound. A YouTube clip of of me playing the Remo kit Jessica is here..
The drum set as I originally purchased it.
The Jazz, bop kit with the 14x18 bass drum
The regular sized kit (with all of the drums). This is the 16x22 bass drum I built up.
The re-wrapped kit from my view.
One of my fans ;-) did this...
Since I don't have any endorsements (there is an upside to this fact I guess), I can use whatever I want. So there! I mix and match as the gig demands.
15" A Custom Mastersound Hi-hats - I also use these hats on my gigs.
15" Paiste 2002 HI Hats - I starting to lean back to Paiste 's. They are so sweet and cut through the music perfectly.
14" Paiste 2002 Hi-Hats - I use these on my rehearsal kit.
17" Zildjian K Custom Fast Crash - A "quiet" cymbal I use when we play in close quarters. Quick decay but dark.
18" Zildjian K Custom Fast Crash - I wanted a larger cymbal that would match the other crashes but be able to provide more wash.
19" Zildjian K Dark Crash - A real nice "washy" crash that blends perfectly with my other K crashes.
20" Paiste 2002 Medium Crash - I'm really digging my bigger cymbal set up now.
16" and 18" Paiste 2002 Medium Crash's - Have I said I love 2002 Paiste's?
21" Sabian HH Raw-Bell Ride - It's a beautiful sounding cymbal. After playing Zildjian Ping rides for decades, I've finally found a ride cymbal that to my ears is perfect for all applications.
21" Zildjian Sweet Ride - I use this beautiful ride in my drum studio.
22" Zildjian Ping Ride - Beautiful vintage ride I use on my rehearsal kit.
18" Paiste Twenty China - I have finally found the perfect, trashy, quick china cymbal.
My relatively small snare collection sounds great. Honestly, it's hard to keep up with which snare drum I have and use at any moment. It's a combination of round drums, good tuning and good heads that are the key to having a great snare drum sound.
Kits I've owned in the past
My first drum set! My parents bought this kit for me. A brand new top of the line Ludwig in my my favorite color, blue sparkle! I was extremely lucky to have such loving parents. I used this kit during the 60's until I got the bug to have other drum sets. Silly me!. 14x20 bass, 9x13 tom and 16x16 Floor tom with Ludwig (Paiste) cymbals. oh, the snare drum? A 5x14 Supersensitive! Like I said, top of the line :-)
In 1970 I bought a silver sparkle Ludwig kit and soon bought another with exact sizes to have a double kit!
Around 1973, I was a big fan of Billy Cobham who was quickly becoming the "man". I purchased this acrylic Fibes kit with a 24" bass drum. 14x24, 9x13, 10x14 and a 16x16 Floor tom. Yes, that is a Ghost bass drum pedal!
I got a Premier Resonator kit in the late 70's when I was playing with a local band, Hemlock. Of course, I had to get a double kit! Roto toms as well.
When Hemlock started recording in California, I had a great Pearl fiberglass kit with concert toms. Loved that kit and my lifelong love of fiberglass drums!
DW Maple Collectors Royal to Regal Burst. A great kit that I used for eight years.
This is a DIY Kit. Do It Yerself. I bought the parts and put it together. A lot of fun and it sounded great too. Maple Keller shells. The wrap is turquoise glass glitter. I liked it...
The same kit but in a green sparkle wrap.
Again, the same kit without any wrap. I attempted to give it gloss finish.
A great Premier Signia kit in it's white lacquer finish.
The same kit in a silver glass glitter
A Premier Resonator kit that I covered in purple glass glitter wrap.
A very cool Gretsch USA Maple kit that I am real sorry I got rid of. What was I thinking???
Yamaha Maple Custom Absolute pink sparkle kit. A great sounding kit! I wish I had the space to keep it.
Yamaha Birch Custom Absolute Nouveau pink pearl fade. As the others, a great drum set!
Tama Starclassic Performer. A birch kit that I really, really liked. My first Tama kit and not my last. Had to make room for others unfortunately.
A Gretsch USA Maple kit. A wonderful sounding kit.
A great Gretsch USA Custom kit. The classic Gretsch Rosewood kit.
Fibes Maple kit from 1990's. An awesome sounding kick. I prefer 22" kicks so it didn't get played much. I recently acquired and Fibes kit with a 22" kick and two floor toms and I couldn't be happier! See it listed above.
Yamaha Absolute Beech Custom Kit. An absolutely wonderful sounding and engineered drum set. I'm sorry I got rid of it.
A 1980's era Yamaha Recording Custom kit. The real deal.
Fantastic Sonor Delite kit. A true classic with unbelievable quality and engineering.
Ludwig 9 ply Classic kit, circa late 1990's. I miss this one.
Ludwig 3 ply 70's era kit I built up from old shells.
Milestone fiberglass kit that I restored. I hated to let it go but I had to make room for others.
Tempus Carbon Fiber Custom kit. Great sounding kit that now has a new great home.
Gretsch Renown 100% African Mahogany Purewood Series Kit. A great Gretsch kit that could stand up to any Gretsch kit out there. I traded it for my current Rogers XP-8 kit. I'm sure I'll be sorry...
Rogers XP-8 "Big R" Kit. Vintage Maple kit from the late 70's-early 80's. Like the color???
Fibes Maple. A wonderful sounding kit. Jasper shells. Not my favorite color, so when I had the chance to get my Green Ludwig Maples, I sold these. I'll regret it as usual I'm sure!
Tempus Carbon Fiber kit. This was an awesome custom built kit.
Ludwig Blue Vistalite kit. Great vintage kit.
A Tama Granstar kit that I had cut down (the toms that is). Nice sounding kit from the 80's. I re-wrapped it in pink sparkle.
My Gretsch New Classic Maple kit. Loved this kit but alas I had to move something out so I could purchase my brand new Ludwig Legacy kit.
I still believe Yamaha makes one of the best drum sets on the planet. Another drum set I sold to finance my Ludwig Legacy kit .
I had this Yamaha Tour Custom kit for a short while. I purchased it new and kept it in Florida for when I would play at reunion gigs with my old bands from the 60's and 70's. I decided I didn't want to take up valuable space at my fathers house for one gig a year. Great sounding kit with the right heads. Love that Yamaha quality!
This is a unique Ludwig Classic Maple kit built in 2004. I got it used. Real nice kit but I grew tired of the green sparkle. Call me crazy. It was a wonderful sounding kit.
I picked up this brand new Dixon Outlaw kit last year for a song. Great quality and a nice sounding kit but in the end, I needed the room to get my incredible Gretsch kit.
This is one kit that I know I will regret selling but the sizes just didn't work for me. These jazz sizes would better be served with a jazz player, which I'm not. I sold them to a friend who will put them to great use.
A great Ludwig Classic Maple kit in champagne sparkle (love that color) that I needed to sell to make room for a newer custom drum set. I'm sure I'll regret unloading but it did go to a great home up north of the border to someone who will put it to good use as well!
Gretsch USA Custom! What can I say? Fantastic kit. Never played a Gretsch kit I didn't absolutely love.
C&C Mahogany Kit. Wonderful drums. It's just that Mahogany isn't as loud a drum as maple are. I would own a maple kit in a second. I may someday. Just great drums.
Ludwig red glass glitter Legacy kit! A fantastic drum set that to my mind didn't get played out enough. That's the problem with having so many. I feel bad if I'm not playing them. So, reluctantly, I let them go to. They went to a great home in Montana.
Eames make some of the best shells in the industry. This was a smokin' kit. I bought them on impulse one day for a great price but again, with so many kits (seven at the moment), I decided to pass them on to someone else at the same price. Beautiful drums.
My Beloved Gretsch USA Customs. Loved this kit BUT I got a deal of a lifetime with the Craviotto's and it involved trading this kit for them (plus a lot of cash). They will be missed!
My Fibes Maple kit. Man, I loved this kit to but it had to go to get cash to pay for the aforementioned Craviotto's. If you're a drummer (and I'm assuming you are) and have never played a Fibes kit, make it a point to. You will be hooked forever.
A fabulous Ludwig clear acrylic kit. Love these drums!
And lastly in the Craviotto influenced turnovers, I had to let the Ludwig Classic's go to make room for the Craviotto's. Great drums!!
Like a dope, I can't believe I unloaded this kit. One move I will always regret! One of the best kits I've ever had the pleasure of owning. I just can't believe they're gone... :-(
Ludwig Keystone kit in mint oyster green. A very big sized kit. I had to sell to make room for others. Sounds like a recurring theme, huh?
Gretsch USA Custom in walnut finish. Beautiful, great sounding drums I had to unload to make room for another Craviotto kit I've purchased.
DW Collector kit. This was actually Joe Morello's last kit. DW's are fine instruments.
DW Collector kit I actually bought while I was recuperating from a minor surgery. Beautiful tangerine glass glitter wrap.
Pork Pie Nyatoh in the silver blue duco finish. Another great sounding kit that had to go to make room for another purchase.
Yamaha Club Custom orange swirl kit. Just an outstanding drum set.
Ah, my beloved C&C Gladstone Poplar kit. Unfortunately it had to go to make room for my Yamaha RC kit.