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 love the sound of a larger diameter bass drum that’s 16″ or even 14″ deep, as opposed to an 18″x22″. The shallower but bigger diameter bass drums tend to have much more low end that carries much better. I’ll use a 16″x24″ 90% of the time.
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 a target, and when hit even slightly off-center, the drum tends to sound very weak. They’re generally very unforgiving. They 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. Lastly, they feel really bouncy and playing doubles on them is often almost impossible. 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. Ever since I tried a pair, I was sold. I prefer 15″ hats over 14″ hats because they tend to have a lower pitch, which, like mentioned before, often blends into music better and doesn’t become harsh. 15’s also literally have more edge surface of the two cymbals rubbing against each other, which generally gives them a more satisfying texture when played half-open, as opposed to 14’s. 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, 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. My go-to splash for those sessions that do have a place for them is the 8″ Paiste Twenty series splash.
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 Puresound wires on all of my snares (Blasters or Custom Pro), and a variety of Remo drum heads (always a P3 on the kick, Controlled Sound or Controlled Sound X on snare, Clear or Coated Emperors or Black Dots on toms).
My main stick is Vic Firth‘s 5B wood tip. I’ll use either the regular 5B, the ones with the black lacquer coating, or the ones with Vic Grip, depending on the temperature/humidity of the venue and how much extra grip I may need on the stick. The lacquered sticks offer a little more grip for chilly/dry environments, and the Vic Grip even more so, which I’ll use a lot in the winter. For lower volume situations, I’ll use 55A’s.
My hardware is all DW 9000 series, with a 5000 series hi-hat stand and either 9000 or 5000 series single or double pedals.
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