I endorse Paiste cymbals and Vic Firth sticks, and mostly use Drum Workshop and PDP drums.
Apart from several DW and PDP kits and snares, I own a plethora of snare drums made by various companies, as well as a bunch of vintage drums. I’m a cymbal geek and have a large collection of Paiste cymbals to match any type of musical situation.
My basic setup usually consists of a 18″x22″ or 18″x24″ bass drum, a single tom (12″ or 13″) and one or two floor toms (15″ and 16″, or just 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.
My favorite sets of hi-hats (all Paiste) are a pair of old (discontinued) 15″ Signature Sound Edge Hi-Hats, a pair of 15″ 2002″ Sound Edge Hi-Hats, 15″ Giant Beat Hi-Hats, 14″ Signature Dark Crisp Hi-Hats, and a 15″ 2002 Sound Edge top cymbal paired with a 15″ 2002 Medium bottom. I’ll pick whichever of those fits the music best. I definitely prefer 15″ hats because they tend to have a lower pitch which, like mentioned before, often blends into music better and doesn’t become harsh.
I absolutely love 19″ and 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 very favorite ride is the classic 24″ 2002 Ride. It seems to work well in about 75% of the situations I find myself in. 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.
Some of my favorite snare drums are a 6.5″x14″ PDP Ace (with DW True Hoops), a 6.5″x14″ solid brass DW (the thing weighs 20 lbs!) and a 6″x14″ Ahead Black Nickel Over Brass snare with S-Hoops. I definitely love brass snares, but my current favorite snare is a 6″x14″ walnut stave snare, custom-built for me by HD Custom Drums. This thing has an incredible tone. Apart from these, I own some 20-odd snares that I’ll choose from to fit the music.
I use Puresound Custom Pro wires on all of my snares, and a variety of Remo drum heads.
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 9002 double pedal and a 5000 series hi-hat stand. I also have various 5000, 7000 and 3000 series pedals for various situations/kits.