This page is for anyone who's curious about my drum gear, but mostly for you drummers.
Click on any of the pictures for a larger image.
Pictured here is my "family" of Gretsch toms (7) and bass drums (3). When I started gigging more frequently several years ago I worried about the lacquer finish on the Yamahas that were my set at the time. Also, having played Gretsch drums for 25 years previously, I wanted another set of Gretsch. I bought drums singly and in small groups, mostly via the Internet, and sent them to Jim Petty for refinishing in turquoise sparkle. They were done in two groups, and the pile above is the result. Bass drums are 16x16, 14x22, and 14x20. Toms are 8x8, 8x10, 8x12, 9x13, 10x14, 12x15, and 12x16. Front bass drum heads were done with decals from Vintage Logos.
I'd fallen in love with Gibraltar racks while playing my Yamahas, and now own four custom racks, three of which I use for gigging. Between the racks and wide variety of toms and bass drums, I have setups that work well for very different genres of music.
This is my rock/big band setup. Bass drum is 14x22 and toms are 8x12, 9x13, 12x15, and 12x16. I like the deeper sound that the big drums give me for rock and big band work. Cymbals are a K Custom 22" ride, 22" A swish, 14" K Custom Dark hats, 8" Paiste Dimension splash, and 14", 16", and 18" K Custom thin dark crashes. I'll also occasionally add or switch some cymbals for different situations. On rock gigs I like to use an 18" Zildjian Oriental Trash china instead of the 22" swish.
The set above is my favorite configuration for small group jazz. Sizes are 8x10, 8x12, 10x14, 12x15, and 14x20. Cymbals are a 1959 22" A Zildjian medium ride, 20" A medium sizzle, 20" A swish, 14" A & Cie crash, and 8" Paiste Dimension splash, with 14" A light hats. This is an expanded version of my previous 10/12/14/20 setup, which I can revert to if stage space is limited. Both setups can be modified as the music and space available demands.
I had a 16x16 floor tom left over from the original project, so when I found I wanted a small set for some jazz gigs it was drafted to serve as a baby bass drum and matched up with 10" and 13" toms for a bebop setup. I've since used it several times with happy results, but not as often since completing the 10/12/14/20 setup.
A year after finishing the first part of the turquoise project I found myself rehearsing every week with Pecos River Brass and playing out in places where I needed a smaller set. I'd already built a rack for a four piece setup, and decided that a permanent four piece was called for. Once again I went to the Net for loose drums to be rewrapped Pink sparkle seemed like a good bright color for this set, and I've been really pleased with the look. Sizes are 14x22, 9x13 and 12x15. This is now my practice set, and stays set up at home.
I currently own four snare drums, including a Gretsch that matches my turquoise array, but my main working drums are a Slingerland Radio King and a Drum Workshop Craviotto.
The 6.5x14 Craviotto is probably my favorite snare drum. Since getting it I've switched the strainer to a gold plated Trick GS007 (to match the gold hardware that came on it, including the diecast hoops), and installed Puresound snares. It's a very versatile snare drum, and the one heard on most of the recordings on my music page.
A close second to the Craviotto is a late 90's Radio King that I own thanks to the help of my friend Steve Gibson. A 6x14 that I customized with diecast hoops, a Trick strainer, and Puresound snares, it's also very versatile, and choosing between it and the Craviotto often comes down to how I feel when I pack for a gig.
Since I also have two full sets of hardware besides the racks, and a wide assortment of cymbals, last minute calls are no problem. I can literally load the minivan in five minutes or less. I just grab drums, hardware, and cymbals, load up, and head out.
Obviously, moving drums around can be a challenge, especially when it may involve negotiating the halls of a large hotel, or a long walk from parking to stage. That problem's solved with a Rock 'n Roller Cart. I got mine several years ago, and it's proven one of the most useful tools in a working drummer's arsenal. With it, I can get even my largest working rig from car to stage in one trip.
As you can see, my drum selection allows me a lot of flexibility to configure just the right set of drums and cymbals to fit any style of music. Being able to keep the working drums packed and ready to go also means that I can load up and be on the road quickly if necessary.