Here is a detail of the setup I used for the the Studio 54 Broadway
production: PAL JOEY. Also, feel
free to check
out my profile on the www.sabian.com website, as
there is fun interactive diagram there on the setup builder.
Feel free to email me about gear related issues; I'm always
happy to share my insight and experiences.
Here is a photo of the kit I used in the Broadway pit of "PAL JOEY"
Drums: ALL YAMAHA
14 x 5.5 Yamaha Birch Custom Absolute Snare drum
10 x 7.5 Yamaha Beech Custom Tom
14 x 12 Yamaha Beech Custom Tom
22 x 16 Yamaha
Beech Custom Bass drum
Cymbals: ALL SABIAN (from left to right
on the kit)
Sabian Light & Heavy Finger Cymbals
Sabian 6" Cymbal Disc
Sabian 4" HH triangle
Sabian AA Light HiHats or Artisan HiHats
Sabian HH Duo Splash
Sabian AA Sound Control Crash
Sabian HH Splash
20" Sabian Artisan Medium Ride
15" Sabian HH Sound Control Crash
16" Sabian HHX Chinese
Latin Percussion: LP Bell Tree, LP Guiro (mounted on a Claw), LP
Ice Bell, LP Blue Jam Block, LP Rock Cowbell, LP Hi & Low
LP 24 double row bar chimes (mark tree), LP Giovanni Compact Bongos, LP
Heads: All Remo Coated Ambassadors on
top of snare and 10" tom. Coated Emperor on 14" tom. Clear
resonant side of all toms. Powerstroke 4 on kick drum.
Smooth white Ambassador (Yamaha Logo) on resonant side of kick drum.
wood tip, SD6 Swizzle
malletsticks, HB Heritage wire brushes, M25 Gary Burton Mallets. Vic Firth SBAG2 Stick bag.
Other: Roc N Soc Drum Throne
(round nitro model with back rest),
Puresound Custom 20 snare wires. All
Yamaha including the chain drive Flying Dragon Foot Pedal
FP-9310. Vic Firth PAD12
12" practice pad for warming up. ACME police whistles and siren.
This is the basic kit. I will sometimes make slight adjustments
based on a variety of issues. For instance, when it's really
humid in the theatre and the sound isn't moving through the air very
well, I will sometimes use a Yamaha Aluminum or Steel snare for a bit
of extra projection. Also, at times
when I know that I will be in playing the show a lot, I will use Remo
Suede Ambassadors on the tom batters, simply because I love the mellow
tone that they produce. They are very reminiscent of skin heads
of the era, yet with modern day projection, durability and
consistency. But, when I'll be out of the
show a lot, I put the coated Ambassadors back on, simply because they
more durable, and are easier for all of my different drum subs to come
in and get a consistent tone, which is important for the sound
Take note of the
creative use of multi-clamps throughout the setup. LP Mount All
Brackets are INDISPENSABLE in the pit! They allow me to get many
different types of percussion mounted all around my kit, in the
smallest and most convenient places.
There is a specific
reason for EVERYTHING that I have chosen to play in
the pit. I often get asked questions such as, "Why do you use
such small crash cymbals?" Simple... both for sonic reasons and for
SPACE reasons. Often times, Pal Joey included, the orchestra pit
and I have limited amount of space available. Therefore I choose
smaller crash cymbals not only because they take up less space, but
they also aren't as loud... and volume can be a major concern in tight
quarters where other musician's ears are within INCHES of my crash
cymbals! The more I can do
to compact my drum setup, and control the volume, the better, for
everyone involved. (also note how the cymbals
are so close together and layered ontop of each other... another space
consideration.) Most other choices are based on musical reasons,
tho; for instance the use of a 16" HHX Chinese cymbal in this
show. It was absolutely PERFECT to recreate those old vintage
Chinese cymbals from the 1940's. Many people asked why I was
using such a small Chinese cymbal, and even tho it did help with space
concerns, once they heard it, the compliments never stopped.
Lastly, because of space issues in this pit, I was forced to play
timpani and glock parts on an electronic sampling pad. The
programmer for the show chose a model that I was not a fan of, but when
I'm in this situation I prefer to play any triggered parts on Yamaha
electric drum pads. They are consistent, reliable and provide a
The now discontinued
Yamaha Beech Custom drums have become
the choice in the pit for me, for several of
the past Broadway shows I've played. They have just enough
resonance to be warm and full sounding, yet stay out of the way...
Which is VERY
important for close-miked pit situations. Sound designers go
crazy with drums that ring for days, and I personally hate to muffle
the drums at all. So, I tend to steer towards beech. It's too bad that the Beech series
really caught on, and Yamaha was forced to discontinue them, because
they are a perfect balance between the worlds of Birch and Maple.
Now that Beech drums are
harder to find, I steer aspiring players and peers towards the Birch
Custom Absolutes for pit work. The new Absolutes are great with
the Aluminum die cast hoops... and the tone is really pure and
focused. My friend has a set of them in the pit at West Side
Story and they sound amazing.
For a detailed spec list and photo of the setup that I used for the 12
time Tony Award winning show "THE PRODUCERS", click here.
At ASSASSINS (the
last Stephen Sondheim/ John Weidman show I did) I
went with the good old Recording Customs. Sondheim wanted a
controlled tone coming from the drums (since I was up in the air, built
right into the roller coaster that was the set!) and a more
"traditional" look, (piano black with the long lugs) and they were the
perfect choice. See the photo of this crazy setup
in my photo
A NOTE ON SNARES; I have been using Puresound Snare Wires for
many years, and can't say enough good stuff about them.
Simply...they will improve the sound of ANY snare drum. Do
yourself a favor and go get a set of them, and throw them on one of
your snares. You will be AMAZED at the difference. They are
so consistent and allow you much better control over your snare sound,
articulation and dynamics of the drum. Give 'em a shot. And
when I'm playing rock gigs... I will usually use the new BLASTERS
model. They are LOUD yet still remain musical and
sensitive. I just love 'em!
Now go out there and
MAKE SOME MUSIC!! And check out the excellent websites of all the
companies that I'm so proud to be affiliated with, on my LINKS page.