Larry Lelli
Equipment-PAL JOEY



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 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"
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
14"         Sabian AA Light HiHats or Artisan HiHats
10"         Sabian HH Duo Splash
15"         Sabian AA Sound Control Crash
12"         Sabian HH Splash
20"         Sabian Artisan Medium Ride
Sabian HH Sound Control Crash
16"         Sabian HHX Chinese

Latin PercussionLP Bell Tree, LP Guiro (mounted on a Claw), LP Ice Bell,  LP Blue Jam Block, LP Rock Cowbell, LP Hi & Low Blast Blocks, LP 24 double row bar chimes (mark tree), LP Giovanni Compact Bongos, LP small triangle.

Heads:  All Remo Coated Ambassadors on top of snare and 10" tom.  Coated Emperor on 14" tom.  Clear Ambassadors on resonant side of all toms.  Powerstroke 4 on kick drum.  Smooth white Ambassador (Yamaha Logo) on resonant side of kick drum.

Vic Firth AS5A 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 hardware by 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 are 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 department.

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 is SMALL 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 good rebound/response.

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 never 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 gallery.

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.