Larry Lelli
Equipment - LIVE/Touring setup


drumpaintingHere is a breakdown and detail of a few other setups that I have been using:


I usually tour with a 4 or 5 piece kit.  Depending on the artist, I will use a Maple Custom Absolute or Birch Custom Nouveau. 
When I play rock & roll or pop stuff with artists, (or my old band HOLDING BACK ENTIRELY) that's when I typically pull out the Maple Custom Absolutes.  They sound massive, loud and warm, and give me maximum sustain.  I ALWAYS get compliments on my drum sound with the maples.  They are just killer.  My sizes will stay pretty similar tho, as they just fit my body well, and I like the sound and control I can get from these sizes.
12 x 8       rack tom
15 x 14     floor tom
22 x 16     kick drum

14" snare drum will be very gig specific, but I'll usually start with a 5.5" deep Maple Custom Absolute Nouveau, or Manu Katche Brass.  With HBE, I've used one of the new LOUD series snare drums by Yamaha, which features an Oak shell.  I like to use the Vintage wood hoops on this drum for a meatier, warmer sound.

If I add drums it would likely be a 14 or 16 floor tom, or a 10 x 7.5 rack tom (as in the photo below).  When space is not an issue and I want to use two rack toms, I will always mount them in this position so it leaves space for me to mount either a ride cymbal or a remote hi hat in the space just over the kick drum.  It's just where my arm likes to fall naturally, so I'd rather put a cymbal there instead of a tom tom; a bit unorthodox compared to how most people set up 5 piece kits.  I've also been known to put the second floor tom on the left side of my hihat, or add a second snare drum there.  I find it really fun to play more open-handed fills that way.  It creates almost a "triangle" of toms.  Extra snares that I'd use could be anything from a 10 x 5 Musashi snare, to a 14 x 6 Vintage Series Maple Snare. (brand new from Yamaha in 2008... features a 4 ply maple shell and reinforcement hoops for a really thin-shell, warm, vintage vibe.)

tri tom rock kit

Cymbals will be mostly 17" & 18" crashes:  Vault Crashes, AAXplosion Crashes, HHX Studio Crashes or the new Legacy Crashes are really nice as well on more acoustic gigs. 
FYI, my second favorite hats are the HHX Groove Hats.  I use them for most loud, amplified music and definitely anything with a rock edge.  They are dark, yet cutting and funky.  I just love them.  I have a pair of 14"s for regular rock gigging & recording and also my latest hearthrob... a monster pair of 15"s that I used with Holding Back Entirely.  Extremely warm yet cutting and HUGE sounding.  It helps me get in touch with my "inner Bonham"...

But I digress... (Can you tell I LOVE my Sabians?)

In general for my pop/rock gigs, rides tend toward a 21" HH Vintage Ride or the newest gem by Sabian: a 21" HH Vault Crossover Ride.  (What a truly gorgeous cymbal this is... warm and dark, crashable yet with a cutting ride sound. An amazingly versatile ride.)  When I want a second ride sound, I'll add a 20" HH Jazz Ride or the new 20" HHX Legacy Ozone Ride or 20" Vault Artisan Medium Ride or an often overlooked beauty... a 20" AA Sound Control Ride.  (I have 4 of these, and simply love them!  Another Sabian innovation and genius... the sound control flanged edge!)

Quick note on ride cymbals: any of you jazz or acoustic players out there OWE IT TO YOURSELF to go and check out the Vault Artisan Rides from Sabian.  If there is such a thing as a modern-day, perfect cymbal, this is it.  They are limited production and very labor-intensive, so it can be hard to find a store with more than a couple in stock... but they are worth the search AND worth every penny!  Buy one, and take care of it, and it will last you for your entire drumming lifetime.

Heads:  I'm pretty much a Coated Ambassador guy, unless I'm REALLY hitting hard, then I'll switch to Emperors on the tom heads, but will ALWAYS have a coated Ambassador on the snare.  I just love the clarity and the natural feel of them.  I would always rather play for tone than volume, so I like the Coated Ambassadors for that reason.  They just give me the most tone out of each drum.  I like to hear the drums sing and play them wide open.  That said, I'm a big fan of the coated Powerstroke 3 and 4 heads on the kick drum batter.  Really round and BOOM-y!  Great low end with those heads.

Lastly, for smaller gigs around town and rehearsals, I'll use my Yamaha Hip Gig drumset.

This kit is ideal for NYC; it fits easily in the trunk of a taxi, and I can carry it into the venue in one trip and they sound great!  They are also perfect for rehearsal room situations (as seen above) as it's easy to keep the volume low with them, AND they take up a very small amount of space.  (Very important in the small clubs and rehearsal rooms of NYC!) 
I almost always throw a small bedsheet in the bass drum, as I can move it around for the desired dampening to "tune it to the room" that I'm in. And when I want to rock it out... a mic on the bass drum and one overhead is all I need.  It's amazing.  Not to mention the White Marine Pearl finish, is just gorgeous.  I love this kit, and highly recommend one for any gigging drummer.  Works out great for me.
For more info on the Hip Gig, check them out here:  Yamaha Hip Gig Website

I'll also bring out an assortment of Latin Percussion instruments.  I always have their LP Claws (great for mounting auxiliary percussion) egg shakers, Softshake, Shake-It, Cluster Chimes, Black Beauty Cowbell, hi-hat mountable Cyclops Jingle Rings and Jam Blocks.  (note the cowbell mounted on my hihat stand on the Hipgig!)  And I sometimes bring out just a LP Djembe in lieu of any other drums.  I can get so many different sounds out of these beautiful instruments.  As for cymbals, I'll lean towards the 13 or 14 HHX Evolution hats, or HHX Manhattan Jazz hats or HHX Legacy hats; 20" HH Jazz Ride or Artisan Light Ride, and an 18" Duo Ride or 17" HH Thin Crash.  Again, this can vary widely based on the gig.  I might show up with a 10" china splash and a 15" HH Sound Control Crash, or an 18" HHX Ozone Crash with a 12" AAX mini china stacked on top of it.  Cymbals are like snare drums, in my book;  A person can NEVER have too many of them to choose from!  You can change the entire color of your kit, just by changing the snare drum and a few cymbals.  I also find that different instruments will give me further inspiration when playing, so I love to mix it up.  And I'm lucky enough to play with other musicians who LIKE the fact that I keep things spicy and exciting!  But keep in mind... I always make musically appropriate choices... so please don't get the impression I'm telling you to bring your 22" china cymbal to your next gig with Patty & her Polka Party Sisters!  Always play what's right for the music.  Nuff said.

So I use all of that good stuff, along with a bag full of wonderful sticks, mallets, rutes and brushes by Vic Firth Vic Firth makes the highest quality stuff out there, and I'm honored to be a part of their family.  Even back when I was a little punk kid just starting out, I was always so particular about the straightness AND the pitch of each stick, not to mention the weight of both sticks needed to be the same.  I always found that Vic Firth had what I needed, right off the rack in my local music store.  And with the amazing selection they have available today, there is a specific stick or rute or brush or mallet to fit EVERY musical scenerio.  I'm a big advocate of NOT getting stuck with the mindset of having to play the very same model stick on every gig.  You wouldn't do that with a snare drum or a cymbal, so why do that with a drumstick?  Every gig is different, and I love to have a huge variety of items to create different sounds and textures at all times.  You will find that you will have a different "attitude" when you are holding a different stick/brush/rod, and I use the amazing selection of Vic Firth products to help me out, both sonically and mentally; Rock gigs I'll lean torwards a thicker/heavier stick like the Extreme 5BN; Pop stuff I'll go with the round tip and solid shaft/taper of a AS5A or AS5B; and Jazz-type gigs I'll go with the Weckl Evolution stick or even the good ole standby SD4 combo.  And as for Rutes... I LOVE LOVE LOVE the new Tala Wands developed with Steve Smith.  Absolute genius.  You'll never get a better touch or rebound from any other manufacturer's rods.  Please... check out these new Tala Wands.  You'll be glad you did.

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.