Session Drumming Month: Essential Gear

23rd Apr 2011 | 13:02

Session Drumming Month: Essential Gear
Session Month: Essential Gear
The gear the pros cannot live without

We all have our favourite pieces of kit that seem to work in just about any situation, and it seems star session players are no different.

Session Drumming Month: Essential Gear
Session Month: Essential Gear
The gear the pros cannot live without

Neal Wilkinson: “I’ve had a really good working relationship with Simon at LDC, I literally just send him a six-word text and he’ll say, yep, see you there and it’s always perfect. I might just say to him, if it’s an older thing I might need a double-headed bass drum or a smaller bass drum, I might be a little specific but generally I just say something to him like, normal Yamaha kit, three or four snare drums, which I might list, then I might say my bag of Constantinoples plus the bag of Armands. Sometimes I might say, oh, it’s just a jingle, throw in a wood snare, a metal snare, 22”, 12”, 16”, a bag of cymbals and it’s always great. I’ve got an early 60s Ludwig kit so I might take that along if somebody wants that sound. It depends on the session.”

Session Drumming Month: Essential Gear
Session Month: Essential Gear
The gear the pros cannot live without

Ian Thomas: “The snare I take with my foolproof kit is a Ludwig 402 and I can get more or less any sound out of that. I can crank it up and make it really high pitched or make it into a big, fat ballad snare drum. To be able to do that quickly and to have the knowledge of how to do that is really useful. The music dictates it so if somebody has got something specific I’ll say, ‘Can you send me a reference track?’ then I’ll decide on what I take after that. If it’s a jazz thing then obviously I’ll use a different kit, something that has Ambassadors on it, I’ll use different cymbals. If it’s a rock thing I’ll take one of my bigger kits and use a big, wide open sound, whatever the music dictates.”

Session Drumming Month: Essential Gear
Session Month: Essential Gear
The gear the pros cannot live without

Dean Butterworth: “I like to have a few choices of Snare drums usually i will have a brass Tama starphonic 14"x6", a Brass Tama Starclassic 14"x5.5" and a Tama Bubinga/Birch 14"x7.5" depending on the producer they usually have a few snares they like to work with too. I always have a wide selection of Paiste cymbals with 3 or 4 set of hi hats and crashes and rides. If the producer does not have a kit he uses I like to play Tama Bubinga/Birch toms floor and kick. I always have my sticks, mallets, bushes & rods in my stick bag.”

Session Drumming Month: Essential Gear
Session Month: Essential Gear
The gear the pros cannot live without

Paul Clarvis: “A big pair of ears and an open mind. Plus high sounds, medium sounds and low sounds.”

Session Drumming Month: Essential Gear
Session Month: Essential Gear
The gear the pros cannot live without

Ralph Salmins: “My drums are delivered and teched by London Drum Company. I take a kit that will work for most things: Gretsch 22, 12, 16 with a selection of snares: Gretsch New Classic Black Brass is my current favourite. Spare heads are important and I change them frequently. I'm using Remo coated ambassadors all round. A selection of sticks is important for me and I use different stick models for different approaches: Vic firth SG for groove playing, DW Evolution for heavier hitting, AJ3 for big band/jazz and the magical AJ6 for quiet music that needs greater cymbal definition.”

Session Drumming Month: Essential Gear
Session Month: Essential Gear
The gear the pros cannot live without

Abe Laboriel Jr: “A drum key, a drum set (kick and two to three toms), a secondary kick, about 10 to 15 snare drums, around six or seven cymbal bags, sticks, brushes, bundled rods, mallets, hardware for two kits (the second being for either a secondary loop setup or in case anything breaks), spare drum heads for everything, gaffer tape, moon gel, snare wire and lug locks.”

For more session hints, tips and secrets pick up the latest issue of Rhythm and check out our online Session Month.

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