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Recording Gear Update

It was 94° F when I arrived at the studio for rehearsal Tuesday. We are in the dog days of Summer, but I’ve got to say, I couldn’t be happier to be playing music in this heat wave. I am humbled to be performing on Kris Lucander’s new album. The music is challenging but the musicians are excellent. This is my first chance playing with Nik Hunt. Catching up with Pete Rathier and Joe Lordan was also great. Honestly, so much has happened in our lives and in the world since I’ve seen my friends, but it took only about five minutes to catch up and feel as if little time had passed. This is the nature of true friendship.

Here is a quick gear update. The new Gretsch kit sounds great, like Gretsch should sound. I’ve always found them to tune true and record very reliably. It took a little more time to assemble the right cymbal mix. I brought the Paiste set up with me. The sound will center around a beautiful Paiste 22” Signature Traditional Light ride.

I have been using the Paiste Dark Energy Rides and 602 hi-hats and crashes since they reintroduced in 2010. The Paiste 602 line of cymbals are legendary and arguably the finest cymbals ever made. My entire set up is listed below.

Drum set:

Gretsch USA Custom

Bass Drum 18” x 14”

Tom 10” x 6 1/2”

Tom 12” x 8”

Floor tom 14” x 14”

Snare “14 x 6 1/2” (Ludwig Hand hammered Bronze, sorry Fred Gretsch, it is hard to beat perfection)

Alternative Snare: Gretsch Maple 14” x 5 1/2”

PAISTE Cymbals

22” Signature Traditional Light Ride

21” Dark Energy Light Ride with rivets

18” 602 Paper thin crash

16” 602 Paper thin crash

14” 602 Medium Hi Hats

I’ve played these drum sizes for years. I call them the “Tom Brechtlein” s unusual drum is the 10” x 6 1/2” tomtomtom-ytomtotom-ytomttom-ytomtom-ytotom-yttom-yt is the 10” x 6 1/2” tom-ytm-yom-om

Drumheads: Remo Powerstroke P3 coated on all drums.

Drumsticks: Vic Firth American Custom SD2 Bolero.

Brushes: Promark TB3 Jazz Telescopic brushes.

Cases: Ahead Armor cases. These are such beautiful cases. I am not sure if it’s the cases that are worthy of the Gretsch drums, or it’s the drums that are worthy of these luxurious cases. Either way, I highly recommend them.

Drumstick Bag: Tackle Instrument Supply Leather stick case, black. Made to be the only stick bag you will ever need. This quality case will last forever.

I’ve played these drum sizes for years. I call them the “Tom Brechtlein” sizes. The one unusual drum is the 10” x 6 1/2” tom-tom

I first saw a picture of Tom playing this set up in Modern Drummer years ago. I took lessons with the great Ian Froman in Boston at Berklee College of Music on a similar set, and I have been fascinated by that Great Gretsch Sound ever since. As my father always says, “Gretsch, if they are good enough for Tony Williams and Elvin Jones, they are probably good enough for you.” He is correct.

The oddball out of the set is the Ludwig snare drum. I have had this hand hammered bronze drum for years. It never sounds bad. The snare throw-off is junkie and rattles, as does with all basic Ludwig hardware.

They do provide a nice, upgraded throw-off but the drum sounds great with the original mechanism. It just speaks sharply and articulately but in a mellow voice that is controlled and dynamic. This snare drum does it all. I have nothing against the Ludwig Black Beauty, the most recorded snare drum of all time (I have a 5-inch version) but this is the pinnacle of snare drum perfection. So, it’s not surprising seeing Bill Stewart and Vinnie Colaiuta play this drum (a couple of other Gretsch zealots).

So, there you have it, my gear update for Summer 2022, soon to be heard on an album or stage near you!




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