Mitch Mitchell Drum Kits History, Photos??

JDA

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BonzoBonham said:
Paris, 1967. Don't know if it's a true Champagne Sparkle kit, or just the picture putting the SS kit in a tint that makes it look like CS.
that 'could be a red tint look at the Marshalls but then again..
 

slapstick

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Osahead2 said:
Hahaha his canister went missing alright because, I now have it...

I might be the only person to date that owns a factory original thermogloss maple canister throne?
i think mitch gave robert wyatt the natural finish set when the soft machine were touring the u.s.a in tandem with hendrix,.,.,,.robert used it a lot with the soft machine after that.
 

pedro navahas

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Osahead2 said:
Hahaha his canister went missing alright because, I now have it...

I might be the only person to date that owns a factory original thermogloss maple canister throne?
You know what they say about pics??
 

wflkurt

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Well I guess the throne I posted is a different throne. Yours is MUCH nicer than this one. Still always a good excuse to see some cool drums!
 

BellBottomDrummer

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I know it's been forever since my last visit, but I'm still riding the groove........
Actually, I was doing some spot-research on my main man Mitch, and this thread turned up on the Google - which blew me away because Google previously "assumed" I was always asking about either the Canadian baseball player, or the black guitar player!! Makes me miss good old Lycos, let me tell ya.

Anyhoo, back around the turn of the century I contributed to a Mitch tribute site - "Beginnings," I believe it was called - my contribution being a rough chronology of Mitch's kits from 1966-1970. Since the good old Internet Wayback machine can't find the site in the archives any more, I'll try and re-create the chronology.

The "champagne sparkle" kit describes the Premier {NOT Ludwig} kit Mitch had when he was in the Riot Squad:



1565697610203.png


Champagne kits tend to photograph a little darker than silver kits in black and white photos; there used to be a color version of this same photo somewhere on the 'Net; I used it for the "Beginnings" articles, which is how I know the kit was "Champers."

The first kit that Mitch used with Jimi was his familiar "tiger-stripe" Premier, which also happened to be the kit he bought when he joined Georgie Fame's Blue Flames in early 1965:

1565698475812.png


Note the 20" kick, and the near-horizontal angle of the 12" top tom; the floors were 16"s - in other words, a typical British jazz setup. This kit lasted until the spring of 1967, when Mitch got a clone of of it, due to the original literally falling apart once Mitch started kicking it over at the end of gigs a-la Mr. Moon.

1565699386834.png


The clone is featured throughout the Monterey video, and is otherwise easily identifiable as the clone thanks to the psuedo-"zodiac" symbols on the shells and bass-drum head. It had a rather short career, being replaced in late July 1967 with Mitch's first Luddy kit; the silver-sparkle job that coincidentally was a twin to Keith Moon's rig from the summer of '65.

1565700020196.png


Technically, Mitch's kit wasn't an exact twin of Moonie's - Keith had graduated to a 22" kick, whilst Mitch stuck to his jazz preferences and chose another 20-inch kick for his Luddy. He did go from a 12 to a 14" top tom though; his floors remained 16's. This kit lasted until the monster American tour that started in February 1968; by April, Mitch got his second Luddy kit, the blond maple job:

1565701084049.png


To see this kit in action, check out Jimi's excellent "Miami Pop" videos, especially the EPIC version of "Tax Free." Mitch pounded the living daylights out of this kit right through the end of 1968. This was his first taste of a more "rock" oriented kit - 22" kick, 14" top, 16" & 18" floors. Along with the Miami Pop vids, Jimi's Winterland gigs from October '68 feature Mitch really working his kick over, big-time. He was obviously getting off on the deeper tones the slightly larger drums were giving him, 'cos with his next kit, he finally went for the "gusto," whole-hog.

Jimi's appearance on England's "Lulu Show" in early January '69 was the debut of Mitch's first twin-kick setup, which was also his first custom setup, as well - the famous "Black Panther" kit:


1565702138402.png


Mitch wasn't messing around any more; the kicks were both 24"; the 14" top tom acquired a 15" sibling, both being mounted on their own separate stand, instead of being attached to the bass drums; and the floors were again 16"and 18", If all that wasn't enough, Mitch also started miking the damn thing - one of the two 4X12 Marshall cabinets directly behind Mitch in the photo above was for his kit - "The first time I could hear myself properly." Alas, this lovely rig barely lasted through April of '69; in Detroit, somebody swiped the 14" rack tom, forcing Mitch to play the bulk of the spring '69 gigs with a mismatched replacement tom, just barely visible in this pic:

1565703956558.png



Curiously, during this same time-frame Mitch got roped in to do some PR-work for George Hayman, who kindly slipped Mitch a personalized gold freebie:

1565704274465.png


Mitch used the freebie exactly three times {Raliegh, Philadephia, and Newport} before abandoning Haymans altogether. "Their sound was shitty," so the Man said!! Mitch finished the spring gigs behind the damaged "Black Panther" kit.

Tours' end - and the breakup of the original Experience at the end of June - gave Mitch a brief hiatus; when he re-convened with Jimi for Woodstock, he cut down the Black Panther to his familiar "jazz" configuration, losing one kick, the mis-matched 14" tom, and the dual-tom stand.


1565706203847.png



The remaining top tom was placed on a snare stand; everything else was as before, save for a new cymbal array, which became his favorite. In addition to Woodstock, this kit was used for the Dick Cavett Show, and the "Jack Bruce & Friends" mini-tour of January-Feb. 1970.




By the time of the so-called "Cry of Love" tour, Mitch finally put the Panther kit out to pasture. In it's place was the Gretsch kit that had been a gift to Mitch from Tony Williams, when the two shared an apartment in New York the previous spring.

1565708176689.png


Mitch retained the sweet-sounding Woodstock cymbal array, which sounded even better against the rich tones of the Gretsch. Then again, this kit was also a return to "jazz" drum sizes; 12" top tom, 22" kick; twin 16" floors. The amazing sounds of this rig are very well documented, thanks to the Berkeley recordings, as well as the first few sessions from Electric Lady in April of '70, and all the concert bootlegs up until the end of July 1970.

This was when Mitch trotted out his final kit as Jimi's drummer, the gorgeous double-Gretsch featured in the Rainbow Bridge gig, as well as every other remaining show the Experience would play before Jimi passed away. It was the best of all worlds for Mitch - top toms of 12 and 14"; 20 and 22" kicks; and 16 and 18" floors - his ultimate fusion of jazz and rock drum kits. Like it's little brother, Mitch's double-Gretsch is well documented on both audio and video.

And finally, in general Mitch used a mixture of Paiste and Zildjian cymbals during his career with Jimi; three with each single-bass kit, and four with twin kicks. The lovely crash-ride from Woodstock through Berkeley was actually a Paiste marching-band crash-cymbal Mitch stumbled across during a visit to the infamous "Manny's Music" shop in New York. And I do mean "stumbled" - Mitch literally tripped over the stand the cymbal was hanging off of, and was struck by the sharp tone it had when forcefully struck; he bought it on the spot.

Hopefully, this will clear up the confusion.
Cheers!!
 
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TheElectricCompany

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Technically, Mitch's kit wasn't an exact twin of Moonie's - Keith had graduated to a 22" kick, whilst Mitch stuck to his jazz preferences and chose another 20-inch kick for his Luddy. He did go from a 12 to a 14" top tom though; his floors remained 16's. This kit lasted until the monster American tour that started in February 1968; by April, Mitch got his second Luddy kit, the blond maple job:


To see this kit in action, check out Jimi's excellent "Miami Pop" videos, especially the EPIC version of "Tax Free." Mitch pounded the living daylights out of this kit right through the end of 1968. This was his first taste of a more "rock" oriented kit - 22" kick, 14" top, 16" & 18" floors. Along with the Miami Pop vids, Jimi's Winterland gigs from October '68 feature Mitch really working his kick over, big-time. He was obviously getting off on the deeper tones the slightly larger drums were giving him, 'cos with his next kit, he finally went for the "gusto," whole-hog.

Jimi's appearance on England's "Lulu Show" in early January '69 was the debut of Mitch's first twin-kick setup, which was also his first custom setup, as well - the famous "Black Panther" kit:




Mitch wasn't messing around any more; the kicks were both 24"; the 14" top tom acquired a 15" sibling, both being mounted on their own separate stand, instead of being attached to the bass drums; and the floors were again 16"and 18", If all that wasn't enough, Mitch also started miking the damn thing - one of the two 4X12 Marshall cabinets directly behind Mitch in the photo above was for his kit - "The first time I could hear myself properly." Alas, this lovely rig barely lasted through April of '69; in Detroit, somebody swiped the 14" rack tom, forcing Mitch to play the bulk of the spring '69 gigs with a mismatched replacement tom, just barely visible in this pic:



Tours' end - and the breakup of the original Experience at the end of June - gave Mitch a brief hiatus; when he re-convened with Jimi for Woodstock, he cut down the Black Panther to his familiar "jazz" configuration, losing one kick, the mis-matched 14" tom, and the dual-tom stand.
Did Mitchell have custom depths on his Ludwigs? Because all photos I've seen indicate he only ever used a 13 as his first rack tom, but you've said here that he had a 14 in that position on several occasions. The black panther kit might have a 14 in the second position, but I believe it's also a 13. Do you have any clear pictures of him using a 14?
 

musicman64

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I'm trying to find pics of him playing a Champagne Sparkle Ludwig. I know I've seen pic but just can't find any. Has anyone else ever seen Mitch on a Champagne Sparkle Ludwig?
I remember the champagne kit from his first Portland concert...maybe about 1968-69..at the colliseum....and he kicked it off the riser after they pulled the plug while they were still playing...I was playing a kit like that at the time..but only 1 floor tom.
 

AtlantaDrumGuy

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I'm trying to find pics of him playing a Champagne Sparkle Ludwig. I know I've seen pic but just can't find any. Has anyone else ever seen Mitch on a Champagne Sparkle Ludwig?
Never seen it. Could have always been a rental. Mainly known for silver sparkle and later on with the big black Gretsch.
 

wflkurt

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I know it's been forever since my last visit, but I'm still riding the groove........
Actually, I was doing some spot-research on my main man Mitch, and this thread turned up on the Google - which blew me away because Google previously "assumed" I was always asking about either the Canadian baseball player, or the black guitar player!! Makes me miss good old Lycos, let me tell ya.

Anyhoo, back around the turn of the century I contributed to a Mitch tribute site - "Beginnings," I believe it was called - my contribution being a rough chronology of Mitch's kits from 1966-1970. Since the good old Internet Wayback machine can't find the site in the archives any more, I'll try and re-create the chronology.

The "champagne sparkle" kit describes the Premier {NOT Ludwig} kit Mitch had when he was in the Riot Squad:



View attachment 406117


Champagne kits tend to photograph a little darker than silver kits in black and white photos; there used to be a color version of this same photo somewhere on the 'Net; I used it for the "Beginnings" articles, which is how I know the kit was "Champers."

The first kit that Mitch used with Jimi was his familiar "tiger-stripe" Premier, which also happened to be the kit he bought when he joined Georgie Fame's Blue Flames in early 1965:

View attachment 406121

Note the 20" kick, and the near-horizontal angle of the 12" top tom; the floors were 16"s - in other words, a typical British jazz setup. This kit lasted until the spring of 1967, when Mitch got a clone of of it, due to the original literally falling apart once Mitch started kicking it over at the end of gigs a-la Mr. Moon.

View attachment 406122


The clone is featured throughout the Monterey video, and is otherwise easily identifiable as the clone thanks to the psuedo-"zodiac" symbols on the shells and bass-drum head. It had a rather short career, being replaced in late July 1967 with Mitch's first Luddy kit; the silver-sparkle job that coincidentally was a twin to Keith Moon's rig from the summer of '65.

View attachment 406123

Technically, Mitch's kit wasn't an exact twin of Moonie's - Keith had graduated to a 22" kick, whilst Mitch stuck to his jazz preferences and chose another 20-inch kick for his Luddy. He did go from a 12 to a 14" top tom though; his floors remained 16's. This kit lasted until the monster American tour that started in February 1968; by April, Mitch got his second Luddy kit, the blond maple job:

View attachment 406124

To see this kit in action, check out Jimi's excellent "Miami Pop" videos, especially the EPIC version of "Tax Free." Mitch pounded the living daylights out of this kit right through the end of 1968. This was his first taste of a more "rock" oriented kit - 22" kick, 14" top, 16" & 18" floors. Along with the Miami Pop vids, Jimi's Winterland gigs from October '68 feature Mitch really working his kick over, big-time. He was obviously getting off on the deeper tones the slightly larger drums were giving him, 'cos with his next kit, he finally went for the "gusto," whole-hog.

Jimi's appearance on England's "Lulu Show" in early January '69 was the debut of Mitch's first twin-kick setup, which was also his first custom setup, as well - the famous "Black Panther" kit:


View attachment 406125


Mitch wasn't messing around any more; the kicks were both 24"; the 14" top tom acquired a 15" sibling, both being mounted on their own separate stand, instead of being attached to the bass drums; and the floors were again 16"and 18", If all that wasn't enough, Mitch also started miking the damn thing - one of the two 4X12 Marshall cabinets directly behind Mitch in the photo above was for his kit - "The first time I could hear myself properly." Alas, this lovely rig barely lasted through April of '69; in Detroit, somebody swiped the 14" rack tom, forcing Mitch to play the bulk of the spring '69 gigs with a mismatched replacement tom, just barely visible in this pic:

View attachment 406126


Curiously, during this same time-frame Mitch got roped in to do some PR-work for George Hayman, who kindly slipped Mitch a personalized gold freebie:

View attachment 406127

Mitch used the freebie exactly three times {Raliegh, Philadephia, and Newport} before abandoning Haymans altogether. "Their sound was shitty," so the Man said!! Mitch finished the spring gigs behind the damaged "Black Panther" kit.

Tours' end - and the breakup of the original Experience at the end of June - gave Mitch a brief hiatus; when he re-convened with Jimi for Woodstock, he cut down the Black Panther to his familiar "jazz" configuration, losing one kick, the mis-matched 14" tom, and the dual-tom stand.


View attachment 406128


The remaining top tom was placed on a snare stand; everything else was as before, save for a new cymbal array, which became his favorite. In addition to Woodstock, this kit was used for the Dick Cavett Show, and the "Jack Bruce & Friends" mini-tour of January-Feb. 1970.




By the time of the so-called "Cry of Love" tour, Mitch finally put the Panther kit out to pasture. In it's place was the Gretsch kit that had been a gift to Mitch from Tony Williams, when the two shared an apartment in New York the previous spring.

View attachment 406134


Mitch retained the sweet-sounding Woodstock cymbal array, which sounded even better against the rich tones of the Gretsch. Then again, this kit was also a return to "jazz" drum sizes; 12" top tom, 22" kick; twin 16" floors. The amazing sounds of this rig are very well documented, thanks to the Berkeley recordings, as well as the first few sessions from Electric Lady in April of '70, and all the concert bootlegs up until the end of July 1970.

This was when Mitch trotted out his final kit as Jimi's drummer, the gorgeous double-Gretsch featured in the Rainbow Bridge gig, as well as every other remaining show the Experience would play before Jimi passed away. It was the best of all worlds for Mitch - top toms of 12 and 14"; 20 and 22" kicks; and 16 and 18" floors - his ultimate fusion of jazz and rock drum kits. Like it's little brother, Mitch's double-Gretsch is well documented on both audio and video.

And finally, in general Mitch used a mixture of Paiste and Zildjian cymbals during his career with Jimi; three with each single-bass kit, and four with twin kicks. The lovely crash-ride from Woodstock through Berkeley was actually a Paiste marching-band crash-cymbal Mitch stumbled across during a visit to the infamous "Manny's Music" shop in New York. And I do mean "stumbled" - Mitch literally tripped over the stand the cymbal was hanging off of, and was struck by the sharp tone it had when forcefully struck; he bought it on the spot.

Hopefully, this will clear up the confusion.
Cheers!!

Thank you for all this great info. Clearly you have done a lot of research! I am still curious about the silver set though. I believe that set had a 22" bass drums as the photo you posted shows 10 lugs per side. A 20" bass drum would have 8 lugs per side. Was there more than one silver set?

Donn, if you are being offered that WFL set that was auctioned off as Mitch's Hendrix tour set, I would be skeptical. When it was auctioned off it said in the listing that Mitch bought the set right after the Monterey pop festival as it claimed that Mitch had always wanted an American made set of drums. I have seen lots of footage and pics of Mitch over the years and I have NEVER seen any pics of him using a WFL set with diamons mounts or spring loaded legs. Mitch certainly could have owned the set at one time in his life but until I see a pic of him on stage with it from the Hendrix days, I would pass on this one.
 

TheElectricCompany

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Thank you for all this great info. Clearly you have done a lot of research! I am still curious about the silver set though. I believe that set had a 22" bass drums as the photo you posted shows 10 lugs per side. A 20" bass drum would have 8 lugs per side. Was there more than one silver set?

Donn, if you are being offered that WFL set that was auctioned off as Mitch's Hendrix tour set, I would be skeptical. When it was auctioned off it said in the listing that Mitch bought the set right after the Monterey pop festival as it claimed that Mitch had always wanted an American made set of drums. I have seen lots of footage and pics of Mitch over the years and I have NEVER seen any pics of him using a WFL set with diamons mounts or spring loaded legs. Mitch certainly could have owned the set at one time in his life but until I see a pic of him on stage with it from the Hendrix days, I would pass on this one.
I think you're right about that being a 22. The kick does look small there, and the tom looks small as well, but I can't find any other pictures of Mitchell playing a 20-inch Ludwig or anything other than a 13.
 

squidart

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I took these pictures of Mitch's silver sparkle Ludwig kit at the EMP museum in Seattle, back in 2013. My apologies for the poor pictures!

-Mark
I saw that exhibit as well. That was a WFL kit used in studio. Not sure if it was ever gigged. The hendrix site sez late 60s which is of course incorrect for WFL.
 

idrum4fun

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I saw that exhibit as well. That was a WFL kit used in studio. Not sure if it was ever gigged. The hendrix site sez late 60s which is of course incorrect for WFL.
Thanks for that info. I never looked close enough to see that it was a WFL kit.

-Mark
 

TheElectricCompany

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Great pics. Mark. And it's still a 22/13/16, so yet to find a 20 or 14 in Mitchell's Ludwig arsenal.
 

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