The obsession with the gear of legendary players

DavedrumsTX

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I started another thread recently about people selling gear at outrageous prices using the name of legends like Bonham, Ringo, Buddy, etc. Why do they do this? Because they know those names strike an emotional chord.

With that said, why do people obsess over the equipment of their heroes? In my case, I used try to emulate everything Louie Bellson and Neil Peart did including gear. I also went through a Bonham and Paice phase as well(maybe I never left).

However, I found I always sounded and sound like me regardless of the gear. You can buy the same gear as John Bonham, but you will never sound exactly like him. I had the good fortune of taking a lesson with Dave Garibaldi years back. He played on a crappy student kit. Guess what? He sound just like Dave Garibaldi!!

Thoughts? Anyone? Anyone? Buehler?
 

mtarrani

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There are a handful of drummers who have had a profound influence on me. To be honest, I have no idea what gear half of them used (or consistently used). For example, John Poole (Anita O'Day's long time drummer and a big influence on me), Denzil Best, Shadow Wilson and even Ed Thigpen. I have some idea of the brands some of them used, but not models, or even sizes. It never mattered to me. Their approach to drumming did. Actually, I do know what Joe Morello used, and his sizes are the antithesis of what I am comfortable playing. But his musicality sends chills whenever I listen (or watch, thanks to YouTube).
 

drummingbulldog

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I think we all get caught up in gear fantasy. "If Bonzo played Ludwig then I will too." I bought a Yamaha MC kit because Vinnie played one at the time. I should have just kept what I had in my early 80s Gretsch kit. They are still the best sounding drums I ever played. Gear is gear. Most all the drums made now all sound good and work well. None of the drums I've ever played made me sound like anyone I ever was influenced by. We all chase an engineer with mic placement & the proper eq & compression. Drums are round & made of wood. Most anyways.
 

Dumpy

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When I saw Ted Nugent playing Stranglehold on a Strat Copy through a solid state amp and it still sounded like Ted Nugent at a guitar show years back, I knew it was more than *just* the gear.
 

Dumpy

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I will add another thought: if I am playing a gig where a certain sound stylization is going on (heavy bell sound from the ride, etc.), I will go out of my way to figure it out, even if I switch instruments. But me playing “In the Air Tonight” on a Gretsch or Pearl concert tom set will still sound like ME on that set. I attack toms differently than Phil Collins (though I play left handed like he does), my sticks are different, head choices, so on and so on. If I were to snag one of Phil’s kits, I would be very disappointed to listen back and hear it sounding like me playing.
 

NobleCooleyNut

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I got caught up in that for a little while , bought a couple of items from a drummer I admire . I was happy to have them but they were sold when some other items I wanted came up for sale .

Nowadays I am less influenced by what other people play . I play drums that sound good to me and that I want to play.
 
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mtarrani

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I got caught up in that for a little while , bought a couple of items from a drummer I admire . I was happy to have them but they were sold when some other items I wanted came up for sale .
That is different, though. I would not hesitate to purchase, for example, a pair of brushes owned by Dave Tough or some other memento once owned by a drummer whom I admire. However, it would be to display, not to play.
 

RIDDIM

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I started another thread recently about people selling gear at outrageous prices using the name of legends like Bonham, Ringo, Buddy, etc. Why do they do this? Because they know those names strike an emotional chord.

With that said, why do people obsess over the equipment of their heroes? In my case, I used try to emulate everything Louie Bellson and Neil Peart did including gear. I also went through a Bonham and Paice phase as well(maybe I never left).

However, I found I always sounded and sound like me regardless of the gear. You can buy the same gear as John Bonham, but you will never sound exactly like him. I had the good fortune of taking a lesson with Dave Garibaldi years back. He played on a crappy student kit. Guess what? He sound just like Dave Garibaldi!!

Thoughts? Anyone? Anyone? Buehler?
Nailed it.
 

wflkurt

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I think it starts (or at least it did for me) when I was just starting out at 12 years old. In 1983 Alex Van Halen was my idol so naturally I gravitated towards Ludwig drums. The first band I ever saw play (which was a local band), my teacher, Alex, John Bonham among others played Ludwig so that is what I gravitated to. I think it's why I still have a love of the Ludwig block logo and blue/olive badges as those were the first real drums I saw in person. I so wanted a Ludwig set and when I got my mid 70's used Gretsch set in June of 1983, I even put a Ludwig logo on the front head. At the time I had no real clue about any other drum company and the name Gretsch meant absolutely nothing to me. I felt better as time went on though as MD always had Gretsch ads on the back page so I knew they were a good name. It also helped when MD did a story on the history of Gretsch in the mid 80's. It still took me a while to fully appreciate that set though. I did get my first drum catalog around 1982 and it was a TAMA (which I think I still have somewhere). Though I can't profess to be much of a TAMA guy, the stuff in that catalog looked really nice. It looks like TAMA was making some pretty quality stuff then.

I think as one gets older, they realize what hopefully works for them. In the case of Ringo, he played a pretty standard sized set and over the years I have found that a four piece in either the downbeat configuration or the super classic configuration is what works best for me. I also think the original oyster black color looks awesome even if Ringo had never played it. I have no issues at all with anyone wanting to have drums just like their heros. I just know it will never make me sound like anyone else but myself.
 

richiegarcia4

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Yes, buying the gear will not make you sound like the drummer you're emulating and it's easy to go too far with this to the point where you're obsessing about the drums and neglecting the actual playing.
However, there's nothing wrong with trying to emulate your idols even in the most superficial ways. I knew a great pianist in college (a successful pro now) who used to wear sunglasses and hats like Thelonious Monk when he played. It might sound ridiculous, but it probably made him feel more confident, like he was getting some kind of Monk mojo.
 

mydadisjr

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My girlfriend and I were discussing the MIM (Music Instrument Museum in Phoenix AZ) the other day.

She really wants to go, but I was sort of "meh". Not really a museum kinda guy, I guess (except for modern art museums).

Well anyway, they have a Hal Blaine display at the MIM. Hal was probably my biggest influence when I was coming up in the late 60's-early 70's (although I did not know it was Hal playing on all those songs at that time). Got to meet him once...blah blah.

So we talked about Hal and his history, and I realized that I had no desire to stand in a museum and look at the drumset that he used. Just no interest here.
 

wflkurt

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My girlfriend and I were discussing the MIM (Music Instrument Museum in Phoenix AZ) the other day.

She really wants to go, but I was sort of "meh". Not really a museum kinda guy, I guess (except for modern art museums).

Well anyway, they have a Hal Blaine display at the MIM. Hal was probably my biggest influence when I was coming up in the late 60's-early 70's (although I did not know it was Hal playing on all those songs at that time). Got to meet him once...blah blah.

So we talked about Hal and his history, and I realized that I had no desire to stand in a museum and look at the drumset that he used. Just no interest here.

It's funny how people's thoughts on stuff like this can differ. I saw Hal's drums in a traveling museum once and I was very moved by seeing those drums so up close and personal. I know Hal had several different sets and I could tell this was an early 60's set. I just couldn't imagine the amount of records those drums had been on. For me it was really cool. Oddly enough my wife and her parents were with me. My wife saw the set and wondered what the big deal was. She said I can see sets like that in our basement. I couldn't really make her understand. Lol
 


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