The obsession with the gear of legendary players

rsq911

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Oh I am definitely a gear nut! But because of the gear. I know it has been said here a hundred times, but it is so true, we could all take turns hitting the same drum, but it will have a slightly different sound. The kind of coin that is being shelled out for celebrity gear is staggering! If the money is going to charity, or to help the less fortunate, etc... that is at least a positive thing.
Look at Jim Irsay, owner of the Colts. Bought Ringo's bass head, Ringo's kit, and Lennon's guitar....... Just shy of $6 million for all of it.
The one thing about famous drummers/percussionists is that the gear choices, and set ups, can give you ideas. Not because of the brand, but application and approach.
 

TPC

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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.
The MIM is much more than gear owned by “celebrities”. I would recommend that anyone go check it out - musician, drummer, gearhead, layman, ... anyone.
 

Pat A Flafla

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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.
Regarding museums as pertaining to this discussion: I love modern art exhibits. Not super interested in seeing Picasso's brushes in a museum or something. Those drums were just Hal's tools. We get to enjoy his craft all the time, everywhere.
 

Hemant

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I have posted this before. I own Peter Erskine's 20" K. Heavy Ride that he used on the Steely Dan "Alive in America" tour. I happened to be in Steve Maxwell's NYC shop when they took his gear from that tour on consignment (I believe it was to raise money for an Interlochen University music scholarship). I use it and can honestly say it sounds light years better than any K. Heavy ride I ever tapped on in a music store. As a premier endorser, I'm sure this one was a cherry hand selected by or for him from the vault. I now wish I had purchased the rest of his cymbals that day. These would not show up on a rack in a Guitar Center. It is also a buzz to play that cymbal knowing Peter played it on a tour with one of my favorite bands, a live disc that I play frequently, and has his actual fingerprints all over it (along with his signature).




Yamaha Drums 1 (2).jpg
 

Cauldronics

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I was influenced by the music, then the playing of my heroes within it, and with that came the sound of their drums. I think this is the overall truth for most drummers. Think about it. What you hear first is the bands playing the music that you enjoyed more than most other music around at the time, for whatever reasons.

For many who started with Ringo as an early (or first) influence, the hype surrounding the 4 lads from Liverpool preceded the band's own musical ability and accomplishments. The Ed Sullivan show sealed the deal for many young future drummers because it was almost surely the coolest thing they'd ever seen at the time. Throngs of girls screaming in hormonal overload? What more would it take to make a young lad proclaim that playing drums (or guitar, bass or singing) was the coolest thing you could do?

Suddenly, Ludwig sold more drums than they probably ever could have anticipated, and THAT sound became intertwined into music all over the Western world. That explains why it became the sound for all the drummers who as kids were blown away by the Beatles showing up on the Ed Sullivan show. Was their drumming hero Ringo BEFORE that happened? No way. Did they make Ringo into a drumming icon BECAUSE of it? 100%. I won't debate Ringo's value as a drummer. That belongs to another topic. I'm a fan of his playing and what he did for their music, which was exactly what it needed to be and innovative at the time. For that, he was an early hero for me.

The influence of the Beatles on popular music and the drum selection choice of generations after can't be underestimated. It is THE prime example of why drummers began to choose a brand based on its appearance in a culturally significant event, and it's HOW a drummer was made into a hero by which those drum choices were made. The reverberations of it are probably the biggest reason we're even having this discussion.
 

Seb77

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I have posted this before. I own Peter Erskine's 20" K. Heavy Ride that he used on the Steely Dan "Alive in America" tour.
Seems the tour of that name (1995) had Dennis Chambers, I think Erskine played with them in 1993.
 

Deafmoon

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This is a great question for guys like Donn Bennett, Steve Maxwell it Vic Salazar. Those guys all sell or sold celebrity drum equipment. The only comment I can make echoes Billy Cobham who was hounded incessantly about ‘what sticks he used’ and finally asked the audience ‘what difference it made? They were not going to sound like him anyway.’
 

moondrum

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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.
I was into Mitch Mitchell in the late 60’s so I eventually got a sky blue Pearl Ludwig kit which I still have. Then I got into Elvin Joe’s and Tony Williams and Art Blakey so I got old round badge Gretsch kits a couple of which I still have ( tangerine sparkle and yellow lacquer) . Strange thing is having the same brand and size drums as some of my drum idols I don’t sound like them!! Hey! What’s going on! I’m disappointed!
 

MaskingApathy

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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.
MIM is definitely worth going to though (at least once). Highly recommend it.
 

MaskingApathy

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There's certain brands and products that I started using because someone I was a fan of uses it, but I've continued using it because I liked it.
 

MaskingApathy

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I think people are very obsessed with Bonham’s sound. I personally don’t understand it.
I've seen some guys play live who are just trying to be Bonham clones and after a song or two of that it becomes irritating. Even Bonham himself didn't just play those triplets all night in every song. Same with having the identical gear and insisting on that sound for everything.
 

chrisr777

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I used try to emulate everything Louie Bellson
When I started out my parents bought my first kit from a place called The Music Stop. The teacher was Hank Bellson, Louie's brother. They bought everything as recommended (ie endorsed by Louie) so I got Pearl drums, Zildjian cymbals and learned via the Louie Bellson Drum Method books. I even got tips from the man himself when he stopped by. Aside from that, I can't say I've ever bought gear just because of a name.
 

CC Cirillo

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Peter started the tour, Dennis finished it - both appear on album.
I think people are very obsessed with Bonham’s sound. I personally don’t understand it.
As I've often said, if you are having trouble moving something on your local Craigslist, just put "BONHAM!" somewhere in the title or description:

Remo Djembe BONHAM Moby Dick Drum Circle

PDP Chad Smith Vistalite Snare BONHAM!

12" Camber Symbol Loud as BONHAM

Green Plastic St. Partrick's BONHAM Bowler Hat

BONHAM wanted for Cream Tribute Band Must have big gear and rehearsal space with PA
 

Shawn Martin

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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.
I own the brushes that Gene Krupa played on the session for “Gene Krupa Plays Gerry Mulligan Arrangements.” I’d never fathom playing with them. They’re in a shadow box along with other Krupa model sticks and a Zildjian GK banner.
 

DavedrumsTX

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When I started out my parents bought my first kit from a place called The Music Stop. The teacher was Hank Bellson, Louie's brother. They bought everything as recommended (ie endorsed by Louie) so I got Pearl drums, Zildjian cymbals and learned via the Louie Bellson Drum Method books. I even got tips from the man himself when he stopped by. Aside from that, I can't say I've ever bought gear just because of a name.
Louie was something else wasn’t he? He made a huge impact on me.
 

FloydZKing

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Yep yep yep....BUT, while the impetus to try new gear may come from a questionable quest or impulse, it still results in knowledge. Regardless of why one switched from A to B, one educated one's self in the process.
 

cruddola

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Back in the '80s my late brother went full throttle with Bill Cobham and Simon Phillips and got himself a Tama Imperialstar setup. Why Imperialstars? They were cheaper!
 


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