Monday, June 12, 2006

Mmmm.. Masterworks...

Aahh.. a drummer's dream kit. The source of many fantasies and daydreams. A lot of drummers lust a kit that has everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink like this dude's.

Mine is a actually rather simple for a no-holds-barred-unlimited-budget kit. I am of the opinion that the drummer should learn to develop the groove with an average kind of kit. I mean, Ringo did some of the most famous beats using a snare, a bass drum, two toms, a few cymbals, and some flimsy looking stands. Yet he played FOR the song, which is a rarely found skill among today's hyper-technical, mechanized players. Of course, Mike Portnoy still has the right to lug his Albino Monster anywhere because he sure knows how to utilise that beast.

Starting from the 12x5 snare, it's there since I like to have an auxiliary snare standing by. It's good for that added pop sound when required and it comes handy when you main snare's head is blown halfway through the gig. Plus imagine the possibilities when you do rudiments on two snare on the same time! Funky overload. The aux should be made of maple and cranked real tight for that high pitched poppy sound.

The main snare is a 14x5 brass snare. To me brass represents the neutral kind of sound that works well with most application. It has good metallic qualities, warm but not as mellow as copper and not as sharp as steel. The depth is 5" as I think it has the crack and sensitivity of a shallower shell but still has enough volume.

The toms are what you would call fusion sizes. I've always been into smaller toms for that tight tone that works so well in most application. Low, sloppy sounds are difficult to control and you need to wear spandex and have a long blonde hair to play a kit with such a sound anyway. The two last toms are floors as I prefer the stability provided by the legs compared to the wobbly suspended toms. A lot of drum risers are already shaky anyway, why make it worse?

18x22 bass drum is just the right size. Some people say that 20" BD's have the best tone, but I suppose you'd want that louder sound of the 22" on an acoustic setting. 20 inchers look kinda puny anyway.

For the shell kit my preference leans towards a maple Pearl Masterworks with a natural or one of those burnt fade finish. The great thing about the Masterworks is that they are totally customizable. A customer can a order a preferred shell thickness, wood choice, hardware color, and finish. Pearl's reputation in making quality instruments and their excellent customer service seal the deal on the choice of shell kit.

Ah, that never ending dilemma of double bass vs double pedal. The old school metal drummers argue that double bass provides the best sounds, as it allows the drums to have enough time to vibrate before being struck by the beater again. However, most drummers like the affordability and convenience of a double pedal.

Double pedals eliminate the space problem by utilizing only one bass drum struck by two pedals linked together. In terms of feeling, it could never equal two pedals on two separate drums, but it certainly is the more convenient and cheaper method. Neil Peart used to swear by double bass drums but now he uses a double pedal on his monster red and gold DW kit.

My choice is the double pedal. The purists' argument does not work on my case because I'm not going to play 220 bpm Derek Roddy machine gun assault. In fact, the double pedal is only used to add accents during fills or to add extra juice during mad song endings (you know, the one with the arms flailing and the all cymbals treated as crash treatment).

I've been wanting to try the Tama Iron Cobras. They have a reputation for being super fluid and fast. Pearl Eliminators are also a worthy option as they provide endless customization i.e. you can change the cams, change the chain with a belt drive, they have footboards that can be moved forward or backward etc. DW pedals are used by many world class drummers, but a recent post at the Pearl Drummers Forum by a drumtech revealed that structurally they are not as strong as Tama or Pearl. This can be seen by the many cases of broken footboards that the poster had experienced personally. As a Yamaha double pedal user I have a partial preference towards the brand. However the performance of my pedals are not really what I expected to be, but I suppose it's because mine are of the lower series of the Yamaha fleet. Still, the Flying Dragons definitely deserve a mention. And one more thing, they are 100% made in Indonesia :)

Being a long time Zildjian (ab)user, I certainly vouch for the brand. My choice for the cymbals would be A Customs, brilliant finish. I'd prefer traditional finish if only Zildjian provided that because polishing cymbals is a totally boring job.

Two 18" crashes for those medium undertones, followed by a 16" on the left and a 17" on the right for extra colors on the palette. The ride is a 22" A Custom Ping ride. That extra ping would cut very well against the overzealous guitar player's Marshall stacks. The hats are 14" A Custom Mastersound hats. The Mastersounds have these grooves on the bottom cymbal to let air escape and prevent that "floaty" feel when you step on the hi hats aggresively.

On the picture there is supposed to be a pair of extra auxiliary hi hats, but Kitbuilder doesn't really allow that so I'll just explain it here. They are 12" Mastersounds on the right hand side just above the 12" floor. Extra hats are good for sound variety and are handy when you want to play double pedal with hats.

Ever since I watched Ian Paice live, I've developed a liking towards china cymbals. Paicey creatively used his china to replace the crash cymbal or hit the china together with a crash that resulted in an interesting sound. My preferred china is the 18" A Custom. I feel that a 20" would overpower the other cymbals, hence the smaller choice.

The last two are the splashes, a 6" and an 8" parked right above the 12" tom.

Initially I was thinking of a rack to hold all the components together. But after much ogling at people's kits on PDF, I've decided that I prefer using separate stands. Sure it has a bigger footprint, but it just looks more natural.

There we are, theindonesiancomplains' official dream kit. Now if only I could come up with $9865.35 to get it to reality...


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