Archives for October, 2014

Introducing: The Beautiful Monster aka my new drum-set!

Hi again friends!

Happy Halloween! A little while back I posted here that I got new drums and put a little sneak peek picture as well.
I got my good friend Irving Ong to take a couple of pictures of it and thought I’d share some details about it.

It’s a DW Collectors series with all Maple shells and White Lacquer finish.

Bass drum: 24″x20″ (dia. x depth) – VLX+ shell configuration
Rack tom: 10″x10″ – X-shell configuration
Rack tom: 13″x13″ – X-shell configuration
Rack tom: 14″x14″ – X-shell configuration
Floor tom: 16″x16″ – VLX shell configuration
Floor tom: 18″x16″ – VLX shell configuration
GONG-drum: 21″x16″ – VLX+ shell configuration

Snare drum: 14″x6,5″ – Titanium.

Piccolo snare: 10″x5″ – PEARL Firecracker – Steel. I’ve owned the piccolo for a few years already, but I like it a lot and I knew I had to set it up with the rest of them.

*The shell configurations for the wood-shell drums are best explained on DW website, but basically they have different options how the veneer layers (the grain of the wood) is laid out. For example with the X-shells the grain runs diagonally making the drum sounding deeper and lower. VLX-shells are switched between diagonal and vertical layers. That gives the shell even lower tone, which is why it’s recommended for larger sizes.

DW drums 3

This set-up has been in the works in my head for many many years. Being more of a rock player I’ve been always drawn to bigger sizes and I’ve always tried to find ways to fit those sizes comfortably. The main issue was how to get the rack toms lower since I like them almost flat/no angle. The bass drum has always been in the way of doing that.

Then last year at NAMM show I saw ABE LABORIEL JR. DW kit. After realising what he’s done with his set-up I knew I had to use the same idea on my new set. I was able to piece together and test my idea by borrowing some pieces from friends and stuff, and it worked out great. And from that point on the idea just grew and eventually I decided to go all-out and get the Custom set. At least I don’t have to buy another set for the rest of my life (hopefully) so I take it as an investment 😛

So here’s what is different and what is not different about this kit. The main difference and the reason why it looks so weird at first is the fact that the bass drum is on the left side (from the players perspective). I’m still right handed, so I’m now using a Lefty double pedal and the slave-pedal is now my main pedal. I’ve been asked about the pedal feel, but it’s not that different. My right foot is stronger anyway so it’s able to adapt to whatever difference there is, but it’s not much and I don’t have any problems playing everything the same way like I did with the main pedal before.

DW drums 14

So because the bass drum is out of the way I’m able to use my deep 13×13 and 14×14 toms as rack toms and mount them as low as I want. Right now the elevation from the snare to the toms are maybe 3 inches.

The layout of all the drums as far as my playing goes is still very normal. The snare is right between my legs, 2 rack toms up front and 2 floor toms on my right side. If you try to picture a 2 bass drum kit in your mind then my kit is basically just that except the bass drum on the right side is a slave pedal instead. And the rack toms aren’t mounted on top of the bass drum.

DW drums 1

The tricky part was to figure out the placement of the kick pedal that now attaches to the bass drum and the hi-hat stand. I always consider the hi-hat more important and priority compared to the left kick pedal. That’s why I always put the kick on the outside and hi-hat inside closer to the snare. Other way around would just move the hi-hat too far away and I’m just not comfortable to play like that.
The solution was actually better that I thought it would be. I was able to find a solid rubber plate (about an inch thick) which I attach under the kick pedals base-plate. It raises the pedal just enough for me to run the axel between the main pole of the hi-hat stand and the hi-hat legs. By lifting the left pedal I actually brought it closer to me in some ways and it’s now even more comfortable to switch from the hi-hat to the left kick.
The hi-hat stand is clamped to the bass drum rim with the special clamp. Just so I don’t have to use the legs on it and can fit both pedals right next to each other.


As far as the Piccolo/side snare and the 10″ tom goes… the Piccolo has been in that position basically the whole time so I didn’t see a reason to change it. And the 10″ tom seemed like a great fit right next to it. I tried a couple of different options, but this one seemed the most comfortable and logical for my playing. I’m not really using the tom for regular fills and rolls. It’s more of an extra sound and accent in specific moments in music.


The GONG-drum is a completely new thing for me and I’m still getting used to it. So far it seems that it fits the best at the end of the tom-line to finish the fills on or something. I love the sound of it though.. just when you need that super low and rumbling hit…

I’m using all REMO Powerstroke 4 heads except for the snare which is a REMO Controlled Sound. REMO Ambassadors on the bottom.
I’ve always used the Pinstripe before, but I really like the P4’s.

Most of the hardware is DW 9000 series. I’m using a Pearl Snare stand for the Piccolo and extra low Pearl Snare stands for the 13″ and 14″ rack toms. DW doesn’t make a snare stand that’s low enough for those toms. I’m also using a Yamaha small-boom cymbal stand. I’ve had it for a long time with my other kits and because DW stand is also too high for the Ride cymbal then I’m just using Yamaha’s to make things simpler for myself.

I use all Meinl cymbals. Mostly Mb20’s, but I wanna get a couple of traditional finish Byzance’s in the mix.
2 of the crashes on the pictures are broken and are there for the illustration purposes mostly 😀 Which I do intend to replace for the Byzances, like I mentioned.
Right now I’m using:
15″ Mb20 Heavy Soundwave hi-hats
19″ Mb20 Heavy Crash
20″ Mb20 Heavy Crash
22″ Mb20 Heavy Bell Ride
18″ Mb20 Rock China

DW drums 6

DW drums 2

DW drums 15

DW drums 11

DW drums 10

Pictures were taken by my good friend Irving Ong.

If you have any questions or comments about the drums, feel free to contact me on facebook, email or if it’s urgent then on the phone is probably fine too 😀
I can’t wait to put some new recordings and videos up with this set. It’s my dream drum-kit and I’m so lucky to have it.

*If there’s any of you still looking and finding their perfect set-up, all I can suggest is that there aren’t many things to bare in mind, but a few important ones:
COMFORT/ergonomics: You have to feel comfortable sitting behind your drum-set. Set your distances and angles in a way that you’re able to hit them with equal strenght and technique. Be able to move around the pieces for versatility and in a way that your body stays relaxed.
SOUND/STYLE: Figure out what kind of drums and surfaces you use most and place them accordingly. For an example, like I mentioned earlier how I place my left kick pedal outside from the hi-hat pedal, because I use hi-hat more often and it’s important for me to have the hi-hat cymbals as well as the pedal closer to me for better access.
VISUAL/APPEARANCE: Even though the first 2 points are way more important than this one, but don’t forget, You’re still an entertainer. People come to a concert expecting to see something great. No one is interested in seeing a drum-set that hasn’t been taken care of or that is laid out so randomly that no one can make sense of what it is. Drums are meant to work together as a unit so it should look as one. For example, I’ve always loved the look when the cymbals and toms are horizontally level and especially with cymbals, when they’re lower (as opposed to the 80’s hard rock style of having the cymbals sky-high). You have to find the BALANCE between what is compatible with your playing (comfort/sound) and what looks good and would catch peoples attention.
VISION: Have a good idea of what kind of drummer you want to be. There are so many techniques and styles, and it’s great to be proficient in as many as possible, but “if something is good for everything then it’s not good for anything”. Know what kind of sound you want you and your drums to have – the rest will follow in time with experimenting and searching :)

*Look what your favourite drummers are doing and how they set up their drums. Try to understand their logic behind it and mess around with your own kit. Try different angles, placements etc. Just like I happened to see another drummer using the idea of having the bass drum on the left side, which was the solution what I was trying to find all this time. If you know what you’re looking for then sooner or later you’ll find it :) And don’t forget to have fun!

Hopefully really soon I have some more stuff to share with you guys!

Rock N’ Roll!

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