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I’ve been asked many times about what drums and cymbals I used on the Y&T Facemelter record, I thought I’d write it out in detail to share.​

The first day at Dave’s (Meniketti) studio I brought in a few kits to see which sounded the best in that room, with engineer Tom Size and Dave listening in the control room, we micd up and tried a few different kits, maple, birch, etc. We ended up picking my early 80’s Yamaha Recording Customs. This is one of my favorite kits, these are birch drums that have nice warm low end with a bright attack and a very focused pitch, they sound great. The sizes I used were a 14” x 22” bass drum, an 8” x 12” rack tom, a 14” x 14’ floor tom with legs and a 16” x 16” floor tom with legs. I will list the snare drums in a moment.


All of the drums were fitted with Remo clear Ambassador drum heads, top and bottom, including the bass drum, the snares all had coated Ambassadors with snare side ambassadors on the bottom. The toms and snare all had a small piece of tape toward the outside edge, rolled up like a cigarette to take out a little of the high end ring. In the bass drum I used a small towel rolled up and taped against the batter head, a technique made popular by Simon Phillips, with a smaller one taped to the front head and a hole cut for the microphone.


I used many different snare drums with different metals, woods and tuning depending on the desired sound for the track, these were chosen by experimenting with Tom listening carefully in the control room, here is a list of what snares were used for each song:


  • On With The Show - 5 ½” 90’s Ludwig Black Black Beauty

  • How Long - 5 ½” 60’s Ludwig Acrolite

  • Shine On - 6 ½” 70’s Ludwig Supraphonic

  • I Want Your Money - 6 ½” 70’s Ludwig Supraphonic

  • Wild Child - 5 ½” 70’s Ludwig Supraphonic

  • I’m Coming Home - 5 ½” 60’s Ludwig Acrolite

  • If You Want Me - 6 ½” 70’s Ludwig Supraphonic

  • Hot Shot - 6 ½” 70’s Ludwig Supraphonic

  • Blind Patriot - 5 ½” 90’s Ludwig Black Black Beauty

  • Gonna Go Blind - 6 ½” 70’s Ludwig Supraphonic

  • Don’t Bring Me Down - 7” early 80’s Yamaha Recording Custom

  • One Life -  5 ½” 60’s Ludwig Acrolite

  • Loosing My Mind - 5 ½” 60’s Ludwig Acrolite

  • Deadly Deceiver - 5 ½” 90’s Ludwig Black Black Beauty         

As for cymbals, even though it’s a fairly small room, it still has a very open yet controlled sound, so I used pretty much what I use live with band. They’re all Zildjians, consisting of a 22” A Zildjian Ping Ride, 15” A Zildjian New Beat Hi-hats, 18” and 19” A Custom Projection Crashes, a 19” A Custom Medium Crash, a 19” K Custom Dark China and 8” and 10” K Zildjian splashes. On some of the songs an 18” A Custom Medium crash was substituted for the 18” Projection for tunes that needed more sustain.


Of course the microphones, microphone placing and mixing have a lot to do with the drum sound, that's where engineer Tom Size worked his magic.

This record was particularly fun to make because it was primarily recorded live in the studio. Since we had been playing so much together, we were very tight and tracked everything together, click or no click, keeping takes that felt good as a band with minimal fixing to the band tracks, as opposed to the popular method of choosing a great drum take and then everyone building there parts over that. We made the record very fast too, recording the songs as they were being written, so the have a very fresh, live raw feel to them that captured the sound of the band, as we are, with all of the live energy that we are known for.


I hope this information is helpful and sheds a little insight on the making of Facemelter.

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