Bill Stewart's Snare & Setup

RobertM

Platinum Member
I posted a previous thread asking about Bill's snare, but I just found some additional information about his entire kit. I thought he was using a hammered Ludwig 14x6.5 Bronze snare with tube lugs (based on photos taken from drummerworld.com/Modern Drummer), but he apparently is using or is also using the same Ludwig model in Brass.

For those interested in Bill's equipment (given the lack of information available on him via the Web), I found the following discussion of Bill's gear from an interview with Ken Micallef entitled "Bill Stewart: EnRoute to Evolution" in Modern Drummer (Aug. 2004, p. 38-44, 46-48, 50). I believe all of the references below to "Zildjian prototypes" may have been the attempts at getting his K Custom Complex Ride into being (which has now been discontinued):

The equipment in Bill's Brooklyn practice room:

  • Gretsch four-piece: two old round-badge toms (8×12, 14×14)
  • a wooden 5½×14 snare
  • an odd-shaped Gretsch bass drum (10x22); Bill's comments: ''It's a custom-made 10×22...I'm able to play it without any blankets or muffling in it, except for a couple of felt strips. It's less boomy than a 22´´ of normal depth. It's more compact and it responds very quickly. I haven't used it on gigs yet, but I'm waiting for the right opportunity to do so.''
  • two 22´´ Zildjian prototypes and a 14´´ pair of hi-hats (New Beat on bottom and old K on top)

Bill's general setup:

Drums: Gretsch in purple stain finish
  • 6½×14 Ludwig hammered brass snare (with tube lugs)*
  • 8×12 tom
  • 14×14 floor tom
  • 16×16 floor tom
  • 14×18 bass drum

*Note: The photos of Bill Stewart usually show a golden hammered snare with tube lugs, which would suggest the Ludwig Bronze hammered snare. The MD article states that the snare is brass, but I believe Ludwig's brass hammered snares only come in either the Black Beauty finish or Chrome over Brass finish. I'm not a 100% sure about this, but I haven't seen a modern Ludwig supraphonic brass snare in gold finish--that's usually the bronze shell.

Cymbals: Zildjian

  • 14´´ hi-hats (Oriental Trash Hat Top on bottom, old K on top)
  • 22´´ K Zildjian Jazz ride (1980s-era)
  • 22´´ Zildjian prototype
  • 22´´ prototype

Alternate Cymbals: 22´´ K Constantinople, older 18´´ and 22´´ Ks (thin and with big cracks), 8´´ and 10´´ Oriental Trash splashes.

Heads: Remo coated Ambassadors on snare, bass drum, and tom batters, clear Diplomats on bottom of toms.

Hope this is useful to any other Bill Stewart fans!
 
I know it's a little late but I just found your thread - just the info I was looking for! I'm on the market for a new snare, either a Manu Katche Signature or a Ludwig Hammered Bronze (now I know that it's that model).

Thanks!

d.
 

chungiemunchin

Junior Member
I for one, am very grateful for your posting of Bill Stewart's set up. I am a huge Bill Stewart fan and relate to his style of playing more than I do to most jazz drummers. I hear his influences well enough and happen to be into those on my own anyway.....especially Jack Dejohnette.

I love using the Bill Stewart model drumsticks though I had to get use to them at first. I also use the Complex/Dry Ride cymbal (his signature ride) as my main ride along with an even dryer and just as trashy ride (the Hi definition ride, which I recommend to anyone who likes a cymbal with extraordinary stick articulation). Of course, I am talking 100% Zildjian here.

I am looking to get more into using Polyrhythms in my playing and am on the lookout for any instructional books that you or anyone might recommend for developing polyrhythms in my playing.
 
Hi folks,

does anybody have an idea of the cymbals used on John Scofield's "This and That"? Among others Bill uses a cymbal with rivets which has a more woody ping and sounds great. Any info would be helpful.
I just got me a 22" Custom Dry Complex Ride Thin that just blows me away! Trashy, nice definite ping, controllable and an amazing crash sound - all in one!

Thanks,
d.
 

RobertM

Platinum Member
Just an addition to Bill's setup:

According to JazzTimes November 2008 edition, Bill is using the following:

Set: Gretsch Drums
- 14x18 bass
- 8x12 tom
- 14x14 floor
- 16x16 floor

Snare:
- Ludwig 6.5x14 hammered brass with tube lugs (not bronze!)

Cymbals: Zildjian
- 14" K hats
- at least three 20" / 22" K Custom Dry Complex Rides 2 (his redesigned model), some with rivets
- one K Con Medium ride

Cheers.
 

oops

Silver Member
Has anyone tried the Custom Dry Complex 2?

Saw an ad in Modern Drummer the other day.
 

RobertM

Platinum Member
I was interested in the Dry Complex Ride 2 as well, but I've heard from some friends that they are not good sounding at all. Sort of a let down--I thought they might sound better than the first series of DCRs.
 
Well, I recently checked out the Dry Complex Ride 2 in 24" - it blew me away! Didn't like the 22" though. They got nothing to do with the original DCR, but the DCR2 is a great addition to the DCR1 IMO. I for one am one the brink of buying the 24". Just need some time to arrange for the money... The DCR2 sounds a lot cleaner with less of that trashy quality, but the stick sound is great and still blends in really well with the overtones - just like the DCR1! It's also a lot heavier than the DCR1 Thin. I'd give it a try, preferably the 24".

Greetings,
d.
 

RobertM

Platinum Member
For Bill Stewart fans, I just found this close-up picture of Bill behind the kit and you can clearly see, I think, the Ludwig hammered Black Beauty with tube lugs he is using:

Enjoy!
 

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tomtom

Senior Member
FWIW; Bill was playing here in Iceland a couple months back and I received a phone call from one of the organizers asking me if I had a 6.5x14" hammered bronze for him. I used to have one but never could relate to it.
 

oops

Silver Member
I've been watching Bill Stewart's MD 08 appearance on Youtube. He does a solo with 3 splashes.

Any idea what these splashes are? Particularly interested in the one mounted upside down on his ride, closest into the kit.
 

eardrum

Junior Member
Two posts confirm that Bill is playing a BRASS snare... yet the snare in the picture and also the snare I've seen him play live looks like a BRONZE snare because of its gold color... also a poster above mentioned that Bill needed a BRONZE snare for his gig in Iceland.

Ludwig BRASS Black Beauty snares are only made in black (or chrome?) finish.
The gold colored finish is BRONZE.
If this is true than he must be playing a bronze snare drum.
Right?

Anyone know if Ludwig used to make brass Black Beauty snares with a gold finish?
Can anyone clarify if the snare is brass or bronze?

Thanks!
 

rochester_steve

Junior Member
I saw Bill at Birdland in NYC and saw that he had the BRONZE tube lug Ludwig snare. I asked him if it was the house snare or his personal. He stated it was his, I said that I had the same bronze snare, he asked if it had the tube lugs also (it does). He said that it was a great snare.

The one in the pictures is the bronze one.
 
Bill is a terrific drummer. However, it might behoove you guys to quit focusing on his gear and put all that energy into trying to find the key to his greatness, groove, technique. Once Bill was established and well-known, THEN he got all the great snares and drums. I'm sure he owned some raggedy traps when he was starting out. Study Bill's music. Find out who he studied with. See if you can find the key to his talent, and use it in developing your own. Hell, if you play really, really, well, you might end up a pro who has all that good gear given to him.
 

RobertM

Platinum Member
Bill is a terrific drummer. However, it might behoove you guys to quit focusing on his gear and put all that energy into trying to find the key to his greatness, groove, technique. Once Bill was established and well-known, THEN he got all the great snares and drums. I'm sure he owned some raggedy traps when he was starting out. Study Bill's music. Find out who he studied with. See if you can find the key to his talent, and use it in developing your own. Hell, if you play really, really, well, you might end up a pro who has all that good gear given to him.
BJ: For your information, this is the Gear section of the forum, and this is why we are talking about Bill's setup and snares. Despite your condescending tone and massive assumptions, many of us are quite aware of technique and groove issues and the crucial role that such knowledge plays in developing one's self as a player--and many of us have discussed these issues in the "Drummers" and "Drum Technique" sections of the forum. I think quite a few of us have also been studying Bill's music and playing for quite some time and have researched who he studied with, where he studied music at school, etc. In short, we are quite aware of the importance of technique and instrument mastery as a key to good playing. I don't think anyone here is under the impression that getting Bill's bronze Ludwig snare, for example, is suddenly going to make our playing sound like his or is the sole explanation behind his sound and style.

Nothing in this thread, in my opinion, was meant to suggestion that gear in and of itself will give a player Bill's sound or talent. Some of us enjoy talking about gear, finding out what a player used on a specific recording, discovering the ins and outs of how particular drums are made, sound, look, etc. That is the point of the Gear section of this site: it is a place where we can talk about our simple love of drums and drool over drums with no shame, if we so choose.

I apologize in advance for being rather direct in my response, but it might behoove you to think about the section of the site in which you are posting next time and the tone/assumptions you present toward others.
 
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