Re: Tony Williams
Great to meet up here with fellow TW enthusiasts. Cuban has a question that also wondered me since Believe It was issued. Possibly finding/contacting TW's drum tech at the time could have best answer now, or a family member or more replies here. Don't know contacts for these individuals, but the super engineer & producer Sony/Columbia used on Believe It was Bruce Botnick who really eq'd and captured terrific drum tuning. Fred was also later re-cut by Holdsworth titling song as Kinder. Tony played hihats like no one else, I saw him live many times years ago. Not sure of exact drum/cymbal set up the studio used in recording Believe It, but TW played a particular set configuration at that time with various cymbal combinations. This is info I gathered directly from Gretsch & Zildjian artist relations over the years, so I will pass it along. I hope some of this info helps.
Gretsch USA Custom series drums Solid Yellow Gloss Nitro cellulose gloss Lacquer finish - currently termed TWYL code SPL #69 color finish. Sizes: BD 14 x 24 or at times 16 x 24. SD 6 1/2 x 14 with 20 single lugs and 42 strand wires. TT 9 x 13 and 10 x 14. FT 14 x 14, 16 x 16 and 16 x 18. Silver sealed interiors, chrome shell hardware, occasionally black hardware on drum shells. Up to the 1980's when Gretsch supplied their own stands, he used SD stand #4989, TT Holder #9002, HH #4849, BD Spurs #9011, Cymbal stands #4850 and 4871. The actual SD was #4155. I haven't searched the vintage catalogs to verify these hardware #'s, so I hope the info I was given is correct. Thru the 1970's up into 1980's I saw Tony's kits with different series of Gretsch hardware lines - the TT holders, stands, etc.- usually the top line Gretsch gear live. At times he had drum shell black hardware, but almost always chrome on sets he used. He used clear CS black dot heads on both batter and resonant sides of all drums except the snare-side head, that contributed greatly to his sound with the USA Customs. He had his own stick size made for him, an autographed model at some point, among other similar sticks I'm sure. Now, the elusive and interesting cymbal line-ups...
Tony switched out lots of cymbals for what he felt at the time was right. These are (3) cymbal set-ups he used in later periods, but it may provide some insight into his signature sound and likes.
First set-up - Ride 22 A Custom, Ride 18 K dry-lite. Crash 18 Med-thin (I think A there, but maybe K), Crash 18 A unspecified, Crash 15 A Custom. HH 15 K both bottom cymbals. Splash 8 A and Splash 10 A.
Second set-up - 1994 - Ride 22 K. Crash 20 K Dark, Crash 18 K Dark-med-thin, Crash 15 K Dark. HH 15 K. And, lastly, a variant of these two set-ups ...
Third set-up - Ride 22 A Custom. Crash 18 A Med, Crash 18 A Med-thin, Crash 18 K Dark-thin, Crash 15 A Custom. HH 15 K. Splash 8 A and Splash 10 A.
That's what I've found out, maybe some of this can help and hope it does. TW fans may want to add to this and supply other cymbal set-ups he used in eras closer to the 1975 recording, which is tuff data to find this far along. This info here was obtained from Gretsch and Zildjian.