My Favorite Drum Hardware Pack

Several years ago I purchased a Ludwig Element drum set to use at our church. Included with that Element kit was a Ludwig 400 series hardware pack, which included a bass drum pedal, hi-hat stand, cymbal boom stand, straight cymbal stand, and a snare stand. I’ve been so impressed with this very reasonably-priced hardware that I thought I would write a quick post about it.

In my experience, most budget-priced drum hardware is woefully inadequate. The cymbal stands are so lightweight that you’re afraid they will tip over with even moderately hard playing. The adjustment points on the stands can also feel weak, and they have to be wrenched down with a pair of pliers to keep things from loosening up while you’re playing. The hi-hat stands and kick pedal often suffer from a lack of adjustability that can make them difficult to tweak to your liking.

In my experience, that is NOT the case with the Ludwig 400 series. These stands are light, but not TOO light. The stands have just enough weight to feel sturdy and solid, but without being overly heavy. The adjustment points all work very well, and the wingnuts and wingscrews are large enough for you to easily grip and tighten down without needing those pliers. And the adjustments hold firm–even with moderately hard playing (full disclosure: I’m not a really heavy hitter, particularly at church). The kick pedal and hi-hat stands are imminently usable. They don’t have ALL of the adjustments that you might expect from top-of-the-line gear, but they have the crucial adjustments that are needed most to dial them in.

I’ve been using these stands weekly at church for years (taking them out occasionally for gigs), and have never had a single problem out of them. In fact, I’ve considered trading in some of my heavier, “pro quality” stands from my regular gigging kit for more of these, just to lighten my load. And perhaps the best feature for this hardware pack is the price. For this level of quality, I would expect to pay much more. So if you’re in need of a hardware pack to round out a new drum set that doesn’t include hardware, definitely consider this one.

P.S., if you’re looking for something just a bit better (albeit a bit more weight) for not much more money, also check out the Ludwig Atlas Standard Hardware Pack.

My Favorite Kick Drum Mic Stands


After years of recording and doing live sound, I’ve discovered that buying a mic stand for your kick drum is NOT where you should try and save some money. It’s just not worth it. A cheap stand will be tipping and slipping until you’re ready to pull your hair out. You’ll try all kinds of creative hacks involving duct tape, string, and sandbags to prevent it, only to have it happen again in the middle of a session or live gig. With that being said, I’d like to recommend a couple of specific mic stands that should serve you well in this application. (more…)

MXL A-55 Kicker Bass Drum Mic Review


The MXL A-55 Kicker is a dynamic instrument mic that’s specially designed for use on kick drums and other low frequency instruments such as bass guitar amps. The mic has a tailored frequency response that gives you plenty of low-end punch and beater snap–what you typically want and need in a kick drum mic. I wasn’t necessarily in need of another kick mic, but I picked up an A-55 when I saw a deal on one that was just too good to pass up. (more…)

How to Choose a Drum Set


A common conversation I have around Christmas time each year goes something like this: “Hey, you play the drums, right? I want to buy a drum set for my child/grandchild/husband/etc., but I don’t know what to buy. What kind of drums should I buy, where should I buy them, and how much should I expect to spend?” I’ve had this same conversation so many times that it inspired me to write this article. So in the future, when people ask me, I can simply send them a link to the article, they can go read it, and (hopefully) find answers to their questions. As you’ll see, this isn’t an easy question with a quick and easy answer. Asking “what kind of drums should I buy?” is similar to asking “what kind of car should I buy?”, so it evokes a necessarily lengthy response. (more…)

Roc n Soc Nitro Drum Throne Review


Over the years, I’ve owned a half-dozen drum thrones from different manufacturers, ranging from less expensive budget models on up to some that were considered top-of-the-line when I purchased them. But they’ve all suffered from the same problems: the joint on the bottom of the seat that attaches to the base did not allow me to adjust it to a point where it was comfortable, the seat wasn’t comfortable, the height was difficult to adjust, and when the height was set, it wouldn’t stay set for very long. (more…)

How to Prepare a Drum Kit for Recording

Most recordists will agree that acoustic drums are the most challenging instrument to record (and record well). One of the reasons (among several) is that a drum kit has so many moving parts that are prone to rattles, squeaks, buzzes, and other annoying sounds. It’s also quite a task to tune a drumkit, which always needs to be done prior to any recording session. (more…)