“Get-Wittet!” Sharing expertise I’ve gained from a life behind the drums, studio & live. Here you will read the most detailed drum reviews on the web. You will gain privileged access to drumming tips & secrets gleaned from legendary players I’ve interviewed for magazines.

September 2018: News: (1) I am coaching an extra few good men (women, too). I’m taking on five new candidates in the Orleans area, just east of Ottawa, Canada.  Yup. I’ve finally figured it out. Bryan Valeriani, himself a great teacher, helped me: “Bruce, you’ve got such a wealth of knowledge & playing. You’re a great advisor, a great coach”. Like all great coaches, I am very serious. Except for the fact I’m extremely casual and have a sense of humor and you’re going to have fun. I’ll share wisdom, chops, explanations from my instructors and mentors,  Dave Mattacks & Jim Keltner, both of whom wrote letters of support, which put over-the-top my application for a Canada Council Arts Grant-B (one-year duration, purpose with them; and study world/Cuban music). I don’t know if I made a good drum teacher over the years and find it incredibly difficult to stay with a curriculm that espouses various books that I don’t, in my heart, believe really help the student. Not to worry, if you’re the sort who reads, I’ll furnish exercises. Your life will change, I guarantee it, just as the above gentlemen, both still friends I can call with drum/personal issues, changed mine. They shared and coached me, honed my strategies, spotted errors or inconsistencies in my playing or my concepts. Both urged me to listen. In drumming, listening to music is your first line of defence. Listening got me through thousands of hours in the recording studio, literally thousands, doing jingles for Carlsberg Beer and Blacks Cameras and Bay, and so many folk and singer-songwriter albums, I have never bothered counting them. My first pro session was in Toronto, cited in Billboard magazine, along with Conrad Johnson, Bob Babbitt (Shadows of Motown) bass, the Brecker Bros on horns…..et al. What a start in 1976! I learned stuff about nerves, quick tuning, tuning errors, evenness of drum beats/grooves, when to leave it out, etc, all of which I share with you. You want a teacher, there are good ones in Ottawa, Canada (Orleans, just E of Ottawa).  I work a little differently. You pay me at the top of each lesson but it rarely goes one-hour. I don’t think I’ve ever kept to one-hour. The minimum is 1.5-hours. Tell your ride! Sit with me on a custom kit set up to your specs and lets work out the rattles, bring out the good in your playing. That’s what I do, basically, at Carleton University, and have for five-plus years. You need someone who knows a samba form salsa and songo; and who likes hip-hop, jazz, rhythm and blues enough to write cover tributes in Modern Drummer including my fave: Al Jackson Jr. Or maybe John Bonham. Might be Bill Stewart. Paul Motian….that was emotional…get it?Em ail me: tbrucewittet@gmail.com     Let’s get your drumming on the right track.
September, 2018: Notice: Review of Rogers Dyno-Matic drum pedal is here. I spoke to Steve Maxwell, who wishes he had more to do with the fabulous Rogers Dyno-matic. He came on late in the design process briefly. Incidentally, my review of the Rogers Dyno-matic pedal is probably three-times the length good sense would recommend. Thus, if you go to my review page (by following the link above “is here”), you’ll find an executive summary near the top of the article. Read down ten or fifteen lines and you’ll be seriously considering purchasing this new pedal. The Rogers Dyno-matic plays completely in the spirit of the Rogers Swiv-O-Matic pedal, which I’ve reviewed, too, and with that feel, you’ll realize the verity in my heading about “messing with a good thing”. It takes a brave designer team, which Steve Maxwell tells me was led by Ken Fredenberger, to transform the Dyn-O-Sonic pedal, the pedal I’ve kept going back to in 55-years on the drum throne, into the pedal I can now stay with. Everything on my wish list,  a short list citing my yearning for a Dyn-O-Sonic pedal that reached higher to enable comfortable negotiation of 22″, and let’s add a 23″ (DW, you rascals!), 24″, 26″, and let’s add, as well, a diameter I’ve never encountered, apart from concert stages, 30″ bass drums has been accomplished. And this, of course, is in addition the optimum Rogers Swiv-O-Matic optimum 20″ and 18″ heads. Hell, to be honest, I just wanted a Swiv-O-Matic bass drum pedal to do a better job on 22″ and 24″ bass drums.  Mission accomplished; and I bet I could get it to smoke on a 16″ head, too, but haven’t tried yet. Yeah, the beater would probably still would strike north of center but I used a Tama Speed Cobra on my 16″, tensioned loose as paper, muffled, and miked up in a soft-seater. Drummers came up to me after, as in “Whoaaa, what sort of an 18″ is that dude?” and I’d take great pleasure in showing them (and you, too) that one can put a 16″ on the ground as they’ve done since the days of King David bartering with God in the Psalms, and not on one of those risers that grounds any life into the, err, ground; cuts sustain. The Rogers Dyno-Matic bass drum pedal review is here in living color and it’s detailed. Get ready, make time, or just read the executive summary and be pleased you’ve got a busy life that tears you away from the armchair enthusiastis who populate websites & Youtube.


December, 2017: Are we counting bass drum pedal wobbles for nothing? Do they matter?  Does a greater tally of wobbles really foster greater speed, articulation, tone, and God Knows what other attributes ultra-smooth, lightning-return pedals offer?
Let’s define “wobble”. Webster defines “wobble” (I’m joking!) as the number of cycles a pedal beater can make, if depressed and released just once, before coming to rest.  Referring to the word wobble, which Jojo Mayer pressed into service when producing his masterful video on bass drum technique, I reckoned he’d be putting his name behind some spawn of the Sonor Perfect Balance, which was not to shabby in the wobble-count. I reviewed this one several years back in the pages of Modern Drummer. As it turns out, Jojo told me that wobbles were not a preoccupation for him: “All I need is one!”
I first explored wobbles in the mid-1970s when I noticed that my old Rogers Swiv-O-Matic pedal let loose maybe four of them before giving up the ghost. It was, to be sure, a remarkable pedal but a little slight in architecture. And when viewing the parade of Asian pedals, right down to the most modest of Pearls and Tamas, I saw that they were capable of a staggering number of beater cycles – compared to my Rogers. I began flirting with a Premier 252. Although it added but three or four wobbles, it was taller, a touch more powerful, and smoother. I’d purchased one and had barely begun to “learn” it when it went to a fiery death at the end of the first of a two-nighter gig in a hotel/tavern called the Moulin Rouge. It was, of course, a torch job. I shed a tear for the Premier 252, which had been de-listed by Premier, no longer made. I went back to my Rogers pedal. Twenty years later I received a new Premier 252, what they call “new old stock”, from a great friend of the family Roy Edmunds. It took me until 2017 to get around to seriously using the device, a single goal post design with the compression spring hidden inside that post. In the meantime, I wisely purchased the Tama Speed Cobra, which you will see in this video duking it out with the Premier 252. The Tama is a reliable, smooth pedal. I’d actually done a video on each of the pedals sound, and they do have their own sound, all things equal, but that’s a little academic, I figure. Move on.
October, 2017: What on earth happened to the Montreal Drum Fest? A number of readers have queried me. The answer is that the Montreal festival is officially defunct but is very much alive–reborn as the Drum Fest International Ralph Angelillo. Shed no tears for the passing of the Montreal Drum Fest.
Ralph Angelillo was creative director and co-producer of the original Montreal Drum Fest, a legendary, two-decade long gathering of the drumming community.  The new festival is, in fact, a continuation of the old in spirit if not in flesh. By that I mean the new Angelillo Fest has found a new home in Quebec City, roughly a 2.5-hour drive north-east of Montreal.
Suffice it to say that Ralph Angelillo has created his namesake festival to enable novices to rub shoulders with the top drummers of today. And learn from them.


October 2016 – March 2017: Get Wittet video: I survived a high-speed auto accident, swerving to avoid a moose. Jim Keltner tells me, “Bruce,  you’ve lived through a uniquely Canadian experience”. True. But it took me six months to play my first gig pursuant to The Crash. What’s a drummer to do? Well, the same stuff I’ve been preaching all along. Get frisky. If you live through an accident like this that crushes your sternum, chest, heart, etc, gives you high blood pressure when it was calm, normal preceding ….. it’s a sign. What I suggest is: Don’t go out and buy new drum gear but, rather, find old stuff lying around here or there or in the retail store bargain bin and experiment. That lonely cymbal at the back of the bin, which nobody wants, is calling out your name. If you don’t heed the call, pass it on to me. Right now, to me, everything is goooood.

Aug – Sept, 2015: What I learned from a month in the studio: Drummers, please LISTEN! Don’t inflict arbitrary drum beats before you hear the entire song go around. How I made a set of coated Diplomat heads last thru a 21-day session and still sound great: Cheap as dirt muffling, a dollar for stuff better than Moon Gel; also, fabulous brass split-end rivets. I gave Bill Stewart a box of these for his 40th birthday. Muffling and rivets are reusable but….at these cheap prices, nice to have extras on board.



June, 2015: This website was hacked. All is now good. Thought you’d enjoy my notes to one of the upcoming reviews: the Premier 252 bass drum pedal, discontinued.  Squint a little and be patient: You will not be subjected to vision texts like this in the formal reviews typed in web friendly fonts. For now, enjoy my scratched-out notes, page 1 and page 2. I’ll fix layout problems, centering. The following three photos/Wacom stylus-tablet jpegs were to have appeared center-page…….
Review Premier 252 compression spring pedal Premier 252 pedal hits bricks, Get Wittet review
Review Premier 252 bass drum pedal Get Wittet: Premier 252
Wittet review Premier 252, handwritten, p2 of 2 Get Wittet: review Premier 252 bass drum pedal, my notes p.2 of 2


December 17, 2014: Follow this link to the full article and yet another video clip to shadow my suggestions on making Cuban drumming sound like Cuban drumming and Brazilian like Brazilian. What value! 3,000 words plus a fresh video.



December 17, 2014 (a more sensible hour than last entry): Know the difference between salsa/songo and samba. SOLO off the top (that ain’t gonna happen often: Get Wittet!). This video is take-2 of a slew on improving your Latin drumming. Tips: omit 1 on kick (sort of like what you do on the one-drop old-school reggae); know the difference: rumba (ancient W.African clave driven)  vs  rhumba (dance hall rhythm, NOT in clave), etc. Check out the following video clip showing me playing  way too busy, simply to display appropriate fills.




December 17, 2014 (3:00am): Here are 3 (more actually) big tips on playing Cuban salsa & songo: Don’t confuse with samba with salsa: latter hails from a different country far across the waters. Samba is 4-on-the-floor; salsa/songo is funkier in the cellar. Don’t refer to the bossa nova snare cross-stick part as a clave; it’s not a clave; it’s not in-clave; Don’t confuse dance hall rhumba with ancient West African rumba, which IS in clave and has split into many different sub-genres. The songo is based on W African rumba and Cuban songo. The article follows, plus another few outtakes. What you see here is an outtake….stiff off the top, relaxed, then stiff at the finish line. But funky and I omit one. Right, that’s the major tip to distinguish your songo:  OMIT THE 1, in salsa, songo, and reggae. One drop reggae? They dropped the 1. Back to songo, however:  Learn the art of placing the kick on the and of 2 and on 4. Fill, but don’t resolve on 1; that’s the purpose of the current video, an outtake; more to come with my article.





November 21, 2014: The WorldMax brass drums are among the very best drums I’ve ever played. I mean we’re talking in 50-years! Watch what you wish for. I’d asked Mr Hera Lo to send a WorldMax cradle suspension mount on which the 16×16 floor tom sat–that is, it’s unlike those mounts that pull on the tension rods on the top or batter side of the toms. It’s beautifully-made, gold-plated and might work wonders on other drums. But push came to shove when I needed more tuning range, more sustain, and a more presence I couldn’t live with the WorldMax RIMS-style floor tom cradle. It acted just as my old Camco, LA vintage, toms did when fitted with RIMS mounts. Choked. Following my gut feeling, I pulled off the floor tom cradle mount (into which the standard 3-legs were set) and eyeballed (ie I didn’t measure that well) and drilled the 16×16 floor tom for old-fashioned brackets, a newer Ludwig design available at Dave’s Drum Shop ) and fitted the legs….only after I put Pearl rubber suspension feet on each of the legs. Wow! Explosion or what! Seriously. You may not hear it on this short clip but, hey, I wanted to show-off the drums. Promise, in the future, I’m working a lot of changes into the video component of TBruceWittet.com, including disposing of the garish wash of echo/reverb. By the way, thank you: I know there’s a  glitch in the floor tom fill on the second chorus….but I left it there as per the “warts and all” ethic!








October 28, 2014: Readers have asked me how the WorldMax drumset (scroll down) sounds tuned-up. Great, it sounds fine tuned-low. Here it is, fitted with Remo coated Emperors, Evans Reso heads, a couple of funky cymbals (my Motown K, my Paul Francis tweaked A Zildjians, and a Dave’s Drum Shop $5.00 bin whacky splash) added to the mix, played first with Regal Tip mallets (a soft and a hard-tipped to spite me!). The first portion of the clip is my fledgling tribute to the recently deceased Jack Bruce, bassist/cellist and songwriter, a Scotsman first, a member of the Cream whose soul transcended that band and infused songs such as “Theme from an Imaginary Western” and “We’re Going Wrong” with uncanny depth. I shared with Jack not only a Scottish heritage but other traits but let’s move on: Next you hear me playing the same WorldMax cranked-high brass drumset with sticks (glittery ones, too, stamped Modern Drummer) to a perverted Alesis DM8-USB sequence: it’s a bossa sequence wherein I’ve screwed up the MIDI directions. What’s more, I give it a reggae inflection, which is, in  my opinion, the soulful way to play bossa in modern times. Then I do a free-form solo and revel in the feel and output of the brass drums tuned higher than I would tune them ordinarily.

October 12, 2014: I realized I may have skewed comparisons. The original clip, circa Aug 15, portrayed the WorldMax brass drums swimming in “hall reverb” on the upscale, ahem, Zoom Q2HD. Readers suggest I invoke more modest EQ and coloration.  Thus, on yesterday’s clip, I apply only the Zoom “room ‘verb”, which is not your basic, thunderous rock sound. Today, allow me to add the original hall reverb to the playing portion (no spoken word, not to worry!) of yesterday’s video clip. Thus it may be easier to compare the relative merits of the original coated Emperors, heard on the August clip way below, and the new Evans EC 2 (coated/opaque, as opposed to clear). Incidentally, the difference between white coated and opaque is that for the latter, Evans uses no white pigmentation. That is the difference. You did know that, right?

October 11, 2014: I tried using Evans EC Reso Level 360 (resonant or “bottom heads”) as batters.  You will see on the clip below that the results were less than spectacular. Today I went out and purchased “real” batters: Evans EC 2 Level 360 batters. I placed yesterday’s Reso heads on the bottoms of the drums as Gatzen intended. The EC 2 heads sound–I think you will agree — better. The narrative portion is wanting…did I hear “sloppy”? Fine, but, hey, I do these things for you! And I wanted to make-good to D’Addario Canada, to Evans, and to the challenge of obtaining bigger, fatter, more articulate drum sounds. The Evans Level 360 heads really work: they conform to over-sized shells and odd bearing edges, not that my WorldMax solid brass shell drums exhibited any such anomalies. Thanks Nick Costa; thank you Tommy and Matt and those who responded, their thread being that the drums lost something when fitted with Reso heads (clip below). Ah well, I tried.

October 10, 2014: The Evans EC Level 360 Reso head, intended as a “bottom” or resonant head herein employed as a batter head in the Get Wittet drum review clip. Why not it’s a 1000-mil (ie same as G1, Ambassador, etc) thickness/weight plus a “Gatzen attenuating ring” on circumference. Jury’s out but, let me tell you, the Level 360 collar configuration really works wonders: slides onto my brass WorldMax drums (not under-sized shells) hand-in-glove. Larry Davidson, D’Addario Canada has always been both a solid soul and renegade spirit: he furnished these for this noble experiment. And then Paul Francis deserves kudos for his initiative in bringing A Zildjians back to 1960s specs. You decide, Evans Reso’s as batters?

August 15, 2004: Attention and Get Wittet! Revised WorldMax brass shell kit video appears momentarily, spoken word now in-your-face. The drums, frankly, don’t need any tweaking. I mean, if you’ve followed drum magazines, you’ll know I’ve reviewed many, many, many drums, cymbals, and accessories. Well, they were good as claimed. But…I bought the WorldMax all-brass vintage drumset. And every time I sit down and touch them, I want to play drums. You know what I mean.

Part of Tbw WorldMax brass kit: snare solid as stump Part of Tbw WorldMax brass kit: snare solid as stump

August 14, 2014: Get Wittet! When I go away for a spell, I don’t come back empty-handed. Aside from finishing another record, I’ve bought the drums of my dreams–drums I’ve tried to purchase in earnest over the course of the last two Winter NAMMs  at the WorldMax booth. Problem is, whereas WorldMax USA has made the Black Dawg snare drums household words, the company does not distribute the beautiful brass WorldMax Vintage series drumset in America. Long story short, I was able to cut to the source and finally took delivery of a beautiful all-brass kit….shipped it from WorldMax International, Taiwan. It wouldn’t have been possible without the intervention of the kind, artsy, and compassionate Hera Lo, a director of the Chinese (ie Island, not mainland) company. For me, these drums, as I describe in my latest article, represent the pot of gold at the end of a journey that began in 1970.

June 20, 2014: Damn! When I woke up this morning (those Hybrids were gone, Lord have mercy!), in the pale light of day I began packing the Yamaha Absolute Maple Hybrid drums for return to Yamaha Canada director acoustic/electronic drums Sean Browne by way of local drum retailer  Dave’s Drum Shop. Dave is delivering the review Hybrid kit (and numerous others) to serve as backline at the Ottawa International Jazz Festival.  God knows I’d wanted to catch an artist at that festival this coming Tuesday.  Accordingly, God redressed the situation one-better by sending me another great track from artists Sills & Smith , which we’ll record on that day at Bova Sound. Of course, I’ll be working once again with my long time colleague and fave bassist Phil Bova.  He’ll be co-producing, engineering, arranging, and (God, indeed, is bountiful) playing bass. These are duties he acquitted admirably on the album we completed–or so we thought–for said duo a few weeks back. Incidentally, Phil plays killer Lado 4 & 6-string basses; also a Fender fretless Telecaster. I keep nudging Phil to do a solo album–one representing his deep love for Brazilian rhythm sections, as he heard them first-hand in LA circa 1977. This morning, regretting the imminent parting of the ways with the Hybrid, as it were, I hurled out of bed and recorded the bonus clip you see above, ensuring it swam in the same Zoom echo/reverb you hear on previous clips. Note that although these effects will disappear in future my glitches may survive:  For the record, please know that I’m well aware I rushed the intro cymbal bell figures, the entry into verse-2, and, at 6:40, jumped a little too hard on the 8th-note snare/bass drum push. These, I rationalize, add a certain charm. The fact is, I did it all for you, dear reader, that you might hear those Hybrids and new/old A Zildjians once again.

June 18, 2014: What’s a drummer to buy? How does a young drummer, or even a veteran, assemble a set of cymbals?  Well, my two-cents on this matter are articulated in the clip above, the Get-Wittet Recommended A Zildjian Drumset Cymbal Set-up. For now, it signs-off (for now) on my examination of the “new/old” A Zildjians.  Zildjian master cymbal smith Paul Francis has done a brilliant job redoing this noble line of cymbals to match standards set by the benchmark line in the fifties and sixties. My recommended A Zildjian cymbal set-up (15″ New Beat, 16 & 18  Medium Thin Crashes,  23″ Sweet Ride) flows from 3-freelance album sessions at Bova Sound and also from several disparate tracks recorded elsewhere. To put this in perspective: I own over 100-cymbals; I’ve never counted. But once I tried the “new-old” A Zildjians, I simply had to use them.  I’d hear the producer announce that we’d be beginning a new track and invariably I’d trot out this lot. The punchline: I’m traditionally a “K-guy”!  But, as you hear and see in the video (I do show-and-tell with the first cymbal I ever owned, a 16″ A Zildjian bought used in 1965). I grew up with a legend and, well, Mr Francis has made it possible for me to return to those older, thinner A Zildjians…and not have to bash the living daylights out of them to get what I need in terms of touch, sensitivity, response, etc. They say you can’t go back. In this instance, you can! In summary, the cymbal set you see and hear  on the video clip is that which appears on over 50-tracks, soon to be released.  TEASER TIME! Note the new Yamaha Maple Absolute Hybrid snare drum, a portent of reviews to come. In days, not weeks. Matter of fact,  my review of the Yamaha Hybrids will appear in Jonathan Mover’s Drumhead magazine. But don’t expect you can read it here and skip buying Drumhead. No way would I lift a single phrase from these pages and ask Jonathan Mover to print it in his pages. That is, the Drumhead review is 100% exclusive. What’s inescapable is the common thread: The new Yamaha Hybrid drums  meet or exceed the benchmark standards set by my friend and mentor Takashi “Hagi” Hagiwara. We’re talking everything from wing nuts to smoothly-turning tension rods to the functionality of the Phoenix-style “hook lugs” to the new snare strainer–you’ll see shortly in the print review, first on Tbw.com, next in Drumhead.

June 19, 2014: In my second rambling video clip (below) you get a peek at the Yamaha Absolute Maple Hybrids (in the preceding clip…sorry to be confusing….it’s my own Birch Absolutes). The Maple Hybrids feature a single ply of wenge, which adds a snappy attack component to the robust mids and lows we expect from a maple shell. My review of the new Maple Absolutes (another version appears in Drumhead magazine) is startling. The quality is beyond reproach. As are those A Zildjian cymbals–my recommended cymbal set-up from among the A Zildjians tweaked to fifties/sixties specs.

February 10, 2014:  Readers have requested I amplify on certain points made in the “Koide cymbals revisited” clip seen here. I’ve responded with a new, long clip showing many of the Koide prototype B23 cymbals. Then, to aid in your job of comparing Koides with others, I’ve swapped-over the hi-hats for the new/old A Zildjian New Beats; then replaced a Koide crash with a Z or a Paiste; maybe threw up a Koide band cymbal. Actually, I had fun doing this clip (not a bit of it improvised….) because it matches what I do when recording and sometimes live: I hear a tune and I make quick decisions on cymbals that will be appropriate–cymbals that match the feel, touch, and groove I’m looking for. You’ll see.

February 6, 2014: Koide cymbals revisited before I deliver my atypical Tbw Awards for drums, cymbals, and accessories at NAMM 2014.

drummers: learn how to set up your drums right

January 23 – January 26, 2014: Check the Micky Dolenz signature drumset (above...just kidding) I spotted at winter NAMM 2014. Just kidding. I arrived at NAMM late, my luggage was late, and my will be late but worth the wait. As usual, you’ll be hearing details about drums, cymbals, and accessories nobody else bothers with. Get ready for a few surprises and the usual Tbw get-wittet bluntness.

January 23, 2014: Two items: First is part II of my review “new” A Zildjians tweaked to old (1960s) specs. The intro got clipped off: When I say “he’s done them (the A Zildjians) up a treat” I mean Zildjian’s Paul Francis. Thought you’d enjoy this plundering of the “new” old A Zildjians, wherein as a reference item (think the bread served at a wine tasting to cleanse the palette) I use the defunct K Zildjian Dry Complex….the “K Bill Stewart ride”. No, as Zildjian market dept pitches have suggested, they’re not your dad’s A Zildjians (ie heavier, thicker edges). Right. I’m thinking they’re your grandfather’s (read “yours truly” and my peers: lighter, thin edges, sensitive). The 23″ Sweet Ride is incredible, the New Beats as God intended. Second: I’m off by taxi to the airport for a 6am flight….came back home, early flight cancelled. I do it for you, meaning covering winter NAMM 2014. Somebodies gotta do it, excite you about new drum products (and maybe mic’s and mini recorders and whatever takes my fancy).

January 13, 2014: Remember my review of, and all the buzz surrounding, the Zildjian K Symphonic Traditional...extra heavy orchestral hand cymbals I reviewed as drumset rides? I’ve received two letters  recently asking for more info. So I made a video on the context (the heavy Jon Christensen K Zildjian) and to illustrate the new K Zildjian Symphonics. Close as it gets! Check out the video snippet, noting that there’s a glitch that prevents you hearing/seeing more than a minute of the newer Symphonics. That’s all you need, however. Any reader can get questions answered (maybe not custom videos as per Mr Hobson in this instance but detailed text responses…to far and wide, Brazil to Birmingham, Auckland to Atlanta!) gratis. I reckon I owe it to you. Somehow.



December 31, 2013: I’ve posted a video, pledging, as per my review of the Ludwig Supralite steel snare drums (14×4, 15×5), announcing a more review-oriented T Bruce Wittet.com. Sure, there are already something like 60 reviews, each as poorly indexed as the next (I’m working on it). I am told that I’m running the most comprehensive drum review site on the web. People write me from all over the world for advice on which ride to buy, which snare drum will do such-and-such. I answer each letter; I follow-up. My responses are painfully detailed. Anytime you need advice, email me at T BruceWittet@gmail.com (don’t include spaces, though, or dots & dashes; no Morse code).

Why increase the emphasis on reviews, new and vintage? Because I can. And because I’m as frustrated as you. I Google, for example, “drum review, Ludwig Supralite” and I’m snowed by the same words derived from the company press release. I don’t bother with that literature until I’ve really tested the drum. I learned how to review during my 30-some years spent at Modern Drummer magazine). So it’s natural for me to continue in that spirit…but in considerably more detail. A review, incidentally, means playing the drum on real gigs, not just from the armchair, on stage and in studio. Incidentally, I rented the Supralite 14×4 plus 8 snares, two bass drums (incl the Camco Chanute 24″ seen in the New Years Eve video above), toms, percussion, and bags of cymbals to a record label for use by Dony Wynn (the same: Robert Palmer, Brooks & Dunne). He’s a DW guy and a Paiste endorser: the two items he stowed in the overheads on his flight up here to Siberia consisted of a DW 15×5 snare (hmmm, great drum) and a bursting bag of Paiste cymbals. Everything else on the date he got from me. And, you guessed it, the one drum he offered to purchase from me, cash on the line, was the Ludwig steel Supralite 14×4 (No, I didn’t bite)! Go ahead: spend $2000 USD on a boutique drum. But Dony felt that the Supralite was akin to his old Keplinger/Ayotte. I gave him no advance notice re the drum. He played it, on several tracks, and had no idea it cost chump-change: $180 USD at Dave’s Drum Shop. I want to thank Ross Garfield, the real Drum Doctor, who kindly and generously gave of his time to acquaint me with his practices. When he’s hired by the rich and famous (Keltner, for example) Ross will scope out the session, deliver what Jim feels is appropriate, and will tweak tuning. His rates are modest for what he does, seriously, and if you’re not famous he’ll rent to you and you’ll be richer for the experience.

November 28, 2013: Part I, teaser review of the new A Zildjians…tweaked to 1960s standards! A Zildjian classic thins made to 60s specs November 5, 2013: Ludwig Supralite snare drums, as I discovered, are not only among the best buys in drums I’ve ever encountered (under $200 bucks, tax-in); they’re pro drums that happen to be going cheap. Act now before somebody discovers the mistake.  I could tell from the minute I touched that classic Ludwig rim profile and delivered a rimshot that the elements were so combined that this was a drum. Read the review here. Supralite 15x5 with classic retro badge NEWS FLASH  October 27, 2013: Out of the closet, out of the shadows, Ray Ayotte rejoins drum company he founded, now partnered with savvy Jean-Denis Beaudoin, Photos don’t lieJD and Ray giants unite_WebVersion_8172 NEWS FLASH October 25, 2013: Exclusive to T Bruce Wittet.com. Ray Ayotte rejoins the Ayotte Drum Company: the gospel truth. I was there, I’m proud to say. Read about it here. Promise to visit my web hosts Patrice & Chad, who run cymbalholic.comCymbalholic.com is the only forum I’ve ever joined. It’s populated by inquisitive souls who are as Freudian as me when it comes to cymbals, which are part science, part alchemy, and part magic. I reckoned they’d want to know first about my Japanese Koide Cymbal prototypes.  Thank you Mr Koide for entrusting me with the only set of your prototype B23 cymbals in America. Break your chisel on this: B23 alloy is ultra-hard. Imagine B20 but glassier and stinging. More on Koide cymbals coming your way soon.   The Rimshot: a Quick How-To Video: watch carefully. A rimshot is not a device to cause pain in venues like my music room, with its low ceilings. A rimshot is a musical necessity on drums, not just for survival but for its almost singular role in fostering the sound of rock & roll, Roy Haynes-inspired jazz, etc.

July 28, 2013: In and out of the studio, Bova Sound, overdubbing drums to replace another drummer’s parts. I won’t name names because it’s happened to me and the feeling ain’t pretty. All I can say is something I’ve learned over 30 years in the saddle: Making a record is not like making a live performance.

May 18, 2013: Nobody has guessed the snare drum I play in the video.  Nobody came close: no cigar, no prize. The answer is: I used a 12″ Yamaha oak-shell (custom, not Musashi) fitted with a 12-strand wire snare unit. All backbeats struck with rimshots. And you thought 12″ snare drums were “auxiliary snares”.  Meanwhile, I’m trying to get hold of board mixes of the bed tracks on executed for producer Phil Bova and artist Gillian Kirkland.  I’m told they’re going to be overdubbing a string quartet next (from the Montreal Symphony, I think) then extract tenor/soprano from some operatic vocalist dude whose name I’d recognize were I cultured. Fine and good, aye, but I’ll wager he’s no Frank Ifield. Google the tune “I Remember You”, or, if it’s the Webster Dictionary, “I Remember Youse“.

April 28, 2013: Guess the snare drum I used in above video. You’ll be surprised when, later, I furnish the answer. Go here for the complete article, a footnote to the one cited immediately below.

April 27, 2013: Video and text on how to become a better drummer: Break the rules! Forget the printed page, screw up the rudiments, sing a song and play along. If you do that, ideas will come.

April 16, 2013:  a film about an urban myth, the $100 drumset.  Many readers found my story, my “drummer’s dream” tale, of buying a pro-sounding Coronet (1960s Pearl) kit for $40 US hard to swallow. I’ve now combined the Coronet drums with a Rogers 15″ (head diameter) concert snare ($40 due to a hole in the shell). For cymbals I employed 3-star Zyn hats and a couple of made-in-Japan (a long time ago) crash-rides: a 24″ and a 20″. Presto, I’d cobbled together a really fine sounding kit for $100! You be the judge: Here’s a video showing me doing barnyard funk on a “C-note kit”. Part III of my review of monstrous Yamaha Live Custom oak drums series (before it hits the shelves) is another Tbw exclusive: Here’s directions to more playful footage: part III of my review of the Yamaha Live Custom, new thick oak drums, made entirely in China. Monstrous. See and hear them (sorry for all the head and shoulders shots) in a studio environment without board mix.

Review Yamaha Live Custom before they even hit the store shelves. Above is video I,with Phil Bova on bass. Video II and text review reside here. March 28, 2013: A 3-video summation of my deliberations on bring a 16″ bass drum, no riser, and, insult to injury, with a hole in the front kick head, to an album date. And…with session day-1 over tonight, I guessed it worked. Watch my videos here. March 22, 2013: I probably didn’t need to apologize on video for statements such as (1) don’t ride cymbals with brushes, and (2) don’t be a slave to retro fashion/folly by placing your first tom on snare stand (oh, I’ve got to index these suckers!), thereby choking it. Maybe,as this video suggests (warts and all…I’m learning!), there’s better ways of viewing these notions.

Enough poetry, audio/video is now part of the drill! Note the screen shot below. The actual youtube console is here.

announcing detailed video drum reviews T Bruce Wittet

VIDEO is now a solid part of the T Bruce Wittet.com experience.

I will do my usual casual commentary on video (and extremely casual playing style). I will review drums and cymbals according to the impeccable, objective standards set by the magazine I grew up with: Modern Drummer. I do not endorse any company although I like many, many drum & cymbal brands. I resigned a Sabian deal years ago to avoid perceptions of conflict-of-interest when I began reviewing for Modern Drummer. I think you’ll find me objective, excited, enthusiastic, and, again, detailed in my review of the new Yamaha Live Custom. Go back there are some fifty other reviews of modern and vintage bits of gear.

February 1, 2013: More to come from NAMM. Meanwhile, how about using medical tape used as damping…. Medical tape can be used to muffle drums & cymbals according to T Bruce January 24, 2013: I flew from Siberia to Anaheim in winter and it was raining! Day-1 winter NAMM 2013: A Zildjians return to default settings circa late 1950s. And, get this, the T Bruce Wittet award for DIY alternative excellence goes to the, ahem, Booty Shaker January 16, 2013: You’d be surprised at how many reviews have emanated from TBruceWittet.com in the last couple of years. Hell, I was surprised at this list! Click over and scroll down just past the fold. It includes drumsets, snare drum, cymbals of all sorts, vintage pieces, electronics, and all industry gatherings,  summer camps, etc.

January 14, 2013: The $50 Salvation Army Coronet 1960s budget drums...an update.

January 10, 2013: Apologies for offending drummers with my tongue-in-cheek “How to be a better drummer in ten easy steps” or words to that effect. I was yanking your chain! Follow the link to my disclaimer, which will link you to the original piece. Glad you’re reading…at very least; thanks for that.

January 3, 2013: My annual award for best…drumheads…ever! By “drumheads” I mean “drum heads” and “drum skins” and the surfaces  you strike with hand or club.

January 1, 2013: Happy New Year. I greet you with a gift of 10 odd but essential steps to better drumming. Funny, nobody mentions these much.

November, 2012: Thanks to Manu Katche for his input  on my review of his new ECM CD, the self-titled Manu Katche.  I figured I could go only so far guessing on his recording/miking modus. Elegance, intricacy, life in the details…….. October 15, 2012: Another War and Peace from yours truly: how to achieve success & fame in drumming. Think globally while you’re acting locally!. September 23, 2012: A solution to the jargon controversy in country: the rim-click vs the cross-stick, vs the..rim-clock? Drumming lexicon, jargon: rim click vs cross stick vs rim clock! October, 2012: People looked at me funny when I told them that I was saving my 18″ ancient UFIP B8 flat ride for Charlie Watts, especially when it never left my basement music room. But it’s gone now, first to Zildjian, which will copy the cymbal, and then to Charlie (who has just cracked his).  Read about it here.

Charlie Watts' cracked UFIP ride replaced by T Bruce Wittet's ride/Zildjian replicas UFIP/Pro Cussion 18″ flat ride, my cymbal goes to Zildjian then off to Charlie Watts

Drum designers lack imagination. This is reflected in drum ads. And so dodrummers. They all ought to get those drums, sticks, and all that gear…..and their cameras, too….back to nature.

August 18, 2012: You gotta play a rimshot for your backbeat or you’re gonna sound like The Timi Show.  In fact, there is no such show but there are timid sounding backbeats out there. You want art? I’ve mapped out suggested stick positions News Bulletin: The Montreal Drum Fest is celebrating year-twenty in October. Highly recommended.

July 30, 2012: Chomp on this free drum lesson: when muffling drums & cymbals, forget about duct tape and crazy priced Moon Gel. Spit out your chewing gum, dirt cheap and better tasting, and recycle it as the ideal, cheapest damping material on the market.

July 23, 2012: T Bruce’s free drum lesson/tip 3: Align your freaking snare wires. Look here for a how-to. And check out the artsy illustration, soon to appear under glass at the Met, right opposite the Greek miniatures.

T Bruce Wittet diagram of snares poorly aligned The top side ain’t right, the bottom is better

July 13, 2012: Friday the 13th, beat the odds and take your gear from under the glass back to nature.

July 11, 2012: T Bruce’s free drum lessons and daily drum tips, beginning with this bit of common sense Followed by another instance of snares-off, ie when playing brushes

July 6, 2012: Addendum to my glowing review of the Yamaha Club Custom. What’s all the fuss? You didn’t know Ralph Angelillo was a once-famous drummer. And that he hung up his sticks for decades but is returning to the throne? The man can shuffle. He put me in my place on my own turf: in my basement office/music room. Same kit Stanton Moore played a year ago, almost to the day, same corner of TBW HQ

July 3, 2012: Part II, the extra-candid portion of the in-depth review of the Yamaha Club Custom drumset.

July 2, 2012: You want to talk about busy? Festival season and clubs active, to boot. And that’s the ideal situation in which to review gear, in this instancethe Yamaha Club Custom drumset...frighteningly candid and in forensic detail. And I’ve been out reviewing the new Jojo Mayer Perfect Balance bass drum pedal for Modern Drummer. First Jojo pedal to reach these shores and guess who gigged with it? Right…but you’ll have to wait until the review comes out in MD. It’s exclusive to the mag, only fair. I can tease you, though. And I can flaunt little suggestions about the Paiste cymbals; again, you’ll have to wait for the review appears in MD in the fall. Paiste Canada sent me Formula 602 paper-thins 16″, 18″, and 14″ medium hats.  And a 22″ Ndugu Twenty series ride. Gorgeous to the ears, eyes, and touch. Paiste America kindly forwarded the 20″ in that same line. Also, in MD I will tell all re the Giant Beats, which I absolutely love … meaning I’m holding onto them a wee bit longer. Remember, for any cymbal matters or neuroses, go to cymbalholic. The link sits immediately above this backyard episode, me competing with construction noise…successfully with the review Yamaha Club Custom kit. That 24″ bass drum has got the goods where it’s most important: the mid frequencies. The lower-mids and lows are scary. I swear, construction workers were amazed. I was pissed off, migrainous, and needed to make my point. Thanks Sean Brown, head of drum marketing, Yamaha Canada for the review kit. Thanks to Scott Atkins, head marketing Sonor/Coast Canada for the loan of the Jojo Perfect Balance pedal.

March 28, 2012: Mat Marucci captures/channels Elvin Jones in this must-listen CD! March 23, 2012: T Bruce Wittet’s Pick of the Best, Unsung Drummers: Let’s start with Nick Costa from DC, Baltimore. He’s not only slick, intuitive, exuding mastery…he guides me to hip music and drummers I’ve never heard. Another reader who takes a moment to contact me and set me right…. March 15, 2012: Finally, footnote to Mattacks Jimmy Page Death Wish II recording diary article (plus a couple of glimpses at my own recording/live diary: pages from 1982…..I feel awkward publishing pages of my thoughts back then but you’ll get a chuckle, so it’s worth it. DM is a true master. Without him and Jim Keltner to listen to for inspiration, and phone for advice, wow…I can’t imagine….

page on Dave Mattacks, T Bruce Wittet recording diary, 1982 my own Freudian recording diary. Note rimshots and Death Wish II…

March 4, 2012: Want to get messed up?  Investigate the upbeat. That’s what I’ve been doing whilst away. Been playing up a storm, seriously. And learning. And sharing.

January 16, 2012: One of the best bass drum pedals of all time. REVIEW: The Rogers Swiv-o-matic bass drum pedal feels so gooood and smooth, it’s like playing in socking feet. Buy one now that they’re dirt cheap…And imagine the similarities to the new Sonor Jo Jo pedal. I’ve asked Sonor to send me one for review…

January 11, 2012: My night of terror playing free jazz, 2 sets before a live audience. What to do?

January 4, 2012: As promised, a hugely detailed account of the Death Wish II sessions…Jimmy Page and Dave Mattacks recording duo. Catch this one. It’s never been seen anywhere by anybody and it covers issues of concern to anybody interested in studio drumming…or any sort of drumming! Aye, life’s in the details. snares buzzing Drum tips, for better drumming, better sounds…and out of respect: Snares buzzing? Flick the switch! Ralph MacDonald, as I reported yesterday around noon, died earlier that morning December 18, 2011. I’d met Ralph a couple of times and didn’t know him except for the music he made, but my friend Hagi was tight with Ralph MacDonald. Hagi’s words are touching. I thank Will Lee once again for his warmth and assistance. And to Martin for this photo of two masters, Steve & Ralph, hand-in-glove!  

Steve Gadd aside Ralph MacDonald Steve & Ralph: Now THIS was a rhythm section!

Oh, boy, the tyranny of fashion and its effect on choosing drumheads. What’s so wrong with the Remo Pinstripe?

Pinstrip head atop Yamaha tom aside Bailie Nicol Jarvie A Pinstripe, a Yamaha 12″ tom, and some Bailie Nicol Jarvie blended Scotch

Can you cite the top 21 cymbals of all time? Of the last 50 years? I take a go at it here.

A review of the new Neil Peart Taking Center Stage video (in typical in-depth Tbw fashion). Hint: it’s great.

Paul Motian passed away November 22, 2011. I’d like to share my unseen, unpublished photos and excerpts of an interview with Paul.

Paul Motian's stick bag awaiting his return Paul Motian’s stick bag, courtesy Virgin Airlines, awaits his return

 November, 2011: Do you serve the song? What do all those drummers mean when they say, “Hey man, I serve the song”? Is it some apology, some excuse, some indentured servitude? Maybe a manifestation of the eternal struggle twixt drumming simplicity and complexity? In this article,  I hazard a guess.

November, 2011: The definitive electronic drum review, most in-depth anywhere: Alesis DM8 USB Electronic Drumset given thumbs up…and then some. Read the Alesis e-pad kit review here. August, 2011: How about a true, real-deal exclusive: Neil Peart stuns drum world, makes surprise appearance at KoSA 2011 in Castleton, VT; drives to this notch in the mountains alone out of his passion for drums and to show his support for KoSA founder Aldo Mazza. You makes your bed, you sleeps in it. And that is why you need a snare bed. Read all about it. Summer reading: reads like fiction but every word is true. A young drummer’s early road experiences staring down the barrel of a gun. I’m going to take heat for this tale. Why tune loose and go for fat?  What I learned from Carter Beauford & Manu Katche: a backstage exclusive

April, 2011From the pages of my recording diary, a recent album date in a fab upscale recording studio, located in a mountain chalet overlooking a lake.  One of the overheads alone was worth $2500, maybe doubled or triple that figure. And the kit I used? A fifty-buck ($50 US) 1960s Coronet by Pearl drum kit! Want to know what a  recording session is like in my neck of the woods?

T Bruce Wittet's cheapo Coronet drums on pro recording session A tease of what’s to come in part II


I produced heritage trombonist Roswell Rudd iin 2009 THE TRUMPETS (AND TROMBONE OF THE GREAT ROSWELL RUDD) HERALDED THE LAUNCH OF TBruceWittet.com. I co-produced an album featuring Roswell and a cast of thousands. I did a mini-shoot in his hotel room. I’ll share some of my stories and pics. Lend me your support, not your money. Visit often.

TBruceWittet.com is my dream drum magazine TBruce Going for a Home Run


Many of you know my name from Modern Drummer, Drums Etc, Rhythm, Down Beat, or one of many magazines published from New Jersey to New South Wales. You’ve told me you like my style, my angle on drumming, my attention to detail. That means you’ll see drum reviews, cymbal reviews, drumhead reviews, drumstick …you get the picture. I’ve spent years working with the editorial team of fave drum mag Modern Drummer reporting on drums and drummers. I wrote all those Modern Drummer tributes, examples of which include Al Jackson Jr, John Bonham (two cover stories), and Keith Moon (ditto). Funny, the last time Keith Moon appeared in my home town I was a teenager and my parents refused to allow me out to see him play; same with Hendrix and Mitch Mitchell. I made up for it then, and when it came time to write tributes, by listening to their music, interviewing people who knew them, and trying to get a feel for what it was like to experience them playing, thus the famous “traffic light intro” to the second Bonham article.  In addition I really enjoyed writing features such as “In Search of the Perfect Ride”, “Getting the Right Sound in the Studio”, the Cozy Powell tribute, and interviews with Jeff Ballard, Lenny White, and many others.

TBruce on drums at the 2008 Ottawa Jazz Festival TBruce on Camco walnut/gold drums, Ottawa Jazz Festival 2008