Jeff Porcaro



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prasa > Modern Drummer, lipiec 1986

Modern Drummer, July 1986

Ask a Pro (column)

Jeff Porcaro

Q: What were the drum sizes, head types, and cymbals you used to record Toto IV? Did you use the same setup when making Isolation, and do you use the same setup live? And can you please elaborate on your tuning methods? -- Shawn Wright, London, Ontario, Canada

A: The drum sizes I used to record Toto IV were 10", 12", and 13" rack toms of standard depth, 16" and 18" floor toms, and a 22 X 16 bass drum. I used a 6 1/2 X 14 Radio King snare drum. The heads were Remo Ambassadors on the tops, and generally Diplomats on the bottoms, depending on how live I wanted the drums to sound. The cymbals were all Paistes, and included a 20" Formula 602 ride, 18", 19" and 20" 2002 crashes, a 16" Formula 602 crash, and 14" Formula 602 hi-hats. Basically, I used the same setup for Isolation and I also use it live. I will add or subtract a drum here and there, and lately I've been varying the cymbal setup with Paiste's new 3000 series.

I reallly don't have any tuning method. I usually tune the drums differently for every new song or every situation. When putting on new heads, I'll tighten each head as tight as I can get it, play on it a while to let it stretch, and then tune it up from there. I don't worry about the head being tensioned evenly; it generally isn't. I just tune it until it sounds good. Sometimes it takes two hours; sometimes it takes two minutes. You have to realize that, as far as drum sizes and tuning go when recording, every song is different. There are sometimes different drums used or different sizes, and different tuning methods will also be used, depending on the song.

I do have a philosophy about cymbals. When I use a crash cymbal in the context of a song, such as on a verse where it's a softer dynamic, I like people to hear the crash cymbal's tone and sustain ring over a bar or two. To me, a lot of crash cymbals cut off too soon. They're there--splash!--and that's it. I have a couple of those for when I want that sort of thing, but basically, when I hit a crash cymbal, I like it to ring over the bar. Some I like to last two bars, and some I like to last four bars. And I like it to be heard; that's why I have such big crash cymbals. Over a loud band, either live or even in the stuio, I still like the cymbal to cut through loud dynamics. The ring--the "overhang" of the cymbal-- should be there.

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