Creating this webpage and collecting the photo material for it I often thought about the instruments I play, the brands, the setup and endorsements. I am an endorser of Paiste cymbals and gongs, Ludwig drums and Agner drumsticks.
I asked these companies for endorsements, because this is what pleased my ear and thus I wanted to play at the time I started using them. Of course there are other excellent companies in the drum business, but these are the ones I prefer.
Paiste cymbals sing and make me and my imagination fly. Their array of sounds is unsurpassed. Certain stuff they don't make anymore, because of little interest on the market, like the Formula 602 Heavy Bells, a sound I still use a lot. The Paiste Gongs are real sound machines. One can get sounds on them impossible to get from real Chinese gongs (tam-tams). Those are designed for traditional music and I understand, that they are the nonplusultra for many classical percussionists, since the composers had this sound in mind. Besides they never have to set them up... Paistes are lighter on my back and produce zillions of different sounds depending on what device you use as a mallet, something Chinese gongs are not able to do.
Agner makes drumsticks since maaany years. It was Jojo Mayer who put the idea into Paul Agner's head to produce drumsticks. His quality is amazing and he was willing to create a signature stick for me in maple.
My first drum endorsement was with Ludwig. Since this year and their rerelease of the old mahogany shells I am back with Ludwig and the Ludwig Legacy Mahogany kit. It has a classic sound, that blends beautifully with all kinds of ethnic percussion. These drums really sing. The hardware is incredibly versatile and they have instruments for beginners, that really suit my students.
Of course I have no top deal. So sometimes playing festivals overseas I have to play another brand. In recent years I had to adapt to all kinds of drumsets, some better and others worse. Travelling outside of Europe with my own set is next to impossible, so like most drummers today I bring my cymbals, stickbag and the percussion sounds, that personify me.
Outside of my endorsements I choose by ear and not by brand. Unfortunately it is hard to find stores, where you can actually try instruments and find the real stuff. Due to internet many had to close and with them the magic is starting to get lost.
I use many different percussion instruments from all over the world and from all materials: oh-ghene bell, cowbells, reco reco, tamborim and pandeiro, tungur framedrum, gongs, caxixi and other shakers and rattles and it goes on and on.
Since many years I am addicted to Udu drums and I play an array of other handdrums like djembe, congas, cajon and I started on darbuka and framedrum techniques. Sometimes I replace the snaredrum by a djembé, since there is no use for a snaredrum playing with Steve Gorn for example. Also the hihat became a problem. The typical hihats sound too cliché, so Steve Jordan opened my eyes and ears to bigger sized hihats made from crash cymbals. So I am always on the lookout to find sounds and combinations to paint with and to sound different.
Drumming is a great wisdom of mankind. Unfortunately people forgot to a certain extent about how to listen. It is just since a short time, that I realise, that young people come back to enjoy a good sound like a good wine.