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Drummer Ben Perowsky:
Sticks and Tones
Jazzbos typically play small kits with older cymbals and vintage snare drums. And many of them lack a major drum endorsement. Does Ben Perowsky fit the mold?
Musician.com: Do you have a main kit?
Perowsky: I usually use... I should preface any gear talk with 'I'm really looking for an endorsement right now...' [Laughs] I'm still playing on the same stuff I was playing on in high school. I have a Gretsch kit in jazz sizes: 18" bass drum, 8x12 and 14x14 toms. I use those toms regardless of what size kick I'm going to use. I also have a 20" Gretsch kick and a 22" Pearl kick. It depends on what kind of music I'm doing at the time -- it goes from completely acoustic jazz, which I'll use the 18" kick for, to more electric stuff, where I'll go to the 20". And once in a while I'll bring out the 22" when I really need to have a heavier sound. But the 20" is punchy enough for all kinds of stuff.
Musician.com: What kind of heads?
Perowsky: Coated Ambassador. I endorse Remo heads and I use them. I use coated Ambassadors on top and clear Ambassadors on the bottom. But I've been experimenting -- for a jazz sound I like to put coated Ambassadors on the bottom, too. When I'm playing bebop, I like to tune the drums up pretty high, and somehow with a thicker head on the bottom you get a little less ring. When I'm tuning it up way high, I like ring but when I hit the drum I don't want it to be like I'm pushing on a sustain pedal. Sometimes the Gretsch can sing so much that it's a little too much, maybe.
Musician.com: What about the snare drum?
Perowsky: I have a Brady, standard depth. I guess it's jarwood -- it's carved out of one piece of wood. I got it ten years ago and I've been using it ever since. But Ludwig is the most consistently good sounding snare. I have an old Ludwig Acrolite snare drum, the student model, and that's good for certain things. It doesn't speak as well as the other Ludwig I have, a chrome Supraphonic. I'd use that on a jazz gig where I need to have a lot of sensitivity, where I have to play lightly on it but have it speak.
Musician.com: And cymbals?
Perowsky: I play Zildjian cymbals. I just went to the factory and got a bunch of stuff -- a 22" Constantinople light ride... I've played so many cymbals through the years, I'm constantly changing them around to get the right combination. I also picked up an 18" Constantinople -- this suspended crash cymbal made for classical professionals -- and it really worked. It's got a really nice bell on it, too. With high hats I go back and forth a lot. I've been using 14" A Custom Zildjian hats. Ultimately, I'd like to have an old set of K hats -- there's nothing like that stuff for playing jazz. They have the warmth, that sound, somehow you manage to get attack with not too much wash. They're getting close to that with the Constantinoples.
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