Session & live gear - drums, cymbals, microphones

This is some of the gear you can select when you hire me for a remote session, or I can bring to your studio.  I've collected this lot over most of my drumming lifetime, and it's made up of instruments that have a character or special and interesting sound to me - I've been through a lot of drums to find the ones I really love.

See Microphones

Snare Drums

Sonor SQ213x6"2010beechversatile, crunchy
Slingerland vintage14x5"1968maplelow & fat, crunchy old school sounds
Premier 200014x5"1982aluminiumfat, old school pop
Sonor Phonic Anniversary14x5.5"1975steelbright, cutting, controlled
Lugwig Supralite14x8"2015ludalloyfat, loud, Bonham
British Drum Co.12x5.5"2016birchpop, cut
Brady/Dixon Rose Gum14x5.5"2015rose gumthwack, cut, rock
Pearl Masters piccollo10x4"1995maplesmack, d&b
Worldmax "Black Beauty"14x6"2009black brassdoof, thud, fatness
Hovland Drums13x5.75"2013solid walnutpower, beef, control
Sonor Phonic14x10"1978beechweirdo


Snare wall

Snare drum wall shelving

Sonor SQ2 drum kit
ShellsVintage beech
Tom Sizes10x7, 12x8, 13x9, 15x13 FT, 18x15 FT
Bass Drum22x17
Soundbig, rounded, punchy and controlled
Colourblack sparkle


Very versatile kit.  I've used this for everything from progressive rock, to doom, folk and pop music.  It records really well and has a great big controlled sound to it that punches through the mix.

Rogers 1977 'Big R'
ShellsMaple/birch 5 ply
Tom Sizes12x8, 13x9, 16x16 FT
Bass Drum22x14
Soundrounded, punchy and controlled
Colourhot red


One of my favourite recording kits with a really shallow, punchy and short bass drum and musical toms.

Gretsch stop-sign kit (1970s)
Shells6ply maple/gum
Tom Sizes13x9, 16x16 FT
Bass Drum22x14
Soundwarm, fat, big open kick
Colourblack nitron


This kit is from somewhere in the mid 1970s, and I've restored it to fully working condition.  It sounds incredible under microphones.

I use this kit on quieter recordings where there's some space for the drums to sit, and it's been on country disco, pop, soul and motown gigs.


A post shared by John Simm (@thedrumtamer) on

Gretsch stop-sign kit (1970s)
Rogers 1983 Big R 24"
Tom Sizes13x9, 16x16 FT
Bass Drum24x14
Soundbig, open and warm


Massive kick sound, warm toms.  This is a beast of a rock kit and great for big beats with lots of space.

Yamaha Birch Custom Absolute Nouveau
Tom Sizes10x8, 12x9, 14x14, 16x16 FT
Bass Drum20x16
Soundpunchy, cutting, resonant, modern
Colouramber fade


Great for modern pop, rock, funk and music that requires real cut and tone from the drums. 

The toms are very clear in pitch and the bass drum has a lovely punchy sound.

Cymbals & percussion

I've got a wide variety of cymbal styles, ranging from loud and aggressive to much more controlled and dynamic for quieter recordings.

They include:

  • Zildjian K Istanbul
  • Sabian HHX
  • Zildjian K, A, K Custom
  • Istanbul Mehmet
  • Meinl Byzance & many more

I've built up a collection of microphones that work really well with my drums.   You can select particular ones for a remote session if you require.

  • 2x Coles 4038 (ex-BBC vintage ribbons)
  • 2x Neumann TLM102 (LDC)
  • 2x Beyerdynamic MC930 (SDC)
  • 2x Beyerdynamic M130 fig-8 ribbon
  • 1x Beyerdynamic M160 cardioid ribbon
  • 3x Beyerdynamic M201TG
  • 5x Beyerdynamic Opus87/88
  • 1x Beyerdynamic Opus 99
  • 1x Electrovoice RE320
  • 1x Electrovoice RE10 (vintage)
  • 1x Shure Unidyne III 545SD (vintage SM57)
  • 1x Shure Unisphere I 565SD (vintage SM58)
  • 2x Heil PR31BW
  • 1x Heil PR20UT
  • 2x M-Audio Sputnik (tube)
  • 1x Sennheiser E602 II
  • 1x Sennheiser E604
  • 1x Sennheiser E945
Electronics, computers and other stuff
  • 30" marching bass drum
  • 16" Audition Japanese bass drum
  • Full IEM setup with Cosmic Ears CE6P custom moulded IEMs 
  • Lots of hand percussion + mounted blocks/tambourines
  • Roland SPD-SX sample trigger unit
  • Roland kick & snare triggers for acoustic drums
  • Trigger pads for samples
  • Percussion synths
  • 24 track mobile recording & playback rig
  • Lots of experience with Cubase, Ableton, ProTools, Logic, Reaper and other DAWs
  • FOH & monitor engineering experience