The Drum Kit
Drumkit 1 Variation 1
|In early 1967 Baker modified his kit. He rivetted the 22" ride, which
was used as a crash/ride, and replaced the 22" x 11" bass with a standard
22" x 14". This bass drum is quite obvious on the Jan 26 '67 BBC TV stills
& Feb 24 "I Feel Free" TV performance on the 'Cream of Eric Clapton' video
This now became the standard right bass drum.
With this kit he entered the Atlantic studio and the photos show a clean kit with what appear to be new cymbals (or recently polished). Prior to the Disraeli Gears album sessions in May, he visited the Zildjian factory in Boston and hand selected some new cymbals.
Note the greater shell gap between the bass tensioners
Note the 22" with holes but sans rivets, 14" Hi-hats, medium sticks and the grip (Dec 30 '66)
Drumkit 1 Variation 2
|For the US tour commencing in August '67, Ginger further enhanced his
kit. The drum configuration remained the same but the cymbals were augmented by
using both 20" ride & 22" rivetted, additional crashes and 8" splash or
choke. He must have laid out every cymbal he had.
Ginger also modified the 22" rivetted ride. Riveting a large ride is a typical jazz effect (Blakey, Roach, Jones among many). Crash cymbals are thin to give a fast rise time and fast decay while rides are thick for bell like effects when tapped. Rivetting a ride introduces a faster rise time, as the rivets vibrate (sizzle) against the the cymbal, while retaining bell like tones when tapping the centre (bell) of the cymbal. The variation that Baker introduced was washers around the 16 large rivets which damped the sizzle of the rivets, introducing a faster decay time. This provided a cymbal that could be heavily ridden and crashed. And he crashed it hard as well. "The pitch of the cymbal is roughly G on the rim and Ab on the bell." (Chip Stern)
These were arrayed on 3 two tiered stands with the choke on a stand off the 20" bass drum. While Ginger believed this approach was original, Bellson had done it in the '50's but with one stand only.
The array seemed to vary slightly but this is typical: left (closest) top - 16" crash, left lower - 13" crash, 14" hi-hats; right front top - 14" crash, front lower - 20" ride, back top - 22" rivetted crash/ride, back lower - 18" crash. Note the trusty Leedy. (Nov 1967)
Drumkit 1 Drumkit 2
Sources: Chip Stern, Bob Ciani "Great Rock Drummers of the Sixties", Ginger Baker interviews, Dan Tingstrom, Warren Baker, plus lots of photo analysis expecially from the new Chris Welch "Cream".
© 2001 by Graeme Pattingale
© 2003 by Graeme Pattingale