• Drum Set and Percussion Setups from Musical Theatre and More

Evita - International - Tim Sellars

Tim Sellars’ drum set setup for Showbiz Christchurch’s production of Evita at the Isaac Theatre Royal in Christchurch, New Zealand.

“You may notice that I have the majority of my cymbals on my left side as well as a floor tom to the left of the hi-hat. This is due to me being a left hander, playing on a right handed kit.”

“I had an absolute blast playing this show. This, again, was one of the most enjoyable drum books I have had the pleasure of playing. There are plenty of stylistic and time signature changes which keep you very busy and focussed along with constant segueing from tune to tune. There are some drastic changes like in ‘On This Night of a Thousand Stars’ where I went from playing a quiet snare pattern to a loud half time rock feel and ‘Rainbow High’ which involved some 6/8 snare grooves, 12/8 rock, and the samba groove from ‘Buenos Aires’.

I had a floor tom set up on my left side for the samba groove of ‘Buenos Aires’. This was the only song I used this on due to the nature of the pattern and the left hand lead that I was playing it with (more about this in the last paragraph). Overall, this was a great tune to play with some fun interaction with the percussionist in the show. We both had areas in our score to do little one bar solos and we spent some time in rehearsals workshopping ideas together and making sure that we weren’t stepping on each others part.

’And the Money Kept Rolling In’ was a blast to play. The 7/8 pattern was fairly straight forward but there was one section (end of the chorus) where the drum pattern changed to accent with the vocalists phrasing while everyone else kept the standard (2,2,3) subdivisions. The majority of this tune was on click so I did spend some time practicing this drum pattern change to the (2,2,3) subdivision click. Felt natural after playing it a handful of times. Such a well written big number, and one of the highlights in the show.
Another favourite was ‘Peron’s Latest Flame’ which went from a snare march to a half time shuffle rock. Near the end of the tune I had sections where I had marching solos filling in the gaps of the vocals. I transcribed Bill Lanham’s solo breaks from the 2012 Broadway recording because they were so creative and I loved playing them (thanks Bill!)

’Waltz for Eva and Che’ was the number where I incorporated most of the auxiliary percussion that you can see in the photos. The 6/8 waltz pattern was played firstly with the maracas and then more traditionally between kick and snare. I had the Miller Machine and LP Red Jam Block (medium) mounted to the right side of my crash cymbal and had the LP Blue Jam Block (high) attached to my hi-hat stand (all these using the gibraltar single post accessory mounts). The reason I mounted the Miller Machine on the cymbal stand was because I had a clear view to the conductor who was to that same right side. This also became very handy when doing the scene changes which involved off-beat patterns between triangle and castanets (on my chair).

This was an epic show with so much happening and some great parts to play. Wish the season had been longer.”

-On being a left handed drummer.

“You may notice that I have the majority of my cymbals on my left side as well as a floor tom to the left of the hi-hat. This is due to me being a left hander, playing on a right handed kit.

When I began drumming at the age of 13, I sat down at the kit and naturally played the hi-hat with my left hand and the bass drum with my right foot. I have some mixed dominance (left handed, right footed) so this felt comfortable to me. The main difference with my set up is that I put the ride cymbal over by the first rack tom (everything else would be a normal set up for a right hander).

Through the years I’ve started to come across more drummers with this set up and it’s always interesting to read why they play like this. I saw a clip on Simon Phillips explaining that he changed from playing cross handed to open handed because he liked the feeling of having his toms open to him.

In Evita, I only used the floor tom situated on my left side once for ‘Buenos Aires’. This is a strong samba groove and felt better for me to lead with my left (dominant hand). Playing this way also means that I put my music stand on my right side (which is probably the opposite to the majority of drummers). This allows me to turn the page with ease while keeping a groove with my left hand (dominant hand) if necessary.

In terms of other instruments, I play congas left handed but then I play all my Middle-East and Brazilian percussion right handed so there’s definitely a strong mix in me.”

Drums: Taye Rock Pro
  • 20" Bass Drum
  • 14" Floor Tom
  • 12" Rack Tom
  • 10" Rack Tom
  • 14" Snare Drum
Other Drums:
  • Premier 14” Floor Tom (left side)
Cymbals (from left to right):
  • Zildjian 16” FX Oriental China “Trash”
  • K Zildjian 13" Mastersound Hi-Hats
  • Bosphorus 18" Traditional Series Paper Thin Crash
  • K Zildjian 21" Constantinople Big Band Ride Cymbal
  • A Zildjian 10” Splash
  • A Zildjian 17" Custom Crash

Heads: Remo
  • Bass Drum - Powerstroke 3 for both batter and resonant heads
  • Snare Drum - Coated Ambassador for batter and Clear Ambassador snare side
  • Toms - Coated Emperor's for batter and Clear Ambassadors for resonant 
Percussion and Accessories:
  • LP Blue Jam Block (high pitch)
  • LP Red Jam Block (medium pitch)
  • Meinl 4" Brass Triangle with Miller Machine
  • Gibraltar Single Post Accessory Mount (3)
  • Castanets (made by Craig Givens - percussionist in the show)
  • Meinl Live Maracas
  • Vic Firth Isolation Headphones
  • Zildjian Bill Stewart Signature Stick
  • Vic Firth SD2 Bolero Stick
  • Vic Firth T1 General Mallets
September 2016