• Drum Set and Percussion Setups from Musical Theatre and More

Aaron Staebell - Young Frankenstein

Aaron’s setup for the musical Young Frankenstein.

“This is the setup for my role as drummer and music director on Young Frankenstein at the JCC CenterStage Theatre in Rochester, New York.

I’m set up in a sunken pit (8’ feet deep) in front of the stage, with the other musicians on either side of me. My drums are on an 8’ x 6’ platform so I can see the stage and vice versa. I’m using Yamaha drums with my own custom finish and a Gretsch snare drum. The SPD-S triggers sound effects for whip, 'knee to groin', finger snaps and heartbeats.

I’m playing this show with the Zildjian John Riley Double Stick-Mallet. Cymbals are some very old Paiste hats (14"), a 20" Zildjian Kerope on the left (it sounds amaaazing), a 17" Dream Vintage Bliss crash (great for rolling with one hand while conducting with the other) and a Sabian AAX Air Splash stacked on top of it. Other devices include a mounted tambourine from Rhythm Tech that lifts off the stand quickly if needed but is sturdy enough to hit with the stick (really useful), LP Jam Blocks, 2 LP Cowbells, Treeworks Chimes, Bongos, a Ribbon Crasher and of course, the Miller Machine with a 6" triangle. 

This playing and conducting thing started as a way to save $ but ended up actually being easier than I thought. When I play, the orchestra just listens and follows like we might in a jazz group. When I don’t play, I conduct. Lots of this show can be played with 1 hand anyway (boom-chick stuff). I read from the piano/conductor score so that I can cue singers and other musicians, but have written in most of the essential drumset and percussion cues. We finish our run next weekend and have sold out almost every show, so it must be going ok...”

Aaron also writes, “I’m trying to expand the solo repertoire that exists for legit drum set (if thats a thing…) Final scores due August 1, 2014 or sooner if possible. Please check it out

Aaron also has a tumblr page where he did daily improvisations for a while. And here’s Aaron’s website.