• Drum Set and Percussion Setups from Musical Theatre and More

John Rucker - Big: The Musical

John’s setup for Big: The Musical.


“My Setup for Big: The Musical for the Marshall Civic Players at the Franke Center for the Arts in Marshall, Michigan. This is a small community theatre group that puts on great shows and always hires excellent musicians. It was a joy to play with this group!

Big is a tremendously fun show to play just as the drummer. The percussion book has great parts, too. Since we didn't have a percussionist, combining the two books kept me very busy and let me cart in a lot of great gear to the theatre.

Tama Starclassic Performer (Birch), Evans heads.
10"x10" and 14"x14" toms, 16"x22" kick with Evans EMAD heads (an amazing sound!), 6 1/2"x14" snare (Maple).

Zildjian: A 8" Splash, A 14" Thin Crash, A Custom 16" Medium Crash, A 18" Medium Crash.
Paiste: Signature Dark Crisp 14" Hi-hat, Signature Dark Crisp Ride.

Roland V-Drums TD-6 sound module powering various pads and a pedal providing samples of techno/industrial drums, anvil, metal pipes, shakers, electronic toms, electronic hi-hat, shakers, foot-pedal piatti (see image below), bongos, Vibra-Slap, piccolo snare, and foot-pedal snare to let me play mallet parts and beats simultaneously and record scratches. An Alternate Mode MalletKat, using Apple MainStage as the sound module for: timpani, glockenspiel, vibraphone, xylophone, crotales, tubular bells, bell tree, as well as samples for thunder, car crash, gun shot, and a cash register ‘cha-ching’.

Low, mid, and high LP Jam Blocks, LP Ridge Rider Cowbell, Toca Finger Cymbal Machine (after this show I think another Miller Machine would be a better fit!), LP Bar Chimes with a TreeWorks mute, Police Whistle, RhythmTech Double Hat-Trick tambourine, and a RhythmTech triangle mounted on the Miller Machine. I can't imagine doing a show now without this amazing device! It makes impossible mallet changes a non-issue, especially when combining drum and percussion books like on Big.

Manhasset Hi-hat music stand. Tama Iron Cobra Power Glide double kick pedal, not so much for blasting out blazing kick drum passages on this show as for letting me easily continue to play the kick and electronic snare with my feet while using my hands on the far left with the MalletKat. Tama Iron Cobra Lever Glide hi hat stand with a Cobra Clutch. Tama remote hi-hat pedal for tambourine work. Seriously fun to rock out with double-time tambourine with this pedal and sound like two people!

Sticks and mallets:
For this gig, just Regal Tip Classic wire brushes and a homemade combo stick my wife, Charlene, helped me make: Vic Firth AJ6 with cotton batting and felt hot glued on the butt end. Fantastic for quick cymbal rolls then back to drumming!”