Arts & Entertainment, Music

Making the Kit Your Own

Ringo Starr

Lesson time 05:58 min

Through anecdotes, Ringo shares how he found his own sound and modified his kit with tea towels to get just the right feel, encouraging you to trust your ear and never be afraid to customize your kit or your approach.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Figure Out What Drums You Need · The Tea Towel Trick


[DRUMS PLAYING] - You know, drums are-- you've got to love them. You got to hit them. You got to like what they sound like. And you've got to do it your way. [MUSIC PLAYING] I was at the cabin, and George Lewis came to play from New Orleans. And I thought, I've got to go and see them, not knowing that it would be one of those magical moments in my life. And they're playing. He was clarinet, but the drummer did this most amazing thing. He was going, [CYMBALS PLAYING] (SINGING) Oh, when the saints go marching in, all very quiet. And [BASS DRUM PLAYING] [CYMBALS PLAYING] And he got back off. He went-- he had no toms. He had a snare, a bass drum, and a cymbal, and a hi hat. And he could get to it easier than I can because the floor tom's in the way a it. But I was like, what? Look at that. And it actually made me realize that you don't need a lot of drums, you know. I mean, this is plenty. And it became plenty for me for many, many years now. The other side of that story was George Harrison came to LA. Hal Blaine was there, and he's a great, well-known drummer from LA. And he had the Hal Blaine kit, which was like, 16 drums. It went from a small tom, to a bigger tom, to a bigger tom, to a bigger tom, to a bigger tom, to a bigger tom. It just was, like, huge. So I have Mal set it up. Set it up. Let's see what we can do here. And he set all these drums up. And so whatever song we're doing-- [DRUMS PLAYING] --I didn't know which one to hit. [DRUMS PLAYING] Mal, take them down, and I never saw them again. It was just too much, you know. I mean, there's a lot of drummers out there with lots of drums. That's how they play. You have to realize that I do this and other people do that. You know, I'm strictly this is my stuff and my space and I'm-- [DRUMS PLAYING] --and my life is good. (SINGING) It's a love that had no past. [MUSIC - BEATLES, "DON'T LET ME DOWN"] BEATLES: (SINGING) Don't let me down. Don't let me down. Don't let me down. Don't let me down. RINGO STARR: So here's a trick I learned when I was playing in the studio a lot, and I wanted to get the sound of the tom sort of down. By the time I was in the Beatles, I liked depth. I like it to get down. And I went into the tea parlor downstairs, where we'd go for cups of tea. If you look at pictures of the Beatles, they're drinking tea like there's no tomorrow because that's what we drank. But on the side, we'd have something else. And I thought, I need to put something on them. I tried it with a pack of cigarettes. That didn't really work. And anyway, I've just picked up, like, six tea towels that the girls re-used it, washed the dishes, and dry them off. And I put them over all the drums. And it really gave me a really unique sound, in a way, because it took-- [BASS DRUM PLAYING] --that highs off. [BASS DRUM PLAYS] You know the hig...

About the Instructor

Music legend Ringo Starr helped create rock ’n’ roll drumming as we know it today. Now the 9-time Grammy Award winner wants to inspire new and seasoned drummers alike. Through demonstrations behind the kit and personal stories from his time in The Beatles, Ringo shares his principles for creative collaboration, finding your unique playing style, and embracing your musical journey with joy.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Ringo Starr

Legendary drummer Ringo Starr walks you through his approach to creative collaboration, playing with heart, and embracing your musical journey.

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