The Most Recorded Drum Set In History - Hal Blaine's Monster Kit

Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame drummer Hal Blaine played on more Top 10 hits than any other musician. In fact, he played on 40 #1 singles, 150 Top Ten singles and 8 Grammy Records of the Year. If you don't know his name, you certainly know his drumming. As a pivotal member of the loose group of crack session musicians known as "The Wrecking Crew", Hal played the iconic beats on such diverse hits as "Be My Baby" by The Ronettes, "Good Vibrations" by The Beach Boys, "Strangers In The Night" by Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley's "Return To Sender", and literally thousands of other songs from the 60's and 70's. The Monster Kit was developed by Hal along with his drum tech Rick Faucher and builder Howie Oliver.

The basis for the kit was a Ludwig Super Classic Blue Sparkle set without the rack tom.The single-headed toms were made of spun fiberglass and Ludwig hardware was attached. Faucher and Howie Oliver created the mounting system in two pieces so it could easily roll into place in the studio. The kit grew out of Hal's signature tom fills - producers began to request the sweeping sounds that only eight toms could produce. Hal was so busy in his heyday that he needed two of these kits so he could leapfrog them between sessions.

Listen to a great NPR interview with Hal Blaine here:

previous / next


Rick Shutter

Rick Shutter said:

Great to see this Drum Set and the Back Story was Great as well – btw, I recorded the Godspell Cast(Gold/Grammy) & Soundtrack(Gold) Albums w/ a Row Single Headed Toms – but, I had to take all the bottom heads off of double headed toms – MikedInside from the bottom up – gave each drum it’s own Isolation and I used Thin Handkerchiefs as well al la Hal Blaine.

Gary Snyder

Gary Snyder said:

Those spun fiberglass tom shells were made by Mr. Alan Blaemire.

art hays

art hays said:

Arrr..I thought this was a lead-up to announcing that this kit had been sampled! I’m sure lots of people have already thought about doing this. Thanks either way for this profile of the kit.

Michael Whitlow

Michael Whitlow said:

I watched “The Wrecking Crew” and really enjoyed learning about that era of music and the session players. I’ve been a drummer for 35 years and of course, know about Hal, but what an inspiration…

Thank you for posting. Great stuff!

Phil Fitzgerald

Phil Fitzgerald said:

I loved the interview with Hal.

Charles keebler

Charles keebler said:

I remember hearing urban legend stories about Hal’s kit; Tim Simonec described it like it was a honeycomb. I guess it was true.

Michael Minz

Michael Minz said:

Ronnie Tut, Had a set like that he played with Elvis. Another great drummer of the day…

Rick M

Rick M said:

These fiberglass drums live on production-wise through the Jenkins/Martin Drum Company.. Check it out.


mikkel said:

Well, Jeff Porcaro topped him over the years. In no 1 songs and grammy s.. Not to mention session numbers. But still a fantastic drummer

Mikel Bee

Mikel Bee said:

Hal Blaine set the standard when it came to doing sessions back in the day!

Chuck Hill

Chuck Hill said:

I had a Ludwig octa plus kit with the concert toms black finished just like his kit! Love the tone!!!

Jimmy Vegas

Jimmy Vegas said:

That was really interesting. Would had loved to hear more about the snare. Was that a Black Beauty?


Jeff said:

What is the depth of the tom toms ?


LP said:

This is bullshit. Carrol Kaye knows better. The Wrecking Crew wasn’t half as productive nor ‘real’ as they’d (particularly Blaine) would have you believe.
Read here:




James Roberts

James Roberts said:

As a drummer and kid growing up listening to the songs recorded on this set, I wish I could sit behind it just one time. What a great story.

Brad Kozak

Brad Kozak said:

Interestingly enough, when Hal went on tour with an act, he didn’t take an Octotom set, nor did the concert rider demand that the promoter supply one. I know this, because I rented my Slingerland kit to the John Denver tour, with Hal on drums, when they played Shreveport, LA. My set had two, double-headed ride toms and double floor toms, all with ten-ply shells. They were cannons. As I recall, Hal was even satisfied with the tuning. He was a very nice guy – not at all distant or dismissive of a kid (as I was at the time). And that band – Denver hired the best studio musicians for that tour…dunno how he go so many of them on the road.

Leave a comment