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:

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  • Brad, (comment above)

    Slingerland drums were not (ever) 10 ply as you claim above.

    Ken Deater on
  • Just noticed the blue sparkle floor tom has a blue/olive badge. Should be a keystone badge. Also the original kit still had the blue sparkle rack tom.

    Dwayne Jones on
  • 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.

    Brad Kozak on
  • 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.

    James Roberts on

  • 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:

    LP on
  • What is the depth of the tom toms ?

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

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

    Chuck Hill on
  • Hal Blaine set the standard when it came to doing sessions back in the day!

    Mikel Bee on

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