Sandy Nelson: I Basically Had One Drumset

SKF NOTE: Let There Be Drums, Drums Are My Beat, Birth of the Beat — Sandy Nelson had a string of drum solo hit records I loved. So did lots of other drummers and pop music fans. I was glad to have the chance to interview Sandy Nelson (May 13, 1982) for my History of Rock Drumming series. After an initial rough start phone call, Mr. Nelson was very gracious with his knowledge and time.

Here’s an excerpt from the Sandy Nelson transcribed interview where Sandy describes the drumset he used on all his hit records.


Scott K Fish: Did you use the same drumset on all those records?

Sandy Nelson: Yeah. I basically had one set in those days. I wasn’t like the other session men where they had two or three [drumsets]. I had a Ludwig silver sparkle. I’m still using it now, but I’ve painted it black. In the place I’m playing, it looks good. It’s just the old Ludwig drums. I bought them in 1962.

But I have to admit — the drum world would understand this — that I’m not using the Ludwig bass drum. I’m using a Gretsch. It punches through a lot better.

Primarily, Let There Be Drums was two small tom-toms, then the regular floor tom 16-inch, and nothing special about the snare. Just a regular standard Ludwig snare about 1962 vintage.

I don’t have that snare anymore. I wish I did. But I have one like it that’s a little deeper. I think it’s 8-inches. It’s still an oldie too.

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