If you’ve ever been in the fortunate position to catch a drumstick launched into the crowd by your favourite drummer, you’ll understand the joy of owning gear (no matter how small) played by one of your influences.
But for some, there’s no need to stop there. Celebrity-owned gear has become more accessible than ever thanks to digital-auction sites and retailers such as Reverb removing the barrier of geography and access, taking sought-after gear out of the attic and placing it in front of potential buyers anywhere in the world, often direct from the artist themselves.
It doesn’t have to be limited to back-ups or gear used for one-off performances, either. So, with our search filters set to 'highest price first', we’re looking at just a few of the drum kits, snares and cymbals owned or used by household-name drummers, that are available to buy right this very minute. The only obstacle is the asking price.
Buddy Rich’s 1970s Zildjians: £35,750
Gulping at the price of replacing the crash cymbal you’ve just cracked? Look away now. Here we have a set of 1970s Zildjian cymbals owned by up-and-coming jazz-hopeful, Buddy Rich.
The relatively understated Reverb listing confirms that these cymbals were given to the seller (a close friend of Buddy Rich and his daughter, Cathy), and incredibly, is apparently just one collection of some of the drums an cymbals passed-on by Rich to the seller over the years.
The ad doesn’t specify whether the additional cymbals placed outside of the spotlight are included in the sale, but we can safely assume that the New Beat hi-hats, 8” splash, 20” Ping Ride, what appears to be a pair of 18” crashes and the China definitely are.
Cathy Rich has seen them and provided signed confirmation that these belonged to Buddy, we’d probably ask for some more pictures or perhaps a complete list of sizes before pulling the trigger though.
Ex-Oasis drummer Tony McCarroll’s Definitely Maybe Pearl Export kit: £41,000
Before Alan White, Zak Starkey (yes, son of that Starkey) or Chris Sharrock, there was Tony McCarroll. It’s no secret that Tony had a difficult time in Oasis, but no amount of inter-band arguments or legal disputes can change the fact that it’s Tony McCarroll who was the drummer on Oasis’ early hits. He did it with a battered beginner drum set that will be familiar to thousands of us: the humble Pearl Export.
You can bag the kit that Tony used on Definitely Maybe, and also used for videos, TV appearances and Oasis’ early tours right now for £41,000, which is only roughly £40,800 more than the going rate of a late-‘80s Export. Or, if you’d prefer to keep your house, we spotted one of Tony’s signed sticks going for a more reasonable £50.
Steven Adler’s Appetite for Destruction kit: $49,995
There’s no arguing, Guns ’N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction is up there as one of the greatest rock albums ever recorded. Steven Adler may have been out by the time Use Your Illusion I and II rolled round simultaneously four years later, but we think his role in Appetite was the perfect counterpart to Axl, Slash, Duff and Izzy.
If you agree and have a spare $49,995 burning a hole in your pocket, you might consider heading over to Donn’s Drum Vault. Adler used these ’80s Gretsch shells (22x16, 12”x8”, 13”x9”, 16”x16”) which are joined by a 14”x5” 1920s Ludwig Brass Standard and a set of Zildjians.
DDV has authenticated the kit, which was part of Paul ‘Jamo’ Jamieson’s rental collection, and for a few extra bonus points, the shells were used on Phil Collins’ Against All Odds, while the Ludwig snare also supplied the backbeat for multiple Grammy-award-winners: Lady Gaga’s Shallow and Bruno Mars ft. Mark Ronson, Uptown Funk.
Vinnie Paul’s Pearl signature snare drum prototypes: £49,999 each
Before he switched to ddrum, Vinnie Paul and Pearl drums went hand-in-drumming glove, and his signature snare drum was something to behold. A 14”x8” maple-shelled whopper, clad in a snakeskin finish and featuring spiked tube lugs, the regular production versions are coveted by metal fans and sell in their own right for a fair amount.
But here, we’re presented the chance to own not just one, but two of Vinnie Paul’s artist prototypes. Essex Recording Studios acquired both of Vinnie Paul’s development-stage signature snares from Vinnie’s estate, and they can be yours for a cool £49,999 each. Why are there two? Well, Vinnie wanted to try a couple of snakeskin patterns before deciding on the final production model finish, of course.
Rick Allen’s Def Leppard 80s Ludwig kit £12,999
Okay, we could have gone with Living Colour drummer, Will Calhoun’s Sonor Hilite kit, but it’s £26,000. So instead we’ve gone with a comparative workhorse in Rick Allen’s ‘80s chrome-wrapped Ludwig.
This shiny beast saw action on the road with the Leppard throughout the ’80s including the Pyromania tour, and comprises a 22” bass drum, 13” and 14” racktoms, a 16” floor tom and a Bonham-approved 14”x6.5 Ludwig Supraphonic LM402 snare.
There’s a fully-populated stick bag and a drum stool included, but unfortunately £13,000 doesn’t buy you the previously-removed bottom heads, tension rods or rims.