Gearing Up

Dave Matthews Band’s Carter Beauford

Interview, Photos and Video by Miguel Monroy
“I tried to assemble a kit that would fit with what we were doing musically,” says Carter Beauford. “Everyone in the Dave Matthews Band comes from a different musical background, and we were [representing] all those different backgrounds through the music. I’m psyched that the new Recording Custom has come out. When you’re on stage trying to project a story to your listeners, it takes a lot of focus. You want to enjoy that conversation that you’re having with your bandmates, and you want to enjoy the response that you’re getting from the crowd.”

“Carter has played Recording Custom since the beginning,” says Beauford’s longtime drum tech, Henry Luniewski. Regarding the new Recording Custom kit, Lunieski says, “It’s awesome. It comes with thinner shells and heavier hardware, which gives you a different mass-to-resonance ratio. And it’s a lot more dynamic, with lower lows and higher highs.”

In terms of his massive array of cymbals, Carter says, “I use a lot of different cymbals because there are times when I want to sound just a little bit different from the night before. I’ll use certain cymbals to make my job easier and to project the sound I’m looking for. Then there are nights when I don’t need all that power, and I choose something else to allow the song to breathe.”

When asked about the microphone setup, longtime DMB monitor engineer Ian Kuhn says, “We chose mics that aren’t coloring the sound of the kit. They pick up the natural sound, but they’re also durable. We’ve experimented over the years, but we keep coming back to the same things. We use DPA microphones exclusively on the toms. They’re expensive, but we bought them twenty years ago and haven’t had to replace them. They sound great and color the sound very little.”


Gear Talk with the DMB Road Crew


Drums: Yamaha Recording Custom in Solid Black finish
A. 7×13 Dunnett titanium timbale
B. 15×15 floor tom
C. 6.5×14 Ludwig Alex Van Halen signature rosewood snare
D. 8×8 tom
E. 9×10 tom
F. 10×12 tom
G. 12×14 tom
H. 14×16 floor tom
I. 7×10 Pork Pie mahogany snare
J. 18×20 bass drum

Cymbals: Zildjian
1. 10″ FX Spiral Stacker on 18″ A Custom EFX crash
2. 20″ A Custom Flat Top ride with 6″ A Custom splash stacked upside down
3. 19″ A Ultra-Hammered China
4. 21″ K Crash/Ride
5. 14″ A New Beat hi-hats
6. 8″ K splash, 6″ Zil-Bel, and custom bronze bell
7. 18″ K Dark Medium-Thin crash
8. 10″ A Custom splash
9. 19″ K Dark Thin crash
10. 6″ A Custom splash stacked on 8″ K splash
11. 6″ A splash over 8″ K Custom Dark splash
12. 14″ K Mini China
13. 21″ A Ultra-Hammered China

Sticks: Vic Firth Carter Beauford signature model

Hardware: Yamaha 900 series double-braced boom stands and HexRackII system, Drum Workshop 9002 double pedal and 9500TB hi-hat

Heads: Remo Coated CSX snare batters and Hazy Ambassador resonants, Clear Pinstripe tom batters and Ebony Ambassador resonants, Clear Powerstroke 3 bass drum batter and Ebony Powerstroke 3 resonant

Percussion: LP Jam Block, Travis Barker cowbell, Granite Blocks, and Whole-Tone bar chimes, assorted hand percussion

Accessories/Electronics: Clark Synthesis Platinum transducers mounted to drum throne, Aphex Impulse trigger module, Akai Z8 sampler, Grace Design 901 headphone amplifier, Sensaphonics custom in-ear monitors, Carter Beauford signature drumming gloves, and Roland PD-8 dual-trigger pad

Microphones: Sennheiser e901 and e902 on bass drum, e905 on top and bottom of snare, DPA 4021 on toms, and DPA 4011 on ride cymbals; Neumann KM 184 on hi-hats; Shure VP88 overheads, Beta 57A on timbale, and KSM137 on percussion tree and granite blocks; Crown CM-310A vocal microphone