We recently caught up with Cuban-born/L.A.-based drummer Jimmy Branly before a gig at the famed Baked Potato music club. There’s an obvious goal of versatility when it comes to Jimmy’s gear. In addition to the fusion-style setup shown here, Jimmy also has a 16×16 floor tom and a 14×24 bass drum to use when bigger sounds are required, as well as a smaller 14×18 kick for more traditional jazz-type situations. Branly explained that with these sizes available to him, he effectively has three different setups to use for different gigs.

When it comes to cymbals, Branly chooses his setup depending on the dynamics of the music and the acoustics of the room. If it’s a small club like the Baked Potato, he quiets the cymbals by placing small pieces of carpet underneath them that cover a small portion of the bell. “When you quiet the bell, you quiet the cymbal,” Jimmy explains. “A lot of people might not think about that, but I do because I don’t like being loud.” Jimmy’s favorite cymbal in this setup is the controlled-sounding K Light flat ride, which he takes everywhere.

“For every gig that I do,” Branly says, “I’m going to pick the best instrumentation for the music. I like mixing pop and rock sounds with jazz. I often need more decay in the sound, so I use Ambassadors, and I tune the toms a little higher to get more melodies out of them. Then on the cymbals, I like to go lighter so I can get more dynamics out of them.”

Drums: Yamaha Club Custom in Black Swirl finish with die-cast hoops
A. 6×13 Steve Jordan signature snare
B. 5.5×14 Sensitive snare
C. 7.5×10 tom
D. 8×12 tom
E. 14×14 floor tom
F. 14×20 bass drum

Cymbals: Zildjian
14″ K Custom Special Dry hi-hats
2. 18″ Kerope crash
3. 20″ K Light flat ride
4. 8″ A Custom splash stacked on a 14″ A Custom EFX
5. 10″ Oriental China Trash
6. 22″ Constantinople Medium-Thin Low ride
7. 18″ A Custom EFX crash

Hardware: Yamaha Crosstown Advanced lightweight snare and cymbal stands, 600 series single-braced stands, and round throne

Heads: Remo Ambassador Coated snare batter and Ambassador Hazy snare sides, Ambassador Coated tom batters and Ambassador Smooth White resonants, Powerstroke P4 bass drum batter and Yamaha logo front

Sticks: Vic Firth Modern Jazz Collection MJC3 sticks, wire brushes, and mallets

Accessories: Vic Firth Essentials stick bag