“Some guys are like mad scientists when it comes to their gear,” says Dixie Dregs’ veteran drum master Rod Morgenstein. “They have a room filled with 50 different snares and every percussion instrument known to man. I love going to their homes and seeing all of their stuff, but I’m more of a functional guy in my own life. I have my basic kit, and then I add interesting sounds to the drum set that can kind of give me my own personal voice that sets me apart from other players.”

1. Splashes

On the left is a Sabian hexagon 10-inch splash cymbal. I insist on having a splash in my drum set. This one just has a quick and beautiful sound that works great for reggae or any kind of jam band playing. On the right is a double stack: a 10-inch splash that’s atop a 10-inch China splash. Based on how you adjust the wing nut, you can get different effects and sounds. I like to place them directly above my regular hi-hat and I’ll alternate between the two.

2. ‘Tri-Top’ Ride

“This is my signature Sabian ride, but my name is on the underside. I came up with the name ‘Tri-Top Ride’ because as you can see, there’s the bell—all drummers love that piercing, nasty sound—and the unlathed portion next to it that’s darker than the outer edges is the thickest part of the cymbal. It gives you a sound that’s somewhere in the middle of the harsh bell and the beautiful quality of the outer edge. If you don’t want a lot of overtones, you play that middle part. It’s really useful.”

3. Hand-Hammered China

“I use so many of these, but I don’t know what the brand is. This particular cymbal is a very thin, hand-hammered Chinese cymbal. You can see all the ripples in it. The thinner the cymbal, the trashier its sound, and this one is pretty trashy. That’s what I go for in a Chinese cymbal—its not warm at all.”

4. Beat Boogie & Crook Snares

“These are great snares that two lovely guys made for me as gifts. The lighter-colored 14″ snare on the bottom is Beat Boogie, run by a guy named Steve Crabtree. I’m not sure what the wood is—I should really find out—but it has a beautiful tone. The other one is a 13″ African mahogany snare drum from Crook Drums. I crank it really high so I can use it like an effects snare. I’ll often set it up to the right side of my hi-hat, since I play left-handed and my hi-hat is on the right side. If I’m doing a backbeat groove, on every other hit I’ll use a different snare. And if I’m doing ghost stroking in syncopated notes, the smaller drum sounds really cool.”

5. Iron Cobra Double Bass Pedal

“I really like the Iron Cobra double pedal. There are guys who can do astounding things on one bass drum and with a single pedal, but I still think there are patterns that can’t be played without a double bass drum or a double pedal. Yes, there are probably guys reading this who will say, ‘I can do that,’ but I’m just a mere mortal, so I use the double pedal.”