The second Polish edition of the Open Minded Camp conducted by the world-class drummer/educator, Claus Hessler, was held between Aug 4 and 9, 2018. Most of the other Polish media focusing on drums have discussed the advantages of this workshop organized by Szymon Fortuna in great detail. We, however, decided to go further and experience the camp from the attendants’ side. Our report and impressions from the event can be found HERE. Now, it is time to talk to the organizers about the most important thing in life, i. e. drums 😉 , especially their kits. Here is Claus Hessler talking us through his “space ship”…
“Starting with the cymbals. What you see here, the cymbals themselves, may be different each time but there’s a core which stays the same most of the time. Starting from this side, to bring some order to it: a pretty new addition, which is the Sabian XSR Fast Stax, which is a combination of a 16” XSR china and the bottom of a 13” X-Celerator hi hat. You can stack it in a couple of different ways. I mostly use it with the bell face up although it’s intended to be the other way round. I just dig the sound using it as a closed hi hat more than – more or less close with a more or less crash sound to it. You can also use the hi hat part as an option for your standard hi hat if you want to make it louder. You can also use the china as a china in itself, which is a great cymbal by the way. Plus, the XSR range from Sabian is quite affordable. It’s not super expensive and the sound is interesting. I totally dig that.
These two are Sabian Aluminum Bells. They add some tonality to what I play and allow me to come up with melodic phrases. I’ve got four cowbells. They are Gon Bops Alex Acuna cowbells. Not only is the sound amazing but they have one feature which I’d like to share with you. The mounting system is very different to any other cowbell on the market. This cowbell never gets loose, it always stays in place. You can open the holder so wide it can be mounted on a cymbal stand, which is something you can’t do with any other cowbell. Similar to a tom holder. It’s not just on the Alex Acuna models, but also cheaper ones. It’s a unique thing that I totally dig.
The crash cymbals I have here are Sabian HHX X-Plosion crashes sized 16”, 17”, 18”. I don’t always use X-Plosion crashes, it’s also HHX X-Treme crashes or HHX Legacy. The X-Plosions are very cool – a bit thicker than what I usually have but totally alright. Underneath the 17” crash, I always have a splash, which is an AAX Air Splash. The sound’s a bit different than if it were on top. I like this sound much better. I also use the 13” HHX Fierce hats. At times, it’s also a 13” Artisan or the new HHX Click Hats, but these travel with me all the time. They work quite well for what I do.
The two rides are my signature cymbals. This is the Garage Ride. Imagine the feeling when I first read my signature here… This ride comes in 18” and 20” sizes. This one is the old one, one of the prototypes. It was still in my cymbal bag so I brought it here. It’s available everywhere. My remote hat is an XSR hat. It’s a more of a budget line but still B20 bronze so it’s great stuff. I also have a 7” HHX Evolution splash.
As far as the heads go, this kit here has Evans G2 Clear heads on the toms, a Rezo 7 Coated on the resonant side, the coating of which adds some more control to the sound. I like that a lot. On the snares, it’s G1 Coated and Hazy 300 underneath. On the bass drum, it’s an EQ 3 or EQ 4 Clear, with that extra muffling ring that adds a bit more control and a lot of punch, so that’s my favorite thing wherever I go.
The shell set itself is a Mapex Saturn V kit, which is not a super expensive kit. I’ve played it many times when I travel to different countries. It’s a very good set of drums – pretty thin shells, maple with a single walnut ply. I’ve got Mapex Falcon pedals, which travel with me all the time. I’m super happy with those.
There’s an upcoming Pro-Mark signature stick with my name on, which applies the fire grain/active grip technology. I’m super happy with that. It’s a bit longer: 6.5” with a very long taper, which is not something every stick has. The tip is much smaller than a 5A would usually have. I still have power because it’s longer, but I have extra reach. The long taper gives me lots of rebound and durability because of that fire grain process, which adds extra strength to the wood. I think that’s a sort of walkthrough of the starship here.”