Mike Mangini’s Dream Theater Pearl Drum Kit Walkthrough

Dream Theater’s Mike Mangini has just posted a video covering his brand new Pearl Masterworks drum kit (scroll to the bottom to see it)!

He talks about how he’s made the switch from birch to maple for the first time, to get an “extra level of punch” when playing live. Mike has also removed his two smallest drums, since he has the “hamster tubes” ( as he likes to call them) above his head.

Interestingly, he mentions that his drums are set up like a mirror image – with the same tom placement on the left and right side. This is done to avoid his arms crossing while drumming, to have better reach, and for more balance while playing.

Mangini has also added gong floor toms to hit setup. The idea behind these drums is to gain a single deep tone when struck, rather than the more complex sound of a double-headed (i.e. batter and resonant head) drum. The gong toms have a single drumhead (no resonant head), which allows for a huge clean tone when hit:

For his double bass playing, Mike Mangini’s drum tech Eric Disrude combined two Pearl Demon Drive bass drum pedals, so that both the left and right foot are playing a slave pedal. This allows Mike’s snare drum to be directly in front of him (where the main bass pedal would normally be). Eric Disrude also ensured that both kick drum beaters are hitting the center of the bass drum head, so that the same sound is generated by both the left and right foot.

By the way, Pearl’s great pedal customization options are one reason why they won one of our best bass drum pedal awards (although it wasn’t for the Demon Drive, even though it’s a great pedal)!

Along with the double bass pedals, there are also percussion and electronic pedals at Mike’s feet. The electronic pedals are there for a very interesting reason: in case his real bass drum breaks (which has happened before)! There are two Roland KT-10 kick pedals at his feet which can trigger bass drum samples in case of emergency:

Mike also shows off his huge Pearl Icon drum rack, which holds an absolutely massive number of cymbals and drums (and some mics!).

When it comes to drums, Mike Mangini’s kick and snare drum are both “stock standard” Pearl Reference drums. The bass drum has a 24″ x 18″ mahogany and maple shell, featuring a clear Remo Powerstroke P3 batter head. The snare is a 14″ x 6.5″ 20-ply drum, with 16 plies of maple, and 4 birch plies. Mike’s secondary snare drum is a 10″ x 6.2″: the smaller drum is used to give a tighter snare sound, and can also be used as a high tom with the snare wires turned off. Many of the other drums have been custom-built (and they’re also Pearl Masterworks drums). The gong drums are 14″, 16″, 18″, and a big 20″, all with clear Remo Emperor drumheads.

When we say “custom built”, this is standard for Pearl Masterworks drum kits. Pearl’s European website actually has a custom drum builder page where you can choose everything including wood type, bearing edges, ply count, finish, and hardware, and then see a finished product (and price). Check it out here. By the way, if you have fun with that, you’ll have even more fun with Sonor’s super cool 3D online drum builder.

Take a look at Mike Mangini’s full 2019 drum kit walkthrough video below: