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gibsonfan159

Comparison of Bonzo's different kits

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How would you describe the tonal differences between the different kits? What examples of live shows are the best to compare the kits? Which is your personal favorite?

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Listen to the intro of SIBLY from 9-29-71 Osaka from the original "stage tape". THAT, right there is the greatest drum sound ever. The green kit. The earlier maple kit also sounded awesome (see RAH '70)

The vistalite kit and the stainless steel kit were more of a looks thing, I feel, and didn't sound as good. The kick sounds great on the vistalites, but the toms, not so much. The SS kit sounded pretty good, but going to that giant tom (almost as big as a floor tom) was kinda weird. But this was one LOUD kit, for sure. 

So, best live shows to compare: RAH, Knebworth, Earls Court (official video), and Osaka. HTWWW didn't quite capture the green kit as well. Osaka for the win!

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Posted (edited)

It's tough to choose a fav but I agree , the Osaka tape with the green sparkle kit is pretty tough to beat, although the sound captured at RAH of his maple kit is probably my overall favorite recording. The quality of that recording really showcases his sound, the tuning, the sound in the hall...the clarity is superb.

The maple kit and the green sparkle pretty much had the same shells, but I think the Maple sounds a bit warmer and bigger overall, then again they were bigger drums. The bass drum is deeper than the green and the tom was bigger.

Good recordings of the green kit are  9/4/70, 9/23/71 , Aussie 72 shows (Melbourne, Adelaide)  and most definitely Osaka 9/29/71.  Of course, BBC 71 is a great, clear recording of the green kit, although it's a bit more muffled sounding. I love the sound of the green kit in the new remaster of HTWWW. 

The Vistalites are made of acrylic and are much louder drums and have a lot of sustain. They have a hard, bright sound... although Bonzo made them sound warmer than most. I would say they are well represented in the official live recordings and soundboard boots. Bonzo's touch made them sound great, but normally I'm not a fan of acrylic shells.  

The steel kit is my least fav. It always sounded oddly dry, even though you would think they would be very resonant. There is something flat sounding about them on recordings, even though they are very loud in person. Knebworth and Copenhagen Warm Ups are best examples IMO. 

Edited by porgie66

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My personal fave Bonzo sound is Euro 73 on the Green Sparkle kit, just perfect cracking sound, love it.

he got a hell of a sound out of the SS kit in 1979, less so in 77 and 80 

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