Hold Your Fire

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Updated: 12/09/2017

At a Glance:

  • Acoustic drums: Ludwig Super Classic in white opalescent finish with a hint of pink with "Vibra-Fibing"

  • Notable changes:

    • First Ludwig kit used by Peart. He selected Ludwig after testing drum kits by all major drum companies.

    • First time Peart used a KAT keyboard percussion unit.

    • First kit where Peart started using mostly closed toms instead of concert toms. Interestingly, the setup included an extra 6-inch concert tom. Note that in the promotional photos on this page (with Power Windows drum heads), the kit is clearly shown with concert toms; these were changed to closed toms by the time the tour started.

  • Used from 1987 - 1990

  • Electronic drums: Simmons, KAT keyboard percussion, Akai digital sampler triggered through a Yamaha Midi Controller

  • Cymbals: Avedis Zildjian, Wuhan (China type)

  • Sticks: Pro-Mark 747 wood tip (played "backwards")

  • 5.5 x 14 "Old Faithful" Slingerland Artist Model snare with matching white opalescent finish: 3-ply shell with 8 lugs

  • Drum tech: Larry Allen

Used to record and tour:

From the Hold Your Fire tour book, by Neil Peart

Well, lots of Big News in the equipment department this year, for those of you who are interested in such things. When I decided last year that I wanted to get a new set of drums, I went about it in a very methodical way. This time I wanted to be absolutely sure that I was using the best sounding drums there were. So I went down to the Percussion Centre in Fort Wayne, and we tried out six different makes of drums, side by side with the same heads and tuning. The result was a new set of Ludwig drums ― the ones which sounded the most lively and exciting. A similar "A-B" comparison confirmed the effectiveness of the Vibrafibing treatment, and that process of a thin layer of fiberglass has been applied to the inside of the shells.

When Geddy saw the color I had chosen for them, he asked: "Whatever possessed you?" Well I'm not sure about that, but it's another "hot rod" finish like the red ones, this time a combination of white opalescent, with a few "flip-flop" sparkles, and a little hint of pink.

Just different, that's all.

The hardware, which has been brass plated, is a combination of Premier, Tama and Pearl fittings, while the cymbals are by Avedis Zildjian, with the exception of the Chinese ones which come from Wuhan province in China. The venerable Slingerland "Artist" snare drums remain, as do the Promark 747 drum sticks.

Big News in the electronics department as well ― the Simmons pads now trigger an Akai digital sampler through a Yamaha Midi Controller. This has expanded my range of available percussion sounds enormously, allowing me to have absolutely any sound available at the flick of a stick or the kick of a switch. Nice. I've also added a KAT keyboard percussion unit, which again gives me all of the keyboard percussion sounds in a neat little package.

In the "traditional" percussion domain, there are a temple blocks, timbale, crotales, a Tama gong bass drum, cowbells and wind chimes.

What else was I going to say?

I forget.

Oh well.

Drum sizes and open vs. closed toms

"Everything is a trade-off, of course, and though the open toms had powerful attack and definition, I always preferred the nuance and throatiness of closed toms — just more expressive, it seemed to me. Plus, instead of combining the open concert toms with all the other toms being closed, I decided I wanted to have the timbres of the whole set more alike." (Drum! Magazine: "Mean Mean Stride: The drums of Neil Peart")

Photo gallery

  • Photo of Neil Peart by M. Hayden
  • Photo of Neil Peart by M. Hayden
  • Photo of Neil Peart by M. Hayden
  • Photo of Neil Peart by M. Hayden
  • Photo of Neil Peart by M. Hayden
  • Neil Peart during the "Time Stand Still" video shoot
  • Neil Peart during the "Time Stand Still" video shoot

After Rush

Lorne Wheaton wrote in November, 2010: "As far as I know (the first Ludwig kit) was given away through Modern Drummer."

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