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Shrek - Carl Nelson

  • 3 min read

Carl Nelson's drum set setup for Shrek at the Calvin Christian High School, in Grandville, Michigan.

Carl's write-up and gear list below photos.

Carl Nelson's drum set setup for Shrek at the Calvin Christian High School, in Grandville, Michigan.Carl Nelson's drum set setup for Shrek at the Calvin Christian High School, in Grandville, Michigan.Carl Nelson's drum set setup for Shrek at the Calvin Christian High School, in Grandville, Michigan.Carl Nelson's drum set setup for Shrek at the Calvin Christian High School, in Grandville, Michigan.Carl Nelson's drum set setup for Shrek at the Calvin Christian High School, in Grandville, Michigan.Carl Nelson's drum set setup for Shrek at the Calvin Christian High School, in Grandville, Michigan.Carl Nelson's drum set setup for Shrek at the Calvin Christian High School, in Grandville, Michigan.Carl Nelson's drum set setup for Shrek at the Calvin Christian High School, in Grandville, Michigan.Carl Nelson's drum set setup for Shrek at the Calvin Christian High School, in Grandville, Michigan.Carl Nelson's drum set setup for Shrek at the Calvin Christian High School, in Grandville, Michigan.Carl Nelson's drum set setup for Shrek at the Calvin Christian High School, in Grandville, Michigan.Carl Nelson's drum set setup for Shrek at the Calvin Christian High School, in Grandville, Michigan.Carl Nelson's drum set setup for Shrek at the Calvin Christian High School, in Grandville, Michigan.Carl Nelson's drum set setup for Shrek at the Calvin Christian High School, in Grandville, Michigan.Carl Nelson's drum set setup for Shrek at the Calvin Christian High School, in Grandville, Michigan.Carl Nelson's drum set setup for Shrek at the Calvin Christian High School, in Grandville, Michigan.Carl Nelson's drum set setup for Shrek at the Calvin Christian High School, in Grandville, Michigan.

"As a local theater percussionist, most of my playing is with small community theaters and high school programs, such as this production. These tend to be a one weekend show. I had two pit rehearsals with school instruments and two full cast rehearsals with my own gear prior to opening night. Mapping out my setup before these rehearsals was important and only needed some tweaking before opening night.

With these smaller productions, usually have fewer rehearsals before a show, and must be able to make and retain changes quickly. forScore has made this easier for me with notating, as I can use color notes and highlighting, that I used to do with colored post it notes and pencil marks. The AirTurn Tap works great for page turns. I just incorporate a stick or mallet strike while playing.

Shrek has been a blast to play. It isn’t too often I play a show that is exclusively drum set. One musical challenge on this show was the Overture and Entr’acte. The part called for Celtic drums. As I listened to various recordings, I settled on muffled toms, which I ended up using throughout the show. I used 1" RemO Sound Control Rings on the 10” and 12” drums and 2” Evans E-Rings on the 14 and 16” drums.

Another challenge was bowing a China cymbal. I had to make sure it was positioned for a crash and yet was able to bow the cymbal (consistently) without standing up in full view of the audience. And don’t forget to rosin that bow!

The last challenge was determining my playing volume, as this was a new venue for me and the pit was un-mic'd and located in front and below the stage level. The sound board and production staff was very aware and helpful in that regard. Years of experience playing this way helps, too.

One of my favorite instruments I’ve used for almost every show I’ve done over the last few years (except 2020) is my Zildjian 19” K Custom Hybrid Trash Smash. I bought this cymbal on a whim at a local music store upon hearing it and seeing it on clearance for $100. As a suspended cymbal, it works great for mysterious or 'evil’ overtones. Strike it together with a China cymbal and you mimic the sound of a gong while using less space. Oddly enough, I have yet to use it for anything outside musical theatre."

Drums: Pacific LX Series

  • 10", 12", 14" Rack Toms, 16" Floor Tom (Evans UV1 Batter, G1 Resonant)
  • 22" Bass Drum (Evans EMAD Batter, EQ3 Resonant - with KickPort)

Snare:

  • Ludwig 14” Supraphonic Chrome Plated Brass (Evans UV2 Batter, 300 Snare Side)

Hardware:

  • DW 5000 Series Hi Hat Stand
  • DW 5000 Series Bass Drum Pedals
  • Yamaha Cymbal Stands
  • Pearl Boom Stand (for Mark Tree)
  • Pacific Boom Cymbal Stand
  • LP Claw

Cymbals:

  • Zildjian 14” K Custom Dark Hi-Hat Top, 14" K Mastersound Bottom
  • Zildjian 18” K Custom Dark Crash 
  • Zildjian 8” K Custom Dark Splash 
  • Zildjian 15” A Custom Crash
  • Zildjian 16” Oriental China
  • Zildjian 19” K Custom Hybrid Trash Smash
  • Zildjian 20” K Custom Ride

Percussion:

  • LP Jam Blocks (Blue & Red)
  • LP Cyclops Tambourine (steel jingles)
  • LP Black Beauty Cowbell
  • LP Bell Tree 
  • Rhythm Tech Studio Shaker
  • Rhythm Tech Live Shaker
  • Grover Pro Bronze Triangle
  • Triangle Machine Plus
  • Toca Universal Bar Chimes

Electronics:

  • Apple iPad, using forScore App
  • AirTurn Tap Bluetooth Page Turner 

Sticks and Mallets:

  • Vic Firth 5A Dual Tone Sticks
  • Vic Firth 5A Sticks
  • Vic Firth Heritage Brushes
  • Promark Hot Rods
  • Mike Balter Phenolic Mallets
  • Grover Triangle Beater 

Miscellaneous:

Shrek - Regional - Carl Nelson
March 2022

Sal Mazzotta's setup for the World Premiere of Here You Come Again, a new Dolly Parton Musical, at the Delaware Theatre Company, in Wilmington, Delaware.
Andrew Warren's setup for Head Over Heels at the Gateway Playhouse in Bellport, New York.
Paul Pizzuti's drum set setup for the 2014 recording session of NBC’s Peter Pan Live at Avatar Studios in New York City.
  • 1 min read
"It hasn’t always been easy (and it’s certainly very odd right now!) but personally I’ve always enjoyed the challenge. I’ve heard a few things along the way that have informed how I’ve thought about New York City and the idea of 'making it'”.
  • 5 min read
"The musical experience of recording a Broadway cast album ranges from easy to difficult depending on the circumstances. I find that the two factors that contribute most to the quality of the experience are: 1) how good the band is; and 2) how soon after you started the show you record the album"
  • 5 min read
"When I was preparing to conductNice Work if You Can Get It, I began by watching a video of the conductor and marking my score with any cues or beat patterns that were not obvious to me. I wanted to be completely comfortable with the Musical Directors choreography before watching the video of the stage and trying to put the music to the action of the actors and dancers."
Bill Stewart's drum solo from the title track of his album Snide Remarks.
Robbie Ameen's drum solo from the track "Spring Fling".
Steve Jordan's drum solo from the title track of the album Casa Loco.

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