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Ray Levier Endorses Drum Equipment Manufacturers with Personal Commitment to Quality and Innovation

“Yamaha Drums, Paiste Cymbals, Evans Drum Heads, Vater Sticks & Beato Bags Stand Out in the Drum World” – Ray LeVier

Ray LeVier believes that at the upper level of professional drum gear, quality exists across the board. Maybe there are personal preferences in materials, sound and feel, but all of the top manufacturers offer good products.

When it came to selecting his own drum kit and gear, Ray considered the technical/sound options for sure. He also looked into the companies and their cultures.

“The companies whose equipment I use and that I choose to endorse all have a particularly human quality to how they create their products and work with their customers. There’s a comfort level I have with their personal commitment to music, drumming and the drummer.”

Yamaha Drums


Ray was blown away when he learned that the professional drum manufacturing division of this large global company consists of a few dedicated craftsmen who make the drums by hand.

“One of the men has worked for Yamaha for thirty years and has missed only two days. That’s the kind of love of craft that you can’t put a price tag on. Yes, my drums sound great and they work across a variety of music styles. I often think of the guys who built them with such pride and dedication.”

Ray’s Studio Kit: Yamaha Birch Custom Absolute – A warmer, dryer, fatter sound for the studio

  • Bass – 18”x20”
  • Rack Toms – 9”x10” and 10”x12”
  • Floor Tom w-Legs – 14”x14”
  • Snare – 5 ½”x13” (Maple Yamaha Sensitive Series)

Ray’s Gig/Stage Kit: Yamaha Maple Custom Absolute – The harder wood creates a sound that projects better on stage. Smaller for portability.

  • Bass – 16”x18”
  • Rack Tom – 10”x12”
  • Floor Tom w-Legs – 14”x14”
  • Snare – 5 ½”x13” (Maple Yamaha Sensitive Series)
  • Snare – Alternate for Rock/Hip-Hop gigs – Yamaha metal snare

Paiste Cymbals

Ray switched to Paiste Cymbals from another internationally-known cymbal maker. He credits the company’s innovative manufacturing techniques and use of metal alloys for a consistent, predictable sound within a given line of cymbals.

“Paiste cymbals tend to shimmer a little more and have a bright sound. Each frequency and characteristic is well thought out. When they send me a new cymbal to test, they really care about my input all the way up to Erik Paiste who heads the company.”

Depending on the gig, the music style and the room, Ray plays:

  • Signature Traditionals – Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Jazz gigs
  • Signature Dark Energy – (fill in styles)
  • Formula 602 – (fill in styles)
  • Twenty Masters Collection – (fill in styles)

Evans Drum Heads

Ray uses Evans drum heads from the Evans/D’Addario Company. He loves the company’s commitment to scientific research and to drum head innovations that make life easier for drummers.

“Especially since I am working pretty much without fingers, I really appreciate the ease of seating and tuning Evans heads. Their plastic rings click them right into place. I also love the wide variety of heads they have available. The Evans EMAD – a foam ring mounted on the outside – rather than the inside of the bass drum – makes it easy to change the sound on the fly. These guys really care about drummers!”

Ray uses G1 and G2 coated heads in the studio. In a loud room or onstage he uses G1 and G2 uncoated heads.

Vater Drum Sticks

Vater is a small, family-owned company based in Boston that manufactures its sticks in the U.S. with an intense commitment to consistency and quality.

“The owner, Chad Vater, jumps in to do quality control, rolling sticks himself to make sure they’re uniform to the ounce and straight and true. There’s nothing better than when the people who own the company care. They make just amazing sticks, too!”

Beato Drum Bags

‘Fred Beato makes the bags himself and stands behind his products. Need I say more?”