Tommy Lee wasn’t the first drummer to drum upside down, but he’s still one of the best and most unique drummers we’ve seen. Tommy Lee founded Mötley Crüe, one of the most notable bands of the glam metal era, in Hollywood, California in the ’80s with Vince Neil, Nick Mars, and Nikki Sixx. They’re still rockin’ over 40 years later. Over the many decades, Lee has used some interesting gear, so we decided to see what his tech and team are packing up for shows these days.
Below you’ll find verified cymbals and drumsticks Lee has used. You don’t have to splurge on a drum set, but with the right technique, sticks, and cymbals, you’ll be one step closer to hopefully sounding like Tommy Lee.
1. Paiste 15″ Rude Hi Hats
Picking out a pair of hi-hats can be a bit tough, but Paiste’s cymbals are always a safe bet. Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Danny Wagner of Greta Van Fleet are also big fans of Paiste cymbals. Their 900 Series 15-inch heavy-duty cymbals are responsive, which is exactly what a drummer wants in their hi-hats. The lively intensity and that crisp sound will make all the difference, especially if you know you’ve been sharpening your technique. They’re perfect for a variety of styles, but we know rock drummers will love them.
Paiste cymbals are quality cymbals for professionals. They produce a medium to loud volume and have medium to long sustain, perfect for all playing styles. A happy customer wrote, “I wanted these specifically for hard hitting gigs and they definitely do the job. I’m also impressed by how good they sound overall. Really nice tone with excellent stick response and solid chick sound. Great job Paiste for offering high quality hi hats at this price. I also own their 900 series ride and I love it. The 900 series is a winner.” To no surprise, these cymbals average a 5/5-star rating.
2. Zildjian 12″ A Custom Splash
You likely think of Zildjian when you think of cymbals. Zildjian makes top-of-the-line cymbals, and drummers from beginners to professionals love them. This custom splash cymbal is great for accents and emphasis—perfect for rock drummers. Even Dennis Chambers and Dave Grohl love these cymbals. Let Zildjian cymbals be your secret to creating some of the best drum solos yet.
Adding this cymbal to your drum set will be one of the best things you’ll do to enhance your drumming. They’re fast and give a light but powerful sound you’ll enjoy for recording and playing live gigs. They’re also super lightweight, making these easy to travel with. Overall, a custom splash just might be what you’re missing. Start building your dream set today.
3. Zildjian 15-inch A Zildjian New Beat Hi-hat Cymbals
Zildjian’s New Beat hi-hat cymbals offer the perfect combo of “stick” and “chick” for all-purpose playing. So whether you’re working on rock or pop grooves, you’ll be a fan of these hi-hat cymbals. They’re great cymbals for professionals that want a bright, full-bodied, natural sound. All of Zildjian’s cymbals are cast from the secret alloy formulated over 380 years ago.
These 15-inch cymbals are great for pros (you may prefer these over 13-inch cymbals the more experienced you become). The medium top/heavy bottom cymbals aren’t too pricey for the quality either. Sweetwater shaved $92 off for you.
4. Zildjian FX Series ZIL-BEL – Large 9 inch
Zildjian’s FX Series is a specialty cymbal. You really want something like this for accents and effects (similar to Zildjian’s Splash cymbal).
It features a large, deep bell shape. It creates a low-pitch sound and can be used by itself or with the small 6-inch model for complimentary tones. It’ll be a fun addition to your setup for rock drumming. Many drummers call this bell the best one they’ve ever used.
5. Ahead TC (Tommy Lee Concert)
Ahead’s Tommy Concert Signature Series drumsticks are the perfect drumsticks for the drummer who likes to hit hard. Once you become a seasoned drummer, you put lots of soul, energy, and personality into the drums. This can lead to broken sticks, but not with these. They last 6-10x longer than wood and are safer on the wrists and cymbals.
The polyurethane sticks provide harder strokes with less effort (great for preventing wrist fatigue during long sets). They also have a powder-coated finish that feels good in the hands. They also provide 50% less shock and 5% more rebound than wood. Ahead also says the nylon tips won’t damage equipment.
Mötley Crüe Tour
Mötley Crüe is on tour with Def Leppard! They hit the road in May and will tour throughout the U.S., the United Kingdom, and more. You can get tickets at the links below. Don’t miss out.
Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Live Nation