Carter Beauford has one of the largest and most diverse drum kits in the drumming industry. With its shiny chrome hardware, rich ebony shells, and shimmering bronze cymbals, his kit lures you in as it sits on stage. If you're not drawn in by its remarkable appearance then the kit's sheer size will demand your attention. Carter's drum kit includes an array of professional drums, cymbals, hardware, and percussion equipment.
What sets Carter's kit apart from other drummer's equipment is its inclusion of so many different percussionist elements (cowbell, chimes, timbales, granite blocks, etc.). Carter credits percussionist Miguel Valdez as his inspiration to incorporate these various percussion instruments behind his drum kit. Miguel collaborated with the Dave Matthews Band in 1992 and also moonlighted as a member of the musical group The C-ville All Stars. After Miguel's unfortunate passing in 1993 Carter felt it was necessary to include in his kit more instruments that a percussionist would typically play. Carter explains that with Miguel now gone he was noticing the absence of so many things, percussion-wise, which he felt that he needed to add to the music.
Every year it seems that Carter's kit changes in one aspect or another. However, the one thing that seems to change the most is his cymbal setup. Every now and then Carter will experiment with new cymbals and sounds. It's not rare to find Carter playing different hi-hats, rides or crash cymbals each tour. It can be said that Carter's drum kit is continuously evolving. One of the biggest thrills of being a Carter Beauford fan is waiting to see what he'll add to his drum kit next.
Much credit and appreciation should also be given to Carter's drum tech, Henry Luniewski. Henry, one of the longest running members of the DMB road crew, is responsible for assembling and disassembling Carter's kit before and after each show, as well as tuning the kit to percussive perfection. He can often be seen lingering around the kit onstage while Carter's pounding away to ensure that each lugnut is tight and all of the kit's parts are stable. Henry is also responsible for keeping Carter's kit "fresh", adding or changing different elements for Carter to play around with.
I took on the task of tracking Carter’s drum kit progress and development many years ago. After finding several outdated and inaccurate diagrams I decided that an accurate layout of his kit needed to be provided for his many fans and other drummers. I grew frustrated with not knowing what a certain item was on his kit so I set out to gather as much information as possible on what he plays. Initially I collected information from many sources. I spent countless hours pouring over video footage, concert photos, recordings, and interviews. I even received assistance from custom snare drum builder Ronn Dunnett. But the one opportunity that I'm most proud of and honored with is speaking directly with Henry Luniewski himself. I've been extremely fortunate to go backstage and to tour Carter's kit on several occasions, all thanks to Henry. He's also been gracious enough to extend the privlege of contacting him with any questions I have about the kit, something which I am very grateful for. When asked about the details of Carter's kit Henry refers people to this site.
I've also had the pleasure of having my diagram and equipment listing featured on the Dave Matthews Band official website, in the band's 2010 Summer Tour photo book (sold at shows that Summer), in a DMB drum tablature publication, and and in Modern Drummer Magazine (July 2013 issue, Carter Beauford interview). I'm very humbled with this recognition and after pouring all this time and effort into this hobby I feel that I have created one of if not the most comprehensive and accurate listings of Carter's equipment. Even though I don’t claim it to be perfect I feel it’s pretty close.
As always I welcome any comments or feedback you might have on this little project of mine. Please feel free to email me or send me a message on Facebook. I always enjoy talking with people about Carter’s kit but more importantly his drumming in general. I find no greater joy than sharing the passion I have for Carter's playing.
- Justin "BeaufordBuddy" Scott
The above drum kit diagram and equipment listing was compiled from several different sources. To the best of my knowledge this listing is accurate as of the revised date listed above, however, minor mistakes or misrepresentations may be present. The diagram is not to scale and some items may be slightly out of place due to space limitations. Thanks to Henry Luniewski, Ronn Dunnett, and Adam Parker for their assistance, especially Henry for doing such a great job at keeping this massive kit tuned and maintained, the many fans and fellow drummers who inspire me to do this, and most importantly Carter Beauford for being the biggest inspiration behind my passion for drumming.