[Welcome back to Rigged! Last week The Ocean’s Robin Staps played a little prank on us… but don’t worry, he’ll post his real rig rundown in a few days. Between the Buried and Me guitarists Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring walked you through their live setups piece by piece a couple of weeks ago, so this week it’s BTBAM drummer Blake Richardson’s turn. Between the Buried and Me, The Ocean, Job For A Cowboy (and on select dates Cephalic Carnage) are on tour now; Get dates here.]

Hey what’s up y’all?! Blake from Between the Buried and Me here. I’m taking time out of my super mega busy schedule to give you guys a little info on the gear that I am currently using. Now, for some of you extreme lurkers, you may have noticed that I change parts of my set up from time to time. I enjoy doing this because it not only gives my job a little spontaneity, but it also gives me a newfound inspiration in my playing. Anyways, here is a little breakdown of my current set up.


BTBAM Blake Richardson

First I’ll start off with the kick drums. I use two 20×18″ kick drums. Why 20″ as opposed to 22″ or 24″? Well, chill out for a bit and I’ll tell you. The 20″ has a more punchy sound that can really cut through a live or recorded mix. I also like their playability. I feel I can go a little bit faster on these things.

As for the toms and floor toms, I am rocking a 10×8″, and 12×9″, and a 16×14″ floor tom.  “But Blake, why did you get rid of the 8″ tom all of a sudden?!” Shut up for a sec, kid, and I’ll fill you in. I’ve been getting really comfortable with the ride cymbal lately and I have found that just by moving more towards the center of my kit, it makes it a heck of a lot easier to play. My setup has even more of a symmetrical feel now than it did before. I really like it. You never know, I might throw some more drums on the kit again down the road! But for now, I am really comfortable with this setup.

The snare drum I am using is a 14×6.5″. It’s awesome. The combination of the Birch and Bubinga wood give it a nice low end scoop with a kick ass punch. Lately I have been tuning my snare pretty high so the depth of the snare keeps the bottom end filled in.


Tama Iron Cobra Pedals

I consider these things to be my old faithful! I have been using them for so long it is hard to play anything else. They just have that natural feel to them and have become more customizable over the years. I use wood beaters on mine just to enhance that punchy sound that I get with the kick drums. You can’t go wrong with that combo!


I’ll start with the China cymbals. Right now I have a 19″ AAX X-Treme Chinese on my right and a 17″ AAX X-Treme Chinese on my left. These have become a favorite part of my setup because they have that really quick attack and sustain that makes them very useful for accenting certain hits within a drum pattern.

I have two crashes: a 19″ AAX X-Plosion Crash on my right and an 18″ HHX Evolution crash on my left. The HHX crash is probably my favorite crash ever. It is pretty much perfect for recording. It isn’t too loud but has just enough presence for you to know that it is being hit. The AAX crash is great for live and studio use. It does what it says… EXPLODE! RIGHT IN YOUR FREAKING FACE! YEAAAAHHHH!!! It has a really good wash to it as well, and I need that because I ride on my crashes quite a lot.

Speaking of riding, let me tell you about the new ride cymbal I’m using. It is a 21″ HH Raw Bell Dry Ride. “But Blake…dude?! What about that sweet AA Rock Ride you used forever?” Bro, just calm down. The new HH ride has a great level of versatility. I’ll admit it is not as cutting as the AA Rock Ride in heavy situations, but since we have been incorporating more and more dynamics into our music with each record I needed something that could cover all the bases. This ride definitely does exactly that! It has a nice cutting bell and a really good crispness when you lay into it. It’s rad!

As for my smaller effects cymbals, I haven’t changed these much over the years. Right now I have a 14″ Max Stax, a 10″ HH Duo Splash, a 9″ Radia Cup Chime, and a 12″ Chopper. The Chopper is very similar to the Max Stax. They have a really quick punchy sound that almost lets you play them like drums. The Duo Splash is an all-around great effect cymbal. It’s only 10″ and cuts like the rest of them! The Radia Cup Chime has always been a favorite of mine. Using this in combination with the bell of the Ride cymbal can bring up some cool possibilities. And it has a nice sustain to it as well. It is nine inches of pure awesomeness. (that’s what she said… BOOM!).

While we are on the subject of fun, let me tell you about my new hi hats. These things are a freaking good time, man. They are the 14″ HHX X-celerator Hats. They have a rippled bottom cymbal and a nice medium/heavy top. I love them for their versatility and that infamous “chick” sound they provide. I feel like they may be tailored for heavier playing but they sound great with the softer stuff we play as well.


It’s interesting to see a company makes vast improvements and advancements on products they have that weren’t really all that bad in the first place! The new (not so new anymore!) Evans EC2 SST heads are a great example of that. I love using these on my toms. They are a perfect companion to my Tama Birch/Bubinga shells. They enhance the low end scoop and have a really defined attack.

One head that I have been raving about lately is the Evans Hybrid snare head. I think it is made of some crazy mylar fiber. Long story short, if you get this bad boy, you won’t need to get another snare head for a freaking year! It is, without a doubt, the longest lasting snare head I have ever used. I used one of these heads on our whole Headlining U.S. tour last year, and it still sits in our practice space. For being such a thick head, it has a surprising high level of sensitivity, especially if you really crank it!


I will admit, I like to experiment with various sizes of sticks. The thing about the Vic Firth 3A sticks is that they are very suitable for my style of playing with BTBAM. What I love about them is that they are not too thickened and also have a really quick taper at the end of the stick to allow for more power on the stroke. I used to be a nylon tip guy for years, but let’s face it, wood tips make the drum sound better! Yes, there are advantages to the nylon tip as far as cymbal clarity, but having the rounded wood tip really strikes a good compromise.


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