Revisiting what the Metallica legend sat behind over the years
In what can be termed the band’s ‘pre-professional’ days of 1981-1983, Ulrich used a Ludwig kit with Yamaha stands and pedals during their live shows. Some of this setup may have been used during the recording of Metallica’s first album, 1983’s Kill Em All, around which time the drummer received an endorsement from the Japanese manufacturer Tama, which still stands to this day.
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Ulrich subsequently switched to a Tama Imperialstar kit for the tours surrounding Kill Em All. This kit had mahogany shells and six toms of various sizes.
During the subsequent Ride the Lightning and Master Of Puppets touring years of 1984-1986 Ulrich switched to a Tama Superstar kit, made of Birch. As previously he used six toms of different diameters, with Remo Pinstripe heads.
While recording during this period Ulrich also used a Ludwig snare, while he used a Remo Coated Controlled Sound snare head during live shows.
Lars Ulrich Signature Kit
By this stage Metallica had become so big, and Ulrich was so frequently photographed behind Tama kits that he became the first artist for whom the company designed a signature kit. This Tama Granstar II kit and setup was used from the tours for Master of Puppets and into the 1990s and Metallica era. For a while Tama even sold the entire kit as a complete set so that those at home could emulate Ulrich’s sound, and hopefully grimaces, at home.
The signature kit was comprised of a 14×6.5” bell brass snare, which was changed at the end of the 80s for an 14×8” snare, two 24×16” kick drums, four rack toms ranging from 10×10” to 16×15”; as well as two floor 18×16” floor toms.
As far as cymbals go Ulrich has always favoured Zildjian, and the signature kit was no exception. At this point he was using two 14” Custom ‘Dyno Beat’ Hi Hats, one on his right and one on his left side, 17″ and 18″ A medium crashes, 16″, 17″, and 18″ A rock crashes, and 20″ Z Custom China.
Ulrich used Remo clear Pinstripe batter heads on his toms and kick drums, Remo ‘Ebony’ Ambassadors as resonant heads, and a Remo Coated CS on the snare.
He had his own Regal Tip 5B Lars Ulrich Model sticks made by Calato.
From the mid-90s onwards Ulrich then switched to a Tama Starclassic Maple kit, beginning at the time of 1996’s Load, and continuing through to the present day.
One of the additions in the modern day is the Tama Lars Ulrich signature 14″x6.5″ snare with a 3mm shell made of diamond plated steel.
Ulrich also has his own signature sticks with Ahead, who boast that their alloy core and nylon tips can last longer than 50% of wooden drumsticks.
For more Metallica, check out our look into the polarising but highly successful turning point for the band.