Gear Spotlight: Rick Allen

Everyone knows the saga of Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen. His story is one of triumph over tragedy and it inspires not only drummers, but people in general. Allen himself contemplated how his life was forever changed following his catastrophic injury. He said, “…I wouldn’t be the person I am today, I wouldn’t be where I am now, and I may not even have been here if it wasn’t for the accident.” By not allowing his injury to prevent him from following his passion Allen pushed forward and altered every aspect of his playing from tools to technique. His style is remarkable as he bridges the gap between his hand and feet to create a seamless sound. Due to his physical limitations Allen has been on the forefront of his electronic kit designs that cater to his unique situation. The compact positioning of the drums and cymbals along with the multiple foot pedals enable him to play better than many two-armed drummers. One interesting aspect of Allen’s current kit is the multiple hi-hats that are opened differently. This enables him to get a variety of responses required for different songs. Another is the intricate foot pedals that replaced the left side of the kit. Playing this configuration requires extensive coordination in order to pull it off. As one who has stood backstage beside the man and watched him close-up in a live situation I can attest to his ability to “pull it off” while giving fans an amazing performance from the stage. Proving all skeptics wrong he even does a drum solo. Here are images of Allen’s first and current set-ups:

Original Set-up



Current Set-up




Filed under Drums and Drumming

2 responses to “Gear Spotlight: Rick Allen

  1. John

    Hey, Michael! I’m John Salazar, and I’m a friend of Rich Redmond down here in Nashville. First , let me say that I’m a fan of your Off Beat posts. They are very appreciated. Secondly, I’ve just ventured into being an amateur “drum industry” writer, and I would love some advice on submitting articles or even starting a blog?? Please contact me at your disposal? Thanks!

    John Salazar

    Sent from my iPad


    • Hi John. Thanks for your comments. I’m familiar with your name too. I would love to discuss articles and blogs. Please email your questions to my private email at and let me know what you are looking for. It helps me if I can formulate my responses in preparation so we can discuss further. (I removed your phone number off this post to maintain your privacy.)

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