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The Prof is in. Mark Guiliana.

Posted by Gareth Makin on

Welcome to a new blog on Cymbomute.com where I'll be looking at some of the drummers that turn heads and push musical boundaries.  They either inspire (hopefully) or just make life difficult for the rest of us (more likely).  We could be talking technique or touch here, or just that slightly out of reach 'to die for' ride cymbal sound!

First up to the plate is New Jersey native Mark Guiliana.  For those who have (so far) missed out, check out some clips on Youtube.  You could go for his launch videos for the Gretsch Broadkaster reboot, or his duo with friend and uber drummer JoJo Mayer for the Sabian Omni series. 

Before you dismiss him as one of those 'Youtube guys' (and there is nothing wrong with that, people putting themselves out there is very cool in itself) he does play with other people too, collaborating with Brad Mehldau in Mehliana (search for 'Taming the Dragon' - check out that fill mid track) or leading his own charge with Beat Music ('The Los Angeles Improvisations') or with his own jazz quartet (and guests in 'My Life Starts Now').

He has a book which you should check out too (on Hudson Music) 'Exploring Creativity on the Drumset'.  Not another technique book par se, more a platform to develop and expand your mental approach to finding your way past musical brick walls.  You don't plan, you prepare...

I saw him recently in clinic in Manchester (UK) and found him to be funny, engaging, humble and relentlessly creative.  Did he knock it out of the park?  Yes, he did, on several occasions, but he never made you feel smaller through doing it.  His journey was shared as a collective, it was kind of 'Oh, so this is where Mark wants to go now'... (check out Mark on Facebook to see his personal clip from the clinic).

Getting down to the tools of the trade, he tends to favour the core set up of many players, one up, one down and a couple of multi-use cymbals from the Sabian Artisan range (the set up he played at the Manchester clinic which I was present at). 

When he plays with Beat Music (2014 vintage) however, he can be seen with a few more colours in place which is the set up I'm going to list here (courtesy of Mark's website www.markguliana.com)  

Drums - Gretsch Broadkaster

14x5.5" Snare / 20x16" Bass Drum / 16x16 Floor Tom

Cymbals - Sabian

14" HHX Click Hats / 10" HH China Kang stacked on 10" AA Splash / 9" Vault Radia Nano Hats / 23" Artisan Ride (Prototype) / 16" HHX O Zone crash with rivets

He tends to tune things up a little on the kit to get more range out of the toms and bass drum whereas the snare tends to sit a little more in the middle, breathy and fizzy with a bit of thump.

Like a lot of drummers and musicians who tend to inspire, his touch on the kit is joyful and the sounds that escape show all of his influences but with the spin of his strong musical personality shining through.

He practices at home in his drum space whether he feels inspired or not (some days are good days, some are OK days but there is never a bad day behind the kit) - take note the rest of us. 

A brief journey then, noted, but given a spare hour and some tech, you may discover a new favourite player. 

Thanks for listening and see you next time (if you have any suggestions on who you'd like covering in further Blogs (and if they ask me back) then just get in touch - not just the choppy ones, don't forget the 'he/she blew my mind on this recording' ones)... 

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