Scott Nelson's Pork Pie Kit

My name is Scott Nelson. First, let me thank you for a wonderful website -- it has been a source of valuable information and very engaging content.

I wanted to share some pics of my Neil-inspired setup with you and your readership. It is a custom Pork Pie maple kit built to my specs, finished in Candy Apple Red Sparkle lacquer fading to Piano Black. Took almost 7 months to complete.  I designed this kit specifically for the purpose of getting a Rush tribute band going (this will be my second one), and I'm happy to report that project is moving right along.


The kit was designed to be an hybrid of the major features of Neil's setups from around Signals through about Counterparts. The sizes do not correspond exactly to any of Neil's kits, but they are in the ball park and reflect my own preferences as far as tuning range. (I'm not a huge fan of Neil's more current setup with the ride cymbal over the bass drum - just not my style.)



  • 6x6, 6x8, and 6x10" concert toms (cranked incredibly high, they sound amazing)
  • 8x10, 9x12, and 11x14 rack toms
  • 14x16 and 16x18 floor toms, with the 18" tuned rather low to emulate the gong bass drum role
  • 18x22 bass drum
  • 6x14 snare drum with custom Dunnett R-class throwoff

Cymbals are the factory-matched Sabian Paragon set, arranged exactly as they would be on Neil's kit (accounting for the era we are talking about). The only thing I'm not currently using are the 14" hihats - I haven't needed them yet, and the X-hat to mount them on didn't show up in Neil's setup until he moved the ride cymbal over the bass drum around Vapor Trails.  If we end up doing any songs that require them, I will work them in somehow.

The obligatory rack of cowbells with the 8" splash on top can be found to the right of the 14" rack tom. Additionally the kit features a 6x13 Toca steel timbale on the left side per Neil's 70's & '80's kits (rather than the additional floor tom he has in that spot now). All electronic and auxiliary percussion sounds are handled by a Roland SPD-S sampling percussion pad, expanded with some additional triggers including one on my left foot by the hihat. This takes care of all my glockenspiel, wind chime, tubular bell, temple block, Simmons SDS-5, and other electronic sounds needs. I monitor it through a Behringer keyboard amp.

This kit, large as it is, was designed to render a faithful Neil Peart experience in a live setting while still being reasonably portable and giggable without hiring a whole road crew.  So, rather than build a wraparound electronic kit in the back, I have an Alesis Trigger IO interface MIDI'd to the Roland, and I've worked out a way to use that to quickly turn the rack toms into trigger pads while silencing the acoustic sound at the same time (sorry, no pics available until my patent goes through!). I've also built my own version of the famous "Sidney" trigger to mount between the first two rack toms (see the Grace Under Pressure and Power Windows era kits for this - the chorus during the video for "Time Stand Still" will reveal one of it's uses). Sorry, no pic of that yet either, as I just finished it.

Hopefully you and your readership found this interesting. This kit is my pride and joy, and by far the best instrument I've ever owned. I used to run the drum department at Guitar Center in Hollywood, I've heard and played just about everything there is. I cannot recommend Pork Pie drums highly enough - and here I give a shout out and big "thank you" to Bill Detamore of Pork Pie who helped me realize my vision. Thanks again, Andy!

- Scott Nelson

  Santa Ana, CA