Episode 14: Carter McLean of the Lion King, Charlie Hunter, and designing drums with Ronn Dunnett

Carter McLean has been playing drums full-time at the Lion King on Broadway since 2011. He’s an in-demand session and live player currently on tour with guitar wizard Charlie Hunter. And on that tour, Carter is debuting his one-of-a-kind George Way kit he designed with master craftsman Ronn Dunnett.
Screen Shot 2017-12-02 at 11.57.40 PMCarter is well known on these here internets for his high production-quality YouTube drum video channel and Instagram account, through which he showcases lustworthy Dunnett Classic and George Way drums, Istanbul Agop cymbals, many innovative instruments and implements such as Morfbeats cowbells, Big Fat Snare Drum overlays, thoughtful bags and accessories from Tackle Instrument Supply, microphones from Earthworks, and more.
Carter has been featured on a number of other podcasts and articles. Here are some of the best. Rather than rehashing what others have skillfully covered, we focused on Carter’s gear and sonic influences.
More topics we discussed include:
  • How he stumbled onto his unique style and sound for recording drum videos
  • Creating his relationship with Ronn Dunnett (no, he doesn’t get to keep all those drums…)
  • Creating the Carter McLean Balance snare drum with Ronn and Paul Warry
  • Conceiving his ultra-custom George Way drum set
  • Charlie Hunter and their new record with singer Silvana Estrada
  • The great Jim Keltner and his approach to creating parts and sound design
  • Finding your sound and voice on the drums
  • Working with Ronn Dunnett on the Balance snare drum, which immediately sold out… but there’s another drum on the way… and designing his drum kit
  • About Ronn Dunnett, Dunnett Classic Drums and George Way Drums and having an identity as a craftsman
  • Tackle Instrument Supply Company bags and accessories
  • The beauty of analog interaction and getting away from technology sometimes
  • The sound of drums in modern pop music and sonic inspiration for composing the drum set for pop performance
  • How Carter “prepares” the kit to create inspiration
  • Morfbeats cowbells and percussion
  • Big Fat Snare Drum overlays
  • Earthworks microphones
  • Index Drums, Upcycled Percussion, and Gregg Keplinger shakers, crashers, and other metallic instruments
  • Lesson on augmenting – and removing from – the kit on 4HD to inspire yourself
  • Scott Pellegrom and his rubber chicken
  • Charlie Hunter Tour dates at charliehunter.com
  • Four Hands Drumming online lessons that are a great extension of this conversation, and you can take private lessons with Carter in NYC, CT, and Skype

Go check out Carter on tour with Charlie Hunter, in the pit at the Lion King, on Four Hands Drumming, or take a lesson in NYC, CT, or online!

Listen to Drum Showroom Episode 14 here, and please subscribe and leave a review if you like what I’m doing. It would really mean a lot.

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