Kent Arnsbarger

Steel drummer, steel drums

Kent Arnsbarger on SoundBetter

Need a steel drummer for you tracks? Steel drummer, recording artist, producer. I kind of do it all like most people I guess. I play 150+ gigs a year and have 6 albums on AppleMusic. I've recorded on over 50 albums the last 2 years on other platforms like this. I compose music for marching percussion groups in Indiana and teach privately.

Some people need a light touch of island sounds over their track. Steel drums are amazing for that. Some people want a hard solo of Pan on their track, or maybe just backing chords, whatever you're looking for, this will set your track apart. I mean how often do you hear steel pan on a non-island tune?? Beach Boys and Buffett are great and all, but it doesn't have to be that style at all.

I record what you ask for & send you a couple of takes to chose from. Pretty easy. I ask for some specifics from you, like notation, or a midi file, or a chord layout, and direction. What exactly do you want?? Be as detailed as you like, I prefer it.

Send me an email through 'Contact' button above and I'll get back to you asap.

Interview with Kent Arnsbarger

  1. Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?

  2. A: I really enjoyed working on a Reggae Kiss project 2 years ago. Guys are from Sweden and asked me to play the guitar solo on the track (using steel drums). So I did it, then they send me the music video they did and I was blown away. + extra bonus, Kiss actually heard the track and acknowledged my part. But, there are sooooo many cool and exciting things I've been a part of over the years.

  3. Q: What are you working on at the moment?

  4. A: My next album (my 7th!)

  5. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  6. A: Digital. It's all I have to work with and I'm very happy for that.

  7. Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?

  8. A: To give 110% 100% of the time.

  9. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  10. A: Everyday is a new adventure. Being self employed usually is amazing.

  11. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  12. A: That all this is is a island instrument

  13. Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?

  14. A: What is this for? I like to know their aspirations and goals too. Also, I ask for a note layout of the song (chords, notation, whatever they can provide) and guidance. What do they hope to hear when I send it back? Don't tell me AFTER I send you something back!! HAHA!

  15. Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

  16. A: Do you want something REALLY unique to stand out on your track??? Then I'm glad you found me.

  17. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  18. A: Steel pan (and stand/mallets), my iPhone to listen to music, drumsticks and a practice pad.

  19. Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?

  20. A: I've been recording since 2002 and playing steel drum professionally since 2004. Before this I was a drum set performer mostly since it paid the bills. Since 1991 I've also been a percussion instructor/arranger for several Indiana high school marching bands along with private teacher.

  21. Q: How would you describe your style?

  22. A: laid back. I try not to over play, but sometimes do if I'm not told by the artist to lay back before I begin.

  23. Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?

  24. A: Van Morrison. Cause his sound is so timeless.

  25. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  26. A: Give me what I request. More is always better so I can give you more than I promised.

  27. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  28. A: so many different styles have popped up requesting steel pan on their work, I've done virtually everything in the last 3 years or freelancing. When I work on my own stuff, it's strictly Caribbean island style music as I play 150 gigs a year with.

  29. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  30. A: Getting an accurate representation of my steel pan on a track.

  31. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  32. A: Color, Timbre, a voice that you can't substitute with a cheesy fake instrument sound. It just won't hold up unless you use the real thing.

  33. Q: What's your typical work process?

  34. A: The client contacts me to make sure this is something within my range, then after receiving all the details, along with sheet music or a good midi file that dump into Finale for notation, I record and usually turn it around in 1 day.

  35. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  36. A: I use LogicProX on my Mac mini, and it's awesome! HA! I use AKG mics on my steel pan most of the time.

  37. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  38. A: I play Caribbean music mostly now live, but I record such a diverse style of music on my Pan. So I have a lot of influences in many many genres of music.

  39. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  40. A: I record steel drum tracks for artists albums all around the world as a soloist or as someone just comping chords under song. I produce a HQ Wav file (or whatever you require) and I don't apply ANY effects to it unless you ask. I feel providing dry stems to my clients and letting them tweak until it suits their sound is usually what they want anyway.

GenresSounds Like
  • Jimmy Buffett
  • Kent Arnsbarger: Steel Drum Artist
Gear Highlights
  • I use the best steel pan in the world
  • literally. By Pantuner.com. I use LogicProX and AKG mics. Audio BX8a monitors. Mac mini with 32 gigs of Ram and i7.
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