Kent Arnsbarger

Steel drummer, steel drums

3 Reviews (3 Verified)
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 7 albums on AppleMusic. I've recorded on over 50 albums the last 2 years on other platforms like this. I compose music for marching perc groups in Indiana and was on Jimmy Fallon!

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.

3 Reviews

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  1. Review by Simon W.

    It was a pleasure working with Kent. He communicated well, was very efficient, delivered on time, and his steel pans playing is right on the money. Great job! Thank you Kent. I'll be back!

  2. Review by Luke E.

    Kent was fantastic to work with. We wanted steel drums on a track, googled "soundbetter steel drums" and found Kent. We sent him our track with what we were thinking. Within a few days, he delivered great recordings of everything we asked for and it all lined up perfectly upon import. He also added an additional take of tasty elements that we were able to use throughout the track as well. I highly recommend Kent.

  3. Review by Per H.
    by Per H.

    Kent did a really nice track for me with a quick turnaround. (Two tracks actually.) He was also able to deal with a quirky transposition issue I had to accommodate my track. Great tone and feel, thanks Kent!

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.

Reggae Kiss

I was the steel drummer/audio for myself in this production

GenresSounds Like
  • Jimmy Buffett
  • Kent Arnsbarger: Steel Drum Artist
  • Bob Marley & The Wailers
Gear Highlights
  • I use the best steel pan in the world
  • literally. By I use LogicProX and AKG/Audio-Technica mics. Audio BX8a monitors. MacBook Pro 14' M1
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