Are We Responsible for the Increased Cost of Snare Drums?

mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
It seems to me that in the last five years or so that used snare drum prices have really gone through the roof... especially on used drums such as the Ludwig Acrolite... they are getting really close to used Supra prices.

Recently, I have been looking at used acrolites (since I gave mine away last December - I miss it) and the prices of have gone way up since the day I bought my old one 4 years ago. I paid $120 with free shipping and the drum was in perfect condition.

Now, it seems that most of the good to decent ones are listed at $200 and up.

DO you think our obsessive nature of constantly talking about gear and what we want and desire and how great this or that drum is has driven the price of these drums up?
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
It's probably just a demand and marketing thing. The internet is making getting into drumming a lot easier and more appealing, so I think more people are trying it out.
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
Well, yes. It's that law of supply and demand, which doesn't translate to all drums though. You don't see people endlessly searching for certain Pearl or Yamaha snares, right? Ludwig enjoys the status enjoyed by Fender, Gibson, Ford, and Harley Davidson. It doesn't matter what they make, they got the historic mojo since they were actually there at the birth of their industry.

Who wouldn't want to be in their position?
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
It's always a case of supply and demand, and what the market will bear. So in a sense, we're responsible for increased prices. But it's also relative, in most cases used and vintage gear is far less expensive than comparable new gear. As for Acrolites, I see '70s drums all the time for $125-150. I recently bought a lovely '60s specimen with a case & stand for $110. It's just a matter of patience, and sometimes just asking for a lower price. I've had several occasions when I've asked for a deal, and they come back with a lower number than I was going to offer! Always let the seller do the talking, and go from there.

Bermuda
 

Smoke

Silver Member
... I've had several occasions when I've asked for a deal, and they come back with a lower number than I was going to offer! Always let the seller do the talking, and go from there.

Bermuda
Wow! Good call. At my age, you'd think I'd have already learned that lesson.

Thanks Jon!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
What's written here is pretty influential to drummers around the world. Many more people read these boards than respond I'm guessing. If people here rave about Acros, or any other drum...I believe it increases the perceived worth of the drum to the general drumming public. That's why I got one, because everyone here loves them. Same thing with the Supralite. I got one because of what was said here. It got returned.

If we were really smart we would diss desirable drums to keep prices low lol.

Acros never did anything for me, I had 2 of them.

The moral here, don't rave about your drums. It's for the greater good :)
 

Redbeard

Senior Member
If we were really smart we would diss desirable drums to keep prices low lol.

Acros never did anything for me, I had 2 of them.

The moral here, don't rave about your drums. It's for the greater good :)
Supras and Black Beauties suck! And Gretsch drums are the worst!
 

Red Menace

Platinum Member
Acros never did anything for me, I had 2 of them.
I actually just scrapped mine. I had been using it at my church gig but had been growing frustrated with the sound. When it was tuned right and the wires were just right I would get this beautiful, dry pop. Trouble is that it was difficult to dial in just right. I cannibalized the lugs, throw and heads for a Slingerland brass shell.

I really do prefer the 402 Supra to the acro or the 5" Supra. They are already overpriced so I'm not worried about the price of those going up.
 

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
It's always a case of supply and demand, and what the market will bear. So in a sense, we're responsible for increased prices. But it's also relative, in most cases used and vintage gear is far less expensive than comparable new gear. As for Acrolites, I see '70s drums all the time for $125-150. ...
That might be true for the US. In Europe, prices are going through the roof. A used, beat up Supra can rarely be found for less than 400 Euros. An Acrolyte sells for 350+ Euros. A Black Beauty? 750+ Euros. Completely crazy. But then... the drummakers themselves also raised the bar. A new BB costs 1000-1200 bucks in Europe, a new Supra roughly 700 Euros.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I actually just scrapped mine. I had been using it at my church gig but had been growing frustrated with the sound. When it was tuned right and the wires were just right I would get this beautiful, dry pop. Trouble is that it was difficult to dial in just right...
You might have gotten one that had gotten dropped and knocked out of round. I've had 2 different metal snares off eBay that had that problem.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Quite simply, if the prices go up and we pay them, them yes we are responsible.
 
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SmoothOperator

Gold Member
I saw something like that happen to Olds trumpets. Everyone kind of realized the quality those older horns had reading reviews on the Internet, then you couldn't find them. Part of the problem is that manufacturing for things like musical instruments has gone downhill many of the high end( expensive) boutique horns lack the finer touches that the older horns had because they just don't have the market so they can't find or afford to produce or source things like decorative brackets. Not that these new high end horns aren't nice and sound great, but you can tell they were made in a shop with maybe a dozen people as opposed to a plant of hundreds of people designed by a committee of great performers. Many performers stockpile specific models of horns for example the Committee.
 

mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
The moral here, don't rave about your drums. It's for the greater good :)
Larry, I absolutely hate - like in can't stand and won't put up with anymore - that 6.5" Supra you gave me. In fact, I hate it so much that I have to force myself to use it everyday!!

There, that should tank the prices for Supras, anyway.

It's really my favoritest snare drum. It's yummy delicious!
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
There's plenty of great drums to be had at really reasonable prices, new or used, from where I sit. I'm really pleased with what $300 will buy you nowadays. And I figure the next time I want an Acrolite I have any number of ways to get one at a decent price.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Quite simply, if the prices go up and we pay them, them yes we are responsible.
Homemade good quality recordings, YouTube, and good boutique makers are all to blame. When you can hear a thousand different drums tuned really well on YouTube, your standards and taste automatically get more picky. And people tend to agree on what sounds good, (with a few exceptions) so, everybody is trying to buy those models, or similar ones.
 

picodon

Silver Member
That might be true for the US. In Europe, prices are going through the roof. A used, beat up Supra can rarely be found for less than 400 Euros. An Acrolyte sells for 350+ Euros. A Black Beauty? 750+ Euros. Completely crazy. But then... the drummakers themselves also raised the bar. A new BB costs 1000-1200 bucks in Europe, a new Supra roughly 700 Euros.
There is not much competition between on line shops in Europe. In France for drummers there is thomann.fr and baguetterie.fr and the rest doesn't offer all that much.

Not many Europeans will shop on web sites in other languages whereas Americans don't mind ordering something from the other end of the States - in English.

It's crazy how much you can save very easily if you take a few minutes more to shop around. I find amazon.de (Germany) considerably cheaper than amazon.fr and for >100 Euro items the shipping from Germany is easily absorbed by the total price difference.
 

Woolwich

Silver Member
"We" the consumer play our part in the market, supply and demand and as both a buyer of goods and a seller of goods I see both sides of the coin.
Recently I sold a 1984 Tour Programme on eBay, I actually had two identical ones but rather than posting them at the same time I tested the water first. It went for £27, completely surprised. I put the other one on, re listed it half a dozen times and in the end it went for a fiver. I can only speculate but if I'd put them both up at the same time I might have got £5-£10 each. Supply and demand.
I doubt that "We" as Drummerworld influence the market so stop panicking if you've got something nice to say about a bit of gear :) I've noticed the price of new Worldmax snares have gone up by quite a margin recently. Great drums but they don't get masses of airplay here so I think it just is what it is.
 
J

JohnoWorld

Guest
No, I don't think that we as drummers are responsible for the rise.

It's the marketing.

Acrolites and BBs are all now classed as "legendary" snares so the price has gone up. However, it hasn't gone up because of us wanting them, it's because Ludwig has jacked up the price so much for a new one, people think they can charge the earth for a "classic" model.

I've given up on snare porn now. I have what I need and will never need to change again as I have tried everything from a very broad pallet.

For example, I can't imagine a BB or an acrolite can sound better than my Sonors - artist steel + prolite maple. Different yes, but better? no.

Having spaffed a ton of money over the years on snares, I genuinely believe it's time for us to just chill and spend money on other stuff. If you're a kleptomaniac then that's fine too, I just think it's pointless trying to find your "dream" snare because chances are, you already have it.
 
No, I don't think that we as drummers are responsible for the rise.

It's the marketing.

Acrolites and BBs are all now classed as "legendary" snares so the price has gone up. However, it hasn't gone up because of us wanting them, it's because Ludwig has jacked up the price so much for a new one, people think they can charge the earth for a "classic" model.

I've given up on snare porn now. I have what I need and will never need to change again as I have tried everything from a very broad pallet.

For example, I can't imagine a BB or an acrolite can sound better than my Sonors - artist steel + prolite maple. Different yes, but better? no.

Having spaffed a ton of money over the years on snares, I genuinely believe it's time for us to just chill and spend money on other stuff. If you're a kleptomaniac then that's fine too, I just think it's pointless trying to find your "dream" snare because chances are, you already have it.
I think it's hilarious that Ludwig charges what they do for those snares when their QC is as awful as it is. $700 for a drum that's crafted so inconsistently drum to drum is absurd.

I've pretty much stopped buying new and have been playing the used market quite well for the past year or two and have come up with some great bargains:

A 2016 DW Collector's Oak snare in like-new condition from GC: $350
A custom built "Marshall's Custom Snares" 2.5 mm brass snare drum (Similar to Luddy's Black Magic snare): $149
A 2017 Tama Starclassic "Full" Bubinga 4-piece shell pack (Aztec Gold Satin w/ smoked black nickel hw) in like-new condition: $1599
A Sabian HH Medium-Thin crash in again, like-new: $99.

Pretty much I feel good about myself knowing that I'm not getting gouged by drum companies. I've opened the box before, it's a great feeling, but so is saving money. And sort of taking advantage of the idiots at GC who don't know what the gear is worth.
 

motleyh

Senior Member
I can tell you that from the boutique standpoint rising prices have little to do with supply & demand, or with marketing.

I spend very, very little on marketing. I serve a low-volume niche market. I price my snares on a cost-plus basis, with fixed fees for the labor and shop use that go into each snare drum, and those fixed fees haven't changed much over time. But the costs of wood, custom and standard parts, and finishing supplies continue to creep up.

Let me give you an example that's usually not even on people's radar. The cost of the sandpaper I use has increased about 60% in the past five years. That's not something that usually gets considered when people think about the cost of a drum, but I can assure you there's a lot of sandpaper involved in putting a good finish on a wood drum. So the choices are: lower the quality of the sandpaper and reduce the quality of the finish, change the finishes to something less pleasing but requiring less sanding, or allow for the increased cost in the price of the drum.

OK, sandpaper is a small thing and we're only talking about a few dollars per drum -- but when all those individual materials and processes are getting more expensive, it really adds up. Tools cost more than they did a few years ago. Wood costs more. Metals cost more. Finishing materials cost more. Shop supplies cost more. Labor? Well, labor hasn't changed much since about 2009, as you may have seen in your own salary.

The only way to keep those costs in check is to (1) increase volume -- not so easy to do without increasing expenses like marketing, (2) reduce the quality of materials -- which means reducing the quality of the finished drum, or (3) reduce margins -- which means making the company's financial picture unstable. Every day, I'm thankful that my business model is not based on market share. I'm never envious of the big manufacturers.

What do you pay for a same-quality shirt, a cell phone or data plan, a restaurant dinner entree, etc., compared with ten years ago?
 
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