Hello! (new here) and help!

dnt

Member
Hey, everyone! I taught myself to play drums as a teen, and have recently decided to get back into things with some guys in my area. Question: if you were buying a new outfit, and had to make a sacrifice (price-wise), would you buy a more expensive drum set and lesser cymbals, or really nice cymbals and an intermediate kit? I've got things narrowed down, but I'd appreciate any input. Thanks!
 

jdsg

Member
You can always tune up a lower level kit to sound great. Crappy cymbals will always sound crappy
 

trickg

Silver Member
You can always tune up a lower level kit to sound great. Crappy cymbals will always sound crappy
This.

My first kit was a Pacific FS Birch kit, and my first set of cymbals was a Sabian AAX Stage pack. The drums went through a number of iterations - first thing was good heads and careful tuning, but later I got a piece of MDF and some sheets of self-stick sandpaper, and made a sanding table. That kit had super sharp bearing edges on a single 45 degree angle, so I toned down the sharpness with the sanding table just a touch, did some light rounding of the edge carefully by hand. It made that fairly inexpensive intermediate kit sound pretty danged nice.

I've never regretted buying that AAX Stage Pack. The 16" crash I broke years ago, but I still use the hats and ride all the time, even though I've upgraded my drums since that first kit.

Definitely go nice on the cymbals out of the gate if you can. It's well worth the investment.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Don't forget decent snare. Though you can find excellent inexpensive snares and cymbals, in general, I agree money spent on snare and cymbals worth it. The rest of the kit can be an inexpensive shell pack-it's 90% heads anyways so save money on kit for good heads LOL. Oh and welcome to the forum. It's a great place-informative and a few characters. Some drama I suspect completely unrelated to drumming and more ticked at someone/thing else-so it becomes a place to vent too. It's supportive too-they helped me from flipping my noodle when I was chair ridden a bit-I guess they wren't completely successful LOL.
 
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dnt

Member
Really appreciate all the thoughts and the welcome. Thank you! I spent months listening to dozens of cymbals/packs, and I'm down to a Paiste 2002 pack vs Zildjian A Series 391. On drums, I'm hooked on Gretsch - trying to finalize between Renown and Catalina. Glad to be part of things here!
 

Mustion

Senior Member
1. Buy used

2. Spending more on cymbals gets you more bang for your buck than spending more on the kit itself, so splurge on the cymbals first.

3. That said, don't go bargain basement and get total junk -- try to go with an established brand and even then, not their lower models. Do a little research and don't be afraid to ask for advice here on particular brands/models

4. BUY USED

5. Put special focus on the snare as well as the pedal as you'll be most intimate with those two items

6. Did I say to buy used?
 

trickg

Silver Member
Spend your money on cymbals first, then get a kit.

Buy used when you can.
This! There are decent deals to be found if you look for them. I just picked up a set of Zildjian New Beats hi-hats for $150, and they are practically brand new. They were dirty, but 10 minutes at the sink and a gentle scrub with Barkeeper's friend, and they looked great. That's less than half of what they cost new.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
Great drum kits don't cost that much anymore. Great cymbals still cost a lot, relative to drums. Buy a used Gretsch Catalina Maple or, better yet, a Sonor AQ2 maple kit. Get a used pair of Zildjian New Beat hats. Get a Dream Bliss crash/ride and you've spent less than $800 and have great drums and great cymbals. You can add a more expensive ride later and use the Dream Bliss just as your crash.
 
These guys are right, it's the cymbals. Get a great snare to go with them and you can play pro on a myriad of intermediate kits.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Gretsch Renown used should be easy to find used and of course since I play them they are great. Cymbals are also available used, but new or used, if you have the chance play them first
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
Welcome to DW, DNT. Good to have you aboard.

You are on the right track. Gretsch Renowns should actually be considered pro-level drums, so if you are able to buy those, do it. Even if you have to go with the maple Catalinas, you could do a lot worse. Heck, every $1000 kit available from every major manufacturer is pro level these days. Not many years ago, they would have been considered some of the cream of the crop.

Add the pro-level cymbal pack that you have in mind and you will have a set that could last you a lifetime, if you wanted. Either of those packs are top notch.

And if you can find either, or both, of those purchases in the used market, you can save a bundle that you can spend on a good throne (essential), a brick of sticks, heads, and upgraded hardware.

Good luck in your pursuit. Once you buy, be sure to let us know how you made out and post some pics. We love pics!

GeeDeeEmm
 

beatdat

Senior Member
And if you can find either, or both, of those purchases in the used market, you can save a bundle that you can spend on a good throne (essential), a brick of sticks, heads, and upgraded hardware.
GeeDeeEmm
Took the words right out of my mouth. Buy a high-end throne.

If your budget can afford what you're looking at, great. If not, and you want to save some money, buy a decent entry-level kit, especially if you really haven't yet spent much time behind the kit, and learn to get the most out of it. Experiment with some different heads, learn how to tune them to their best, learn how to pull the best sound out of them, etc.. If you do that, you'll be able to play on pretty much anything (like a typical backline kit if you start to gig). It'll also make your next kit seem even sweeter when you do move up.

Do get the best cymbals you can afford.

I wouldn't bother with a better snare drum just yet, but it would be next on my list.
 

dnt

Member
Well, sounds like a majority on really good cymbals! lol That's kind of what I'd been thinking - get real quality there and you're set. Really appreciate the welcome to The Family, too. As a self-taught guy who hasn't played in a while, it was a bit intimidating joining here at first, but you folks are great. I may have more questions in the future, but it's cool knowing you've been there and understand. Will definitely post pics when I finally make the big decision. Have a great weekend!
 

Dave_G

Member
Bad cymbals always stand out as bad cymbals. Great cymbals are noticeable and inspiring to play. I'd recommend going the used route on any purchase because you can save a lot of money but also get some great cymbals. Used Zildjian A and A Custom seem to be the most available out there on the used market and sell for reasonable prices. Same with Sabian AA and AAX cymbals.



If you decide you want something different down the road, they hold their used value well unless you damage them. Crappy cymbals lose a lot of value.



You can also get a solid intermediate drum set like a Yamaha Stage Custom for a few hundred dollars and invest in good heads.I think you'll get the most in terms of sound and value of investment by following these guidelines.
 

Mustion

Senior Member
You can also get a solid intermediate drum set like a Yamaha Stage Custom for a few hundred dollars and invest in good heads
This is what I would suggest as well. For the price you get really good quality, nice sounding drums. I usually see them for around $650 new so I'm sure one could find them for a steal used.
 
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