Maybe at that, the cost of the gear doesn't matter.

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Opinions? Maybe we've all been taken for a ride by the marketing machine?
Heck yeah we've all been riding the marketing machine! However, as pointed out too, the PA makes a big difference. We did the same thing when I was a student in recording engineering class learning how to mic up a drum set for the first time. The drums sounded much better in the control room than it did in the playing area. The guy playing them sounded alot better in the control room too ;)

I still contend that anyone with the proper ability should be able to take any kit and make it sound good. Drums are not hand-made violins or brass or woodwind instruments. There's a distinction I draw the line at. And not to slight the hand-made steam-bent crowd, but there's not too much difference between those and mass-produced ply drums. But as Al points out, if the hardware is up to snuff, I'd trust it to survive on the road. But in reality this is unwise as 'the road' for musical instruments is made much harsher by weather conditions and sun and stage lighting, that's really what you buy when you get into pro-level stuff.

The problem with that is we all think we're gonna be in those situations. We all think we'll be the next Steve Gadd recording the next discerning jazz track with Chick Corea. We all think we'll be Neil Peart going from motorcycle to stage in front of 70,000 screaming fans. The reality, of course, is much different. I think I've made a career out of playing out once in a while on weekends in between all the other maverick work I do, and I've never found myself in a studio or playing to more than small church (mouse gig notwithstanding). But dang it, when I do - I'll be ready ;)

Thank God I'm told what I need!
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
Ah, peer pressure. Confessions. Keep verbiage minimal.

Me bad tuner. Played 80s style single-headed cardboard boxes for yonks. RT is single headed. Sounded bad anyway lol

Public recordings from me not do Guru justice. Unbelievably resonant despite stray overtones. Nowhere for bad tuner to hide. Learning curve. Enjoying playing out of tune anyway. Still sounds cool. Just want flow and can't be effed with details. I am a lazy bad person. Sue me.

:)
I see! I remember having to make an adjustment after playing my 70's Gretsch kit with concert toms for many years.
Bottom heads do come as a shock after not having them for decades.
You will catch on soon. It took me a few months of experimenting to get tom tuning.
 

Boomka

Platinum Member
Amplification can do wonders for a drum sound, though I think if you start with a decent sound, it's going to make the engineer's job easier.

One thing to note is that the quality of mid-market drums is so much higher than it was even 10 years ago. The build quality, the shell materials, etc. are all as good or better than a lot of the "classic" and "vintage" kits that many drool over.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
Attended an open mic jam last night. The guy had some inexpensive Sonors. Pinstriped, tuned low, laundry in the kick, ported head, sloshy low tuned snare with loose wires, hi hats that sounded like they were the opposite of crisp, clangy Rock ZBT cymbals, pretty much opposite of my sound. Typical bad drum kit sound, nothing special. Didn't do a thing for me. I could have done wonders with that kit. So it's not how much you pay, it's what you do with them after you paid for them.

Written as I'm waiting for my Guru's lol.
Went to an open jam about a year ago where they guy had a beautiful set of DWs that sounded terrible. The only time I ever played into a drum to try and just get a decent flat sound out of it. Pulling the stick back like I normally do sounded way worse. Even a local hero on break from touring couldn't get a good sound out of them. Nobody sounded very comfortable on them. The regular guy usually brings a set of older Renowns with a 10 and a 13. He takes lessons from Wally Schnalle and learned how to tune. Same stage, drums at half the price, and they sound great unless a total hack is playing them. There's another local guy who typically hauls around a set of beater '60s Pearls he found in a dumpster. No resos, dented pinstripes and all. But he plays great and tunes them to get the most out of them. When he's playing, they sound like drums.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
I think that finally buying a better kit after 40 years of playing cheaper kits was something I did just for me...
I did the same.


Got any examples you can relate?
Gretchen, you have been really quiet since you have received the new kit.
Ah, peer pressure. Confessions. Keep verbiage minimal.

Me bad tuner. Played 80s style single-headed cardboard boxes for yonks. RT is single headed. Sounded bad anyway lol

Public recordings from me not do Guru justice. Unbelievably resonant despite stray overtones. Nowhere for bad tuner to hide. Learning curve. Enjoying playing out of tune anyway. Still sounds cool. Just want flow and can't be effed with details. I am a lazy bad person. Sue me.

:)
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Attended an open mic jam last night. The guy had some inexpensive Sonors. Pinstriped, tuned low, laundry in the kick, ported head, sloshy low tuned snare with loose wires, hi hats that sounded like they were the opposite of crisp, clangy Rock ZBT cymbals, pretty much opposite of my sound. Typical bad drum kit sound, nothing special. Didn't do a thing for me.
See, he needed an FOH guy...
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Attended an open mic jam last night. The guy had some inexpensive Sonors. Pinstriped, tuned low, laundry in the kick, ported head, sloshy low tuned snare with loose wires, hi hats that sounded like they were the opposite of crisp, clangy Rock ZBT cymbals, pretty much opposite of my sound. Typical bad drum kit sound, nothing special. Didn't do a thing for me. I could have done wonders with that kit. So it's not how much you pay, it's what you do with them after you paid for them.

Written as I'm waiting for my Guru's lol.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
Exactly. You can play the same things on different kits, but will you? The new kit is pulling different things from me to the RT.
Gretchen, you have been really quiet since you have received the new kit.
I was wondering about how you were doing with it the other day as a matter of fact.
It must still be a shock to you.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Exactly. You can play the same things on different kits, but will you? The new kit is pulling different things from me to the RT.
Interesting Anon La Ply....With your superlative verbiage skills, could you somehow expound copiously on this rather titillating juxtaposition?

In other words, how so lol? Got any examples you can relate?
 

SOGdrummer

Senior Member
Play my Yamaha Oak Customs when gigging and a Tama Swingstar kit at church every Sunday...in the acoustics of the big church sanctuary and with the sound system in the church the Swingstars sound great.

Love my Yamaha's and bought the kit because I wanted a better kit for my personal use. I admit I love the finish and the hardware...marketing? No I think that finally buying a better kit after 40 years of playing cheaper kits was something I did just for me...

One note..my Yamaha Anton Fig snare is light years above the Tama snare that came with the Swingstars...don't even use that snare any longer.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Just for the record, let me interject my agreement with the following: Yes, much more fun to play a great kit than a sucky one. Yes, much easier to pull good sound out of a good kit, and it also takes less time. Yes, a bad, poorly tuned kit, in an unmiked bar situation will sound bad.

And truth be told, the sound check for those lousy kits was a bit longer than mine was, to be sure.

I don't think this experience has convinced me to rely on budget drums or cymbals exclusively, and I'm pretty sure I wasn't expecting anyone to talk me into it either. Basically I was just reflecting on how, despite the very gear-oriented mentality of many drummers, and to some extent this forum, a hodgepodge of cheap budget gear ended up sounding pretty passable on a festival stage.

And I'm with you, Grea. I'm sure I'd sound like angels singing while riding unicorns down rainbows if I had a Guru kit myself. For sure, it would be easier to get inspired than on the old blues jam kit.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
To me, I'm so much more inspired to play the instrument when they feel and sound great. Can I do the same thing on a set that doesn't inspire me to play? Indeed. Just so much more enjoyable and effortless to do on something that really hits home to me.
Exactly. You can play the same things on different kits, but will you? The new kit is pulling different things from me to the RT.
 

dmacc

Platinum Member
........Having said that, the Gurus are a MUCH more inspiring kit to play.
This is such the truth. To me, I'm so much more inspired to play the instrument when they feel and sound great. Can I do the same thing on a set that doesn't inspire me to play? Indeed. Just so much more enjoyable and effortless to do on something that really hits home to me.

The subjective words in my comments though are "what feel and sound great to me." That can mean something different to each of us.

Big PA - outdoor gig - good engineer = big equaliser. The bottom line is this, in most other circumstances, all things being equal, a better sounding source is your fastest & most reliable guarantee of better results.
Agreed.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
Big PA - outdoor gig - good engineer = big equaliser. The bottom line is this, in most other circumstances, all things being equal, a better sounding source is your fastest & most reliable guarantee of better results.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
If you go back to the thread about Wac'd Drums latest endeavour, where he made a kit for a clinic played by Johnny Rabb, one of the toms was made from a heavy, concrete casting cardboard tube. Mic'd it sounded fantastic. It is quite obvious that sound is the most important of the drum factors, but anyone who gigs will tell you that good hardware is a necessity for any kit that is broken down nightly, and carted about. Yes we can make a drum sound just fine but we can't make a cheap kit last.
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
I did a recording session a few years back with a hot engineer. The guy had just done Avril Levigne's record the week before and he was getting a rep for killer drums sounds.

We talked and he spent almost an hour detailing his drums (yamaha what else?), heads, tuning, mic placement, compression etc.

After all of this I asked: "What about cymbals?".

"They all pretty much go psshhh, don't they?" was his reply. A friggin' ENGINEER!!!

So yes, we are all crazy, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
 

whiteknightx

Silver Member
I was having a related conversation with a couple musician buddies on Saturday.

My friend who is a bass player wanted to go to a music store to check out a squier 5 string bass to use for jams and goofing around gigs. He's got 8 or 9 5 string basses already, some very high end. To me, I can't tell the difference from one to another when he's playing them, especially live, with the whole band going, and told him so. He told me that us drummers are just as nuts with all our different cymbals, they all sound the same to him.

We do spend a crazy amount of time picking cymbals, sticks, heads and drum kits, and we all love our own, but he does have a point. If there was a big difference, we should be able to listen to any drummer play his kit blind, and tell what he's using. When I listen to other drummers play, I listen to his talent, not his kit. I couldn't tell you what kind of gear anyone uses, unless I sit at the kit myself.

I wonder how much of it is a case of the "Emperors new Clothes" I appreciate the higher end drums are finished like fine furniture and cost more, and some are just beautiful to look at and I love them. But playing with a band with two guitars, bass, keys and vocals all pumping out, I think 90% of those little tone things we spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on all go right out the window. As long as the drums tune up good, and have decent cymbals that don't sound like tin pie plates, it's all good live.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
A graphic example about 4 years ago when my lounge band played at the Sando with drums mic'd up. We were friends with the sound guy and we knew he'd be good.

My Pearl Rhythm Traveler sounded great - like a proper kit. 16" bass drum and all. Add a bit of oomph to the bottom end and the 16" kick has a proper boom.

The stage sound generally was great, light years from many other gigs I've played. Afterwards I told him that I loved the stage sound because everything was so crisp and clear - and in a long room with awkward acoustics. He replied, "That's what I do, m'dear - crisp and clear". Obviously easier said than done because a lot of sound guys don't achieve it.

Having said that, the Gurus are a MUCH more inspiring kit to play.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I do agree that for the most part, many/most/all mid-level drums today are on par with high end drums of 20-40 years ago in terms of sonic quality. A super high end is not necessary to get a good tone.

But there is some context here. Playing outdoors tends to dry out even the most resonant drums. So I can see in an outdorr setting the differences being less apparent. Then add in the PA, and yes, it's a great equalizer.

But in a small bar, with no mics, I think the differences between good heads/bad heads cheap/good cymbals will become more apparent.

A good FOH guy, though, is apparently akin to a stage magician.
So yeah, a good sound guy can work miracles with crap gear.
True, but having a good sound guy at the gig tends to be a luxury. Anyone's who's done a share of gigging is bound to have horror stories of under-trained, under skilled or just bad sound people. There have been plenty of threads on those around here.

And then of course, some gigs, there are no mics for the drums. And then the difference between a decent set of drums well tuned and a crap set with 10 year old heads is going to become way more apparent. So I still think having drums with good heads tuned properly is still the way to go, just so to be ready regardless of the situation.

I saw a gig a few weeks ago, and the drummer had a Pearl Export with Pinstripes that were old and dented. No Mics, in a small bar. He might as well been playing cardboard boxes. In fact, boxes might have sounded better. Maybe an awesome sound guy with mics could have made this kit sound great, but no such person was there. And I've gigged with Pearl Exports before, I know with good heads they can sound pretty decent in a bar setting.

Touch can also play. I told a story from a little over a year ago of going to an open jam. Most guys made the ride sound OK at best. Then the guy before me made this ride cymbal sound amazing, as if it was the finest vintage K. I go up, and it turns out it's a ZBT that just goes "clang, clang" when I play it. haha.
 
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