Starting all over again - what would you buy?

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
This is a fictional scenario, a little game:

What, if you could start your drumming-career all over again? What equipment would you buy, if you would have all the money in your hand, that you have spent the past couple of years on drum gear?
Which brand,
how many pieces
& which sizes?
Maybe a special colour?
Which cymbals would you buy and how many?
Which snare(s)?
[Is the set very different to what you have now?]

And why would you choose THAT drumset now? For which musical styles would you use it?


Also answer this: What was your(!) first drumset [that is: not a borrowed set or something similar] - and what kind of music did you play with it?

This is just a fun game. Let's see, how we have evolved as musicians. How many of us are still doing their original stuff, how many have changed their genre and changed their equipment accordingly? Maybe someone started his career as a metal-drummer with a big drumcastle, only to end up as a bebop-drummer or vice versa. Maybe someone began his carreer with an 20" bassdrum and prefers to play 26" or 28" bassdrums nowadays.

Pictures of the set you'd get and the one you had can be added, if you want.

:)
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Ha, this is a fun thread!

When I started out, my first kit was a Westwood stencil kit that I got from some guy's basement for $200, with a couple of brass 12" cymbals and (lo and behold) a 1960 Ludwig Pioneer snare in blue duco. My next set was a Sears catalog "Blackhawk" (not the Gretsch set they sold, but a cheaper Taiwanese stencil kit). I jammed the two kits together into a big clumpy Frankenkit.

Eventually I sold all of that (including, stupidly, the Pioneer) and got a Yamaha Stage Custom shell bank with a 20" kick. A few years ago, I was gifted a badly damaged Ludwig Standard kit and rehabbed it; it's now my main gig kit.

I started out playing just straight-ahead rock, went through a serious prog phase, but now I play everything from jazz to country to rock in my two bands.

I love my Ludwigs so much, I really wish I'd had something like them as my first kit. Even now, I am looking to find matching toms to expand the kit - I'd love to go 12/14/16 on this kit, and I know there's got to be some out there.

If I were to do it all over again, I might order a Legacy kit in those sizes (12/14/16/22). I also have it in mind to check out an INDe kit. They do nice work. And there's always Guru.

If I were doing my first kit all over again as a kid, I would go for the current Stage Customs, no doubt. Probably the best entry-level kit on the market.
 
J

JohnoWorld

Guest
Like it.

I've kinda done this recently anyway, so I'll just be listing what I have now:

Mapex M Birch 8, 10, 14, 22
Sonor Prolite Snare 14 x 6.5 with die cast hoops
Sonor Artist Steel snare 14 x 5 with flanged
Pearl Omar Hakim Signature snare
Keller 14 x 8 self build maple snare with cast hoops

Paiste Signature cymbals - 15, 16, 18, 21 dry heavy ride, 13 heavy hats

-----------------------------

Thing is though if I was starting out now, I wouldn't have anything like the cash needed to buy this lot.

Over the years I have owned:

1- Maxwin gold thing
2- Mapex Mars (red)
3- Mapex Orion (red wax)
4- Mapex Orion (natural maple)
5- Pearl MMX (Gold)
6- Pearl BRX (Silver)
7- DW Collectors maple (black on black)
8- DW Collectors birch (black on black)
9- Sonor Delite (birdseye cherry)
10- Yamaha Stage custom (natural birch)
11- Sonor Prolite (nussbaum)
12- Mapex M Birch (cherry fade) - current

So I've gone full circle and back to the mapex - essentially almost all kits sound the same and the extra cash you pay is either for the name, more engineering or a more exotic wood/finish.

Cymbals and snares you need to invest in, but the tubs, just get what feels right to you, even if it's a cheap piece of crap.

Snare and cymbals are what matters, invest in those first if you can, tubs are just secondary in my opinion. As such I will never buy another top line kit, and snares? I don't think I can do much better than what I have tbh
 

MJD

Silver Member
https://www.amazon.com/Groove-Percussion-4-Piece-Hardware-Cymbals/dp/B004CTKJVA
This is the kit i play now. I'd get it again.(It's my beater kit. I also have a 1969-70 Slingerland kit) 4 piece 20x14 12x8 14x14 I'd get a Mapex MPX Hammered steel snare in 14x 5 (or 5.5 don't remember off the top of my head). I feel like this setup gives the best balance between versatility of tuning and portability. The luan shells have a nice low fundamental with is helpful with the smaller diameter toms. I'd get the Zildjian A391 pack and an LP Jam Block and LP Cowbell. The point of this is a kit i can take to any gig and not worry about it.

My first kit was an 80's Yamaha black 5 piece 22 12 13 16 power tom sizes. with additional roto-toms and a multitude of add ons that eventually got either lost or destroyed(i got it in 4th grade) and 6 cymbals mostly red label B8's but also a Tosca or 2. the hi hats i still have. the others either got broken by my friend or went with the kit when i gave it to a family friend. I believe he still has it somewhere. I used that kit to learn on so a lot of Marching rudimental stuff and Dixieland stuff plus Jazz and Rock eventually when i got interested in those genres. Used the toms to practice my Timpani technique (obviously not the tuning but the mechanical motions and the way one draws sound out). In price i may have downgraded but i feel like i've upgraded my kit quite a bit. The 20 inch bass drum lets me have my rack tom at the perfect height and i get better sounds out of this groove percussion than i ever did out of the yamaha( 20 more years of tuning practice i guess).
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
If I were to do it again, I would likely start off with a beginner/mid level kit, something like a PDP Concept, Stage Custom, Tama Superstar Classic, etc. Ya know, that $650-899 range kit. I would find a good deal on one of those then I would have all the edges re-cut (probably chop the bass drum shorter if its 18" depth), put on all new heads (probably keep the stock bass reso head) and use the rest of my money on great cymbals and sturdy, dependable hardware. Drums come and go, but cymbals and hardware stay.

I would play all sorts of different music on the kit. Rock, metal, pop, jazz (with the right cymbals), fusion, whatever suits me. The beginner/mid level kits are built really well today, they just need some better edges to get the most out of them.

My first kit was an 8 piece Tama Rockstar DX from 1992/93. I played metal and prog rock on it. Used Zildjian A series cymbals on that kit almost exclusively. It was a big rock kit.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
My first kit was a 50s Rogers 5Pc. I despised that thing and couldn't wait to get my Tama Imperialstar 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 16 tons with 24" kick. I thought that was where it was, just to realize later the Rogers was 10 times the kit sound wise! :( What was nice about that kit was my Paiste 2002s.

In the early 90s I got an upgrade and picked up a premier APK set. I had the option of a fusion kit, or one with power toms. Of course I went with the power toms! Big mistake! I was swatting at things way high in the air, because I couldn't get anything down where I needed them too. I remember the lowest position I could get my crash cymbals, they would line up with my adam's apple and I'm 5'10". I played like an ape for years like that. The nicest part of that kit was my full set of eight A Custom and Orientals.

I had to sell everything to stay afloat after the .com layoffs...

I've been on the same PDP kit now since 06. It's probably the most normal set I've had since the Rogers, but while the 22x18 BD has been a canon, it's been tough to maneuver and if you don't want boom, it's the wrong detention.

For years I've been playing rock and pop, etc., but have really fallen short on the more complex jazz stuff and have never been able to pull off anything fancy or meaningful on fills. I've got the job done, but that's been it. I've never even attempted to push the envelope live, so would just play it same and stick to the basics.

Last year I finally picked up a set of HHX Evolutions and looking for a new set at some point.

If I had to start over and money was no object, I'd get my HHX Evolutions again, because they are just so darned versatile. I'd likely add a set of Meinl Byzance for when I felt like something more dry and even darker than the Evos.

Set wise, I'd just force myself to stick with a 4pc (way too many great options to name one)in something closer to traditional sizes and not get tempted with a stupid number of toms, until I learned every trick I could pull off on a 4pc, then decide if I needed them. I'd also cut it out with all the rock focus and force my practice time to be more around mastering technique and finesse. I'd definitely be way ahead of where I am now, had I done that.

Not too late though...I've started doing this recently after I finally pulled my head out of my....!
 

Out Of Warranty

Senior Member
Here's a little different take on the OP....

If I had to do it all again, as a child, I would never have stopped taking lessons. In high school, instead of turning out for sports, I would have turned out for band. And, instead of not playing in early adult and mid-life, I would have found a way to work and raise the kids and still play.

At 57, I have been playing again for about 3 years and I kick myself in the butt repeatedly for letting opportunity pass me by.
 

Drumolator

Platinum Member
I would get just about what I now have.

Drums: Mapex Mydentity maple 10/14/22/13 snare
Cymbals: Sabian 17" AA Thin Crash, 18" AAX Studio Crash, 20" AA Medium Ride, and 14" Paragon Hats. These are my current cymbals.

I would play what I am now playing: praise and worship and blues/classic rock.

Peace and goodwill.
 

DrumWild

Senior Member
Going back to the beginning, and what I would buy... hmmmm...

I remember in 6th grade, seeing this 7th grader playing his drums. I admired him, and thought that one day I'd have drums like his. His parents bought him some nice clear blue Ludwig kit. I wanted to buy his old kit, but he said they didn't have it any more.

Turned out, my mother bought it from them, so that I could have it. We were on the low end of the middle class, so every single little thing was a struggle. She bought the kit, and spent $100 getting a few new heads and a tiny cymbal.

If I could go back, I'd still want that drum set, for what it represented. I'd probably buy a hi-hat, crash, and ride, as well as a throne, just to make it all more official and functional.

 

Smoke

Silver Member
Ha! I'm 58 - bought my first kit 11 years ago. Used '97 vintage, 6-pc, Indonesian Stage Customs with Zildjian As and Ks.

Who needs to start over?!?
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
My very first set was a third- or fourth-hand 1940s Slingerland in gold sparkle. It had a 9x13 tom, and a 14x24 bass drum, and a sky blue pearl Japanese no name snare. I bashed hell out of that from age 7 til 13. When the proper sets came in, like I've said in other threads, they were all based on Ludwig's Big Beat 5-piece: 8x12/9x13/16x16/14x22 with a snare of varying depths, but for years I had a Ludwig Supraphonic.

Over the years I've tried other sizes from too small to too big, and my last two kits (Pearl Reference and DW Collectors) have both been in that same Big Beat 5-piece configuration. So I think only how I play has actually evolved. I'm glad I never recorded myself way back when! I'd be embarrassed by how I played and I must've drove my family nuts with bad loud drumming!
 

Rubik1014

Junior Member
Going back to the beginning, and what I would buy... hmmmm...

I remember in 6th grade, seeing this 7th grader playing his drums. I admired him, and thought that one day I'd have drums like his. His parents bought him some nice clear blue Ludwig kit. I wanted to buy his old kit, but he said they didn't have it any more.

Turned out, my mother bought it from them, so that I could have it. We were on the low end of the middle class, so every single little thing was a struggle. She bought the kit, and spent $100 getting a few new heads and a tiny cymbal.

If I could go back, I'd still want that drum set, for what it represented. I'd probably buy a hi-hat, crash, and ride, as well as a throne, just to make it all more official and functional.

This is totally awesome. Thanks for posting it.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
Here's a little different take on the OP....

If I had to do it all again, as a child, I would never have stopped taking lessons. In high school, instead of turning out for sports, I would have turned out for band. And, instead of not playing in early adult and mid-life, I would have found a way to work and raise the kids and still play.

At 57, I have been playing again for about 3 years and I kick myself in the butt repeatedly for letting opportunity pass me by.
I hear you on that one. For me it wasn't about continuing lessons, but taking them at all. We had no spare change for any of that activity, but never looked into to it when I got my own source of income. Drums were more of a stress reliever in the days past, because I really didn't have any real time to commit or the freedom to make noise. Now that things have changed, I'm trying to finally launch forward and grow where I can, as fast as I can before something blows up again!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I find it curious that the majority would get what they have presently.

If I was starting over again....Do I have the knowledge I do now? Because if that's not a parameter, then I would be just as stupid as I was when I first started out.
 

Brian

Gold Member
My mother bought me my first kit 28 years ago (age 10). It was and is a 50's Leedy "rock" kit 13/16/20, with a 13" 60's Ludwig tom, all white marine pearl and a late 40's Ludwig BR super classic snare.

I sold the snare years ago but still have the set and it is what I have set up and tend to play.

And if I had disposable income, I'd simply have it refurbished.
 

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
I find it curious that the majority would get what they have presently.

If I was starting over again....Do I have the knowledge I do now? ...
Yes, you do have all the knowledge. Otherwise the "game" wouldn't work or be interesting. ;-)

That said, I have forgotten to answer the questions I posted myself. Duh!

Okay, here we go.
I started with borrowed kits, then I got my first kit as a young teenager, a basically midrange-Ludwig - that had fire-damage. But that kit was a gift of some sorts (Friend of mine said, he'd throw it away. I asked, if I could have it and played with the remnants of that drumset. Bassdrum, one tomtom, a cheapo snare + bongos). My parents threw it away secretly. Again, gigging with borrowed entry-level sets. Meh. And I dreamed of owning a kit like Keith Moon or Simon Phillips...

The first real drumset that I bought myself came many many many many years later and was totally different. A Tama Superstar Hyperdrive (that I still have and play, although it got a bit modified). 22x20 (now 22x18), 10x6.5, 12x7, 16x14 and 14x5.5 snare. Added some turkish B20 cymbals and continued my "Rock-career".

During the past couple of years, my drumming changed considerably. It got diverse. I play jazz, funk, pop, rock, blues, soul, sometimes bossanova, I also use brushes (unthinkable for me ten years ago). And as my drumming got diverse, I found out that different drum sizes suit me more nowadays...

If I were to start it all over again and take the cash and buy drums, I would get two drumsets (one for each practice-room that I gig in).
Tama Starclassic B/B 20x14, 12x8, 14x14 in white with a Tama SLP Classic Maple snare and Masterwork Custom cymbals, 14, 16, 19, 20. Uh... damn, I've got that already. Hehehe...
The other set would be same configuration but a Starclassic Maple (piano black), adding a Star Solid Maple 14x6 snare (different bearing edge, thus very different to the SLP). Cymbals.... I'd keep my HHX Evolutions (14-16-18-20) probably or get some UFiP Natural cymbals. I need something that can be used for everything except Metal and such stuff.

Why? That bassdrum size fits all bills and is easy to carry around. I don't really see the advantage of bigger bassdrums anymore. And a 14" floortom delivers basically enough lowend. And Tama has been really solid for me, great quality, so... no need to change brands. Although the new Yamaha Tour Custom (20x15 bassdrum, thin shells) is intriguing, I must admit.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
First kit was an old Rodgers kit of uncertain lineage. Cost me £50 back in 1980. I re covered it and modified it to suit what I wanted. We played all originals, post punk type stuff.

If I started over again I would buy exactly what I have now, a red finish Yamaha Stage Custom, with Remo heads, Yamaha hardware and Zildjian A cymbals. Plus an Alesis Red e-kit for quiet practice. Job done.
 

Out Of Warranty

Senior Member
I bought my Ludwig Standards, used in 1975, for $50.

If I had to do it all over again, I would have tried to talk him down to $45.
 
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