Yamaha MCA or Ludwig Classic Maple??


Senior Member
Like many other posters here, I've owned many kits. In my humble opinion, I would rate the manufacturers like so (I left SOUND out because that's quite subjective):

1.a Pearl:
I've owned a Masters Mahogany, Reference & Masters Maple, and these kits were absolutely flawless in every single way. Combine this with a fantastic forum, easy access to parts, an outstanding warranty and first class customer service, and Pearl drums are a no-brainer.

1.b. Yamaha:
I've owned Birch & Maple Custom Absolutes, and I just purchased an Oak Custom kit. These kits were absolutely flawless in every single way as well. However,the warranty is not as generous as Pearl's -- but fit & finish are impeccable. Also, there's a certain aura of elegance about them, and they ooze class. Finally, I LOVE their aluminum hoops, and their hardware & tom-holders are the best in the business IMO.

2. Mapex:
I've owned 4 Saturn kits, 2 Pro-M's and 2 Meridian's. The shells of every Saturn kit I've owned were perfectly in round, and Mapex has a generous warranty on those shells. I rated them second because their kits do not seem to posses the same level of 'elegance' as the Yamaha's do. In fairness, I should probably be using an Orion for comparison...
Also, I should mention that I special-ordered a Saturn kit and it took only 90 days for delivery -- I wish some of the other manufactures could do this.

3. Sonor
I've owned a Force kit and an S-Classix. The Classix were every bit as elegant as the Pearl's and Yamaha's. However, the Pearl's and Yammies were cheaper (though Yamaha is getting up there), and parts for some Sonor stuff can be hard to come by or take forever. Combine this with the extremely high prices here in the U.S. and they rate as third.

4. Tie Gretsch/Ludwig.
I've owned Gretsch new Classics, Renowns and Ludwig Classic Maples. Although, I rated these guys last, the kits are still great. It's just that they're no-nonsense, 'get the job done' kits, and they don't have the attention to detail or features of the others. However, the Renown's are a pro kit at a mid-level price, and you simply can't beat the number of configurations a Ludwig kit can be ordered for a VERY fair price.

Tama/DW -- no experience with these two...yet. ;-)
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