Re: I just started drums after almost 40 years on guitar....
Oh I see lol. Well when you said a few small toms, I didn't know you wanted to create a seven piece kit lmao! :)
No problem there, as I bought the PDP X7 in maple 2 years ago after being away from drumming for 10+ years. The only thing about it is now that I've gotten back into it and have had the chance to really look at myself as a player, I find that I don't really like having two floor toms. I really just have no idea how to utilize the 14" and 16" together. Also even though I really like the 8" tom, I find that I don't use it all that much either. Though for the sale price that I paid for the set new, it was worth it to be able to have all these setup options at the ready. With having 7 pieces, I have tried everything from 1 up, 1 down to the full 7 piece setup and out of it all I just can't get used to having two floor toms. I may try a 1 up 2 down config again at some point just to give it another chance.
As for snares, yeah I agree. They can be a pretty penny. I have come to the point that the X7 snare is not giving me a nice woodsy sound but more sound from the snare heads them selves as the snare is quite thin and is Chinese maple. So I too have been researching snares for the past month or so.
As for the single strokes. The spacing of them when playing at faster BPM's can be a bit tricky to keep even I'm sure. Just have to keep working at it and it will happen soon enough. Good luck, have fun and don't hesitate to ask for help around here.