Re: Vintage Vs. Modern
Now that I'm old enough, I used to own vintage kits. I was there! I had a 1977 Slingerland bought brand new on my 12th birthday. I had another 1968 Slingerland that I traded another kit for. I then owned vintage Ludwigs from the 70s (at least two sets were termed vintage). I had an older Gretsch right around 1986 when they started to produce deeper toms - all of these are considered vintage now.
As the wood ages, I guess something magical happens, and as musical instruments, the tone gets more defined or whatever you want to call it. But what I sort of recall in frustration was that sometimes shells were not completely round, and bearing edges were sometimes not flat (you can test this by putting the drum on a glass table). Sometimes I would see other vintage kits where the gluing job for the pearl was just done wrong. And I absolutely hated those Slingerland spurs - my receiver bases constantly stripped out. Not so much so with the Ludwigs, though. But when I saw those Pearl spurs, I was sold and outfitted every old kit with those after that. The Slingerland tom mounting system left alot to be desired as well - that base plate constantly stripped out and at one point the little nub that goes into the tom mount bracket, literally just cracked off one day.
Oh the good ol' days. I think the rise of Japan did nothing but good for the drumming industry. Hardware was better, shells were made better. Replacing heads was no longer a hit-and-miss proposition requiring the better part of the afternoon to get the heads seated right, you could tune drums lower too. I used to take off all the lugs on my vintage kits so I could wrap that spring inside with something to keep it from buzzing - anyone here ever do that? Or worse, go to a recording session and have the engineer go "what's that buzzing sound?".
Of course, the rise of Japan led to all kinds of stupid things too, like hardware that was over-engineered and heavy (I guess DW still keeps with this ethos), and drums that were too deep to be of any use (hello, 20" deep bass drums?). So I think the idea of the vintage kit serves the industry well. Drums remain what they are, just better made.