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Old 02-12-2018, 07:02 PM
Durbs Durbs is offline
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Default 20 years of Drum Set Evolution Summed up

Hi all,

Just returning to drumming having finished at music college and promptly stopping playing kit for about 15 years.

As the gigs are starting to get a bit more regular and lucrative, was looking to update my kit - a pretty-but-outdated Pearl Export Select ("Select" meaning it had a colour lacquer finish as far as I can tell) which I got for my 16th birthday 21 years ago...

Was looking at new kits, and hardware etc and just wondered if someone could sum up any major changes or developments I can look out for?
The only noticeable thing I found was "longboards" and direct-drive for kick pedals. Besides that, not much seems to have changed?

Perhaps I'm expecting too much, but my other hobbies, such as photography, 20 years is a LONG time, and what you can get now, even as a beginner is massively different - but for drum kits, not so much?

Is the current Pearl Export now what a Masters' series was 20 years ago? Presumably manufacturing has caught up and so what was cutting edge then is now standard (tom suspension typically came out for Export series the year after I bought mine...).

Or is there only so much you can do with a kit?

Last edited by Durbs; 02-12-2018 at 07:22 PM.
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Old 02-12-2018, 07:21 PM
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Default Re: 20 years of drum kit development summed up...?

Just to round my post out a bit - I did (quickly) notice lots has changed with cymbals - many have holes in, or interesting finishes such as sand hats.

I guess you can't really change much about a drumstick...
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Old 02-12-2018, 07:34 PM
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Default Re: 20 years of drum kit development summed up...?

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Originally Posted by Durbs View Post
I guess you can't really change much about a drumstick...
Vic Firth actually makes the Titan sticks, which are made of carbon fiber.
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Old 02-12-2018, 07:49 PM
toddbishop toddbishop is offline
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Default Re: 20 years of Drum Set Evolution Summed up

Both of my drumsets are ~30 years old and they still work fine. A lot of hardware older than about 30-35 years could be considered to be obsolete, depending on the brand. At the same time, ~95% of bass drum pedals on the market today are based on an ~80 year old mechanism.
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Old 02-12-2018, 08:39 PM
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Default Re: 20 years of Drum Set Evolution Summed up

Overall, the quality of drums has gone up drastically for what money will buy in the past 20 years.

You can get a used maple set for a song as compared with what you could get then.
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Old 02-12-2018, 09:12 PM
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Default Re: 20 years of Drum Set Evolution Summed up

I think the science of it all is still relatively the same. Mechanically, things are basically always going to be the same with improvements to design and functionality as you might guess. A few new pedals have hit the market which are worth getting your feet on. Suspension systems and mounts are generally the same as they have been There are quite a few innovations and evolutions that have gotten fairly regular to see. Hybrid kits (electronic/acoustic), (yes) cymbals with holes and stacks, the much more popular use of clicks and back-tracks to say a few.

Hype is hype still. Marketers always looking for the word or term that hasn't been said yet so it puts a nice shine on something we haven't seen. A few more cymbal makers are on the street too (Soultone, Dream, etc) are making quality cymbals for less-than-big-gun prices. I'm not big on the holes thing but sound is sound so if it works for you, try it.

Do you still own the Export?
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Old 02-12-2018, 10:32 PM
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Default Re: 20 years of Drum Set Evolution Summed up

Copied from my original post when this was in the General Discussion sub-forum:

How far do you think violin building has come in the last 100 years. What about the harp has changed in the last 200 years? Has the piano changed in the last 300 years?

For drums, much has changed. Overall construction is higher than ever before. Hoops, lugs, mounting systems and plating quality and options are better than ever before. Wood choice, hybrid wood constructions, shell thickness, wood grain orientation, sizes ans depth options are greater than ever before. Drum hardware is more expansive than ever before. There's heavy duty stands, light duty stands, double pedals, single pedals, direct drive, chain drive, belt drive, collapsible pedals, adjustable cam profiles, etc. Snares made out or magnesium or titanium, entire kits made out of spun aluminum or steel. I could go on and on.
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:29 AM
Durbs Durbs is offline
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Default Re: 20 years of Drum Set Evolution Summed up

Thanks for the replies :)

I did spot the new cymbal brand names, in terms of kits it seems to be the same big names, aside from a few new custom makers (but equally the demise of others).

To clarify, this wasn't a complaint about lack of progress, more just a way of not having to read through 20 years of reviews to catch up with latest tech!

As Tommy says, I would hazard a guess not much has changed with violins or harps, though I reckon there has been some developments with guitars; new pickups, string technology, machine-heads, different body shapes etc.

I do still own my Export (though did upgrade my snare), and it still looks great, and sounds ok, and I'm not desperate to upgrade. Still have my Mapex Janus pedal too which I don't think was the success Mapex hoped it was going to be :D

I'm still interested in whether a modern-day Export is "equivalent" to a Masters from way back... But I guess that's a tricky question in terms of judging quality. A lot of vintage drums aren't of great technical quality but are worth a fortune for their sound/looks/heritage.

From my days of reading Rhythm magazine, there were a few innovations that came out at the time; Arbiter Flats, Yamaha Hip-Gigs (the kit that fitted into it's own stool), can't remember the brand name but toms you could tune with a single key on the hoop rather than multiple lugs.

I guess looking at drums now I don't see anything radically different in terms of basic form, so assume none of these concepts worked beyond niche/novelty value. Cocktail kits might be a recent innovation?
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Old 02-13-2018, 03:19 PM
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Default Re: 20 years of Drum Set Evolution Summed up

To answer your question, no the new Exports aren't equivalent with the old Masters. They are equally durable, but that's it. The Exports are still made of poplar, while the Masters were and still are, made of maple or birch depending on the version.
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Old 02-13-2018, 04:24 PM
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Default Re: 20 years of Drum Set Evolution Summed up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy_D View Post
Copied from my original post when this was in the General Discussion sub-forum:

How far do you think violin building has come in the last 100 years. What about the harp has changed in the last 200 years? Has the piano changed in the last 300 years?

For drums, much has changed. Overall construction is higher than ever before. Hoops, lugs, mounting systems and plating quality and options are better than ever before. Wood choice, hybrid wood constructions, shell thickness, wood grain orientation, sizes ans depth options are greater than ever before. Drum hardware is more expansive than ever before. There's heavy duty stands, light duty stands, double pedals, single pedals, direct drive, chain drive, belt drive, collapsible pedals, adjustable cam profiles, etc. Snares made out or magnesium or titanium, entire kits made out of spun aluminum or steel. I could go on and on.
Yes, the piano has changed drastically over the last 300 years. We use metal frames that are capable of holding the several tons of pressure that modern string length and construction now allow for. It has over an octave more range and is much larger and louder than its earlier iterations. Harp manufacturing has undergone some changes too, we have pedal harps with mass produced mechanisms and other slight changes in design. Violin manufacturing has also undergone quite a bit of changes lately especially in the realm of using non wood materials and adding electronics. I play both piano and violin and my fiancee plays harp so This stuff is fresh in my mind.
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Old 02-13-2018, 04:33 PM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: 20 years of Drum Set Evolution Summed up

Probably, the Export you have now is much better than the Export of today. The wood is likely of higher quality, the moving parts more durable, and the chrome less prone to rust.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Durbs View Post
I guess looking at drums now I don't see anything radically different in terms of basic form, so assume none of these concepts worked beyond niche/novelty value. Cocktail kits might be a recent innovation?
One thing that has changed: suspension mounts. The patent on the RIMS system expired years ago, and so now pretty much all companies have suspension mounting systems on the toms.

Aesthetics are also different. Much more attention is paid to how a kit looks. Sparkles finishes have more luster, wraps are subtler versions of vintage patterns, wood grains tend to have matte, rather than gloss, finishes. Even lugs are now smaller and statelier (well except for DW). The focus is on "class" -- a kit you can take to the club, but one that also looks great in your living room, and that you won't be embarrassed to own in a couple decades. Companies have realized that, for the most part, drummers buy with their eyes, first and foremost.

Some attention has been paid to a drum's design formula. C&C offers quite a few choices regarding wood type and bearing edge; Gretsch Brooklyns feature a completely different hoop. Countless offerings exist, if you want boutique stave/segment/metal shells.
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Old 02-13-2018, 04:58 PM
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Default Re: 20 years of Drum Set Evolution Summed up

[quote=brentcn;1546742]Probably, the Export you have now is much better than the Export of today. The wood is likely of higher quality, the moving parts more durable, and the chrome less prone to rust.

I have to disagree... I think today's Export is vastly superior to those of 20 years ago. Both in regards to wood/shells, durability and rust resistance.
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Old 02-14-2018, 03:37 AM
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Default Re: 20 years of Drum Set Evolution Summed up

Here's how I would sum up the changes in drums/drum design over the past 20 or so years.

Shells:

THEN - High-end drums were mostly constructed of a single species of wood, i.e. all maple or all birch (with some exceptions, such as Gretsch maple/gum shells), while midrange kits used a blend of woods as a cost-saving measure (i.e. maple blended with basswood). Entry-level shells were typically poplar, basswood or Philippine mahogany (also known as luan).

NOW - Top-of-the-line drums from most manufacturers typically use a blend of woods (such as maple, gumwood, mahogany, birch, jatoba or bubinga) to achieve different sonic results, while midrange kits usually feature a single wood species (though it's not uncommon to see a blend of several types of the same wood, such as North American maple blended with Chinese maple). Entry-level shells are still generally poplar, basswood or luan, but now Asian maple is becoming increasingly used.


Shell Hardware:

THEN - Tom suspension systems were mainly used only on higher-end drums. They also tended to be bulky, so they often covered up much of the shell and made the toms difficult to get close to one another.

NOW - Even most entry-level kits now have tom suspension systems. Meanwhile, top-of-the-line drums have seen vast improvements in their suspension systems, so they cover less of the shell and enable close tom positioning. Lugs haven’t changed too much, other than Yamaha’s detachable lugs, which supposedly help speed up head changes.


Floor toms:

THEN - The dreaded “hanging” floor tom. ‘Nuff said.

NOW - Floor toms with legs, just how nature intended :)


Tom/bass drum depths:

THEN - Bass drums were generally 16-18” deep, while tom sizes were a bit deeper than now: 9x10, 10x12, 11x13, etc.

NOW - Bass drums are mostly 18” deep, though you still see some 20"+ deep kicks now and then. However, 14”-deep bass drums are starting to come back in style. Toms now are generally either 7x10, 8x12, 9x13, etc. or 8x10, 9x12, 10x13, etc.


Kit configurations:

THEN - Most mid and lower range drums came in 12/13/16/22 configurations, often with deeper toms, which made positioning them over the bass drum rather difficult. Though some mid-range kits were available in 10/12/14/22 with the dreaded hanging floor tom (see above).

NOW - Most kits now come in a 10/12/16/22 or 10/12/14/20 configuration, and all floor toms have legs (thank goodness).


Overall quality/sound:

THEN - The high-end drums sounded great, but mid-level drums were more equivalent to today’s entry-level kits, sound-wise.

NOW - It’s difficult to find a kit from a major manufacturer that doesn’t sound good. Overall build quality is much higher as well, all across the board. Only the cheapest of the cheap kits today are to be avoided; pretty much everything else has a level of quality in sound and construction that’s considerably better than 20 years ago.

Last edited by TK-421; 02-14-2018 at 04:08 AM.
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Old 02-14-2018, 11:03 AM
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Default Re: 20 years of Drum Set Evolution Summed up

Great summary - cheers.

Hanging 14" floor tom? Guilty :D (Though without suspension...)
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Old 02-17-2018, 07:14 AM
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Default Re: 20 years of Drum Set Evolution Summed up

20 years of Drum Evolution:

Deep drums = bad
Standard depth drums = good
Anything vintage = good (regardless of how it actually sounds, all about the 'vibe' man)

That's about it
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Old 02-17-2018, 10:09 AM
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Default Re: 20 years of Drum Set Evolution Summed up

Eighties and early nineties drums tended to have thicker shell than now, long lugs were fashionable- you don’t see them much now, only Yamaha does that.
Most of the entry level to mid level were wrapped, the snare was often steel shell.
The biggest change would be the suspension mount and the kit configuration, the standard 12 13 16 22 has almost disappeared. The change toward shallower tom is fine but smaller tom is a different thing (I don’t like 10x7 in front of me where I always had 12x10 or 12x9 !!!)

Last edited by Tamaefx; 02-18-2018 at 09:35 PM.
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