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  #1  
Old 05-17-2019, 03:21 PM
TMe TMe is offline
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Default Buying drums without hearing them first

I'm shopping for a new snare and local stores have almost nothing in stock that I'm considering.

Based on what I've heard and read online, the two drums at the top of my list are a Ludwig 402 Supraphonic, or the Yamaha RLS1470 Recording Custom Stainless Steel 14" x 7".

I live in Toronto, so you think there would be at least one store that has these in stock, but no.

What do most people do in this situation, throw the dice and order online, or pick from what's available that they can hear in person?

Man, I hate shopping.
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Old 05-17-2019, 03:46 PM
SnickSound SnickSound is offline
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

I could swear I've seen a 150th anniversary edition LM402 at a L&M in Quebec recently. You can check with your local Long & McQuade and it might be possible to get it shipped to them without needing to put a deposit down. The LM402CAN150 I'm talking about is the exact same snare, just with a special badge.

I've seen one at the Montreal Steve's too recently, IIRC they have a store in Toronto too so many that's an option.

You can try and hunt for a used one too, they've been making them since the 60's so it's always possible to find one.

Ludwig or Yamaha, you can ask your local Long & McQuade about it, some items are not "special order" and they'll get them for you without a deposit if you prefer to try before you buy, or you always have that 30 days return window.

Another thing about L&M, they might have LM402s in rental. They won't show up as stocked online, but they can check for you in store. Rental items are always available for purchase, as a used item with a lower price (price drops a bit everytime it gets rented, sometimes it was ever only rented once for a short time but because of this it becomes a "used" item and won't show up online)
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Old 05-17-2019, 03:58 PM
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

I agree with the original poster. It's a pain to shop for drums; drums that you can't hear in person.
My solution has been to buy from Guitar Center and Sam Ash stores. Then if I don't like it I return it for a full refund. It's time consuming but it's safe.


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Old 05-17-2019, 04:14 PM
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

It depends. If I was interested in a new LM402, I'd order it blind without hesitation. I've played a bunch of those and they are consistent and you know what you're going to get.

A vintage drum? I'd have to get my hands on it before I'd buy. Or it would have to be someone I trust.

Cymbals are too variable to just take a chance. I like to play them myself. In a pinch, I'd probably be okay with a good demo video like MyCymbal.com puts up. That said, I ordered a 22" K-Con Medium ride blind and it's still my favorite cymbal. But I probably got a little lucky with that one.
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Old 05-17-2019, 04:17 PM
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

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Originally Posted by TMe View Post

I live in Toronto, so you think there would be at least one store that has these in stock, but no.
I find it hard to believe that Just Drums doesn't have those in stock.
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  #6  
Old 05-17-2019, 04:22 PM
TMe TMe is offline
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

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Originally Posted by SnickSound View Post
Another thing about L&M, they might have LM402s in rental.
Thanks for the suggestion. They don't have any right now, but they do rent them. I'll wait till one's available.

I've only ever seen entry level drum kits rented from L&M, so I thought that's all they rented (never having rented a kit myself). Turns out they do have some higher end stuff available.

I'll try visiting on a week night and rent a few snares if they're in stock. I imagine the cupboard's rather bare on a Friday (like today).

That's great. Even if I check out the drums in person, it's still not nearly as good as trying them out in a band context.

I'm still curious what other people do if they don't have access to good music stores. Take a chance and order online, or wait until they find something they like?
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Old 05-17-2019, 04:26 PM
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

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I find it hard to believe that Just Drums those in stock.
Thanks, I'll check out the store this weekend. I've never bought anything from them before. Online, everything's in stock, I'll have to see what they have in-store.
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  #8  
Old 05-17-2019, 04:29 PM
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

I gamble and buy online.

I listen to sound samples on Youtube first.
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Old 05-17-2019, 04:48 PM
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

Unless you already know what something sounds like (such as a Paiste 2002 18" crash or an LP tambourine) or the store has a liberal return policy and you have a lot of patience... I would avoid taking chances on any gear that makes a sound. Same goes for anything where feel is important, such as sticks and pedals.

That said, the 402 is a desirable snare (I have 3 of them) and is pretty common. It's hard to imagine that the stores don't have them.

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Old 05-17-2019, 04:58 PM
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

I'm getting pretty good at buying online. Drums are easy IMO because they can get many different sounds from them. Cymbals are what you hear is what you get.

I'm up to 12 Agops bought online. And I got exactly what I expected because I was able to hear the exact cymbal I got with headphones. It's a new skill that has to be learned, listening and evaluating online.
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  #11  
Old 05-17-2019, 05:33 PM
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
...the 402 is a desirable snare (I have 3 of them) and is pretty common.
I'm trying to find one snare that can do it all (more or less). My research suggests the 402 is the front runner, but when I listen to recordings online, the Yamaha RLS1470 sounds comparable.

I'm not a pro, so I want to avoid getting on the slippery slope to owning 14 snare drums.

I'm partial to Yamaha because their entry level stuff (guitars, drums, whatever) and product support are so good they inspire brand loyalty.

But my kit is vintage Ludwig, so I'm equally sentimental about getting a Ludwig snare.
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Old 05-17-2019, 06:29 PM
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

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Originally Posted by TMe View Post
I'm not a pro, so I want to avoid getting on the slippery slope to owning 14 snare drums.
Just stop buying when you hit 13 snares and you'll be safe.

I take it that you would like to do a side-by-side audition of the Ludwig 402 Supra and the Yamaha RC RLS1470. That's a wise move to hear them side-by-side if you plan on only purchasing one of them.
If you can't justify the expense of traveling to a store that has both models in stock I'd take Hollywood Jim's advice and order them from a store with a liberal return policy. You're only out of pocket for
sending one of them back which equates to the cost of "doing business." Otherwise go with your gut and add on the second snare down the road.
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Old 05-17-2019, 06:36 PM
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

Check Kijiji... Supraphonics show up at least one per week in the GTA
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  #14  
Old 05-17-2019, 06:52 PM
charliedrummer charliedrummer is offline
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

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Originally Posted by TMe View Post
I'm trying to find one snare that can do it all (more or less). My research suggests the 402 is the front runner, but when I listen to recordings online, the Yamaha RLS1470 sounds comparable.

I'm not a pro, so I want to avoid getting on the slippery slope to owning 14 snare drums.

I'm partial to Yamaha because their entry level stuff (guitars, drums, whatever) and product support are so good they inspire brand loyalty.

But my kit is vintage Ludwig, so I'm equally sentimental about getting a Ludwig snare.
If you're partial to Yamaha, check out Drummer's Hangout in your neck of the woods. Murat, the shop owner, carries a lot of Yamaha snares and kits. He does not, however, carry Ludwig.
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Old 05-17-2019, 07:16 PM
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

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Originally Posted by 8Mile View Post
It depends. If I was interested in a new LM402, I'd order it blind without hesitation. I've played a bunch of those and they are consistent and you know what you're going to get.

A vintage drum? I'd have to get my hands on it before I'd buy. Or it would have to be someone I trust.

Cymbals are too variable to just take a chance. I like to play them myself. In a pinch, I'd probably be okay with a good demo video like MyCymbal.com puts up. That said, I ordered a 22" K-Con Medium ride blind and it's still my favorite cymbal. But I probably got a little lucky with that one.
Agreed about buying some tried and true standards without hesitation.

I bought a set of vintage Gretsch without hearing them, but it was from Steve Maxwells shop in NY. I reached out to them and they gave me a ton of details and pics...and vouched for the sound. (why wouldn't they, I guess)
They didn't disappoint...and are hands down my most favoritetest set of drums ever.
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Old 05-17-2019, 07:25 PM
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

Do my research on line first. Then buy. Don't need to hear it. Never bought one I don't like yet :) Stock heads sometimes hide what the drum can really sound like also.
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  #17  
Old 05-17-2019, 08:11 PM
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

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Originally Posted by charliedrummer View Post
If you're partial to Yamaha, check out Drummer's Hangout in your neck of the woods.
That's about an hour's drive from Toronto. It seems there are a few good drum shops about an hour outside of Toronto. I might have to break down and do some driving if I don't want to buy online.

Man, I hate driving in and around Toronto. It's a nightmare in slow motion.
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  #18  
Old 05-17-2019, 08:41 PM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

For an LM-402, it either going to sound like almost every other LM402 you've ever heard, or it's broken/defective.

You can buy these without hearing them as you've already heard them your entire life.
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  #19  
Old 05-17-2019, 08:47 PM
charliedrummer charliedrummer is offline
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

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Originally Posted by TMe View Post
That's about an hour's drive from Toronto. It seems there are a few good drum shops about an hour outside of Toronto. I might have to break down and do some driving if I don't want to buy online.

Man, I hate driving in and around Toronto. It's a nightmare in slow motion.
I'm in the same boat trying to decide on a new set of cymbals. I won't buy anything without hearing it in person so I'm going to have to bite the bullet and make the drive to a well-stocked drum shop.
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Old 05-17-2019, 10:33 PM
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

I have flipped my way through so much gear as a result of online shopping. But I live in Hawai'i. Last week a Guitar Center finally opened here on O'ahu, and I'm going to assume we can now walk in and buy drums there, without paying for shipping.

Too late for me, but I have found my lifetime kit that I am unlikely to ever replace (Gretsch USA Custom).
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Old 05-17-2019, 11:44 PM
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

People always say “well you can’t trust videos or recordings because mics and EQing don’t truly represent the drum sound”. But if I like the sound of the recording then why wouldn’t I just buy that drum, the mic they used, and EQ it the same way they did?

Cymbals are a little different, I’ll admit that. But if you like a drum you hear online then I say go for it
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Old 05-18-2019, 12:38 AM
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

It never really occurred to me to play a drum before buying it. Maybe I played somebody else's drums of the same model once, or I just knew they were going to be good-- or good enough, at least. But I never worried about playing the actual drum in question before buying it. Probably if I were buying drums from the 60s or earlier I would want to hit them and mess with tuning them first. Anything new and professional grade by a reputable company is going to be fine.
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  #23  
Old 05-18-2019, 12:44 AM
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

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Originally Posted by thebarak View Post
I have flipped my way through so much gear as a result of online shopping. But I live in Hawai'i. Last week a Guitar Center finally opened here on O'ahu, and I'm going to assume we can now walk in and buy drums there, without paying for shipping.

Too late for me, but I have found my lifetime kit that I am unlikely to ever replace (Gretsch USA Custom).
I remember your journey, glad to see you still love them as much as on your first day.

That being said, isn't it every canadian's dream to live in Hawaii ?

I am saving up for something similar myself, a nice retirement plan near the ocean I can grab a surf, paddle or kite board and just go riding.

As for the op, you have two no-brainers on your hands, I'd be happy with either.
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Old 05-18-2019, 12:46 AM
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMe View Post
I'm shopping for a new snare and local stores have almost nothing in stock that I'm considering.

Based on what I've heard and read online, the two drums at the top of my list are a Ludwig 402 Supraphonic, or the Yamaha RLS1470 Recording Custom Stainless Steel 14" x 7".

I live in Toronto, so you think there would be at least one store that has these in stock, but no.

What do most people do in this situation, throw the dice and order online, or pick from what's available that they can hear in person?

Man, I hate shopping.
I think it really depends... I know what I am looking for, for example, would not be afraid to buy online. (done that). But... I'll spend MONTHS researching and trying as many different versions/variations/brands if there is not anything that I like/suit my needs better.
People that sells me stuff know this very well, such as planning half a year in advance the drumkit shells or 4 months in advance what delay pedal for guitar I will buy.
LOL.
love shopping ;P (couldn't be a woman otherwise right? ;P)
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Old 05-18-2019, 03:26 AM
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

At last count, I have bought six kits and 2 snare drums all without hearing them first.

Never been an issue, and if you buy second hand you should airways be able to get your money back.
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Old 05-19-2019, 08:41 AM
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

[quote=TMe;1635993
I live in Toronto, so you think there would be at least one store that has these in stock, but no.

What do most people do in this situation, throw the dice and order online, or pick from what's available that they can hear in person?

Man, I hate shopping.[/QUOTE]

I would spend your next weekend off in LA or NY. I live in So. Cal and I’ve never faced a shortage of the drum equipment I’ve wanted to ogle.

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  #27  
Old 05-19-2019, 03:22 PM
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

I found a B-stock Supraphonic at Soul Drums in Toronto. https://souldrums.com/

I hate shopping, as a rule, but those guys were great. They explained up front that the drum is B-stock (and priced appropriately). They also set up a Black Beauty and a Supra with my preferred tuning so I could hear them side-by-side, demonstrated the Supra with different levels of damping, offered me a practice room to try the drums out... Not gonna get that online.

I think that's going to be my store from now on. I bought my Constantinople crashes there, years ago, and that was a similarly good experience.

It's painful for me to let the moths out of my wallet and I prefer giving my money to people who treat me well, so that's probably a part of why I'm leery of buying online - I have no idea who I'm dealing with.

BTW: All I can say about the Supra, without rambling, is "Where have you been all my life?"
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Old 05-19-2019, 04:00 PM
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

Glad to hear it worked out, and you were confident about the purchase. You'll get a lot of mileage from the Supra!

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  #29  
Old 05-19-2019, 06:23 PM
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

Bought all my snares unseen, but always done lots of research, sometimes years, before buying.
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  #30  
Old 05-20-2019, 02:00 AM
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

"B-stocks" are a great deal. In many cases it's really hard to find the imperfection that resulted in this designation. Does Ludwig still use cut B/O badges on B-stock supras?
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  #31  
Old 05-20-2019, 05:36 PM
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

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Originally Posted by TMe View Post
I found a B-stock Supraphonic at Soul Drums in Toronto. . . . . All I can say about the Supra, without rambling, is "Where have you been all my life?"
I think you have chosen wisely and the Supra will give you a lifetime of "go to" service. Solid play.

Quote:
Originally Posted by charliedrummer View Post
"B-stocks" are a great deal. In many cases it's really hard to find the imperfection that resulted in this designation. Does Ludwig still use cut B/O badges on B-stock supras?
After five decades of playing drums I finally got around to purchasing two Ludwig snares. I went with B-stock options on both and the internal blemishes are barely noticeable. Both have the cut Blue/Olive badge.
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  #32  
Old 05-20-2019, 06:45 PM
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You'll get a lot of mileage from the Supra!
Thanks. Right now I'm feeling a bit like a guitarist who just bought an amp that's way too big for him. Hopefully I can get this beast under control.

I've never been able to tune drums worth beans and the rest of my kit needs new heads, so I think I'm going to break down and cough up the cash to have someone else set up the kit for me. People pay to have pianos tuned, right?

There's a guy in my area who has a good reputation. http://www.drumdoctor.ca/ He tuned up the drums at the rehearsal place where my band practices and I was impressed.

It would be nice to hear the drums professionally tuned at least once in their life. At least I'd have a good reference to work from going forward.
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Old 05-20-2019, 06:57 PM
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMe View Post
Thanks. Right now I'm feeling a bit like a guitarist who just bought an amp that's way too big for him. Hopefully I can get this beast under control.

I've never been able to tune drums worth beans and the rest of my kit needs new heads, so I think I'm going to break down and cough up the cash to have someone else set up the kit for me. People pay to have pianos tuned, right?

There's a guy in my area who has a good reputation. http://www.drumdoctor.ca/ He tuned up the drums at the rehearsal place where my band practices and I was impressed.

It would be nice to hear the drums professionally tuned at least once in their life. At least I'd have a good reference to work from going forward.
Get a TuneBot and pay yourself for tuning. :)
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  #34  
Old 05-20-2019, 07:12 PM
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Default Re: Buying drums without hearing them first

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Get a TuneBot and pay yourself for tuning. :)
I second this - it takes the guesswork out of it, and gives you results that sound great, and are repeatable.

I'm glad you like that snare - a lot of guys in the Indie band circuit use a Supraphonic, and it seems to have one of those sounds that works well pretty much any way it's tuned, high, low, or phat right in the middle.
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