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  #1  
Old 10-26-2013, 09:57 PM
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Default Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

I think that the idea of "knowledge is power" is good in theory, but I wonder if players becoming so educated about gear is a good or bad thing. Until the advent of drum magazines (which really didn't exist until 1977), local and regional drum shows, and ultimately the internet, information and marketing and shared experiences had been very limited. Few drummers really knew - or cared - what edges were about, how plies and hardware affect a drum's sound, and there wasn't the pre-occupation with where a drum is made, or who makes the shells and parts. Companies certainly weren't forthcoming with such information, not because it was a big secret, but because drummers weren't really interested enough at the time, and such explanations and specifications would have seemed like so much gobbledygook. Consider that some companies didn't even tell you that their 'metal' snares were brass, where today, shell material would probably be the first thing we'd want to know about a snare!

On the whole, I'll agree that the drum specification awareness and a certain amount of industry knowledge has helped us make better decisions about the gear we use. But I also think that the sheer amount of information available gets in the way of making (formerly basic) choices such as, 'does the drum sound good?'

The over-educated drummer today is concerned with edges, shell material/thickness/construction, heads, wires, throwoffs, hoop type/material/thickness, lug mass, lug gaskets, number of lugs, washers (nylon of metal), vent or no vent, the difference in sound between lacquer finish or wrap, and whether the wrap is glued or taped. And that's just the snare!

Yet none of those things were important - or even known - to the vast majority of drummers until fairly recently. Never once did I ask about any of those aspects when checking out a snare. I asked for a stick - and it didn't matter what size or whether it was nylon tip or not - hit the drum, and I either liked it, or I didn't. I never asked to try a different tuning, or see how it sounded with a different head, or questioned what it was made of, etc. If I liked it, I bought it! Or in most cases, just drooled over it because I couldn't afford it.

But I have become overly-aware of how the different aspects of a drum can affect its sound and playability, and now there are many things I 'need' to know before I can simply hit the drum, heaven forfend that I might decide with my ears if it sounds good or not. Sometimes that knowledge prevents me from even bothering, and it takes a lot of willpower and letting-go to get over it and discover some great-sounding, but specification deficient drums. Am I not supposed to like certain drums because they don't spec well, or are a 'budget' line? Conversely, should I automatically buy anything with exacting, well-researched specs and meticulous craftsmanship? Does that mean the drum sounds good?

I started by saying knowledge is power, but I wonder if ignorance is bliss at times. I miss going into the music store, tapping on pretty drums and shiny cymbals, and liking them all without question.

Anyway, just pondering on a Saturday morning as a categorize a bunch of gear I picked up on the road this year. Probably none of this is important.

Bermuda
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  #2  
Old 10-26-2013, 10:21 PM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

I think having a certain amount of knowledge,gets you in the ball park,and gives you the power to make an informed deciscion.You don't need to memorize the spare parts ans specs catalog of the close to 100 drum companies,not including custom and boutique drum smiths products.

Take the brass snare drum you mentioned.The uninitiated can easily over pay for a brass drum,especially a used one.Various drum makers offer different brass shelled drums at various price points,which can confuse both rookie and seasoned drummers alike.

Some basic knowledge limits the chance of making a bad purchase,but your ear and a clear buget should the real deciding factor.I've always said here,buy with your ears.But having said that,sometimes that's just not possible,so....see above.

The vintage drum market is a totally different,and quite the opposite,where a lot of info and experience,sometimes can never be enough.The chances of learning something different everyday also ,seems to happen with greater frequency,and what you would swear to the day before,just isn't the right answer anymore.

Steve B
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  #3  
Old 10-26-2013, 10:26 PM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

You make a great point. I always tell drummers who ask me what they should get to listen to their ears. My first few drum kits I always purchased by ear. Even now I just bought what I thought sounded best. Not in a recorded situation but rather just sitting behind a kit and having a go.

If more people did this I am sure they would be surprised to find that some of the details they are hung up over are not the biggest things in the end.

Manny
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  #4  
Old 10-26-2013, 10:33 PM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

There is nothing wrong with getting educated on a subject, especially when buying. Indeed knowledge is power there. But it can also be a handicap when it takes the 'fun' out of something.

By getting on this site I've gotten to learn about, appreciate, (and buy), more gear, especially vintage stuff (where you really need some knowledge or history at least). Yet there is still nothing that thrills me more than getting a nice no-name or cheapo item that for one reason or another sounds simply awesome to me, and better yet competes with any 'name' item for sound and more so is even fun to play. This really came to light when I got a 1960's MIJ 'Coronet' for $60, and realized it sounded better than my Gretsch Catalina (just wasn't built as well).

It blows up or at least challenges all the 'common knowledge'.
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Old 10-26-2013, 10:41 PM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

This is an outstanding question. I think I remain in the minority when I say I simply don't give much attention to the hows and the whys in the manner in which things are made.

The end game to me is all about the sound and feel of the product.

I've stated in various other posts when the topic has been focused on the way the product is built, that I leave that stuff to people like Andy. I simply don't care. I couldn't tell you much about the construction of the shells. Other than a 30 degree edge which is supposedly a big factor in the end sound, I don't know much more than that.

I will lump cymbals into the same category. The sound and feel rule. I couldn't begin to tell you what the alloy is in the few dozen cymbals I own. I don't really care either. All that matters to me is that I love to play them.

Hardware has been so over thought that it became over engineered. Too heavy for my tastes..

I am glad the amount of available information on everything is available for those who find it important and interesting. When it comes to me, it largely falls on deaf ears.

My focus is on the improvements I need to make on my own musical journey, not the gear I am using. This assumes though that I am using the gear that makes me excited to play.

So, to answer the question - to me it doesn't matter how much information there is. Good for those that are interested and neither good or bad for someone like me.

Last edited by dmacc; 10-27-2013 at 11:55 AM.
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  #6  
Old 10-26-2013, 10:42 PM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

It probably is a good idea to be well informed before buying any product in general, so that you can get what suits you best. But gear is the least of my worries, it's learning how to play the stuff!
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  #7  
Old 10-26-2013, 11:42 PM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

I think the core question is " Is it possible to be over-educated about gear ". I say no.

A secondary question is " Is it possible that being educated about gear is 'bad' ".

I say yes to this - if knowledge is used in an attempt to beat another person down in a futile one-upmanship argument.
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  #8  
Old 10-27-2013, 12:16 AM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

Does Bobdadrummer have an advantage over us all when it comes to buying a new car, being he is a mechanic? I see no problem knowing as much as possible, as long as it doesn't get in the way of common sense. As for drums, sound is obviously the most important thing and we can get that without knowing how many plies or the type of wood, just by using our ears. When it comes to hardware we might want to know that our snare stand isn't made of pot metal. So there are degrees.
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  #9  
Old 10-27-2013, 12:28 AM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

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Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post
Does Bobdadrummer have an advantage over us all when it comes to buying a new car, being he is a mechanic? I see no problem knowing as much as possible, as long as it doesn't get in the way of common sense. As for drums, sound is obviously the most important thing and we can get that without knowing how many plies or the type of wood, just by using our ears. When it comes to hardware we might want to know that our snare stand isn't made of pot metal. So there are degrees.
I agree 100% that knowledge is power. Especially in regards to knowing a good deal vs. getting ripped off. I really feel bad for the younger guys coming up or the folks with more money than sense. I think for most of us its a journey. Most of us have also gone through the gear lust. These days I just try to focus on getting the best sounds and perform the best I can with what I have :)
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  #10  
Old 10-27-2013, 12:32 AM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

It's hard to say because we can all only speak for ourselves. In my case, the times that I've been too into gear have been the times that my progress went completely ignored...or I regressed. I believe there's a happy medium, I just have no clue where it is. So I try to focus as little as possible on gear and as much as I can on my technique and finding time to practice.
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  #11  
Old 10-27-2013, 12:35 AM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

Over the last decade or two it seems all the major manufacturers have tried to turn every single element of a drumset into come kind of special commodity to be expanded, improved, or upgraded. Be it the number of threads on the tension rod, or the day of the week the tree had been cut down, no detail has been overlooked in the attempt to add more bullet points to the spec sheet.

While that increased focus on all of the individual parts has probably contributed to an increase in overall quality (be it construction or sonic) of the whole drumset, it has led to consumers expecting a high degree of information, even when in many cases I think it leads to more confusion than anything else.

It was bad enough when kits started getting the "rock" or "jazz" label, but now it's pretty common to see guys completely paralyzed over choosing a tom with an 8" or 9" depth, or five or six plies, worried that if they make the "wrong" choice the kit will be useless.

So I have mixed feelings. Sure, it's nice to know more about what is really going on in the set, but you really have to temper that knowledge of the specs with some actual hands-on experience, sometimes even to the point of (gasp!) ignoring some of the gobbledegook and just picking a nice looking and nice sounding set of drums.
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  #12  
Old 10-27-2013, 12:52 AM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

I think it only really matters if you want it to, and on the item. A used car, sure. A used house, sure. Drums, no need.
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  #13  
Old 10-27-2013, 12:55 AM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

actually this is a good'n Bermuda.

and while there is such thing as an educated fool i would not relegate this topic to that category.

to me this topic is more akin to I"ve Been Playing For So Long...Can I Even Listen To Music Without Analyzing It Anymore ?

yes i remember when Drum and Keyboard and Bass Player came out. and instruction on audio tape. (Star Licks was still about 10 years off).

but there's a lot to be said for experience. experience will tell you things like just because it sounds good here doesn't mean it's gonna sound good at x venue or y studio. especially if you're experienced enough to have first hand knowledge of what x venue and y studio actually sound like in the real world.

on the other hand, as you mentioned...sometimes we get wary of trying new things....but on the other hand....sometimes time and experience will allow us to give life to our pet dreams ambitions and theories that we have amassed over the years and often wondered why nobody ever came out with a w or invented a q addition to an existing item. so your experience allows you to advance the art form.

me personally i'm glad that you Bermuda and your experience guided me to my APX 20" Crash. i never would have considered that size, but now i'm really digging it. at first i thought it sounded exactly like my Giant Beat 20" only not as refined. but now i'm starting to dig the APX more than the Giant Beat.

and for that, I Thank You Bermuda.
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  #14  
Old 10-27-2013, 12:58 AM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

I think its easy with all the information out there to become "gear obsessed", and to spend too much time looking for those drums or accessories that are going to make everything just right.

I realized this when I asked my teacher for his opinion on what was the best practice pad, and he said, "I don't know, I usually just grab whatever they have at the second hand store". This guys has been was formally trained in drums and music for at least four years, and he pretty much dominates the local music scene, playing in a variety of different types of bands.

My point is, that he focused more on playing and practicing, rather than what he was playing or practicing on.
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Old 10-27-2013, 01:04 AM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Winston_Wolf View Post
While that increased focus on all of the individual parts has probably contributed to an increase in overall quality (be it construction or sonic) of the whole drumset, it has led to consumers expecting a high degree of information, even when in many cases I think it leads to more confusion than anything else.

It was bad enough when kits started getting the "rock" or "jazz" label, but now it's pretty common to see guys completely paralyzed over choosing a tom with an 8" or 9" depth, or five or six plies, worried that if they make the "wrong" choice the kit will be useless.
That's what I'm talking about. I think knowing things is basically good, but there comes a point where too much information, not correctly prioritized, can get in the way of what should be a simple decision when purchasing gear: does it sound good, and/or does it serve the intended purpose.

A certain amount of informed research is always a good idea, but placing too much emphasis on specs, or sometimes a company's mission statement, clouds one's ability to hit a drum or cymbal with a stick, or pick up and examine a piece of hardware, and make a decision.

Does a drummer really know what he's getting when ordering a walnut stave snare with dual 45 edges, low mass lugs, die-cast hoops, Purseound wires, and a Trick throwoff? Or does he just perceive that as a drum that will sound great, because he thinks he knows what it takes to accomplish that?

I suppose this conversation has a little something to do with buying drums and cymbals without hearing them, because the specs and craftsmanship are so cogently marketed to drummers who 'know' what it takes to make a great product.

I dunno, I think drummers should hand-pick any gear that makes a sound, and if they l;ike that sound, it shouldn't matter what company's name is on it, or where it was made, or if it's a Keller shell with World Max hardware... etc.

Bermuda
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Old 10-27-2013, 01:34 AM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post
Does Bobdadrummer have an advantage over us all when it comes to buying a new car, being he is a mechanic? I see no problem knowing as much as possible, as long as it doesn't get in the way of common sense.
This summarises it for me.

Even then, whose common sense? It depends on your hobbies - some people are right into collecting.
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Old 10-27-2013, 02:50 AM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

I do think this is an interesting topic.

When I was working after school in a drum shop in the late 80's, the old timers would talk about how it used be, when they just had drums. People came in and picked out whatever based on color and maybe sizes. What the drums were made of just didn't cross anyone's mind.

And it's funny now that so many people lust after vintage gear claiming it has a superior sound or was made better, or whatever, when at the time it was new, no one cared what it was made out of.

And to me, the funniest is always the 80's version of the Tama Imperial Star. It was used on numerous albums and tours by many multi-platinum bands, and the sets themselves sold very well as a pro kit. Yet, Tama never said what it made out of. These days, one could never have such a popular selling kit and have it appear on numerous popular records without telling anyone what wood it was made from.

Obviously, knowledge is power, and it's not bad to be educated. But I think Winston Wolf nails it on the head:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Winston_Wolf View Post
.. it has led to consumers expecting a high degree of information, even when in many cases I think it leads to more confusion than anything else.

It was bad enough when kits started getting the "rock" or "jazz" label, but now it's pretty common to see guys completely paralyzed over choosing a tom with an 8" or 9" depth, or five or six plies, worried that if they make the "wrong" choice the kit will be useless.
Too many people get caught up in the facts, without realizing, it's just information, and not a degree of "right" vs "wrong" or "good" vs "bad."

And even information does not tell a whole story anymore.
A top of the line all maple kit and a cheap made-in-china maple kit might have all the similar specs, but the construction is different, the quality is different and they're not necessarily equal.

Much like how in late 80's, Pearl had the BLX line, which spec wise, was nearly identical to the Yamaha recording custom. But sonically, they did not sound identical.

Last edited by DrumEatDrum; 10-27-2013 at 03:24 AM.
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Old 10-27-2013, 02:50 AM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

A long while back I visited this forum, and reading through a couple of threads I thought 'wow, these guys are nerds'. Then I decided I wanted new stuff so I signed up, started coming here everyday, and here I am - being nerdy too. I think this is a phase, but the genuine and practical knowledge will stay with me. Besides, we all need our little things to obsess over. If it wasn't this it would be something else.

The only time gear fixation is silly to me - when a drummer has lots of expensive gear and loves talking about it in painful detail but he isn't actually any good at playing drums.
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Old 10-27-2013, 03:14 AM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
Too many people get caught up in the facts, without realizing, it's just information, and not a degree of "right" vs "wrong" or "good" vs "bad."
True. Bermuda talked about prioritising information. It can be difficult to know what's really important and what's just being touted as important by someone with a particular focus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dre25 View Post
The only time gear fixation is silly to me - when a drummer has lots of expensive gear and loves talking about it in painful detail but he isn't actually any good at playing drums.
I don't see an issue there either. Their main hobby is collecting and playing is secondary. Why not, if they have the money, space and inclination? Drum kits are beautiful, captivating objects.

Collectors probably play a role in keeping the creaky wheels of drumming commerce turning, more so than someone like Charlie Watts with his ancient Gretsch.
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Old 10-27-2013, 03:18 AM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

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The only time gear fixation is silly to me - when a drummer has lots of expensive gear and loves talking about it in painful detail but he isn't actually any good at playing drums.
Trust me, these are the people that allow all drum companies to stay in business. lol
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Old 10-27-2013, 03:24 AM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

Yeah, I know it's not hurting anyone, but a weird way to order your priorities.
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Old 10-27-2013, 03:33 AM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

Right now:

General Discussion: 54 viewing
Drum Technique: 18 viewing
Drum Gear: 92 viewing

So most people are more interested in the gear than becoming a better drummer(technique).

I often wish I spend more time practicing than reading drumming discussion boards or more money on education than on buying cymbal number xx.


thx

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Old 10-27-2013, 03:47 AM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

Technique is 'doing'. Gear is 'knowing' and 'having'.

For me, while technique is also 'knowing' it's more difficult to discuss, and more easily grasped through visuals like youtube demonstrations and so on.
Gear is easier to talk about.
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Old 10-27-2013, 03:48 AM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

I'm with Polly... people collect a lot weirder stuff, some people just seem to be into gear.. good for them, if I had more money god knows what I'd be into. On a slightly related note, I wonder who'll get these, Buddy Rich's cymbals are up for grabs and the price is huge! http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/321235149050
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Old 10-27-2013, 03:48 AM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

I'm one of the drummers you're describing, the ones who had little to no knowledge about drums and all the components thereof. I knew that I liked my silver sparkle Ludwig drums; all the drummers I tried to model myself after played Ludwig kits and mine were the very same as theirs.

Zildjian cymbals were a must have, too, because...well, just because.

I didn't think about my hardware at all. I had a Speed King pedal, Ludwig hihat and cymbal stands, and I thought they were great because they were Ludwig.

What we knew was how to make our drums sound good, mostly from trial and error and also from other drummers.

It wasn't until a drummer I was sharing a house with showed me a copy of Modern Drummer that I started learning about all the many things there are to know about drums and hardware, stuff that everyone knows today.

I'm glad I learned those things. I like knowing about things.
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Old 10-27-2013, 03:53 AM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jornthedrummer View Post
Right now:

General Discussion: 54 viewing
Drum Technique: 18 viewing
Drum Gear: 92 viewing

So most people are more interested in the gear than becoming a better drummer(technique).
Well, not necessarily. Right now, there are TONS of books, DVDS, videos on YouTube, etc. that deal with becoming a better player. How many publications, videos, etc. are there dealing with how to buy drum gear? Very few by comparison. I think of this forum as being more a resource about discussing gear, or what resources to use to learn how to ________ (fill in the blank with a playing technique) rather than instructional. The playing technique/instructional part is all of the videos on Drummerworld, outside of the discussion forum.
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Old 10-27-2013, 04:07 AM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

I don't think you can be "over-educated" on gear. You simply have to temper what you THINK your ears want with what the gear actually gives you.

There have been times where specs on gear gave me exactly what I wanted and times I got burned because for whatever reason, my ears didn't hear what I thought they would.

That's where subjectivity as well as our individual ears come into play.

But between heads, tuning, the room, the sticks used, a players individual ears and touch... there are a ton of variables that are beyond the gear's actual specs anyway.
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Old 10-27-2013, 04:15 AM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

I'd say it's good and bad...

It's good, because nowadays, all manufacturers explain what their kit are made of, in terms of wood type, bearing edges, thickness etc... and the vaste amount of heads available too, so all this info about gear can lead someone to purchase a kit which will be more likely to sound like they want in their head, so for this, knowledge is power... but you'll have to understand the principles and effect a type of construction, type of bearing edges, type of heads do and don't in term of sounds, without knowing this it's just a random guess...

It's bad, because one can become obsessed about gears, always wanting to have the latest novelty, which is not always better than the predecessor.

I know my way around drums, heads, hardware, sticks and cymbals, over the years I acquired a substantial knowledge... but still, it didn't made me change my kit and cymbals for the last 25 years... I'm quite happy with what I've got and I'm not convinced that the drum making business has evolved that much that it does warrant for me to have a new kit.

Only very recently, I've set my mind on a new kit, because it has a sound I've never heard on any other kits I played in my entire life, but it's rather expensive, so I'll have to consider all the pros and cons before making a decision.
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Old 10-27-2013, 05:42 AM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

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I'm with Polly... people collect a lot weirder stuff, some people just seem to be into gear.. good for them, if I had more money god knows what I'd be into. On a slightly related note, I wonder who'll get these, Buddy Rich's cymbals are up for grabs and the price is huge! http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/321235149050
That example sums it up, Caz! Those $30k cymbals won't be purchased for playing around the traps.

I just Googled weird collections and it ranged from Coke cans to toasters to locks of celebrities' hair. Collecting drums isn't so weird. Our guitarist curates a museum's musical instrument collection. Our keyboardist collects exotic instruments from overseas, with varied levels of ability on them. Collectors help preserve gear knowledge and history. And instruments look great in the house and encourage jamming.

The only issue I can think of with collecting is environmental, but I've been doing renovations of late so I can't preach about frivolous use of resources. Our grandparents, who scrimped through The Depression and WW I&II might have grumbled something about wastefulness, though.
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Old 10-27-2013, 07:41 AM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

Good question and interesting thread.

I fall in the middle: I have some knowledge about gear, but I don't need to know everything about equipment. So I guess, I am a soft gear junkie. I value knowledge (I have a PhD and have been an Assistant Dean) but for me, ultimately, it comes down to how the gear sounds. I also believe the law of diminishing returns applies here: how much "better" does a boutique aluminium snare ($$$$) sound than a well tuned Ludwig Acrolite ($). Many of us will be familiar with the minutiae of that boutique snare and may covet one, but will it sound significantly better than that Acrolite? I'm not sure.

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Old 10-27-2013, 10:18 AM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
I think that the idea of "knowledge is power" is good in theory, but I wonder if players becoming so educated about gear is a good or bad thing. Until the advent of drum magazines (which really didn't exist until 1977), local and regional drum shows, and ultimately the internet, information and marketing and shared experiences had been very limited. Few drummers really knew - or cared - what edges were about, how plies and hardware affect a drum's sound, and there wasn't the pre-occupation with where a drum is made, or who makes the shells and parts. Companies certainly weren't forthcoming with such information, not because it was a big secret, but because drummers weren't really interested enough at the time, and such explanations and specifications would have seemed like so much gobbledygook. Consider that some companies didn't even tell you that their 'metal' snares were brass, where today, shell material would probably be the first thing we'd want to know about a snare!

On the whole, I'll agree that the drum specification awareness and a certain amount of industry knowledge has helped us make better decisions about the gear we use. But I also think that the sheer amount of information available gets in the way of making (formerly basic) choices such as, 'does the drum sound good?'

The over-educated drummer today is concerned with edges, shell material/thickness/construction, heads, wires, throwoffs, hoop type/material/thickness, lug mass, lug gaskets, number of lugs, washers (nylon of metal), vent or no vent, the difference in sound between lacquer finish or wrap, and whether the wrap is glued or taped. And that's just the snare!

Yet none of those things were important - or even known - to the vast majority of drummers until fairly recently. Never once did I ask about any of those aspects when checking out a snare. I asked for a stick - and it didn't matter what size or whether it was nylon tip or not - hit the drum, and I either liked it, or I didn't. I never asked to try a different tuning, or see how it sounded with a different head, or questioned what it was made of, etc. If I liked it, I bought it! Or in most cases, just drooled over it because I couldn't afford it.

But I have become overly-aware of how the different aspects of a drum can affect its sound and playability, and now there are many things I 'need' to know before I can simply hit the drum, heaven forfend that I might decide with my ears if it sounds good or not. Sometimes that knowledge prevents me from even bothering, and it takes a lot of willpower and letting-go to get over it and discover some great-sounding, but specification deficient drums. Am I not supposed to like certain drums because they don't spec well, or are a 'budget' line? Conversely, should I automatically buy anything with exacting, well-researched specs and meticulous craftsmanship? Does that mean the drum sounds good?

I started by saying knowledge is power, but I wonder if ignorance is bliss at times. I miss going into the music store, tapping on pretty drums and shiny cymbals, and liking them all without question.

Anyway, just pondering on a Saturday morning as a categorize a bunch of gear I picked up on the road this year. Probably none of this is important.

Bermuda
I'm not quite sure the premise here is accurate. I think many drummers eagerly read everything they could about drums, even if there wasn't as much, and were fairly well-informed.

I think the explosion in drums - in musical instruments in general - parallels to some extent the explosion in musical tastes and genres among audiences and musicians. Back in the day, not many drummers knew a whole lot about African rhythms, Brazilian rhythms, East Indian time divisions, left-foot clave, double pedaling and more. There are now dozens of genres that never used to exist, and a few genres have gone out of style. Formerly exotic instruments like cajons and djembes are now very common. Drummers are more educated about all manner of things, including the very instruments they play.
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Old 10-27-2013, 10:30 AM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

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I don't think you can be "over-educated" on gear. You simply have to temper what you THINK your ears want with what the gear actually gives you.
And that's it; you HAVE to move beyond looking at the specs and actually play whatever the piece of gear in question is. I can't count the number of threads started by guys looking for help finding the "perfect" drum head that never seem to actually try anything. There comes a point where all the advice and virtual comparisons are completely meaningless without actually trying something.

Which makes me wonder at what point the information overload actually becomes counter-productive to sales. I totally agree with DrumEatDrum about the ImperialStars and how today no one could get away with just saying a shell is "wood." Now it's all about what kind of wood, how many plies, thickness of each ply, method used to glue the shell...

But even though we're trained to expect SO much information it's reached a point where it isn't necessarily leading us to make a decision about what to buy faster. If anything it seems to make us more likely to put off buying because of the worry you may overlook some important spec and buy the wrong thing.

Maybe all that jargon helped set some people apart initially, but now I have to wonder if it's hurting sales more than helping.
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Old 10-27-2013, 10:32 AM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

We play drums because we like the noise they make. If you like the sound of a kit it only matters what name is on it when it comes to vanity, and I don't mean that as a dig at anyone.

Some will only play a Birch ply bass drum as they say they prefer the sound to other timbers, and the bearing edge must be a specific angle oh and it must be un-drilled..........and then stick a load of damping inside the drum so you couldnt tell what it was made from anyway.
To be honest, as long as a kit makes the sound we like, is the right sizes for our needs, and is mechanically reliable, that is all we need. But that would be boring, would it not?
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Old 10-27-2013, 10:45 AM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

My knowledge helps me.
I know what Is available in the way of drums and hardware etc, and that gives me the power to use what I like to create drum kits that I like. I add custom features to every kit that I own.
I get the ideas from my seeing all that there to see and hearing all that there is to hear when it comes to drums and gear.
I don't feel that I am over educated. Knowledge is power and you can never get enough of it.
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Old 10-27-2013, 12:05 PM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

It's a player priority thing. Gear should never get in the way of what's really important. It's a vehicle, a means to an end, not an end in itself.

Additionally, making gear choices on spec's alone is a crap shoot. For example, I've seen more examples of poor quality/design in solid shell drums than in ply drums. Just because a drum is of stave or steam bent construction, doesn't automatically mean it's sonically superior. Same with brand, same with country of origin, wood species, etc, etc.

The "just hit it - & if you like it, buy it" statement is very true, but in this current market, the opportunity to do so outside of the absolute mainstream is diminishing. This is why we go to great lengths to provide honest capture recordings that are both true to real life & informative. In an ideal world, we'd all have a bricks & mortar store within reasonable travelling distance that had a vast array of instruments across all levels, & a good demonstration strategy. In reality, that hardly exists for most of us, so we use a composite of tools to make our choices, especially if we want something outside of mainstream mass production.
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Old 10-27-2013, 12:52 PM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

...

Two sides of the same coin, imo.

I honestly do believe that music comes from the musician's hands, fingers.. and not from the instrument. I've seen enough great players over the years, playing shitty instruments an making great music to think otherwise.

I remember being at an open mike once, in a club with a godawful drumkit ( the worst kit possible, ever! ), really crappy house amps etc... and the musicians on stage were making an unholy racket.
Later, into the evening, Aurora Jane ( a very cool band from Grea-land, Sydney ) troops in, has a few drinks and decides to jam. The same club with the same bad sound, bad kit etc magically transforms into beautiful sound, fat and crisp grooves ... its like someone changed the backline with a magic wand.

I dont think extra knonwledge can ever a bad thing but if it starts to lead you by the nose, and small things become huge in your head by peering through the magnifying glass of constant gear scrutiny, one tends to lose perspective.

Have said that, I'm grateful that there are people, who made my Yamaha drums, people who make other great sounding drums, beautiful drums, people like Andy Crosby ( KIS ), who zoom in 800% into all this, so that they can give us the best instruments possible.


...
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Old 10-27-2013, 01:53 PM
mikel mikel is offline
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

It could be a combination, a little bit of tech and how douse it sound.

Personally having too much knowledge can be a bad thing, with drums anyway.

Why would you need to know if the ply's were all horizontal, or alternating with vertical? Why would you need to know if the ply's were jointed at an angle or straight? I cant tell the sonic difference between types of wood let alone mixing wood ply's in the same shell.

I have been playing drums since the 60s and If I were forced to listen to a blind test of kits or even heads I would be in trouble. If someone said "Ok, now you tell me which of those two kit you just played was a Tama Hyperstar Mk3 and which was a Pearl GTX Turbo" I would be lost. Once they started asking about the bearing edge angles and the one I prefer my embarasment would be complete.

Its like breakfast cereal in big superstores, just far too much choice, all with conflicting and confusing information on the packs. I am only going to eat it for goodness sake. So what do I do? I go straight to the one I know I like. If I had a spare millenium I could try them all and possibly find a new favorite, but I enjoy eating too much to waste the time.

Its the same with drums. I am going to hit them with a stick, and I like the sound of the kit and heads I have without complicating things. I don't need to know how the shells are configured or who manufactured the glue or what phase the moon was in when the tree to supply the wood was cut down. Go in a shop try the kits you like the look of, and pick the one that "You" think sounds the best. If its a DW meggasuperwhizz, great, If its a second hand fepos, even better cos you have just saved yourself a fortune and still have the kit you like.
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Old 10-27-2013, 02:05 PM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

"phase of the moon"

I'm gonna have to check that...!
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Old 10-27-2013, 02:22 PM
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

I'm enjoying my quite limited knowledge of drum gear because that prevents me from thinking about it too much. Coming from the guitar, I can confirm that it can be counterproductive if you have all the details in your head and keep wondering what the 'best' solution for a given situation (or one's budget) is. So when it comes to drums I'm more focusing on the motions/technique although nice gear is important of course. I just don't want to repeat that - not necessarily mistake but certainly overfocussing - with guitars and taking it to the drums. I also noticed that in my home recording. Stuff like "Which cables are the best? Is my signal path clean enough? How can I modify my microphones to make them even better?" All this added up to paralyzing actually making/recording music to some extent. That was a shocking experience. Sure some (or even a lot of) knowledge is good but from a certain point it can start getting frustrating.

When I'll have a better understanding of which sounds I actually need/prefer the situation might change and I'll simply have to get more into the details but for now I'm fine with what I 'know'.
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Old 10-27-2013, 04:27 PM
Drumolator Drumolator is offline
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Default Re: Is being over-educated about gear good, or bad?

A guy I like to follow said, "The truth will set you free." However, someone else said, "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing."

Sound, reliability, looks ... those are what matter. How you achieve that is up to you. Some need lots of knowledge, and others do not. Peace and goodwill.
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