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Old 03-22-2015, 09:40 PM
StreetPunk2jazz StreetPunk2jazz is offline
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Default What experience do you have making your own drum kits?

Have you ordered shells, wrap, hardware, etc. and made your "dream kit" and if so, how did it go? How difficult was it to do and which parts were harder than others? I'm really seriously thinking about doing this and now I'm just waiting on the money to add up. These are much cheaper than buying a dw or any other high dollar company and the shells are the same.
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Old 03-22-2015, 10:06 PM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default Re: What experience do you have making your own drum kits?

I investigated doing so with Keller shells. I have a great deal of experience applying nitrocellulose to guitars, and was going to stain/finish. I made up a full BOM and labor spreadsheet. I'll see if I can find it and put it on google-docs. I had the BOM groundwork laid for a DIY stave set as well, but hadn't guesstimated the labor.

When I compared the $2300-two-month-long DIY result to my $1200 Renown Maple, I decided to return my attention to furthering my playing ability. I'll eventually end up with a boutique kit at some point down the road.

I do not want to discourage you, but wanted to make you aware that the "Retail DIY" option isn't really less expensive than purchasing a high quality kit from a decent manufacturer.
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Old 03-22-2015, 10:10 PM
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GruntersDad GruntersDad is offline
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Default Re: What experience do you have making your own drum kits?

I ordered everything to make a snare drum, and I also have gotten 4 orphan drums and repainted, then rewrapped them in a small bop configuration.
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Old 03-22-2015, 11:13 PM
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gdmoore28 gdmoore28 is offline
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Default Re: What experience do you have making your own drum kits?

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Originally Posted by StreetPunk2jazz View Post
Have you ordered shells, wrap, hardware, etc. and made your "dream kit" and if so, how did it go? How difficult was it to do and which parts were harder than others? I'm really seriously thinking about doing this and now I'm just waiting on the money to add up. These are much cheaper than buying a dw or any other high dollar company and the shells are the same.
Like Kamak, I've gone only so far as to work up a bill of materials. Prospect was to do a maple six-piece kit (2up2down+snare). It just doesn't make sense from an economic standpoint. The problem is in buying everything retail. I never ran the numbers to include any labor costs, yet the total always came to between $1800-2000. For two grand it's possible to pick up a top-line used kit.

If you have the bucks to do it, though, I would say "do it." You'll have the exact kit you want, plus the pride of having built it yourself. If money was no concern to me, I would certainly undertake the project.

But money is ALWAYS a concern to me! :(

GeeDeeEmm
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Old 03-23-2015, 12:18 AM
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Drumsinhisheart Drumsinhisheart is offline
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Default Re: What experience do you have making your own drum kits?

Being a diehard DIYer I have been making sets, large sets, since 1991. I have never looked back to buying company drums. Whether doing stains, dyes, and finishes or wraps, when it has been all said and done, for me there is nothing like playing an instrument you make yourself. They sound as good as anything out there and generally speaking I have always saved quite a bit of money.

The thing that runs up your bill is not so much shells, lugs, etc, that is where you save when you compare what you can build to what companies sell, drum to drum. You do have to pay their labor and overhead costs. It is the hardware to mount everything that costs the DIYer. The companies can include all that in a full set for a decent amount, comparatively speaking.

That said, I can still make a set that I want for less than a new one from a company.
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Old 03-23-2015, 06:20 AM
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Default Re: What experience do you have making your own drum kits?

I've been considering building an acrylic kit because for the kit I want I could do it for around 2 grand and I would be able to get the sizes I really want instead of the limited sizes available from Ludwig, Pearl, etc. Since finishing wouldn't be a factor, drilling holes and bolting the hardware on wouldn't amount to much in the way of labor.
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Old 03-23-2015, 03:40 PM
tamadrm tamadrm is offline
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Default Re: What experience do you have making your own drum kits?

I think ,once you add up the ACTUAL expence of buying ALL that materials (finish is a huge factor here),you'll find that it's really that much cheaper,and in some cases,more expensive,depending on components.And then there's the oops factor.Un lees you have good hand/woodworking skills,you're better off refinishing an existing set of drums.

If it were that cheap and easy,everybody would be doing it.

Steve B
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Old 03-23-2015, 05:14 PM
The SunDog
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Default Re: What experience do you have making your own drum kits?

I've built four drums from Keller shells. I'll give you a little rundown of my bass drum build. First you need to chose a dealer to order from. The prices for different services vary a lot, but the final price is about the same. So a 24x16 8 ply shell with edges $156, 10 ply maple hoops $32 ea, shipping $60. Some dealers charge less for shipping but more the shell and edging. Then add hardware, you've got a minimum of $150 for spurs and lugs, and another $80 for heads. Stain and lacquer will cost maybe $15, but this takes time and skill. A quality wrap for a 24" BD can be done for $75-$100 depending on things like color and shipping. The really high quality wraps like glass/glitter, sparkles, marines are going to cost over $160 for a 24" drum. Now you need a drill, some bits, a tape measure like a taylor uses a T-square a pencil, painters tape and paper. I owned all of that already so I left those costs off. So your final cost will be in the range of $525 - $660. I also bought an auto buffer to finish the lacquer. Without a compressor and paint gun a DIY lacquer will look unprofessional. I had to wet sand the lacquer and then buff and polish to get a glass like finish. Tung oil is much easier to work with and yield pro results, and of course wraps which cost the most. So there you have it. Roughly $525-$660 for one bass drum before you even start to work on it. Oh and you need a bench. You can't do this on the floor. I bolted uni-strut to two saw horses and wrapped the end in towels so i could slide the drums over the end and keep them free to spin while being worked on. Now you need to do a bit of measuring and with the t-square lay out the lug pattern, spurs, and vent, then drill. Lightly sand the shell inside and out, it's supposed to be finish grade, but a good sanding with a fine paper should still be done. Now tape all the holes inside, tape the edge, and paper the interior. You are now ready to stain, lacquer tung oil.
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Old 03-23-2015, 05:22 PM
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gdmoore28 gdmoore28 is offline
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Default Re: What experience do you have making your own drum kits?

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Originally Posted by Drumsinhisheart View Post
Being a diehard DIYer I have been making sets, large sets, since 1991. I have never looked back to buying company drums. Whether doing stains, dyes, and finishes or wraps, when it has been all said and done, for me there is nothing like playing an instrument you make yourself. They sound as good as anything out there and generally speaking I have always saved quite a bit of money.

Great. You've done what so many of us, myself included, would love to do. And I would be very interested in seeing pics of the kits you've built. How about some photos?

That said, I still can't see how you come out financially on building your own kit from scratch. As I noted, I've been dreaming of this for a long time, but once the total expenses (excluding labor) are listed on paper, the cost is just not what i would consider "saving money." Can you give us some idea of how much it cost you to build one of your sets based on current prices for shells, hoops, lugs, t-rods, mounts, and finish?

I'm not being cynical. I would really like to know how you justify the cost of building - outside of the tremendous pride and sense of accomplishment in rolling your own.

GeeDeeEmm
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  #10  
Old 03-23-2015, 11:27 PM
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Default Re: What experience do you have making your own drum kits?

I think that's a large part of it. Homebrewing beer is the same way. You don't do it to save money. You do it because you love to do it.
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  #11  
Old 03-25-2015, 12:41 AM
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porter porter is offline
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Default Re: What experience do you have making your own drum kits?

Quote:
Originally Posted by StreetPunk2jazz View Post
Have you ordered shells, wrap, hardware, etc. and made your "dream kit" and if so, how did it go? How difficult was it to do and which parts were harder than others? I'm really seriously thinking about doing this and now I'm just waiting on the money to add up. These are much cheaper than buying a dw or any other high dollar company and the shells are the same.
I ordered stave shells with drilling, bearing edges, and finishing done, and assembled everything else myself. I don't trust myself with the tools, but I knew that 1) I wanted a solid shell, 2) I wanted some esoterically sized-drums, 3) I wanted to pick the best parts I could find for every little detail. As you said, most custom companies are much more expensive for that kind of stuff than my kit was, and mass-market stuff can't offer any of those 3 things (my kit total was just about $3000 for all the components).

Now, though, if you're going to go for a ply shell, if you don't want some weird sizes, and if you don't want to search for the best materials/design decisions (like bearing edges) to suit your needs... why not just get a regular mass-market kit and be done with it? There are a lot of amazing kits out there that will definitely be cheaper than building your own, and you can upgrade them with aftermarket parts anyways.
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  #12  
Old 03-25-2015, 02:00 AM
drum4fun27302 drum4fun27302 is offline
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Default Re: What experience do you have making your own drum kits?

I'd say the cheapest way to do it is to buy a used kit you like and refinish it the way you want it.
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  #13  
Old 03-25-2015, 04:54 AM
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Drumsinhisheart Drumsinhisheart is offline
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Default Re: What experience do you have making your own drum kits?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gdmoore28 View Post
Great. You've done what so many of us, myself included, would love to do. And I would be very interested in seeing pics of the kits you've built. How about some photos?

That said, I still can't see how you come out financially on building your own kit from scratch. As I noted, I've been dreaming of this for a long time, but once the total expenses (excluding labor) are listed on paper, the cost is just not what i would consider "saving money." Can you give us some idea of how much it cost you to build one of your sets based on current prices for shells, hoops, lugs, t-rods, mounts, and finish?

I'm not being cynical. I would really like to know how you justify the cost of building - outside of the tremendous pride and sense of accomplishment in rolling your own.

GeeDeeEmm
As far as sets I've made, some are in this album:

http://drummerworld.com/forums/album.php?albumid=1335

I haven't made a set in a number of years now. The last few have been "hand-me-downs" in that I take hardware off and place it on new shells and change finish ideas. Although a few years ago I got a full set of maple hoops from Stellar.

A couple of drums in the current set have hung around for years, and both were purchased as used bass drums, 20 and 24. Otherwise it's always new shells, messing around with depths and ply configurations, bearing edges, etc. The sets have always been 12 pieces or more. I've always had a lot of cymbals, too. I just like all the pitch and tonal possibilities.

I purchase component parts wherever I've gotten the best deals; generally Anderson Intl. for shells for a full set, and various places for lugs and rods and hoops. With snares, especially, seeing what those things go for today, I have saved a lot of money making my own. One thing that saves me money is that I have used "half toms" since the mid 90s (4x8, 5x10, 6x12, etc. I just love the sound and feel. I only use one lug per drum, save for kicks. I never use tube lugs. Way too expensive and I never really liked the looks, anyway. I also mount all my drums in snare baskets and some I modify and have gotten used off ebay, etc. I save money where I can. I haven't used typical tom arms and L-rods for 20 years or more.

I would say making my own sets saves me anywhere from half to a third over company sets. I mean, I see 5 piece top of the line sets going from 4 to 5k or more from the companies. Man, I can make a set twice or three times that size for that money but, that is with my style sets. Say 4-600 for shells, 3-400 for lugs, 100 for rods, 150-250 for chrome hoops and then finish materials, generally veneers 2- 600, tung oil. Heads around 400. I have all the stands and mounting stuff I've needed for years. If I did have to buy all new and used stuff again, say 1000 - 1500, which is high for me, for a large set the way I do it. That totals around 4k at the top end if my sight math is correct. I have never spent that much making drum sets, ever. So, 4-5k for DW, for a 5 pc or what I have spent for my sets. Yeah, I save a lot of money. Shipping has often been free for the amount of stuff I purchase, depending on the merchants. Now true, Tama, Pearl, etc can be 1k less. Still. I save money for my big sets.

For people with wood working skills and the tools, I always say, Go for it.
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Old 03-25-2015, 05:25 PM
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gdmoore28 gdmoore28 is offline
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Default Re: What experience do you have making your own drum kits?

After looking at the pictures of the sets you've built, I don't know what to say, really. You obviously know what you're doing, and have turned out some beautiful sets. My hat's off to you.

That said, you've broken one cardinal rule in drum setup: Rule 14.b, "Never place a cymbal directly in front of the captain's face. This avoids looking like you have a piece of bronze for a head." :)

Other than that, my friend, go forth and build.

GeeDeeEmm
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Old 03-25-2015, 07:27 PM
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Drumsinhisheart Drumsinhisheart is offline
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Default Re: What experience do you have making your own drum kits?

LOL. So, what is rule 14 a.?

I have to admit I probably hide behind my drums and always have. But truly the section of space in front of me has always had cymbals there because of the way I play and the music I've played. Not Top 40, but original stuff which was prog/rock/fusion back in the day or orchestrated stuff or the things I record now. I have generally kept things just above my eyes so people can see my face if they have to.
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