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  #1  
Old 02-20-2010, 08:56 PM
Ludwig Fan Ludwig Fan is offline
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Default American made drums

Hey guys. What are all of the "MAJOR" drum companies that actually make drums in the USA....not custom shops.

I am pretty sure most Ludwig drums are still made here. Although, I think ludwig has their lower end drums made out of the country.

what about DW, Mapex etc...
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Old 02-20-2010, 09:04 PM
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Default Re: American made drums

Gretsch, USA Customs, and DW.
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  #3  
Old 02-20-2010, 09:20 PM
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Default Re: American made drums

Yeah, that's all I can think of at the moment. Ludwig Classic Maple/Birch & the new Keystone series, Gretsch USA Customs, and DW.
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Old 02-20-2010, 09:30 PM
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Default Re: American made drums

Do we count Pork Pie, Spaun, or any of the other many Keller shell based kits? Recall, that DW was using Keller until not that long ago... Oh, and Keller makes the shells for Gretsch USA, too.

Seems to me that Keller might be the most major of American drum makers - they just let everyone else finish them and mount their own hardware.
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Old 02-21-2010, 12:05 AM
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Default Re: American made drums

I'm for all things made in USA Baby!!!
I do have some asian drums, but I love my dw's and Ludwigs!
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Old 02-21-2010, 12:29 AM
RobertM RobertM is offline
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Default Re: American made drums

If we discount Keller shells, then Gretsch is off the list. I think only DW and Ludwig would be left standing for totally American made, no?

I would argue that a company like GMS and Noble & Cooley are American made. Sure, they use Keller, but they do all the design work and fabrication for their hardware/lugs for the SE and GM kits (GMS) and SS snares and CD Maples (N&C). That kind of commitment should count for something, especially if Gretsch is going to be included in the list. Plus, N&C has been around since the Civil War.

Do Spaun and Pork Pie make/design their own lugs--I believe they do. But stuff like SJC and Truth, etc.--they look like they just use the hodge-podge of available lugs and hardware that is out there for anyone. So, they are just cutting edges and painting a shell. At least companies like PP, GMS, and N&C have anywhere from 25 to over 100 years of experience, not just five or six.
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Old 02-21-2010, 12:51 AM
Ludwig Fan Ludwig Fan is offline
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Default Re: American made drums

Are the Keller shells made in the USA?
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Old 02-21-2010, 12:55 AM
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Default Re: American made drums

Apparently Japanese-made shells are properly good. :S

It doesn't matter to me where mine are made though, tbh!

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  #9  
Old 02-21-2010, 12:56 AM
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Default Re: American made drums

Most of the Slingerland kits.
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  #10  
Old 02-21-2010, 02:10 AM
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Default Re: American made drums

Quote:
Originally Posted by conchrandy View Post
Most of the Slingerland kits.
I don't know for sure about the Nashville-era Slingerlands, but the latest versions were Keller shells (and the occasional Radio King snare shell came from Vaughncraft.)

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Old 02-21-2010, 02:18 AM
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Default Re: American made drums

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludwig Fan View Post
Hey guys. What are all of the "MAJOR" drum companies that actually make drums in the USA....not custom shops.... what about DW, Mapex etc...
If by "make" you mean "build", then it's a modest list that includes Ludwig, Gretsch, DW, and whatever is left of Slingerland. Leedy was a major name, and is in one of its revivals now with Tre Cool endorsing them. And the companies that used to pass for custom shops have become decent-sized comapnies, so names like Pork Pie, Spaun and GMS should be included.

But if you mean drum companies who at least manufacture their own shells in the US, it's a tiny list: Ludwig, and DW (and DW only started making their own shells about 15 years ago.) There are some other shell-makers, Keller and Vaughncraft for example, but they're not considered drum companies.

FYI, Mapex is not a US company.

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Old 02-21-2010, 02:33 AM
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Default Re: American made drums

If we're counting custom drums, C&C and Craviotto are American-made.
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  #13  
Old 02-21-2010, 02:41 AM
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Default Re: American made drums

Well...either Make or Build.

Thanks for the Mapex info...if you will notice, I was ASKING which companies make drums in the USA...not implying that Mapex did or did not. If I knew I would not have ASKED.

I have noticed almost every posts refers to shells...what about the hardware? I have no 1st had knowledge, but I would guess most drum companies outsource the metal parts....anyone know about this?

What about the keller shells....??? anyone?
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Old 02-21-2010, 02:47 AM
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Default Re: American made drums

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludwig Fan View Post
Well...either Make or Build.

Thanks for the Mapex info...if you will notice, I was ASKING which companies make drums in the USA...not implying that Mapex did or did not. If I knew I would not have ASKED.

I have noticed almost every posts refers to shells...what about the hardware? I have no 1st had knowledge, but I would guess most drum companies outsource the metal parts....anyone know about this?

What about the keller shells....??? anyone?

AXIS is the only company making hardware (cymbal, snare and HH stands) in the USA, but they don't produce drums (yet(?)).

TRICK and GMS machine their own lugs.
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  #15  
Old 02-21-2010, 02:51 AM
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Default Re: American made drums

Thanks for all the great info, everyone!!!
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Old 02-21-2010, 05:47 AM
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Default Re: American made drums

Given all this talk about Ludwig, does anyone know why the Classic Maple kits are so affordable? Usually, affordability in drums is not a good thing--it can signal mediocre quality. The Classic Maples are one of Ludwig's flagship lines, though, so I'm curious why the CMs are so "cheap" compared to their competitors (e.g., Yamaha Maple Custom Absolutes, Tama SC Maples, etc.). For example, a 3 pc bebop setup in CMs is about $1350 (US dollars); same thing in Yamaha MCAs or Tama SC Maples would be closer to $2K roughly.

Are the Classic Maple shells on par with Yamaha's or Tama's or Pearl's high-end maple shells? Are the CM lugs of good quality (i.e., solid lugs hold tuning better vs. weaker/hollow lugs)?

Just puzzled by the low cost of a CM bebop kit (wrap finish). A 3 pc bebop kit in high end from anyone else (wrapped), be it GMS, Pork Pie, Yamaha, Tama, DW, etc., would cost at least a couple hundred dollars more.
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Old 02-21-2010, 05:49 AM
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Default Re: American made drums

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackmaged View Post
If we're counting custom drums, C&C and Craviotto are American-made.
Very good point. Like Noble & Cooley SS snares, Craviotto bends their own shells for snares and kits.
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  #18  
Old 02-21-2010, 06:01 AM
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Default Re: American made drums

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertM View Post
Given all this talk about Ludwig, does anyone know why the Classic Maple kits are so affordable? Usually, affordability in drums is not a good thing--it can signal mediocre quality.
I've been trying not to wonder about this too much myself (!) since I'm about 90% of the way toward pulling the trigger on a new CM kick.

I've been pricing out some local guys who make drums using Keller shells, and they cost more than the CM. The only advantage I can see with going this route is I can get an exact color match, but I might do the Ludwig just because it's cheaper and *presumably* at least as good.

And I'm not talking about ridiculous Truth-style overpriced Keller shams, either. These local guys aren't making much on their labor. I priced out the Keller shells and hardware myself thinking I could do it, but it really doesn't save enough to make it worth it - I don't have a lot of time to devote to such an undertaking, so it really needs to be a big difference.

I keep coming back to the Ludwig CM, and am getting close to ordering...

Hopefully the quality is all there and they're just trying to buy some market share.
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Old 02-21-2010, 06:15 AM
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Default Re: American made drums

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludwig Fan View Post

I have noticed almost every posts refers to shells...what about the hardware? I have no 1st had knowledge, but I would guess most drum companies outsource the metal parts....anyone know about this?
DW bought the machines to make their lugs from the Camco drum company.
I would assume Ludwige and Gretch also make their own lugs here, as do some others.

But as far as I know, these days every metal drum hoop is made overseas, as are most all the screws, tension rods, etc.
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Old 02-21-2010, 07:43 AM
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Default Re: American made drums

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackmaged View Post
If we're counting custom drums, C&C and Craviotto are American-made.
C&C has been using Keller shells, although this may have changed very recently. However neither company is "major" as was asked in the original post.

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  #21  
Old 02-25-2010, 01:23 PM
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Default Re: American made drums

It may be that Ludwig is cheaper because they make their own shells. I believe they've been using the same molds for years, so those were paid off decades ago. If you have to have your shells made, then you've got a middleman there taking a piece of the profits. Plus, they've had to be competitive with the asian drum makers.
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  #22  
Old 02-25-2010, 01:42 PM
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Default Re: American made drums

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Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
Hopefully the quality is all there and they're just trying to buy some market share.
Has to be this one Mike.....after being a powerhouse in the 60's and 70's, there's no doubt they lost a lot of business in the 80's onwards to the Pearl's, Tama's, Sonor's, DW's et al. The one thing I keep reading on these boards is the efforts being made by Ludwig (and Gretsch too for that matter) to regain their market share. It makes sense the CM pricing is just a reflection of the all out assualt to return to the halcyon days.

Bring it on too I say.....never heard a US Luddy I didn't like!!
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  #23  
Old 03-02-2010, 04:11 AM
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Default Re: American made drums

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
DW bought the machines to make their lugs from the Camco drum company.
I would assume Ludwige and Gretch also make their own lugs here, as do some others.

But as far as I know, these days every metal drum hoop is made overseas, as are most all the screws, tension rods, etc.
I would be surprised if any major manufacture is having their lugs made in the U.S. Companies that do the sort of volume that Ludwig and Gretsch do with low-end kits have great relationships with the over seas manufactures. When the EPA regs on chrome plating and manufacturing are figured into the lug costs, far cheaper to go overseas. I'd honestly be surprised if anything more than the shell and badge were made in the US on any major "U.S." company. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly certain any die-cast part available is being made overseas.
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Old 03-03-2010, 12:20 PM
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Default Re: American made drums

Quote:
Originally Posted by drumhammerer View Post
It may be that Ludwig is cheaper because they make their own shells. I believe they've been using the same molds for years, so those were paid off decades ago.
Ludwig had new molds made a few years ago. It was right as they started to offer deeper (18") kick drums. The original molds only allowed for a a maximum depth of 16", so all of those really deep kicks used by Ludwig endorsers (Alex, Blas Elias, etc) were actually Keller shells with Ludwig hardware.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phattie Drums View Post
I would be surprised if any major manufacture is having their lugs made in the U.S. Companies that do the sort of volume that Ludwig and Gretsch do with low-end kits have great relationships with the over seas manufactures. When the EPA regs on chrome plating and manufacturing are figured into the lug costs, far cheaper to go overseas. I'd honestly be surprised if anything more than the shell and badge were made in the US on any major "U.S." company. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly certain any die-cast part available is being made overseas.
I am almost certain you are right. Ludwig hardware is made overseas and shipped here to assemble. Willing to bet DW's stuff is too, especially with the eco laws in Cali...

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Old 03-03-2010, 11:14 PM
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Default Re: American made drums

Quote:
Originally Posted by latzanimal View Post
Ludwig had new molds made a few years ago. It was right as they started to offer deeper (18") kick drums. The original molds only allowed for a a maximum depth of 16", so all of those really deep kicks used by Ludwig endorsers (Alex, Blas Elias, etc) were actually Keller shells with Ludwig hardware.
I thought that too, but I recently saw AVH's chrome 20x24 bass drum on eBay (seller Todd Trent) and it said the shell was made by gluing two shells together.
HOWEVER, Precision Drum Co. has Ludwig on their list of companies they have done things for...so who knows for sure other than the chrome kit for Alex (he went with the 20x22 for the RHRN tour).

As of the latest (2010) size listings, both the CM and Legacy bass drums are available 14"-20" depth up to 24" diam, and 14 & 16 depths on 26's.
Ludwig would have purchased some molds to accommodate longer depth shells because those lines are made in NC.
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  #26  
Old 03-03-2010, 11:39 PM
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Default Re: American made drums

I was asking my local drum shop guy, he said the only ones now are the gretch customs and the top of the line ludwigs, he said the dws are assembled here, but made somewhere else, i dont know how true this is, but he orders top of the line stuff all the time for people, i guess he would know.
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Old 03-04-2010, 12:28 AM
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Default Re: American made drums

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Originally Posted by warrier1 View Post
I was asking my local drum shop guy, he said the only ones now are the gretch customs and the top of the line ludwigs, he said the dws are assembled here, but made somewhere else, i dont know how true this is, but he orders top of the line stuff all the time for people, i guess he would know.
I've been to the DW factory. They do indeed make their shells in Oxnard, California.

But the screws, hoops and metal bits come from elsewhere
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Old 03-04-2010, 08:22 AM
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Default Re: American made drums

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Originally Posted by latzanimal View Post
Ludwig had new molds made a few years ago. It was right as they started to offer deeper (18") kick drums. The original molds only allowed for a a maximum depth of 16", so all of those really deep kicks used by Ludwig endorsers (Alex, Blas Elias, etc) were actually Keller shells with Ludwig hardware.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KarlCrafton View Post
I thought that too, but I recently saw AVH's chrome 20x24 bass drum on eBay (seller Todd Trent) and it said the shell was made by gluing two shells together.
HOWEVER, Precision Drum Co. has Ludwig on their list of companies they have done things for...so who knows for sure other than the chrome kit for Alex (he went with the 20x22 for the RHRN tour)..
I should have mentioned that this is what I was told by Ludwig in '94 when I tried to get them to make me a pair of 18" deep kicks..... I mostly think they didn't want to bother because I was/am a nobody....

Of all people, I'm sure Todd would know about more recent drums....
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Old 03-13-2010, 01:49 AM
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Default Re: American made drums

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Dennis, is this you?
Yup! I don't make it around very often, but like to see what's cookin' here now and then.
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Old 03-13-2010, 03:30 AM
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Default Re: American made drums

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Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
I've been trying not to wonder about this too much myself (!) since I'm about 90% of the way toward pulling the trigger on a new CM kick.

I've been pricing out some local guys who make drums using Keller shells, and they cost more than the CM. The only advantage I can see with going this route is I can get an exact color match, but I might do the Ludwig just because it's cheaper and *presumably* at least as good.

And I'm not talking about ridiculous Truth-style overpriced Keller shams, either. These local guys aren't making much on their labor. I priced out the Keller shells and hardware myself thinking I could do it, but it really doesn't save enough to make it worth it - I don't have a lot of time to devote to such an undertaking, so it really needs to be a big difference.

I keep coming back to the Ludwig CM, and am getting close to ordering...

Hopefully the quality is all there and they're just trying to buy some market share.
Mike - did you pull the trigger on those CMs yet??
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  #31  
Old 03-14-2010, 07:22 PM
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Default Re: American made drums

Hey guys

I wanted to let everyone know that I have not used Keller shells in about 3 years.

DW makes their drum at their factory in Oxnard. The are not made offsite. All Pacific drum are made in Mexico.

Gretsch had everything retooled in Taiwan when
they went into business with Kaman (Gibralter)

Tooling cost here in the states makes it almost impossible to tool here in the states. When I was tooling my lugs, the quotes here in the states was about $30,000.00 per lug. Having it made in Taiwan was about $4,000.00 per lug. At 30K per lug mold, the end cost of a drum would be so expensive that nobody would buy it. Pure economics.

As far as I know, Ludwig and DW are the only companies in the USA that make their own shells. All of Gretsch shells come from Keller. Does that make them a company that people call a Keller company? Hmmm.

Yes all of the metal parts that we all use come from Taiwan. All of them. They are not available by USA companies. Cost is the issue. We could make the same parts but the peice price would make the end product not affordable.

I hope this helps with any questions. I am in the middle of this stuff everyday so these are not thoughts or ideas, this is all facts.

Bill D
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Old 03-14-2010, 07:28 PM
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Default Re: American made drums

Thank you Bill, That was informative to us all.
Im shocked at the tooling prices!
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Old 06-21-2010, 02:53 AM
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First, Hello. My name is Bill.
someone sent me a link to this thread.

I found it quite interesting,
I recently returned from 8 days in Asia.
It was actually a very enjoyable trip. And boy did I learn A LOT!

I sure saw a lot of great American drums being made.
I saw lugs being made for EVERYONE. There are small factories with four to six machine making 16 lugs at a time. One right after the other.

Then there is the "hoop" factory.... etc etc
I saw one of the most state of the art drum factories anyone would LOVE to own,
Spray dept. that had to be million bucks.
I am 53 years old and I had never heard of this company. Because they make "other peoples drums"

And they were making just about everyones mid to mid high end drums.
Including some maple series.
I was video taping and laughing so hard I could hardly hold the camera.

Main reason I went over was to pick up shell molds. The molds will make shells anywhere from 3.5mm to 12mm thick. Made about 40 shells one day then spent 2 days learning every nut, bolt, and screw on the equipment so I was ready to trouble shoot any problems. Two days with the guy who made them did not hurt. And yes, he has made mold for about everyone. But will customize how you want them built.

When DW first started making shells they had purchased the old molds from Ludwig.
I am sure they have long since replaced those molds.
So is Pork Pie using DW Mexican made shells. Or do they make another shell besides there 4 ply in the USA? I thought only the 4 plies were made here. But God knows I could be wrong.

Can't wait to do all the things we can't by the limitations with depending on others for your shell.
I will send over some pics when I figure out how to compress pics.


It is gonna be fun!
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  #34  
Old 06-21-2010, 03:21 AM
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Default Re: American made drums

Thank you Bill, and Welcome.
great post!
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Old 06-21-2010, 03:35 AM
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Your welcome.

And to the gentleman asking about the quality of the Ludwig shells.
I have had several raw shells and finished drums shipped to me by Ludwig.
All of the shells were beautiful.

The following statement has nothing to do with Ludwig or any other manufacture in particular.

But when I got into the wood researching business I found out the following. By the way the source was not a drum company but from wood suppliers. Take it at that.

I was told woods are purchased in 3 different grades A grade (flawless) B grade (grained and marked) C grade (I call this kind of rough, nothing pretty....)

It was explained to me most companies use B grade for exterior of wrapped drums and also interior plies. The "core" plies are all C grade. Couldn't tell you if there is a lick of truth to that. I plan on skipping the C grade stuff and using nothing below a B grade. Heck I liked a lot of the B grade stuff I saw better than the A grade. It had more character. But the A grade is very consistent in appearance.
As my grandma in Mississippi told me. Your buying a pig in a poke.
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Old 06-21-2010, 03:47 AM
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It makes sense to me Bill.
If I was a drum manufacturer that is what I would do.
Material cost affect profit.
Labor cost affect profit.
No one can see the middle plies.
I'm not convinced that it matters if you use no 3 or no 2 grade wood in the middle of the plies
I would have to make drums that everyone can afford and compete with the other majors.
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:11 AM
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Originally Posted by bobdadruma View Post
It makes sense to me Bill.
If I was a drum manufacturer that is what I would do.
Material cost affect profit.
Labor cost affect profit.
No one can see the middle plies.
I'm not convinced that it matters if you use no 3 or no 2 grade wood in the middle of the plies
I would have to make drums that everyone can afford and compete with the other majors.
Why? If a customer ask me to make him a shell with C grade core wood and he is going to put his company name on it. I would be fine with making his shell. And hopefully it is better than what he can currently obtain.

But If I knowingly over a few bucks make an inferior product over what I have the capability to make for our own drums...how am I any different from them (the big companies)

Sure, guys like Detamore and Spaun are going to produce a superior sounding drum to assembly line stuff. Both know how to cut and finish edges. They are going to take the care someone who just has a "job" in a third world country and building drums for very little money. Being a worker in a drum factory and a custom builder are not the same things.

I really never want to be "the next" dw, ludwig, gretsch.
I want to just be the first C&C.
I am gonna be dead some day and my name will still be on those drums.
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  #38  
Old 06-21-2010, 04:21 AM
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bobdadruma bobdadruma is offline
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Location: second measure of a fill-in
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Default Re: American made drums

I was speaking of a company that is making a regular guy drum kit and competing dollar for dollar with the other companies that are in this limited small market.
You are in a different world from them.
The internet is flooded with drums. Just look at eBay!

Like I said, You are in a different world from that.

Drums don't even hold a candle to guitar sales flow. That's where the real musical inst cash is!
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  #39  
Old 06-21-2010, 06:05 AM
ccdrums ccdrums is offline
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Default Re: American made drums

maybe it is impossible to own a small custom company and try and do the quality of work you got from an american martin or taylor guitar,
or maybe not. we will see.
I bet you can. DW has educated the drum buying public. Or made them aware. then educated them, expectation of sound of drums has now been placed if you will, in box.
I am for reeducating, There is no box, what sound do you want, It has worked so far,
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  #40  
Old 06-21-2010, 08:06 AM
KlarkKent KlarkKent is offline
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Default Re: American made drums

Bill,

Oh, so this is true then--Pork Pie is having DW make their shells. Have you noticed any difference in the shells vs. the Keller you used to use?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pork pie View Post
Hey guys

I wanted to let everyone know that I have not used Keller shells in about 3 years.

DW makes their drum at their factory in Oxnard. The are not made offsite. All Pacific drum are made in Mexico.

Gretsch had everything retooled in Taiwan when
they went into business with Kaman (Gibralter)

Tooling cost here in the states makes it almost impossible to tool here in the states. When I was tooling my lugs, the quotes here in the states was about $30,000.00 per lug. Having it made in Taiwan was about $4,000.00 per lug. At 30K per lug mold, the end cost of a drum would be so expensive that nobody would buy it. Pure economics.

As far as I know, Ludwig and DW are the only companies in the USA that make their own shells. All of Gretsch shells come from Keller. Does that make them a company that people call a Keller company? Hmmm.

Yes all of the metal parts that we all use come from Taiwan. All of them. They are not available by USA companies. Cost is the issue. We could make the same parts but the peice price would make the end product not affordable.

I hope this helps with any questions. I am in the middle of this stuff everyday so these are not thoughts or ideas, this is all facts.

Bill D
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