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  #1  
Old 07-24-2010, 07:50 AM
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Default The expensive drum stigma....

I'm wondering if anyone else has thought about this: in our new world economy, no one is spending money, business owners are afraid to hire new workers because they don't know what they'll have to pay for in taxes, or in health care. You look at ads on tv and lower prices for cars and such is what attracts people to buy them (if they can). In fact, everything people want and need, they're happy to get it for less. They'll even get another brand if it's cheaper and does the same job, so they can save a few bucks!

Then I come over here to read the threads about drums and drumsets, and I get the feeling that any particular drumset can't be worth anything if you didn't spend more than $3500 for it! I mean, really, there are those here who espouse getting things cheaper and that's great, but in order to be the man (or the woman), your drums have to be expensive or custom and come from wood from a 1,000 year-old tree or a log that was sunk for 200 years in the Potomac.

Believe me, I think it's really cool that there are so many choices out there in drum gear to buy. But is it just me or does this image not relate to reality?

I'm guilty of it too, having owned several pro kits throughout my 'career' (if you can call it that). But what I've noticed over my 35 years of playing is that every new drum kit I get, sounds an awful lot like the last one. Or I'm asked to tune it a certain by the client so that it sounds completely different from how I would want it to sound. They certainly don't care who made my drums or what it's made out of - they want what they want and that's all there is to it. To add further insult to injury, I probably got this particular gig because I came in with a lower price to begin with! Meaning that even with my pro level drums that were financed by mortgaging the house is now earning less money for me in order to get it paid off!

So, I've taken a new direction in my music 'career': get cheaper mid-level drums and make them sound great, and make a profit for once. And although I'm new at this new attitude, it's working. I posted some of my playing on YouTube for some of you to see and no one said my cheaper mid-level kit sounds bad, in fact, quite the contrary. Clients who call and ask me to play drums seem to like them, I like to think they like my playing first anyway. And because I didn't have to mortgage the house for them, every dollar earned goes into my bank accounts, where I can actually afford to put new heads on if I have to, or buy new sticks, or own that second 10" pop snare for a different backbeat.

But everyone has their favorites and will explain in great detail why their favorite top-of-the-line drumset absolutely kills all others. And I get this vibe that if I don't get a top-flight kit, then I can't possibly doing professional work - the construction won't hold up...the plies are all wrong....the wood is of unknown maple variety...that snare is made out of steel? Not brass? What are you? Crazy? China? That's just crazy talk!

If it wasn't made in Oxnard CA by hand, or in Indiana, or in Germany, there must be something wrong with it! If there wasn't anything wrong with it, then why was it only $600? That can't be right....

I don't mean to rant, but am I wrong here? I hope so. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this issue. (Maybe I should've put this in 'Off-topic'? But I figure I'm talking about drumming and economy in general.....)
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Old 07-24-2010, 08:37 AM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

Yeah, good on you. If you're a good player, you're going to sound just as good whether you're playing a force 3005 or an SQ2. And not many people who are listening are going to care anyway. Even going lower than a 3005 maybe (I know they're really solid drums, not having a go at the 3005's). And anyway, i've heard loads of drums on songs on the radio that to me sound rubbish, but still manage to be #1 hits. What mid-level kit do you own?
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Old 07-24-2010, 08:39 AM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

Doctors don't drive Chevys. I have never seen an on stage act, or a major band playing, where the drummer had a Percussion Plus drum set. I think there is a fine line between semi-pro and pro drum sets. A lot of it is quality of hardware etc, but I'm sure someone who knows how to tune properly will get even a poor drum set to sound good. We all strive for better things. A $20,000.00 car will get me to B from A as well as an $80,000.00 car. The option package may not be there, but the options don't get us from A to B. A good set of drums can cost 650.00. A great set 3000.00. So it s only a few hundred apart relatively speaking. Doctors don't live in apartments. Of course there are stigmas attached to all things and we buy where we think our wallet can fit as we dream of one day having a bigger wallet. At least I do.
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Old 07-24-2010, 08:44 AM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

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Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post
Doctors don't drive Chevys. I have never seen an on stage act, or a major band playing, where the drummer had a Percussion Plus drum set. I think there is a fine line between semi-pro and pro drum sets. A lot of it is quality of hardware etc, but I'm sure someone who knows how to tune properly will get even a poor drum set to sound good. We all strive for better things. A $20,000.00 car will get me to B from A as well as an $80,000.00 car. The option package may not be there, but the options don't get us from A to B. A good set of drums can cost 650.00. A great set 3000.00. So it s only a few hundred apart relatively speaking. Doctors don't live in apartments. Of course there are stigmas attached to all things and we buy where we think our wallet can fit as we dream of one day having a bigger wallet. At least I do.
Still, I think if [someone from a rock/pop band] played a mid-priced mid-range kit, no one in the audience would really care.
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Old 07-24-2010, 08:51 AM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

As Nilson said, "He's got a point there". My day job is electronics manufacturing engineering. The robotic equipment used to assemble circuit boards is mainly built in Japan by Matsushita or Fuji Heavy Industries. So it doesn't really matter whether that machine is sitting here in Silicon Valley, or somewhere in Indonesia. Most of the technology problems have been worked out by folks here and are now commonly known world wide. For a few million capital investment, you can set up a factory just about anywhere you can put a building and hire some people to keep the machines fed. Same thing with injection molding or die casting. Same machines. Just find a place where you can put them that's cheap and cheap people to pull the parts out and box them up. That's why all the drum lugs are made in Asia.

When you get to artisan level work, there are those folks everywhere. In some other cultures that is one of the most highly respected occupations.

On a guitar forum I go to, there is a big hue and cry about a new John Mayer signature Stratocaster. The "non-reliced" version is made in Mexico along with most of Fender's mid-line product. "But it's not a real, made in the USA, Fender" folks grumble. To which some clever chap retorted "Would you rather have a Fender made in the USA by Mexicans, or one made in Mexico by Mexicans." Same could be said for DW, who's US factory isn't that far from Fender and probably employs a fair percentage of Hispanic folks who are proud to work with their hands building things.

I've been to factories in China. The folks working there are trying just as hard or harder than American workers to do a good job. Since there is a line outside of folks wanting to improve their lives and perfectly willing to do that job, they better. It's just like the industrial revolution in the US when folks move from southern farms to factories up north.

Now you can't swing a dead cat around any industry nowadays without hitting someone trying to cut costs. Europe, the US, south of the border, or Asia. So things will be built to a price point. But part of building to a price point is manufacturing volume. And you get volume with automation. Which means less variablity. Meaning there's very little difference between machining on a cheap drum from an expensive one. Maybe a bit of hand finishing on the expensive one, but the shells are probably rounder and the edges truer on modern automated drums than on the drums of yore that people fawn over. Supply chains for wood are more efficient and you can now get maple or other higher end woods that are more consistent that you used to be able to get poplar or basswood.

Good heads, attention to set up and tuning, and you have very playable drums without selling a car. Maybe not the cachet, but the 99.5% of the sound.
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Old 07-24-2010, 08:58 AM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

I totally hear ya Bo,

My Encinada maple kit sounds great, recorded well and that Chinese snare kicks; it sounded good enough to record with and so I did just that. If you got it, more power to ya it's nice to have top quality hand made gear. There are plenty of less expensive options that sound just as good and the world will never be the wiser.
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Old 07-24-2010, 08:59 AM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeolian View Post
Good heads, attention to set up and tuning, and you have very playable drums without selling a car. Maybe not the cachet, but the 99.5% of the sound.
Interesting to read the whole post, I think you summed it up pretty well here. I'm not very good at tuning, but even on my AU$550 mapex starter kit (upgraded the snare) I can get a decent sound. Not that I want to be doing professional gigs on it though :p
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Old 07-24-2010, 09:57 AM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

Quote:
Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post
Doctors don't drive Chevys. I have never seen an on stage act, or a major band playing, where the drummer had a Percussion Plus drum set. I think there is a fine line between semi-pro and pro drum sets. A lot of it is quality of hardware etc, but I'm sure someone who knows how to tune properly will get even a poor drum set to sound good. We all strive for better things. A $20,000.00 car will get me to B from A as well as an $80,000.00 car. The option package may not be there, but the options don't get us from A to B. A good set of drums can cost 650.00. A great set 3000.00. So it s only a few hundred apart relatively speaking. Doctors don't live in apartments. Of course there are stigmas attached to all things and we buy where we think our wallet can fit as we dream of one day having a bigger wallet. At least I do.
Yeah, I can understand that too. In fact, to put what you say in perspective, when I got my first drumming job with the Disney Company they provided everything I needed. I just showed up with sticks. They let me tune 'em, but that was about it. In fact, I don't think I ever used my personal drums at all the whole time I played there. So sure, any tool will do, but if it's really important, the people paying the paycheck will pick up everything that's up on that stage!

And no, I'm not saying I would do a major touring gig with a Guitar Center cheapie drumset, I'm just asking, how many of us are doing alot of heavy major touring? If you're not, and you're preparing to one day, then you know who you are. The professionals on this forum probably need not reply to that question since it's assumed that's what they do all the time. But then again, I met Allan Holdsworth in a pawn shop one day pawning one of his guitars....that was weird...
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Old 07-24-2010, 10:04 AM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

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Originally Posted by gusty View Post
Yeah, good on you. If you're a good player, you're going to sound just as good whether you're playing a force 3005 or an SQ2. And not many people who are listening are going to care anyway. Even going lower than a 3005 maybe (I know they're really solid drums, not having a go at the 3005's). And anyway, i've heard loads of drums on songs on the radio that to me sound rubbish, but still manage to be #1 hits. What mid-level kit do you own?
Sorry I didn't mention it, but I just got one of those Sonor Force 3007 kits in white sparkle. And for a mid-level kit, it's great. The original heads didn't even get played, Remo Vintage Emperors went on immediately and that kit totally rocks, and looks good. In fact, the hardware is very close to what they put on the Delites and S-Classix, and from 40 feet away, I don't think anyone could tell. Let alone playing in a smokey bar to a biker gang more interested in the pool playing and the women.

I used to drag around DW Collector's drums, Ludwigs, Gretsch, Yamaha Recording Customs, Tamas....owned a couple of Black Beauties at one point too, and I have a friend that owns that Paiste Alloy snare that I borrowed for a gig once...and although all of that stuff was great and reliable, when I listen to the playback (I try to make some kind of recording of myself to critique), they all sound like drums to me.
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Old 07-24-2010, 11:22 AM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

I think and investment in good microphones and some proper mixing skills might even be more valuable to your sound than upgrading your 2000 dollar kit to a 3500 one.
A couple of months ago, I recorded some songs with my band and I made sure that my kit sounded awesome, but somehow, the snare didn't sound good, even with two mic's recording both upper side and under side.
I didn't occupy myself with the mixing very much (I should have), but I'm sure that you could definitely get a good sound with some proper mic's and skills.
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Old 07-24-2010, 11:54 AM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

If me and Tiger Woods went out to play 18 and Tiger didn't bring his clubs so he picked up the antique hickory shaft p.o.s. clubs that someone left behind, and i had my pretty good set of TaylorMades, i'm pretty sure ol' Tiger would still beat me by 30 or 40 strokes.





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Old 07-24-2010, 12:41 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

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Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
Then I come over here to read the threads about drums and drumsets, and I get the feeling that any particular drumset can't be worth anything if you didn't spend more than $3500 for it!
OK, let's work with that price. And if you bought a DW kit 10 years ago, for that kinda cash, that comes out to $350 a year, spent on a top-of-the-line drum set. And a 10 year old DW kit is gonna sound just as good now as it did 10 years ago.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
....the man (or the woman), your drums have to be expensive or custom and come from wood from a 1,000 year-old tree or a log that was sunk for 200 years in the Potomac.
I can only think of a handful (or less) of members, on this forum, that own such "exotica", and more power to them. Might not be my-cup-of-tea, really, but I like looking at "eye candy". I drive a 30 year old Ludwig kit. 26, 13, 16, 18. With a 14x14 in the wings, a spare 18x16 I'll be cutting down to 18x12 (Jazzette size). As soon as I score a matching 12x8, then I'll have my second kit (which will match my first). 7 drums, for all occasions. Sure, I could have a DW kit, or a Sonor kit, sitting in my drum room. But those drums wouldn't make me happy. I play what I play .... simply because .... I want to.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
But is it just me or does this image not relate to reality?
I kinda think it's just you ... but everyone's got a right to his/her opinion.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
..... having owned several pro kits throughout my 'career' (if you can call it that). But what I've noticed over my 35 years of playing is that every new drum kit I get, sounds an awful lot like the last one.
This sounds, to me, like a bad tactic. A pro-level 35 year old kit is still ... a pro-level kit. And vintage. I bought my 1st Ludwig kit in 1979/80. Vistalites. Sold them 25 years later, for way more than I originally paid for them. That gave me the capital to buy 3 completely different "slightly used" pro level kits. And I gigged with all 3 of those.
When I decided to go "electronic", I sold off my Yamaha Recording Customs. Awesome drums! But they've been making that series for 30+ years, so I figured those would be the easiest to replace, if I ever wanted another set.
Seems to me ('course I might be wrong, 'cause this is an assumption) that your strategy has been "Buying New", selling off ... "Buying New", selling off. And you lose one third to one half your dollars spent, every time you do that.
Had you invested in "gently used" pro-level gear, you normally break even, if you have to sell. Imagine, if you bought a "used" set every 5 years .... you'd have seven pro-level kits. Probably enough to fulfill any "clients" request.
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Old 07-24-2010, 01:57 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

I had a local guy make me a nice maple kit from Keller shells about 10 years ago for less than half of what a DW would have cost. Plus, I get the status of having a "custom" kit - which people seem really impressed by. What a joke! If people want to think there's status in my "custom" kit, then that's their little fantasy and who the hell am I to go bursting their bubble? I don't see how my kit is any better than the PDPs or Mapex's but as long as there's a "mid-level" stigma attached to those names, I guess I won't complain!

The other thing I might do is get a really old beat up DW for cheap that's clearly a "working kit" and use that to impress people. Like, "Man, this kit is just magical! You'll never hear another DW sounding quite like this one. I wouldn't trade it for two new DW kits blah blah blah..." and watch their jaws drop as soon as you start playing them -- even if they do sound just like any other DW!

I think it's called "marketing" or "spin", or whatever, and it's all about image anyway, so all is fair game.
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Old 07-24-2010, 02:41 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

It's no different than buying a fancy car or wearing expensive clothing. Some people just want what costs more for the sake of having it.

I'll never go dw, but I'm gonna buy a set of Star classics at some point, just to spoil myself.
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Old 07-24-2010, 03:40 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

I think there is an unhealthy amount of time obsessing over gear and not enough time spent obsessing on how to improve oneself musically, or how to improve other areas of themselves. A nice kit isn't going to make you play THAT much better.
When the amount of gear threads is outnumbered by the amount of self betterment threads....then we will be closer to the truth. (Not Truth drums you crazy nut!)

Plus any pros usually have an endorsement, right? They don't have to shell out too much dough to keep themselves in top level gear.

I am guilty of owning an expensive drum kit, I spent 6400.00 USD on my exotic veneered DW's and hardshell cases. With cymbals, mics and everything else I bring like 10 grand in equipment to crappy gigs. I'm no pro, but it's the one extravagance that I allow in my life, because playing the drumset is in my DNA. That being said, if I had to gig on my Pearl Session Customs or my Yamaha Stage Customs for the rest of my days, it would not affect my playing whatsoever. There's just not that much measureable difference in the sound. A drum is a drum, there's no magic drums...
The drum itself is a known quantity. The drummer on the other hand can change, grow and improve exponentially over time, and that is where the focus should be, on the drummer not the drum.
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Old 07-24-2010, 03:40 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

Bo, there is always a segment of any consumer population that wants the "more expensive" items in any category, cars, electronics, and musical instruments. For me buying a more costly kit (Yamaha Oak Customs) was really about reaching a point in my life where I could finally afford my "dream kit"...grew up with very little money, had several 2nd hand kits that were never very good (although I could get them to sound pretty good), spent most of my adult life focusing money on what out kids needed...finally at age 50 was able to buy a better kit, although still not a "top of the line" kit.

As for tuning, I play a Tama Swingstar (about 10 years old) in church every week which may be one of the best sounding kits I have ever played (the snare is horrible which is why I bring mine). So many factors there, the kit sits on a hollow riser enclosed on all sides, good quality microphones, etc....

So, I agree you definitely can do pretty much everything with a mid level kit...but I don't have a problem with those who can afford high end kits having high end kits...
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Old 07-24-2010, 03:47 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

I bought my 2nd kit,A birch absolute kit,because i wanted it,and got it off ebay for a nice price. Sits in my den...Eye candyJust because i wanted a pro kit.But my stage custom kit i drag around every weekend,Played with it last night.Its sitting outside in my truck now in the heat.And you know what.They sound great no complaints from anyone..............Now i have seen some junk...But i think your talking about mid level kits To me they will do the job everytime..........But if you want the pro kits and you got the loot.....Its what its all about..........enjoy!!!!!!
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Old 07-24-2010, 03:54 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

If you have the money to buy a high end kit more power to you. Seems we all agree the kit does not make the player. I was on a budget when I went hunting for my current kit. After testing and trying a lot of kits I ended up with DDrum Diatribes. On top of that I did the same with the cymbals. My efforts led me to use Dream cymbals. Swap out the factory heads, add a speed king pedal and man the kit sounds as good and holds up as well as any pro series kit I've ever used and I've used a few. One thing I will admit I did have to upgrade all my cymbal stands, the original stands were flimsy.
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Old 07-24-2010, 04:15 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

I have been playing the same Yamaha R.C since 1986. They have never let me down. aside from the normal head changes I even
have the original hardware. My cymbals are from the early 80s and 90s, I bought one this year. I have a DW 5000 Hi hat stand from the early 90s. And Pearl double pedals. My first
generation D.W 5000 double pedal needed to be replaced. In my opinion pro level drums and
hardware are made to stand the test of time. My kit has seen about 1,000 shows ever since
I got them. I would love a set of maple customs, 3800.00 for a shell pack 8,10,12,14,22.
I would rather see my kids go to colledge. If it's not broken don't fix it.
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Old 07-24-2010, 04:47 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

From experiance it is not the sound itself that may be inferior but you end up spending a fortune on hardware replacement and heads, hardware because that is where the cost is kept down and it always needs replacing, heads because you need to experiment more often to find the sound and it can take a few purchases. The mid priced drums themselves are of good quality, Chinese maple, Canadian maple or USA it is still maple but they will nickle and dime you down the road .
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Old 07-24-2010, 05:10 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

There is nothing wrong with owning expensive high end gear.
It's nice to own expensive drums and cymbals, etc.
Expensive gear plays well, it looks great, it makes one feel good to own it.

Does the expensive high end gear sound better than less expensive gear?
In most instances, No! The $600 dollar drum kit doesn't sound inferior to the $4000 kit.

I think that everyone should only buy what they can afford.
Find gear that sounds and looks good that is in your price range.

It is foolish to but an expensive kit that you can't really afford because you think that it will make you play better. It won't!

If you play an inexpensive drum that you like the sound and appearance of, You should choose that drum over the expensive drum that you also like.
The exception is if you really have the money and it won't upset your financial situation in the least. Then by all means buy the expensive drum kit.

Everyone should live within their means.

I own some expensive drums.
I also own inexpensive drums.
I like my inexpensive drums as much as I do my expensive drums.
I very seldom take my expensive drums from my home.
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Old 07-24-2010, 05:17 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

I tend to agree with Bo and be frugal, except when it comes to cymbals and snare. I bought a Pearl Vision kit with 10, 12, 14, 16 in toms, 22 bass, but use my Sonor Artisan snare and Zildjian cymbals. The snare alone is worth more than my Vision kit as would all my cymbals add up more than the kit. The cheaper toms and bass drum tune up nicely (don't quite have the range as more expensive kits) and with different heads you can achieve about any sound you want.. Sounds whacked but it works for me. But how you record a kit really makes a huge difference. I have been amazed at listening to kits on Indoor Storm-Brady, Gretch, Craviotto, Sonor, GMS, Pork Pie, Spaun, Noble and Cooley, etc. ranging from dirt cheap to sky high and how good or poor they sound. I don't find a correlation between cost and sound.
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Old 07-24-2010, 05:24 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

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Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post
Doctors don't drive Chevys. I have never seen an on stage act, or a major band playing, where the drummer had a Percussion Plus drum set. I think there is a fine line between semi-pro and pro drum sets. A lot of it is quality of hardware etc, but I'm sure someone who knows how to tune properly will get even a poor drum set to sound good. We all strive for better things. A $20,000.00 car will get me to B from A as well as an $80,000.00 car. The option package may not be there, but the options don't get us from A to B. A good set of drums can cost 650.00. A great set 3000.00. So it s only a few hundred apart relatively speaking. Doctors don't live in apartments. Of course there are stigmas attached to all things and we buy where we think our wallet can fit as we dream of one day having a bigger wallet. At least I do.
I see what ur saying, and as a fellow gretsch head, I love my USA custom, but I was amazed to see the drummer for rem on a live concert playing the catalina birch, made from the same generic factories in the east as all the other brands' mid-range kits. It obviously holds up to the rigours of touring, tuning and micing, so maybe the op is right.

To be honest I think anything above mid level kits are a luxury. Maybe my kit's too good for me?.....
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Old 07-24-2010, 05:32 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

Since GetAgrippa mentioned Snares.

I recently went to a drum shop and I spent about four hours in a practice room with a full price range of snare drums.
I played them and tuned them all kinds of different ways.
I couldn't find any correlation between the price of the snare and the sound.
I liked some $300 snare drums as much as I did some $1000 snare drums.
There was one high end snare that I disliked no matter how I tuned it.
I left there with a $350 Asian Maple snare that I liked.
It is now my pride and joy.

I posted a sound clip here once.
Someone commented that they liked my snare and the asked what kind that it was.
I told them that it was the metal snare that came with a Tama entry level kit with Aquarian heads on it.
They thought that I was kidding!
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Old 07-24-2010, 05:40 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
If it wasn't made in Oxnard CA by hand, or in Indiana, or in Germany, there must be something wrong with it! If there wasn't anything wrong with it, then why was it only $600? That can't be right....
In as much as every musician's equipment choices are made for their own reasons, your interpretation of how they crow about those choices is also your own.

For instance, I haven't observed very many people looking at price as the measure of greatness. In fact, I tend to encounter the exact opposite, which are people who can't see how anyone could possibly be willing to "overpay" for what is, to them, obviously nothing special or sure marketing hype. You don't often have to look very far to find a strong current of DW backlash on this forum.

Getting back to the point... Some people can be perfectly happy with Toyotas. Others can't be happy with anything less than a Porsche. Of course, neither is a bad car (unless you intend to slow down when you take your foot off the accelerator ok, I probably should have gone with Honda here). And most passengers could give a crap. But the driver might!

Generally, the people in the Toyota category genuinely prefer their Toyota or the differences between Toyotas and Porsches aren't important to them. And those same people will have a hard time understanding how Porsche people justify their purchase. I mean, what tactless, dim-witted, snot-nosed imbecile can honestly justify the purchase of a $90,000.00 car in this financial climate?!? How obscene! They must be compensating for something, rubbing everyone else's nose in "it" or of such low intelligence that they fell victim to marketing hype.

Well... maybe a person with a higher disposable income who has a genuine love of all things finely designed doesn't see it that way. Or maybe they've been dreaming about and saving for said ridiculous car the whole of their adult life. And this same person might speak about cars in such a way as to make it seem like anything less might be garbage, because to them it might just be because the differences to them are noticeable, perhaps even glaring.

It's all a matter of context and perspective. And the former can have a huge impact on the latter. But it doesn't invalidate $600.00 drum kit.
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Old 07-24-2010, 05:41 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

I agree with the issue of hardware and heads needing to be replaced account of age and wearing out, but I believe that drums and cymbals of great quality can last a lifetime. So it's an investment. I have had good luck buying pro-level instruments over the years both new and gently used, and of course the used instruments sounded just as good as the new ones because of their condition.

So if you really like the sound of a particular drum(s), why not look for it at a better price? You may be able to buy that German or American made drum for less than a new one made in Taiwan.

Plus you may be helping some guy keep his lights on for another month for his family

PS I have to say that many drummers (myself included) listen with their eyes. Maybe it's Human nature to be attracted to pretty shiny things?
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Old 07-24-2010, 05:45 PM
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  #27  
Old 07-24-2010, 05:55 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

3007 drums are great. A student of mine bought a set last week. I tuned it, put an Aquarian head on the snare and it was great. But it does not come close to my high end Designers, Phonics, Delites and Artist series drums. I like high end, professional instruments. I am a professional and demand nothing less. Why should I?
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Old 07-24-2010, 05:55 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

...the difference is between tools and toys.

Aside from the music between my ears, music plays no part in my day to day carreer. Music is my hobby, and I am fortunate to be at the place in my life where I have the means to indulge,(or over indulge) in it.

I learned long long ago that professional goalie equipment did not make me a professional goalie, just as profesional camera equipment did not make me a professional photographer. Why would I think that this pattern would magically change by buying professional drums. I do what I do for fun, therefore drums, camera and golie gear are toys. As toys, I am going to get the ones that I like.

I have only been playing for fifteen years, but I wanted to play since I was wee. When I first started playing, the only drum names that I knew were Ludwig, Zildjian, and Remo. My very first copy of Modern Drummer magazine was the equivalent to the Sears Christmas Wish Book. I could not believe all the cool stuff that was out there in this world of boom thwack chhhh. I had a lot of listening and learning to do. I am not a lot different than many of the others on this board. I have gone through a lot of different brands, models, sizes, and configurations to get to my current comfort level.

Do I have more than I really truly need? Hell yes. I look at it as all of you aspiring young drummers need old grey pony tails because when we buy expensive gear then become disilusioned with our playing, you can sometimes get really good stuff at fire sale prices. Also, as long as we are paying for the good stuff, we are subsidizing you when you get good enough to get your gear for free.

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Old 07-24-2010, 06:07 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

I bought a used $200 Tama entry level kit to lug to band practice. It is in excellent condition and it looks almost new.
I brought it to a practice and I didn't say anything about it being a cheap kit. I simply said that I just bought this kit.

My mandolin player insists that I play this kit at gigs.
She likes the sound of it.
I indulge her!
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Old 07-24-2010, 06:14 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomRaaff View Post
I think and investment in good microphones and some proper mixing skills might even be more valuable to your sound than upgrading your 2000 dollar kit to a 3500 one.
A couple of months ago, I recorded some songs with my band and I made sure that my kit sounded awesome, but somehow, the snare didn't sound good, even with two mic's recording both upper side and under side.
I didn't occupy myself with the mixing very much (I should have), but I'm sure that you could definitely get a good sound with some proper mic's and skills.
Well, I am a sound engineer by trade. Going on 11 years doing it now for Disney, and also a member of the IATSE union.
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Old 07-24-2010, 06:43 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post

If it wasn't made in Oxnard CA by hand, or in Indiana, or in Germany, there must be something wrong with it! If there wasn't anything wrong with it, then why was it only $600? That can't be right....
Eh, I think it's only a small segment of the drumming community that has those feelings.
And I do see posts like that here and there, and they always make me chuckle.

A good set of drums is a good set of drums. Yeah, there is a difference between a pro kit and a beginner kit, but to an extent, all drums are round pieces of wood (or occasionally other material) and you hit, and it makes a noise.

What always strikes me funny about some of the high end talk is how many drums in the 70's and 80's were considered "pro level" that by today's standards would be mid-level at best, and how many great drum kits made today are somehow labeled mid-level that would be above top of the line 20 years ago.

The classic example I like to bring up is the (original) Tama Imperial Star. The drums were made with an undisclosed wood, thick shells, that were sealed so no one could tell what kind of wood they made from. At the time, they were used by mega star bands like The Police, Judas Priest and others. Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater still used them long after they were discontinued. Many, many pro albums and tours were made with these kits. And yet, today if the wood is not disclosed, it's assumed to be low level. Back then, no one cared, as long as they sounded good.

In the 70's, so many drum kits were taped and muffled to death, it wouldn't have mattered what the drums were made of.

Don't get me wrong, I love a good, well made set of drums, but I don't think a kit has to be made in a certain place, out of any certain materials, or of a particular brand to sound good.

If someone took some of today's "Made in China" drum kits and put them in a time machine back 30 years, they'd be considered super high end of the highest quality, and people would be all over themselves trying to get one for their album. And then they'd put duct tape on it! lol.
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  #32  
Old 07-24-2010, 07:17 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

In general drums and hardware made today are of a MUCH better quality than from my experience say 40 years ago. This is especially true with what you can buy in the mid level to pro level stuff at bargain prices these days. At the hands of a seasoned pro who can tune up a kit after replacing factory heads with good ones he can go on to make any of the current offerings that fall into this camp sound like pure gold IMO.

Funny story.....

I was working for a week teaching at a jazz workshop and jazz camp recently which also involved daily and one evening concert. At the end of the week we had the evening concert at a nearby venue a short period of time after the final teaching day had wrapped up. We decided to use a small compact black wrap finish nothing special wood shell kit from the music school for the show since my own kit was not a option that night so we had some of the students haul it over from the camp to the concert location.

Tuned it up and used my own pies and a recording engineer in attendance in the front row who was there to check out the music for a CD recording project a few days later said it sounded GREAT and especially to his ears the little 16" bass drum with one felt strip on the batter head. The funny part of the story is the whole kit I found out {as paid years ago by the music school} was worth the mere price of just one of my current Turkish ride cymbals.

Perception....and the perception of having to have {and play} what is "best" in particular regarding drums is everything...............
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  #33  
Old 07-24-2010, 07:43 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

It took me months to save for my little set and it was under 1k on sale (not including all the little add ons). It may not be the bee's knees or anything but a person would have to be nuts to buy something they really couldn't afford instead of taking care of their family and/or paying their bills. Personally, I think a person should just get what they can afford in the beginning and then "treat themselves" later. Just an opinion.
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  #34  
Old 07-24-2010, 07:56 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
I had a local guy make me a nice maple kit from Keller shells about 10 years ago for less than half of what a DW would have cost. Plus, I get the status of having a "custom" kit - which people seem really impressed by. What a joke! If people want to think there's status in my "custom" kit, then that's their little fantasy and who the hell am I to go bursting their bubble?
LOL You bring up an interesting point. I think this is a concept that the business community has long since been aware of and have profited off of. Many are attached to "symbols" or idols which display "status" because it gives off a certain message that they want people to read into. Kind of like wearing a uniform or belonging to certain clubs. I certainly can't say that I haven't been fooled...just recently I found out that the olive oil I was using wasn't really "extra-virgin" but was cheap oils mixed together----but Ive been paying triple the cost for years now
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  #35  
Old 07-24-2010, 08:06 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

Quote:
Originally Posted by jayblazeff View Post
If me and Tiger Woods went out to play 18 and Tiger didn't bring his clubs so he picked up the antique hickory shaft p.o.s. clubs that someone left behind, and i had my pretty good set of TaylorMades, i'm pretty sure ol' Tiger would still beat me by 30 or 40 strokes.





Just sayin.
Exactly. I don't buy or need the latest and greatest stuff. I intentionally buy gear that will hopefully cover every situation I'll play. As much as I would like to have a shelf full of snares, I've really only needed my Supra and a Mapex Pro M so far. For right now, all I have is enough to get my by.

I think the main point here is what's mentioned on here quite often; that it's the indian, not the arrow. A few years ago, I went to a Dave Weckl clinic. There were a couple of us hanging out in the shop with him afterwards when he just jumped on some random mid-range kit on the floor and started jamming. I forgot the name of the kit, but it sounded just like...Dave Weckl.
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  #36  
Old 07-24-2010, 08:40 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

OMG I think we are actually in agreement on something across the board! Is this a first? It feels.....foreign ha ha
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Old 07-24-2010, 08:43 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

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OMG I think we are actually in agreement on something across the board! Is this a first? It feels.....foreign ha ha
Pretty weird, huh?

Now....do expensive drums improve one's 'musicality'?
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Old 07-24-2010, 08:57 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

Not in the least.
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Old 07-24-2010, 09:17 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

Thanks for all the great replies. I'm diggin' reading them all.

There are some of you who are going to argue this point with me, and that's OK. Like we all say, we're entitled to our opinions, and that's cool. We're all drummers, we're all supposed to be agreeable (moreso than the diva guitar players...).

But I'm not making the argument that everybody should have less then what they have, or want, I was just making an observation. We want to go cheaper when it comes to things we need to live, like a new refrigerator, or a set of tires for the car, but I take it our drumsets are the one luxury that we will afford what we want for them. I'm cool with that. In fact, I can say I've been there and done that. How I did it is pretty much my business. And I won't say I'd never do it again.

I agree that mid-level kits today are every bit as good as pro kits were back in the 70s and early 80s. But I also agree that I don't know how well the mid-level kit will hold up in 30-40 years. However, I have seen alot of Kent drums on eBay lately.... In my experience, I have found that drum kits don't break down when you play them, they break down when you move them around. If they're handled by people who don't care, then this is even more true. But I'll tell you this much, I've been using the same Ludwig flat-based cymbal stands now for almost 10 years, and all I've been changing out are the nylon cymbal sleeves. Same thing with my 7-series Yamaha snare stand (single-braced), and both my Tama Stagemaster single-braced hi-hat stand and Iron Cobra Jr. pedals (I own two - one for a backup).

And yes, I've had the DW over-engineered stuff, just sold my DW9000 single pedal, and 9000 hi-hat. I went through this phase in the '80s when I had the Tama super-heavy-duty stuff too. And when I was younger, yeah, my stuff got thrown around alot, and I even had a drunk man fall on my Tama Superstars while dancing, and the drumset didn't move. But nowadays I don't say "yes" to every gig that comes my way just because I'm concerned about where I play and who I'm playing for, which negates a drumset I can jack my car up on.

So I'm good with everyone wanting and having what they have. I just wanted to make the observation. People who have to have the top flight stuff are good for the drumming economy (if not their own economies), and it enables me to get my level of stuff even cheaper. Hell, it even allows me to buy more stuff at better prices if I wanted to go there.

But thanks for all the semi-agreeable posts, at least I'm not only one who sees it, 'thought I was going crazy. Anyway, I'm off to go pick up one of those Sonor Phil Rudd snares now. I figure I should have a nice brass shelled snare to provide a contrast to my mystery maple Sonor Force snare drum. The guy I'm buyin' it from is trying to get trying to unload his over-engineered DW stuff too. Go figure....
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Old 07-24-2010, 09:23 PM
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Default Re: The expensive drum stigma....

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Originally Posted by brady View Post
Pretty weird, huh?

Now....do expensive drums improve one's 'musicality'?

Only in that persons mind.

I just sold a Gretsch snare, Catalina Club, Mahogany, to a young kid off Craigslist, just because I wanted the money more than another snare. He and I are both happy today. He has a great snare and I have some cash.
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