American made drums

Ludwig Fan

Junior Member
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...
 

timmdrum

Silver Member
Yeah, that's all I can think of at the moment. Ludwig Classic Maple/Birch & the new Keystone series, Gretsch USA Customs, and DW.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
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.
 

RobertM

Platinum Member
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.
 

PeniScott

Silver Member
Apparently Japanese-made shells are properly good. :S

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

xoxo
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
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.)

Bermuda
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
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.

Bermuda
 

Ludwig Fan

Junior Member
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?
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
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.
 

RobertM

Platinum Member
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.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
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.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
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.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
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.

Bermuda
 
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