any thoughts on SJC drums?

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
seems like a lot of people don't like the sound of them. would that be a knock on keller then if they're sourcing the shells from them? i know there are other factors as well.
It's popular to knock Keller because their use by so many small companies casts a perception on both Keller and those companies. Ever heard the term Keller Sheller? But the shells are good, and how they are handled after the builder gets hold of them makes all the difference. You do know that DW built their drum business using Keller shells until 15-20 years ago. Pork Pie, Spaun, GMS et al made wonderful drums with Keller shells.

It's become popular though for companies to use different shells, or not disclose they use Keller, or say they get proprietary shells from them, made to the company's specs. In any case, how that company handles edges, applies wrap or finishes, the weight of the hardware, and other factors definitely affects how their drum would differ from someone else's, using the exact shell.

I'm sure SJC used Keller when they started, and I sorta recall that they (said they) started sourcing from someone else. But whatever they're doing, or not doing to the shells has resulted in a not very good sound IMO.

What's a good sound to me? To start, a tom that goes 'boom'. SJC doesn't do that. They can, and they did with the Tre Cool kit, but that was apparently an anomaly for them. Not one of their other kits I've played at NAMM every year they've exhibited has sounded usable to me.

Bermuda
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
would that be a knock on keller then if they're sourcing the shells from them? i know there are other factors as well.
Yes, there are a variety of factors. I think there are some very decent Keller-shelled companies out there. For example, I think Pork Pie USA makes a killer drum. I've had two of their USA kits, but the secret sauce is the graduated plies in their sets (the bigger the drum, the more plies), the edges, and the fit and finish of each kit. Every USA kit I've seen in person sounds really great. I think that the old OCDP drums were pretty good too (they were really expensive back when they focused on one-off kits). They did some pretty wacky stuff as well.

All in all, unless a drum company makes his/her own shells, then there's a very good chance that the drum company uses Keller.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Pretty much, but check out their artist/customer roster at https://www.sjcdrums.com/pages/family I recognize only a few names and bands/artists.
Is this even an endorcee list or just customers? It only gives me locations, no names or band names. It's like a go to list of where to go if I wanna steal one of their kits.

SJC is what would happen if MTV, sleeve tattoos, skateboards, the show 'Pimp My Ride', Jake Paul, and selfie sticks all
MTV, tat sleeves, and skateboards predate millennials by a lot. Don't take stuff that is cool but you don't like and ruin it by grouping it together with things it has no business being with. I don't see Martha Quinn, the Hells Angels, or Tony Hawk playing SJC.

DW - People who play drums as a hobby and can afford a DW with the law firm earnings - or drummers backing up pop stars.
Tama - Rockers
Yamaha - professionals - not a ton of flare but people that need consistent tones....session people or professors at MI, etc.
A&F - Thick rimmed glasses, tattoos, slow beats, skinny jeans, somehow has a ton of money despite being in the music business - social media manager maybe
Gretsch -30+ semi pro....still has a day job but "Serious" about drums - goes to NAMM - social media only mentions drums but still in sales or whatever
SJC - tweens
Pearl - anybody who's found an Export at a flea market or yardsale - weekend warriors
Sonor - Suit and tie - metal glasses - has been to be europe once - posts about it constantly like it didn't happen 3 years ago
Ludwig - 40+ weekend warriors - still likes black oyster pearl...still....
Canopus - jazz dudes. guys who don't want to talk about gear - it's all about the music - not the gear...how high can a floor tom be tuned? A canopus guy will know - but he won't talk about it. Misses the 90's yamaha's with the gold lugs.
And yet you can find metal/rock/jazz/country/hip hop/blues/Latin/etc drummers playing any one of these brands. Why? Because trying to stereotype people with their drum kit is pointless. It's like saying everyone who owns a BMW is a pretentious douche. This simply isn't the case.
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
Is this even an endorcee list or just customers? It only gives me locations, no names or band names. It's like a go to list of where to go if I wanna steal one of their kits.



MTV, tat sleeves, and skateboards predate millennials by a lot. Don't take stuff that is cool but you don't like and ruin it by grouping it together with things it has no business being with. I don't see Martha Quinn, the Hells Angels, or Tony Hawk playing SJC.



And yet you can find metal/rock/jazz/country/hip hop/blues/Latin/etc drummers playing any one of these brands. Why? Because trying to stereotype people with their drum kit is pointless. It's like saying everyone who owns a BMW is a pretentious douche. This simply isn't the case.
Seeeeee - This is what I meant - I'm well aware that all kinds of people play ALL KINDS OF SETS.

This was totally a joke my guy. All meant in fun.
 
the both of you make very good points. i've definitely heard some nice sounding keller shell kits. it's interesting because of the videos i watched their drums sound the worst on their own channel.

from one of their video description: "After years of building upon the foundation that is the “SJC Sound” (that perfect balance of attack with smooth sustain + controlled overtones)..." i guess they do have their own, but that sound not being very good.
 

airbus172

Well-known member
That being said this might be a fun game to play when thinking about other drum companies. What kind of personality would a drummer have based on their choice of kit? For instance, I always associated Yamaha mostly with jazz guys, classy suit-wearing folks. Tama was for hard rock players. Long hair and leather vests.
Who else has one?
In good fun only, of course.
SJC: rad dope kids who like dope sick rad finishes and like drums that sound like you’re demolishing a piano with a hammer
DW: guys playing drum covers and not actually in a band
Yamaha: jazzy jazz guy (accompanied by the other Yamaha jazz jazz instruments)
Mapex: guys who don’t want to spend all of their money on drums but still want a half decent sound
Pearl: guys who don’t play drums but for some reason have an export, sponsored people
Tama: Rock guys
Ludwig: jazzy Jazzer jazz guys
that’s just some off the top of my head.
 
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incrementalg

Gold Member
Yes, there are a variety of factors. I think there are some very decent Keller-shelled companies out there. For example, I think Pork Pie USA makes a killer drum. I've had two of their USA kits, but the secret sauce is the graduated plies in their sets (the bigger the drum, the more plies), the edges, and the fit and finish of each kit. Every USA kit I've seen in person sounds really great. I think that the old OCDP drums were pretty good too (they were really expensive back when they focused on one-off kits). They did some pretty wacky stuff as well.

All in all, unless a drum company makes his/her own shells, then there's a very good chance that the drum company uses Keller.
Gretsch is a prime example of a company that makes great sounding drums using Keller shells.
 

RobertM

Platinum Member
It's popular to knock Keller because their use by so many small companies casts a perception on both Keller and those companies. Ever heard the term Keller Sheller? But the shells are good, and how they are handled after the builder gets hold of them makes all the difference. You do know that DW built their drum business using Keller shells until 15-20 years ago. Pork Pie, Spaun, GMS et al made wonderful drums with Keller shells.

It's become popular though for companies to use different shells, or not disclose they use Keller, or say they get proprietary shells from them, made to the company's specs. In any case, how that company handles edges, applies wrap or finishes, the weight of the hardware, and other factors definitely affects how their drum would differ from someone else's, using the exact shell.

I'm sure SJC used Keller when they started, and I sorta recall that they (said they) started sourcing from someone else. But whatever they're doing, or not doing to the shells has resulted in a not very good sound IMO.

What's a good sound to me? To start, a tom that goes 'boom'. SJC doesn't do that. They can, and they did with the Tre Cool kit, but that was apparently an anomaly for them. Not one of their other kits I've played at NAMM every year they've exhibited has sounded usable to me.

Bermuda
I think Pork Pie started sourcing their shells from DW several years ago. I preferred their drums with Keller shells.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I think Pork Pie started sourcing their shells from DW several years ago. I preferred their drums with Keller shells.
Really??? Can anyone verify this? If so, it explains the sound difference between my kit made in 1998 and my kit made just a few years ago. I just attributed it to age (e.g. older instrument made of wood sound better than new).
 

CommanderRoss

Silver Member
Haha - I like the drum set brand generalizations... Even if they rip on my DW kit. LOL.
Nothing personal against DW players. I for one LOVE their hardware and have been a 5000 player for almost 15 years. Best on the market hands down IMO. What they charge for "hand made" drums is my issue.
The only thing hand made about them is the hand the pushes the button on the machine that drills the holes, compresses the shells or turns on the lacquer roller. Compare this to what the Tama or Gretsch workers do in their factory & you'll see the difference.

That being said, unlike SJC, they're the innovators of shell design and construction where the TONE makes all the difference. John Good's ideas about cross lamination vs. shell size is legendary. I just can't afford them as they're into the boutique level of pricing now.
 
I can't imagine the resale value is very good for them either. it almost always seems that used SJC kits are listed absurdly high. original owners shell out a lot for them and think they're actually worth that much. gotta love seeing kits with 22x28 inch bass drums in custom finishes being listed for $3k+.
This. I see so many of these kits for sale that have bizarre features on them listed for $2500-3k and they sit forever. Not very resale friendly at all.

I remember a thread on another board where people compared them to cake decorators, where you buy the cake already made and decorate all fancy. Also saw their shop on a reality show, where they needed an outside investor to save them from going under. His first piece of advice was, basically, you need to build kits that appeal to other drummer segments besides the Warped Tour/Hot Topic crowd.
 

danondrums

Well-known member
Regarding my DW kit, I love that the red sparkle is a lacquer and not a wrap.
I also didn’t pay that much for mine. 7 pc kit in 1999 for under $3k seemed reasonable to me.
 

airbus172

Well-known member
Haha - I like the drum set brand generalizations... Even if they rip on my DW kit. LOL.
I love DW, especially the hardware but I’m stereotyping and most of the people I have saw with DW drums are people who are really amazing at drums, but play as a hobby and are not In a band.
 

RobertM

Platinum Member
Really??? Can anyone verify this? If so, it explains the sound difference between my kit made in 1998 and my kit made just a few years ago. I just attributed it to age (e.g. older instrument made of wood sound better than new).
PP Guy,
I learned this information from a dealer in North Carolina back around 2007-ish. The drum dealer I knew at this shop in Raleigh personally owned two Pork Pie kits, including one from PP’s early days when Bill Detamore used solid chrome lugs, so he seemed a trustworthy source about Pork Pie’s drums. He told me that PP started sourcing shells from DW because it was easier to obtain them with both shops being in California.
 

airbus172

Well-known member
Is this even an endorcee list or just customers? It only gives me locations, no names or band names. It's like a go to list of where to go if I wanna steal one of their kits.



MTV, tat sleeves, and skateboards predate millennials by a lot. Don't take stuff that is cool but you don't like and ruin it by grouping it together with things it has no business being with. I don't see Martha Quinn, the Hells Angels, or Tony Hawk playing SJC.



And yet you can find metal/rock/jazz/country/hip hop/blues/Latin/etc drummers playing any one of these brands. Why? Because trying to stereotype people with their drum kit is pointless. It's like saying everyone who owns a BMW is a pretentious douche. This simply isn't the case.
if you have a Yamaha drum kit the first thing that comes into my mind is a jazz drummer in a suit playing along to a jazz band that are wearing suits and also playing Yamaha. Some rock drummers use tama so the first thing that comes into my mind is a rock drummer of some sort. We’re not saying that Literally Every Human Organism that plays Yamaha is a jazz drummer. We’re just generalising.
 
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