Are High End Drums a Giant Waste of Money?

Chris Whitten

Silver Member
But with a new SC kit costing $750, and a new RC kit costing $3,700 ...... you don't get a kit that sounds 5 times better. There's a "diminished returns" factor involved. I think this is true with any brand.
Middle weight kits punch really hard, these days. Going to the upper level ..... gets you another 20%, more or less. And at 3 to 5 times the cost, you have to decide if it's worth it ???
Totally true (y)
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
My beater kit is a scratched up 12/13/14/20 Recording Custom kit that I bought for $1600.

View attachment 124719

That's a great set. Give it to me. I've borrowed/rented RCs a couple of times to record and they've been fantastic-- including a pretty battered set from SIR. Incredibly easy to get a great sound.

That's why people get good drums-- they make your job easier, if you care about sound.

That doesn't mean you necessarily pay thousands for them, you get them used.

* I guess I should watch the video* although it pains me.

Never watch the video.
 

Caz

Senior Member
Nice - great to hear about these lovely kits. I've always felt that 'the drummer' is the instrument and that's what you need to put the money into with studying with good players, living somewhere with a good scene. The reality for me has been living in an expensive tiny flat in a big city without room for loads of drum kits! That said, there needs to be a point where we feel worthy of upgrading and an extra 10-20% sounds actually very worthwhile... I have to say, I'm getting very tempted!
Yes. I have. I've had 3 Recording Custom kits, 1 split lug 9000 series kit (pre-RC) and I'm currently collecting a shell bank of 1st gen. (2008 - 2014) all birch Stage Customs. I'll preface with this .....
This sounds epic - have you bought any of the RCs new or all second hand?

Surely someone out there needs to be buying the new kits from the factories...
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
This sounds epic - have you bought any of the RCs new or all second hand?
Surely someone out there needs to be buying the new kits from the factories...
All were used. I haven't bought a new kit, since 1980. ;)
That said, there needs to be a point where we feel worthy of upgrading and an extra 10-20% sounds actually very worthwhile... I have to say, I'm getting very tempted!
If you can afford it, 100% agree. That's the space where my 2 Gretsch kits lie. My Ludwig's are a bit more "focused" because of their sizes, and so maybe not so general purpose.

I have the luxury of having room to store drums (current kit count 10 + orphans) .... so there's a semi-constant buy and sell thing going on. If you're thinking about getting some Recording Customs ..... excellent drums. I'm a big Yamaha fan. Besides the 8000's and the Stage Customs, I have a 1st gen. Manu Katche Jr ('cause I wanted a 16" bass drum kit) ..... and I recently acquired a 2010ish Rock Tour set (wide-leaf mahogany shells). And once I sell off a few kits, next kit I'll probably grab is a Club Custom (kapur shells). 'cause why not;)
 

Sausagetoad

Active Member
high end- anything over $2500 for 5pc Set new
10-12 years ago 22-2300 was (to me) Tops

when now I "see" $3400 $5900 and $6400 sets new..
It's just like a car, you know? The more you pay for it, the more you worry about it getting scratched or dented. Would you leave a kit that you paid 6K for in a dusty smoky club, or gig with it and throw it all over the country? Perhaps if you were doing top notch gigs, but not bars. Not me. I use a solid old sweet-sounding 'beater' kit when I gig.
 
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oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
..I disagree with the guessed figure of 99%….
and if you are inspired and enjoy playing high-end gear, then you WILL play better…
..It's a bit of reverse snobbery going on.
Attempting to paint anyone who owns high end drums as delusional..


Well, when someone says “99% of….”, ofcourse they mean to say..: the vast majority of….

But, what i basically meant to say was..:

If someone has (just as an example) 6000 dollars to spend, i think they are much better off to spend 1250-1500 dollars on a drum set and 4500 dollars on lessons, books, workshops, etc….or…..if they are just playing for hobby to buy a second hand car for that money, have a few vacations, pay of a loan or whatever…

The thing with a ‘high end’-kit from for example 6000 dollars, is that the kit ofcourse has more sound potential than a 1500 dollars kit…..but never a “4500 dollar more”- sound potential…

Those 4500 dollars extra are only paid for a certain feeling, a certain image or other sorts of what i call nonsense…and for a potential sound difference that will only be heard in top notch settings like a theatre, studio, etc…along with perfect tuning, a decent sound guy, etc…

And even if all those circumstances would be there, the question would be if people blindfolded would hear the difference or choose the ‘high end’-kit as the favorite…

But if someone else says..: hej, but for me those things that you call nonsense are important and definitely not nonsense…well, then be my guest and pay 6000 dollars for a drum set…

I would not call that delusional, but yes, a big waste of money according my definition of wasting money….

And if someone needs a “high end”-kit to be inspired to play, something is wrong anyway…..a lot…

I would say..: just buy a decent 1000-1500 dollars set of drums and play…..be inspired about just playing….instead of luxury nonsense…
 

jda

Silver Member
$2500 my max 12 years ago. I hit it. For one set. It bought NOS USA Gretsch in Bop bass and power toms.
I'd have a heck of a tougher time today 2022
Same with cymbals; I bought old Ks when a 22" old K was $636 at auction on ebay (I accumulated 17 old Ks various sizes) in 2002.

Today's a different time for prices but (my advice) Never give Up.
Getting the drums and cymbals that fit your drumming lifestyle.

I always liked 20/12/14 RB Gretsch for gigging and I had 2 still have 1. So I just got an updated refreshed 2000's version in 2010. I've owned other brands makes and sizes but you gotta settle somewhere on something-
and get on with the playing
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
Today's a different time for prices but (my advice) Never give Up.
Getting the drums and cymbals that fit your drumming lifestyle.
Indeed.(y)(y)(y)
I always liked 20/12/14 RB Gretsch for gigging and I had 2 still have 1. So I just got an updated refreshed 2000's version in 2010. I've owned other brands makes and sizes but you gotta settle somewhere on something-
and get on with the playing
I paid $1500 for my 20, 13, 16 RB 15 or so years ago. Just recently, I scored a 12x8, 14x14 SSB for $400. And a 24x14 SSB for $800. So now, I pair them 24, 13, 16 and 20, 12, 14. That's $2700 for two kits ..... $1350 each ...... OK, sometimes I sneak the 14x14 into the larger sizes ('cause I like me my two floor toms) and run it as a 24, 13, 14, 16;)

Since we were talking Yamaha Recording Customs/9000's ..... I found current listings for

Split lug 9000 kits for $1000, $1025, $1300, and $1870

And affordable Recording Customs at $1595 and $2000.
 

Jml

Senior Member
Think it’s fair to say that $2,000 gets you a kit that can last a lifetime and help you accomplish what you want. Beyond that price range, not sure it’s worth it, unless it’s a drum kit you HAVE to have.
 

Chris Whitten

Silver Member
And if someone needs a “high end”-kit to be inspired to play, something is wrong anyway…..a lot…
Your whole premise is based on either or. We really SHOULD be just talking about drum kits.
Of course people need lessons, need to practice.
If you are an experienced drummer, playing a hundred shows a year, on a cold wet Monday night in Milwaukee, then yes, you might just feel a little more inspired and enjoy the gig a little more if you are proud to play the drums you're playing, rather than a mid-priced Yamaha from a rental company. people are human.
I never met a musician yet that didn't buy their gear with a lot of thought and research beforehand......because it makes a difference to the enjoyment of playing.
 

Dutch

Senior Member
I don’t play out much, and am not a very good drummer, but very much enjoy playing my Sonor Prolite kit (that I bought used) whilst marvelling at the build- and sound quality. And I believe (or fool myself into thinking) I sound better on this kit than on my old Export.
 

Akincer5

New Member
Are watching videos like that a giant waste of time? :unsure:
Amen. High end drums are great to have if you can afford them and don't mind getting them banged up in a club or bar. Or you can invest in some solid mics and some good remo clear or pinstripe double ply heads. I'm guessing most people like me have a hard time getting thst great, fill in the blank, sound. It's amazing what a good set of heads will do. And that goes with coated or uncoated too. It can be the same remo emperor, one coated and one clear. They make your drum sound totally different. Weird but the coated tends to dampen the resonance of the drum while the clear will open it up. I just half to make sure the tuning is good, especially for the clear heads. The overtones are so much more pronounced with the clear heads.
 

Akincer5

New Member
I still have and old Yamaha stage custom from early nineties. I should really get that thing dusted off and puts some remo pinstripes on it. I heard one a couple months ago with pinstripes and it sounded amazing.
 
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