Are overpriced drums worth it ? A Defence of mapex

jasz

Junior Member
Dig into the history and into how Yamaha is divided by divisions.

You’d be surprised.
Yamaha has had multiple OEMs for its drums. Sakae only really used to make the higher end stuff pretty much. Yamaha took over the "Sakae production" in their own factory that was previously used to build marching percussion. Yamaha has its own set of drum engineers, not exactly reliant on Sakae from what I've seen.

Yes, Yamaha is a conglomerate but a lot of drum companies follow a similar structure to how they "make" drums. The current Tour custom for example is OEM'd in Taiwan by a company that makes drums for other drum companies. The hardware is 100% Yamaha designed and supplied. Yamaha had input on the shell design and likely tried out multiple hardware iterations before settling on the absolute lugs and S-hoops.

Yamaha used to be a much bigger force in the 80s in terms of marketing and brand allegiance. Not exactly sure what happened, but they're kinda out of touch with the community...especially when it comes to pricing structure lol

This is coming from a person that would kill for a set of Absolute Hybrid maples.. but I couldn't justify the price and or finish options.
 
Last edited:

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I'll probably never agree that a drum is just a drum.

Can they all do the job? Yes, but we all have different tastes and the tone is worth it of you get it.

To me it's been clear that there are two models I like. Gretsch US Customs and Gretsch Broadkaster.

With the reason I'm working on a court case came also the reason I fell off the standard train of regular reasonable income. I choose therefore to focus on things I could do something about and put the money I did have into outdoor gear and certain long term health investments.

Eventually I'll get drums of all sizes in thse two models I like and then I'll more or less be done with the basic drumset thing. Not saying I'll never get something else and there's certainly a lot of other percussion I've been looking at.

Now, when I do gig for others, which is the standard thing as my own band plans are on the back burner, I generally play house kits. People don't mind. It's more or less expected. I generally just bring everything but the toms and BD. The kits are usually Stage Customs or some other Yamaha one step above from various eras. It's fine.

I have nothing against Mapex drum other than that I simply don't like the sound. It's not like I'm a total Gretsch fanboy either as I don't care for the Brooklyns at all. It's what I want, so as long as the price is within reach I don't care. Until then the Catalina's doing just fine for me compared to other things. I'll always have them. I'm not too semtimental about them and they are light and easy to carry. If I was getting a small bop kit on a budget I'd go up to a Renown and probably change the hoops, too. There's a joke to be had that almost each of my snare drums cost more than the rest of the kit, but that just speaks to how important snares are.
 

Iristone

Well-known member
I live in China and I'd like to support my local economy too - unless, of course, if it's a knockoff.
I've noticed that, once a drum companies successfully creates a "bang for the buck" line, they will promptly discontinue them so as not to eat into the sales of the higher lines. Victims include: Ludwig Club Date (USA, SE, and Element SE), Gretsch Marquee, Tama original Imperialstar, PDP Classic, Zildjian Amir, Paiste Alpha, etc.. :(
 

jimb

Member
Weird fact time. In all the years I played bass I never once considered the tone of the drums behind me, and I cant even remember any fellow band mates commenting on tone either but keys, guitars, vox definitely, and we all suffered endless arguments over band sound, arrangements and maybe a drum "fill or groove" that wasn't quite right etc etc ...but drum tone ...never.
 
That makes two of us at least then. I bought a Saturn V in Hybrid Red/Blue Sparkle lacquer in May 2017, have gigged it at least twice monthly since then up until Covid and I've got nothing but good things to say about it.
I have that exact same finish of Saturn V...I absolutely love the set and I don't play out or anything....with that said it's not my dream set.
If I have the chance to get a Tama Star Walunt, Tama Starclassic Bubinga, DW Collectors Purpleheart, or a Hendrix Archetype Ambrosia maple, it's gone.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
....Are overpriced drums worth it ?.....
....I ask, what is the best value in drums....
Two questions here. I think it's been well established that overpriced means that the drums are priced higher than what someone thinks they're worth.
As to the best value in drums, probably best to first decide if used drums are included in the equation.
 

wraub

Well-known member
I got a "dated, out of style" older Yamaha kit used- it's extremely well built, sounds good and tunes easily (and stays tuned), and isn't the same kit everybody has. There may be valid reasons for that, but none apparent to me in playing them.

Are they the best drums ever? Possibly not. But, they were absolutely the best quality I could afford, and the price I paid is lower than some starter sets on CL, especially these days. I have no regrets at all.

I would like a high-dollar, pulls no punches set someday, but for me, for now, used was my way into drumming without compromise on my part over build quality. Besides, I should probably improve some as a drummer before I think of such things. ;)

Overpriced is subjective imo, but expensive is real.
 

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
Weird fact time. In all the years I played bass I never once considered the tone of the drums behind me, and I cant even remember any fellow band mates commenting on tone either but keys, guitars, vox definitely, and we all suffered endless arguments over band sound, arrangements and maybe a drum "fill or groove" that wasn't quite right etc etc ...but drum tone ...never.
That's the thing, once the drums are "in the mix", and you listen to the band/group as a whole--the tone you hear behind the kit during soundcheck or whatnot, mostly disappears. This is why I'll never buy a really nice high end kit. I can spend a couple hundred on heads, with a mediocre or simply "not as" expensive kit and still be able to get a great sound (to my ears).

But, if I hit the lottery one day, I will definitely have a nice DW kit added to the collection.
 

incrementalg

Gold Member
That's the thing, once the drums are "in the mix", and you listen to the band/group as a whole--the tone you hear behind the kit during soundcheck or whatnot, mostly disappears. This is why I'll never buy a really nice high end kit. I can spend a couple hundred on heads, with a mediocre or simply "not as" expensive kit and still be able to get a great sound (to my ears).

But, if I hit the lottery one day, I will definitely have a nice DW kit added to the collection.
I think many owners of more high end sets simply play at home without a band or in a mix, so to speak. In that scenario, the nuances of drums is more apparent. I'm now one of those at home only players, so I find the subtleties of drums stand out to me because they're all I hear when I'm playing. I have two sets...neither are particularly high end, but they sound and feel very different in my at home, controlled environment.

If I were playing in a band, I'd be fine using either set because I can tune them closely enough to where even I wouldn't notice a huge difference in sound in the mix with a band.
 

Darth Vater

Senior Member
Weird fact time. In all the years I played bass I never once considered the tone of the drums behind me, and I cant even remember any fellow band mates commenting on tone either but keys, guitars, vox definitely, and we all suffered endless arguments over band sound, arrangements and maybe a drum "fill or groove" that wasn't quite right etc etc ...but drum tone ...never.
Did you hear about the drummer who locked his keys in his car? It took them 2 and half hours to get the bass player out! :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO:
 

someguy01

Well-known member
Took ages to read through, but all very interesting and valid points. I can agree that Yamaha drums sound "sterile", unless one can afford the PHX. They make magnificent hardware. A veneer is still real wood with actual grain, anything printed becomes a wrap by definition. Tree origin is marketing gimmickry. Wood characteristics vary based on environmental conditions and those vary globally, daily. Different woods do produce different tones that are audible in comparison, the audience and casual listener will never hear them. Your drums, like your vehicle or wardrobe, are precisely that; Yours. The right choice is the one that makes you smile when you play. Something is overpriced only if its build quality is substandard for the cost.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
I think i just looked up walnut/maple drum sets or something. You're right though. There's not a lot to choose from.
 
Top