Are overpriced drums worth it ? A Defence of mapex

SYMBOLIC DEATH

Senior Member
Sonor does the same thing. It's called Alpi veneer. Is it OK that Sonor does it and adds $800-1000 per SQ2 kit that's equipped with an Alpi veneer? Do you like the wood trim in Bentleys, BMWs, Mercs? That's Alpi too. Shit's expensive and don't forget that you're getting 6-8 coats of lacquer on top of it too on the high gloss veneers. It's eco friendly and easier to match if you get an add on drum down the line. Here's a couple pics of my toilet seats.
I realize that Sonor does it too, but they don't market it as "exotic" do they? I'm not saying it looks bad, it's just not what they say it is. To me its similar to the bell brass and bell bronze topic a while back.
If I were to get a kit with an exotic veneer, after I win the lottery because it would be an 8 piece kit, it would have the actual wood, not something thats printed on there. Maybe it's due to always having wrapped kits because my kit travels to shows where lacquer finishes don't do so well in that environment.

In the end, all the top end kits will produce a nice tone, and you should choose who has the finish and hardware you like best. This was said to me by a friend's dad who is/was a top drum tech in LA who worked with all the top shelf kits & companies in the live and recording world.
 

Darth Vater

Senior Member
I realize that Sonor does it too, but they don't market it as "exotic" do they? I'm not saying it looks bad, it's just not what they say it is. To me its similar to the bell brass and bell bronze topic a while back.
If I were to get a kit with an exotic veneer, after I win the lottery because it would be an 8 piece kit, it would have the actual wood, not something thats printed on there. Maybe it's due to always having wrapped kits because my kit travels to shows where lacquer finishes don't do so well in that environment.

In the end, all the top end kits will produce a nice tone, and you should choose who has the finish and hardware you like best. This was said to me by a friend's dad who is/was a top drum tech in LA who worked with all the top shelf kits & companies in the live and recording world.
I have a Sonor Phonic Reissue D515PA snare with rosewood veneer inside and out. It says "Genuine veneer" on the badge. It's Alpi veneer, as in fake. The snare has a MAP price of $1199.00 . Thankfully I didn't pay that much for it as I was fortunate to get it pre-owned mint condition. It was still expensive believe me. It's a great snare and I knew it was fake veneer before I got it. Pretty misleading if you ask me. Sure it's a "genuine veneer" but it's not "genuine ROSEWOOD veneer". I personally don't think it's a big deal but I can see how someone might. I've been to places where they say exotic dancers too but most of them looked like junkies on the nod. It's all marketing BS no matter who's slinging it.

Just for giggles, this kit will run you $7K. It's Sonor's Alpi Rosewood high gloss. You in? Doesn't look too bad eh?
 

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Justinhub2003

Well-known member
To me value has a scale.

The DW Design series at my local guitar on sale for 699 is a great value (I own this kit) for its price range.

But at the Same time, I think Ludwig’s Classic maple and Classic Oak also are a great value as you might be possibly getting the best sounding kit that money can buy for well under the cost of some other brands.


That said... if I had to pick a brand of drums that offers the best value it’s.... hands down the PDP line from DW.

Before PDP it was nearly impossible to find a maple kit with a high quality lacquer finish for under a $1000 bucks. Before it was pearl
Export kits and Tama rockstars made of poplar and basswood. But they changed the game. Add thus I think the PDP concept maple kit is the best value in drums.
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
Sonor does the same thing. It's called Alpo veneer. Is it OK that Sonor does it and adds $800-1000 per SQ2 kit that's equipped with an Alpi veneer? Do you like the wood trim in Bentleys, BMWs, Mercs? That's Alpi too. Shit's expensive and don't forget that you're getting 6-8 coats of lacquer on top of it too on the high gloss veneers. It's eco friendly and easier to match if you get an add on drum down the line. Here's a couple pics of my toilet seats.
That Sonor is freaking beautiful man.


As for Yamaha, I happen to really like a lot of their stuff. I had a Recording Custom kit that sounded fantastic. The only reason I got rid of it was because I didn't need 2 kits any more and the Ludwigs sound just as good (but in a different way) and have sentimental value.
I really have a soft spot for 80's Yamaha stereo components and speakers. Like someone said about their drums, they have a very neutral sound to them.....especially the NS-1000 speakers. I just happen to have cleared out a spare bedroom this weekend where my stuff was being stored to remodel it and moved all of it into the living room until I can find the time to evenly disperse them throughout the house.
Everything you see, with the exception of the speakers with black grill cloth on them is Yamaha, including all components and the turntable. The entertainment stand is stuffed full of them as well.
That audio gear is fantastic. I love their receivers.
 

dboomer

Senior Member
I used to do this for a living. The PA cabinets we would sell to Yamaha, a finished product, for less than $10 a cabinet.
So how much profit did your company make selling that $10 box. Probably close to the same percentage as what a drum company and the retailer together make selling that $1000 drum set.
 

Drumprof

Member
To me....Just a couple points.....
I agree Yamaha used to be “sterile” sounding but the if you look at the lineup, the Hybrid Maples, the Hybrid oaks and the Phoenix have identity and purpose to the sound.

Does anyone here actually know what Chinese Yamaha workers make compared to Japanese Yamaha workers. I hear that a lot but does any really know that there was all this savings by going to China.

My Gretsch USA Customs (same sizes) cost a little more than my Yamaha Hybrids and I was just as glad to pay a bit more for Gretsch.

I don’t see many drum builder execs exactly making huge money. I think the price is also a reflection of demand.

Mapex is making awesome drums.

It took me in til I hit 50 years old to be able to afford top line drums. Played cheaper kits for 30 years and always got great sounds. Top of the line drums have become really high but let’s not pretend Yamaha is the only one and top of the drum makers. Nice drums have value to me because I can finally afford two top line kits each with their own “thing”. Could I get great sounds for less, absolutely but I choose not too.
I found a sound, feel, build and colors I like from each line and am happy for the upgrade of quality.

I play (was playing) over 100 gigs a year, the drums paid for themselves. That also makes a big difference in justification compared to hobbyists or guys who play at home.
 
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Woolwich

Silver Member
I have to admit, I know I'm in the wrong with this one.... I'm certain that Mapex makes a fine drum.

The Mapex branding and aesthetic do not sit well with me.

To start with, the name "Mapex" sounds like a brand of feminine hygiene products made by/for the fine people of Vermont.

Next is the faux-modern adornments that look like they were part of the 80's anime Robotech universe.

Last are the badges, which make it look like each individual drum has won a WWE title fight.
I'm kicking myself at the vagueness of my reply but I'm struggling to find the original article I got it from.
Re: the Mapex name, I'm PRETTY sure it was British drummer Bob Henrit who came up with it although it may have been someone else. I remember reading years ago that he met up with the directors of a new drum company that were going to call themselves something that they thought sounded great but sounded a bit naff to Western ears, think how LG sounds so much better than their "real" name of Lucky Goldstar. So because they were talking about maple drums, and to save their later embarrassment, he came up with Mapex just as a first example off the top of his head to start a discussion, However they took it literally and went with it!
That's what I remember reading anyway,
 

Yamaha Rider

Well-known member
I dont know what their profit margins are, not even gonna speculate, but it isnt nearly as much as you think.

Mapex builds wooden tubes. The wood comes from a supplier. All the metal more than likely comes from a supplier. The paint comes from a supplier. Fasteners come from a supplier. Wraps probably come from a supplier. Hell, the glue they use comes from a supplier. That's what people dont seem to understand. Mapex is more than likely just a wood shop, paint, and assembly lines/tables. All the materials must be paid for. Mapex has to have shell builders, finishers, painters, and assemblers.

Finished drums go in a box. That comes from a supplier too and must be paid for.

Gotta pay for shipping too.

I used to do this for a living. The PA cabinets we would sell to Yamaha, a finished product, for less than $10 a cabinet. That $10 had to be split between 40 workers, all the materials, electricity to run the machines, propane for the fork/squeeze lifts, tools, rent on the building, so on and so forth.

That's how manufacturing works. No one builds anything anymore. Country of manufacture is moot. Those Yamaha cabinets I use to build, parts came from all over the world. They are Japanese cabinets assembled in USA by Hispanic workers, with parts from China, Indonesia, USA...you see where this is going?



I was getting there, I type slow!
And - when that product gets to the retailer THEY want a big markup on top of all those manufacturing costs.
 

Yamaha Rider

Well-known member
I'm kicking myself at the vagueness of my reply but I'm struggling to find the original article I got it from.
Re: the Mapex name, I'm PRETTY sure it was British drummer Bob Henrit who came up with it although it may have been someone else. I remember reading years ago that he met up with the directors of a new drum company that were going to call themselves something that they thought sounded great but sounded a bit naff to Western ears, think how LG sounds so much better than their "real" name of Lucky Goldstar. So because they were talking about maple drums, and to save their later embarrassment, he came up with Mapex just as a first example off the top of his head to start a discussion, However they took it literally and went with it!
That's what I remember reading anyway,
Compare that with Pearl: an intrinsically beautiful name, given a beautiful script logo. It's inspiring from the outset. Mapex's logo looks knocked up by the office receptionist and the name might as well have been 'That'lldo' or 'Whatever'.
 

Yamaha Rider

Well-known member
Maybe the Stage Custom is the Camry/Carolla of drums - but the PHX is certainly the Lexus IFA - one of the best to ever exist and not on a lot of people's radar.

I will say though that Gadd, Weckl, Elvin Jones, Cobham, Ndugu, Garilbadi, Antonio Sanchez, Tom Brechtlein, Carter Beauford, Anton Fig, Roy Haynes, Akira Jimbo, John Riley, Clyde Stubblefield and plenty of others that could play literally anything play Yamaha and have for literally decades.

And those aren't people that are youtube stars or influencers...those are people that literally shaped the sound of our instrument and they trust Yamaha drums.

I could care less what else they make. Yamaha excels not only in drums - but all around they make some of the finest instruments out there. I know plenty of horn players that won't play anything else.

I've had Yamaha receivers for home audio that were amazing.

The EAD10 is freaking awesome.

The crosstown hardware - amazing.

If they make dirt bikes or light bulbs - so WHAT.
Mercedes Benz also make buses, taxis and trucks...
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
So how much profit did your company make selling that $10 box. Probably close to the same percentage as what a drum company and the retailer together make selling that $1000 drum set.
I imagine so. I dont what the profit margins were because I dont know how much the parts and cost of running a business are.

If I knew I could do the math. I simply dont.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I imagine so. I dont what the profit margins were because I dont know how much the parts and cost of running a business are.

If I knew I could do the math. I simply dont.
Even then, it'd be tough to know and calculate. There are too many other variables aside from the obvious wages, insurance that's been mentioned. There are licensing fees, software and hardware renewals, attorneys, if you're tied to unions, then all that goes on with them, etc., etc. Not every company runs like Apple with tons of cash flow. Most run on extremely tight budgets, and have no real cash flow and can't weather much in the way of unexpected events. There are always the big greedy evil empires we keep hearing about who's top management take home 7 figure bonuses each quarter, but that's the exception, not the norm.

When we talk profit margins, it doesn't say anything about operating costs otherwise. My company showed excellent growth year over year and we reported great numbers, but those numbers didn't reflect what we had to put back into R&D. That always put us in the negative. It took us a full 15 years to get into the positive. That's when we got new tools, additional engineers and even more money into R&D. Most companies can't run out the door with big bags of cash. It's no fun reporting, so we never hear about them.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Little rant, sorry. It's an impossible question, (are overpriced drums worth it) because of the non uniform sliding scale that is called worth. Drums, as a whole, I can't see ever being worth anything. Overpriced drums even more so. Gold is worth something. Drums aren't. Drums are liabilities not investments. Like I'm pretty sure there will be very few collectable hammers. Drums are for a greater purpose than money or worth. Tying drums to money...not the best worth vehicle lol. Gold or Bitcoin is much better lol.
 

dmacc_2

Well-known member
The term "overpriced" is subjective. Where does one draw the line.. 1k? 2k, 3k? and then for how many drums??

If someone is paying more than going market rate for anything then they haven't shopped enough to know if they are paying too much or are willing to pay a premium for that item no matter what the cost.

Are expensive drums better than cheaper ones? Perhaps to some.. perhaps not for others. We all have our own price points so it's important to know what you feel like point begins the diminishing returns on your dollar for the additional supposed quality you are paying for.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
It's complete over-the-top 80s. Does it come with a Gregg Bisonette blonde mullet wig and if not, why not :)

If I had room it would be setup all the time.
Yeah, given that I play a four-piece setup, it's way too big for my taste. I'd keep a bass drum, a tom, and a floor tom and sell the rest for five grand or so. Those shells should hold their value pretty well.
 

J-W

Well-known member
It's complete over-the-top 80s. Does it come with a Gregg Bisonette blonde mullet wig and if not, why not :)

If I had room it would be setup all the time.
That's what I like about them. I miss the days of over-the-top 80's......back when a rock show was a show. The drums themselves were artistic/individualistic/iconic and not something that looked just like the beginner kit in the catalogue and the drummer actually moved more than his wrists and fingers behind the kit.

If my current shell pack didn't fit my (lack of) needs so perfectly right now, I'd be all over that Mastersound Stadium kit.
 
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