Are the vintage Pearl kits (made in Japan) a total waste of money?

mrmartye

Junior Member
I came across what looks like a bargain, but research that I've made suggests otherwise.

It's about $300 for 22 13 16, in good condition.

Can anyone give me the good, the bad, and the ugly?

Most importantly, would a kit like this sound good in a professional, live setting?

Thanks in advance!
 
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Toolate

Platinum Member
It has Pearl badges? Vintage drum forum is the place to go.

I just bought a US Mercury Pro kit that is lauan, japanese made, etc. (I think Tama owned the company at the time? but the drums have nothing to do with the name in terms of construction) but I got the shells for $100.... Heads were $83.

It was cheap and sounds great with a cool wrap. So if you are looking for an investment maybe it matters but to play at home or whatever, if they are in good shape and you like them then I would go for it.

I realize you are looking for more specific info but my point is you could make a great kit for very little $ if you like them.
 

mrmartye

Junior Member
It has Pearl badges? Vintage drum forum is the place to go.

I just bought a US Mercury Pro kit that is lauan, japanese made, etc. (I think Tama owned the company at the time? but the drums have nothing to do with the name in terms of construction) but I got the shells for $100.... Heads were $83.

It was cheap and sounds great with a cool wrap. So if you are looking for an investment maybe it matters but to play at home or whatever, if they are in good shape and you like them then I would go for it.

I realize you are looking for more specific info but my point is you could make a great kit for very little $ if you like them.
Yup, it has the silver Pearl badges from (I believe) the late 60's, & the blue sparkle wrap is fantastic.

But, I'm about to go on tour, but don't want to take a great looking kit out with me if it's not going to sound good, you know? That's my concern.
 

evilg99

Platinum Member
Waste of money? On the contrary, they can be a great find. I sort of have a vintage Pearl-esque kit, 1966 Silvertones , made in the Star factory. They really do sound great, bass drum is awesome. Lots of mojo vibe. Recordable, giggable. Doesn't break the bank.

If you're looking for furniture grade shells, look elsewhere. Luan and mystery wood prevail in this era - but who cares?

This is my Silvertone thread :

http://drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=97203&highlight=silvertone

Neal
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
mystery wood prevail in this era
I love "mystery" wood. A surprise around every corner - especially to the guys building it ;) ;) ;)

some of the early Japanese drums can be very good, others not so. It's a crap shoot, but unless you're talking about the early entry level stuff, you can be assured that the hardware is better quality than the equivalent Western kit of the same era.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
A lot certainly depends on the kind of music you're playing. In a blues band, this kit might work well. In a death metal band, not so much.​
Pearl was known for making stencil kits, in the 60's. And Tama, also. The downside to these kits, the hardware. Most kits used to "long nail" type spurs. Not the strongest, and not known for keeping your kick on a solid footing. If you kick hard, I'd advise against.​
Simple rule of thumb, if the kick has 10 lugs per side, you're looking at a top line kit. Most stencil kits had 6 or 8 lugs. The term "you get what you pay for" applies. A 1969 Ludwig Standard sold for $369, new. A Downbeat, $475. A Japanese kit ran around $120, from the same time period. So I'd say $300 is about top dollar, for this kit. Of course, pictures would help, but that would be my call, without photo evidence.​
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
If you're a heavy hitter,you may want to change the original hardware,or at the least,bring along some extra screws,bolts and tom/floor tom brackets.

The MIJ import hardware of the time was hit or miss,and tended to be cast pot metal.Touring with a kit like that will bring out it's weaknesses pretty quickly.Age also has a lot to do with performance as well.

Post some pics especially of the badges and hardware.

Steve B
 

gaz farrimond

Senior Member
Yup, it has the silver Pearl badges from (I believe) the late 60's, & the blue sparkle wrap is fantastic.

But, I'm about to go on tour, but don't want to take a great looking kit out with me if it's not going to sound good, you know? That's my concern.
This page, if you haven't already seen it, should give you an idea as to the date of the drums: http://www.vintagedrumguide.com/pearl_badges.html

There's a number of Pearl catalogues on the Drumarchive: http://www.drumarchive.com/


Personally, I wouldn't put anything close $300 down on an old Pearl kit, I may stretch to $200, but not without giving it a very, very thorough going over. Pearl have had some history about the fragility of their metalwork.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
The kit looks ok and in fairly good condition (the wrap looks to be in good shape) but they are asking the top of the realistic price range for it. I'm also guessing that to inspect it and pick it up would cost you around $50 in petrol. If you want a vintage kit then you might be better off buying shells individually and putting it all together yourself - you would have a better idea of exactly what you're buying and more likely to get American-made vintage drums for only a little bit more money.

If it were $150, I'd be all over it.
 

mrmartye

Junior Member
The kit looks ok and in fairly good condition (the wrap looks to be in good shape) but they are asking the top of the realistic price range for it. I'm also guessing that to inspect it and pick it up would cost you around $50 in petrol. If you want a vintage kit then you might be better off buying shells individually and putting it all together yourself - you would have a better idea of exactly what you're buying and more likely to get American-made vintage drums for only a little bit more money.

If it were $150, I'd be all over it.
I think you're right.
 

drumdruid

Member
I have one of these in the garage in a brown wrap.
I polished the chrome and put new heads on it.
Until no no one has taken it but to be honest it sounds like it looks.. a very "thin" sound not really to compare with my Slingerlands if you want a vintage sound.
Simon
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
I guess there is some hip cachet to this old junk. Just as with old Danelectro and Harmony guitars, or even worse, the old Tesico Del Reys. Anyone who played this stuff in the '60s remembers things endlessly slipping (we used to use two sticks to clamp against the wing nuts and crank for all they were worth) and dead sound. We would have died for a real Ludwig, Gretsch, Slingerland or Rodgers kit. If you use pinstripes or otherwise damped heads and close mic them, it doesn't really matter I guess. Knock yourself out. But don't bother with the rail consolette, just put the tom on a snare stand or put modern mounts on it.
 

drumdruid

Member
I guess there is some hip cachet to this old junk. Just as with old Danelectro and Harmony guitars, or even worse, the old Tesico Del Reys. Anyone who played this stuff in the '60s remembers things endlessly slipping (we used to use two sticks to clamp against the wing nuts and crank for all they were worth) and dead sound. We would have died for a real Ludwig, Gretsch, Slingerland or Rodgers kit. If you use pinstripes or otherwise damped heads and close mic them, it doesn't really matter I guess. Knock yourself out. But don't bother with the rail consolette, just put the tom on a snare stand or put modern mounts on it.
DO NOT DRILL IT.
Use the tom on a snare stand yes, but dont go putting holes in it,. in a few years the value of an un altered set will retain it's value.. here a story to the wise.

I was 19 and some one broke into our home studio and stole everything as well as my drum set ( a premier ringo star set)
Not having any money I found a cheap set in the local free ads. Borrowed 50 pounds from my dad and bought the kit.
It looked bad, having been used to test car colors in the garage of the former owner.So we stripped it down to the bare veneer, put new stain on and replaced the suspect hardware with new pearl fittings.
Months later I was able to earn enough to buy new cymbals so off I whent to John Scheera's drum store in london.
I don't know why but I took the snare with me to show them.
John flipped out as he looked at what I now know to be Radio King snare.
"wheres the rest?" he asked & I proudly replied at home with new hardware ... he almost burst into tears..
And you all know why? I had drilled a complete Radio KIng Slingerland set thereby reducing the value to almost nothing.

I still have it, all the pearl hardware is off, i use the tom on a snare stand.
It sounds great but I can't gig with it.. or won't
It was the start of a passion for Slingerland.

I now own:
2 x jazz kits with 20" kicks in champagne sparkle and luminous green
1 x rock kit 22" in pearl white
1 x rock kit 22" in silver sparkle
1 x monster kit with a 24"
12 snare drums

Am i Mad?
My wife thinks so!
Simon
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
Great story. But a '60s Hoshino kit is such a far cry from a set of Radio Kings as to be in another zip code.

That said, in spite of the view of them that I and others who played them in the '60s have of them, they seem to have some sort of "collectible" status. So it's probably worth keeping them "original" as possible for the collectors value. Maybe use a RIMS mount or a snare stand.

I had a friend back in the early '70s who had a hodge podge of these things. He would strip all the hardware and cover them in matching contact paper. When that got too ripped up he would do it again. Didn't matter where he got what, they were all pretty much the same. Now I suppose some indie kid would freak on them and his "wrecking" their value. Very few things survived the '70s or '80s unaltered. We put better hardware on the drums, took off the mufflers and bottom heads destroying the bottom bearing edges, and then put Evans hydraulics back on later. We put humbuckers into Fenders and brass parts all over every guitar. Every guitar amp had the grillecloth replaced with something psychedelic or spray painted with fluorescent paint. Nobody thought the stuff would be "collectable" in 20 years. The only things vintage or collectable were late '50s Les Pauls. Maybe a few drummers knew what Radio Kings were. Everything else was open season for "improvement".
 

JesusMySavior

Silver Member
3/4 of that price will get you mojo. That's the best thing going for those old kits. Some of them sound fantastic, others...not so much. Not sure what this one would fall into.
 
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