Bop Kit Choices?

RobertM

Platinum Member
I've watched a lot of video demos about these kits, but I was curious to hear feedback from anyone who has played these kits. If looking for a bebop 18/14/12 setup, which kit is worth the investment? I'm familiar with all their hardware features, with Yamaha and Tama mounts being my favorite.

- DW Performance
- Gretsch Renown
- Yamaha Stage Custom
- Mapex Saturn
- Pearl Sessions Studio Select
- Tama Starclassic Birch/Walnut

Thanks for the help!
 

Drumprof

Member
I've watched a lot of video demos about these kits, but I was curious to hear feedback from anyone who has played these kits. If looking for a bebop 18/14/12 setup, which kit is worth the investment? I'm familiar with all their hardware features, with Yamaha and Tama mounts being my favorite.

- DW Performance
- Gretsch Renown
- Yamaha Stage Custom
- Mapex Saturn
- Pearl Sessions Studio Select
- Tama Starclassic Birch/Walnut

Thanks for the help!
Is this primarily a kit for jazz or a light rock kind of thing? Of those choices, either the Gretsch or Yamaha.
One is maple and one is birch but you really can’t go wrong with either.
 

RobertM

Platinum Member
Is this primarily a kit for jazz or a light rock kind of thing? Of those choices, either the Gretsch or Yamaha.
One is maple and one is birch but you really can’t go wrong with either.
I would use the kit for jazz, but I would like a tuning range to handle bebop to rock. I think all these kits can fit the bill, but I'm wondering if there are nuances I'm missing. For example, some players think the DW Performance shells choke at higher tunings, and I wonder if the Pearl or Tama options would handle bebop tuning well.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
The Renown has thick heavy maple shells while the Yamaha SC has thin light birch shells (and half the cost.) Yamaha is easy to pick up and carry around. But I don’t have experience with the bop sizes of these regarding high tuning, projection, etc.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I'm familiar with all their hardware features, with Yamaha and Tama mounts being my favorite.
The Renown tom mounts are nice too. Simple, sturdy, and not too bulky.

IMHO, the type of hoop is going to determine much of the drums sound and how they feel to play, more than the type of wood used*. The models with heavy die-cast hoops will sound drier and more focused. Playing near the rim will produce bright, loud overtones, and they'll feel a bit more resistant under the stick. Old Gretsch's are this way, and that's what you're hearing on many of the old jazz records. The Renowns, having those same hoops, and similar shell design, will sound pretty close to the jazz kits of the late 50's and 60's.

So, it would make sense to play a kit with die cast hoops, and then play one without, if you can, to see what you prefer. From there, pick something that looks suitable on stage.

which kit is worth the investment?
A classic finish and reasonable sizes will help a kit to sell, later on, but you're going to lose almost half the value as soon as you play on it. You don't often see jazz players using Mapex, Pearl, or DW -- for whatever reasons, Yamaha and Gretsch are the most popular within that scene.

I would use the kit for jazz, but I would like a tuning range to handle bebop to rock.
There's no reason you wouldn't be able to tune any of those kits down low for a rock gig. Your ability to tune drums will determine that, not the drums (assuming everything is in proper working order). For louder rock gigs, it's a good idea to put a reso head with a mic hole on the bass drum, for more volume, and also a punchier sound. It takes so much work to get a kit that's been tuned for jazz, to sound like a rock kit, that it makes sense to have two kits, or at least two bass drums. You might consider adding on a 20" kick.

For example, some players think the DW Performance shells choke at higher tunings
Doubtful. If people don't *like* the sound of DWs tuned up, that's fine. But to choke any 8-ply drum, you'd have to apply pretty large amounts of force. If anything, the lighter hoops will flex somewhat, and help the shell resonate more at higher tensions, not less.

*Birch sounds much different from maple, usually because it is softer. Walnut, OTOH, is a harder species, so what Birch/Walnut sounds like is anyone's guess. Again, the type of hoop probably matters more than wood species.
 

vindrums

Senior Member
You may want to check out a set of Ludwig Classic Maples as well. Extremely versatile drums around the same price point as all the others you mentioned.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
I've watched a lot of video demos about these kits, but I was curious to hear feedback from anyone who has played these kits. If looking for a bebop 18/14/12 setup, which kit is worth the investment? I'm familiar with all their hardware features, with Yamaha and Tama mounts being my favorite.

- DW Performance
- Gretsch Renown
- Yamaha Stage Custom
- Mapex Saturn
- Pearl Sessions Studio Select
- Tama Starclassic Birch/Walnut

Thanks for the help!
If you put 100 jazz drummers (and those 6 kits) in a room, blind-folded them and asked them to choose based on sound alone, the Renowns would win. No contest. Maybe not everyone would agree with me, but most will.

The other kits are capable of jazz too, but there's a reason jazz players prefer Gretsch. The Renowns are basically Gretsch USA Customs for 1/3 the price. The build quality is insane for the money and they sound just as good IMO.

The Yamaha Stage Customs are also fantastic if you're on a budget, but the Renowns are definitely worth the extra money.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
If you put 100 jazz drummers (and those 6 kits) in a room, blind-folded them and asked them to choose based on sound alone, the Renowns would win. No contest. Maybe not everyone would agree with me, but most will.

The other kits are capable of jazz too, but there's a reason jazz players prefer Gretsch.
Is this similar to the paradigm that the Fender P-bass is ubiquitous within Blues-Rock?
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
I don't think you can go wrong with ANY of them. Although the Yamaha (being the least expensive) might, well, it's the least expensive.

I've got 2 bop kits. An RMV .... and a Yamaha 9000 series (pre-Recording Custom). And they are worlds apart.

Now, the RMV bass lives on a riser. And for rock and punch .... hands down the winner. Thin Bapeva maple shells. Superkick batter head and the beater hits dead center.

The Yamaha bass lives on the floor. Thick all Birch shells. Much more "traditional" sounding bop kit. Beater hits about 4" above center.

Maybe what you need to think about, is what kinda sound you like/want. A more modern sound .... or a more warm, vintage sound.

More modern would be the Tama, or the Mapex Saturn.

More vintage would be the Pearl .... man, those birch/african mahogany shells got warmth for days.

And the others fall somewhere in the middle, I think.
 

RobertM

Platinum Member
I just saw Peter Erskine play this kit last month. Great sounding drum kit.
Yes, I've listened to the Hickory Tama kit via YouTube demo. It seems nice, but it is a staggering $1500 USD. That seems really expensive to me for a SLP mid-ish line kit. For another $400 or perhaps less, I could probably get a Starclassic Maple in 18/14/12, and in a cooler finish. And I think for $1700-ish or $1800, I could land a Ludwig Classic Maple.
 
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RobertM

Platinum Member
I don't think you can go wrong with ANY of them. Although the Yamaha (being the least expensive) might, well, it's the least expensive.

I've got 2 bop kits. An RMV .... and a Yamaha 9000 series (pre-Recording Custom). And they are worlds apart.

Now, the RMV bass lives on a riser. And for rock and punch .... hands down the winner. Thin Bapeva maple shells. Superkick batter head and the beater hits dead center.

The Yamaha bass lives on the floor. Thick all Birch shells. Much more "traditional" sounding bop kit. Beater hits about 4" above center.

Maybe what you need to think about, is what kinda sound you like/want. A more modern sound .... or a more warm, vintage sound.

More modern would be the Tama, or the Mapex Saturn.

More vintage would be the Pearl .... man, those birch/african mahogany shells got warmth for days.

And the others fall somewhere in the middle, I think.
Harry: Good point about the sound. I like the vintage Gretsch sound, but it is not necessarily a dealbreaker. The Pearl is tempting: 60 degree rounded edges, kind of like Gretsch, and the warmth of the birch/mahogany, and the finishes are ok. And more affordable (closer to $1200, because the 18" bass drum would be a special order).
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
Harry: Good point about the sound. I like the vintage Gretsch sound, but it is not necessarily a dealbreaker.
And in the looks department, I think the Tama wins. The Molten Brown Burst kills. Transparent Mocha Fade 2nd. Put the right heads on it, and it'd be plenty warm enough.

As jazzy as the Gretsch name is .... the USA and the Renown just don't do it for me. The "great Gretsch sound" was built off the early 3 ply and 6 ply Round Badge kits. And while both of those sound different .... USA is again a whole 'nuther bird. If you want "modern", then yes, USA and Renown fit the bill. If you want "vintage" from Gretsch, Broadcaster and Brooklyn !!!!

Saturn ..... I could live with one of these. Yes I could.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
While I don't have any experience with any of those kits in those sizes, I would like to say that I've never heard a bad word bout Renowns. Given those choices sight-unseen, that's what I'd get.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
. . . the Hickory Tama kit via YouTube demo. It seems nice, but it is a staggering $1500 USD.
Agreed. I was shocked when I saw the price of both the hickory and spruce kits. That tom mount had better be worthy, too, 'cuz paying that price and not getting a Starcast tom mount is a slight disappointment.
 

vindrums

Senior Member
I agree with Harryconway. The Gretsch Renowns aren't the same as USA or Broadcaster kits. They do not have that vintage Gretsch mojo that so many drummers are looking for. They aren't bad drums, they are just way more modern sounding then one would expect from the Gretsch name.
 

RickP

Gold Member
Why not keep your eye out for a used High end kit ? Settling is never the way to go , get exactly what you want from the market used.
A nice Gretsch USA Custom 70's stop sign badge ; maybe a used Sonor Hilite or Champion etc. It is a buyers market these days and there are lots of kits up for sale used.
 
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