Buying Online vs. In Person


Platinum Member
I had a lively conversation with audiotech regarding the merits of buying online vs. in person. He and I are seeing this from two perspectives, so I was curious what others thought.

I myself don't mind ordering drums and cymbals online as long as there's a return policy and I can be reasonably sure what I'm getting myself into.

audiotech insists on hearing any drum or cymbal before buying it. I don't disagree with this in principal, but am not sure that it's a practical approach since you may want something specific that isn't carried by your local pusher.

Anyway, you can read the conversation as it unfolded here:
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Senior Member
Personally there are no good music shops around me, the closest guitar center is probibly a good 45 mins to an hour away from me. So for me I have to buy online. However I do listen to how the item sounds first.


Senior Member
I bought my current set of Tama Staclassic Performers from a drumshop 1000 miles away from me. They were used and I had to rely on their evaluation of the condition of the drums, which turned out to be exactly as they described them. I already knew what the SC's should sound like, so it wasn't a big deal IMO. And I could have returned them if I didn't like them.

I've only bought two cymbals without demo-ing them in person. One was a Wuhan china that cost about $20, so I figured it was worth a shot - turned out to be a great trashy china, exactly what I wanted. The second was a Sabian Evo 10" splash that my brother (who's played drums for longer than I've been alive) picked out when a drum shop near him had a sale and I couldn't travel to be there. Again - it's a great splash and I've been very happy with it. The thing about both of these cymbals though is that they're 'specialty' cymbals that have a distinctive voice that doesn't really need to blend the same way that my ride and larger crashes need to work together. It would be hard for me to buy another ride or crash without getting to hear it, although I won't say it couldn't happen.

The one thing that I won't buy online is sticks - it may be weird, but I just have to roll them on a flat surface to make sure they're straight and then play with them to make sure they're tonally matched. It's how I've bought sticks since I first started playing and it's a ritual at this point that I won't give up.


Platinum Member
I think the obvious advantage of trying something out yourself needs not be overly-mentioned. I guess the real issue is a matter of how important it is for someone to "try before you buy". I know that even if you're buying a specific model of something, whether it be cymbals, snares, microphones, PA speakers, etc., each individual product will have its own "character". Sure, I can try out 20 16" A Custom Fast Crashes, but may only like 2 of them. Heck, I tried out probably 30-some DW kits before I tried one that I actually liked the tuning range on. Same thing with the EQ on mics or speakers. And, this ESPECIALLY holds true for vintage gear, where the consistency is SOOOO not there.

So, in a nutshell, I'm all for buying in person. If I wasn't such a stickler for specific sounds, I wouldn't mind buying online, I guess...


Platinum Member
Ideally I'd want to try everything out before I bought it, but since a lot of things I've bought have been from ebay, that hasn't really been possible. Since I'm paying less than I would new, though, the price compensates for that.


Senior Member
in my case its buying online everytime for 2 reasons,
1. i can find everything cheaper than in my local drum shops
2. my local drum shops or any drum shop that ive been to in the UK has never let me try cymbals or kits in the shop (not even touch them most of the time) so online benefits me more


Silver Member
I buy online all the time, especially from eBay. The great thing about buying used is, if you're smart, you can buy it for a low price and resell it for at least the same price, sometimes more (I've made money on cymbals I didn't like!). As long as you have the patience and financial stability for it, eBay is great. That and memphisdrumshop's YouTube channel. They have such a HUGE variety of cymbal demos, and not just from the Big Three either.

As one final note, yes, every cymbal is different, but all 16" A Custom Crashes will be produced the same way, so they will all be similar. Even if the sound isn't exactly what you want, it's probably in the ballpark. And after a few days of using it, you might get used to it (or break it in, either way) and grow to love it.


Platinum Member
I'd never buy cymbals online. I don't see how people do it.

I'd really prefer to not buy anything online, but with the economy, most shops stop carrying as much selection as they used to, and most places have dropped their stick selection down to the basics plus what ever popular signature model is hot for the month. So online I go.


I absolutely have to play the stuff in person to consider throwing money at it.
If I didnt live close enough to a store that stocked decent gear, Id move... :)