Can you make a $100 drum set sound good?

Drummy74

Member
I did exactly that a few years back. My friends told me about the "Campfire Jams" going on at the Wanee music festival, an Allman Brothers event in Live Oak Florida. I wanted to take a drum set for the jams which are held outside near where all us ABB fans hang out. I didn't want to take my best kit so I found a friend who had a Peavy drumset and her son wasn't playing it. Got it for 100 bucks, took it home, took off all the heads and hardware and repainted it hippy style so it would look good at the fest. Put it all back together and it sounded really good considering. Brought a vintage Slingerland snare drum and just used the cybals that came with the set and it sounded really good amazingly enough. Had several drummers use it and even got to jam with some of the guys from Dickie Betts' band. I have used it at gigs since then a couple toms and it actually rocks! I have never been one to use all the tricks to tuning as in this video, I just got it where it sounded good and left it the fuck alone!
 

doggyd69b

Silver Member
The answer is yes you can. But the next question is what is good? I can make it sound like a $10k DW with the right heads (which may end up being more $$ than the drums). Or maybe the question was posed as can you make a $100 set sound good (as is without changing anything)... The answer is still yes as long as the heads are not damaged. It will not sound as good as it could with proper heads but it will still sound good. There are tons of videos out there about comparing a cheap drum vs an expensive one and in most you don't hear much difference and if you don't know what drum is being played may even confuse the cheap drum for the expensive one. Of course cheap drums are cheap for a reason...
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
If the drumheads have any life in them at all, the drums are tuned well, and you put decent cymbals on the kit, yeah, almost anything can sound good. if you listen to his first go on the kit as it arrived from the Craigslist buy or wherever, it actually didn't sound too terrible. He ends up spending about 6x what he paid for the kit in heads and cymbals, and it sounds pretty darn good for a beater Guitar Center stencil kit.

In the comments he asks what he should do with this kit since he obviously doesn't need yet another kit. I suggested he cut down the shells to 4" deep and make a portable pancake/headset kit.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
You can find a good deal on decent enough stuff.

Weak link will always be the snare, though. May work for some things, but probably won't be all that versatile and sensitive in the way you want.

I've gotten completely out of round toms to sound good enough. Have to tune them unevenly and make sure I hit only in the middle, but it has worked out.
 

wraub

Gold Member
I got a set for $100 when I started out. After a while learning, tuning, and messing with them, I got them sounding pretty good, imo. When I got my current set, the difference in sound quality was noticeable, even before I started tuning.
The first set, however, was invaluable for helping me learn so many useful things.
 

doggyd69b

Silver Member
I made my cheap drumset sound like the very expensive DW that I played at a club. The best and I guess only way to know for sure is to play them side by side in the same room under the same conditions. Room acoustics play a big part on how we perceive our drum sound.
 

jda

Silver Member
that doesn't happen anymore.

around the same time I found these for $330 in a music shop-and I should have kept them but sadly (like a dimwit sold them : (
$330
20/12/14/matching 4157-5

JDA19821.jpg

$330..from a store!
1976
they were mint...beyond mint!

that 14" Had the small lug; the RWP a Big Lug 14"


GretschRWP.jpg


they look better than they play ; )
I like my new satin rosewood 18/10/12/14 USA Gretsch better!
(that's understandable..)
Somebody- some "young (younger than me) fella
should buy these
they been on reverb for 2 months I don't understand it +/-
yea that's my 22" Old K up there on the Reds..

(i'm a player not a collector!
I don't have "the room"..to be a collector : ).
 
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C. Dave Run

Gold Member
Trying to even find a $100 kit is proving impossible.

$300:
20220921_060002.jpg

$250
20220921_055912.jpg

These are the two cheapest kits on my local CL.

There was a Stagg kit with cymbals for $50 a few weeks ago. It's not listed anymore.
 

Drummy74

Member
You can find a good deal on decent enough stuff.

Weak link will always be the snare, though. May work for some things, but probably won't be all that versatile and sensitive in the way you want.

I've gotten completely out of round toms to sound good enough. Have to tune them unevenly and make sure I hit only in the middle, but it has worked out.
I agree about the snare drum. As I said, I used a vintage Slingerland I had laying around.
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
It really depends on what that $100 entails.

If its everything....drums, hardware, AND cymbals.....probably not.

If its just drums, it depends on the condition of the heads. If they're caved in and dented, probably not much, but if the heads are okay, they could be tuned up decently.
 
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