Drum Companies : Your Perceptions

KingBeastie

Member
First, apologies if this is in the wrong forum, feel free to move if so.

On another thread, "Worst expensive kit you ever played?" on here I posted about Pearl drums and how my perception of Pearl drums has been affected very negatively by playing so many beat up, horribly tuned, dirty, run down and damaged Pearl kits in rehearsal spaces over the years.
I am aware that this is due to the nature of rehearsal room kits but that's just the way I feel about Pearl drums.
It's ironic really as Pearl would probably be happy to have their kits in so many rehearsal spaces thinking that it would encourage others to buy their equipment whereas it's done the exact opposite in my case.
As I said I am aware that this this is just my own personal perception of Pearl.

I was wondering if any of you had your own perception of other brands, whether positive or negative?

I used to always associate Tama drums with heavy metal music, it's only over the past 5 years or so that that has changed. It's certainly changed with Peter Erskine endorsing them recently too.

I still struggle not to associate Sabian with heavy metal as well. Odd!

Also Gretsch drums I associate with so many legendary jazz drummers. I absolutely love Gretsch drums and it's largely due to this legacy that I feel that they have. It's a heritage that I associate with the company and I love playing my Gretsch's! (Obviously this is affected by the type of music I play)

All of this is influenced by your own tastes in music and experiences but they form our own perceptions (I mean no disrespect to Pearl!).
What about others own perceptions, based on whatever has influenced your judgement?...
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
There are definitely perceptions of brands/sizes formed by who we see using the gear, and what kits tend to sound like: Gretsch=jazz, Ludwig=rock/country, Istanbul=jazz, SJC=indie bands, budget gear=entry-level players, etc.

Some of the perceptions/prejudices are fairly justified, and it's true that there are some obvious differences between some brands. But some of those lines have been blurred over the years, especially with regard to cymbal companies. Istanbul for example catered almost exclusively to the jazz players, but later introduced brighter 'rock' cymbals, and Paiste's Twenty series was a real 180 compared to their trademark bright, crisp sound.

Bermuda
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
My pre-conceptions are based on specific drummers I remember from my past. e.g.

Ludwig = Ringo
Yamaha = Dave Weckl
Tama = Stewart Copeland
Premier (was) Virgil Donati
Pearl = Wannabe rock drummers at my local drum shop
Gretsch = no-one I'd ever heard of.
DW = bass drum pedals
 

evolving_machine

Silver Member
I own a Pearl Masters MCX. When I first purchased the drums, they had Remo ambasadors on both the batter and resonant heads. The drums had a low note ringing to them that either I did not enjoy, or was not right for my small practice room. I was told from a post from this web site that perhaps the heads were a cheaper foreign version of the heads produced in China. I have no idea if that is true, I have tried to keep away from Remo heads for a while now.

I replaced all the toms, both heads, and the batter for the bass drum with Aquarian modern vintage. I did both heads with batters because I was playing around with masking tape and found the drums sounded better when I put tape on the resonant heads. That led me to believe that I needed a very thick head for the resonant head.

I chose the Pearl MCX, because I liked the quality and strength of the product. They also had this unique way of producing their shells that I thought gave them more strength then their competitors. There have been times in the past where I have damaged the shells of drums. After changing all the heads I found I like the sound of the kit.

I also have a Gretsch Catalina Club jazz kit, that I replaced the batter heads on. I do not remember what heads they had on the kit when I first purchased them, but when I played the kit in a Sam Ash in NJ, they already replaced the heads with some better drum heads. I later played the same kit at a Guitar center with the stock heads. Changing the heads makes a big difference in a kit.

I also have two Rodgers Dynasonics snares (5 and 6.5), and a Gretsch 5" hammered brass. I played around with some calf skins on these snares and again the heads make a difference.

My point, is that I have played in studios that had many kits on them, and most of the time the owners of the studios are not selecting the best head for the drummers and they have another agenda when selecting their drum heads. Of course, this seems like a rule, and all rules except in mathematics, are not absolutes.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
I posted about Pearl drums and how my perception of Pearl drums has been affected very negatively by playing so many beat up, horribly tuned, dirty, run down and damaged Pearl kits in rehearsal spaces over the years.
I am aware that this is due to the nature of rehearsal room kits but that's just the way I feel about Pearl drums.
It's ironic really as Pearl would probably be happy to have their kits in so many rehearsal spaces thinking that it would encourage others to buy their equipment whereas it's done the exact opposite in my case.
As I said I am aware that this this is just my own personal perception of Pearl.
++++++++1 on this.

Really don't like Pearl for exactly those reasons, plus the tom mounting arms do my head in. Their expensive kits feel the same as the cheap kits, this is just my opinion.

Loved the original Tama Superstar I used to own, did the job for everything but the artstar was definitely geared to big hitters as is the hardware, not sure if thats a stylistic thing on Tama's part or is it they just make the sturdiest hardware?

I've always had a soft spot for old Premiers even though I've never owned one, the old Elite series kits are beautiful and the early 70s kits were African Mahogany, nearly picked up the Kenny Clare purple kit for £300 it was mint condition too, only problem with old Premier/Hayman/Sonor is the imperial tension rods!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
My perceptions on drum companies is that too much focus is given to gear and not the use of the gear.

Imagine if there was only one drum kit to choose from. WTF would we talk about 95% of the time?

What size toms should I get, what depth? Which brand is better? Burning questions, not.

I'm guilty too. Practicing and gigging are the real meat and potatoes. Gear is just the silverware. It can't sustain you by itself.

That said, on topic, I put them pretty much all in the same category, not that important in the big scheme.

I don't see any particular company in a more negative light than any other company.

I may not prefer a certain companies products, but I don't take any points away for that.

Pearl makes wonderful drums. I love their snares. Their toms are another story. They are round, well built, and tune easily. I just don't like their tone. Tubby. The shell is too thick for me. I would never slam Pearl for that. I never had to even think about the ISS mounts. But I wouldn't buy another set because of the tone. Fine company though.
 
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8Mile

Platinum Member
All the exposure I've really had to gear and reputations/myths about them has come from this place, or other internet sites. When I started playing drums, I was so focused on my playing that I was ignorant about gear. Not only about brands and materials and shell construction factors, but also about how to make them sound good. I was happy playing on anything. When I started, my appetite was so strong that I practiced on a basketball held between my knees because I didn't own a pad yet.

I know a lot more now, party because of this place.
 

STXBob

Gold Member
Really don't like Pearl for exactly those reasons, plus the tom mounting arms do my head in. Their expensive kits feel the same as the cheap kits, this is just my opinion.
That's wild. Me, too! Maybe it's because virtually every beater, entry-level kit I've ever seen had those tom arms, but for me it doesn't matter if it's maple that's been hand-harvested by druids on the full moon and the shell laid out by Andy in the Guru shop, I wouldn't have it.

There's also the "I don't want what everyone else has" thing that surges strongly within me. I'm "Meh" on Pearl and Tama and Zildjian because when I was a whippersnapper everyone around me was playing those brands. Even though I know damn well they make fine stuff, they stay off my radar. These days, it's those brands plus DW, SJC, and Sabian. No real reason. Just my inner punk shouting "F*CK CONFORMITY!" or something.

There are also rather stupid reasons I like stuff. For instance, I like Premier drums. Always have. Not because I think they sound appreciably different at the price points I can/could afford. I suspect it's solely because I'm an Anglophile. I also like stuff because it's a dark horse. I go on and on about Istanbul Agop Xist, because they're Zildjian A/Sabian AA cymbals on a ZBT/B8 budget.

I could go on. ;-)
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I think that I unfairly associate certain genres of music to brand names.

Pearl, Ludwig, and Tama -I always lump these names together because I don't remember seeing anything else when I was a kid. They make me think of hair bands/metal from the 1980s.

DW - High-end drums that top 40 musicians used in the 1990s. The word "over-priced" comes to mind. With that said, I also think of the word "Innovative" as well.

OCDP, Pork Pie, SJC, Truth, Spaun - 1990's/Early 2000's rock-n-roll, pop-punk, and ska bands. I always think "high end" even though several of these companies now build budget kits.
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
I've always associated Paiste with loud electrified music thanks to my younger days of listening to bands like E.L.P. and Led Zeppelin.
It wasn't until later that I discovered their earlier cymbal lines were endorsed and played by acoustic jazzer's like Joe Morello.

I've always wondered about Pearl myself since many beat up, crappy kits have that name on them.
But then I saw Jeff Porcaro and Louie Bellson making great music with their Pearl drums. Go figure.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
I understand where you're coming from regarding non-conformity.

Hence my main kit is a Premier kit, while the rest of the world seems to own Pearl. Apple Macs versus Windows PC's, my old car, Audio-Technica mics instead of Shure 58's, etc.

Never been one to follow the herd if I can help it.

I'm sure this motivates a lot of Evans and Aquarian users - looking for an alternative to the established market leader.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
There is a tone to most brands. They focus on different qualities and cut differently in different settings.

I'm aware of Gretsch because of Vinnie, but it is about the tone.


Same with Pearl and DW. Never played one I connected with and never heard anyone get a tone out of one that I like as much as a basic US Custom kit.

Yamaha and Tama are cool and though and I think G. Way drums have an interesting character.


Those vintage Dw kits have a Gretschyness to them, but why get something that just close when you can have the magic of the real thing?

Pearl is cool, just something I feel fit best in a different category than I'm mostly into.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
My perception is quite simple. All of the major companies make kits ranging from custom to budget with intent of pleasing/capturing as much of the market as possible, for both profit and shareholder gain. We as drummers do as much as we can to put either the company or the well known endorsers on pedestals, pick favorites, and try to justify why we bought what we bought.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
I don't have preconceived notions per se. I have played on, poked, and prodded a wide variety of drummy things in my life and I tend to pay a lot more attention to that than who does what with what. If it sounds good, I buy it. If it doesn't, I steer clear. I don't like things that are over-engineered (such as Pearl's tom arms", but I also don't like under-engineering or "made to break" gear either (such as the majority of budget hardware).

As I remarked at length in the other thread, I do a lot of research before buying, and I tend to look for a bargain balance between price, quality, sound, and workmanship. Whenever possible, I buy gear used; when I must buy new, I try to order it through my local shop unless the cost is overly prohibitive.
 

Frosticles

Silver Member
I agree about Pearl kits in practice rooms. Usually piles of shite which have been beaten to death :(
Saying that though, I have always used Pearl kits & love them. Used a late 80's Export to tour with extensively. Never let me down once & always sounded great :) Now have a mid 90's MLX & wouldn't part with that for the world. Wonderful kit in every way.
Always liked Tama also. Never liked Ludwig though or Gretsch.
 

pgm554

Platinum Member
Back in the 60's and 70's ,it was Ludwig and A Zildjians if you were a rock player.

Tama came long and made everything loud and built like a tank.

Gene Okamoto was working at Leo's in Oakland and when the good Yamaha stuff came in ,the comparison to Tama (and Fibes) was they were loud and without tone as opposed to the Yammies.

So Yammies got the rep as a recording kit.

As for Pearl,it was a mass produced cheap set that most MOR drummers bought as an entry level.

I believe the Export has been the largest selling set in the US for many ,many years
 

KingBeastie

Member
I own a Pearl Masters MCX. When I first purchased the drums, they had Remo ambasadors on both the batter and resonant heads. The drums had a low note ringing to them that either I did not enjoy, or was not right for my small practice room. I was told from a post from this web site that perhaps the heads were a cheaper foreign version of the heads produced in China. I have no idea if that is true, I have tried to keep away from Remo heads for a while now.

I replaced all the toms, both heads, and the batter for the bass drum with Aquarian modern vintage. I did both heads with batters because I was playing around with masking tape and found the drums sounded better when I put tape on the resonant heads. That led me to believe that I needed a very thick head for the resonant head.

I chose the Pearl MCX, because I liked the quality and strength of the product. They also had this unique way of producing their shells that I thought gave them more strength then their competitors. There have been times in the past where I have damaged the shells of drums. After changing all the heads I found I like the sound of the kit.

I also have a Gretsch Catalina Club jazz kit, that I replaced the batter heads on. I do not remember what heads they had on the kit when I first purchased them, but when I played the kit in a Sam Ash in NJ, they already replaced the heads with some better drum heads. I later played the same kit at a Guitar center with the stock heads. Changing the heads makes a big difference in a kit.

I also have two Rodgers Dynasonics snares (5 and 6.5), and a Gretsch 5" hammered brass. I played around with some calf skins on these snares and again the heads make a difference.

My point, is that I have played in studios that had many kits on them, and most of the time the owners of the studios are not selecting the best head for the drummers and they have another agenda when selecting their drum heads. Of course, this seems like a rule, and all rules except in mathematics, are not absolutes.
I completely understand how changing heads and tuning a drum affects it.
My point was that I have preconceptions, or perhaps prejudices is a more apt word, towards certain brands, mostly unfairly.
I just wanted to hear any similar stories.
 

KingBeastie

Member
++++++++1 on this.

Really don't like Pearl for exactly those reasons, plus the tom mounting arms do my head in. Their expensive kits feel the same as the cheap kits, this is just my opinion.

Loved the original Tama Superstar I used to own, did the job for everything but the artstar was definitely geared to big hitters as is the hardware, not sure if thats a stylistic thing on Tama's part or is it they just make the sturdiest hardware?

I've always had a soft spot for old Premiers even though I've never owned one, the old Elite series kits are beautiful and the early 70s kits were African Mahogany, nearly picked up the Kenny Clare purple kit for £300 it was mint condition too, only problem with old Premier/Hayman/Sonor is the imperial tension rods!
I have an old Premier Elite kit, it's fantastic!
I got it real cheap and it looks amazing, I'll try and get some pictures for you.
If you are in the UK you can get them really cheap. Check ebay or Gumtree.
There was a lovely looking one for sale on Gumtree in Glasgow recently. Sizes were too big for my tastes but still a lovely kit!
 

KingBeastie

Member
My perceptions on drum companies is that too much focus is given to gear and not the use of the gear.

Imagine if there was only one drum kit to choose from. WTF would we talk about 95% of the time?

What size toms should I get, what depth? Which brand is better? Burning questions, not.

I'm guilty too. Practicing and gigging are the real meat and potatoes. Gear is just the silverware. It can't sustain you by itself.

That said, on topic, I put them pretty much all in the same category, not that important in the big scheme.

I don't see any particular company in a more negative light than any other company.

I may not prefer a certain companies products, but I don't take any points away for that.

Pearl makes wonderful drums. I love their snares. Their toms are another story. They are round, well built, and tune easily. I just don't like their tone. Tubby. The shell is too thick for me. I would never slam Pearl for that. I never had to even think about the ISS mounts. But I wouldn't buy another set because of the tone. Fine company though.
I completely agree, but this is a forum to talk about drum gear, to get your drum geek on!
I'm just interested in others perceptions/prejudices is all.
I am aware I am being unfair to Pearl, it's just how I feel about them based on past experiences.
 

KingBeastie

Member
I agree about Pearl kits in practice rooms. Usually piles of shite which have been beaten to death :(
Saying that though, I have always used Pearl kits & love them. Used a late 80's Export to tour with extensively. Never let me down once & always sounded great :) Now have a mid 90's MLX & wouldn't part with that for the world. Wonderful kit in every way.
Always liked Tama also. Never liked Ludwig though or Gretsch.
It seems a lot of the UK based folk have had similar experiences with Pearl practice kits!
 
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