Drum Companies : Your Perceptions

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I just started thinking about a Premier Cabria they had at one of my jobs. Put some new Ambassadors on it and it was really a nice kit. The big band in my home town has a Cabria too though and it's a totally different kit. Didn't like it at all. I think the first one that I liked was probably the older model?
 

geezer

Senior Member
It seems a lot of the UK based folk have had similar experiences with Pearl practice kits!
Most likely Irish folk have too - seems like every kit provided at rehearsal rooms back in the day was a low end Pearl - put me off them for life! No offense to Pearl owners out there - I just have a long history of associating the brand with the battered power tom sporting kits, usually fitted out with clear heads that were dented up and dead sounding.....
 

Frosticles

Silver Member
Most likely Irish folk have too - seems like every kit provided at rehearsal rooms back in the day was a low end Pearl - put me off them for life! No offense to Pearl owners out there - I just have a long history of associating the brand with the battered power tom sporting kits, usually fitted out with clear heads that were dented up and dead sounding.....
Sounds like you have practiced at most of the places I have over the years lol
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
American made Ludwig and Gretsch - real drums.
Ludwig for rock, and Gretsch for jazz.

Slingerland and Rogers - used to be real drums.

Lesser known or fringe US made drums, also DW and German made Sonor - real drums for the eccentric or financially well endowed.
(I'd put Guru here too, now that I know about them).

Premier - almost real drums. (Same relationship as Harley and Triumph in motorcycles).

Yamaha and Tama - latecomers who made it. Similar, but Yamaha knows how to design tom holders and some other hardware better.

Pearl - doesn't count.

Chinese made - wannabe's.

Cymbals: Zildjian - The Only Serious Choice.

(Flame suit on - LOL)
 

Icetech

Gold Member
wow this is an interesting topic... I don't have any input except that it's nice to see how many differing opinions people have...

And people that crap on chinese made drums should look around at the US.. we arn't doing anything special here.. just cheap labor pumping out products.. same same...
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
Ooooooh - I love this topic! No need for truth, accuracy, or objectivity - just gut emotions. May I express my preconceived notions?

Ludwig - The drums that launched a million careers. They've stumbled, wavered, and screwed themselves in more ways than one can count - yet will always have a cherished part of my heart. The Joe Biden of drum companies! They'll always have my support - poor things.

Gretsch - The first set of drums that ever made me conscious of great tone. They've done more with sourced shells than practically anybody (US kits), and hit a home run with their Renown series. Over-hyped and mystical, but still among the best.

DrumWorkshop - Snobby and hyped to a degree unseen in the drum world 'till now. Absolutely the pinnacle in marketing genius. The hype turns me off in the extreme, but you can't deny that they are among the best.

Pearl - It's all been said. Some of the best snare drums in the world, along with the boxiest-sounding toms extant. The tube arms just scream cheap. Glaring example of success at the cost of derision.

Tama - I hated the early drums because of the vision of makeup-caked, girlie-haired metal drummers. These drums were the clones of Pearl soundwise, boxy and harsh. New Tamas are luscious, elegant, and near the top of the heap of modern drums. Now, if they would just lay off those cheap, grotesque-looking snare drums. The Tama devotee deserves better.

Yamaha - The former champ of fine, luxury drums, with way too much emphasis now on the cheaper lines of birch. Do Stage Customs inspire? Nada. The flower is quickly fading. Yamaha seems no longer devoted to having the best of the best. The pinnacle years that featured Recording Customs, Maple Customs, Birch Customs, Beech Customs, and, to a lesser extent, Oak Customs, have been replaced by - what? Even though the hardware is still the best available, and the original YESS system was a crowning achievement, Yamaha no longer aspires or inspires. I hope my favorite brand of all time survives.

Mapex - Despite the corniest name ever invented, Mapex is the company to watch. Products were quite sketchy in the early days, but the strong influence of the US distributors has honed Mapex drums into what is probably the highest dollar/value ratio in the genre. Who cares if their drum lines are named after heavenly bodies - there had to be some kind of nod to the eastern makers, after all - Mapex builds great drums.

Premier - Always the odd guy. But the English idiosyncrasies aside, Premier made some very notable drums. So long, old chap.

George Way - Tasteful execution and masterful marketing of another UAD (Universal Asian Drumset).

SJC, Spaun, Pork Pie, OCDP, et. al. - Do we really care?

Zildjian/Sabian - The cymbals that launched a million careers.

Paiste - Early Paiste worker: "Did he say we're going to start painting our cymbals?"

Wow, this has been fun. I hate getting back to reality now.

GeeDeeEmm
 

wallflood

Member
Been playing since the 70s so had some perceptions as a lad....

Vintage anyrhing very cool, superior sound and high drum geek factor (any 1940-1960s American drums)

Yamaha....highest quality drums. Highly sought for recording.

Tama....somewhat expensive drums great for gigging especially hard rock and metal.

DW....way overpriced . Nice if you're endorsed.

Metal snares are for rock.

Wood snares are for jazz, blues, country.

A/AA type cymbals = bright.

K/HH type cymbals = dark.

Turkish/Istanbul cymbals = mysterious, yoda, zen.

Of course I know better now and am all about heads and tuning. And cymbals I'm NOT brand loyal tho I tend to drift towards K and HH. I have some 1960s Avidas cymbals I'll never part with as well as an old Paiste 404 that is just splendid that I'll never give up despite owner higher end cymbals. I also gigged a 1960 wood ludwig snare for years that could cut through the loudest of metal bands in the 1980s in L.A.

Thanks for the fun post!
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
Ouch. I will defend Pearl for ever more. Used to endorse them in the 90's so will always have that affection :)
I'm not bashing - this was just for fun.
I've got an aluminum Sensitone I like, and have had other Pearl stuff before.
I also have Yamaha drums that say 'Made in China' on the badge.

Like others have said, the biggest turn off about Pearl for me is the tom arm mount system - and all the clones they inspired.
 

mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
What a stupid, lousy design. EVERY cheap knockoff set from Ludwig and Gretsch to Sunlite uses these damned things.

Enough said
Pearl Tom Arm TH900S.jpg
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
What a stupid, lousy design. EVERY cheap knockoff set from Ludwig and Gretsch to Sunlite uses these damned things.

Enough said...

Simple and functional. They must work, because a lot of people use them.
They just aren't particularly attractive to most people.
 

tracer

Senior Member
I am 63, so the young guys may see things very differently.

Tama- Rock or metal kit manufacturer. 2 billion rockstar kits on craigslist and Ebay, as well as several million bad Youtube recordings cause me to think of them as entry level, although I like the Bubingas. Well made across the board however. Tama wood snare drums have a weird sound (especially on YouTube)- sorry if you are loaded up on Tama stock.

Pearl- I always thought Dennis Chambers drums sounded great, especially with clear heads, but the pipe hardware reminds me of some Blue Man group construction. Pearl- call Yamaha and ask them how to make tom mounts and I will look again.

DW- I had to be educated why I should pay so much, so as an old guy I passed.

Premier- I have owned two kits, an XPK and Signias. Those thin shelled Signias had the most pronounced pitch bend of any toms I have ever heard in my life, almost like the electronic drums of the 70's. They sounded like a Phaser. Unfortunately they were huge and deep, so they got the bump. Still among the best sounding drums I have heard. The XPK's were disappointing.

Yamaha- amazing quality control and consistent manufacturing execution across the board. This company offers the greatest range of diversity in their product lineup in my opinion. Oak, (formerly) beech, birch, maple, kapur, hybrid shells, thin infinitely adjustable mounts, great sound. The best sounding kit I have ever owned or had in my house was a birch custom absolute. I was a legend in my own mind.

Mapex- the company to watch, also great execution. Their new bearing edges are a noticeable improvement to me from the previous generations. I have owned the Pro M's, Saturns and Meridian maple. All sound great. the Saturn, in particular have a unique voice, with the inclusion of walnut in the shell. Great value and a plethora of used kits on the market. Possibly the best used value out there, because they are often super-cheap.

Ludwig- I wished I had bought the Element Se kit, with the Gum/cherry shell. It reminds me of an Oak drum because of the bite and projection, (The later Club date series was also a gum/cherry shell). Crummy/bulky hardware adjustment, not very stable either. Wrap can peel, so that's unfortunate as well. My first kit was a 60's Ludwig, but I have zero interest in vintage gear. The Chinese make this stuff better than any I remember from the mid 60's. For some reason, nothing sounds like a Ludwig snare. I remember when you could buy the hammered brass and bronze snares in the high $200's. (I also remember harvest gold and avocado kitchen appliances). I hate the long tension rods- it reminds me of the first kit I owned, as well as the fact that I will never be 22 again...

Gretsch- Toms sound great. I love them with clear batters. Gergo Borlai and Nicholas Viccaro play a drum duet and the toms sound as good as anything I have ever heard.

Sonor- had a 60's teardrop set. Ok sound. the high end kits sound good (Drumbassadors) but a recent post I read noted tuning issues, even in the high end stuff, which is troublesome. No flame intended- actually I am just curious if others have experienced that as well.

DC Drums- sound great on all the Soultone Videos. Does anyone actually own one out there?

Short stack kits- I owned a Mapex Micro. Super convenient to move,Ok sound (but limited projection) and easy to move round the kit. I wish Yamaha would make a short stack Oak kit (then sell it for $500., as long as I am wishing).

Cymbals- all the manufacturers have something I would buy. I only buy used and am opportunistic, based on price/local availability. I like dark large cymbals- they sound good in my house. Unfortunately they often fail to project in real world venues.

tracer
 

mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
Simple and functional. They must work, because a lot of people use them.
They just aren't particularly attractive to most people.
Plus, they make tom positioning most difficult and they require a hole in the side of your drum.

Bass drums I can see: large volume; small hole.
Toms I can't see: Small(er) volume same size hole.

You got the ugly part right, let me tell you!
 

paradiddle pete

Platinum Member
Gretsch, Ludwig, Rogers, Slingerland were and are the main food groups for me , everything else is in someways an imitation. Not saying they aren't good. For me the Tama's ,Pearls, and such are what you got when you couldn't get the real deal. My perception of the Main four are that they come from the time when drummers were more of a focal point so maybe that's why they are so recognisable . Bonham played a big kit because he was influenced by the Big Band Drummers with big kits , Jazzers and Swing guys. Yes Jazz players played big bass drums folks.. I have each of these kits and they still do possess the very thing that made them famous.
 

chris J

Senior Member
First time I saw a set of Rogers (approx. 1972) I thought I had seen the world's greatest machine, the swivomatic hardware looked incredible, the drums themselves were gorgeous.
The second time I saw a Rogers drumset I thought they sounded lke thunder rolling down a mountainside. I've never heard a better sounding set of drums.

Ludwig - Ringo & Bonham

Slngerland - Krupa

Gretsch - Tony Williams

Sonor - my first decent sounding set of drums, they were an entry level set that didn't like to stay tuned

Yamaha - Tour Customs - the 90's, plus first set of drums I had where everything worked!

Ayotte - incredible workmanship, and they sound great too!

Tama - nice hardware, lots of thought goes into their hardware design

Pearl - fantastic snare drums

Premier - that crazy guy in The Who

DW - the chic, boutique drum (but I do like their hardware)
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
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!
No more room for kits unfortunately. I do sort of have a Premier, it's a Richmo built by Alan Gilby who designed the Resonator, I didn't really rate his snares but his shells were really well made. I've also got a little 3 piece made up from his shells.

I've got a couple of buddies with some cool Premiers, my old sound guy has an old 9 piece concert tom set up with all original hardware in mint condition, the snare is a 400 rip off but it's just as good as one. I used it for a Genesis tribute audition, it was perfect for the Phil Collins sound. My other mate has a project going on he's converted a 28" marching bass drum and got some XPK toms for it, haven't played it but it sounds interesting.
 

Frosticles

Silver Member
I'm not bashing - this was just for fun.
I've got an aluminum Sensitone I like, and have had other Pearl stuff before.
I also have Yamaha drums that say 'Made in China' on the badge.

Like others have said, the biggest turn off about Pearl for me is the tom arm mount system - and all the clones they inspired.
I agree. Just fun :) Am finding myself sneakily looking at Yamaha Custom kits at the mo (Maple & Birch) A kit I have always fancied.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
An interesting read, & important to all contemplating buying a new drum / drums, because crafting that perception is likely to occupy a big portion of your purchase price.
 

KingBeastie

Member
No more room for kits unfortunately. I do sort of have a Premier, it's a Richmo built by Alan Gilby who designed the Resonator, I didn't really rate his snares but his shells were really well made. I've also got a little 3 piece made up from his shells.

I've got a couple of buddies with some cool Premiers, my old sound guy has an old 9 piece concert tom set up with all original hardware in mint condition, the snare is a 400 rip off but it's just as good as one. I used it for a Genesis tribute audition, it was perfect for the Phil Collins sound. My other mate has a project going on he's converted a 28" marching bass drum and got some XPK toms for it, haven't played it but it sounds interesting.
That sounds great. Have you any pics of the Richmo?
 

KingBeastie

Member
Ooooooh - I love this topic! No need for truth, accuracy, or objectivity - just gut emotions. May I express my preconceived notions?

Ludwig - The drums that launched a million careers. They've stumbled, wavered, and screwed themselves in more ways than one can count - yet will always have a cherished part of my heart. The Joe Biden of drum companies! They'll always have my support - poor things.

Gretsch - The first set of drums that ever made me conscious of great tone. They've done more with sourced shells than practically anybody (US kits), and hit a home run with their Renown series. Over-hyped and mystical, but still among the best.

DrumWorkshop - Snobby and hyped to a degree unseen in the drum world 'till now. Absolutely the pinnacle in marketing genius. The hype turns me off in the extreme, but you can't deny that they are among the best.

Pearl - It's all been said. Some of the best snare drums in the world, along with the boxiest-sounding toms extant. The tube arms just scream cheap. Glaring example of success at the cost of derision.

Tama - I hated the early drums because of the vision of makeup-caked, girlie-haired metal drummers. These drums were the clones of Pearl soundwise, boxy and harsh. New Tamas are luscious, elegant, and near the top of the heap of modern drums. Now, if they would just lay off those cheap, grotesque-looking snare drums. The Tama devotee deserves better.

Yamaha - The former champ of fine, luxury drums, with way too much emphasis now on the cheaper lines of birch. Do Stage Customs inspire? Nada. The flower is quickly fading. Yamaha seems no longer devoted to having the best of the best. The pinnacle years that featured Recording Customs, Maple Customs, Birch Customs, Beech Customs, and, to a lesser extent, Oak Customs, have been replaced by - what? Even though the hardware is still the best available, and the original YESS system was a crowning achievement, Yamaha no longer aspires or inspires. I hope my favorite brand of all time survives.

Mapex - Despite the corniest name ever invented, Mapex is the company to watch. Products were quite sketchy in the early days, but the strong influence of the US distributors has honed Mapex drums into what is probably the highest dollar/value ratio in the genre. Who cares if their drum lines are named after heavenly bodies - there had to be some kind of nod to the eastern makers, after all - Mapex builds great drums.

Premier - Always the odd guy. But the English idiosyncrasies aside, Premier made some very notable drums. So long, old chap.

George Way - Tasteful execution and masterful marketing of another UAD (Universal Asian Drumset).

SJC, Spaun, Pork Pie, OCDP, et. al. - Do we really care?

Zildjian/Sabian - The cymbals that launched a million careers.

Paiste - Early Paiste worker: "Did he say we're going to start painting our cymbals?"

Wow, this has been fun. I hate getting back to reality now.

GeeDeeEmm
That's interesting, I assume that you are born and raised in the U.S whereas I am in Scotland yet I agree with pretty much everything you say here.
Perhaps global marketing doing it's business eh!
 
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