Drum Companies : Your Perceptions

KingBeastie

Member
It's very interesting how many people saying that they think of Tama as for the heavy hitters and for heavier/louder genres of music. Not just me then.
Although as I say I've changed my opinion on Tama over the past few years.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Cheers, it has a RIMS mount for the tom but I got annoyed with having to faff about with the cymbal stand to get things where I want. Plus the tom moves a lot in the mount after you think you have it in the perfect height

So back on thread it's not just Pearl tom mounts I don't really like!

Plus if I'm using my Ludwig or any other brand of drum I can get everything just right.

You got any pics of the Elite?
 

GeoB

Gold Member
I look at certain things in a kit... cymbals and stands, pedals etc... are another story.

But for the drums themselves.

Wood
Ply numbers
Quality and durability of hardware (rims, lugs, mounts)

and country of origin.

I have my preferences and those preferences have developed over time and have been edited a few times over the decades. For instance, I still like 3-ply but ply has gone through some major technological improvements which would/could lead to a general conclusion that 60's shells in many cases may not be the best choice for me.

Am I biased? Sure I am. Cost cutting, budget junk, hybrid ply's etc... are definite negatives. I stick to what is tried and true in my experiences because it has and continues to serve me well.

I also prefer design factors which have matured and hold up, I also dig utility that has served the test of time.

The bottom line remains that everyone has their own personal opinions or ideas regarding what is on the A list and what rides the pine. Just as some folks like Chevy's and some folks like Toyota.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I never really got on with the 3 ply vintage Ludwigs. I have 2 sets I really don't want anymore, yet I can't bring myself to sell them. I think I'd like Ludwig's newer sets just fine.

I'll take the tone of any Mapex drum over a vintage Ludwig. I just prefer the modern tones more. They are more precise. (I feel like I'm walking through Hell in a gasoline suit)

I don't care for 5 lug tuning on Gretsch rack toms, 5 lugs offends my sense of balance, plus I had a hard time tuning them, probably my issue. Unfortunately it's a deal breaker.

tracer mentioned DC drums. I have to say, out of all the wooden ply drums I've tried, like in my whole life, DC drums blew me away the most with their tone. Thinnest shell I ever saw, like the thickness of an American Quarter. Yea, that thin. Sounded sublime at NAMM, far and away the best sounding drumset I heard there. (They were tuned wonderfully). And they were set up at a Soultone cymbal display.

I really like a Premier set of Genistas I played that were a backline kit.

I really like Pearls tom arm mount, in the sense that I feel they were super easy to get the toms adjusted to where I wanted them. As opposed to L arms which are way harder for me to get just right. The looks never bothered me either, but I'm more of a function guy. Not a fan of the hole in the shell though. I wouldn't put them on a custom kit.

I never owned Tama, Slingy, Rogers, or Premier. Or any of the newer drum companies like OCDP, Crush, Ddrum, SJC, et al.

Anymore, I'm a solid shell guy. Solid shells just sound > anything else out there...to my ear. I have a bucket list set of walnut segmented Gurus coming. I actually feel as if I don't need to buy any more sets after this. I truly have everything I ever wanted drumgearwise. I wonder how long that feeling will last.

Just today I set up my 2008 DW Collectors set. I shelved them in 2012. I'm really enjoying the rich maple tone. Drums do get better with time. I still really like these drums.
 

Super Phil

Senior Member
Hmmm...I look at pretty much every major manufacturer and think, 'Hey, they make some nice drums!' I've never thought in terms of 'Pearl makes those crappy beat up drums that every teenager plays' or 'Tama is for the metal guys'
I'm pretty sure I could find something I really liked from just about every company out there.
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
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?...
Funny you mention Tama as only being a metal drum in your mind, when in all actuality, their first huge endorsers were Billy Cobham, the drummers of Earth, Wind, and Fire, and a few years later, Stewart Copeland! Elvin Jones played Tama before he went to Yamaha, and this was maybe 20 years ago before Peter Erskine went to Tama.

And I agree, your perception of Pearl is unfortunate, because they really do make nice drums. But I also agree I see so many badly tuned Exports out there that it's a bit of a turn off. Pearl makes so many different kinds of drums, that you would never see all of them in a store to make any comparisons, it's a shame. I did talk about that with their USA president at NAMM the other year and he said they are working on that image, and I think over time they will get there. It's hard to turn your back on the literally millions of Export drums they've sold since 1981!

And Gretsch is not just a jazz drum. Taylor Hawkins and Hannah Ford are big pop/rock artists, and even back in the day, lots of rock n roll was being played on Gretsch too.

My take on your question though is more about attitudes than styles. Although I just got back into a DW kit, Drum Workshop reminds me very much of Apple. Don't you just like how Apple comes out with new products and they automatically sell because they have enough sheep to buy into their products? Sometimes I feel DW does the same thing. If DW feels your floor toms should only be 13" deep, or that you won't get a better sound without using a tree that sank to the bottom of the Potomac 900 years ago, then by golly, that's what you're gonna get, and you will like it. You will spend more money for the privilege too!

Don't get me wrong, DW probably does a lot of research and development and much of what they do could even be correct, but there's always this feeling in the back of my head that I'm being fed a line - just like I feel whenever I have to buy more Apple products ;)

But as of today, I really like these used DW's I've found, and the construction is really done well. But there's always that itch in the back of my brain.....
 

KingBeastie

Member
Funny you mention Tama as only being a metal drum in your mind, when in all actuality, their first huge endorsers were Billy Cobham, the drummers of Earth, Wind, and Fire, and a few years later, Stewart Copeland! Elvin Jones played Tama before he went to Yamaha, and this was maybe 20 years ago before Peter Erskine went to Tama.

And I agree, your perception of Pearl is unfortunate, because they really do make nice drums. But I also agree I see so many badly tuned Exports out there that it's a bit of a turn off. Pearl makes so many different kinds of drums, that you would never see all of them in a store to make any comparisons, it's a shame. I did talk about that with their USA president at NAMM the other year and he said they are working on that image, and I think over time they will get there. It's hard to turn your back on the literally millions of Export drums they've sold since 1981!

And Gretsch is not just a jazz drum. Taylor Hawkins and Hannah Ford are big pop/rock artists, and even back in the day, lots of rock n roll was being played on Gretsch too.

My take on your question though is more about attitudes than styles. Although I just got back into a DW kit, Drum Workshop reminds me very much of Apple. Don't you just like how Apple comes out with new products and they automatically sell because they have enough sheep to buy into their products? Sometimes I feel DW does the same thing. If DW feels your floor toms should only be 13" deep, or that you won't get a better sound without using a tree that sank to the bottom of the Potomac 900 years ago, then by golly, that's what you're gonna get, and you will like it. You will spend more money for the privilege too!

Don't get me wrong, DW probably does a lot of research and development and much of what they do could even be correct, but there's always this feeling in the back of my head that I'm being fed a line - just like I feel whenever I have to buy more Apple products ;)

But as of today, I really like these used DW's I've found, and the construction is really done well. But there's always that itch in the back of my brain.....
Some great info about Tama there, also I know there are loads of non jazz players using Gretsch and as I said I am aware that Pearl make some great kits. Yet despite knowing this I can't shake the perceptions that I mentioned.
Hell, I almost feel guilty about coming across as so negative about Pearl!
That's kind of why I started the topic, I am aware my perceptions are mostly nonsense but they come from somewhere, I was just interested in any other odd/irrational perceptions other drummers may have.

Interesting comments on Apple. I absolutely hate Apple. I work as a web/software Developer and use open source software, they went down a route of making things very hard for Developers a few years back.
I work in the design industry and we work with brands. Apple despite being (IMO) a much more evil/corporate company than Microsoft does not have the same public perception as Microsoft. Marketing and branding at its most effective (or worst depending how you look at it). They're like a cult I feel.
 

Winegums

Silver Member
Tama - The company with Star in the name of every tier of their products so they all sound the same. They make a good hi hat stand and kick drum pedal.

DW - Expensive, hyped, beautiful, innovative, drums that are often hit and miss with drummers. This however doesn't stop me from wanting a custom kit from them.

Pearl - The honda of drum companies. Just like their Civic, almost everyone has seen or sat on the throne of a Pearl Export kit. My first drum kit is a Pearl Vision VBX, my first snare drum is Pearl and all my stands and hardware are also Pearl, I have no complaints about their quality. The Tom arms are just fine, in fact they're perfect for setting up fast.

Ludwig - Everyone seems to like their snare drums like a cult following, I personally don't see what the fuss is about. A rather unknown brand to me.

Mapex - Chinese drums made by a Chinese company with quality to match the Chinese drums from the big boys, yet are sold for a great deal less. If you can get over the name (which some can't) they're worth giving a chance.

Yamaha - "You can't go wrong with a set of Oak Stage Customs" has been the line I've heard from many people. I like their snare drums, though I don't own one.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Yeah, definetly would have a Ludwig hammered brass in my arsenal if it was "the one", but the Gretsch version just sounded better. Both more even and better cut.

Love my Black beauty, though. Don't really dig the throw off, and though there are probably better made drums out there, surely want an AK full dress at some point, it's sooo pretty:)




There's just someting about the Ludwig and it's slight imperfections. Perfect acoustic allrounder, from orchestra to any sort of brush/rod thing to the classic west coast sound. Just works. It's also a bit like a Fender or Gibson headstock, too. Gets the cork sniffers to shut up. lol

One of the nicest snares I've played was a buddy's regular Pearl free floating Masterworks maple snare. I like the N & Cs as much tough and they have a bit more character to them. One of the few drums on my list in addition to a couple more Longos and a Brady or two.

Yamahas are great they just sound a bit too much like Yamahas. lol PHXs are amazing, but pricy and I'd rather have an Ayotte or something if I was going all out.

The Live Customs are cool, though. They go for a certain sound and just nail it.


When I think of someone I like who plays Pearl that's Horacio, and tone isn't really the thing that makes him cool.
 

Frank

Gold Member
Perceptions.

All - lots of great values across most of the brands. It gets better and better every year.

Pearl - great, great values, nice sounding drums, great service.

I used to play an Export kit back in the day for many years. Yeah, low end, but I can't tell you how many compliments I got on the tone. That was a great kit, regardless of all the stones people love to throw at low end kits.

When I returned to playing again recently, I bought an even lower end kit - a Roadshow jazz. I love the shell sizes, and with the snare batter replaced, it sounds great. I had a problem with the hardware on one of the toms, and they were so responsive. They tripped over themselves rushing out a replacement. I will not forget that. I'm used to companies that can't be bothered to even write back, let alone actually solve a problem. Pearl did a great job with that.
 

drummer-russ

Gold Member
I must admit that my early year perceptions are not based on tone since at the time, in my teens, I did not have much occasion to play many different kinds of drums.

My first drum set was Star and I had no input to getting it. I was only 6 or 7. But the two first influential drummer for me were Buddy Rich and Karen Carpenter. So the first set I bought was Ludwig (Vista-lites). So to me Ludwig screamed pro.

My second set was a Gretsch set. As I look back I did like the sound of the Gretsch drums but it was the Chrome wrap that really caught my attention in the music store. So to this day I think of great tone when I think of Gretsch. Came close to buying a set recently.

After 30 years not playing I bought my next set based on what I thought was the best sounding and quality kit I could afford. It was the 2004 Mapex M maples.

Tama - I think of innovative hardware in the early 80s at least compared to Ludwig. But they seemed like a showy choice to me.

Pearl - I have never experienced a sound I was impressed with. Not necessarily bad just nothing special at all. With the exception of some of the sanres which have impressed me.

Rogers - Euro or UK centric. Never had a chance to hear or play them personally.

Slingerland - Also a trendy choice in the 70s. Loved the snare sound but never overly impressed with them.

DW and Yamaha, Both were new names to me during the time I did not play. Both seemed pricey and overhyped but I never had the occasion to play them. Really considered Stage Custom's a couple months ago before I made my purchase. The same set was more expensive than the one I bought and I really don't like the Tom mounts. Probably not a position most agree with.

Mapex - I had never heard of them until I decided to return to playing in 2012. Liked the sound of the 2004 deep tom M series maples I bought used. I don't get the issue people have with the name though.

Guru - My dreams!
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
I think its safe to say that marketing campaigns actually work.

Ludwig is associated with Rock because of the 60's and 70's. Tama is associated with heavy rock and metal because of the 80's and 90's. Gretsch is associated with jazz because of the 30's and 40's. Slingerland and Rogers are considered "Vintage" because those companies went belly up before the 80's. Pearl is associated with "cheap" and "beginner" because they were hugely successful in the 80's and 90's with their Export series. Yamaha is a bit of an "unknown" brand because they were hugely successful in studios with the Recording Custom, but weren't "played out" that much. DW was the expensive "Made in the USA" kit that came up in the 90's as a rebellion to the ever decreasing quality that was being seen with the major manufacturers in the 80's.

So, people's perception is shaped on what the marketing campaign wants you to feel about that brand.
 

geezer

Senior Member
Rogers - Euro or UK centric. Never had a chance to hear or play them personally.
Interesting to me that you perceive Rogers as "Euro or UK centric" - for me (coming from that side of the world) they are great vintage American drums, though obviously there were also English Rogers kits too.
 

drummer-russ

Gold Member
Interesting to me that you perceive Rogers as "Euro or UK centric" - for me (coming from that side of the world) they are great vintage American drums, though obviously there were also English Rogers kits too.
I think it has more to do with a few drummers that I saw using Rogers and made assumptions.
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
Wouldn't the Eurocentric drums (at least through most the 20th Century) be more Premier and Sonor? That's what I would think at least. They'd be cheaper anyway rather than import the American brands (Ludwig, Gretsch, Slingerland, Rogers).
 
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