Drum Companies : Your Perceptions


Gold 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).
Wow. You are right. I am confusing Premier and Rogers.


Platinum Member
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.
Exports have a lot to answer for.

I own, and like, an early 90's Pearl Export kit. I refer to it as the Toyota Camry of the drumming world. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing to make the heart beat faster either.

And what we really need to bear in mind is that to most people, drums - all drums - just sound like drums.


Senior Member
Dw - love the sound, great quality

Yamaha still,own a set of 8000 series, from the 80s cant let them go since i have not heard anything better, and made in Japan. I dont buy into the Yamaha marketing of great drums made in China. I understand their lower sets being made in China, but they only offer their PHX made in Japan, not thrilled.

Gretsch always like their sound

Tama never owned a set but back in the early 80s never cared for their metal bass drum rims

Ludwig what can a i say unique sound and successful. Never liked the sound of their vista lites or liked their hardware. Do like the sound of theur snares.

Premier good sound played them for awhile, not on the top of my list

Rogers pre CBS days had a kit and loved them, great dynasonic snare, and durable

Sonor great quality, but the sound never stood out to me

Slingerland 1970 -80s great sound and great looks

Pearl never played or owned, so no opinion

Zildzian - like the As

Sabian like their high hats

Paiste my favorite now, signature series, 602s


Silver Member
DW- nice drums, stupid attitude of superiority. I don't like how they made a complete new brand (PDP) for they're cheaper drums.

Pearl- crap beginner sets on schools and rehearsal spaces. Those are the only places I see them. The higher end kits look good though. Odd tom mounts

Yamaha- revolution of awesomeness with the Recording Customs. Nice drums all- around. Great hardware

Ludwig- classic, boring...

Tama- high quality, metalheads love them

Mapex- stupid name, good future, awesome finishes

Guru- Holy grail of all percussiondom

Grestch- classic sound, ugly finishes (from what I've seen. Maybe the Marquee line has warped my perception of them)

All the others- cool, exotic, weird, expensive

Zildjian- classic sound, sort of boring

Sabian- cool, innovative, attractive new sounds

Paiste- shimmery as h*ll
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Silver Member
DW didn't make a new brand. Pacific was its own company. DW bought them. The rule of thumb, if its a Pacific brand, it was pre DW ownership, PDP is post DW.


Platinum Member
my perceptions
DW - never played, they look heavy to cart around for lug weight alone.
Gretsch - good all around, great American name in instruments
Ludwig - 'most famous' and an institution along with Gretsch. king of snares
Slingerland - poor (dead) American cousin of Ludwig, wimpy hardware
Premier - near King, lost the throne when Ringo switched over. now dead.
Rogers - most innovative and most underrated of the dead American vintage companies
Yamaha - superb, consistent leader but common
Tama - solid, well made but common, I developed no interest to follow models with '___Stars'
Pearl - rock solid, common, most popular, prince of Snares
Hayman - loud ....but dead
Fibes - coveted ....but confusing
Sonor - solid, well made like everything German
Camco - dead, but a most coveted holy grail for me


I'm definitely also on the Tama Metal Train..

Ludwig makes a different sounding kit. Boomy. Starting to lose relevancy, but their snares will forever be relevant.

Yamaha makes really good kits, super dependable and sound good, but they've been pushing the same thing forever.

Brady/Guru will one day be on top of the world

DW makes expensive kits. I don't love the sound, a little tubby- used to like the lugs but not anymore

Pearl makes kits that you can't break. You can make them sound bad, but they're hard to break.

Taye is an interesting and new. Not a lot of market share, at least in the US, but the few that I've played sound good.

Mapex/Sonor- Some people swear by them, but for some reason I've never really loved their kits. No idea why. Maybe one day will change.

Sakae are the people that made the Yammies, and now make their own shells.

Zildjian makes the classic cymbal sounds. Can never really go wrong with one, but some people like the sounds of others.

Sabian is really just Zildjian with another label.

Paiste will shimmer for days.


Platinum Member
Here you go.
I got the 3 drums for a good price. I use these with a rock band I play with. I've never gigged these. My main gig is with a jazz band who I use a smaller kit with, the rock thing is just 3 of us having fun really.
That's a beaut, love that finish!


Silver Member
Well... You get what mean. DW just doesn't want their name associated with any cheap stuff.
So you don't like Porshe owning Volkswagen then? Its literally the same thing. A company that specializes in a luxury product, who doesn't have the resources or the name recognition to make anything less than that, buys another company to make more money (that's the point of capitalism), and that other company happens to make a similar product at a lower tier. There's nothing shady about that, companies everywhere do it all the time. The inverse is true as well....I believe it was Ford who owns Aston Martin.

Sorry, getting a bit off topic. I personally hate it when a company buys a company whose product I like, then they change their name to match the buying company. Its like when Macy's bought Meier and Frank stores here in Portland, Meier and Frank was a unique company local to Portland, Macy's was a big New York company, came in, bought them up, and renamed them all into Macy's. Its like.....cool, we now have this homogenous department store that doesn't have any local charm anymore.


Senior Member
People talk about dW like they are a Ferrari, they are not. Actually, if you get the right deal, the performance set, MADE IN USA are very nice. I got mine for about 1500. that was with some slight of hand negotiations. I also bought a used collector kit for 1500. My hardware, yeah, pretty pricey. but industrial grade, best I have ever had. I quit drums for a long time. I figure if I am getting back into them, I am going to do it right. I like the Sonar look. But become less a fan of bass drum mounted toms... DW's bass drum pedals are da bomb.

Great customer service too, that's a nice bonus.


Senior Member
Gonna probably piss off alot of people for saying this, so sorry in advance...

I've always considered Paiste to be like the Apple of the cymbal world.
To me, the larger price tag is just not justified. I find much more enjoyable sounds out of other brands for a much lower price.

That being said, I have heard a few Dark Energies that I've found really tempting...

So, don't get me wrong, they do make some really nice cymbals. Just I myself have never really understood the hype I suppose.


Junior Member
Great posts--lots of humor and truisms.

Ludwig--owned by old rock dudes who have hung on to that goovy kit from 1969.

Slingerland--these were for the guys who were in HS jazz ensemble and had to have some street cred despite wanting a set of Vistalites.

Sonor--"rich kid" drums that hardly ever left the house for fear of scratching that Ebony or Bubinga finish. These same folks played out on a set of Pearl drums that would withstand direct hits by drunk bar patrons.

Gretsch--soft spot in my heart so I can't bring myself to mock them in any way. I do however, want to give a shout out to my ex mother in law who managed to get a full shell bank of early 80s drums to go out of round by forgetting to keep them in space with a fairly constant temperature while I was away in Europe waiting for the Eastern Block to come through the Fulda Gap.

Yamaha--until they decided to make that brilliant move to production in China they were the drums played by rich guys who knew awesome drums and actually took them out to gigs. BTW, my Sakae Almighty Maple kit is so awesome I can't describe it without having to break for a cold shower.

Tama--drums played by dudes susceptible to awesome marketing in the late 70s that had drum sets the size of small nations displayed in full color catalogs--sort of like an awesome Playboy centerfold. My late 70s Superstar was the drum set I most regret trading away for those Premier tubs (had to have me some concert toms).

North--the choice of proto-geeks. Nuff said.

Could go on for a while but it's time to stop and resume shopping for more equipment. :)


Junior Member
I came to my own conclusions about which brands I want to support after looking at all the brands from a big picture perspective.

I choose to play Mapex drums because they are the only affordable drums that are not outsourced by their parent company. KHS is a very respectable musical instrument manufacturer and I think Mapex has the best product lines.
Since I think it is more important to spend your money on high quality cymbals over drums, I like the fact that Mapex gives you the most value for your money along with the great selection.

I choose to play Paiste cymbals because I like the warm, bright, full sound they have and I also think Paiste has the best product lines. Lastly, Paiste
cymbals are the only cymbals I would buy without first needing to test them out at the music store.


Junior Member
let's dig up an old thread - it looks like fun.

I started being interested in drums in 1980, so...

Tama: had the best looking brochure I had ever seen ( and one of the first ) So much choice and incredible natural wood finishes with scaffolding - like hardware. ( Anyone remember Spartan Hardware?)
This impression has stuck: I still think of Tama as top line. And the endorsers - I never get the Metal thing from the name. Probably from the first impression being that early.

Pearl: Then: Prop level gear, their entry level before export was Maxwin, which was my first kit. I therefore began to hate the shape of Pearl's lugs and didn't want to upgrade to anything that reminded me of that Maxwin.
Now: Oh gods they are boring to me. All perfectly good but deeply unexciting and yes, I hate their tom mounts on general principle.
Oh and if you were in a screechy band with a silly name and lots of make up, you had a Pearl.

Ludwig: Then: They were what all the good guys played: Max Weinberg, Ringo, Dino Danelli, Everyone. Horrifyingly expensive. The best snares. Now though - well I have an Acrolite, but their aura has gone. They just dropped off my radar and now, ( as with many ) especially after launching very humdrum or ropey entry level kits, they just don't do it any more. I see them as undesireable.

Slingerland: Exotic. Wierd. My first top end kit. Horrible hardware. Of course now they just make me think of decades old kits sitting in two mysterious old music shops in Manchester where they didn't like you buying anything, let alone looking because you just wouldn't be good enough.

Sonor. Too expensive for me. Now, the cheap kits are horribly Mapex flavoured and the dear ones have very silly hardware. In fact Sonor have always had silly hardware. Germany is a silly place.

Premier: Oh how I wanted a Premier kit when I was seventeen. Everything looked wonderful and most of all Phil Collins played them. And on Top of the Pops ( UK chart show) every week. with the meteor that was Genista and Signia though, they burned out: now they are ( if still around ) three marketing men in an office wondering what the round things are. Depressing. I loved Signias, and they gave many a British drummer a start, but all gone.

Rogers: Silly hardware.

Yamaha: Then: odd looking and that tom holder rod looked like my Maxwin one. They must be crap, I thought. Now: There are no better drums in the world than a Yamaha 8 or 9000, or, at a push , a Premier Signia. There just aren't. And the hardware on the Yamaha is not silly.
Most of all, Steve Gadd. Dave Weckl, many more, but...Steve Gadd.

Zildjian: HOW MUCH??? (then) I had never seen what cymbals were supposed to cost or why. Now: amongst the best.

Sabian: Zildjian but more so. They had to work harder and I think they still do.

Paiste: people in lab coats with frequency analysers. Bonham! Paice! And the guy who used to run the local drum shop - Tony Mann was an endorser.

Gretsch: Exotic Americana, until a shop in London got what must have been a containerload of them and sold them off for silly money - mostly concert toms, bass drums and brass snares, if memory serves.

Mapex. *dozes off*

There you go: pure unreasonable opinion, but mine.