DW Drums from a Non-DW Player's Perspective

incrementalg

Gold Member
Got this one today, Walnut edges, maple center. each section is steam bent. The wood is compressed before bending. No one else dose this. Is it hype? LOL Nope, They do sound different then regular steam bent. Kinda between wood and metal drums. Very bright, This is my second one like this. I have an all walnut one too. Is it a sound everyone will like? Beats me.
Yeah, it’s definitely a unique process of altering the wood that makes it way more pliable. Can you tell how the separate wood pieces are joined? Are they glued?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
That black hardware looks sharp.
I've been considering those Starfire heads for my kit. Do they scratch easily?
Creases are noticeable. Scratches? The reflective stuff is pretty tough. I like them for the sound first, very crisp sounding reso head. Plus they look sharp.
 

J-W

Well-known member
Creases are noticeable. Scratches? The reflective stuff is pretty tough. I like them for the sound first, very crisp sounding reso head. Plus they look sharp.
I appreciate the feedback. I may have to look into those further. I haven't heard them at all, but good to know that "crisp" is what to expect.
They certainly do look sharp.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Yes crisp. There are no control rings anywhere, it's a plain 10 mil head.

It doesn't sound thick, blanket-ey or muffled. Opposite of that. I tune them high so they go Boing!

Those look awesome. The black nickle hardware looks great!!!
Thanks Freddy. The black hardware I have to say held up well considering they were uncased living in my van for 6 years

I got them in June 2008. I have to say, they really hold tunings. I haven't touched them in about 5 years and guess what? Still sounded tuned.
 
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Steady Freddy

Pioneer Member
Yeah, it’s definitely a unique process of altering the wood that makes it way more pliable. Can you tell how the separate wood pieces are joined? Are they glued?
I'm not sure. The original Edge drums are tongue and grooved together. Not sure if these are the same of the three segments are glued. It's almost an inch thick on the top and bottom.
 

MusiQmaN

Platinum Member
Steady there, Freddy. It seems I've struck a nerve. But saying DW haters hate because they can't afford them is like saying DW fanatics only love them to justify the fact they paid too much. Neither makes sense. I'm not saying DW drums are crap, by any means. They can sound good and they can sound bad, just like any other drum. In fact, they sound like drums. Period. And there is far more to marketing than just what you name your line of drums. The "over zealous marketing" (your words), that I'm referring to is the BS about "timbre matching" and ply direction and "bog oak", etc... If those things really mattered in the real world, then other manufacturers would have followed suit, but they know better and they also know that their customers know better. John Good is a good salesman, but so were snake-oil salesmen of the 1800's.
That being said, I will say that they do have an outstanding selection of custom options and finishes. But I'm not going to buy diagonal ply, bubinga, timbre matched shells in a gloss to satin fade finish kit with any expectation that they'll sound better, deeper, have more sustain, resonance, or more attack than a wrapped shell by any other manufacturer....... especially if I plan to play in a musical setting. DW sells boutique shells and nothing more, but the shell plays such a small part in the drum's overall sound (again, especially in a musical setting), that I'm not terribly interested in paying that much of a premium for it's looks when other manufacturers make drums that, in my opinon, look just as nice and sound just as nice. Your opinion may differ, and that's great. Otherwise we'd all be playing the same kits and we would have absolutely nothing to discuss here.
I do have to add there is some truth in grain direction.

My rack toms are 7” deep. That usually transfers to a short sustain, especially with two ply heads.

Not these. They have more sustain and warmth than any power/square sized tom I have played.

To the point that on the last gig they needed gaffa to save the day (something I attest, but itwas indeed needed) and still rang a bit too much.

The shells are VTL.

Also the tapping of the natural shells and put that note number in the shell helps to match the other shells.

I found this to be true when my custom 15x10 ballad snare was a bitch to tune low as a ballad snare should (it sounded great as main snare out of the box).

When comparing the notes on the kit, it actually sat closer with its note in Eb) to my 12” tom (F) than the 15” floor (B).

So it now made sense it was harder to tune lower when the shell itself (before all the hardware is added) resonates at a higher pitch.
 

incrementalg

Gold Member
Regarding DW lugs...I used to be neutral...neither loved nor disliked them. But they grew on me. I’ve seen a handful of DW with tube lugs and they look out of place on anything with the DW badge because I’m so used to the turret lugs.

I’m going to post a thread soon with my thoughts on the Performance series. I’ll make it an unbiased review. I don’t have any real experience with collectors so I won’t be able to compare and contrast the series.
 

justadrummer

Junior Member
Got this one today, Walnut edges, maple center. each section is steam bent. The wood is compressed before bending. No one else dose this. Is it hype? LOL Nope, They do sound different then regular steam bent. Kinda between wood and metal drums. Very bright, This is my second one like this. I have an all walnut one too. Is it a sound everyone will like? Beats me.

That is stunning. I have a maple/walnut/maple Super Solid Edge on the way. It was supposed to arrive on Friday. According to tracking it has been sitting on a USPS truck destined to my local post office since 7:00 PM Thursday. Sigh.

Mine is Broken Glass finish ply over the whole shell, I have a Broken Glass kit.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Adding another DW kit from David Letterman's Drum Solo Week to the mix. This time Neil's Time Machine Kit. Unlike Sheila E's DW, you can't accuse this one of being out of tune or undertuned. But I honestly can't stand his boingy tom sounds. And frankly, I can't stand that clangy ride either. And I'm not hating on Neil—after all, he was a big part of why I became a drummer way back when. But I've never liked the way his kits have sounded after making the switch to DW and Sabian. Compare that to how his Tama/Zildjian kit sounds on Moving Pictures (which is one of my all-time favorite kit sounds), and it's night and day.

My favorite Neil played the Slingerlands. My very first exposure to Rush was “A Farewell to Kings” and “Hemispheres”, plus my first kit was a Slingerland in 1976 up until 1984. So I’m a little biased, but that’s the sound for me. That meaty floor tom single stroke roll in “Xanadu” still knocks me out.
 

incrementalg

Gold Member
My favorite Neil played the Slingerlands. My very first exposure to Rush was “A Farewell to Kings” and “Hemispheres”, plus my first kit was a Slingerland in 1976 up until 1984. So I’m a little biased, but that’s the sound for me. That meaty floor tom single stroke roll in “Xanadu” still knocks me out.
I know that single stroke well.
I read an interview w Neil where he discussed the move to Tama. He said he tried reaching out to Slingerland multiple times and no one ever responded. I kinda wonder if Slingerland missed the golden opportunity on that one. Maybe they were already on their way out at that point and didn’t have the bandwidth to talk endorsements or building sets for artists.
 

justadrummer

Junior Member
I remember reading that as well nearly forty years ago, and it seemed unimaginable to me at the time. I'm sure that a lot of people reached out to them. I know it is hard to believe, but is it possible that the management of Slingerland had no idea who he was?

This is probably speculation worthy of a separate thread...
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I know that single stroke well.
I read an interview w Neil where he discussed the move to Tama. He said he tried reaching out to Slingerland multiple times and no one ever responded. I kinda wonder if Slingerland missed the golden opportunity on that one. Maybe they were already on their way out at that point and didn’t have the bandwidth to talk endorsements or building sets for artists.
It was about the same time Rogers started having problems too. Both of them did not survive the Japanese onslaught. But as much as the general public went to the Asian market, a lot of the guys “in the know” started to play that fledgling new drum company, Drum Workshop. Pro Drum was the first place you could see a DW pedal, and consequently started selling the drums, which were only available in natural gloss maple at the time. My how things have changed.
 

RickP

Gold Member
The fact that DW was located in California had a lot to do with their rise in the drum world . They could provide access and support to LA based drummers that other Companies could not do as well .
DW jumped into the Endorsement pool with both feet very early in their lifecycle .
 

PaisteGuy

Well-known member
Okay, I'm probably going to get flamed for this. But, here it goes. I know there are people out there who have spent a lot of money on DW drums and people who genuinely like them. To each their own.

But, every time I see them, hear them or play them, I am left asking myself "what's all the hype about?" I think the lugs on the collectors series (and to a lesser extent the performance series) are pretty ugly. And, the toms usually sound like cardboard on the collectors maples I have played or heard. Even when they sound good (room, player, tuning, mics etc. being the variables) they still sound boring, IMO. I will give DW credit for their kick drums. From behind the kit at least, they usually sound thunderous when I play them. On recordings, not so much.

These are obviously subjective opinions. But, what is not a subjective opinion is that DW is charging a ton of money for these drums (the collectors series, at least). The construction, hardware, finishing etc. seems no better than all the other major drum companies are turning out. It seems people are just paying for the status of owning what has become an industry standard drum kit. It's a free country, and people should spend their money however they want. But, I don't get it.

This Original Post is now 3 years old, and the Poster has been off this site for the same amount of time.
I’d like to address some of His comments. While I do have a DW Kit arriving in a couple of weeks, Hopefully, I’m am Not a Fanboy of any one Drum Company, and will endeavor to set aside any biases as such.

His First point about what all the DW hype is about, leaves me to admit some ignorance and Naivety as I wasn’t aware of all the DW hype over the last decade or so. Now being in a Smaller Canadian market, that may be the factor as even the Big Music store outlets rarely carry an Upper End kit to display. In the last 10 years I’ve seen 2 Collectors kits Ordered New on the floor of the local L&M.
His 2nd & 3rd points are: “even when they sound good, they’re boring”. Um, ok? That’s a completely subjective opinion. I can name a few drum kits I’ve played that were, Meh sounding to me. I’m not going to slag the company on a forum over it. He then states, “behind the kit, they sound Thunderous, but on recordings, not so much”. Again I’m left with Um, ok? As a reply. I think Neil Peart’s Retro R40 Kit is plenty ‘Thunderous‘ on the CD I have of that tour. And those are with the questionable stock heads.
Finally, His last point about owning one as a status symbol is so completely ridiculous to me. I didn’t buy my kit for a status symbol. I could equally have bought a Tama Star, Yamaha Phoenix or Sonor SQ2 and could equally consider those kits one. In Fact, I wanted to go Tama, but waiting for nearly a year vs 4 months swayed the decision. I priced out kits ( 2 up, 2 down, single bass) from Pearl (Masterworks) Tama (Star), Sonor (SQ2), Gretsch (Brooklyn) and DW (Collectors). The Drum Guy I deal with priced out a Yamaha Phoenix for the hell of it. Results for most expensive to least:
1. Sonor SQ2 Medium Beech
2. Yamaha Phoenix
3. Tama Star Maple
4. DW Collectors Maple
5. Pearl Masterworks-Reference Pure specs.
I won’t include Gretsch as it’s not their Flagship line.

Sorry for the Long Winded Rant, but this post has been bugging me from the get go. DW drums are well made drums with great Finishes, and so are the other Brands. John Good could turn down the salesmanship a few notches, and lay off the shell tapping gimmick I’ll concede. The last thing I’ll add, is Those that hate or have a disdain for DW should consider that they’re a Boutique Drum Company that will do Finishes that (unless You’re a major Endorser, and even then) other companies won’t, if that‘s an important aspect for You.
 
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Steady Freddy

Pioneer Member
I like it when the say it's all hype. Where does the hype come from? I've listened to all the DW videos, masters of resonance and all, and I don't hear anyone saying rah rah rah we are the best. They point out what they are doing, why they do it, and how they do it. but not we are the best doing it. Never heard anything like that.

OF course some may take offense that they do a lot of advertising. Shame on a company for promoting them selves. Hey what did you guys think about all those DW super bowl ads? Do you talk shit about those companies too?

Maybe the hype comes from people who play them. Would it be wrong for people to be excited about the drums that play? Maybe they should hate em and bad rap em all over.

How about all the top DW drummer endorsers? Yeah I know, DW pays them millions. Says who? Your buddy. LOL Some dumb little weed smoker at GC. He would know. Got copies of the contracts? The Bonham ones are all over the internet. So again, Where does all the hype come from?

Could it be they have steadily built a reputation for excellence? Reputation is different than hype.

Round and round.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
The fact that DW was located in California had a lot to do with their rise in the drum world . They could provide access and support to LA based drummers that other Companies could not do as well .
DW jumped into the Endorsement pool with both feet very early in their lifecycle .
And it was a lot of the “cats”. People like Colin Bailey and John Guerin. Johnny Vatos Hernandez from Oingo Boingo and the Wackermans all jumped on at about the same time. Keltner came on as soon as he could - so they were heavy in the influencer department. I think the slow steady rise was good as there wasn’t a huge surge in popularity so they didn’t have to rush to get drums out the door.
 

TK-421

Senior Member
My favorite Neil played the Slingerlands. My very first exposure to Rush was “A Farewell to Kings” and “Hemispheres”, plus my first kit was a Slingerland in 1976 up until 1984. So I’m a little biased, but that’s the sound for me. That meaty floor tom single stroke roll in “Xanadu” still knocks me out.
My first kit was also a Slingerland. But when I hear the albums Neil recorded with those, his Slingy kit sounds a bit too muffled for my taste, especially compared to his Tama kit (BTW, my first Rush exposure was Moving Pictures, so perhaps that partially explains why his drum sound on that album is so seared into my brain).

Though in fairness, I'm sure my first Slingerland would also be too muffled for my taste today, as I recall using those Remo Muff'ls on all the toms. Back then, it would have been the self-adhesive type, not the later version with those plastic trays. Either way, a horrible idea that only appealed to inexperienced drummers like myself back then. After all, why learn to tune when you can just muffle the crap out of everything!
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
My first kit was also a Slingerland. But when I hear the albums Neil recorded with those, his Slingy kit sounds a bit too muffled for my taste, especially compared to his Tama kit (BTW, my first Rush exposure was Moving Pictures, so perhaps that partially explains why his drum sound on that album is so seared into my brain).

Though in fairness, I'm sure my first Slingerland would also be too muffled for my taste today, as I recall using those Remo Muff'ls on all the toms. Back then, it would have been the self-adhesive type, not the later version with those plastic trays. Either way, a horrible idea that only appealed to inexperienced drummers like myself back then. After all, why learn to tune when you can just muffle the crap out of everything!
You could be right about the muffled sounds, but I knew it wasn’t the drums fault because both Buddy and Louie were playing Slingerland at about the same time, and Danny Seraphine was with Chicago on Slingerland, and even David Garibaldi made all those initial TOP hits with Slingerland. They had some artists back then hawking the product!
 
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