DW finish ply costs

PaisteGuy

Well-known member
Hi all, I currently own a 10 piece DW Design Series Kit, which I’ll be selling. I’m considering a collectors, as I don’t care for the finishes of the performance series. I looked at a couple of different finish options, but they’re pricey and one doesn’t make sense to me. The guy I deal with at the local music shop quoted $8650 (Canadian) for a 5 piece, 2 Tom, 2 Floors and BD Purple Heart Kit with candy black burst and black nickel hardware. A heartwood maple kit, same # of pieces with same finish was $10,500. Not sure what constitutes the 2 grand price difference. In looking at some of the US listings for a finish ply kit, they seem to go the other way, about 2 grand cheaper. So that would put a 5 piece kit in the $6-6500 range. That’s with chrome, and I do know that the other hardware finishes run 10% more. For those with DW experience, is this the case? Do finish ply kits run that much cheaper than painted/custom finish options? I ask, because there’s not much DW gear up here (used).

Cheers
 
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justadrummer

Junior Member
Yes, the finish ply kits are considerably cheaper. I have a eleven year old finish ply kit that still looks brand new after hundreds of gigs. Admittedly, I do transport it in Humes & Berg Enduro cases and handle it myself. 87774
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
That candy black burst finish ain't cheap. It requires selecting the best wood for the outer veneer, lots of prep, lots of expertise in painting, then lots of standing and polishing to make it shine like a diamond. A finish ply allows DW to not be so picky about the outer veneer. They can give the outside of the shell a quick wipe with some sandpaper to make sure there aren't any bumps and the finish ply gets glued on. Voila! Done.

So yeah, finish ply is much cheaper.
 

PaisteGuy

Well-known member
That candy black burst finish ain't cheap. It requires selecting the best wood for the outer veneer, lots of prep, lots of expertise in painting, then lots of standing and polishing to make it shine like a diamond. A finish ply allows DW to not be so picky about the outer veneer. They can give the outside of the shell a quick wipe with some sandpaper to make sure there aren't any bumps and the finish ply gets glued on. Voila! Done.

So yeah, finish ply is much cheaper.


I agree, those finishes are quite labour intensive. What struck me as odd, is that the Purple Heart burst was 2k cheaper in price over the Heartwood Curly Maple, which is an applied Veneer, ala exotic wood finish ply, then painted, glossed or matted to a satin. That suggests the curly maple veneer is astronomically more expensive to DW than the Purple Heart. I’ve narrowed it down to 3 choices, one a finish ply, the other is heartwood curly maple with nickel hardware and the other a dark stain finish with black nickel.
 

Fred D

Pioneer Member
Check out ebay. There are dealers on there. Search for DW exotic. The prices you've been quoted are stupid. I would avoid nickle hardware. It doesn't wear as well as chrome.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Agreed. Every stained DW Collectors kit required John Goode to send out his wood elves to scour the planet for the best woods, and then more elves to painstakingly finish them. Elves require unions, so the consumer helps to alleviate the cost of elf labor. Go Finishply, which isn’t just a wrap but considered the outer ply, so it’s hard to re-wrap a DW kit. That’s a whole ‘nother set of elves for that.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
Have you thought about crossing the border into Seattle? Looks like it's a 2 hr drive for you, but certainly worth it to get a new kit. There's bound to be a good drum shop there that can put in a DW order for you.

Maybe I'm totally wrong, but isn't the Heartwood finish just using 'normal' Heartwood? Whereas "Curly" Maple is much more rare? I'm sure all the guitar and furniture makers want it just as badly which drives the price up.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
I agree, those finishes are quite labour intensive. What struck me as odd, is that the Purple Heart burst was 2k cheaper in price over the Heartwood Curly Maple, which is an applied Veneer, ala exotic wood finish ply, then painted, glossed or matted to a satin. That suggests the curly maple veneer is astronomically more expensive to DW than the Purple Heart. I’ve narrowed it down to 3 choices, one a finish ply, the other is heartwood curly maple with nickel hardware and the other a dark stain finish with black nickel.
Does anyone know how well DW's black nickel hardware holds up over time?

Tama's black nickel hardware in particular seems quite poor, as I've noticed many high-end snares (from the mid 2000s such as their Warlord snares) with totally chipped and flaked off finishes. Maybe they've corrected it in recent years?

I don't recall seeing any issues with older DWs but thought I'd ask.

Also, what Finish Ply were you considering?
 

PaisteGuy

Well-known member
I hadn’t thought about that. I haven’t read about their nickel plating wearing or chipping easy. I’ll check into it.
Well it down to ( in no particular order)
1-Twisted White Satin Finish Ply
2-Natural Finish Curly Maple with Nickel plate.
3-Oak Shell Kit, ebony stain with black nickel plating.

Good advice, I should look across the border. I’m a half hour from it. Our dollar exchange is horrid right now.
 

Lee-Bro

Senior Member
FYI, used market for a 2-up, 2-down + kick FinishPly kit is around $2200-$3000 (U.S.) - there are PLENTY of kits available. Also, I have a set of shells (from 2003) no hardware, badges only, that I'm looking to sell. 10, 12, 14, 16 FAST toms + 18x22 Kick. Perfect for rewrapping or painting yourself. If you're interested, PM me.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
FYI, used market for a 2-up, 2-down + kick FinishPly kit is around $2200-$3000 (U.S.) - there are PLENTY of kits available. Also, I have a set of shells (from 2003) no hardware, badges only, that I'm looking to sell. 10, 12, 14, 16 FAST toms + 18x22 Kick. Perfect for rewrapping or painting yourself. If you're interested, PM me.

Heck, down in L.A., I managed to find a DW Collectors black satin finish (10/12/14/16 hanging toms) with 18x22 bass drum for $1700 in excellent condition. Maybe you should make a trip to Pro Drum in Hollywood and see what they have in stock. It would be worth the drive.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Regarding wrap finishes (I think I started a thread about this a long time ago too), you might want to take a good long look at what you like. DW especially, likes to come out with these weird wrap finishes that, when you're 13 look cool, but as you get older and find that you're not the next big pop-punk drum star, look out of place at a wedding, or a casual at the local restaurant for a retirement party. This is the biggest reason why I think people sell stuff - they outgrow the finish (the other reason being the weird sizes DW promotes too, but that's another thread).

I had the Ludwig blue-olive oyster finish, which looks great, but was a little bit much because of the blue/olive. The same finish with black and silver (black oyster) is sorta timeless. Orange marine pearl looks like it belongs on the set of James Kirks' Star Trek compared to white marine pearl.

Because of this, I've gone to basic black for a wrap on one kit, and a glossy natural maple on the other kit. And both fit in everywhere so far.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
Regarding wrap finishes (I think I started a thread about this a long time ago too), you might want to take a good long look at what you like. DW especially, likes to come out with these weird wrap finishes that, when you're 13 look cool, but as you get older and find that you're not the next big pop-punk drum star, look out of place at a wedding, or a casual at the local restaurant for a retirement party. This is the biggest reason why I think people sell stuff - they outgrow the finish (the other reason being the weird sizes DW promotes too, but that's another thread).

I had the Ludwig blue-olive oyster finish, which looks great, but was a little bit much because of the blue/olive. The same finish with black and silver (black oyster) is sorta timeless. Orange marine pearl looks like it belongs on the set of James Kirks' Star Trek compared to white marine pearl.

Because of this, I've gone to basic black for a wrap on one kit, and a glossy natural maple on the other kit. And both fit in everywhere so far.
So wait.....you're tellin' me this wouldn't work for a memorial service?

Y3kEWUp.jpg


Challenge excepted
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
So wait.....you're tellin' me this wouldn't work for a memorial service?

Y3kEWUp.jpg


Challenge excepted

See what I mean? We say there aren't any rules (and really there aren't any), but this just screams THERE HAS TO BE RULES! For shows and big concerts, I know there's like a set director who's determining the look for an artist, and this might just work for the really far out artists, but a lot of us are not this lucky, right? (Or maybe we are). I remember when Tony Williams pushed his envelope a little by taking his big yellow Gretsch set and installing black hardware. Subtle, but different. Then when he went to DW, they made him a big yellow kit, but they installed RED hardware! EEEK! So yellow, red, and the black dots....gave him a kind of Ronald McDonald look.

But that Mapex is just ugly ;)
 

Woolwich

Silver Member
Blimey, that Mapex! I’m guessing it’s one of the MyDentity kits.
The thing is while people may like to be individuals, the reason why certain sizes, finishes and shell hardware seem to last forever and become timeless is because they work. A bit like saying something is a cliche, yes it’s become a cliche because it’s true.
This has gone WAY off topic but in the days that I used to trawl eBay looking at stuff I saw a significant number of “custom” kits being listed at high prices and with selling descriptions written with barely contained bitterness by the seller as they implored potential buyers to see the uniqueness in tom toms and bass drums with the depth of a frisbee/oil drum adorned with green painted hardware. There’s a limit, and broadly speaking I’m happy to let the product designers at established and solvent drum companies inform me of roughly where that limit is
 

MusiQmaN

Platinum Member
Also, take the plunge and offer.

I did offer almost 2k less than it was listed for (because I didn't want the two other rack toms as they weren't my exact sizes) and it was accepted and so got my dream set. It should be here in 1,5 week.

Here in Europe all the hardware (Chrome and Black Nickel are priced the same). Black Nickel and plated Black Chrome will chip eventually too, but not as quick as powder-coated Black Chrome though.
 

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Lee-Bro

Senior Member
Regarding wrap finishes (I think I started a thread about this a long time ago too), you might want to take a good long look at what you like. DW especially, likes to come out with these weird wrap finishes that, when you're 13 look cool, but as you get older and find that you're not the next big pop-punk drum star, look out of place at a wedding, or a casual at the local restaurant for a retirement party. This is the biggest reason why I think people sell stuff - they outgrow the finish (the other reason being the weird sizes DW promotes too, but that's another thread).

I had the Ludwig blue-olive oyster finish, which looks great, but was a little bit much because of the blue/olive. The same finish with black and silver (black oyster) is sorta timeless. Orange marine pearl looks like it belongs on the set of James Kirks' Star Trek compared to white marine pearl.

Because of this, I've gone to basic black for a wrap on one kit, and a glossy natural maple on the other kit. And both fit in everywhere so far.

When I sold gear in the mid 90s, I had someone order a DW kit in Purple Marine Pearl w/ gold plated (or brass) hardware. My DW rep told me that a kit in the same finish and hardware option was brought to a Whitney Houston rehearsal and she said "get that ugly fucking thing out of my studio." I don't know if this was before Michael Baker's time w/ her or not. And my god, was the kit that the guy ordered WAS ugly -But he loved them. He was a huge Prince fan.
 

Fred D

Pioneer Member
I'll be the odd man out here as usual. The thing that makes DW drums, DW drums is the shells. Wrapping it in a thick piece of plastic isn't the hot set up IMHO. I had a wrapped snare and it sounded dull compared to the same size snare that wasn't wrapped. I know about all the internet theories and all that and I'm not saying wrapped drums don't sound good. I just think that all wood drums sound better from my own personal experience.

I understand that wraps do offer a lot more protection than unwrapped shells and that may be a consideration but from a purely sonic perspective the natural wood or painted finishes sound better. At least to me. As always YMMV.
 

MusiQmaN

Platinum Member
When I sold gear in the mid 90s, I had someone order a DW kit in Purple Marine Pearl w/ gold plated (or brass) hardware. My DW rep told me that a kit in the same finish and hardware option was brought to a Whitney Houston rehearsal and she said "get that ugly fucking thing out of my studio." I don't know if this was before Michael Baker's time w/ her or not. And my god, was the kit that the guy ordered WAS ugly -But he loved them. He was a huge Prince fan.

Sounds like Baker. If I am correct, he played DW before he went to Yamaha and was preceded by Ricky Lawson and his Remo kit.
 
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