Favorite high end drum kit- model and brand?

feldiefeld

Senior Member
I'm certain that there are many threads on this topic already, but I'm about to buy some new drums.... and new doesn't necessarily mean brand new from the the store....second hand is possible...

But... for those of you who have invested in high end stuff, what are your picks?

I'm thinking about Yamaha Recording Customs or Gretsch USAs or Broadkasters, but I'm open to suggestions...

Thanks in advance.

Also... don't be shy about snares either...

MF
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I've owned high end kits from Pearl, Gretsch, Ludwig, Yamaha, Tama, DW, and from earlier years Rogers and Slingerland, as well as some of their best snare drums.

I like them all - they're all great. I currently have a Ludwig Classic Maple Ringo type kit, and a Pearl Master's birch kit (I had Reference Pure too). So although I'm not playing Legacy Ludwigs or Pearl Masterworks, for me, a step down works for me. Once you get past a certain point, all kits are great and it's more the guy playing them anyway. I say whatever your heart is set on, go with that. You have to love it enough to justify spending the cash on it. There's nothing worse than spending a lot of money and then finding out you don't absolutely love it.
 

SYMBOLIC DEATH

Senior Member
I've played a DW collectors series for the last 19 years, and haven't really shopped around for another kit since I got this kit. The reason I ended up with it was the deal was just too good to pass up.

One of my old friend's dad, who is a drum tech by profession said it this way, "Once you get into high end drums they all pretty much do the same thing sound wise, so get the ones with the finish and hardware you like best."
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
One of my old friend's dad, who is a drum tech by profession said it this way, "Once you get into high end drums they all pretty much do the same thing sound wise, so get the ones with the finish and hardware you like best."
Within a broad but still limited reference experience, I can agree with this statement, but there are still instruments on the periphery with signature delivery characteristics that can have strong value.

The age old caveats of diminishing returns & contextual value always apply.

Back in my young buck days, there was a cute chick in our circle with a lisp. There were other models available that took up less stage space, with arguably better racks, hardware, & finishes, but that lisp got me to the top of my riser.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
I made the investment on my old Ludwigs, mainly because all my favourite drummers use/used them. My first project kit as well so I've looked at them as like having an old car, most of the fun is keeping them in good condition. It's nice to have the vintage sound in the arsenal.

I've had the same Richmo kit for 13 years which is my baby, I got it of an endorsee for a silly price. I know I'd get nothing if I sold it as Richmo were only in the UK and Alan has passed on but it's the best sounding kit I've ever owned and it's rare I hear something that comes close although I'm getting a soft spot for walnut.

Snare drums on the other hand are a different sport.
 

trickg

Silver Member
Here's an observation, albeit a bit of an older observation, so I'm not sure how relevant it's going to be.

I went to the 2006 Modern Drummer festival, featuring a bunch of notable drummers, such as:

Thomas Lang
Teddy Campbell
Marvin McQuitty
Gerald Hayward
Glen Kotche
Jason McGerr
Aaron Spears
Stewart Copeland
Steve Smith
Dave DiCenso
Danny Seraphine
etc

There were tons of really high end kits there from Tama, Yamaha, DW, Pearl, Ludwig, etc.

IMO, the kit that sounded the best that weekend was the somewhat humble Pearl Masters played by Dave DiCenso. It just sounded full and round. It could have been how it had been teched and set up, or it could have been how Dave was hitting them.

Thomas Lang sounded good on the Sonor X-ray acrylic kit he was playing, but that's part of the nature of acrylic drums, and IMO they didn't sound as good as DiCenso's Pearl Masters.

That was the impression I came away with, and it was confirmed when I watched the DVD of the event later.

I think that when you start getting into high end kits, it's really a matter of splitting hairs - anything of high quality is going to sound good once it's tuned up well.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
That can actually be found and purchased easily—

1. Jenkins-Martin, especially for rock. They sound enormous, and are the most resonant drums out there.

2. Guru Drums, especially the satinwood or walnut drums. They are not as resonant as the Jenkins-Martin, but the sound quality is amazing.

There are one or two makers of hollowed-log kits out there, but wait times are ridiculous, and those kits are always going to be more prone to cracking/splitting over the years, especially when new. They’re great for just playing at home, though.
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
I have owned "high end" kits (DW Collectors, Yamaha Recording Custom, Pearl Reference Pure) and I have owned "low end" kits (PDP Concept Maple, Concept Birch, Tama Rockstar, etc...). In the end, I sound the same on all of them.

I did a head to head comparison with my DW Collectors and the PDP Concept Maple maybe a year and a half ago. Same heads, same tuning, same sizes... Honestly, there was not a discernible difference between them for me to justify keeping the DW. I sold the DW for more than 3x what I paid for the PDP and I don't regret it one bit.

That said, I'm a "most bang for the buck" kind of person. For me, the most band for the buck kits are the "upper low end" to mid-tier ones. The PDP Concept Maple/Birch kits and Yamaha Stage Customs are in the "upper low end" and can be purchased for such little money, its crazy. The mid tier kits that are great bang for the buck are Gretsch Renown, Tama B/B, Mapex Saturn, Yamaha Tour Custom, Pearl Masters, DW Design, etc...

The upper end drums like USA Customs, Broadcasters, Recording Customs, Reference, Collectors, etc. all are nice, but you really see diminishing returns as the prices increase. Yeah, they have pretty finishes on them... but so do the mid-tier kits. They have nice fit and finish... but so do the mid tier kits. They sound good and have good tuning ranges... but so do the mid tier kits.
 

trickg

Silver Member
I just bought a set of lower priced drums - a Gretsch Catalina Club Jazz/Bop kit in mahogany. I didn't even swap out the heads - it comes with Gretsch/Remo heads, which I think are just coated Ambassadors with a Gretsch logo.

I tuned them up, and they sound great. All for just a touch over $500.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Gretsch USA Customs, but the Brooklyns are also right up there. They are a sonic wonder, a more open-sounding version of the USA Customs (due to the slightly lighter 302 hoops on them).

I'd like to own a set of YRC's, but I wouldn't want them to be my main kit.

The new Yamaha maple hybrids sound wonderful. They've added air vents to the floor toms and bass drums, and it's wonderful. The toms balance perfectly with each other. And Yamaha's finishes, chrome, and mounting hardware are the ultimate.
 

J-Boogie

Gold Member
Within a broad but still limited reference experience, I can agree with this statement, but there are still instruments on the periphery with signature delivery characteristics that can have strong value.

The age old caveats of diminishing returns & contextual value always apply.

Back in my young buck days, there was a cute chick in our circle with a lisp. There were other models available that took up less stage space, with arguably better racks, hardware, & finishes, but that lisp got me to the top of my riser.
Lol ok good to know... Hope ur feeling better sir
 

PlayTheSong

Senior Member
Back in my young buck days, there was a cute chick in our circle with a lisp. There were other models available that took up less stage space, with arguably better racks, hardware, & finishes, but that lisp got me to the top of my riser.
I get your point. You can't always rationalize why a certain thing stirs you. Buy the kit that really speaks to you. Btw, I find certain lisps mesmerizing too :)
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
As you can see by this discussion, there are many choices from many brands that will suit you well and should last forever. The one flaw I see in all of this is buying a set like the one your favorite drummer plays for that reason, alone since in 2 or 5 years, he/she will change brands because, well, we won't know why because they never really explain why other than to say they like the way they sound and the customer service was great. Go kick some tires and fine a budget and finish that floats tour boat and don't stress any further.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Yup, once you get to a certain price point, the world is your oyster. Most importantly, pick something that sounds good to YOU.

I love Pork Pie USA kits because they sound absolutely fabulous to my ears. They look and sound great, no matter the room or the venue. They record easily as well. Ludwig is a very close second. I have a set of Ludwig Centennials that use Monroe-made maple shells that are nothing short of stellar. I'm very happy to have this as my "beater" kit, but it doesn't sound like a beater at all!

I also play Pork Pie snares in my band, and I play a Pearl Masters at my church. I play the Ludwig Centennial snare with my Ludwig set. They are all great.
 

Artstar

Platinum Member
Gretsch USA Customs, but the Brooklyns are also right up there. They are a sonic wonder, a more open-sounding version of the USA Customs (due to the slightly lighter 302 hoops on them).
.
Yeah the Brooklyn is Gretsch's best shell IMO. That poplar just does it for me.
 

Freewill3

Member
As an owner of USA Customs, I'd say definitely check out Gretsch! There really is something special about their drums. Whatever you'd like to call it - their history or "That Great Gretsch Sound" or the vintage vibe, I've been loving the sound and the beauty of these drums. Even the Catalinas and Renowns produce spectacular results with any myriad of head combinations. The wait time on mine was about 2 months for a 7x10, 8x12, 14x16 FT and 16x20 BD in the Satin Cherry Red finish. I'll echo what others have mentioned about any top of the line kits, hard to go wrong with the build quality, fit & finish of any brand. Just take your time and find that sound in your head. As far as snares go, I've really been drawn to Tama. I have the bubinga and aluminum Starphonics and several of there SLP snares. Big palette of sound and the Tama rock solid quality to boot! Good luck with your search and have fun testing out all those drums!
 
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