hello from Portugal


New member
Hello all, im a 23 years old geochemestry student from Portugal and i started drumming some weeks ago. Im a proud owner of a Mapex Mars (4 piece kit) in nightwood which im really really happy with. Im learning the basic rudiments by my own because at the moment i can't afford a teacher, but i will get one in the very near future :). For my surprise, my mother found a drum kit in the trash a couple days ago, it's a old Pearl kit and i can't find much information about it, i will attach some pictures i took today. Obviously i don't understand much about drums nor woods but i'd like to restore the drums and hopefully learn more about sound and drum shells, plus i'd love to use the 12 and 16 inch toms. I noticed that they don't have the same projection/attack my mapex kit has so i researched first which shells i had and i think they're luan shells (don't know how many plies) therefore it's a really soft wood so i found i could add some polyurethane in the exterior to increase the projection since the polyurethane resin it's way more rigid and would reflect more sound waves. Should i go for it or could i add some decent heads and make it better? Any advice?

Thank you all !

PS: it came with a 24 inch bass and another tom (i didn't mesure it yet) but they're in my garage and i am lazy to take a photo. Tomorrow will be a sunny day, good for more photos.



Silver Member
Hello, welcome, it's a stencil kit, not worst spending too much money on it. I assume it's a 22 12 13 16 and a steel tin can snare drum. It seems to be in poor condition. You can try to clean and oil it, put the Mapex skins you have on it and put better skins on the Mapex then. Is the stencil kit complete ?
Unfortunately it's not a Pearl.


Platinum Member
Yeah .... Luan shells. Philippine Mahogany. Your Mapex shells are Birch. While some polyurethane will help some (that's an old school trick for these drums) ..... they're still not gonna sound like the Mapex drums. Possibly, if you put coated heads on the Mapex drums (to warm then up) and put clear heads on the Rangers (to brighten them) you'd meet somewhere in the middle. Sometimes you just have to embrace the fact that you have drums that sound different. That's not a bad thing. Oh ..... and welcome to Drummerworld.


New member
Hello both! I trully appreciate both comments and thanks for the opinions.

Tamaefx, can you explain what's a stencil kit? They are in really bad condition, yesterday i went to clean the lugs and they were full of rust in the spring and on the outside so i may buy some cheap black lugs from China. About the heads, they came with a really dirty, full of tape unbranded (can't see any logo only one skin which i belive came from the snare says pearl RE) heads, my Mapex have the stock heads (UV and UX by Remo) and since my mapex drums aren't the same size as the pearl drums i cannot test the Remo skins to check how it sounds but i would buy some decent skins if it's worth it. The kit came with 3 toms: 12, 13, 16, the snare: 14 and the kick drum: 22 (i think my mapex kit have a 22 kick but they are visually different, im i mesuring it wrong?). Why do you say it's not pearl? If it's complete i don't know since i don't know what's a stencil kit is.

Harryconway, Well the point of restoring those drums is to learn more about shells, drums and wood and have more things to hit, i think everybody who starts do drum wants the biggest kit he/she can get so and im not different. Could you explain me those terms, warm and bright? I think brightness is about the pinch right? the brighter the higher the pinch gets. I know they won't sound the same since they aren't the same but would it be good to have that mix of shells in my kit? I could ever add the kick drum, although they are different sizes. Would it be great to have different sound drum pieces in my kit? Would i learn more? Is it worth it?

I forgot to mention, im dyslexic and i have a lower case of ADHD, and i may be going though a depression (i take escitalopram, 20 Mg each day. The medication isn't the solution nor time and my phychologist recommended physcotherapy which im thinking i should start some sessions.)I think drums help to steam some pressure out and let emotions go, that's my main motivation to learn an instrument and because my life can't be only study and study and study there must be a balance between work and pleasure, i like all kinds of metal and hard rock, but i also like some jazz and classic music. I have high grades in my geology course, i have no hobbies and have 3 or 4 friends (and they are way older then my). Im in college vacations so i have time to do some DIY work on those woods.

So my question big question is: Should i invest some money in those shells? would be good to add them and make a bigger kit? I'd like to do some PU on them, maybe do some paint job, add some second hand skins or maybe use the skins they came with. I can record them with the orignal skins and my phone if you guys want. It's seems that the 12 and the 16 toms have different woods im i wrong? The 12 inch tom is the one more orange with the wood filler and the 16 have a more lighter cooler. Oh, the 16 tom misses a leg so i will order one from China too! Another thing, how you guys clean the rust off the hardware? I don't want to use any acid solution (i have plenty HCl for carbonates but i think will leave a nasty stain on them), im thinking of some baking soda and water and then steel wool to polish it. I have some questions about cymbal cleanning but i will ask them in a future post.

Sorry about any english error, im learning english too and im a hurry (im planning a aluvial gold collect to add some native gold to my mineral collection and maybe i could do some electroplating with gold on my hardware to protect it from rust. If you guys want some photos just ask !

Thank you all.


Platinum Member
These kits were entry level kits ..... and so it's not uncommon to find different types/colors of wood. Stencil is a term used to describe MIJ kits. Ranger is the name/brand of the kit .... but it was manufactured buy some company that probably churned out a whole bunch of drum kits under different names. Pearl and Tama both produced drums under different names ..... until they got big enough to want their own private identity. Here's a partial list of them. http://www.vintagedrumguide.com/japanese_drums/list_of_names.html Most of these kits copied American drum hardware design.​
As long as you don't dump a ton of money into this kit ..... have fun working on it. There are guys that collect these ..... but $300-$400 is about the top dollar for one .... and that would be in perfect/near perfect shape. Lots of guys first kits were these MIJ stencil kits, so there's a bit of nostalgia going on.​
Warm/bright is a tone quality. You can have a warm high pitch, or a bright high pitch. You stated that the Ranger doesn't have the projection/attack of the Mapex ..... and part of that is the warmer tone of the Luan shells. More of a "vintage" tone ..... while the birch shelled Mapex kit has a more "modern" tone.​
As far as combining the two drum kits ..... there are no rules. Plenty of us have pieced together various different make drums, at one point or another. A term for those are "Frankenkits". My first kit was an MIJ stencil kit. A Gracy. To that, I added a Pearl snare (as a second tom). Later, a Blaemire bass drum (for double kicks) and replaced the Pearl snare with CB700 10" and 12" concert toms. Pretty much a true horrorshow of drums. But you gotta start somewhere.​
As far as different sized kicks ..... that's been done before. Ginger Baker played a 22" and a 20". Alex Van Halen played a 26" and a 24". So again, no rules.​
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New member
Hello Harry,

Thanks for the explanation about the tone terms and Stencil kits, i didn't know that even the big fishes of today were small and somewhat restricted in the asian market.

I will work on that kit, but im not sute know what i should do, i thinki have to clean the rust of all the hardware, get some wood filler, and put PU on the shells but i have some questions, how many layers should i put in each shell? Should i sand each layer with a really fine sandpaper, maybe 2000 grit? Should i buy, will good heads impact that much on sound quality?

Obrigado ! // Thank you !


Platinum Member
Here's a guy doing a high gloss finish with Minwax Polyurethane. He's putting a lot of time and effort into it, because he's doing the outside of the shells. But it's a good demonstration of what can be attained.

You may want to not get quite so involved. Probably 1 to 4 coats ..... just google polyurethane drum shell interiors and all kinds of info. will pop up. You can decide what and how you want to proceed.

Since you're gonna coat/sand the shells, you'll have to take all the hardware off. So now's the time to clean everything up.

Good heads are a definite. Old, tired head will make an expensive drum set sound like crap. Inversely, good heads will bring out the best in a cheap drum kit.
That Ranger set isn't worth a lot (probably not more than 100€ after the restoration), so don't spend too much money on it. If you enjoy tinkering with stuff, you can of course try to improve them but spending time playing the Mapex set and getting decent heads for those would be my priority.

Some ideas if you decide to do the project:
- If you take off all the lugs, put them into soap water for a while or water with citric acid if there is lots of rust. Also throw all screws in there and remove rust and gunk. You can remove some flakes on metal with fine steel wool. When you put the lugs back on, you can put a piece of cotton into the lugs to lessen rattling noise in the lugs. At the end, add some lug oil, so the tension rods operate smoothly.
- Adding a new finish might look better but can also become costly and time consuming. And you won't change the sound really. I'd only do that if you enjoy the process a lot. Else, just wipe the shells with a damp cloth and leave them the way they are.
- Sometimes you can find barely used sets of drum heads on ebay for cheap, getting a new set can easily sum up to 150-200€. I'd restore the set first to see if there are problems with the hardware or shells.
- The shell in the second picture might have a deep crack. Hold the shell lightly on the opposing side and tap the surrounding area of the crack with a stick. If there is a rattling sound, you have a crack. I'd probably throw that shell out and only keep the lugs for spare parts.

You could also check out this website to see what you can do with old sets for not a lot of money: http://compactdrums.com/