Help deciding on maple kit...

john352050

Well-known member
Looking into buying a new Maple kit (shell pack)...narrowed it down to:
-Gretsch Catalina Maple
-Pearl Decade Maple
-Tama Superstar Classic Maple

Also torn on 5pc or 7pc kit....I was never a big tom's, but would like to expand since I've gotten so into Danny Carey's stuff!

Leaning towards the Pearl Decade Maple...mainly because of price. But I know like most all things in this world, you pay for what you get...
Looking for both sound quality but also nice hardware...This new kit wont be moving all over the place though, setting it up in a spare room, where (hopefully) it will stay there for years, so 'touring durability' isn't a big concern.

I should also mention, I haven't played in years, but don't consider myself a beginner...as long as it all comes back to me after a few months of practice haha! My past kits were always Pearl Export's. But looking to build an intermediate priced dream kit finally!

Would love to hear some opinions on between these 3 shell packs!
 
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john352050

Well-known member
My 2¢...

1: Don't get hung up on the material for entry level kits. (Consider a Stage Custom).
2: Scratch "Catalina Maple" off your list and replace with "Used Renown Maple".
I'll look into a stage custom...
but really want to build the kit of my dreams! Never owned a really nice kit, but played on one my instructor owned, sounded amazing, and felt amazing too. Had a double kick pedal that opened up so many options!
Some say maple is much better compared to poplar, and others say it really doesn't matter that much...
Came into a good chunk of money recently, and this will be my one and only big purchase, and gift to myself (and son)... really want a pro level kit that i can use for years and pass down to my son when hes older...

Not interested in used. Guess I'm snobby like that, even though I'm usually fairly poor haha!
Just want to build a kit that I'm happy with now and don't want to buy a cheaper kit that I'll most likely have to spend MORE money later adding on or replacing things. And like I said, not a beginner at all, just haven't played in awhile. Plan on taking some lessons to get some of the more intricate beats back again.

Why no to the Gretsch Catalina? And i am leaning towards the Pearl Decade Maple, to save a couple hundred bucks...but if I'm going to spend a good chunk of cash, figure might as well spend the extra $200 if it really makes a difference in overall quality.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
Catalina’s are nice sounding drums, but their hardware isn’t what’s on the Renown and up. Poplar isn’t = to poplar. Cheap is cheap no mater what the wood. Manufacturers have discovered poplar is actually quite a nice sounding wood, but has an ugly grain. It usually gets sandwiched between something nicer looking. When you say dream kit, it’s hard to visualize low end. So many nice used ones for great prices. To each his own I suppose.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Not interested in used. Guess I'm snobby like that, even though I'm usually fairly poor haha!
Just want to build a kit that I'm happy with now and don't want to buy a cheaper kit that I'll most likely have to spend MORE money later adding on or replacing things.
If used is not an option, you'll need to wait for a clearance or blowout sale which happens periodically. The objective is to obtain a $1500-1750 tier kit for under ~1000. Gretsch Renown/Marquee, Yamaha Live Custom, Mapex Saturn, etc.... It happens pretty often, though it takes some patience and effort.
 

john352050

Well-known member
Yeah after doing a bit more research, narrowing it down to these two:
Tama Superstar Classic maple
Pearl Decade maple

Looks like the Pearl is cheaper, which is always nice...but you pay for what ya get

On some other forums, looks like the Tama gets better feedback...whats ya'lls opinions between those two?

Much appreciated!
 

john352050

Well-known member
If used is not an option, you'll need to wait for a clearance or blowout sale which happens periodically. The objective is to obtain a $1500-1750 tier kit for under ~1000. Gretsch Renown/Marquee, Yamaha Live Custom, Mapex Saturn, etc.... It happens pretty often, though it takes some patience and effort.
Labor day sale is on right now
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
I'll jump in, and suggest the Yamaha Tour Custom Maple. If you're looking for an "heirloom" kinda kit (and you want maple), I think it's a better fit. It IS a bit more, but as you said, you get what you pay for.

One thing you'll notice is the kits you listed have 8 lugs on the 22" bass drum. The Yamaha has a 10 lug bass drum. A feature usually found on upper tier kits. Counting lugs, the Yamaha and Tama give you 8 lugs on the floor toms. The Pearls are 6 luggers. So, while that might not throw it out of the running, when you're comparing X/Y/Z drum sets, you gotta start noting where the different brands are cutting corners to stay within a certain price point.

On the Tama's plus side ..... it has really thin shells. 5mm. Pearl 5.4mm and Yamaha 5.6mm.

In getting a 7 pc. kit ..... you won't find an 8" tom in the Yamaha line up, But you can add a 13". So your 7 pc. would have 10, 12, 13, 14, 16 toms. The Tama and Pearl have 2" spacing, with a lot of people like. 8, 10, 12, 14, 16.

Another contender, you might want to look at, is the Mapex Armory. It has a birch/maple/birch shell. It's in the price range you're looking at, and while it usually seems to sell as a 6 piece (two up, two down) .... I've seen add on 8" toms for it on eBay. So if you really want a three up, two down kit, that's can be had.
 

JustJames

Platinum Member
Add Mapex Saturns to your choice set. Nutty walnut goodness to blend with the syrupy maple sweetness.


Yes, I have a Saturn kit.
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
John, please reconsider your stance against used equipment. A large portion of the nice, mid-priced gear in the brands you are considering typically shows up in as-new condition, and already fitted with better heads. There is a probability that you will find those kits with hardware - a major expense. Plus, saving money on a like-new, used kit will allow you more cash to invest in good cymbals - again, a major expense, and probably the next set of questions you will be asking.

If you are truly looking for an "heirloom" kit, you will need to prepare to spend more money than you currently have budgeted for a lower-mid-level kit. The Pearl Decade and Tama Superstar kits are just fine - either of them - but think of the next-level kits you could buy used for similar new prices:

* The aforementioned Gretsch Renown. These kits are simply phenomenal drums (especially the last series with cast hoops) and are professional quality on every level.



* Same for the Tama Starclassic series. First-class in every way.



* Yamaha Tour Custom Maple. Be forewarned, though - once you get a taste of Yamaha drums, you will be spoiled by their exceptional hardware, not to mention the drums. Get something like a used Maple Custom or Recording Custom set, and find yourself in drumming heaven - permanently.


* Pearl Session Studio Select. Right now the kit includes a free 16X18 floor tom. And prime hard birch/African Mahogany shells. Perfect.


Just think about used, will ya? It's the best bang for the buck. Otherwise, just buy one of the above kits new. Just my two-cents.

GeeDeeEmm
 

john352050

Well-known member
John, please reconsider your stance against used equipment. A large portion of the nice, mid-priced gear in the brands you are considering typically shows up in as-new condition, and already fitted with better heads. There is a probability that you will find those kits with hardware - a major expense. Plus, saving money on a like-new, used kit will allow you more cash to invest in good cymbals - again, a major expense, and probably the next set of questions you will be asking.

If you are truly looking for an "heirloom" kit, you will need to prepare to spend more money than you currently have budgeted for a lower-mid-level kit. The Pearl Decade and Tama Superstar kits are just fine - either of them - but think of the next-level kits you could buy used for similar new prices:

* The aforementioned Gretsch Renown. These kits are simply phenomenal drums (especially the last series with cast hoops) and are professional quality on every level.



* Same for the Tama Starclassic series. First-class in every way.



* Yamaha Tour Custom Maple. Be forewarned, though - once you get a taste of Yamaha drums, you will be spoiled by their exceptional hardware, not to mention the drums. Get something like a used Maple Custom or Recording Custom set, and find yourself in drumming heaven - permanently.


* Pearl Session Studio Select. Right now the kit includes a free 16X18 floor tom. And prime hard birch/African Mahogany shells. Perfect.


Just think about used, will ya? It's the best bang for the buck. Otherwise, just buy one of the above kits new. Just my two-cents.

GeeDeeEmm
Will do man, and many thanks for the detailed reply!

Eesh, those yamaha kits look really nicely made all around...For some reason i have a block when it comes to Yamaha brand in general, only because i hated their dirt bikes haha...but i know that's pointless, completely different things altogether! But at the same time, I always look for brands that just focus on drum manufacturing (like Pearl and Tama)...
If i had the option of trying all these kits out in person, I definitely would...I just don't have the time for such a long drive to any music stores right now.
I'll still look into the Yamaha kits though for sure.

Not being able to check out a kit in person makes buying used very scary when it comes to my price range (for a shell only pack, around $500-$800 tops...for a semi complete kit, like buying hardware/stands, without cymbals around $1.500-$2,000) That last price range is pretty high, simply because I'm wanting to do a rack setup for top toms and 2 crash's, and also a double bass pedal...and that also means getting stuff like a 2-leg hi hat stand, etc...so looking to create a pretty custom kit if at all possible.

Really leaning towards the Pearl Decade shells, mainly because of price (at sites like sweetwater for example, its going for $500)...compared to some of the other kits like the Tama Superstar Classic is a couple hundred more.

So lost in the options!
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
Not being able to check out a kit in person makes buying used very scary when it comes to my price range . . .
On Reverb.com you can always contact the seller and ask how they’ll pad & pack it. I’ve bought several snare drums and a floor tom off of Reverb and always reach out to the seller about how they plan on shipping the item. It’s a no-brainer.

Lotsa good deals to be had there, hmmm. 😵

Don’t forget to consider the hardware, too.
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the Decade Maple drums, so don't let us give you the wrong impression. Pearl had to make concessions in order to meet that price (lighter hoops, tom mounts, fewer lugs, etc.), but they will still sound good and last a lifetime. In fact, you can buy them on Amazon for $429.99 if you are a Prime member. They have very good quality shells, Delmar wrap, and good chrome. If you like them, go for them!

GeeDeeEmm

 

wildbill

Platinum Member
....Leaning towards the Pearl Decade Maple...mainly because of price....
....And i am leaning towards the Pearl Decade Maple, to save a couple hundred bucks...
....Looks like the Pearl is cheaper, which is always nice...but you pay for what ya get....
....Any thoughts on the Pearl Decade maple? ....
....Really leaning towards the Pearl Decade shells, mainly because of price (at sites like sweetwater for example, its going for $500)...

It seems pretty obvious to me that you've got your mind made up to get the Decade Maples. ;)

Enjoy them. (y)

I've got the newer version of the Yamaha Tour Customs and think they're great.
Probably a bit above what you want so spend, and they're new enough that used ones are hard to come by.
I'm sure you'll like the Pearl set though.
 

gish

Senior Member
6 lugs on a 16 drum with thin hoops can be problematic. I was considering a decade maple 13-16-24 kit a while back; I passed on it due to the 6 lug floor Tom. I would look for 2.3 hoops for that floor Tom if you go with the Pearls.
 
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