Is a high-end drum really better, and what does that mean anyway?

KamaK

Platinum Member
I do like the fact that machined parts are brought up.

I've always had the suspicion that those super-inexpensive castings are just a scam where a waste disposal company bills us to pick up our heavy metals (lead), ships them to China, then inserts them into the casting ecosystem so that we pay them to re-acquire our hazardous waste in the form of lugs, which then goes into our steel recycling ecosystem, where we extract these impurities, and pay a waste disposal company to pick them up, which sends them to China, where they are inserted into castings, etc, etc.

With machined parts, you usually know exactly what you're getting, despite the 4x cost increase.
 

MarkFreeman

New member
Great blog post. I’ve found this to be true with a lot of things in life. Several years ago my wife and I both pledged to focus on quality and less on saving money just to be cheap. It’s a decision that has paid off not only in less frustration but also in the joy that I find using the stuff we’ve bought. That’s true of instruments, electronics, and even kitchen gear.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I like seeing support for the boutique builders. They offer stuff that's not readily available.

That creates value, for those that value passionate hand craftsmanship, by people who play drums. Plus their name is on it.

I'm thankful that the boutique drum building community is alive and well.

When you have a really great instrument that fits perfect like an old baseball glove, I contend that it saves money because temptation is pretty much eliminated.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
When you have a really great instrument that fits perfect like an old baseball glove, I contend that it saves money because temptation is pretty much eliminated.
That statement is perfectly rational in theory, and I do think it applies to many of us. For instance, I'm quite satisfied with my setup at the moment, and I have no intention of changing any aspect of it in the foreseeable future. It's conceivable, in fact, that I'll be playing the same drums and cymbals ten years from now, having added nothing to my lineup at all. For some, however, temptation is endless. The tendency to acquire gear sometimes has nothing to do with playing it. It's about shopping for it, ordering it, unboxing it, and experiencing it for the first time. The high fades fast, and consumers find themselves repeating the process only days later. Retailers love it. They're the only ones who benefit in the long run.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I think it depends on the person. I prefer build quality over build materials. A well built drum is exactly that. A drum can have primo materials but still be a poor build.

I'm not saying one way or the other boutique vs big name. Both can (and have) put out both amazing and crap products. If I cant get my hands on and inspect a drum, I'm buying Pearl without question. If I can get my hands on it, I'll let the workmanship and my wallet make the decision.
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
I believe the writer is correct on many points, expressed his views well (even if slightly self serving).

Assuming the discussion is of concert snare drums I agree that an unhindered shell is best for the gretest possible dynamic range and getting the most out of the tonewood of choice. I have an appreciation for hand crafted instruments like these and others.

Once we start slamming FF blast beat rimshots under a microphone at a festival, I'm not sure these fine-acoustic details are noticeable.
Akin to the redneck bride who wears a white gown to her wedding to end jumping into the mud hole afterwards...

Choose the sound that tickles your ears within your budget. Shop with your eyes lastly.
 
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wraub

Well-known member
This same discussion comes up on bass forums too... "Is a $2,000 bass that much better than a $200 bass?"
The general consensus is that the workmanship is undoubtedly better, but that a high-end instrument's "value" to a player needn't necessarily be tied to that instrument's price.

Personally speaking, one of my basses , by far my least expensive, cost $200 new, and I got it as new for less than $50. It is well made and giggable.
It is not ever going to be mistaken for a high-end instrument, but, to the average music fan, it's a pretty, red, big guitar. It's up to me to deliver with it. ;)
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
To Larry’s comment...there’s a lot of truth to that. For some it’s just a non issue. Some will go on forever making do with most anything and that’s just fine. I can’t tinker with things endlessly to save a buck. I save by limiting my hobbies and the things I buy in general. When I buy, I try and get what I want, so I don’t keep wishing I had something else. That rarely means top of the line for me, but rather does it give me what I’m looking for.

With cars it’s reliability, comfort and some level of performance that keep me smiling. Usually, if I push one too far, I have to compromise on the others, so I end up somewhere in the middle. Same with audio equipment. I have speakers I bought in the early 90s that still put a smile on my face. They were far from the upper echelon then price wise, but sound wise they were killer then and still better than 90% of what I hear today.

With my Brooklyns, they sound great, have a great tuning range, stay in tune far longer than any drums I owned previously and they just keep me loving the purchase. Would have loved a set of boutique drums, but like the other two above, I usually stick with what gives me the best of all options for me. Not knocking anyone who goes for the top shelf stuff, but there’s a happy point for me. Anything below that and I’ve wasted money swapping stuff.
 

jimb

Member
This same discussion comes up on bass forums too... "Is a $2,000 bass that much better than a $200 bass?"

Nope, go to any bar gig, festival, ...it all sounds like mush out in the audience. The only peeps who win with all this are the manufacturers and retailers.....
 

Jml

Senior Member
My Yamaha Stage Custom kit (purchased used) sounds like it cost a lot more than it actually did.....

If I had an extra $5,000 lying around, I would put it towards my kids college fund, not a drum kit. But that’s just me.
 

CommanderRoss

Silver Member
Great blog!

I for one feel any boutique drum builder will say they offer far better value for your money than cheap because if they didn't, you'd just go out & buy cheap...and that would affect their bottom line. I had this very talk with a guy from Varus drums out of Italy just last week.

That being said, he's spot on about how quality parts will make the drum sound (and last) the ages. Plus, you'll be more inclined to take care of your high priced instrument far more than you would one that's cheap & mass produced.

He summed it up best with this: "Get behind the wheel of a high-end auto and you’ll instantly understand that it performs and responds better than the typical family car – in fact it’s a joy to drive, not just transportation, and it has many features that’ll help you to handle it well."
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
He summed it up best with this: "Get behind the wheel of a high-end auto and you’ll instantly understand that it performs and responds better than the typical family car – in fact it’s a joy to drive, not just transportation, and it has many features that’ll help you to handle it well."
And a Honda Civic is much better built in every aspect compared to any Cadillac or Lincoln ever. Again, build is king. All the leather and woodgrain in the world doesnt keep the bumper from falling off. Who cares about any of that stuff if the car dont start?
 
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