Lessons from trying to go cheap

oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
In my opinion the title from this thread is a little misleading and should have been 'Lessons from trying to go vintage'..

Because i doubt that with normal usage for example a nowadays Export set within a year will fall apart like that with frequent stage use..

Ofcourse not when hitting and using that drum set like a caveman..
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
Wow. Taiwan-made?
I think that the Birch Customs were only made in Japan. Now, the Stage Customs might have been made in Taiwan but I don't know for certain. My Stage Customs were made in Indonesia. The current all-birch kits are made in China.

I don't doubt that some folks have had troubles with Yamaha gear in the past. Heck, the whole point of drums is to move them from place to place and then beat on them once they get there 😁

That said, I think Yamaha's reputation for durability is well documented. It's still prudent to bring some spare parts, no matter what.
 

Lennytoons

Senior Member
I've got an attic full of orphan drums that I may or may not ever get to. I have two Acrolite snares from the 70s that I rehabbed and am about to sell along with some Pearl W5 shells and lots of other odds and ends. I'm tempted just to sell everything as is and buy a Ludwig Classic maple kit. I do enjoy tinkering with drums but I don't have enough time for it. Usually when I block out time for it I end up practicing. Plus, there's almost no way to recoup your cost and time with vintage stuff. If I break even I'm happy.
 

ottog1979

Senior Member
Perhaps just me, but I always felt that "vintage" hardware was mostly crap compared to modern. Certain shells may age well and sound fine but the hardware I played with back in the day stunk.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
In my opinion the title from this thread is a little misleading and should have been 'Lessons from trying to go vintage'..

Because i doubt that with normal usage for example a nowadays Export set within a year will fall apart like that with frequent stage use..

Ofcourse not when hitting and using that drum set like a caveman..
No. I got the title right. It just so happens when you try to go cheap, you end up with drums of the vintage nature. And the shells are fine - you just neglect the fact that the little metal bits of the kit are fatigued after living or being abused for the last 40 years. You're right, any kit only a year old would not fall apart. The Export kit I was using was built in the 80s. That makes it vintage.

But one thing I do notice, is how well a drum takes the pounding. For instance, some cheaper drums (even non-vintage) do not handle the pounding very well and choke out. If I apply the same amount of force to one of my Reference drums with the same type of head, those drums can take the pressure. This is always hard to judge if you're in a shop trying things. All drums sound great when played lightly or with fingers. It's when you get them out in front of an audience trying to battle through the sound of a band is the pressure-capability made apparent.
So, if you're playing light sambas with a Sergio Mendes-type band, then yeah, those old Slingerlands from 1955 would be fine. If you want to play Led Zeppelin music, you'll definitely need to up your game, gear-wise to 1970s ;)
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
No. I got the title right. It just so happens when you try to go cheap, you end up with drums of the vintage nature. And the shells are fine - you just neglect the fact that the little metal bits of the kit are fatigued after living or being abused for the last 40 years. You're right, any kit only a year old would not fall apart. The Export kit I was using was built in the 80s. That makes it vintage.
With other instruments, I tend to do a periodic overhaul. For example, in the road-cases of my 76' Les Pauls are ziplock bags containing the original tuners, bridges, pickguards, strap pegs, etc. Currently, only the wood and pickups are original. All of the other components are OEM replacements. The pickups have been overhauled/re-dipped, the fret board has been refretted, etc

For some reason, I had just imagined drums were the same. When a swivel nut succumbs to fatigue, you simply replace them all, and put the originals in a ziplock in case you re-sell to a collector/purist/zealot (whatever you call those guys where everything needs to be 100% original).

There was a post not long ago that threw me. Someone had posted a pic of a DW5000 with a sprocket that had been reduced to unrecognizable nubs. It had fewer teeth than (insert your own offensive joke). The post was a bit of a prideful boast, and admittedly well deserved for the amount of effort and time it would take to wear a chain-sprocket to the extent presented. I was curious and inquired whether lubrication was ever used and received a little internet flack. The answer turned out to be "no". It was also suggested by many others that very few people undertake this type of maintenance outside of restoration projects.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I agree that there comes a time when one should consider stepping up when the time is right.

The one and only time I did a night-after-night "tour," I actually played keys and bass. We did an 11-week tour where we played 6 nights a week in a different spot every night. On weeks where we stayed at a camp, we played at least twice a day. None of this counts rehearsal time. If you are like me, you will be amazed at how fast you stop caring about finishes and cool little accessories on whatever gear you are playing. All you care about after about a week or so is that it works, and that it works well night after night. The group I played with provided a pretty nice keyboard and a P-bass for me to play with. They were decent-quality instruments because the last thing you need is something breaking down whenever you're playing out in BFE about 3 hours from anything remotely resembling a music store.

For probably the first 10 years of me playing music, my friends and I always play crap gear. I had (and still have) a set of Tama Rockstars from the early 1990s, and I probably had the nicest instrument that anyone else had at the time. They all played off-brand guitars, crummy amps, and sang through a half-blown PA system. Granted, we had an absolute blast doing so, but good gosh our gear was horrid.

There's something really nice about showing up to play somewhere knowing that my gear is going to sound pretty darn good anywhere I go and there's a low likelihood of anything breaking. I like to concentrate on my playing as opposed to worrying about something not working like it should.
 

gish

Senior Member
Shell hardware for the win. I too went cheaper for a bit; owned a current version Stage Custom for a short while. Sounded fine; my main issue was bass drum spurs. Seemed very cheap and flimsy. They didn’t inspire confidence for the long haul. My Starclassic kit on the other hand is built like a tank. Rock solid shell hardware and spurs. I feel like I can tune any kit to sound good. The kits I really look for these days are the lower priced pro models; Saturns, Starclassic B/B or W/B, Pearl Sessions, etc. Solid drums with strong hardware; great value. Those kits can often be found used for similar money as a new Stage Custom or equivalent.
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
Shell hardware for the win. I too went cheaper for a bit; owned a current version Stage Custom for a short while. Sounded fine; my main issue was bass drum spurs. Seemed very cheap and flimsy. They didn’t inspire confidence for the long haul. My Starclassic kit on the other hand is built like a tank. Rock solid shell hardware and spurs. I feel like I can tune any kit to sound good. The kits I really look for these days are the lower priced pro models; Saturns, Starclassic B/B or W/B, Pearl Sessions, etc. Solid drums with strong hardware; great value. Those kits can often be found used for similar money as a new Stage Custom or equivalent.
and.....

"We have a WINNER!"

Best advice in the thread award goes to..."gish"!
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
The kits I really look for these days are the lower priced pro models; Saturns, Starclassic B/B or W/B, Pearl Sessions, etc. Solid drums with strong hardware; great value. Those kits can often be found used for similar money as a new Stage Custom or equivalent.
I have a friend who is selling a 6-piece set of those Pearl Sessions that have the birch/kapur shells. Good lord those things rival just about anything I've ever heard.
 

gish

Senior Member
I have a friend who is selling a 6-piece set of those Pearl Sessions that have the birch/kapur shells. Good lord those things rival just about anything I've ever heard.
Guitar Center has 4 or 5 of those kits for sale in their used section, all in the mid $600 range. Excellent value, very well built drums. Looks wise they’re kind of plain, but one of these kits used is a far better buy than any new Stage Custom or equivalent. Not even close IMO.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Guitar Center has 4 or 5 of those kits for sale in their used section, all in the mid $600 range. Excellent value, very well built drums. Looks wise they’re kind of plain, but one of these kits used is a far better buy than any new Stage Custom or equivalent. Not even close IMO.
Yup, if there was ever a "sleeper" drum set, this one be one of them. At this point I don't need a beater kit, but if I did, I'd look into these. They would more than do the job!
 
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