Looking for a good gigging shell pack for jazz and jazz fusion! Somewhere in the $300-$400 range.

Clev

New member
Hi!

First thread here on drummerworld, just looking for some advice. I am currently on the search for a good shell pack to replace my current rather crappy set I've used only for practice since I was a kid. I'm now beginning to gig semi-frequently, and need some better equipment. I can manage cymbals as it is, but simply need better drums. I found this pack on guitar center (https://www.guitarcenter.com/Used/PDP-by-DW/MX-SERIES-Drum-Kit-115489015.gc) which seemed like a decent deal for the price of that kit. But am not too sure if it would suit my needs too well. I also found a sonar safari shell pack for $300~ and found out that it would probably serve me pretty well. Just wanted to consult some other drummers who are more knowledgeable than myself before I purchase anything.

This Gretsch kit also seemed like a pretty good deal. (https://www.guitarcenter.com/Used/Gretsch-Drums/Catalina-Birch-Drum-Kit.gc), and a yamaha stage pack as well (https://www.guitarcenter.com/Used/Yamaha/Stage-Custom-Drum-Kit-115828941.gc)
The only problem is obviously that both these kits are used.
 
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Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I think you might have better luck looking for a used Pearl Export or Decade Maple. Especially if you're going to be gigging one kit, they should be somewhat standard sizes so you can fill the bill of whatever music you're playing. I've owned all the small little kits (safari, catalina, breakbeats...) and while nice and compact, when and if I ever had to slam out a rock tune, they're just not built for that unless you mic them up. I'd rather depend on my technique to play soft and use bigger drums that will go with me whenever I need that, so standard 10/12/16/22, or 12/13/16/22 would be a good choice in sizes, then you can work with anybody. I've seen used Pearl Vision and Exports on the used market in excellent shape in that $300-400 range (I'm even trying to sell my Vision kit with 5.5" Sensitone steel snare for $400). Small is cool, but a lot of people who have small kits, also have bigger ones when they need the firepower.
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
I'm admittedly biased but I like the Yamaha kit - a lot. I like the color and the fact that the floor tom is 16 inches.

The modern birch Stage Customs tune up easily and project well which makes them well suited for acoustic shows. Additionally, Yamaha kits are consistently well made and they stand up well to travel.
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
No one with a $300-$400 budget should be looking at new kits.....

There. I said it.

Go to Craigslist for your area, look for a top brand four or five piece "standard" sized kit with a 20" bass drum in your price range. Look at Pearl, Yamaha, Tama, Sonor, Mapex, Ludwig....etc. etc. etc.

Find one or two you like, and bring the most drum or instrument knowledgeable friend you have with you to check them out.

Use some common sense and your gut before you make an offer.

There are just too many good deals to be had out there and with a little patience and some luck you can get way more bang for your buck than buying one of those other kits new.

That's how I would play it anyway...

Good luck in your quest!
 
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Are these sets in your region? I'd probably have a look at the Yamahas:
- portable sizes and good sizes for your music
- good hardware, floor tom with legs (easily set up on every stage)
- the Catalina snares don't receive a lot of praise
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
The good thing is the quality of low-mid range kits is amazing compared to years gone by.

A used yamaha stage custom/tama superstar/gretsch catalina/pearl built over the last 10 years will do the job. Just make sure it hasn't had the crap beat out of it.

Word of warning with Pearl Exports. There are tons of them with poor hardware from 80s/90s that will take more money to refurb than they are worth. The tom posts have a habit of failing and I'm not sure they used memory locks came as standard then. I'm biased as Pearl Exports were the bane of my life growing up and in rehearsal studios!
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Those Mapex Mars birch kits are inexpensive-they have a 13/16/24, 10/12/16/22, and a bop kit 10/14/18 that might fit your needs. I've never played one but the price is tempting.
 

rustyfingers

Senior Member
I'm admittedly biased but I like the Yamaha kit - a lot. I like the color and the fact that the floor tom is 16 inches.

The modern birch Stage Customs tune up easily and project well which makes them well suited for acoustic shows. Additionally, Yamaha kits are consistently well made and they stand up well to travel.
Unless that's a 16" snare, the floor tom in the Yamaha kit is 14". GC is not very good about sizing their drums in the used market.

With that being said, my vote is the Yamaha. Yamaha is pretty good about matching their finishes so you could easily pick up a 16" floor tom later if needed.
 
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yammyfan

Senior Member
Unless that's a 16" snare, the floor tom in the Yamaha kit is 14". GS is not very good about sizing their drums in the used market.

With that being said, my vote is the Yamaha. Yamaha is pretty good about matching their finishes so you could easily pick up a 16" floor tom later if needed.
Ah, I see what you see there. I read the description and didn't really look at the photo. The snare stacked on top of the floor tom gives it away as a 14", not a 16.

I still really like that kit. Those fusion sizes are pretty common. I own three fusion kits and have no issues with any of them. I can get the floor tom nice and low even at that size. Easy to transport too.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
The Sonor Safari is nice if you're playing quiet jazz gigs exclusively. But don't throw away $400 on any of those kits. You'll just want to replace it after six months. Buy once, cry once.

Used Gretsch Renown is probably the best value, or maybe Yamaha Stage Custom. For jazz and fusion sizes, stick with 20-12-14. For hardware, the Yamaha 700 series, single-braced, is the go-to.
 

Mr Farkle

Active member
You can get the SPL bop shell pack for $199 on MF right now. All birch shells, 18b 10t 13ft 14sn.

I have this kit at a practice space. It's surprisingly well built (for the price, obviously) and very useable. I don't have the snare and would be surprised if that was at all good. The rest of the kit is fine.

The resonant heads are a similar material to that used on toy drums. Very thin one ply smooth plastic. That said the 13" floor tom sounds really good so I haven't changed that head. I did change others. Well within the price range and for $199 you don't have to worry about gigging dings and dents.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Gretsch Catalina Club. Perfect for gigging, recording, whatever.
I don't know. We have two of them in the teaching studio. One of the snares is "ehhh", and the other is just terrible. The hoops are flimsy and the rods are backing out. Not a fan of the tom mount. No memory locks on the floor tom legs. Cheap bass drum hoops, cheap lugs. The 18" kicks are cool -- just need to port and/or muffle to get a punchy sound, if that's what the gig call for. The Catalina's are fine, if they're just going to stay put and never move. But to gig? Better to save up.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
I've seen that SPL bop kit at GC. I think it's an OK deal for $199, but the OP might be looking to upgrade soon if he gets that.

IMO - it's OK for practice, but might be a little lacking for actually playing gigs. YMMV

That red Stage Custom with the 20" bass drum linked to in the first post would be well worth the extra money.
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
I don't know. We have two of them in the teaching studio. One of the snares is "ehhh", and the other is just terrible. The hoops are flimsy and the rods are backing out. Not a fan of the tom mount. No memory locks on the floor tom legs. Cheap bass drum hoops, cheap lugs. The 18" kicks are cool -- just need to port and/or muffle to get a punchy sound, if that's what the gig call for. The Catalina's are fine, if they're just going to stay put and never move. But to gig? Better to save up.
Catalina snares are the worst snares from a major name I have played or seen.

Same issues-hoops bend under tension, stripped lugs...not to mention their notorious snare beds.

Just "ugh"
 
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