Money-saving tips for drummers in a bad economy!


Times are tough for many of us right now, and it seems like it's getting more and more difficult to justify a drum-related purchase, no matter how small or how necessary.

So do you know any tips or tricks to get your gear cheaper, make it last longer, find innovative uses for things, etc.? I'd like to make a list for everyone's benefit (of course, I couldn't find a previous thread about this, so if you happen to find one, please post a link).

I'll start with a brilliant tip courtesy of Concrete Pete (which inspired this thread):

1. "I removed my smallest tom head and took a clothes iron to it, putting the head rim-up on a towel on my hardwood table, with a thin pillowcase over it, so as not to overheat it. After about 20 or so passes with heavy pressure on the iron- VOILA! The head looked brand new, and when mounted back on the shell sounded about 95% better. I did the same process with my other tom heads, and my snare, too- all with the same results. I just saved myself the cost of 4 new heads, and am amazed that such a simple trick works."


Pioneer Member
Re: Money-saving tips for a bad economy!

I just low-balled a guy on craigslist and scored a nice, lightly used Roland e-kit for $450...


Archnemesis of Larryace
I think that a more needed thread would be "Money-EARNING tips for drummers in a bad economy".

If you're looking for money-saving is the time to buy! Check out craigslist, eBay, pawn shops, music stores that carry used gear, etc. There are so many people who are having to sell their gear just to make ends meet this month (or last month). Not only will you score yourself a great deal (they often price their gear low so they can sell it quickly), but you'll also be helping out a fellow musician in need.

It's a tough time, and I'm fortunate enough to still be working, but I know some musicians who are in a pretty bad scenario--they can't score enough gigs to pay their bills, and they can't get a "real" job (who wants to hire someone who has played music for the past 20 years???). They're left in a rut. Just for humanity's sake, please don't low-ball these obviously great deals (unless, of course, you pull up to their 5000+ sq ft mansion to buy their ungrateful child's first custom kit). The people to low-ball are the ones who are re-selling the stuff that you just saw last week on craigslist for outrageously low prices. You know that these people were talking down the people they just bought from. I think the term for them is "flipper", but it should be "vulture"...


Gold Member
Excellent ideas on ironing drum heads to make them last longer.


Senior Member
I have a 6 pc. set of PDP birch drums. I always liked the way they sound but never cared much for the black satin/oiled finish. Been thinking for a while how I would like to sell them a buy a new set. Instead I went on ebay and bought a nice gold sparkle wrap and recovered them. I removed all the hardware and cleaned it up and reinstalled new heads.

They look great and now I have a set of drums that I would be proud to take anywhere.

Total investment was less than $200 and about 8 hours of my time.


Gold Member
I think the term for them is "flipper", but it should be "vulture"...

That's why I can't stand to have garage sales. You get these d*****bags who come and want to buy a bunch of your stuff but only offer a ridiculously low price for everything, like $10.00 and tell you they are "resellers". They act like they are doing you a favor by buying your stuff, all the while talking you down to rock-bottom prices. I tell these vultures, and vultures is a great non-profane name for them, to come back at the last hour of the garage sale on the last day and maybe if it's still there and not sold, we'll talk. Otherwise, get the h*ll off my property!!

Ya, if have an attitude about those dudes! Offer a fair price and that way everybody gets treated fairly. Especially now, in this econmy, some people are selling their stuff just to put food on the table. Respect that!!


Platinum Member
I recently got a 26x16 mid '80s Ludwig blue and olive bass drum and four toms, plus a super classic tom, for the price my first kit (a rock size pearl forum) was new. They're battered and mucky but the kick has cleaned up very nice so far (it's a chrome finish, which more or less matches my supraphonic snare!). So that was good!


I got an entire set of paiste 2002 cymbals, 3 crashes, ride and hats for approximately 45% of what they would have cost new from Ebay. Most of the cymbals are unplayed.

Leverage used!

If I wasn't after a specific "dream kit" I could have had any number of high end kits from ebay or craigslist for the same or less than an intermediate kit. I even passed on a 12-pc Slingerland magnum kit for $800.

There are only two ways to stretch your money for real.

1. Don't buy anything (bad for the economy)
2. Buy used.

What would you rather have for $1,500: a new PDP platinum or a used set of sonor delites?


Silver Member
Also something everyone here should consider is trying to support small, independently owned drum shops. Most times, the owner of the store does it for his or her passion for music, not money. Take Shane from Just Drums for example, he left his previous job to open up a drum shop. (I believe that story is right. Correct me if I'm wrong, Shane). Opening and keeping up a shop is expensive.

...Support small, independently owned music shops.


A used vintage Ludwig Downbeat or Super Classic, with money left over for some same-era cymbals. Oh, so nice!

Yup. A dream kit can be a goal much easier realized through shopping and patience.

I'd like a classic kit if I had the funds.


Being carefull when your lugging around your gear will and always put your cymbals in bags when your not using them. I heardabout someone who left a ride out and someone stamped on it and turned it inside out.


Archnemesis of Larryace
Being carefull when your lugging around your gear will and always put your cymbals in bags when your not using them. I heardabout someone who left a ride out and someone stamped on it and turned it inside out.

Also, keep an eye on your gear, especially when it's in cases. I've heard too many horror stories from local musicians about how they "just turned their back for a second" and their stuff was gone--INSIDE the club. I'm an advocate of not leaving your gear in your car, in the alley as you make your second trip, behind or next to the stage in a crowded venue. I'm a little protective, but that's because I've had gear stolen in the past, multiple times, in the seemingly most unlikely of places. Where I am that evening before and after I play, I'm always within eyeshot of my gear, unless I have somebody who I trust keeping a watchful eye over it.
Find the money gigs.

There's a small town near me called Metamora, IL that has a Coffee house/religious center that doubles as a decent sized 200 cap venue at night. Tiny stage, and small PA (Kick and vocals only), but medium sized nationals come through quite often, and the kids there have nothing else to do. Always a good turn-out, even if you hit it up often. My band plays there once a month or so and its always good for 100 kids, and growing every time. Plus the people there go nuts which is awesome. Watching from the drum riser while people climb the stage and dive off is a pretty good feeling :) Not to mention, good turnout = good pay, and high merch sales.

Another great way for extra money if you can put up with it is teaching. I've done it a lot in the past, and made the best cash per hour of my life, but if you're not the teacher type it is the most frustrating, hair pulling, head-against-wall activity you will ever undertake. I can't handle it anymore personally. Plus I don't sight-read music very well, never have.


Junior Member
I picked up a used Pacific LX (10,12,14,16,22 + 14 snare) last week for $700 that were in 100% new condition. I took the all the hardware except the basspedal which I didn't need.

They were stickered at $925, but with the slow economy, no kits above 500-600 range had been selling. Plus, the salesmen admitted they're so loaded with people hacking off their used gear that they're loaded and rarely taking anything in. I told the guy (jokingly) that I'd give $500 for the LX's, he laughed but then said he'd take $750. We took off another $50 for him keeping the pedal.

He tried to get me to take a used DW 4-piece kit off their hands instead, said he'd take $1,500 for them. I was VERY tempted, but decided I didn't need to spend that much, plus the fact they were a green pearl finish and I wasn't fond of that finish at all.

If the economy isn't effecting you, it's a buyer's market for about anything used.


Senior Member
I've drummed for years, but never had much money to spend on equipment.
The best cheap deals I've done,,,
1) Want a different sound cheap? Try a sawblade! It has a whole to mount on a cymbal stand already, and a decent sounding blade (I use a Ryobi 10") can be had for under $20.
2) I built a cowbell pedal out of wood that was lying around the basement. You want to be able to mount a cowbell pedal next to your primary bass, not by your hihat. Cowbells are meant to complement the bass. Total investment: $5.
3) I built a rack to hang cymbals down and mount roto toms above the set. Aluminum pipe from Lowes hardware (in the fence department) was cheap, and I just added some pre-drilled metal crossbars, also from Lowes. Total cost: around $120.
4) Ebay. I've bought extra roto toms and extra cymbals there, watching for good deals, usually at 1/2 to 1/3 what I could get at a music store.
My set has 4 bass drums, orchestra chimes, 20 toms, 17 cymbals. Total cash investment is less than $2000. The chimes alone retail for more than the value of my set!
Note: I got the chimes, which were "broken" (the muffling pedal didn't work) from a local high school, who traded me for 2 marching snares, One was given to me because it didn't work (had a loose screw inside) and one I got at a yard sale for $40.


Silver Member
I think the term for them is "flipper", but it should be "vulture"...

That's why I can't stand to have garage sales. You get these d*****bags who come and want to buy a bunch of your stuff but only offer a ridiculously low price for everything, like $10.00

...I look at garage sales as a way of having people pay me money to take the crap that I am too lazy to take to the dump.