More new drums!

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I think that the Design Series has a similar relationship to the Collectors Series that the first generation of Gretsch Renowns had to the USA Customs of the day. Build quality and features are similar enough that you would be hard pressed to hear a difference between them all things (heads and tuning) being equal. There is a difference, but it is small.

There are still perfectly good reasons for going with any company's top of the line kits but these kits that are within one or two models of the top will give you 80-90% of the performance and features for about 50% of the cost.
Considering what I paid for these Design drums, I will, for the record, state that Collector's series drums are not $3500 better than these. In fact, these being as nice as they are at this price, means I'm not gonna freak out at the first scratch or worry if I'm playing a backyard party with these. Yet at the same time, it's not some cheap Yamaha Gigmaker ;)
 

Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
Great score!
That lacquer finish is indeed superb. I bet that kick just resonates the room too!
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I wonder why the keep the higher line PDP by DW around, when the Design series can be had for about the same? The smaller lugs do in fact help those drums sing. It's what I dug about the PDP platinums when they first came out. masterfully made and lugs that weight ounces instead of pounds! Better hoops and better made shells put them in a category of their own at the time, then deleted and offered as the Performer series with similar build and specs. The Design series are a nice kit. Great find! I bet that 8" actually sings. All I ever got out of my MX series was "boink!!!" The heavy oval lugs just killed that one, followed by the 10.
 

averageguy

Junior Member
So I couldn't pass these up. Especially considering the price. These are those DW Design series piano black drums that were a special for 2020, and now dealers that still have them are kinda' blowing them out. So I picked up all the drums you could get - the shell pack which consists of 8x10,9x12,14x16 toms, and 18x22 bass drum, and the add-on 7x8 rack tom, and 12x14 floor tom. I'm using my Collectors 6.5x14 nickel over brass snare with this.

Being new to these Taiwan-made DW drums, I must say I was completely surprised. The piano black gloss lacquer finish is perfectly done. The bearing edges are well-cut, and the wood shells are just pristine. I was always a fan of the bigger Collector's turret lugs, but these little turrets lugs aren't bad - I think the shells sing a little better with less metal on the drum. The one pet peeve that doesn't work right is the memory locks for the floor tom legs. I normally put the locks on the legs down at the bottom, and when I find where I like the drum set, then I slide the memory lock up and clamp it against the bracket. Well, the drag is is that you can't do this. The memory lock doesn't clear the rim when the leg is tightened against in the bracket. After some inspection, the brackets work well without a memory lock, so I just took the memory licks off.

The heads that come on the kit are basically clear ambassadors top and bottom, with a clear Powerstroke 3-type head on the bass drum. I immediately installed some coated Evans G2's and an Aquarian Force I bass drum head head. Another pet peeve is that the little muffling pillows they supplied with the bass drum are WHITE. I know DW makes them in black, so I can't fathom why you wouldn't include black muffling pillows with a piano BLACK lacquer kit.

Here's a thing I LOVE about this kit - the tension rods, although not regular rods still, have less threads than the ones they put on the Collectors kit. So it takes less spinning to tighten or loosen the tension rods. I was beginning to complain about changing heads on my Collectors' kit because if you don't use a drill, it takes FOREVER to remove all the rods. This one doesn't take that long at all - and I did it by hand with two drum keys. So for this improvement alone, it's worth it to check out the Design series.

Over the last day or so, I've been having alot of fun with this kit. I have a gig with it this Friday so that will be the maiden voyage. This kit even made me re-think that "reverse angle" cymbal thing that so many people do. Since I now have three rack toms, I didn't want to position my cymbals higher so I can access the toms, so I tried just angling them up and away from me, and lo and behold, that works for me! I feel like an old dog learning a new trick - it's kinda inspiring.

So after only playing Collector's drums all these years, I think this lower line is great. And of course, knowing these are now discontinued, I'm semi-unique in the DW Design world with a finish that fits everything. My cherry wood Collector's kit doesn't really fit in well with the Devo tribute band, but solid black will - and it's a black that can survive sitting in the sun if it has to.
The Design series seems like such a solid/smart buy. I've personally never seen a bad review of them that I can remember. I've had a myriad of issues with my health over the past several years, but if I can ever get back behind the kit I would probably buy a Design shell pack. I've never gone wrong with DW pedals and accessories personally. I only wish that DW would do a natural finish kit with the Design. Glad you are happy with your kit. And for whatever it's worth I love it when guys post reviews and photos of their new kits. The more the better in my view. I think it helps those who might be shopping for a kit in the future.
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
Can we all just appreciate how much an All-Maple kit like this would've cost 20-25 years ago? It's amazing how far drum manufacturing has come.
Amen to that. I'm on my second Maple kit now and I honestly prefer Maple over Birch. I dig the warmth of Maple just a bit more. These new kits are so well made that all of that Maple goodness really comes through.
 

gish

Senior Member
I might not be the first, but I think I may be one of the first Design owners on this forum, and sung their praises since bringing them home. To all of you newer, enthusiastic owners of these fine drums, I’d like to heartily say....YOU’RE WELCOME!!! Seriously though, the Designs are fine drums; glad to see you guys like yours just as much as I like mine.
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
I might not be the first, but I think I may be one of the first Design owners on this forum, and sung their praises since bringing them home. To all of you newer, enthusiastic owners of these fine drums, I’d like to heartily say....YOU’RE WELCOME!!! Seriously though, the Designs are fine drums; glad to see you guys like yours just as much as I like mine.
If I'm being honest, they're a bigger bargain than even the Gretsch Renown series and that's saying a lot. If I had bought my Designs first I probably would not have bought the Renowns. Make no mistake though - the Renowns are superb drums and worth every penny.

Edit: I should qualify that statement. I paid full retail for my Renowns and that included a snare, a tom holder and pro heads all around. My DWs are the "Blowout" piano black model and didn't include the tom mounts or a snare. I put all new heads on them too. Still, paid only slightly more than half as much as my Gretsch kit.
 
Last edited:

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
$999 USD. I picked up mine for $1299 CDN which is about the same given the exchange rate.
And I believe when they were released
For 2020, they were in that $1600 range for the shell pack. So the $999 for the pack, $187 for the 8”, and $300 for the 14”, I think the $1500 range isn’t bad for a new set of six drums. And once these are gone, you’re done. I think the Design does that matte black instead, and that may be a wrap. The only other kit in this range with gloss black lacquer would be Yamaha’s Stage Custom in raven black. Much cheaper and more sizes offered, but then those are birch - there’s no maple option.
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
And I believe when they were released
For 2020, they were in that $1600 range for the shell pack. So the $999 for the pack, $187 for the 8”, and $300 for the 14”, I think the $1500 range isn’t bad for a new set of six drums. And once these are gone, you’re done. I think the Design does that matte black instead, and that may be a wrap. The only other kit in this range with gloss black lacquer would be Yamaha’s Stage Custom in raven black. Much cheaper and more sizes offered, but then those are birch - there’s no maple option.
The regular priced Designs are a little over $2200 in Canada, with the snare included. That's what makes the $1299 edition such a smoking deal, regardless of the fact that a snare isn't included. It's not like they're a weird colour either. Piano Black is timeless.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
The regular priced Designs are a little over $2200 in Canada, with the snare included. That's what makes the $1299 edition such a smoking deal, regardless of the fact that a snare isn't included. It's not like they're a weird colour either. Piano Black is timeless.
That piano black is why I couldn’t pass them up either. Black just works in every situation (especially my Devo band). My Rogers kit is black, but it’s wrapped and id be afraid to leave those out in the sun. Imagine back in the 80s when Yamaha had Steve Gadd With a
Piano black kit. Just about turned the industry upside down. Now black lacquer can be common for people in the cheap seats!
 
Top