Pearl Masters Maple/Gum Question

Mcdonap

Member
Hello DW experts,

I have been interested in the Pearl Masters Maple/Gum since it was announced.
Unfortunately, I've never played (or even seen) one in "real life". I've done plenty of research and watched all of the videos online.
I was wondering if anyone owns one of these sets or has had some first hand experience with them?

I look forward to any help you can give me.
 

C.M. Jones

Diamond Member
I play only Pearl, in case you haven't gathered that affiliation, and I'm of the opinion that the Session Studio Select series outshines the Masters at the moment. The birch/African mahogany pairing of the Sessions stands alone in its character and tonality. Quality-wise, the Sessions are phenomenal. The build is rock-solid, and the sixty-degree bearing edges add an interesting serving of uncommon personality.

At the same time, I've loved my Masters sets too. I don't want to discourage you if you have your heart set on one. They're top-quality drums that will do whatever you ask of them.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
I haven't played them in real life, but I think they are some of the best sounding drums on the market right now. They sound nothing like the standard Masters Maple. (which is a good thing because the regular Masters Maple sound lackluster to me).

I would have no problem ordering the Maple/Gum online, and I'm not even a huge Pearl fan. They sing just like the Gretsch USA Customs, which is probably why they cost just as much. I'm bummed that Pearl felt they had to match the USA Custom price instead of making them more affordable like the rest of their Masters line. They slapped 2 plies of Gum onto their Maple shells, and hiked the price by $1700. Purely a marketing decision I think, but in the end it's worth it for that amazing sound.

I'm a super nerd when it comes to evaluating kits through Youtube demos. Of all the kits out there, I think the Pearl Masters Maple/Gum are in my Top 3. They have great tone, and a clean and clear attack. Really close to the Sonor SQ2 Maple kits, IMHO, and that's saying something! Just my opinion though.

Anyway, I'd have zero problem ordering them without playing them first. I'm that confident. When I was searching for the perfect kit 2 years ago, I found the Gretsch Renowns to be the best sounding kit for my price range. And I ordered them without having played them first. Best decision I ever made. This Maple/Gum kit is giving me those same vibes.
 

Mcdonap

Member
I would have no problem ordering the Maple/Gum online, and I'm not even a huge Pearl fan. They sing just like the Gretsch USA Customs, which is probably why they cost just as much. I'm bummed that Pearl felt they had to match the USA Custom price instead of making them more affordable like the rest of their Masters line. They slapped 2 plies of Gum onto their Maple shells, and hiked the price by $1700. Purely a marketing decision I think, but in the end it's worth it for that amazing sound.
When Pearl first announced the Maple/Gum, I was hoping for USA Custom at the regular Masters price. Unfortunately, they are priced like USA Customs. I suppose that's one reason why I haven't ordered them (yet).
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
When Pearl first announced the Maple/Gum, I was hoping for USA Custom at the regular Masters price. Unfortunately, they are priced like USA Customs. I suppose that's one reason why I haven't ordered them (yet).
I wanna know if Gum wood is truly expensive, or if the price is merely inflated due to the prestige of the USA Customs. I think it may be the latter. $1700 more for 2 extra plies of Gum wood seems extremely high IMO.

If Gum really isn't so expensive...then that leaves a great opportunity for other companies to come out with the "poor man's" USA Customs. A kit in the $1500-2500 range would be awesome.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I checked them out when the debuted at NAMM and they’re very cool. But I concur, if they cost as much as USA Customs, I’d just get the USA Customs and play the originals. As a former Pearl guy, the only lines I’d really be interested in are the Reference and Masterworks, if you wanted something really unique to Pearl. Everything else they make is an answer to something somebody else already makes.
 

TK-421

Senior Member
Just out of curiosity, why are you interested in maple/gum Masters rather than Gretsch USA Customs, which they’re clearly emulating? I honestly don’t see the point of that. If you like the Gretsch sound, simply buy Gretsch.

FWIW, I also checked them out when they came out at NAMM two (?) years ago, and I thought they sounded remarkably close to the USAs. Like almost indistinguishable.
 

Mcdonap

Member
Just out of curiosity, why are you interested in maple/gum Masters rather than Gretsch USA Customs, which they’re clearly emulating? I honestly don’t see the point of that. If you like the Gretsch sound, simply buy Gretsch.

FWIW, I also checked them out when they came out at NAMM two (?) years ago, and I thought they sounded remarkably close to the USAs. Like almost indistinguishable.
Thanks for the information.

I hope my answer doesn't ruffle any feathers... I've always been intrigued by the Gretsch sound, but I've never owned a Gretsch kit. When Pearl first announced these drums and I saw they were in the Masters line, I was hopeful they'd be in the Masters price range. I was disappointed when they weren't, but I still felt they might have a couple of advantages: 6 lugs on the smaller toms (5 seems fine on an 8"), and perhaps overall better build quality. I realize that's just an opinion, but I have seen a number of threads about Gretsch QC and how it may be lacking. If I have to buy a set blind, I feel Pearl may actually be a safer bet.

All that said, I have gone through periods where I actively look at USA Customs on eBay, Reverb, etc. I realize the USA Custom would be easier to sell if I didn't like it. I wouldn't rule them out, but I find myself looking at the Pearl more.

To me they are both expensive sets. I would really want to try them out first but there's just nothing close. (I'd probably have to go to DCP and that's about 4 hours away.) That's why I've just been looking for 2 years.
 
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TK-421

Senior Member
Thanks for the information.

I hope my answer doesn't ruffle any feathers... I've always been intrigued by the Gretsch sound, but I've never owned a Gretsch kit. When Pearl first announced these drums and I saw they were in the Masters line, I was hopeful they'd be in the Masters price range. I was disappointed when they weren't, but I still felt they might have a couple of advantages: 6 lugs on the smaller toms (5 seems fine on an 8"), and perhaps overall better build quality. I realize that's just an opinion, but I have seen a number of threads about Gretsch QC and how it may be lacking. If I have to buy a set blind, I feel I Pearl may actually be a safer bet.

All that said, I have gone through periods where I actively look at USA Customs on eBay, Reverb, etc. I realize the USA Custom would be easier to sell if I didn't like it. I wouldn't rule them out, but I find myself looking at the Pearl more.

To me they are both expensive sets. I would really want to try them out first but there's just nothing close. (I'd probably have to go to DCP and that's about 4 hours away.) That's why I've just been looking for 2 years.
I play Gretsch, and I actually like having 5 lugs on the smaller toms. I'm very anal about getting the tension perfectly even across the head, and I've found that it's easier to achieve that with 5 lugs—because when you tune one tension rod up or down, it has less of an affect on the others. So it's easier to dial in the tuning. As for QC, yes, it did seem like they were having a few issues here and there a while back, but from what I've heard, that's no longer much of an issue. I think this improved QC has coincided with DWs ownership, so there's at least one positive that's come from that.

Long story short, I definitely would not rule out a set of Gretsch USAs since you seem to love that sound (as do I). Don't let these perceived issues persuade you against them. Especially since you'd have to pony up just as much for the Pearls.
 

Mcdonap

Member
I thought I'd update this thread I started 10 months ago!

Obviously it took a very long time but I did end up getting a Gretsch USA Custom kit two weeks ago. I was still going back and forth on Gretsch vs. Pearl when I walked into my local store and the decision was basically made for me.
I mentioned in the "latest purchase" thread that the price on this 3 piece was so good that having been so interested in the line for so long, I felt I couldn't pass it up. In other words, if it took another 10 months to decide and I decided on USA Custom, I would absolutely kick myself for not getting this set at this price.

I never got the chance to try the Pearls, but I have to say I'm very happy with these drums. I was still doing a lot of research into Gretsch and their QC and owners' satisfaction, etc. I'm not sure if I ever would've made a decision, so I'm glad it unfolded this way. I was able to really examine the set and felt good about the QC.

Thanks to all of you for the help on this.
 

Gruntersdad

Honorary Lifetime CEO
Staff member
I thought I'd update this thread I started 10 months ago!

Obviously it took a very long time but I did end up getting a Gretsch USA Custom kit two weeks ago. I was still going back and forth on Gretsch vs. Pearl when I walked into my local store and the decision was basically made for me.
I mentioned in the "latest purchase" thread that the price on this 3 piece was so good that having been so interested in the line for so long, I felt I couldn't pass it up. In other words, if it took another 10 months to decide and I decided on USA Custom, I would absolutely kick myself for not getting this set at this price.

I never got the chance to try the Pearls, but I have to say I'm very happy with these drums. I was still doing a lot of research into Gretsch and their QC and owners' satisfaction, etc. I'm not sure if I ever would've made a decision, so I'm glad it unfolded this way. I was able to really examine the set and felt good about the QC.

Thanks to all of you for the help on this.
Great move on the Gretsch USA, and congrats.
 

TK-421

Senior Member
I thought I'd update this thread I started 10 months ago!

Obviously it took a very long time but I did end up getting a Gretsch USA Custom kit two weeks ago. I was still going back and forth on Gretsch vs. Pearl when I walked into my local store and the decision was basically made for me.
I mentioned in the "latest purchase" thread that the price on this 3 piece was so good that having been so interested in the line for so long, I felt I couldn't pass it up. In other words, if it took another 10 months to decide and I decided on USA Custom, I would absolutely kick myself for not getting this set at this price.

I never got the chance to try the Pearls, but I have to say I'm very happy with these drums. I was still doing a lot of research into Gretsch and their QC and owners' satisfaction, etc. I'm not sure if I ever would've made a decision, so I'm glad it unfolded this way. I was able to really examine the set and felt good about the QC.

Thanks to all of you for the help on this.
Congrats! I think you made the right choice. Like I posted a while back, if you love the Gretsch USA sound, it only makes sense to buy Gretsch USAs—not an imitation.

I‘m sure we’d all love to see some pics!
 
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