Pearl vs. DW Drums Which do you prefer?

Yamaha Rider

Well-known member
Didn’t Ginger Baker make his first set of drums out of “Perspex”? I think I read that in a MD interview long ago. Not sure what that stuff is, but if that was what he was using in the beginning with Cream, then what do we know?

I stand behind my statement that after you get past a certain point, they’re all good. Any argument against, or “not hearing it” is totally subjective. Pick a finish, pick hardware you like, and go with that, is about the best advice you can get. I’ve played and owned most all of the big lines by now (except for Sonor’s SQ2), not including the really upscale “small names”, and you just pick a philosophy you like and play them til they break! I like all the big name brands, they all sound great. There’s always something not to like from every brand, so maybe you should identify those and see what you can live with.

If you live near Los Angeles, I’ve always had the option of buying drums I liked, and then having the Pro Drum Shop install what I wanted. Some guys got Gretsch bass drums and had Yamaha spurs installed. I had a DW bass drum and installed a Yamaha tom mount on it. There was always custom work going on out here and that was really cool to be able to do that because not every thing from one company was great.
Perspex is the brand name for British manufactured acrylic plastic sheet - also used for cockpit canopies on Spitfires and Mosquito and Lancaster bombers, etc.


Senior Member
What is it about the Pearl tom mounts that so many dislike?
Is it just because the generic cheapie kits copied them?
My hatred of Pearl tom arms started back when I got a used 80s Pearl Export. The mounts went directly into the shells. I could never get the toms where I wanted them. Fast forward almost 30 years and the Pearl arms have barely least they no longer go through the shell.

I'm guessing that's part of why so many people dislike them. They aren't the prettiest mounts either because of how bulky they are.


Silver Member
Can you recommend a brand with drumshells moulded from compressed Spam?
Koitan actually manufactures a kit with shells made of compressed Spam. It's a Japanese company known for it's meat packaging expertise. During the late 70s they had a deal with Hormel to develop new cans for Hickory smoked Spam because the "Hickory" sauce was extremely corrosive to the cans in current production. What Kioki Koitan the chief research and development engineer discovered was the new containers prevented the chemical transformation to corrosion. The down side was it caused an extreme hardness of the jellied "meat" to the extent that it was not only not edible, but could not be sliced. Mr Koitan found the only was to slice it was with a band saw. It was then he noticed the exotic wooden look of the sliced "used to be meat". As a former professional drummer he then decided to band saw several other cans and use the pieces to make a stave shell spam snare drum. Upon completion he manufactured a bass drum, rack tom and floor tom. To make a long story short, he has since made over 1200 kits from the not necessarily compressed but rather solidified Spam and marketed them worldwide. They have yet to take off in America, but then again John Good has not responded to the offer of joining Koitan as chief marketing officer. Updates will be forthcoming as events unfold.


Gold Member
Such as the rigid tuning instructions inscribed like the Ten Commandments inside DW shells?
Actually, the note labeled inside the shell is for reference in pairing drums that sound good together in terms of intervals and separation. Not so much as a tuning reference or recommendation for the drum.


"Uncle Larry"
I owned them both. I'll take DW. Pearls shells...the 7.5mm...are too thick for my tastes. Hardware is a toss up, they are both good hardware builders.

I've never had or even played the really thin 5mm Pearls.

I'm sure I'd dig them a lot.
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Gold Member
I had Pearl BLX and MLX sets back in the 90s and both were fantastic sets. They sounded very different from one another. By that I mean, Pearl did a great job of creating two high end lines with identical hardware that sounded distinctly different. They were built like tanks too. The only thing I disliked was the tom arms.


Senior Member
Two are my favorite brand, and right now. I don't know which one to side with. I love Dw with PDP, and I knew this brand all my life, but I'm starting to go more with Pearl when I eventually invest in another drum kit.
I had this whole thing typed out that I just deleted. I'll err on the side of "if you have nothing nice to say - don't say anything at all".

There is a big Pearl discussion on this board that's fairly recent there if you want to get some input on people's thoughts on Pearls.

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Actually, the note labeled inside the shell is for reference in pairing drums that sound good together in terms of intervals and separation. Not so much as a tuning reference or recommendation for the drum.
It's more that I'm not terribly fond of linking drums to specific notes or even to ranges of notes. I won't go into why. The threads in which the topic comes up always slip into chaos. :)


Well-known member
It depends on what lines your looking at? Do you like Maple or Birch? Combination ply shells? I really like both brand equally drum wise, but prefer DW hardware. The one thing I’ve Never liked with Pearl is the Tom mounts. Too big and unnecessarily bulky.

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
None of the above would be my answer to OP's query. That said, carry on everyone. ;) 🍿
To be honest, Darth, though I'm a devout Pearl disciple, I do find those Satanic Mapex shells of yours quite tempting. They're infused with beguiling evil. Even a pure-minded fellow like myself can't ignore them. I'm off to Confession now.

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
If it's that great Gretsch sound your after then the easy thing would be to get the DW jazz series. Both DW and Pearl will build you custom shells if you know what you want. I don't think Ludwig, Tama or Yamaha do that.
Actually, the Gretsch maple/gum formula is now found in the Masters Maple Gum series. And of course, as an option with the Masterworks. You don’t have to break the bank to get that Gretsch sound.