Starting all over again - what would you buy?

denisri

Silver Member
I would buy a full kit with all sizes...20 and 22 inch bass drums , 5 1/4 and 6.5 inch snare and 6,8, 10, 12, 14, and 16" toms. This would cover me for all types of gigs. Denis
 

ghostnoted

Member
I started at 16 with a pair of giant spools with vulcanized rubber stapled onto onto them, and a 1'' wooden flagpole cut as drumsticks, all built by my dad to get me started. I moved onto a horrible children's set, and then onto a TAMA Swingstar a few months later.

When I got my first birch set a couple years later, I was more than happy with it, in fact I still prefer birch over maple. I'm honestly glad I started off that way though.

I think beginners NEED to start with crappy equipment to build a drive to move onto better gear and learn the value of practice and motivation. It also conditions them into finding a way to make crappy gear sound good/played well, which is an artform in and of itself. I kind of cringe when I see a child playing on a DW kit with 8 Pro-level cymbals when they don't really understand the value of that instrument yet.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
With knowledge I now have being on here:
I'd start out with a Yamaha - a Live Custom or try to find a discontinued Club Custom (though an old natural finish Rogers kit would tempt me too).
Yamaha hardware, the lighter stuff.
Paiste 602 cymbals, all around.
Ludwig Supraphonic or maybe splurge for a Guru or Canopus wood snare.

But I acknowledge I started stupidly, and humbly, with a CB and a ZBT.
 

mitkoni

Senior Member
Actually I kind of did start all over again. This year. And this forum was the source for all of the information I needed to to help me make the choices. Not for picking up a brand, but what to look for in shell quality and construction. So thank you all.

Originally I'm from East Europe and I've been playing the drums for about 26 years roughly. I moved to Canada 12 years ago. I have a feeling most of the eastern Europeans here will agree with me, but back in the days, we didn't care much of what kind of gear we have, but if actually we have any kind of gear. Changing drum heads? Yeah right ;) Now there it's bit different and it' better I'm sure. Anyway, my first drums were strange no name things. The toms had 5 lugs and no bottom heads. Some kind of blue colour (Canadian spelling) and the bass drum was cracked. I got another bass drum Throwa brand to have a double bass setup. I was rocking these for good 3 years. I was in Thrash Metal band. All originals. We had some local success, probably top 3 bands in my town. My second set was Amati. It was alright, it served me well until I left for good. I was playing in a cover band during that time. I'm not mentioning cymbals, because what I used for these 14 years back home, can't be called that. The bottom line is that, even the crappy gear works. I was playing a lot, I was getting gigs. You just learn to use what you have and to work with it.
When I moved to Canada, I got an used Pearl Export set and I was the happiest I could be. There is nothing bad I could say about it and used it until last year. I had on it G2/G1 combo and GMAD on the kick. It worked as a charm. Then I got another set - Gretsch Catalina Ash. I was getting busier and I needed another one to make my life easier. It's an alright drum set, a bit different sounding then the Export, very good looking but not very well build. Yes, I started to get picky :) At this point I was getting geeky about the drum sets, gear, construction and my ears learned to hear the difference in between the wood types etc. Then I got a third one. Peace DNA, 9 ply North American maple. The best of all I currently owned. I started using it for live shows and I did some studio work with it. Great sounding drums. My cymbal and snare collection was growing too. In another words, I was getting spoiled. Fast forward to the beginning of this year, I decided that I've been playing long enough to not have a high quality gear. Not because whatever I had wasn't working, but to make myself feel good.
I sold the Export and the Catalina, kept the DNA.
Bought Pear Masters All Maple, George Way Mahogany and Peace Paragon Bubinga. I have two practice rooms, one has the Masters, the other one - the Paragons. The Peace DNA is still my kit for playing live, it sounds great and it's light. The George Way is for studio and special occasions.
Currently I'm involved in 4 projects - trip-hop/electronic trio, 6 piece funk band, 4 piece alternative rock band and 3 piece instrumental trio. I play mostly originals. The 6 piece funk band sometimes gets hired for event gigs where covers are needed, so we do play a fair amount when is required.
I get studio work here and there as well for whatever is needed.

I'm sorry for the long post and the potentially bad grammar. Like I mentioned earlier, IMO one needs to train its ears to discover the benefit of higher quality instruments. It's more like luxury then necessity.
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
I find it curious that the majority would get what they have presently.

If I was starting over again....Do I have the knowledge I do now? Because if that's not a parameter, then I would be just as stupid as I was when I first started out.

It,s common sense you're right. Still, I started drumming mid 90's, started with a white second hand Tama Rockstar. Power toms of course, metal snare. At that time one of my dream kit was the Premier Signia with loads of toms, double bass and all.. In white (I like white). Funny enough - but only because of a nice turn of event few years ago - the big white Signia is the kit I own 20 years later ! After five different Tama kit.

If I was a teenager now, searching for a kit, I would probably go Tama BB, but what I would do (and we rarely do that when we start), I would buy very good cymbals. Beginners often spend everything in the kits and use crappy cymbals...
 

williamsbclontz

Silver Member
Had a nice Yamaha kit and piaste traditionals cymbal set stolen from me about a year ago. I did have to start all over. Fortunately I got some of the money back so I was able to reinvest in a new kit. Got a set of zildjian Constantinoples and an 80s model Yamaha kit. I'm almost glad the kit got stolen lol
 

mikel

Platinum Member
I started at 16 with a pair of giant spools with vulcanized rubber stapled onto onto them, and a 1'' wooden flagpole cut as drumsticks, all built by my dad to get me started. I moved onto a horrible children's set, and then onto a TAMA Swingstar a few months later.

When I got my first birch set a couple years later, I was more than happy with it, in fact I still prefer birch over maple. I'm honestly glad I started off that way though.

I think beginners NEED to start with crappy equipment to build a drive to move onto better gear and learn the value of practice and motivation. It also conditions them into finding a way to make crappy gear sound good/played well, which is an artform in and of itself. I kind of cringe when I see a child playing on a DW kit with 8 Pro-level cymbals when they don't really understand the value of that instrument yet.
I think the OP meant "What kit" did you first have. We all probably started out on pots and pans etc, I know I did, but that was not my first real kit.
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
When I started I got a Mapex Venus series kit. Not great at all, but I wouldn't have had the ears for a better kit anyway. I soon realized my Sabian B8 cymbals sounded like crap though, so I'd buy some nice Meinl Byzance cymbals as soon as possible if I'd start all over again :).

Other than that I'd rather practice a lot more than I did, get together with musicians and play, find out what's the essential must-have skills as a drummer, and work on that.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
Better cymbals.

Bought my first kit from a friend for £5. It was awful but worked. The cymbals were like dustbin lids. Probably awful looking back. And they were split and had big slices dangling down (there's probably a technical term for it).

My second kit, bought from my local music store. A Premier Royal. With some of those Roto Tom things included with it. It was FANTASTIC. But, again, crap cymbals.

Nowadays...the drum shells don't make a huge amount of difference to me. I've heard crap kits sound beautiful when tunes to their best. I've heard good kits sound awful. Meh.

But, I'm a total cymbals whore. I like em big, and I like em loud. I have a 24" Ride (Sabian APX). 22" Crash (Dream Bliss). 20" Crash (UFIP Tiger) and 15" hats (Dream Bliss). Best cymbal setup I've ever had. They sound so lush and are a pleasure to play.

When I was younger I thought drums were king. I've seen the light. It's all about the cymbals
 

STXBob

Gold Member
My first kit was a Gretsch round badge. Don't be too jealous. It was knackered. The floor tom was out of round, the edges were chopped up, and it was in really bad nick. Crappy brass cymbals. Still, it made good punk music. A fat kid sitting on the bass drum killed it.

In between then and now I had a series of cheap "stencil" kits. I learned a LOT in the process of turning over those kits. I'd true the edges. I'd remove the wrap - if the wood was reasonably nice-looking, it'd get stain and some kind of clear-coat, and if it wasn't it'd get painted. I'd put new heads on at least the batters. Then I'd play it a while. When I found another cheap stencil kit I'd buy it, repeat the process, and sell the old kit to recoup expenses.

The first kit I bought brand new was a Premier Cabria XPK. That was a really nice kit. I never played the 12" rack tom. I always set it up 13-16-22. It was the first kit I had with a 18x22 kick, and while I liked the sound I was not happy about schlepping it around.

A few years ago I bought a NOS Mapex Meridian Maple. Wonderful kit. Nice, thin shells, superb build quality. Still have it, though I'm trying to unload it because I never play it.

I'm too busy playing my Ludwig Signets. :) Again, wonderful kit. Thin maple shells free from choking hardware. Light, which is important for gigs. Nice-looking.

All through that time, snares out the wazoo. Lost track years ago.

I had Paiste Signatures back in the 90s. I've a mix of Istanbul Agop and UFIP now, with a couple cottage-maker craft cymbals in the pile.

If I had to do it all over again?

Dear Andy, please to be making me a Tour series, 8-10-12-14f-16f-22. That's the home and special-occasion kit. :)

Gigging kit can be any number of upper-intermediate kits with a wrapped finish. Doesn't matter at all to me except that it's not Pearl. I hate those #$@%! tom arms.

Cymbals shall be UFIP, a mix of Natural and Class series.

I don't need racks full of snares. Over the years I've found a library of three snares is enough choice for me: 6.5x14 BoB (my go-to), a 8 or 7x13 maple, and a 5 or 5.5x14 maple. That's all I need. I'd like to have more, but it'd be a waste of money and storage space.

Hardware is immaterial to me provided it keeps the instruments where I put them. Oh, and the kick pedal has to have a direct drive. Since I made the switch, I find there's too much 'slop' in chains and straps.
 

drummer-russ

Gold Member
Here's a little different take on the OP....

If I had to do it all again, as a child, I would never have stopped taking lessons. In high school, instead of turning out for sports, I would have turned out for band. And, instead of not playing in early adult and mid-life, I would have found a way to work and raise the kids and still play.

At 57, I have been playing again for about 3 years and I kick myself in the butt repeatedly for letting opportunity pass me by.
It is like you read my mind, including the stopping lessons and not playing for many years!!
 

crispycritters

Senior Member
A mid range shell pack of standard dimensions 22,10,12,14,16 with a steel snare - no power toms or 'cannon' depth bass drums. Good hardware. A set of either Zildjian A or Sabian AA cymbals.

The above would keep me happy for several years.
 

Blisco

Senior Member
Knowing what I know now, after 35 years of playing and a couple dozen kits, I'd probably just get a 2 up 2 down 10/12/14/16/22 maple kit with floors. I'd probably get a DW Collectors (had 4 previously and loved them) or a nostalgia purchase and get a Classic Maple. Both in wraps with sparkles. Probably blue with chrome hardware and triple flanged. That would cover anything I ever need to play, look good on any stage, durable enough for gigging etc...

Snares have been a problem area but I'm 100% sure it would be metal. Either a Black Beauty or Copperphonic or as my current snare, a bronze masterpiece. I will likely never buy another wood snare.

I would definitely get medium weight hardware, maybe even single braced. Either DW or Ludwig to match whichever kit. I'm in love with ATLAS mounts and arms/lifts. I love me some Dogbones, as well. My era of 9000 series stands is basically over. Yes, they last forever but so unnecessary for a local gigging drummer. Overkill.

I've basically grown up with DW pedals. My third pedal ever was a 5000 from 1988. I've tried most and only the Yamaha has a good feel but DW 5000 accelerator cam is how my foot responds best. Muscle memory and such.

Cymbals would be very similar to where I am now. HHXtremes are just too musical. I went from starting on AA's to HHX's so my ears won't care for that much brightness anymore.

My foray into hardcases just proved how useless and bulky they are. High quality bags are enough. PR is my go to and one hardware bag I have is 12 years old, looks new, and works every weekend for me.

I spent my first 20 years playing without finding "my" stick. Very frustrating. It took that long to go through everything on the market but I finally discovered maple 5B's and instantly knew my quest was over. I have been using Sucherman ProMarks for about 10 years and can't see playing without them. Perfection.
 

fac

Senior Member
I started with a cheap Starfire (some unknown asian brand) kit and no cymbals at age 14. My mom gave it to me for xmas. I never expected it and I've been always been very grateful for that, so I've never ever wished I had started on anything else.

Fast forward 27 years and I'm still playing cheap kits. My home kit is a 17-year old cheap Thunder (by Taye) kit, and my good kit, that I use for gigging, is a Sonor Player bought only 6 months ago. My cymbals are from a Mexican brand (they're probably rebranded chinese cymbals) and I spent about $500 per cymbal set (one for each kit). I probably have spent below $2K between all my acoustic drum gear. I could buy a very good kit; I have several instruments and some cost considerably more than all my drums. But for some reason I've never wanted it. Maybe I just don't have a good enough ear to know the difference.
 

jornthedrummer

Silver Member
10T, 12T, 14F, 16F, 22K Gretsch USA Custom, 6.5x14 Ludwig Supraphonic snare.
Zildjian K 14HH, 18C 19C. Zildjian K Custom 22 dark ride, Paiste 602 22 medium ride, 20C. Paiste 2002 8, 10 splash.
And a China. Still looking for the perfect one.
 

lepigpen

Member
I started on a Pearl Forum or Export and I recently got back into drumming and bought... a Pearl Export! It's the Toyota Corolla/Camry of drums. They are everywhere and they always work, even if somebody beat on em.

Honestly I would just get the 8-piece Export with the Jordison colorway and the JJ snare. And as I've never tried a rack before I would probably try a Pearl rack for when I actually set up the entire kit. But most of the time I'd rather play a modest 4 piece with normal stands. I would start filling it with Zildjian cymbals until I was satisfied. I would probably line it with Ebony Ambassadors.
 
G

Ghostnote

Guest
I would get a Yamaha Live Custom kit with Paiste 602 ME cymbals, both in large sizes.
 

BenjaminCamelot

Senior Member
I started on a Pearl Export which I still play and have but if I had to fully start over, I'd probably steal Neil Peart's kit with the Slingerland snare to go along with it.
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
Well even though I have much more money now then I did at 17 when I bought my current main drumset and started my cymbal purchasing, I'd more or less get the same stuff if I could. My drums have been out of production for like 15 years at this point (Sonor Force 2001) so I'd go with some mid-range Sonor, whatever models that is these days. Cymbal wise I'd probably go the same, but instead of the Zildjian 22" A ping ride, I'd go with something a bit more versatile like a 22" A Medium Ride, or even a 22" 2002 ride.
 
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