What did you pay, back in the day?

Axe

Senior Member
The other day I was talking to a buddy about how absurdly priced top of the line kits were, and how basically, with a good sound man, nobody in the club is gonna know the difference between middle of the road drums and top of the line. (and I firmly believe this, but I digress....)

.....but then I remembered, when I was 21 in 1991, I took out a LOAN to buy a Tama Rockstar kit!! It was either $2100 or $2300, and was a 7 pc double bass kit. Upon reflection, $2k for a 3 pc Ludwig Legacy kit doesnt sound that bad!

So what did you shell out for middle of the road kits and top of the line kits way back when? Maybe I just got taken to the cleaners by the local music store?
 

er-minio

Member
I don't remember exactly, but in 1998 when I got my Tama Starclassic it was around 2 millions or maybe a bit below that. Well that was in old Liras. :)
 

AZslim

Senior Member
Way back in the early to mid 70's top of line 5 piece shell kits were around 800 bucks IIRC.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Weren't Rockstar kits maybe $599 for a 5-pc back in the '90s?

When I was drooling over new kits back in the '60s & '70s, before you could expect much of a discount at music stores, a 5-pc USA kit - with hardware - was $500-1000. Sonors were more, Japanese brands were less.

Of course, with inflation, the prices are fairly comparable, maybe a little lower today than they would have been 45+ years ago.

And remember that a budget/entry-level kit back then was pretty iffy, the majors didn't even offer them as part of their line... you just bought a different brand if you wanted a different level of kit. Compare that to today's Asian lines from US companies, most of which are world class drums.

Back in 1980, I bought a 4-pc Yamaha shell pack - 26/14/15/18 - on sale for $500, and it was a great kit, comparable I think to the Stage Series at the time. Just a few years later in 1984, at the same store, I bought a Sonor 5-pc with snare, hardware & pedals, for $1500. I can only imagine what those prices might be today!

But overall, I'd say prices are lower today by comparison.

Bermuda
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
I bought my first brand new kit at Sam Ash in Brooklyn.They were Ludwig Standards,a 5 piece kit with hardware was 425 US.I also bought my first new Zildjian cymbal which was a rock 21(not the rock ride) model for 45 US.The year was 1971.

Not to forget the Speed King pedal,which was 22.50.

I wish I never sold those drums.

Steve B
 
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Bart Hodge

Senior Member
I paid $300 for a used (1966) 4 pc Slingerland set sometime in the mid 1970s.

Where I was taking lessons, they had a new Ludwig Big Beat 5 pc for $749 in about 1978.

I bought a used Ludwig Big Beat 5pc for $750 in 1982 with two Zildjians.

My Yamaha Recording Customs (7 pc) were about $2500 in 1992.

Way back in the early to mid 70's top of line 5 piece shell kits were around 800 bucks IIRC.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
1969, my first new kit was a Ludwig Standard 5-pc, with Ludwig/Paiste cymbals, and list price was $532. We had a friend who owned a music store and gave us an amazing discount at the time, 35% off, so the price was $346.

Wish I still had those too...

 

lsits

Gold Member
I got a used three-piece Gretsch kit (13-16-20) for $300 back in 1977. Came with a Rogers Holiday snare, 16" New beats, 20" and 22" Zildjians, Ludwig Speed King, and Ludwig flat-base cymbal stands. I think that's gotta be the deal of the century. I still use the cymbals and the Speed King with my Stage Customs. (I paid $650 for the Stage Custom shell pack) I gigged with the Gretsch kit for many years and they're my practice kit now.
 

MasterCylinder

Senior Member
I custom-ordered my Gretsch USA shell pack in 1977.............I traded in my old eight piece Ludwig kit and saved every dime I could to pay for the Gretsch.............don't remember how much they were but it was not nearly like today.............with the Ludwig trade-in, I remember the balance being less than $1,000.

The list price for my kit today is approximately $9,000..............one could likely get that down to about $5,500 at Forks.

As I think about it, I got a good deal and I am very happy I bought them back in '77............36 years later, here they are :

 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
While the absolute top, cream of the crop, high high end drums are more expensive, overall, drum prices are much, much cheaper today

And you have to account for that fact that most of these super high end custom drums weren't widely available 20 years ago.

But in the last 80s, to get anything with a maple or all birch shell, you had to spend at least $2k just on a shell pack. Today, there are variety of shell packs made with maple or birch in the $900-$1500 range.

Most mid-line kits today would rival or top the professional line kits of 25 years ago.
 

A-customs

Silver Member
In 1975 i bought a new Slingerlands with the black niles badges 24,16,13,12 with 2 cymbal stands for $628.00.im looking at the bill of sale i still have! ...................Then went back 2 days later got 4 Zildjians i set of Hi Hats and 2 crashes for 175.00 ...............Later on 2 weeks a trap box and soft covers for drums another $128.50.4 MONTHS LATER?? a ghost pedal for $68.00.................Last but not least i add a 18x20 floor tom for 160.00...........Had that kit from May of 1975 till a few years back when i finally sold it for 850.00.......Miss those things even thou the legs on the bass were shot,there was a crack developing on the bottom of the bass drum,and the tom mount was going...Played countless gigs with my trusty slingerlands......But the time had come,but i dont know any drummer who sells stuff even if you make a profit thats happy about it.........Morel of the story.Dont sell your kit if you really dont need 2....
 

larryz

Platinum Member
I got a used three-piece Gretsch kit (13-16-20) for $300 back in 1977. Came with a Rogers Holiday snare, 16" New beats, 20" and 22" Zildjians, Ludwig Speed King, and Ludwig flat-base cymbal stands. I think that's gotta be the deal of the century. .
Holy shmoly, did they throw in a free dinner and tickets to the opera as well? That is a steal.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
That's an old Rogers stick tray, I'll bet they're worth a fortune now!
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
Compared to what other things cost, nowdays ..... drums are a bargain. Like Bermuda said, you could get a 1969 Luddie Standard, for $350. A top line Classic could be had for $500-$600. And a new car could be had, for $1200. Fast forward to now, What's a new car cost ..... about $17,000. But not too many drummers are spending $8,500 for new tubs.​
 

HipshotPercussion

Senior Member
My parents paid $1000 including tax for my Ludwig Super Classic kit in black diamond pearl wrap in 1958.

For that I got a snare, 13" mounted tom, 22" BD, 14" Zildjian hats, 16" Zildjian that I used as a ride, a cymbal holder attached to the BD, the wonderful flat-base snare and hi-hat stands, and a Speed King bass drum pedal.

They didn't know I would want a floor tom because when they were at the music store looking at the Ludwig catalog and preparing their big surprise the above configuration was the one in the first picture. And, it didn't hurt that it was the least expensive kit in the Super Classic series.

Kept and used, to one degree or another, all that stuff for over 50 years. Except for the snare stand. That died at about the age of 40.
 
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