What drum kits do you consider to be "legendary"?

TK-421

Senior Member
I'm limiting this list to just kits, not snares, not pedals, not cymbals, or anything else.

The first two that come to mind are Yamaha Recording Customs and Gretsch USA Custom. Hands-down some of the best sounding and most recorded drums in history.

Speaking of Gretsch, Broadkaster comes to mind, but I'm hesitant to add them since they've changed so much over the years. The original Broadkasters had nothing to do with the version that came out in the '90s (which were just USA shells with gun metal hardware), which has nothing to do with the current Broadkasters. I'll say that the Broadkaster name is legendary though.

Another legendary kit could be Ludwig Vistalites. They've been around since the '70s (or possibly even earlier?), Bonham made them famous, and I don't think they've changed much over the years. Their stainless steel kits also come to mind, but a bit less so since they weren't nearly as popular.

The Sonor SQ2 has only been around for I think maybe 15 years or so, but they're so good they could probably qualify as legendary. But I don't feel that anything newer than this could qualify. Case in point: I think Tama Star drums are super nice. But they've only been around for a few years, so I think they're too new to be considered legendary. Perhaps in another 10-15 years?

So what kits would you consider to be legendary?
 

Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
Yamaha Recording Customs
Yamaha Stage Customs
Pear Exports
Ludwig Vistalites
Slingerland Radio Kings

Interesting how mid-range kits like the Export or Stage Customs can make a list like this. But it's easy to see why. When first introduced, and even today, they were some of the best kits constructed and outstanding value for the price.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
The Gretsch Progressive Jazz Set-- 12/14/20, and their 12/14/18 set.
Any Gretsch made before they introduced the sub-pro lines.
Sonor Phonic bop set
Yamaha Recording Custom with a 10/12 on the BD, plus whatever else.
Ludwig Octa-Plus
I guess a Ludwig Classic Maple 12/13/16/22 is sort of the zenith of that configuration.
Slingerland Radio King, any configuration.
Eames drums are special, and Ayotte drums from the 80s
 

TK-421

Senior Member
The Gretsch Progressive Jazz Set-- 12/14/20, and their 12/14/18 set.
Any Gretsch made before they introduced the sub-pro lines.
Sonor Phonic bop set
Yamaha Recording Custom with a 10/12 on the BD, plus whatever else.
Ludwig Octa-Plus
I guess a Ludwig Classic Maple 12/13/16/22 is sort of the zenith of that configuration.
Slingerland Radio King, any configuration.
Eames drums are special, and Ayotte drums from the 80s
Oh yes, those original Ayottes. I would rank them as legendary.
 

Neal Pert

Well-known member
It'd be interesting to do a poll to gauge how much agreement we'd have on various things.

I'd list a lot of the same things people have listed already:
  • Slingerland Radio King
  • Gretsch Progressive Jazz
  • Ludwig Classic in a Ringo-ish or Bonham-ish configuration
  • Horst Link Sonors, probably either Phonics or Signatures
  • Yamaha Recording Custom, especially with the Gadd/Weckl/Vinnie type configuration
  • DW Collectors in FAST sizes
  • Simmons SDS 5

As much as I love Ayotte (and I do-- they're some of my favorite drums) I don't know that they ever got the market share or had the staying power that the others did. And there has to be a nod to the phenomenon of "custom" boutique drum kits, which everyone was getting back around 2000. Doesn't seem anyone really rose to the top of that pile, necessarily, but man, were there a lot of them.

My cutoff for thinking about it is this: If I close my eyes, can I hear that sound in my head? Could other drummers? And: Did other drum companies change what they made to address the changes brought by the introduction of those kits? I think with all the ones listed I definitely could.

I'd want to put the low-end kits in their own category. And Pearl Export and Yamaha Stage Custom have been so varied over the years that it's hard to ascribe one sound to them. But hey, your rules may vary. lol.
 

pgm554

Platinum Member
Fibes acrylic.
Amazing how many legends played those sets.
 

A J

Well-known member
Pearl Export and Yamaha Stage Custom. Great kits that everyone can afford. Slap some nice heads on them and they sound just as good as any boutique designer drums.
 

Ransan

Senior Member
Ayotte Custom
Ludwig Super Classic
Pearl Export, MLX, MX, BLX
Rogers Holiday (Cleveland, Dayton eras)
 
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