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

TK-421

Senior Member
Mapex Saturn? 😁
I like Saturns. Actually, I like them a lot. But I don’t think I would consider them to be legendary. I wouldn’t consider Exports or Stage Customs to be legendary either.

To me, being a legend means you’ve stood the test of time, you have an instantly identifiable sound, and you’ve been toured and/or recorded countless times. And by toured and recorded, I mean by pro (preferably first-call) drummers, not weekend warriors. Bonus points if you can readily associate a brand of drums with a well-known drummer, like Recording Customs with Steve Gadd.

That said, I don’t think Saturns are that far off from legend status. But they’re not quite there.
 
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Frosticles

Silver Member
Yamaha Recording Custom - Was always the kit I aspired to own. (Now own a lovely 6 piece)
Pearl Export - Toured one for 25 years. Never let me down no matter what abuse I gave it :cool:
Premier Resonator - Another kit I aspired to own :)
 

Chris Whitten

Well-known member
Coming at this from a more everyday drummer point of view, because before the internet and drum forums I knew very little about 'iconic drums'.

Yamaha Recording Customs for sure - almost every drummer of note in the 80's played them.
The modern equivalent is DW. Probably if you asked any young drummer what the 'best' drums were, they'd reply DW.
Gretsch Round Badge on account of the sheer number of iconic jazz drummers who played them.
Ludwig Keystone - thanks to Ringo and Bonham, probably the two most famous drummers for non-drummers.
That's about it.
I was a learning drummer when Pearl Exports were first introduced and they looked and sounded awful to me. They either changed or they have been re-evaluated, a bit like Premier Olympic which people now claim are 'great'.
 

Neal Pert

Well-known member
I wonder if another standard could be something like, "used on at least ten classic recordings by different drummers" or something like that.

So, with that standard, a Gretsch RB Progressive Jazz (or near equivalent) is easy-- basically every jazz recording of the 60s. Yamaha Recording Custom is easy-- almost every recording in the 80s. 3 ply Ludwigs-- goes without saying.
 
I wonder if another standard could be something like, "used on at least ten classic recordings by different drummers" or something like that.
That would be an option, but before we agree on whether we're looking for legendary, iconic or game-changing sets, I'll just post these here. They certainly have a high recognition factor and will make drummers' heads turn. I wouldn't buy them, though. :)
219071_8.jpg
Prof-pic-HardRockCasinoLV.jpg
remokit.jpg
Trixon04.jpg
 

Superman

Gold Member
I like Saturns. Actually, I like them a lot. But I don’t think I would consider them to be legendary. I wouldn’t consider Exports or Stage Customs to be legendary either.

To me, being a legend means you’ve stood the test of time, you have an instantly identifiable sound, and you’ve been toured and/or recorded countless times. And by toured and recorded, I mean by pro (preferably first-call) drummers, not weekend warriors. Bonus points if you can readily associate a brand of drums with a well-known drummer, like Recording Customs with Steve Gadd.

That said, I don’t think Saturns are that far off from legend status. But they’re not quite there.
It was more of a joke due to past history on this site. That being said, I own Saturns and love them. But no, not legendary.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
USA made Ludwig and Gretsch.

A couple others are on shaky 'legendary' ground, because the companies have been in and out of business
and the name has been bought and sold a few times.
 

SomeBadDrummer

Well-known 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?
Slingerland and Ludwig
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
Speaking of Ayotte I always got a kick out of seeing the drummer of Jeff Healey's band in the movie Roadhouse playing an Ayotte kit at the old Double Deuce. 😄
I was fortunate to meet Jeff and Tom following a show they played at a club I worked at in the 90's. Very personable, down to earth guys.
 

petrez

Senior Member
In my mind, Premier Signia (and maybe Genista, the first edition) could make the list as well, maybe not because a lot of drummers have used them, but there is just something about them that ticks my boxes, maybe it's because you hardly see them anymore and the quick downfall of Premier shortly after they stopped producing them. They had unique style, great sound and build quality. I guess they were not around too long though, so it's hard to call them legendary in that sense.

I agree with Recording Customs, Gretsch USA and Ludwig Classic Maple, as well.
 

TK-421

Senior Member
I was a learning drummer when Pearl Exports were first introduced and they looked and sounded awful to me. They either changed or they have been re-evaluated, a bit like Premier Olympic which people now claim are 'great'.
I totally agree with you. My first experience with Exports (and Pearl) was around 1995. I was in college and was the backup drummer for my university’s basketball band. I was performing at a game that weekend and needed to borrow a kit since mine was back home (I don’t remember why the university didn’t have a kit for the basketball band). So I borrowed a set of brand new Exports from one of the other drum line guys. At first I was kind of excited to be playing new Exports, but as soon as I saw them—and especially after I played them—I thought they were complete junk. They looked cheap, they felt cheap, and they sounded ‘meh’. Was totally turned off by Pearl after that and never really got over it. Yes, Pearl makes some nice drums today. But I‘m so permanently turned off by the brand, I’ll never buy one.
 

TK-421

Senior Member
In my mind, Premier Signia (and maybe Genista, the first edition) could make the list as well, maybe not because a lot of drummers have used them, but there is just something about them that ticks my boxes, maybe it's because you hardly see them anymore and the quick downfall of Premier shortly after they stopped producing them. They had unique style, great sound and build quality. I guess they were not around too long though, so it's hard to call them legendary in that sense.

I agree with Recording Customs, Gretsch USA and Ludwig Classic Maple, as well.
I love both Signias and Genistas. Those were some of the best drums coming out of the ‘90s. Which makes me wonder, what the hell happneed with Premier? They were such a great drum company, then they seemingly vanished into thin air.
 

s1212z

Well-known member
Tama Starclassics have around almost 30 years, arguably still their best sounding line though I would take MIJ.

N&C CD Maple is almost 40s old, they had innovative features.
 

Chris Whitten

Well-known member
CD Maples - about 30 years and they are the least innovative drums N&C have ever made. Not that they are bad at all.

I dunno, 'legendary' needs to be more than great drums, they need to be associated with a legendary event, a legendary drummer, or some legendary music. Like Tony Williams yellow stop sign Gretsch, Billy Cobham's clear Fibes, Hal Blaine's concert toms and yes, Carl Palmer's stainless steel kit with the engraved hunting scenes.
 

TK-421

Senior Member
CD Maples - about 30 years and they are the least innovative drums N&C have ever made. Not that they are bad at all.

I dunno, 'legendary' needs to be more than great drums, they need to be associated with a legendary event, a legendary drummer, or some legendary music. Like Tony Williams yellow stop sign Gretsch, Billy Cobham's clear Fibes, Hal Blaine's concert toms and yes, Carl Palmer's stainless steel kit with the engraved hunting scenes.
When I created this thread, I wasn’t really referring to specific kits, like Tony William’s yellow Gretsch or Neil Peart’s candy apple red Tama kit. But yes, every kit you mentioned could definitely be considered legendary.
 
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