What ultimately made you decide on the brand of drums you play?


Silver Member
So I went to our excellent local drum shop for the very first time (Rhythm Traders in Portland)...this would have been about 2002. I was only 15 at the time, but I loved going to music stores and browsing for drums. My dad would take me to different shops like once every few months so I can drool and dream at the shiny new sets everyone had.

Anyway, the guy there was awesome (still works there!) and was showing me these new drums that just came in. They were a brand I never heard of, called Sonors. They were the Force 2001 model. He gave me a Sonor brochure, and showed me this brand new set they were unboxing. It was the blue matte stain, but my god, it was the best looking drumset I had ever seen. And it was only $650! Not some multi thousand dollar set! It was a realistic obtainable goal for a high school student to reach!

I dreamt for two years about that set. Then once I had the money, June 2004, I went a bought it in red. I became a Sonor fanboy for life.

About four years ago, I sold these old 70's Pearls I had (kept having problems and the hardware was janky) and purchased a Sonor Bop set. Damn those were sexy drums too.

I just love Sonor, and its all because that one guy at my drum shop was really selling me on them back when I was a high school freshman nearly 20 years ago.


Senior Member
1965. Like every other aspiring kid drummer I wanted a Ringo kit. They were very expensive and there was a waiting list to get one. My local music store had a WMP Pearl outfit in the back that was just beautiful. I'd never heard of Pearl but my Dad surprised me on my birthday with that kit. The first band I was in had two drummers. The other drummer had a Ludwig kit so we switched back and forth. My Pearls not only held their own with the Ludwigs they actually sounded better. We always took my kit to gigs instead of the Ludwigs. The Pearl hardware was crap, however. Lots of problems with stands and pedals. Still, I loved that drum kit. I have a few other brands of drums now but my main one is a Pearl and they are the ones I play the most. I refurbed a '68 Pearl kit not long ago. It sounds fantastic, as good as anything I've heard or played.


Senior Member
In order: Sound, Hardware, Personality.

Sound: My first kit was a 3 ply Ludwig, and that's the sound I grew up with. While I sold that kit because it was "too big" to gig (13,14,16,18,24), I do still own one. Stainless Steel drums, well need I explain? The bridge kit needed to be a modern kit with a wide tuning range, tone for days, and projection.

Hardware: This is usually a disqualifier, more than a qualifier. I have always hated Pearl tube mounts. Rogers hardware was both good and bad. Tama has good hardware, but I never warmed up to anything else about them. Yamaha was solid all the way around. DW is solid as well, but the lugs seem to be polarizing (if one cares what others think)..

Personality: I have always gravitated to items that are more unique. Not North, Staccato, and especially not neon powder coated hardware, loud paint/bizarre wrap unique. (Although I came inches from a Peavey Radial kit) Stuff that is more "uncommon" that you don't see in every venue around the city. Gigging a early 60's kit? Stainless steel Bop kit? And then there was the Ayotte wood hoops.....
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Junior Member
I'm a relative newb, played as a kid, now 50 odd years later, back it and having a ball. First started researching kits on the innerwebs in 2017. Based on videos, price and reviews, Mapex seemed like best bang for buck. Bought a set of Armorys, Photon Blue. Nice kit, it's in a rehearsal space for one of the bands I'm in. Year and a half later, had a bad GAS attack, so I bought a Mapex Saturn V, white marine pearl, with add on 13 and 14 inch toms. Again, price and reviews drove my decision. This was my main studio kit...until the damn GAS hit, again. This time I let the "the boys in marketing" guide my decision. I signed up for that "Great Gretsch Sound"....bought a set of Brooklyns, for my studio, and then traded a set of Yamaha Live Oaks for a set of RN2 Renowns for gigging. So a combination of solid research and emotion for me...also picked up a Taye Rock Pro kit used at my local Guitar Center for cheap, $235 or so in case I needed a kit that I didn't have to worry about...it sounds pretty darn good.

Mr Farkle

Well-known member
In the past I bought purely on style/finish and drum sizes. My thinking is that heads and tuning matter much more than the drum itself when it comes to sound. That said I’ve always loved the idea of owning an American made kit. My current kit is a Sonor made in Taiwan. It’s a great sounding little kit but it’s not well made and I’m a “buy local” kind of guy I guess.


Gold Member
Noble and Cooley
I first became interested in N&C when I read a review on their Horizon kits and saw they were designed with Bob Gatzen . My local shop ( Steve’s Music) became a dealer in the late 80’s and I got to inspect the N&C drums and play them and I was sold immediately . They ticked off all the boxes for me . The build quality was excellent , they sound fantastic and the whole history of the company and them still being family owned was so attractive for me .
I finally bought my first N&C drums in 2016 and have become good friends with the family over the years . They will always be my favourite drums .

I became seriously interested in Sonor in the late 70’s after reading a review in Modern Drummer . The beautiful veneers , use of Beech wood and excellent chrome and hardware was an easy sell for me . I had owned an AQ2 kit initially and while it is not their top of the line , the quality of sound and build was evident . The Sonor Vintage kit was purchased initially with the intent to flip it ( yeah I got that good a deal) , but that idea went out the window when I played the kit . I can see why Sonor fans are so loyal and obsessed with their kits . They are superb drums and their chrome is fantastic . The Sonor Vintage series kits intrigued me because of the beech shells and round over bearing edges and the hoops and lugs - the entire package is great . They again tick off all the boxes for me .


Well-known member
Yup, that’s my kit. Starclassic Bubinga in Scorched Copper Burst. When I first saw it in the drum shop, I thought it was a wrap, ‘cuz most glitter finishes I’d seen were wraps. Nope. It’s lacquer paint job, and I love it. The other visual feature is the black nickel hardware. It’s not as durable (hard) as chrome but it’s a nice touch to the look of the kit. I’ve since added a 14” tom and sold that brass Starclassic snare, so that pic is out of date.

yep...i have wanted that colorway for our marching drums for years...now that we have Tama marching drums, I might see if they can do something for me...


Senior Member
Nostalgia and emotion really , but with sound quality in there as well. Like others here I grew up in the 60's and all my idols played Ludwig and Gretsch. When I came back to playing after 40 years off, about 5 years ago I played Tama, Yamaha and Tama - all really good kits, nothing wrong with them , but they never satisfied that inner longing somehow. But a couple of years ago I thought , bugger it, I'm going to get let my emotion get the better of me. So I bought a lovely Gretsch Renown and recently a Ludwig Classic Maple, would have loved a Ludwig Legacy Mahogany but the price here in Australia is eye watering( The Classic Maples were expensive enough) Over the last 12 months I have restored a 3 Ply Ludwig kit from orphan drums, which is my pride and joy.


Platinum Member
I bought my first Mapex kit partly because of price and availability, and partly because I was a massive fan of Nick D'Virgilio. That first kit was a Mapex M.

After that, I've just stuck with the brand because I love them. Great sound, quality hardware, nice price, cool finishes, etc. I'm now on my second Mapex Saturn kit, and I have no desire to try another brand.


Platinum Member
So I went to our excellent local drum shop for the very first time (Rhythm Traders in Portland)...this would have been about 2002. I was only 15 at the time, but I loved going to music stores and browsing for drums. My dad would take me to different shops like once every few months so I can drool and dream at the shiny new sets everyone had.

Anyway, the guy there was awesome (still works there!) and was showing me these new drums that just came in.

Was it Sarge? :)

The kits I play now are vintage Ludwigs. How I originally made the decision was by happenstance, but then ultimately by experience.

At the start of my drumming/gigging career, I wanted to set myself up with the best of the best. So, I did what everyone who thought that in the early 2000s did and bought a DW kit. I didn't want to take the super-nice DWs to dive bar gigs, so I bought a couple of beater kits. One was the Ludwig Downbeat I still play to this day. Over the years, I have caught and released hundreds of kits, that I have experimented with tuning, different heads, different venues/situations, and I have yet to find a drum set that sounds more like "me" to me.


Silver Member
My first kit was a Premier Royale. I still have a Premier kit :) Many years ago I had an endorsement with Pearl. I still have a Pearl kit. I always aspired to own a Yamaha RC, I still own an RC :)


Senior Member
With so many great looking and sounding kits from great companies out there, what is it that draws you to a particular brand? Is it the lug style? An endorser? Historical reputation? New kid on the block? Sound and aesthetics? What makes you say “ I’m a ______ guy”? I’m curious to know.
Aesthetics is important, but sound, reliability and hardware (especially adjustability) are key too.


Senior Member
I've played a slew of different brands but have owned 2 Yamahas in my time.

1st: Peavy
2nd: Pear Export
3rd: Yamaha Oak Custom (first gen) and boy do I miss this kit
4th: Gretsch Renown Maple (Sold it to pay for an attorney)
5th: Dads 76' Ludwig (still use and abuse)
6th: Yamaha Stage Custom (Sold this to buy a car)
7th: Another Yamaha Stage Custom (Quality build for the price, what can I say?)
8th: Looking into some use vintage luddy or new legacy luddy.

So Yamaha and Ludwig are my go tos.


Senior Member
Sound and feel are paramount, but I haven’t settled on just one brand of drums, because I think having options is a good thing. I’ve got kits from Yamaha, Gretsch, Rogers, and Ludwig, and they all represent clearly different sounds and feels. The Yamahas are precise and clean, the Gretsches are fat and focused, the Rogers are polite, the Ludwigs are warm and soft.

If I were to move, I’d sell everything and keep the Yamahas. But I’d really miss the Gretsch kick drums.


Senior Member
I have 3 kits currently:
Tama Granstar: I chose that one because it sounded great and was affordable.
Yamaha 7000 Series: I chose that one because it sounded great and was affordable. Was a good contrast to the thick shelled birch Granstar.
Crush Sublime E3: I chose that one because it sounded great and was affordable. Being maple, it was as a good contrast from the birch kit and the mixed shell of the 7000 series.