Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

STXBob

Gold Member
According to Ego's website, "All Ego products are made in the State of Oregon, in our private manufacturing facilities." I don't know if that means the hoops and tension rods are, too - from the prices listed, I highly doubt it - but their lugs and spurs certainly are.

So yeah, you can get close. But you just can't get to 100% American, at any cost.

Now, as for Yamaha and China and all that, I really don't see any problem with the China-sourced kits. Even the entry-level Yamahas are a high-quality item. Dig this video: http://youtu.be/j5tvH_1Pqs0

Are there China-sourced instruments with problems? Sure. That's a product of the PRC's culture, where cash is king and nothing - NOTHING - else is anywhere near as important. These are people who put melamine in milk, fer Crissake, so they can thin out the milk, stretch the product, and make more money. If some people die, that doesn't matter, because they can't be sued. The only time a Chinese industry gets punished, a lot of regular-Joe Chinese people have to die because of the product, then the government arrests a scapegoat and puts him in front of a firing squad. That ain't gonna happen with musical instruments.

None of that means that the Chinese are incapable of making a high-quality product. If you're sourcing from Asia, you have to QC like you've got OCD of the worst description. I've sourced stuff from Asia. You'll just have to trust me when I say I know how bad it can be.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
None of that means that the Chinese are incapable of making a high-quality product. If you're sourcing from Asia, you have to QC like you've got OCD of the worst description. I've sourced stuff from Asia. You'll just have to trust me when I say I know how bad it can be.
Bob, you're right. I've sourced engineered components for years from China. Nothing to do with our drum business of course, because we make all our shell hardware (including screws) in the UK. We're pretty unique in that, but there are ultra high production/design/quality expectation reasons behind that decision, & those decisions add massively to the cost. If I told you the shell hardware kit for one of our 3 piece shell sets cost us $1,650, you'd probably think I was high on drugs!

In my years of China experience (alternative industry), it's all about the partner & controls. There's a mass of lower & medium quality tier companies out there, but there are a few higher end component manufacturers who produce great stuff. Yes, those controls are critical, & you need to add a 100% inspection regime to your costings. I strongly suspect Yamaha has all that control side sewn up & effectively in house. Most regrettably, you're also correct about the brazen disregard of business ethics that infest just about every level of manufacturing/corporate structure too.

The bottom line is this - drummers expect low cost gear. The market is skewed completely towards that goal. 95% plus of drum manufacture is commodity stuff, no matter what marketing spin is placed on the product. Drummers lap that up. Standard drum lines are cheap compared to just about any other acoustic instrument, & that's because mass market drums lend themselves readily to that production model. If most drummers had any idea of the production price of their kit, they'd freak out. Circa 65% plus of the cost you pay in store is eaten up in distribution/retail/shipping costs. That $2,000 kit you just bought cost about $700 to make, & that includes all manufacturer overheads, marketing, profit, etc. Materials & labour only, probably nearer $400. So when you want that lacquer finish kit for $2,000, there really is only the lowest common denominator manufacturing location to consider. Don't blame Yamaha, they're just competing & augmenting their business according to your expectations.
 

porter

Platinum Member
According to Ego's website, "All Ego products are made in the State of Oregon, in our private manufacturing facilities." I don't know if that means the hoops and tension rods are, too - from the prices listed, I highly doubt it - but their lugs and spurs certainly are.
Hence why I added a caveat for the "tension rods [and] s-hoops" ;) They most certainly source their tension rods and hoops from whatever bargain manufacturer they know and mark up the price a little bit for resale. Their in-house stuff, though, is really good. I can see why Andy extols the virtues of low-mass (aluminum) hardware all the time. Like I said, though, the Gibraltar brackets, my assortment of DW accessories (hoop-mounted spurs, aluminum floor tom legs), probably made somewhere overseas. I think RIMS mounts are still formed in the U.S., at least their website indicates that.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I can see why Andy extols the virtues of low-mass (aluminum) hardware all the time.
There's low mass, then there's super low mass ;) ;) ;)

Seriously though, machining simple 2 axis forms (round single point lugs, etc) in the USA/Europe is still a financially viable option, it's only when you get into the tricky multi op' shaped solid stuff that the price rockets.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
With apologies for the massive thread drift...

Ever since Malthus, and possibly even before, we've been Chicken Littling about how things can't go on ever upwards, and yet things have done just that.

Why? Because humans have proved very adept at overcoming limitations. Each limitation overcome reveals the next limitation to overcome.

It would take a mix of pessimism and hubris to predict that the limitations we now face are the bridge too far.

I sincerely hope you prove to be correct.

Of course, like all things, it's a matter of defined terms - specifically, problems and solutions.
Given the choice, optimism is generally more pleasant to encounter or hold, even if it borders on being pollyanish.
I'm pretty confident that once a couple core problems are addressed, all our relations will flourish.

My apologies for the sidebar, but I didn't want to give the impression of negativity.

Back to your regularly scheduled programming - LOL.
 

Souljacker

Silver Member
Is this move to China the reason why the ex master drum maker at Yamaha left the company and set up Sakae?

Apparently he disagreed with a change in the manufacturing process at Yamaha in some shape or form. I'm not sure what the reason was.
 

SgtThump

Platinum Member
Is this move to China the reason why the ex master drum maker at Yamaha left the company and set up Sakae?

Apparently he disagreed with a change in the manufacturing process at Yamaha in some shape or form. I'm not sure what the reason was.
I've read several times on here that Sakae was it's own group that made drums for Yamaha, I believe all the way back to the first Yamaha drums. Not sure if it was owned by Yamaha or just a contractor, but they apparently had a 50+ year relationship.

I don't know what ended it, but I "think" Sakae is that same group now doing it's own line of drums. A family business, I believe. All of the hardware previously was made by Yamaha and the drum shells Sakae made were designed by Yamaha, so the Sakae drums may not really be that similar to the drums they built for Yamaha.

Anyone, please feel free to correct all of that.
 

Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
The new Yamaha's are amazing and anyone who has says otherwise probably hasn't sat and played them. I used a Live Custom Oak on a gig this year and I fell in love! I could use one of those kits for the rest of my life.
 
Top