You sound the way you sound regardless of the PDP or the $8500 DW Exotic

Bonnies1

Well-known Member
OK, here's another hopefully interesting comment that maybe folks want to chime in on

I play a fairly decent gig that involves traveling and backline. The leader of this gig has chosen to spend most of 2023 doing solo shows, which means that the sidemen that have been consistent and loyal for the past few years have started to take other gigs So in the past year when there were some gigs with the full band I have played with three different but exceptionally good professional guitar players on the same gig.

And what I noticed this weekend, with the third guy playing through a pretty standard backline Fender Deluxe, is that people sound the way they sound, you can't isolate the components of what makes a guy sound, it's just who they are. Of course we could sit here and try to name the 12 or 13 factors or 20 factors or 45 factors that go into someone's sound. Instrument, pick ups, touch, and on and on. But ultimately, it's just who they are.

There's a famous story about Dave Mattacks going to John Bonham's house in great Britain, and they go downstairs, and Dave asked Bonham to play or demonstrate something for him. And Bonham sits down at a set with an 18" bass drum and Dave Mattacks tells the story that there it was, his whole sound was right there. It wasn't the 26" kick, it had nothing to do with the drums. It was just who he was.

Of course, this is the often told tale of a mediocre drummer still sounding mediocre on an $8500 DW kit, and a really good drummer sounding great on a CB 700 that has been sitting dusty in someone's garage for 18 years.

But I bring it up now, because of the plethora of posts asking about the difference between drum sets at price points ( or maybe there's not really that many posts about it and it's just my weird perception filter ) and as usual, the answer to that question is probably "practice"
 
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I think the difference between those or extremes in general is Bounce.

One is drawn (hopefully) to "what bounces" best for them as far as gear (cymbals, drums, sticks, heads, pedals
different levels, different -gear- bounces uniquely (or similarly
so "comfort in bounce- ability to bounce- ends up your favorite

ever sit down at some other set and say "I cant play these" meaning 'gonna have to work concentrate a little harder" "I'll get by but I ain't feeling my bounce here!"

😁 but yes we are who we are at a given time and maybe from Day 1 too.
with (practiced) coordination extras added (&subtracted) all along the way : )
 
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Of course, this is the often told tale of a mediocre drummer still sounding mediocre on an $8500 DW kit, and a really good drummer sounding great on a CB 700 that has been sitting dusty in someone's garage for 18 years.
Sure, I think everything you write is pretty spot on. The drums I play are the ones I want to hear as I'm playing. I have played many rubbish rental kits, especially in Eastern Europe etc. It's no fun. I am sure it sounded ok and I basically sounded like me. But I would rather play something that sounds stellar (IMO) and always delivers no matter how bad the room acoustics, or the cheap microphones.
From mid-priced to high end boutique, most drums sound very good. From there it's just personal choice.
 
Guitar players who are obsessed with tone go on and on about their guitars, amps and stompboxes, while other says, "it's all in the fingers." There's some truth to this, but the gear plays a big part. I see a parallel to what you're getting at here.

While I have a great respect for Dave Mattacks as a drummer, to say that Bonham sounded exactly the same playing an 18" bass drum just seems really far fetched. Isn't it a physical impossibility to get the same tone out of an 18" that you can get out of a 26?" I'm not a scientist, obviously.

I've told this story before. I went to the Pocono Blues Festival around 1992 in PA. All the drummers that day used Pearl Export sets, until the drummer with The Fabulous Thunderbirds came out with his DW drums. I could immediately tell the difference, but I'm sure that 98% of the crowd couldn't, and I'm sure they couldn't have cared less.
 
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What you are saying here jaymandude is very true. And in most of the discussions here on this forum regarding the sound of drum sets, someone usually comments on the fact that you will sound like you no matter which drum set you buy. And with drums, tuning and drum heads will almost always get you the sound you are looking for.

Last week I rehearsed with a new band. We practiced at the band leaders house where he had a drum set. The drum set was completely covered with heavy towels. A cheap $200 drum set covered with towels. I recorded the rehearsal so I could practice the songs at home. I was amazed how good I sounded in the recording.

Many many years ago when my Dad taught me how to play the drums, he explained how you draw the sound out of the drums with your stick control and playing technique. The training included a couple of months using a pillow.

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I agree that a lot of our sound comes from the player, not necessarily the drums, but I don't want to have to fight the drums to get my best sound out of them.

One of the things that doesn't get mentioned enough in the many "cheap vs. expensive drums" threads is that you can usually get to a pleasing sound a lot faster with the expensive drums because you aren't having to work through or work around all of the shortcuts taken in the construction of the cheap drums.
 
I had a PDP MX series for a decade. Had the PDP 800 series hardware also. All solid. Never had an issue with them. Thin hoops never kept the drums in tune very long. Tried a set of 2.3mm hoops and the imperfection in bearing edges just glowed with them. It was a major step in the wrong direction. Got the edges redone and things changed a ton for the better. HW was never problematic and never dropped the drum or cymbal, but none had the same feel. Tom tree was tough to work with with seemingly limited motion. Had far better adjustments with a double to, stand, so went that route. FT was hanging and broke the mount, so upgraded to traditional tom legs. That helped things a lot also. Sound wise, they were pretty good after all was done to them.

Three years ago, I upgraded to my Gretsch Brooklyns and haven't done a single mod since. The feel of the drums are miles ahead of my modified PDPs. They stay in tune and just feel better. Eventually updated my HW to Yamaha Crosstowns. They don't feel sturdy like the Yamaha 700s, but not a single issue with them. Their weight more than makes up for their shortcomings.

There's 100% a difference between low end and high end drums with tone, feel, etc, but at some point, there's just spending more. Finishes, etc. all can cost big bucks with little tonal or feel gain. With all that, I still sound like me behind both drums. I'm just way happier behind one vs the other. Sticking feedback, staying in tune, the general tone of the drums, etc. don't necessarily make you a better drummer, but sure helps when you're not constantly thinking "damn, that tom sounds like **** again".
 
I think the difference between those or extremes in general is Bounce.

One is drawn (hopefully) to "what bounces" best for them as far as gear (cymbals, drums, sticks, heads, pedals
different levels, different -gear- bounces uniquely (or similarly
so "comfort in bounce- ability to bounce- ends up your favorite

ever sit down at some other set and say "I cant play these" meaning 'gonna have to work concentrate a little harder" "I'll get by but I ain't feeling my bounce here!"

😁 but yes we are who we are at a given time and maybe from Day 1 too.
with (practiced) coordination extras added (&subtracted) all along the way : )

Yup. I sat in for a set on another guy's kit with those Fiberskyn heads and there was no bounce on snare it was dead cardboard. Yeah-the bounce. If I get my bounce then that's my sound. Enough bounce to easily do a slick crushed roll coming off ride but not so tight it sounds like sharp piercing funk or drum corp. I'm constantly tuning my snare drums to get the bounce I wanna feel and the sound I like (a little dirty and loose sound sorta NOLA traditional sound). Which is probably why less expensive snares work well for me, in addition to the good snares I own. Biggest differences are hardware, ability to hold tuning, and snare throw. Not the sound.
 
I've told this story before. I went to the Pocono Blues Festival around 1992 in PA. All the drummers that day used Pearl Export sets, until the drummer with The Fabulous Thunderbirds came out with his DW drums. I could immediately tell the difference, but I'm sure that 98% of the crowd couldn't, and I'm sure they couldn't have cared less.
This is the sum of it for me.
While I loved my Gretsch Catalina Clubs, they weren't DW's or Yamaha Recording Customs. They did what I needed them to do & very well at that.

That being said, I assure you the audience (save for a small few) didn't know or care. The one thing I tell bands I'm in is "the audience doesn't care as much as WE think they do".
It's never been disproven.
 
I had a PDP MX series for a decade. Had the PDP 800 series hardware also. All solid. Never had an issue with them. Thin hoops never kept the drums in tune very long. Tried a set of 2.3mm hoops and the imperfection in bearing edges just glowed with them. It was a major step in the wrong direction. Got the edges redone and things changed a ton for the better. HW was never problematic and never dropped the drum or cymbal, but none had the same feel. Tom tree was tough to work with with seemingly limited motion. Had far better adjustments with a double to, stand, so went that route. FT was hanging and broke the mount, so upgraded to traditional tom legs. That helped things a lot also. Sound wise, they were pretty good after all was done to them.

Three years ago, I upgraded to my Gretsch Brooklyns and haven't done a single mod since. The feel of the drums are miles ahead of my modified PDPs. They stay in tune and just feel better. Eventually updated my HW to Yamaha Crosstowns. They don't feel sturdy like the Yamaha 700s, but not a single issue with them. Their weight more than makes up for their shortcomings.

There's 100% a difference between low end and high end drums with tone, feel, etc, but at some point, there's just spending more. Finishes, etc. all can cost big bucks with little tonal or feel gain. With all that, I still sound like me behind both drums. I'm just way happier behind one vs the other. Sticking feedback, staying in tune, the general tone of the drums, etc. don't necessarily make you a better drummer, but sure helps when you're not constantly thinking "damn, that tom sounds like **** again".

Very well said! I can't argue with anything you have said here. Struggling with drum hardware sucks !!

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I agree. I’ve said it before too - I’ve owned most of the major brands by now and I sound the same on all of them. Which is why I keep ending back where I started which is back with one of the Big Four from the late 70s. Nothing about my sound has improved much beyond that. It’s where my head naturally goes. So there was no point in owning a brand new $8k kit if I was going to make it sound like a used Ludwig I bought for $1k.
 
I agree. I’ve said it before too - I’ve owned most of the major brands by now and I sound the same on all of them. Which is why I keep ending back where I started which is back with one of the Big Four from the late 70s. Nothing about my sound has improved much beyond that. It’s where my head naturally goes. So there was no point in owning a brand new $8k kit if I was going to make it sound like a used Ludwig I bought for $1k.
And no one on earth would know more about the difference between the sound of different drum sets than Bo.
When someone is trying to decide which drum set to buy I usually tell them to pick the one that has good hardware and looks the best. It is important to love the look of your drums.

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As
And no one on earth would know more about the difference between the sound of different drum sets than Bo.
When someone is trying to decide which drum set to buy I usually tell them to pick the one that has good hardware and looks the best. It is important to love the look of your drums.

.
Or maybe I’m so generic I’m beyond any help at this point.
 
Guitar players who obsessed with tone go on and on about their guitars, amps and stompboxes, while other says, "it's all in the fingers." There's some truth to this, but the gear plays a big part. I see a parallel to what you're getting at here.

While I have a great respect for Dave Mattacks as a drummer, to say that Bonham sounded exactly the same playing an 18" bass drum just seems really far fetched. Isn't it a physical impossibility to get the same tone out of an 18" that you can get out of a 26?" I'm not a scientist, obviously.

I've told this story before. I went to the Pocono Blues Festival around 1992 in PA. All the drummers that day used Pearl Export sets, until the drummer with The Fabulous Thunderbirds came out with his DW drums. I could immediately tell the difference, but I'm sure that 98% of the crowd couldn't, and I'm sure they couldn't have cared less.
So at the blues fest the sound of the drums changed ?

There's the sound of the drums. And also the sound of the drummer.

Anyway ...
 
I agree. I’ve said it before too - I’ve owned most of the major brands by now and I sound the same on all of them. Which is why I keep ending back where I started which is back with one of the Big Four from the late 70s. Nothing about my sound has improved much beyond that. It’s where my head naturally goes. So there was no point in owning a brand new $8k kit if I was going to make it sound like a used Ludwig I bought for $1k.
When i was shopping for some drums about 5 years ago I compared, in person, Yamaha AHM and Gretsch Broadcasters. And I definitely like the Broadcasters better. But I sounded exactly the same on each kit :)
 
I agree with the premise. Obviously there are differences, but the bottom line will still sound much the same from kit to kit. The player will notice it more than his bandmates, and the audience won't notice at all.

An example that I use when I talk to people about this subject...there was a video clip I saw online (and wish I could find again, darnit) of a street musician busking in Moscow, I believe. Somewhere in Europe, if not there. Dude playing an electric guitar thru a small amp. Up walks Billy Gibbons, puts on the young guys guitar, makes no adjustments to the guitar or amp, and started playing. And sounding tremendously like any ZZ Top recording you've ever heard. If you only heard the audio and not seen the video, you'd know exactly who that was playing. Obviously it didn't sound like that with the busker playing.

It was a pretty cool video.
 
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Never buy drums Just steal a set on Wednesday for Saturdays
 
Some clarification needs to be addressed as to whether we're discussing the inherent sound quality of the instrument or the player's style and ability to extract a good sound.
 
everybody can extract a good sound/(assuming you can play) period) what you're going to keep personally is a different thing/ you chose/ have to chose or rely on rentals and friends/ which is weird
 
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