Your equipment buying policies


Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I'm sure we all have certain rules that we follow when buying gear. It's a given that sound and performance would be high on the list, but do you ever relax those standards at times for specific gear? Here's my (brief) list:

Pedals. I am very picky about my kick pedal, I want it to be magic, and assist my foot as much as possible. But my hi-hat pedal just needs to pull the cymbals together. I don't need it to be ratio-articulated, or with a direct-pull link, or speed bearings. It's not like I need special action to play kick parts on it! So I choose hi-hat stands for their sturdiness and price. My local and touring hh stands are both cheapish Ludwig Pro models (Gibraltar style) that have been in my arsenal for maybe 20 years.

Cymbals. I want my crashes to have a nice decay and good harmonics, so they tend to be the cream of the crop. But I need different sounds from my ride, and decay and harmonics don't significantly guide my choices. Ping is my primary requirement there, and I often like a mid-line or budget model. Hats are another thing altogether, given that I typically play them closed. I don't need really sweet cymbals, when they're seldom heard on their own (I guess the bottom is never really heard by itself...) That's not to say that I seek dull or clangy cymbals for hats, but sometimes the lowest-priced models fit the bill perfectly. Sabian B8 or old cheap Ludwig Standard hats can sound wonderful, both are $40-50 on the used market... where I do a lot of buying. :)

Throw-offs! Above all, fancy, over-engineered, expensive throw-offs really perplex me. If I recall correctly, the throw-off engages and dis-engages the snare wires, and hopefully keeps the wires at the desired tension while engaged. It should also be fairly smooth (read: quick) to operate. That's basically it... right? I don't need special lever action, or detents for tension presets, or a bulky mechanism or pointy lever sticking out from the shell. Jeez, some of these things are just huge, and expensive too! Yes, the quality and design is there, but for me, the $69 throw-off does the same thing the $20 model does. I also pay respect to the drum brand. I'm not looking to change out the Dunnett throws on my Dunnett snares, and I also don't feel a need to 'upgrade' the cheapish P-85 throws on my Ludwig snares. I've had a couple become difficult to operate over time, and I replaced them with the same model.

Any others? :)


Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
It's always about sound to me.

Living out in the Norwegian country side I have limited chance to test many things, but those qualities I look for ar a lot about a certain mid frequency character that wll show even on a decent youtube vid.

Last thing I bought was a Sol USA Pro cajon and that was winner for sure. I know really well what other hand drums I want and though not overly pricey they are hand built custom type things.

Not having tons of money for anything like your collection I ordered a DW 5002AD3 first as it's a popular choice and I guess Vinnie was using it. Have matching 2-leg stand and now I have a set of 9000s as well. During this time I've of course had the chance to try many different things and though anything could work I like these the most. I will buy some Yamahas too, and that's I guess not for comfort, but to learn to live with a bit of variety. They are cheaper and very common. So I do care, but not picky in the same way, I guess. I play mostly house kits and pedals would be the pet peve if I didn't bring my own. I could play them and though they're sometimes cheap rubbish, the real problem is usually worn beaters ans just poor maitenance in general.

I like the hi-hat stands too and I just like at least those two pieces of gear to be on the heavy and solid side. The 5000s now reside at the practice kit.

I like my heavy cymbals stands as I tend to put more stuff on them. I like them in any case, but I'd really want some of that DW lightweight stuff for light public commuting small combo stuff.

Cymbals are about versatility to me. I don't have much but a set of A Customs and I can mostly live with that. Not a fan of the regular hats, but my Master Sounds are perfect. It's all I can afford now, but yeah I borrow stuff and know I need some darker more complex things, too. For fx the splashes and china offer lots of options. Thin light and just picking the right ones for the gig is someting I've gotten used to. I change when the regular ones don't work, not because this type of gig has to be this gear.

Yeah, not really into the crazy throw-offs. I have mostly Gretsch snares and the Lightning throw-off work just fine for me. You can even play rhythms with it. :)

I'm really a minimalist at heart and had I not gotten out of regular employment for a while I'd actually, except for some recording gear, have most things I want and the most practical cases for any occasion. Everything is chosen for a reason and if not in use it gets sold. 6-piece is my instrument and it's set up very standard.

Basically, having things clean and the easiest to pack, move and so on is part of my personality and is evident in other areas, too. The standard hoarding consumerism when first employed is something I've tried to get away from ever since. Just a few pieces of the best gear for my taste. Same with guitar. Not quite Riley B, but close.

I've focused a lot on getting my practice kit righ, but that is actually quite important to be able to have good practice sessions without having to depend on location and they're always there in my car if I need them for teaching.

At home this 12" Remoquarian Super TSS Pad is the ultimate choice and has removed the transition problem completely.

For small percussion I'm into anything, but it's the same there. If there's overlap there's gonna be one that's always used so the rest go. Crisp complex attack with both warm and cutting mids, that's my go to for anything. Those new LP shakers are really great, so I'm mostly covered. For low volume gigs you need all sorts of stuff, though. You never really know what works and cuts the right way. I just throw them all in a bag. They're cheap and small anyway.

It goes with the territory that I have to play pretty much any kind of gear. There are very few things I can't live with. I think a B8 ride is one of them. lol

My intention is to keep things small, so when I finally get the money for that USA Custom it's gonna be a full pack of 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16 and 18 toms, with 18, 20 and 22 bass drums. I'll probably add a 24 over time. That'll probably be it except for a small thin shelled jazz kit. There might be a real reason for another, like a dedicated live kit for a specific band. Then I'd get something really different and at this point I'm thinking Absolute Hybrid, my regular 6-piece fusion sizes.
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Platinum Member
My drum choices tend to be classic build drums ,with classic style hardware so if i need to replace or add to ,it's not a PITA.(Pearl Tama tend to change models and hardware not for improving the product ,but just to change)

Japanese drums remind me sometimes of their obsession with over engineered toilets.

Ludwig and DW are OK when it comes to parts and service.

DW's low to mid line stuff is more than adequate for 99.9% of folks out there playing in my opinion.
I've played a 3002 and it was as good as any other DP I've played.

Ludwig can be a royal pain to do business with as I still see they are shipping the Carl Palmer snare with no mention of whether or not they've fixed the throw issue.

I'd like to buy that snare again ,but nothing tells me they've fixed the issue.


Platinum Member
I hear you about throw-offs! I just don't get the obsession with that gizmo, nor all the complaints on P-85s. I mean if it works, then its on, or off. I suppose for concert snares its big deal.


Platinum Member
Making mortgage, car, credit card and other life payments like kids, college, and tons of other family related expenses, most of my gear is inexpensive. It's good, but didn't cost me an arm and a leg to get. From cymbal stands to high-hat pedal/stand to bass pedal, they're all cheap... but they all work for me just fine. In the 5 years I have had the gear, it has never caused me even the smallest of problems.

I guess for me, cymbals would be at the top of the list. I worked hard to find the cymbals I currently have. The only addition I would like to shoot for is a 22" or 24" ride.

As far as drums are concerned, I have never actually heard (under controlled live conditions) another drum set being played except mine - so I don't worry too much about drum sets - and I like the way my drums sound.

I have my Gretsch maple snare that came with my kit and while it might be cheap, I think it sounds great. My Supraphonic is what it's all about for me, that's the snare sound in my head, so I play it 99% of the time.

Just my 2 cents.

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Multiwire concert snares are of course a different thing. I still just end up with something that works and it's interesting though how my die cast BB just works. For something fat and woody, the Longo walnut just works, too.


Senior Member
I can play on pretty much anything but I've gravitated towards DW hardware.
I like the 9000 single pedal- I have three of them on different kits and they feel very comfortable to me.
I like the 9k hi-hat stand too- I have 3 of those.

I buy a lot of snares- one or two a week.
It is a bit of a sickness but I refuse treatment. :)

I buy them cheap on eBay and upgrade them or recondition them, unless they are vintage pieces. I'm quite anal, all the original bits are labelled and kept in a safe place in case I need to return them to stock.

Cymbals- I mostly buy Zildjian but I have a few Meinl's and Sabian's.
I'm looking for either a fast, sharp thing or a softer, warm thing and I mix them between setups.
My current gigging setup right now are some 14" Meinl Byzance hats, an 18" Kerope left side crash, a 20" K ride and an 18" K Custom Dark right side crash.
I don't use any effect/splash/china cymbals at the moment.

Almost all the drums I buy are used, especially snares.
Almost all the cymbals and bits of hardware are bought new.
I'f I find a bargain *anything* that I feel I could use then I buy it and then sell it if I feel it isn't working for me.
I dont' really believe in trying things in shops- I reckon you have to own a thing for a bit to see if it really works.


Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Ludwig can be a royal pain to do business with as I still see they are shipping the Carl Palmer snare with no mention of whether or not they've fixed the throw issue.
I'm not sure what the issue with that throw is, but their US-made snares are still using that short-levered iffy design from a few years ago. I've got them on my two favorite snares, and I'll definitely change them to the replacement model when available (Ludwig is working on it.) Maybe I'll just go to the regular 'cheap' P-85. But I'll definitely keep it 'Ludwig', no desire to get an esoteric throw-off, even though the snares are in the $850-870 range and some would suggest deserve a high-end upgrade.



Platinum Member
I like snare throw offs that throw on just as easily. I like a heavier HH stand that doesn't wobble when I keep time with my left foot. Currently using a DW5000 from the 80s. I usually buy everything used, so if I need to transition something I don't lose my shorts on it. I like seeing what I'm buying, so tend to shy away from eBay, to avoid getting burned. I've given into GCs excellent condition listings and got lucky a few times, but for the most part, their excellent is my beat. I've been in the market for used drums for an eternity, but nothing good ever shows up in my area and when it does, I can get a better deal new. I've stayed away from buying their drums online, to avoid getting stuck with their shipping charges after the Excellent Condition gears is anything but. Seems they have an issue with refunding shipping, even though their adds are crap! I rolled the dice on a new Cymbal set after listening to dozens of the same line on YT and never finding one in a store. It was free shipping, so I gambled and was pleasantly surprised. Followed up with a used Cymbal and got totally burned on shipping. Cymbal was crap, sounded like crap and not like the pic, but that wasn't good enough, so never again.

Saw a Pearl Masters kit in exotic wood in a local store once, hesitated and lost out. Have kicked myself since. It looked and sounded beautiful and was definitely in Excellent Condition. I hesitated, because I wanted two FTs and the second one would have cost as much as the whole kit. Should have just lived with it, but oh well. I like my second FT. Otherwise, every thing I buy has to be used regularly, or it's gone. I don't have the room or budget to keep piling gear higher and higher.

I buy what I consider the most versatile and donall I can with them. I did splurge on a second snare though. Just couldn't resist the sound. Used, used, used, that's my motto and budget.


Senior Member
You're my new hero! :)
A lot of them get turned over but I still have a fair few here.

Regarding the P85 throw.
I also don't upgrade them on the Ludwigs- they are mostly not a problem, although they can be a bit fiddly.

One LM400 that is most of a problem than the others- I've taken it apart and put it back together a few times to try to sort out why and not found an obvious cause.
I find if I grab it and pull it slightly away from the drum it opens up nicely.
If I push it slightly towards the drum then it won't open.

Vintage Old School

Gold Member
After 50 years I've come full circle after following more than one of the trends and I'm now fully sold on traditional size drums. I finally realize the old school drum builders had it going on and knew exactly what they were doing. Sound and build quality are of utmost importance. Integrity and character of the builder/vendor is essential. There is one vendor I support largely because of his mission statement. Over the years I've only made a handful of impulsive purchases. Some of those panned out, some didn't. I've only owned three pro level kits in those 50 years--one kit at any given time--and on my last kit I approached it with a strict master plan of exactly what I wanted to end up with. Other than a few exceptions I've stuck to that plan.

I've gone from a really large kit (70's) to a medium kit (90's) to a relatively small kit for my current setup. I generally play either a traditional size four piece kit or five piece (1 up 2 down) choosing from 12/13/14/16 toms and 20/22/24 bass drums. The biggest surprise of my latest kit is my favorite set up is hands down 24/13/16. Never saw that one coming. That led to an adjustment on my purchasing policy and initial game plan as I started gravitating towards much larger cymbals.

I chose again to go with only a single kit but to get a variety of cymbals and snares to suit my needs. This decision is largely due to physical space constraints. But I never was fully satisfied with my single snare drum or most of my cymbal selections over the years. Pre-internet purchases were largely a crap shoot and experimentation.

I've learned to stay open minded to new gear but never discount older gear either because of its "age." The best bass drum pedal I've ever owned I picked up barely used on Reverb: an early 90's DW 5000 belt drive. I'll never let that pedal go. Nothing compares to it.

The first exception in relaxing my buying policy was to add on a 20" kick drum, which for decades I honestly thought I would never play. I'm really glad I have it, but I prefer the tone of my 22" and especially my 24" kick so much more. I prefer larger drums and that has a lot to do with the drum head technology. Hats off to Roy Burns and Aquarian products.

The second policy exception is I'm going back to lighter weight and mid-weight hardware. I had a few That Thing You Do moments with my Stewart flat base cymbal stands falling over on stage and vowed to never play flat based stands ever again. On my first pro kit I went overboard with the heaviest, beefiest hardware I could afford. I've found a happy medium with the modern DW 6000 flat base hardware to be more than adequate for most of my needs with some mid level DW pieces for heavier cymbals, hi-hats and my snares.

The third policy exception is until four years ago I've never owned more than one snare drum at a time. I kept my metal Stewart Drum for 14 years before getting a Yamaha birch snare. Working in location audio has made me a stickler for sound and nuances of sound so that kinda' sorta' led me into acquiring a number of used and new snare drums. I never buy snares to just own more snares; each snare is purchased for a particular sound I'm after. Everything gets rotated and played.


Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I find if I grab it and pull it slightly away from the drum it opens up nicely.
If I push it slightly towards the drum then it won't open.
That's because pushing it 'in' creates drag on the slider part as you pull it away from the assembly. Pulling it 'out' actually frees up the slider a bit and makes it easier to operate. :)

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
I think I broke a couple of my policies today. Instead of going with a safe-bet like a Sweet Ride or Sabian SR2, which was my original plan, I pulled the trigger on my first real Turkish cymbal. It's an Ibrahim Diril AD Series 19" crash/ride. I could only hear a few videos of it, but one was of the actual cymbal that I bought.

So I strayed away from the 2 major brands and I didn't check it out in person.

I bought my AMIR off of EBay like this, and my XS-20 hi hats from AMS. They turned out alright. This cymbal was such a good deal, couldn't pass it up.

Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
I tend to keep it simple as well.

I like my Hi Hat Stands to be sturdy. I pound HARD on it with my foot for time keeping and can't have it breaking down or creeping away from me. The 2 leg ones just won't do. It needs to have 3 legs, even when using a Double kick pedal.

I like a simple and solid kick pedal, but it needs to have some good customizability. I need the cam and beater to be adjusted independently of one another.

Snare throws, just needs to work.

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
My policies (philosophy) is to buy gear with a specific intent musically. I think I'm personally more gratified with a kit, snare and cymbals that sound right to my ears for the style I want to play at that moment. The problem being I love several different styles!


"Uncle Larry"
I buy with my heart.

I have to really want it.

Unless I need something cheap, that's different.

I'm talking about for the main purchases.

drumming sort of person

Pedals. I am very picky about my kick pedal, I want it to be magic, and assist my foot as much as possible. But my hi-hat pedal just needs to pull the cymbals together. I don't need it to be ratio-articulated, or with a direct-pull link, or speed bearings. It's not like I need special action to play kick parts on it!
You'd be surprised what kind of cool hi-hat stuff you can play with your foot if your hi-hat stand is responsive. Roy Haynes, Bill Stewart, Tony Williams....