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  #1  
Old 05-19-2014, 01:49 AM
trieck trieck is offline
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Default Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

Hi,
I've been a Yamaha guy for over 25 years. I have owned their Recording Custom drums, The original Tour series drums and now I own a Birch Custom Absolute kit. The move to the Chinese factory for their high end drums gives me the willies a little bit. What they are producing with the Absolute Hybrid series in China looks impressive but I remain cautious about this. I have not heard the Chinese drums, so I am asking for others opinions on this move. Has the move to the Chinese factory brought down the price of their drums? It doesn't seem to have? Perhaps my fears are irrational and unsubstantiated. I want to know that the quality of the product has not suffered. Thanks.
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Old 05-19-2014, 02:54 AM
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Default Re: Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

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Originally Posted by trieck View Post
... I have not heard the Chinese drums, so I am asking for others opinions on this move. Has the move to the Chinese factory brought down the price of their drums? It doesn't seem to have? Perhaps my fears are irrational and unsubstantiated. I want to know that the quality of the product has not suffered. Thanks.
Keep in mind they are Yamaha drums made in China. They are not Chinese drums. That said, I wouldn't buy them because I keep as far away from anything made there as possible. I'm sure the quality Yamaha produces there is every bit as good as those they make in any other country save maybe their Japanese products.
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Old 05-19-2014, 03:42 AM
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Default Re: Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

My Yamaha background - I've had Recording Custom and Beech Custom kits in the past and currently have a Maple Custom AN with a Weckl snare and a Copper Nouveau snare. I am in love with my 9500 series strap drive pedal.

I too was surprised at the China move especially given Yamaha's proud Japanese heritage. I wouldn't worry about the quality of product they will get though. There is master quality work being done in China and there is crappy amateur work being done in China and everything in between just like anywhere else. Being a corporate giant, Yamaha will certainly demand a quality product before they put their brand on it. I sat in the front row at a Weckl clinic last fall where he setup 2 Live Custom kits. I could hear the drums live over the PA and they sounded incredible.

Now...boycotting things made in China is another matter that I don't actively participate in, but totally respect. Their human rights and pollution issues are pretty disturbing.
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  #4  
Old 05-19-2014, 03:49 AM
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Default Re: Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

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Originally Posted by MileHighDrummer View Post
.............because I keep as far away from anything made there as possible..........
Off topic and my apologies for it. Just interested to know how you can manage that in this day and age? I'd argue it's damned near impossible. The vast majority of your lifes possesions have originated in China in some way, shape or form.
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Old 05-19-2014, 04:28 AM
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Default Re: Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

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Off topic and my apologies for it. Just interested to know how you can manage that in this day and age? I'd argue it's damned near impossible. The vast majority of your lifes possesions have originated in China in some way, shape or form.
Where possible says it all. There's plenty of things made in the USA and Europe. If there's an alternative, I take it. There are many.
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Old 05-19-2014, 04:38 AM
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Default Re: Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

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Originally Posted by MileHighDrummer View Post
Where possible says it all. There's plenty of things made in the USA and Europe. If there's an alternative, I take it. There are many.
Sure. Made from products that themselves have been made or sourced from China, is my wider point. From the Chinese made components in your American made car, to the Chinese chemicals that go into making the plastics in your German made stereo or TV, to the Chinese surfactants that go into making your hand soap, to the Chinese laqcuer on your American Ludwigs.

In this day and age, it's largely unavoidable.....even on products thare are supposedly "made" in the USA...or Eurpoe....or Oz.....or anywhere else for that matter. So much raw product is sourced from China that the stance is next to impossible to adhere to.
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Old 05-19-2014, 04:59 AM
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Default Re: Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

I've got a lot of Yamaha stuff - both newer, MIC, and older MIJ.

I had some concerns about the made in china FP9500d pedal when I got it about a year and a half ago, expressed here: http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/s...5&postcount=21
but it seems to be holding up just fine.

No complaints about my made in china Yamaha drums, the quality is right up there.
But I'm old enough to remember when 'made in japan' carried the same kind of stigma that china currently holds.
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Old 05-19-2014, 05:13 AM
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Default Re: Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

I find it funny people get alarmed Yamaha is making things in China, yet all the other companies that make drums in China get a free pass from such scrutiny. When the reality is Yamaha was pretty much the last hold out to move to China.

But more than that, everything that people are saying about China now is what people said about "Made in Japan" in the 1970's.

I suspect in 20 years, people will freak over drums being made in what-ever country and questioning why anyone would buy a drum set not made in China.
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Old 05-19-2014, 05:37 AM
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Default Re: Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

I'm in the clothing industry, and surprisingly we seem to be one of the few markets that is not largely made in China. Look at the tags on all of your tee shirts and you will find "Made in Haiti, El Salvador, Viet Nam, Nicaragua, Mexico, India, Egypt, and Dominican Republic." There exists a large market of Made in the US clothing, but it costs twice as much and is generally of poor quality.
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  #10  
Old 05-19-2014, 05:47 AM
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Default Re: Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

What ever happened to Made In America? I know there are some great drums still made in the US but the prices they are asking is out of reach for a lot of players.
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  #11  
Old 05-19-2014, 05:51 AM
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Default Re: Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

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Originally Posted by 2bsticks View Post
What ever happened to Made In America? I know there are some great drums still made in the US but the prices they are asking is out of reach for a lot of players.
I think you might just have answered your own question there.
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  #12  
Old 05-19-2014, 11:27 PM
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Default Re: Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

You can't make a kit in America from American materials using American labor for anything close to import prices. You'll be lucky to make a 5-piece kit yourself for less than $2000 using all-American parts, if you factor in your own labor.

That's the global economy for you. ;-)
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  #13  
Old 05-19-2014, 11:40 PM
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Default Re: Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

I remember when Swiss Made was the watch to own but even now that term only means that a certain percentage of the parts and assembly must be Swiss
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  #14  
Old 05-19-2014, 11:57 PM
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Default Re: Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

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Originally Posted by STXBob View Post
......using all-American parts........
That was pretty much the crux of my earlier point. I'm not sure it can be done anymore. What percentage of your US made drums are actually "made" in the US anyway?

I can't think of an American drum maker who manufactures their own lugs/shell hardware et al. As far as I've read here on the forum, the vast majority of those are sourced from Asia......including by the flagship companies like DW, Ludwig, Gretsch etc. Add that to all the glues, lacquers, plastic wraps etc....the raw ingredients of which are more than likely to come from China as well......and it tends to negate the point somewhat. To say, "I won't buy from China" becomes moot because in reality you are, whether you're aware of it or not. And if you own a TV or cell phone, forget about it. Game over.....regardless of the brand printed on the front.

Yes mate, globalisation at it's finest. The horse bolted long ago.
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Old 05-20-2014, 02:48 AM
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Default Re: Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

The age of fossil fuel enabled global free market trade will be drawing to an end.

Probably not in our lifetimes though.
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  #16  
Old 05-20-2014, 09:22 AM
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Default Re: Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

That's not gonna stop global trade, nuclear submarines already available.

But I do think we are close to the end of the wave that we've been surfing on so nicely since after WW2. It's time to thank those friendly people in Asia that have been willing to work insane hours in terrible conditions for a fraction of the monetary pretentions of Western workers, and provide us with incredible buying power. They're getting richer and richer fast while we're running out of clever ideas on how to continue making much more than they do.

Get a cheap Chinese Yamaha while you still can, they're great quality.
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Old 05-20-2014, 09:30 AM
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Default Re: Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

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.
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  #18  
Old 05-20-2014, 09:42 AM
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Default Re: Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

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Get a cheap Chinese Yamaha while you still can, they're great quality.
In order to finally get myself back on topic in this thread. Ultimately, I agree. The Chinese in their own right have been at this drum making caper for a few years now. Numerous leading brands trust them enough to churn out their intermediate kits en masse. And given the rate that they fly off the shelves and are played without falling to pieces, I'd suggest they're doing something right.

Yamaha are now just another in a long list to join the fold. As alluded to in several posts earlier, I'd bet my right arm there are still people at Yamaha who well remember when the term "Jap crap" was levelled at anything they produced. There was a time when the exact same concerns surrounded powerhouses like Yamaha, Pearl and Tama. It really wasn't all that long ago in the scheme of things. It's safe to say that the Chinese intermediate kits of today are of far superior quality to the MIJ stencil kits of yesteryear.
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Old 05-20-2014, 09:47 AM
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Default Re: Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

The "made in" tag is largely meaningless these days. The vast majority of the higher cost elements are made in the lowest cost environments. There's absolutely no point in making shell hardware in your own country unless you're making something technologically challenging. Pot metal & other casted parts plus simple machined forms are not only much cheaper to make in Asia, they're typically more consistently made too.

Yamaha have effectively been "made in" China for years, it's just that they're now assembled there too. Not the big leap it's made out to be. You're buying a commodity product, expect it to be made as a commodity product.

I'm sure Yamaha stuff will be just fine. I'm a fan of their hardware, & don't expect to see any significant change there.
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Old 05-20-2014, 09:59 AM
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Default Re: Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedeyeSPR View Post
I'm in the clothing industry, and surprisingly we seem to be one of the few markets that is not largely made in China. Look at the tags on all of your tee shirts and you will find "Made in Haiti, El Salvador, Viet Nam, Nicaragua, Mexico, India, Egypt, and Dominican Republic." There exists a large market of Made in the US clothing, but it costs twice as much and is generally of poor quality.
I can affirm this anecdotally- my H&M leggings made in Bangladesh are much, much better done than my doubly-priced American Apparel leggings (made in america or whatever).

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustJames View Post
I think you might just have answered your own question there.
They could try a small builder/assembling their own. For example, my stave kit was built by Terry Thompson in Kentucky, I ordered most of the hardware from Ego in Oregon (they machine their own aluminum stuff), and assembled it right here in Texas. Of course, tension rods, s-hoops, brackets, who knows where those came from, let alone their materiél.
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Old 05-20-2014, 12:38 PM
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Default Re: Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

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.
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  #22  
Old 05-20-2014, 01:28 PM
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Default Re: Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

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Originally Posted by STXBob View Post
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.
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Old 05-20-2014, 04:49 PM
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Default Re: Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

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Originally Posted by STXBob View Post
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.
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Old 05-20-2014, 05:01 PM
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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.
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Old 05-20-2014, 05:40 PM
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Default Re: Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

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Originally Posted by JustJames View Post
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.
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Old 05-22-2014, 06:48 PM
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Default Re: Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

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.
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Old 05-23-2014, 12:08 AM
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Default Re: Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

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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.
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  #28  
Old 05-23-2014, 09:17 PM
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Default Re: Yamaha's Chinese Factory Quality

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.
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