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Buying a Drum Kit

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Buying a Drum Kit

Postby Rotten Tanx on Wed Aug 30, 2006 5:29 pm

Friends, Romans, dudes.

About a year ago I asked you all if I should take up drumming. Thanks to your advice I did and I bought a digital kit for practicing. Now I'm in a band and will eventually need a kit. So I have questions.

(I guess my band plays post rock. Oh and I don't have a lot of money)

Are those beginner kits you can buy just shite?

Are old, second hand kits any good? Do old kits lose their sound or is a good kit always a good kit?

I might start with just the cymbals and snare (my bands not gigging yet anyway). I'm guessing the cymbals are just like most things, the more expensive the better. I have no clue about snares though, having not played a lot of different types. I'd prefer something without a high pitched ringing though, does this mean stick to wooden and not brass or whatever metal they're made from?

Most gigging bands share the headliners kit but is it wise to have your own kick pedal?

I also want to buy some brushes. I imagine they're straightforward but is there anything to know?

If there's a website that will explain all this for me then please link me up.

peace, love, george formby grills,

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Postby TheMilford on Wed Aug 30, 2006 5:52 pm

Ok.. let's see.

Some of the new cheaper Gretsch "be-bop" kit's are cool. The cheaper Remo kits from a while back sounded good and we're about $500 or less.

We have an old Tama (1984) kit at our rehearsal space that sounds great and is indestructible.

Avoid power toms... not so much for the sound but the ability to adjust them (they're often too deep to place in a comfortable spot).

It's good as a general rule to have your own kick pedal, Snare and cymbals, as most folks don't loan these out due to breakage and personal taste.

Standard Regal wire brushes are fine.

Good luck.
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Postby Terrainasaur on Wed Aug 30, 2006 7:10 pm

I've got an old Rogers kit that sounds good and has treated me well for a few years. My biggest problem with longevity/maintainance type stuff has been hardware, which tends to break on me pretty fast. I recommend getting hardware that's simple in design, because the more mechanisms there are, the greater the potential for breakage (springs snapping and all that.) For this reason (and others, inexpensiveness being among them) I recommend Ludwig's Speed King pedal, pictured below.


Image

My advice, although by far not the best you can get on this forum, is to try to find a solid, older drumkit. Also try to find a pair of sticks you like and (I shudder as I write this) stick with it. Keep buying the same kind. I say this for two reasons: If you break one stick you can match the unbroken one with one from another pair, thus reducing the amount of sticks you have to buy, and, secondly, different sizes of stick rub different parts of yr hand, so if you play with one pair for a while then switch to another, you'll get a fresh set of blisters, which usually isn't fun.
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Postby vockins on Wed Aug 30, 2006 8:12 pm

Rotten Tanx wrote:Are those beginner kits you can buy just shite?
Not total shit, no.

I wouldn't buy anything off the rack new, because there are plenty of kids giving up playing drums all over the world, and entry level kits are a dime a dozen.

The Yamaha Stage Custom is a decent entry level kit. The hardware is as good as it gets. They can sound great.

The Pearl Export used to be sort of crappy, now it's pretty good. My 20 year old Export is still kicking. I think you could get a 20 year old Export for about $100.

The Yamaha Stage Custom kit is selling for about $700 new over here, so I think you ought to be able to find one for half that in excellent used condition. If I needed to buy a kit for under $400, I'd buy a used Stage Custom.

Here's one on uk ebay, a little steep with the buy it now. If you don't like the badges or the color, a screwdriver and a can of krylon can take care of that.
Are old, second hand kits any good? Do old kits lose their sound or is a good kit always a good kit?
The problem with old kits is primarily the hardware. The shit just disintegrates. I'd love to own an old Gretsch Broadcaster, but I sure as shit wouldn't want to play it every day, and as good as old Rogers and Camco hardware was, the Yamaha stuff is superior.

3 ply shells and crazy wraps are neat, but it's supremely annoying when your going to the drum shop/hardware store after every practice to keep your kit functional.

I might start with just the cymbals and snare (my bands not gigging yet anyway). I'm guessing the cymbals are just like most things, the more expensive the better.
Yes, unfortunately.
I have no clue about snares though, having not played a lot of different types. I'd prefer something without a high pitched ringing though, does this mean stick to wooden and not brass or whatever metal they're made from?
Generally you're right, but a wood snare can certainly ring. I wouldn't let your aversion to ringing stop you from playing some metal ones with your wallet on the batter head. You might dig it.

Most gigging bands share the headliners kit but is it wise to have your own kick pedal?
Yes.

Good luck! Post some mp3s.
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Postby Redline on Wed Aug 30, 2006 8:20 pm

Older Tama Imperialstar and Rockstar kits are the used drum bargains of the century, and they destroy many of the more expensive kits today.
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Postby sleepkid on Wed Aug 30, 2006 8:27 pm

I've owned four or five drum sets throughout the course of my drum playing career: a set of 60's Slingerlands, a set of Tamas (which I got for free), a cheap set of Pearls, a set of 70's Ludwigs, and a 60's Stewart kit (Japanese knock off/budget version? of Pearls).

I was able to get a good sound out of all of them with adjusting, but some I liked better than others. The older drums have a nicer sound and are generally built better. Some kits sounded huge and were better for loud rock (the Ludwigs) and others had a tight sound which was better for Jazz (both the Slingerlands andthe Stewart)

I never paid more than £250 for any of these kits, so if you take your time to look for a bargain, one can be found.

Good cymbals are fairly critical, and I recommend them for your basic ride, crash, and high-hats. However, the sonic effects of cheap beat up older (the cheap new ones are made of some horrible alloy that doesn't sound good under any circumstances) cymbals are not to be sneered at (I used to have this generic beat to crap thing with rivets in it that made an amazing china cymbal sound)

Tell us a bit more about what kind of sound your band is going for, and we can perhaps steer you in the right direction.
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Postby scott on Wed Aug 30, 2006 8:49 pm

I just saw this ad, two days ago, for a 70's 5-piece Luwdig kit for $400. It almost made me wish I needed another drumkit. That is what I would call one of the "good deals" on an old kit that I see.

I don't know about your town, but here in Chicago there are absurd deals on old Ludwig kits, every so often, on Craigslist. I don't know what your equivalent local manufacturer or local internet music sales forum are, but I'm guessing you've looked there... but if you haven't, you might look there. Here anyway, that's a great place to find deals, much better than eBay, as you're in a smaller pool of competing buyers.

As far as whether old kits are better than cheap new kits, I'd say hell yeah. I love my old cheap kit. It's been pretty well received by the other people who have played it. Mostly, anyway. I could buy a new kit, even an expensive one, or I could buy an expensive old kit, too, but I'm perfectly happy with the cheapish old kit I put together. I have no interest in changing it, after years, which maybe surprises me. The only things that change are the heads, which wear out over time, and the cymbals which these fuckers keep breaking.

Cheap old kits, if they are in good functional shape, are very worth it. Old kits that are cheap because they're broken or have integrity issues, those are something to stay away from. Old kits that are cheap because of cosmetic damage, those are the ones to go for, unless you're all fancyboy, which I guess I hope you aren't.

If you're gonna get an old kit, you'd do well to have your knowledgeable drummer friend go with you and give his 2 pence. Y'know, that guy? If you don't have at least one friend that plays drums who you consider to be "this guy who really knows his shit about drums", you should get one of those. In town. If possible.

That way, you can take him with and have him say stuff like "oh yeah, you don't want this one because this tom mount is gonna need to be replaced" or whatever kinda stuff like that. Or to show you the "proper" way to hold your arms to as to hit the drums squarely and not destroy your tendons. Get a guy. Or a couple. Somebody who did a nice long stint in a marching band as a kid, if possible.

As far as brushes, if you're gonna play hard, I highly recommend getting good ones. I've only ever played brushes at the three shows I just played the week before last. And during the first show, a couple songs in, one of the brushes somehow released several of the wires. Which meant the rest of them weren't really locked in anymore either. And they were falling out. And I had to stop using that brush. During the first show.

Luckily a lovely lady picked up a set in the town we were heading to, and we were all ready to go when we got there the next night.

It's worth it to spend $30 on a nice set of brushes. In theory, you're gonna be using them, these exact two brushes, for years. So don't jerk yourself around trying to save $10 and get brushes that you're gonna replace sooner.

I like brushes so much more than "hotrods" or similar bundled sticks.

A piece of information that I can share, one any newish drummer would do well to understand, is that one of the more important aspects of drumming is how hard you're hittin the shit. How hard cymbals need to be hit, and how hard the snare and tom's drum heads need to be hit, these are really two different things.

It took me a long time to learn not to wail on the cymbals... there comes a point in intensity where extra intensity doesn't help the sound or make it louder, all it does is crack and destroy the cymbals, and make them maybe sound too loud and harsh, and yeah, I guess that's enough... so after a long, long time I learned how to not hit the cymbals too hard.

...and then played with brushes. And it's *completely* different, at least with my drums it is. With brushes, I had to really wail on the crash and ride cymbals for them to be at the right level relative to the hihat and snare.

That was the information I had to share. That the "How hard do I hit cymbals / how hard do I hit the drums" balance can be radically different if you're using sticks versus brushes.

It took a couple different good friends telling me I hit my cymbals too hard before I was even made aware of the significance. And then it took a while before I could think "you're hitting the cymbals too hard!" and learn to watch it.

Drums fucking rule. I love playing drums.

If you find youself saying that, you're all set.

Drums fucking rule.
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Postby a. james on Wed Aug 30, 2006 8:49 pm

sleepkid wrote:Tell us a bit more about what kind of sound your band is going for, and we can perhaps steer you in the right direction.


dude, post rock doesn't explain it?

no, i guess it doesn't.

like i said in some other post, labels have just gotten lazy.
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Postby Rotten Tanx on Wed Aug 30, 2006 9:21 pm

Thanks everyone. Your input is greatly appreciated.

The problem with the band is that we don't know exactly where we're going but I tend to play a lot of Dirty Three type things (kinda jazzy but in a rock way?) and of course I love Todd Trainers playing. My default playing is kinda funky but I'm trying to get away from that.

There is a local magazine called Bargain Pages which comes out tomorrow. I'm gonna pick up a copy and see what's around. I don't, unfortunately, know any good drummers who could help me when I'm buying*.





*I mean I know a guy but he's a drummer. I mean he's always stoned. Or drunk. Or maybe just mental? He hasn't worked in 20 years, he can play anything on a kit but couldn't explain it to you. His idea of hardware is the penny he uses to wedge the legs of his snare stand open. Played for 25 years but never owned a drum key. Snare covered in beer and tobacco. That guy. God I hope I don't become that guy.

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Postby mr.arrison on Wed Aug 30, 2006 9:22 pm

Rotten Tanx wrote:I might start with just the cymbals and snare (my bands not gigging yet anyway). I'm guessing the cymbals are just like most things, the more expensive the better.
Yes, unfortunately.
I have no clue about snares though, having not played a lot of different types. I'd prefer something without a high pitched ringing though, does this mean stick to wooden and not brass or whatever metal they're made from?
vockins wrote:Generally you're right, but a wood snare can certainly ring. I wouldn't let your aversion to ringing stop you from playing some metal ones with your wallet on the batter head. You might dig it.

.


vockins is certainly right. I have had a Roger's powertone (brass), a Dynasonic (brass), a Legend Phosphor Bronze 4X14, a Roger's wood Dynasonic 8X14, and a Legend 7X14 maple snare in my ten years trying to be a drummer.

The brass and phosphor bronze snares I have had have a tight quick ring to them without any muffling, whereas all the wood snares have a longer ring and overtones than any of my metal snares have had.

Most ring can be controlled by a duct tape inchworm affixed to the bottom head if you have to.

BTW, the Legend Phosphor Bronze snares are fucking excellent, and can be had for a steal. There's a 4X14 snappy model and a 7x14. Keep an eye on Ebay for them.

They wipe the floor with Pearl, Tama and most Ludwig metal snares (OK, maybe not the Black Beauty..)

I like Rogers snares but they tend to have fewer lugs so they can detune quick if you are a flam-loving rimshot drummist.
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Postby johnnyshape on Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:08 pm

Huge amounts of good advice above. I would only add to the chorus about hardware and cymbals, and most especially about the kick drum pedal. That really is an immensely critical and unique piece of hardware; great ones will last you your drumming life and improve your playing a LOT. Get a DW. It is worth it.
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Postby Redline on Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:51 pm

Keep your eyes open, there's some good deals on great drums in the UK, apparently.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-Hayman-Vibr ... dZViewItem
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Re: Buying a Drum Kit

Postby Adam CR on Thu Aug 31, 2006 3:54 am

Rotten Tanx wrote:Friends, Romans, dudes.

About a year ago I asked you all if I should take up drumming. Now I'm in a band...


If you'll forgive my cheek M.Tanx, this reminds me of...

A young man arrives at his tutor's house for bass guitar lessons, and is given the task of mastering four notes on just the first string.

The following week, the tutor tells the young man that he must now master four more notes on the second string.

Much to the surprise of the tutor the young man doesn't return for further lessons, but months later the tutor bumps into the young man at the supermarket.

"What happened to your bass lessons? We only just got started!" said the tutor.

The young man replied "Oh, it's so hard to find time between sessions..."
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Postby fantasmatical thorr on Thu Aug 31, 2006 5:13 am

Rotten Tanx wrote:Thanks everyone. Your input is greatly appreciated.




*I mean I know a guy but he's a drummer. I mean he's always stoned. Or drunk. Or maybe just mental? He hasn't worked in 20 years, he can play anything on a kit but couldn't explain it to you. His idea of hardware is the penny he uses to wedge the legs of his snare stand open. Played for 25 years but never owned a drum key. Snare covered in beer and tobacco. That guy. God I hope I don't become that guy.



hey! i knwo a few darned rootin tooting drummers who i'm sure would be flattered more than anything if you asked their advice. in fact have you asked on the communion? Al from Formation is ace, Dave from Mills & Boon is ace and Chris from Knives also. And Mick, from Mistress. AND, there is a bloke called Ash who is teaching drums above sound control? yuk, i know. i used to share a practise space with him many moons ago. he is literally one of the best drummers around technically. and i think his drum school thing has a myspace thing. ashley sheehan i think is how you spell it, put it in the name search.

And, yes always bring your own hardware to play gigs.

to the americans, ludwig kits here are rare, expensive and rare. when i was in america, i saw loads of ludwig kits! sickening! and cheap! this country is against people drumming i swear. small houses, overpriced kits etc...
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Postby Adam CR on Thu Aug 31, 2006 5:30 am

fantasmatical thorr wrote:to the americans, ludwig kits here are rare, expensive and rare. when i was in america, i saw loads of ludwig kits! sickening! and cheap!


It's presumably the same case in reverse with Premier kits; Ludwig being an American brand and Premier being British...

Same with Marshall amps etc.

**edit**

My local paper always has kits (usually from the 70s and 80s) advertised in the classified section worth keeping an eye out. Also worth checking Rhythm magazine's classified section.
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Postby stuffy on Thu Aug 31, 2006 6:34 am

For what it's worth...

Always buy 2nd hand unless you are a big famous person who gets stuff for free. In my experience you always get more for your money.

In the UK you can always pick up good cheap lovely souding kits like Premier & Haymans. However the hardware is usually quite ropey. As previously mentioned Tama kits usually wear pretty well. I got rid of an Imperialstar recently for about £70 on ebay, I think they got a bargain. Pearl are also good in this respect but if you are buying either tama or pearl then avoid the exports and rock/swingstars. Though they sound great for what they are, because of the "budget" element they don't wear so well.

Cymbals wise: Sabian, Paiste and (if they are older than 10 years) Zildjian. Zildjian don't make 'em like they used to.

The problem with cymbals is that if they've not been treated well then they may crack within weeks of you thrashing bejesus out of them so look for any cracks in the edge or any in the grooves of the cymbals. If the decay is short or the volume of the cymbals are low then chances are they are damaged.

Pedals and Snare: Your most important purchase. Despite that I'm not keen on their drums they make fantastic pedals. Can't go wrong with them. Mid to higher end Pearl & Tama also very usable.

Regarding the Snare: Ludwig 400 - I got two of them. One of them I picked up for £100 because it was all pitted, there's a guy selling them in Newcastle as spares or repairs. PM if you are interested and I will source his umber for you. Otherwise you are looking at £250 plus 2nd hand and around £400 new. Premier 2000 are also good. Can pick them up for £50 - £100.

E-bay still seems to be the best source. However, work out a budget and stick to it. Don't be tempted to over bid on something. As a beginner there is not reason you should pay more than £250 for a reasonable kit. May even include a few cymbals too. Then you can gradually add good hardware, snare and decent cymbals.
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Postby shoe on Thu Aug 31, 2006 8:45 am

Don't buy a drumset that sounds like this. (She starts playing at 2:30)
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Postby vockins on Thu Aug 31, 2006 9:31 am

jason smith wrote:Don't buy a drumset that sounds like this. (She starts playing at 2:30)


What's especially amusing about this clip is that she's playing the exact set I recommended.

I still think they are good. Any drumset can sound like garbage, and any drumset can sound good.

Look at that hardware! State of the art!
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Postby shoe on Thu Aug 31, 2006 10:33 am

vockins wrote:
jason smith wrote:Don't buy a drumset that sounds like this. (She starts playing at 2:30)


What's especially amusing about this clip is that she's playing the exact set I recommended.

I still think they are good. Any drumset can sound like garbage, and any drumset can sound good.

Look at that hardware! State of the art!


That's funny.. Yeah it's probably just the video camera mic and poor drum maintenance. Those giant sticks she has are pretty funny too.
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Postby burndaddy on Thu Aug 31, 2006 10:49 am

60's and 70s Ludwigs are excellent and were manufactured in large quantities. Look out for a cosmetically trashed but structurally sound (no shell cracks, out of roundness, good bearing edges) set, replace the heads with some of your prefered flavor and hit them to suit your band's style. In particular the chrome snares are outstanding and versatile and the 22" kicks are hard to top.

Cymbals are highly personal and must be played prior to purchase -- recommendations or brands mean fuck-all. Cracks, keyholes, snot encrusted finger prints -- pretty much all can be ignored and may even get you a bargain.

Besides brushes and various sized sticks, try a set of bundled-stick-type sticks, such as hotrods. They have a much lower volume than sticks but can backbeat like a mofo if you need them to. The flexibility allows for easy consistent rim-shots, if that's your bag.
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