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Vintage sounding kit on the cheap
Old 18th July 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
Vintage sounding kit on the cheap

Hey guys!

I'm a guitar player (although I did play some drums when I was younger) looking to get a drum kit for my home studio. I have around 1000$ to spend, hopefully including some decent cymbals.

I'm searching for something that'll get me in the ballpark for some Ringo/Bonham type vibes. Especially Ringo. I love the late 60's - early 70's rock drum sound and really hate modern "hi-fi" sounding drums if it makes any sense.

I know it has a lot to do with the room, micing, tuning, heads, tea towels, processing etc, but assuming I've got those covered - do you know any cheap kits that are being produced these days that can help me get close to that type of sound? I'm open to trying used stuff as well although it's a little bit scarce where I live (Israel).

I've read good stuff about the "ludwig super classic" but it's impossible to find where I live and over my budget...

Please forgive my ignorance, hopefully you guys can point me in the right direction.

Thanks in advance!
Old 18th July 2019
  #2
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lovekrafty's Avatar
 

Gretsh Catalina series drums are great value and sound good and vintage
Old 18th July 2019
  #3
Lives for gear
I recently pursued a similar goal to play correct-sounding drums in a reunion band doing mid-sixties material. My experience is that, with the possible exception of the snare, any decent budget standard set of drums can be used for your purpose. I say “standard” because smaller fusion and cocktail drums don’t tune easily to the pitches that sound correctly vintage to me. Heads (skin or faux skin) and tuning can get you to a vintage sound on most toms and kicks.
Snare drums are tougher, in part because of the wide range of snare sounds, even during Ringo’s recording history with the Beatles.
Cymbals have changed a lot in the last five decades. Ringo started with a riveted large ride cymbal. The loose rivets gave the cymbal an odd sustain, leading to some people calling it a “sizzle” cymbal. When I was at a studio where he played his set for an early 80s recording (the same Beatles set), I don’t recall that he still had the sizzle cymbal as his large ride. ‘60s crash cymbals were lighter, thinner, and more fragile than most current offerings.
Considering the cost of decent cymbals and the difficulty finding and auditioning suitably thin cymbals, they are going to be the tough part of your project, I think.
Old 18th July 2019
  #4
Gear Head
 
cat alley's Avatar
+1 for the Gretsch Catalina Club set. For the type of sound you're looking for, I'd go with a 24" bass drum kit. You can get it brand new for $899, snare included.
Old 18th July 2019
  #5
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbuddha09 View Post
Hey guys!

I'm a guitar player (although I did play some drums when I was younger) looking to get a drum kit for my home studio. I have around 1000$ to spend, hopefully including some decent cymbals.

I'm searching for something that'll get me in the ballpark for some Ringo/Bonham type vibes. Especially Ringo. I love the late 60's - early 70's rock drum sound and really hate modern "hi-fi" sounding drums if it makes any sense.
You can find old drums in the want-ads all day long. These drums will be quite reasonably priced and some may even be OF the vintage you are looking for. For whatever reason most old drums do not appreciate like old guitars. And yet the "standard" drums of yesteryear are built to the standards of the "deluxe" drums of today.

The Catalina line is pretty nice as well. If you can't find what you are looking for used, they would be a good bet.

Quote:
I have around 1000$ to spend, hopefully including some decent cymbals.
and now for the bad news....
Old 19th July 2019
  #6
Here for the gear
Thanks so much guys!

Will definetly check out the Catalina kit. I've noticed they have a few models "maple" and "club" verions but both seem to have an 8x12 bass drum, and I think Ringo's super classic bass drum was a 22X14? I don't know how much of a difference does that make anyways.

I hear you about the different periods, I've scanned through some Beatles stuff and it seems to me the sound I'm looking for is that of their later works, White Album would be a perfect example. I like how it all sounds crispy and the bass drum is deep and not "thin" and "clicky". For example on songs like "Glass Onion".

I know cymbals would be a greater challenge but i'll probably just buy something generic and then get more expensive stuff later. If you've got some recommendations for a hi-hat, crash etc. that'll get the job done for a year or two let me know.

About the snare, I think Ringo used both his "super classic" snare and a "supraphonic" at times? I think I'm going to get me a supraphonic somwhere down the line.

BTW, any recommandations for tuning, heads etc. will be welcomed as well if you feel like contributing some insights
Old 30th July 2019
  #7
Lives for gear
 

You can probably get an actual vintage kit that isn't pretty but sounds great.. there's some drum forums where people do a lot of trading/buying/selling and this kind of thing is common.

As Joeq said... cymbals are a bit of a different story. Cheap cymbals don't sound good, good cymbals aren't cheap. You can maximize by being PATIENT and buying used, but they still add up.
Old 31st July 2019
  #8
Gear Head
 
cat alley's Avatar
Check out Groove Cymbals. The company is located in Portugal. The cymbals are manufactured in Turkey. Not super expensive but amazing sounding cymbals. I used Groove Cymbals when I lived in Portugal. Luis Teixeira is the owner, his customer service is excellent.

Dream cymbals are a great cheaper alternative. The cymbals are made by a family-owned gong factory in China. I think they are based in Canada, but, there are Dream cymbal dealers almost everywhere. I particularly enjoy their Vintage Bliss line.

When getting a set on a budget, it is a good idea to spend a higher percentage on cymbals. Cheap and bad cymbals are unbearable, particularly in a recording setting. Cheap drums can sound fairily good with proper heads and tuning.

However, it is common for drummers to carry their own cymbals and sometimes snare to every recording session. As a drummer, I would never walk in a recording studio without my cymbal case and a few snares. Unless logistically impossible.
Old 1st August 2019
  #9
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by cat alley View Post
Cheap and bad cymbals are unbearable, particularly in a recording setting. Cheap drums can sound fairily good with proper heads and tuning.
The simple truth!
Old 1st August 2019
  #10
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

you can find some nice Slinerland drums at a very afordible rate if you look.
i just seen a set the otherday the looked a bit rough but they wher round and all there with no extra hole just needed heads they sold for less the 300.00.
the kit did not have a snare but you can get a very nice ludwig acrolite at great price all the time.
ne this i would say is send some extra money on good hardwhare a cymbals.
and i am not a drummer but we have a few set around here.
Old 1st August 2019
  #11
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

and P.S. i am on the prowl for a slingerand 16" floor tom.
Old 1st August 2019
  #12
Lives for gear
Can we give extra credit for misspelling Slingerland two different ways in successive posts?
Old 1st August 2019
  #13
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Ludwig Club Dates can often be found on the cheap. Those are the ones with one piece snare lugs in the center of the drum, with long tension rods.
Old 2nd August 2019
  #14
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Can we give extra credit for misspelling Slingerland two different ways in successive posts?

LOL no!
Old 4th August 2019
  #15
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbuddha09 View Post
Hey guys!

I'm a guitar player (although I did play some drums when I was younger) looking to get a drum kit for my home studio. I have around 1000$ to spend, hopefully including some decent cymbals.

I'm searching for something that'll get me in the ballpark for some Ringo/Bonham type vibes. Especially Ringo. I love the late 60's - early 70's rock drum sound and really hate modern "hi-fi" sounding drums if it makes any sense.

I know it has a lot to do with the room, micing, tuning, heads, tea towels, processing etc, but assuming I've got those covered - do you know any cheap kits that are being produced these days that can help me get close to that type of sound? I'm open to trying used stuff as well although it's a little bit scarce where I live (Israel).

I've read good stuff about the "ludwig super classic" but it's impossible to find where I live and over my budget...

Please forgive my ignorance, hopefully you guys can point me in the right direction.

Thanks in advance!


I have had a catalina kit for over a decade now, even though I have always been searching for a "better" kit, I have never found one (although I do have a custom kit in the works, based on the rare remo mondo kit, which stays in tune better than any system I have seen). The sound of drums is much more dependent on sizes, setup, and most importantly, heads and especially tuning (not to mention playing, recording, and mixing). The "vintage" sound has nothing to do with the kit itself other than the "vibe" you get from playing/recording them.

Even drum sizes are not that important, as I have an 18" kick which sounds as deep as almost any kick I have heard, due to using aquarian deep Vintage II heads with remo tablatone patches which brings the pitch way down, but at the same time getting the sharp attack and response of a jazz kick (and an amazing "basketball bounce" sound from the patches with a wood beater). So basically any old kit will do, even something like the tiny sonor and ludwig questlove kits.

I always repeat over and over though, get yourself a tunebot electronic drum tuner, it surpasses a lifetime of drum tuning experience. Just having a solid reliable reference to go back to is invaluable to even an experienced drummer. Back when i first started playing kit, I'd get some good tunings that were lost when trying to experiment with new ones. And once you figure out how to tune the snare to the key of the song, you can never go back. I have a crappy 12" piccolo snare that one guy said was the best snare he ever heard on a a particular song which was in the key of the snare.
Old 4th August 2019
  #16
Gear Head
 
cat alley's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by unfiltered420 View Post
The "vintage" sound has nothing to do with the kit itself other than the "vibe" you get from playing/recording them.
Although I respect your opinion, this statement is incorrect and misleading. The characteristic sound of '50s/'60s Ludwig and Slingerland drums, for instance, is clearly defined by the classic 3-ply shell formula, reinforcement rings, and rounded baseball bat edges, which somewhat reduce overtones and resonance. These kits shine in medium-to-low tuning with larger sizes, being perfect for rock, big band, etc. Mahogany/poplar/mahogany and maple/poplar/maple are the most traditional combinations in 3-ply shells. Mahogany sounds warmer/less edgy because it's a softer wood; Maple will cut better through the mix. The Gretsch Broadkaster uses a 3-ply shell construction maple/poplar/maple without reinforcement rings, which allows the heads to vibrate more freely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by unfiltered420 View Post
Even drum sizes are not that important, as I have an 18" kick which sounds as deep as almost any kick I have heard...
That's a valuable mindset when resources are limited. But, drum sizes do matter! If you don't have access to different drums of different sizes, different woods, and different construction types, then it doesn't matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by unfiltered420 View Post
So basically any old kit will do, even something like the tiny sonor and ludwig questlove kits.
Once again, it will have to do if you don't have anything else available. Good luck getting that 26" kick Bonham sound on a Breakbeats Questlove 16" kick. Make sure you have a drum replacement plugin handy! Don't get me wrong, I really dig the Questlove kit. I spent many hours practicing on one in college. I wouldn't mind tracking an old school hip-hop track or a bop tune with it.

Peace
Old 5th August 2019
  #17
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by cat alley View Post
Although I respect your opinion, this statement is incorrect and misleading. The characteristic sound of '50s/'60s Ludwig and Slingerland drums, for instance, is clearly defined by the classic 3-ply shell formula, reinforcement rings, and rounded baseball bat edges, which neutralize some overtones. These kits shine in medium-to-low tuning with larger sizes, being perfect for rock, big band, etc. Mahogany/poplar/mahogany and maple/poplar/maple are the most traditional combinations in 3-ply shells. Mahogany sounds warmer/less edgy because it's a softer wood; Maple will cut better through the mix. The Gretsch Broadkaster uses a 3-ply shell construction maple/poplar/maple without reinforcement rings, which allows the heads to vibrate more freely, producing more overtones.



That's a valuable mindset when resources are limited. But, drum sizes do matter! If you don't have access to different drums of different sizes, different woods, and different construction types, then it doesn't matter.



Once again, it will have to do if you don't have anything else available. Good luck getting that 26" kick Bonham sound on a Breakbeats Questlove 16" kick. Make sure you have a drum replacement plugin handy! Don't get me wrong, I really dig the Questlove kit. I spent many hours practicing on one in college. I wouldn't mind tracking an old school hip-hop track or a bop tune with it.

Peace

everything you say applies acoustically, but recording is a whole different ballgame. I never cared about what my kit sounds like acoustically, as it's much harder to manipulate the sound to my liking. As far as bearing edges, you can get the same effect from muting or even using thicker heads. it's not rocket science. And as far as the kick, All you need to do is use 20 ply heads, some muting and perhaps some patches like I use, and you can achieve his sound on a 16" kick. I know it sounds crazy, but if you heard my 18" kick, you'd be dumbfounded, even I am amazed at how it sounds.

"Dave Mattacks once recalled visiting Bonham at his home and seeing him sit down at a miniature drum kit he kept around the house. Mattacks was astounded when Bonham played the little 18″ kick and it sounded just like a Led Zeppelin record"
Old 6th August 2019
  #18
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

i care very much about what my kit sounds like acoustically, the btter it sound now the less work later.
we have i have kick drums that are 18", 20" and 22" thay all sound diferrant, but persanaly i love the old WFL kit and the WFL coctail kit.
i had a great little Gretsch kit but sold it to add some comps to the line up. i felt like the Slingerland gave me a sound i was happy with ( MxPxM ) so i do mis them.

also have several snare drums and at time i will if i get a duplicate cut a more modern sharpe bearing edge.

if had more space i owuld be a drum junki and i am not a drummer.
Old 6th August 2019
  #19
Lives for gear
Decent drums are easy to find used. Decent cymbals are more difficult. Look for stuff in local adds to avoid shipping.

Tama Imperial star & Yamaha Custom were popular in the 80's
Ludwig was popular in the 70's
DW came out in the mid 90's. Single model till mid 2000's
Old 9th August 2019
  #20
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by pan60 View Post
the btter it sound now the less work later.
you'd think so, but it doesn't work that way. the problem is loudness, a variable that is not well understood by many. Seems simple, but did you know that basically all modern string instruments are made with loudness as the PRIMARY factor? At least their ,to me, ridiculous design with insane amounts of string tension which cause all kinds of problems, which necessitates large tone killing braces, like the bass bar. it all came out of the loudness war of the time, with louder and brighter being king. So what sounds "good" is in large part based on loudness, and especially when you add close miking into the mix, the acoustic sound of the drums do not translate in the same way other instruments do.

So if I were to optimize my kit for acoustic sound, it would be vastly different and worse than when thinking only of the miked sound. UNless you are using one of those mannaquin head binaural mics
Old 10th August 2019
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Grumblefoot's Avatar
 

Three factors:
1. Drum shell, material and ply(thickness)

2. Bering edge. Modern drums mostly use an edge cut of 45 degrees either single or double while vintage drums will have a rounded 30 degree cut (not always, but more than not).

3. Head choice. Two ply coated heads are very different than one ply clear or pinstripes or black dots.

Find a maple/poplar shell 3 ply if you can rounded thirty edges and slap in some remo calfskin heads and you'll be very close.
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