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Please help me Piece together a drum kit for $500
Old 15th August 2007
  #1
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whereisbkp's Avatar
 

Please help me piece together a drum kit for $500

I just need shells...Bass, Floor, and one or two rack Toms.
been scouring Ebay!
i want to spend no more than $500-$550
also, i dont mind buying the drums seperate even if the colors dont match.
whats the best bang for buck on the used market??

I was thinking:
yamaha stage custom
tama rockstar
old vintage ludwig (either 70s/80s with blue/olive badges or 60s)
pacific by dw

cheers!
brian
Old 16th August 2007
  #2
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Shipping might put you over $550, but take a look at Guitar Center's used stuff...

Get Great Deals on Used Music Gear at Guitar Center and GuitarCenter.com
Old 16th August 2007
  #3
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4stringerfinger's Avatar
 

Try your local mom & pop vintage dealer. This place always has a decent used $500 shell pack sitting by the door waiting for a new home: Rockin Robin Guitars and Music - Vintage Guitars, Used Guitars, New Guitars
Old 16th August 2007
  #4
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drumzealot's Avatar
 

Some useful data

Frankly the only advantage to buying a new low or mid level kit is the convenience of avoiding the search for a used kit. As with anything, a trained ear will not be satisfied with the sound of lower level models – although I must say the “student” model sets out now are far superior to the those of 20 years ago. I have been surprised by the their quality. But still, the difference b/w those and high-end kits is huge in both sound and performance.
One way to help ANY rack tom sound better is to mount it using a RIMMS style mount. Many of the mounting systems on older kits kill much of the resonance and just make it more difficult to sound good. This is true for just about any tom with the exception of the Yamaha YESS mounting system.

In General
 Go for shells made of wood, preferably one type of wood, and preferably maple or birch (avoid basswood and asian "mahogany" - but go for s. american or african mahogany)
 Avoid “concert” toms. “concert”= no bottom head
 Avoid “power” toms: the depth should about 10%-20% less-than the diameter (“power”=deeper shells)
 Acrylic and steel shells can be great but only for rock/pop – not jazz
 For rock/pop go for a 20 or 22 inch BD
 Any shell that is round and has good edges can sound good
 Student models made before the mid-90s almost always suck
 For a basic rock/pop sound use 2-ply heads on top and 1-ply on the bottom (for toms and BD)


Here is a brief list of great used kits or drums to look for:

Ludwig: anything that was made before 1981 but DOES NOT have the white/black colored badge or a “Martini glass” shaped badge. Any drum with a keystone shaped badge or a badge with olive green on it is a winner. Their older 3-ply drums are thought to be among the best ever.
Rogers: anything made in Ohio (either Dayton or Cleveland). These were FABULOUS drums. They moved to CA and sometime in the early 80’s started to make crappy drums. So, even if it was made in CA if it was EARLY in that era the drum could still be great. Be safe of look for Ohio vintage. All drums with a chrome scripted "Rogers" badge pinned to the shell is a winner. All these drums had a sticker inside indicating where it was made. Drums with a large "R" are the later models and are probably crap (again the earlier ones were great but I am not sure how to tell the difference b/w a crappt "R" drum and a good one).
Yamaha: This has been my favorite mass producer of drums from the late 70’s to now. They are very consistent and their QC is quite reliable. The hardware is very good. You could buy anything that has the words “custom” or “absolute” EXCEPT the Stage Custom and Touring Custom – avoid those.
Tama: Superstar (vintage only) – note that these are not to great for jazz due to the rounder bearing edges. Now is a great time to buy these as they seem to go for less than they used to. I collected a room-full of these shells and have sold most of them off. In fact I have a few rack toms left that are in very good condition and come with all the hardware but no heads. $80 each plus shipping. WARNING: Tama has a new model also called Superstar but made in Taiwan. The QC is VERY spotty. They can be good but safer to avoid
Gretsch: anything before 2000. Even their newer student level series are pretty good.

Brands that I don’t know much about and/or have much experience with
Sonor and Premier: made some excellent drums but, historically, they changed their designs so frequently it is hard to find the better models and requires a ton of research. Also, in the last (roughly) 10 years the QC at Premier has sucked and their hardware is spotty. I have played a few of the top-end kits that required re-tuning after each take – a real pain the arss.
Pearl: Any of their pro lines are winners. I have even played a few Export model kits that sounded great for rock. Put new high quality 2-ply heads on the toms and they sound great as long as the shells are round. Then again, I have spent several hours with some Export drums and was never able to get a good sound. Point: they are spotty. Many of their older kits represent some of the worst drums ever made. Avoid anything pre-1974-ish.
Slingerland: I know the older drums (up to the mid-70s) were all good. Beyond that I don’t know much. I DO know that the quality after the mid-70s is spotty.
Old 16th August 2007
  #5
Gear Addict
 
GravityRobert's Avatar
 

Try to get an RMV kit, best sounding drums I've ever heard
Old 17th August 2007
  #6
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whereisbkp's Avatar
 

thanx guys!

i ended up picking up some 70s Ludwig Vistalite shells for a great price on ebay

got some new heads (coated emporers and aquarian super kick)

stoked

-bkp
Old 17th August 2007
  #7
Lives for gear
 

[QUOTE=drumzealot;1440571]

Rogers: anything made in Ohio (either Dayton or Cleveland). These were FABULOUS drums. They moved to CA and sometime in the early 80’s started to make crappy drums. So, even if it was made in CA if it was EARLY in that era the drum could still be great. Be safe of look for Ohio vintage. All drums with a chrome scripted "Rogers" badge pinned to the shell is a winner. All these drums had a sticker inside indicating where it was made. Drums with a large "R" are the later models and are probably crap (again the earlier ones were great but I am not sure how to tell the difference b/w a crappt "R" drum and a good one).
QUOTE]

Actually, the Big R Rogers drums are nice as well. Not as collectable as the Swivo badged, earlier kits, but still nice drums. The California drums, from the Fullerton factory are basically the same shells as the earlier stuff. Great. Also, some of the first Big R stuff is the same thin shells as well. These are typically Jasper or Keller-made shells. In the mid to late 70s, Rogers went to the all maple 8-ply Keller made shells with no reinforcement rings. Once again, Rogers was the innovator, being the first company to market an all maple shell like this. Everyone else quickly followed. These too are great drums, they just don't have a vintage sound. I put them in the category with Tama Superstars....not vintage, but not modern....just a great drum that can sound great in a number of settings.

later,

m
Old 20th August 2007
  #8
Lives for gear
 
drumzealot's Avatar
 

[QUOTE=chetatkinsdiet;1442990]
Quote:
Originally Posted by drumzealot View Post

Rogers: anything made in Ohio (either Dayton or Cleveland). These were FABULOUS drums. They moved to CA and sometime in the early 80’s started to make crappy drums. So, even if it was made in CA if it was EARLY in that era the drum could still be great. Be safe of look for Ohio vintage. All drums with a chrome scripted "Rogers" badge pinned to the shell is a winner. All these drums had a sticker inside indicating where it was made. Drums with a large "R" are the later models and are probably crap (again the earlier ones were great but I am not sure how to tell the difference b/w a crappt "R" drum and a good one).
QUOTE]

Actually, the Big R Rogers drums are nice as well. Not as collectable as the Swivo badged, earlier kits, but still nice drums. The California drums, from the Fullerton factory are basically the same shells as the earlier stuff. Great. Also, some of the first Big R stuff is the same thin shells as well. These are typically Jasper or Keller-made shells. In the mid to late 70s, Rogers went to the all maple 8-ply Keller made shells with no reinforcement rings. Once again, Rogers was the innovator, being the first company to market an all maple shell like this. Everyone else quickly followed. These too are great drums, they just don't have a vintage sound. I put them in the category with Tama Superstars....not vintage, but not modern....just a great drum that can sound great in a number of settings.

later,

m
That’s good to know. I have owned two Ohio vintage Rogers kits. Both were in good condition with some imperfections on the edges and reinforcement hoops, which limited their tuning range. I could only get them to sound good for rock (lower tuning) but had trouble getting a good tone at higher tension-tuning so I sold them. I have played some mint vintage Rogers tuned high and they sounded great.
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