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Old 20th June 2019
Lives for gear
Poopypants's Avatar

I've been a pro drummer for decades and I've never spent anything near $2500 on a kit. Chances are, I'd rather play one of my vintage kits or even one of my junk kits over someone's brand new $2500 kit. I have drums from the 1920's to the near present. Most are 50's to 70's. There's damn near 70 of them. Some are full kits; some are strays.

The suggestion that you get a vintage Ludwig is an excellent suggestion. For your studio, you need not have all the drums match (I don't even bother with that on stage...) If you get a vintage 60's or 70's kit that was cobbled from spare drums or the finishes are different, great. Get it cheap and move on. There are differences between brands, but get the first good one you find. Might be Ludwig. Might be Rogers. Or Gretsch, Slingerland, Camco, and on. You want to make sure that the drums are in round, the bearing edges are straight, and the hoops are true. You might need some help from a drummer friend.

Cymbals are tough. You can do your research to find out what cymbals are considered to be good... but don't trust everything you read on the internet. You kind of have to know what you like. Just being a Zildjian does not make a cymbal good. Being a K Zildjian does not make a cymbal good. That just makes it expensive. It might be great. It might not. If you can't tell, then trust a drummer friend to pick out some cymbals for you. Definitely stay away from cymbal packs. Best is to buy used. For recording, thinner cymbals generally record best. That means you only let certain people play them. Take your time and acquire some nice cymbals as they cross your path.

Maybe if you went to a fancy vintage drum shop, you could pay $2500 or more for four piece and a pair of cymbals and some hats, but just picking around your neighborhood should get you there for half that.

Snare drum bargain: Ludwig Acrolite. Used for $150 or less. Will hold its own against anything.

Sizes... depends on what you're doing, but 22, 13, 16 can do anything. 20, 12, 14 is excellent, but the slightly larger sizes will have more beef. Don't fear a 24 if you're looking for a big kick sound.