80's Premier Elite information and general opinions

Spiros

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Hello everyone,

I am a beginner in drums.
I just bought a Premier Elite 80's model, 22" bass drum, 14" snare and 13",14",15" toms, plus 18" medium thin Zildjian crash, for about $500 (files attached). No Hi-Hat yet.
Since I am a beginner I cannot judge and I have no idea about its value.
Does anyone have an opinion on my purchase and could you please give me any advise on cleaning the whole set from the rust and particulary the snare if it is possible?

Thank you
Spiros
 

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vintagedrummersweden

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They are late 70's or early 80's drums.
Value is hard to say but as I understand Premier are valued low in the US, ad they are here in Europe. It's a pity because they are top notch drums with a big, smooth and powerful sound, IMO.
The drums are very good, thin birch shells and good sturdy hardware.
The concert toms, without the resonant heads, has standard pressed rims - the double headed toms had die cast rims which would increase the value - both the double heads and the rims.

But with new heads it will sound great!

More info here: www.drumarchive.com
 

JDA

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and here
here
and here
and here
 

mgdrummer

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The snare is a model 36, basically Premier’s version of a Ludwig 402. The chrome plating on it is pitted, you’d have to have a plating shop strip & replate it if you truly wanted to restore it.
 

Jackal Jack

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It's a good quality kit for sure. Elite series was one of their top-line models. Be worth more with double-headed toms though.

In terms of getting rid of the rust, and general tidy-up - there's several methods right here on this forum in the `builders workshop' posts and elsewhere.
I'd recommend stripping the whole kit down - remove everything from the shells.
One cost-effective method is - after everything is off the kit:
-Give the shells a good clean with a clean, slightly - but not too - damp cloth (nothing abrasive), or use either a suitable automotive vinyl/dash cleaner (check the label if it's suitable for laminates though) or a cream cleaner (for the exterior only). Just a damp cloth for the interior, and it'd probably enjoy a bit of linseed rich furniture oil/polish. Check the bearing edges too!
-For the lugs and hoops, brackets etc., they look like they're gonna need heavy duty attention. A couple of the hoops look close to the point of no return. You never know though. There are several ways of doing this, but a cost effective way to remove pitting and surface rust is to get some furniture grade steel wool (0000/super-fine), and scrub each part in warm soapy water. Dry thooroughly, and polish with a good metal polish (I like Autosol myself, but there's a wide selection), then buff with a microfibre cloth. Premier chrome blings up very nicely indeed.
-Judging by the pitting on the snare, it's probably chrome over aluminium. Using the same method will certainly clean it up, but will likely make the pitting worse (along with taking any flaking bits off). This won't affect the sound however. If the appearance of it is a problem for you, it'll need to be re-chromed by a professional electro-plating shop as mentioned in the post above. That may not be that cheap though.
-For the screws, washers etc, a few minutes in CLR/rust converter will restore them up to a point. Don't use CLR or a rust converter on any chrome parts - it strips the chrome. Giving washers a light spray with a zinc heavy paint (like CRC Zinc-Coat) is not a bad idea (get a piece of wire and thread the washers along it so you can hang it and hit both sides easily. This provides future rust protection.
-Lug nuts - a bit of WD-40/machine oil and some digging round with a cotton bud should do the trick.
-Tension rods are pretty easy, a quick scrub with the steel wool in the thread, and metal polish if needed.
-When putting things back together, make sure you lubricate/oil any threaded/moving parts.

This is only one method bear in mind, and is pretty time consuming. It's a labour of love for sure. If you have access to a parts washer or shop buffer that can speed things up! Other members will share their tips and tricks too. Heaps of tips on youtube also.

Stripping, cleaning and reassembling a kit is a good way to `get intimate with your instrument' and figure out how it's all put together which is useful knowledge for any drummer.
Good luck, and share some `after' photos with us!!
 
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Spiros

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It's a good quality kit for sure. Elite series was one of their top-line models. Be worth more with double-headed toms though.

In terms of getting rid of the rust, and general tidy-up - there's several methods right here on this forum in the `builders workshop' posts and elsewhere.
I'd recommend stripping the whole kit down - remove everything from the shells.
One cost-effective method is - after everything is off the kit:
-Give the shells a good clean with a clean, slightly - but not too - damp cloth (nothing abrasive), or use either a suitable automotive vinyl/dash cleaner (check the label if it's suitable for laminates though) or a cream cleaner (for the exterior only). Just a damp cloth for the interior, and it'd probably enjoy a bit of linseed rich furniture oil/polish. Check the bearing edges too!
-For the lugs and hoops, brackets etc., they look like they're gonna need heavy duty attention. A couple of the hoops look close to the point of no return. You never know though. There are several ways of doing this, but a cost effective way to remove pitting and surface rust is to get some furniture grade steel wool (0000/super-fine), and scrub each part in warm soapy water. Dry thooroughly, and polish with a good metal polish (I like Autosol myself, but there's a wide selection), then buff with a microfibre cloth. Premier chrome blings up very nicely indeed.
-Judging by the pitting on the snare, it's probably chrome over aluminium. Using the same method will certainly clean it up, but will likely make the pitting worse (along with taking any flaking bits off). This won't affect the sound however. If the appearance of it is a problem for you, it'll need to be re-chromed by a professional electro-plating shop as mentioned in the post above. That may not be that cheap though.
-For the screws, washers etc, a few minutes in CLR/rust converter will restore them up to a point. Don't use CLR or a rust converter on any chrome parts - it strips the chrome. Giving washers a light spray with a zinc heavy paint (like CRC Zinc-Coat) is not a bad idea (get a piece of wire and thread the washers along it so you can hang it and hit both sides easily. This provides future rust protection.
-Lug nuts - a bit of WD-40/machine oil and some digging round with a cotton bud should do the trick.
-Tension rods are pretty easy, a quick scrub with the steel wool in the thread, and metal polish if needed.
-When putting things back together, make sure you lubricate/oil any threaded/moving parts.

This is only one method bear in mind, and is pretty time consuming. It's a labour of love for sure. If you have access to a parts washer or shop buffer that can speed things up! Other members will share their tips and tricks too. Heaps of tips on youtube also.

Stripping, cleaning and reassembling a kit is a good way to `get intimate with your instrument' and figure out how it's all put together which is useful knowledge for any drummer.
Good luck, and share some `after' photos with us!!
Thank you very much for your tips!
I am a beginner and this is my first drum set... I guess I could buy an entry level and compete set with the same money but I like vintage stuff and I am very glad to know that Elite was one of Premier's top-line models.
I currently live on a small island in Greece and I don't know who could restore drums here so I will try to do it by myself...
Of course I will share photos whenever it's ready!
 

mpthomson

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There are a number of good sources in the UK for Premier spares, Blenheim being one and a shop called Sunderland Music is another, however most will be shut currently due to COVID19. Expect them to reopen in 4-6wks or so.

The real find is the snare drum, they're great drums. The best thing to do would be to get the chrome stripped and the shell polished up again. Don't bother with getting it rechromed.
 

Spiros

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There are a number of good sources in the UK for Premier spares, Blenheim being one and a shop called Sunderland Music is another, however most will be shut currently due to COVID19. Expect them to reopen in 4-6wks or so.

The real find is the snare drum, they're great drums. The best thing to do would be to get the chrome stripped and the shell polished up again. Don't bother with getting it rechromed.
Thank you!
I will try to do my best to restore them. The next thing is that I would like to find the vintage Premier hi-hat stand to fit the model... I miss this hardware but I borrowed a modern one for now (a good one).
 


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