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).
 

rock roll

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Good solid advice from jackal jack.
I would add on the chrome that I use a product called "nevrdull" . It was originally intended for marine boats chrome....its been around a long time.
My friend recommended it to me with the story he was recommended it by the us marine corps band leader of 30 years.
I've used it for the last couple years and It works wonders .

Also look for the premier 252 bass drum pedal, it's probably their best pedal...if they make a better one plz dfo members , let me know.

Also JDA has given you some links .. Look thru old catalogs to find pictures of your set and the hardware that was sold with it.

Congrats on the drums...I'm a big premier drum fan.
 
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Spiros

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Good solid advice from jackal jack.
I would add on the chrome that I use a product called "neverdull" . It was originally intended for marine boats chrome....its been around a long time.
My friend recommended it to me with the story he was recommended it by the us marine corps band leader of 30 years.
I've used it for the last couple years and It works wonders .

Also look for the premier 252 bass drum pedal, it's probably their best pedal...if they make a better one plz dfo members , let me know.

Also JDA has given you some links .. Look thru old catalogs to find pictures of your set and the hardware that was sold with it.

Congrats on the drums...I'm a big premier drum fan.
Thank you!
Yes, the pedal is the 252!
I have already started to restore it ( yesterday I received some spare parts from the UK ) but I think it will take time... I do piece by piece and I put it back together because I need to practice and play with my band... It's my first and only drum set. I will upload some photos when it's all ready but I still don't know when.
 

Jackal Jack

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Thank you!
Yes, the pedal is the 252!
I have already started to restore it ( yesterday I received some spare parts from the UK ) but I think it will take time... I do piece by piece and I put it back together because I need to practice and play with my band... It's my first and only drum set. I will upload some photos when it's all ready but I still don't know when.
Good stuff. Yes it does take time, but you'll be able to look at it with a great deal of pride when it's all done, knowing you did your bit to keep a cool set alive and in a better state than you found it, and that you did it yourself. You may get addicted to vintage/character-rich drums though!
 

Spiros

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Good stuff. Yes it does take time, but you'll be able to look at it with a great deal of pride when it's all done, knowing you did your bit to keep a cool set alive and in a better state than you found it, and that you did it yourself. You may get addicted to vintage/character-rich drums though!
Thank you Jackal Jack!
Yes, next step will be to find the Super Zyn cymbals...
I am already addicted to vintage stuff anyway!
 

rock roll

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Thank you Jackal Jack!
Yes, next step will be to find the Super Zyn cymbals...
I am already addicted to vintage stuff anyway!
There are zyn , 2 star zyn , super zyn and 5 star super zyn .
the zyn and 2 star zyn , which are intermediate lvl cymbals, most of them sound trashy an I've found work good for percussion setups ... Timbales cungas etc. but rarely you come across one that sounds good.
The super zyn is from around the 50's and maybe early 60's , I don't know exactly.
The 5 star super zyn cymbals are later , maybe from the late 60's thru the 70's.
There are cymbal experts on this forum that could tell you exactly.
I can say I have been working on collecting a set of each of these.
I have complete sets of the super zyn and 5 star super zyn and they sound great , not quite as good as zildjian cymbals but close .

Don't waste money on the regular zyn cymbals unless you can hear them.
the super zyn and 5 star super zyn seem to have had a good quality control.all mine sound good.
There are also a few other cymbal brands made in England but the super xyn and 5 star super zyn are the best.
Hope this help and I look forward to seeing your kit with your super zyn cymbals.
 
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Spiros

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Thanks for clarifying this!
It helps a lot to know the difference... I do have now an old Zildjian crash ( don't know exactly which) and an entry level hi-hat.
I just thought I'd like to have a better hi-hat in the future and maybe a ride (not at all for the moment) and I thought the Zyns whould be nice, so it's good to know which ones I should look for. You suggest I should look for the super or 5 star Zyn. Could you please tell me how much do they cost about?
 

rock roll

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Thanks for clarifying this!
It helps a lot to know the difference... I do have now an old Zildjian crash ( don't know exactly which) and an entry level hi-hat.
I just thought I'd like to have a better hi-hat in the future and maybe a ride (not at all for the moment) and I thought the Zyns whould be nice, so it's good to know which ones I should look for. You suggest I should look for the super or 5 star Zyn. Could you please tell me how much do they cost about?
Check on eBay or reverb sites ... They regularly Have them but usually from England.ive bought most of mine from England .remember that the price you want to pay bid should include shipping cost.i try not to pay over 100.00 but ultimately it's how bad you want it.ive overpaid before.
 

rock roll

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Thanks for clarifying this!
It helps a lot to know the difference... I do have now an old Zildjian crash ( don't know exactly which) and an entry level hi-hat.
I just thought I'd like to have a better hi-hat in the future and maybe a ride (not at all for the moment) and I thought the Zyns whould be nice, so it's good to know which ones I should look for. You suggest I should look for the super or 5 star Zyn. Could you please tell me how much do they cost about?
Check on eBay or reverb sites ... They regularly Have them but usually from England.ive bought most of mine from England .remember that the price you want to pay should include shipping cost.so if you bid 60.00 and its 40.00 shipping, that's 100.00 to you.
i try not to pay over 100.00 but ultimately it's how bad you want it.ive overpaid before.you will see people asking 160.00 or more plus shipping that's too much just wait another will come along or eventually they will lower their price.
Hope this helps, also DFO has a "for sale" area , some DFO members might have some for sale.you can also start a thread in general area that you are looking..you never know.
 


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