Acrylic Drums, Love 'Em or Not

Drm1979

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Honestly, I've never been a fan of the way acrylic drums look. I know that there are some folks who really like them. But I've never really cared for them. The first drum kit I ever played on was an acrylic that my at the time girlfriends father owned when i was in high school and i just remember seeing all the little cracks and swirl Mark's in the acrylic from where it had been wiped clean before and just did not care for the look of that at all. This came up today as rdavidr built a Ludwig vistalite kit and while I support rdavidr and what he does I still cant stand the look of an acrylic drum kit. I posted the link to his video if any of you want to see what he did.

 

singleordoubleheads

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Well as the proud owner of 2 different acrylic kits, it's pretty safe to say I love 'em! Not to the exclusion of wood-shelled drums, but they definitely have a place with me. I've owned my reissued Vistalite kit since 2011 and it still looks brand-new (no cracks or swirl marks at all). My Pearl Crystal Beat Concert Toms are also visually striking and sound fantastic as well.
 

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pwc1141

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To be honest, I have never seen one here so never heard one live ....... I am not a fan of the look to be even more honest.
 

Fat Drummer

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While they certainty have their place in drumming history and tons of folks enjoy them, I have never had a desire to own one. So I dont think I "hate" them, I'm just slightly left of "not interesting to me".
 

Drm1979

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While they certainty have their place in drumming history and tons of folks enjoy them, I have never had a desire to own one. So I dont think I "hate" them, I'm just slightly left of "not interesting to me".
That's about where I'm at. I dont mind the way they look from afar but up close I just dont like the looks of them.
 

singleordoubleheads

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CC Cirillo

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I had a Vistalite kit when I was a teen and used them when I first started gigging in junior college. They were the swirl pattern in black and white.

Despite nostalgia, to be honest, we never became lovers or even good friends.

Two things kept me from loving and keeping them: I was always afraid I’d drop one and they’d break at the swirl’s seam; I never quite dialed in the sound (although this was certainly due to my lack of tuning acumen. Back then there was no internet, Youtube, or forum to guide me.)

I think if I had the dosh and storage space, I’d like a set for live shows.

...I think I could figure out how to tune them this time around....
 

FloydZKing

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Love 'em, looks and sound. It used to pain me that acrylics had a reputation for sounding bad, as it was established in the dark ages of tuning. The modern ones are better made and sound better as a result, but healthy 70s acrylics sound great too.
 

dsop

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Why is that Ludwig's Vistalite drums are "rolled" with a seam, but other companies can make them seamless? I love the look on one hand, but I don't like seeing the back side of the lugs/washers/bolts. The few I've actually struck with a stick sounded really nice.
 

Beefsurgeon

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Why is that Ludwig's Vistalite drums are "rolled" with a seam, but other companies can make them seamless? I love the look on one hand, but I don't like seeing the back side of the lugs/washers/bolts. The few I've actually struck with a stick sounded really nice.
Most acrylic shells are made from big sheets of 1/4" acrylic, which is heated and formed. That's the way Vistalites, Fibes, Zickos were made. The actual finishing of the seam varied though.

Fibes (at least with the modern ones) joined the seams with a v-channel that was then filled with acrylic or some sort of epoxy, then sanded and buffed smooth. This resulted in a less obvious seam.

Modern Vistalites (and other acrylic shells from the same supplier) have a butt seam with a thin strip of acrylic epoxied to it, running most of the length of the inside of the shell. It's not as clean of a look, but it has no effect on the sound.

Truly seamless acrylic shells are made with a different process (extruded? cast?). I've only seen them used by Tama and Pearl, so perhaps they are sourcing them from the same place.

I don't think that any of the above has an effect on sound. Acrylic just doesn't seem to resonate like wood and metal. If you try the "tap test" on a bare acrylic shell, it just goes "thunk". No tone. To my ears, acrylic shells just kind of amplify the characteristics of the drumheads you put on them, rather than impart their own character on the sound. I think this is what makes them special--an acrylic kit with good bearing edges provides a platform for a variety of sounds determined by your head choice.

That said, I've always just loved the look of them. Here's mine:
IMG_20151129_153237.jpg
 

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