Acrylic Drums, Love 'Em or Not

Old Dog

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I love acrylic kits. With the colors they can produce, it's just a different approach, and of course the sound.

However, SO MANY older acrylic kits look VERY CRAPPY. Diagonal swirls, stripes, odd color combos.

Just keep it clean, and keep the reso heads on. As soon as the bottom heads are left off, JENKY.

Straight ORANGE! Bonham style, big bass--there ya go.

I like what I see from Pearl these days. I see some other kits that are nice, but there are a whole bunch in my local region on Craigslist that just look wretched. And they want WAY TOO MUCH, wow.
 

Bri6366

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When I started drumming, my dream kit was a set of blue Vistalites. I'll get the kit one of these days. I enjoyed playing my buddies Bonzo kit while he had it, but I love big, loud, bombastic kits.
 

dale w miller

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those are sick! Coke-bottle green??
Thanks and yes, coke bottle green. I’ve had them since ‘03 and they still seem to make a positive impression on people. They were the first acrylic kit made by GMS as well.

I’ve only recorded with them once. One of my maple kits is usually my first choice. The acrylic kit rings like a bell and it’s perfect for live situations, but I just like the warmer tone of the maple for recording.
 

BennyK

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Acrylic shell Pearl Free Floater is the crispest snare I've ever owned . It projects that characteristic well beyond the bandstand at all volumes .
 

Splat

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I love Bonzo playing them....but I wouldn't own a set.
 

RIDDIM

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The bottom line for me is the sound. Looks don't record well.

I've been very happy with what I've gotten from modern day seamless shells. They sound especially good with clear G12s above, or clear G2s with die cast rims, both on the batter side.
 

singleordoubleheads

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Thanks and yes, coke bottle green. I’ve had them since ‘03 and they still seem to make a positive impression on people. They were the first acrylic kit made by GMS as well.

I’ve only recorded with them once. One of my maple kits is usually my first choice. The acrylic kit rings like a bell and it’s perfect for live situations, but I just like the warmer tone of the maple for recording.
Gotcha! They are beautiful for sure!
 

singleordoubleheads

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All this acrylic talk inspired me to put fresh heads on the Crystal Beat Concert Toms this afternoon (along with some TLC--snugging lug screws/waxing bearing edges/wipe down shells and hoops/etc). I had some older but barely used Aquarian Perf 2's on my shelf that I've been meaning to pop on for a while. They had clear hydraulics and I already MUCH prefer these! More punch and actually a louder more focused tone.
 

dtk

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love em...owned a bunch from the Fibes family...though i've heard of a few jazzers using them...the sound is more focused and therefore...more rocking...IMO.

most people can;t see the cracks...and I only dropped one (on its mount...killing it)... I have a set for sale FWIW
 

Neal Pert

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I've only played two acrylic kits, both of which must've been terrible examples because they made me irrationally opposed to acrylic kits. I would not defend my position as rational at all, especially given how people I respect really like them.
 

Targalx

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Played a 1970s Vistalite for years -- it wasn't mine, it was my guitarist's and he rented the studio, so I just used the drums there on a weekly basis. They were...fine. Adequate for performance. Not particularly exciting or memorable, really. A bit boxy sounding, even with new heads and re-tuning. I do not desire an acrylic kit and have never owned one.
 

tone-def

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Loved the look and sound of mine when I had them. A focused almost EQ'd sound derived mostly, as stated earlier, from the heads and very little as far as errant overtones. Mine had sharp edges so a wide wide tuning range. Certainly were as loud as they were heavy! I'll add, like most things the quality of sound varied according to the room. Sometimes the sound was outstanding and other times felt like I was playing Tupperware.

I got my shells from Ray at Gold N Times just before he passed. Sad he's gone.
photo 1.jpg
 
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lrod1707

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I love Ludwig but I once played a friends Vistalite's years ago and didn't like the sound. It also felt weird looking at the acrylic (maybe because they were orange and I don't like orange). If it's not wood I think I'd go with fiberglass. Man oh man how I love how the Jenkins-Martin kits look and sound! I think those will be my next kit!
 

singleordoubleheads

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I see (and agree) with many of the comments here about acrylic shells being more "focused" etc and I might be nuts but I think that because the acrylic shells are 100% solid --similar to fiberglass--and not porus like wood, it really helps to focus and "enhance" the tone and volume to a small degree. I've played and heard countless wood shelled kits that obviously can sound great, but a well-tuned acrylic kit even takes it up another notch. (If they just weren't so damn HEAVY!)
 

NashvilleGull

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Always felt like acrylics were designed to be louder, as well as more focused as somebody said.
I have a Ludwig 70's smoke set, virgin 26x16, 14/16/18. Some of the sound complaints come from guys trying to tune them for a more modern sound and they dont sound great with 2 ply heads and lower timings like modern drums.
In my experience, single ply heads with fairly high tunings are the ticket. Behind the kit they're going to sound a little "pingy" at first, but remember drums sound a lot different out front than from behind the kit. They can really sound huge with this method. I toured mine for 20+ years, and they fared well traveling under the bus in cases through all kinds of weather, sunny daytime festivals, beachside gigs, extreme hot and cold. Stayed in tune well and sounded great always.
They do have a more narrow tuning range than wood drums, but the sweet spot when you find it is excellent. Lots of punch and definition, especially on a gig where all the drums aren't milked. I love mine, and still use them about 1/2 the time depending on what the gig is..
 

singleordoubleheads

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Always felt like acrylics were designed to be louder, as well as more focused as somebody said.
I have a Ludwig 70's smoke set, virgin 26x16, 14/16/18. Some of the sound complaints come from guys trying to tune them for a more modern sound and they dont sound great with 2 ply heads and lower timings like modern drums.
In my experience, single ply heads with fairly high tunings are the ticket. Behind the kit they're going to sound a little "pingy" at first, but remember drums sound a lot different out front than from behind the kit. They can really sound huge with this method. I toured mine for 20+ years, and they fared well traveling under the bus in cases through all kinds of weather, sunny daytime festivals, beachside gigs, extreme hot and cold. Stayed in tune well and sounded great always.
They do have a more narrow tuning range than wood drums, but the sweet spot when you find it is excellent. Lots of punch and definition, especially on a gig where all the drums aren't milked. I love mine, and still use them about 1/2 the time depending on what the gig is..
Wow, I've found the opposite to be true for me--my reissued Vistalites came from the factory with Ludwig Heavy clear batters which are actually about the same as a clear Ambassador. I used them as they were but didn't really fall in LOVE with the Toms until I put new EC2's on. NOW they sound super full and Phat.
Same deal with my Crystal Beat Concert Toms--they came with Pearl-branded Thin heads and I hated them! Much better to my ears with Hydraulics/Aquariun 2's, and am eventually going to use clear Pins or EC2's.
 

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