Any Pearl drums enthusiasts? What’s your opinion on Pearl?

piccupstix

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Way back I was influenced by Louie Bellson and at a clinic I asked him why Pearl, besides the obvious, and fiberglass at that. He was right in the middle of an explanation and when he got to the reason a friend of his butted in and stole the conversation. I wasn't deterred and later got influenced by Omar Hakim on David Sanborn's "Night Music" TV show. I loved his blue Pearl kit. I got a black fiberglass kit and used it for years. I hated the rack tom configuration too but criss-crossed the arms to make them work.
 

Elvis

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My first kit was a Pearl, I have a soft spot for this brand, Whenever I see that logo it puts a smile on my face.

With all these manufacturers on the market, where do they stand today? I know they have well-known endorsers and ALL of their models are made in Taiwan, their hardware is probably one of the better ones. What do you think of Pearl drums? Would you pick up a modern Pearl kit?
Looking at their website, the Masters Maple Complete seems to be a great choice for a new kit and a 20/14/12 is $1400 brand new.
Why would someone pick Pearl over Yamaha, Gretsch, or Ludwig?
I think they make a good drum. The 4-ply "Masters" shells were really nice. I remember sitting behind a huge MHX kit that must've contained every size tom they made in that series. I learned a lot about Mahogany from that kit.
I know a lot of people don't like the tom mounting system, but I never had a problem with it....and now, the look screams "Pearl!" and is iconic to the brand. I hope they never change it.
In general, to me, Pearl makes a perfectly acceptable drum at a reasonable price....and I hope they keep doing that for a long time.

Elvis
 
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Targalx

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I was given a Free Floating Brass snare drum to use when I toured Japan and it was a fantastic snare!

Most of the clubs/venues in Japan had their own house kits, so when I toured, I just brought cymbals, pedal, snare, throne and sticks. I also brought several batter heads (for reasons below).

In 2001, when I was last there, the most frequent house kit I encountered was a Pearl (usually a mid-grade kit like a BLX or whatever it was at the time), followed by Yamaha (almost always Recording or Tour Customs), then Tama (this ranged wildly from Swingstars to Artstar Customs).

They were in various states/conditions, so a head change was usually necessary, or else you'd be starting your set on cratered Ambassadors all night.
 

Seb77

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I started out on a Pearl Export (1988) power 12/13 toms on a 22x16 bass, and my school band had a slightly older one with trad. size racks as well. Reliable. It even lead to a bias that made me buy two more Pearl kits and a snare, even if the sound wasn't perfect for me (I think I was rather late din developing a sense of what drum sounds I wanted, only after going online, listening around, reading, seeing videos).
Pearl wasn't the only company around though; Sonors were also very present, my first teacher had a Phonic, later got a Force 2000 for teaching. I think it was the hardware on the Pearls that I preferred. Maybe I would have gotten into Yamaha if I had been exposed to them. RCs were a kind of dream kit for me, but I never went through with them, and to this day, I don't own any Yamaha drums.

I still have quite few Pearl kits and a maple free-floater, but I might be past most of them, it's not the sound character I'm looking for these days. One kit is really nice, an early 80s maple in rosewodd lacquer. Simple, elegant-looking. I like the simpler versions of Pearl design, the old 80s lugs, or the retro-Masters ones. The tom mounts... as has been pointed out, other companies use a lot of metal as well, but I really lost interest in new ones in the 2000s when they introduced those swiveling two-part lugs, to bulky/heavy. Soundwise, they offer a great range of high-quality sounds these days, those newer shells, but as a whole they're not my style anymore.
 

SpinaDude

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Sonor makes great drums.
No offense intended to the owners.
To me, the Pearl pipes look better than this tom suspension system.
Talk about bang for your buck...A drum kit that can also repel a mortar attack?!?! How can you lose?
 

SKSMITH

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My first new kit was a mahogany stained Pearl Export in 1985. They were decent drums, played alot on them, but always liked the look of older Slingerland's. In 1991, I found a nice1966 Slingerland BDP and sold the Exports. I kept the stands and used them for many years.
I've had several vintage kits and a couple of modern over the years. At one point after I sold my Gretsch RB's, Precision was selling their Titanium Sparkle wrap on clearance. I ended up buying some and looking for either a RB or SSB kit or singles that needed some love. After about two years and seeing prices that were just stupid for their condition, I came across a Pearl MX kit at the local Music Go Round. The badges said US Maple.
After some quick investigation, it turns out they were only made for about 1 year (1983) in Nashville, using Keller shells. First year for the Super Hoops as well.
I went to the store and made a deal with them for $275, and they threw in a 17" A. Zildjian thin crash.
They were wrapped in black, which was cracked and peeling. The bass was missing a few rods, but the shells & edges all looked good.
When I re-wrapped them, I filled the pipe mount holes and went with modern Opti-Mounts. Replaces the bass spurs with their modern equivalent. Kept the 80's box lugs & floor tom leg mounts.
I will say that they sound great. Ended up finding a pair of concert toms from a year or two earlier on the local craigslist for $50 & recovered them to match. Then found an MX US Maple 18" floor tom.
Wouldn't have given Pearl a 2nd though until I looked on the Music Go Round website, but I really like these. And the Titanium Sparkle is really nice.
0901190654.jpg
 

mcirish

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I had to decide between a Ludwig Classic maple and a Pearl Masters Maple Complete. I ended up with the Ludwig kit but I think I may have gone the other route if I did it again. Both kits are great and I wouldn't rate one over the other. Some don't like the Pearl tom mounts but I never had trouble with them on an Export kit I had. It was always rock solid.
I went on a snare buying binge and I have to say the Pearl Sensitone Phosphor Bronze 6.5x14 is the best snare I have ever played. I also have a number of Ludwigs (LM400, 402,403) but they are not as well built as the Pearl. I think because of the popularity of the Export series, Pearl is looked on as entry level by some people. I think their hardware is great and their drums always sound good, no matter what price point.
 

nk126

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Like several of you in the thread, my first kit I bought new was an Export (back in '88 or '89). I played that kit through high school, college, and then a bunch of bar bands in my 20s. Sold the drums themselves to move on to "nicer" shells from other brands, but kept the hardware.

I still use the snare and hi-hat stands that came with that Export kit. 700 series, I think? The snare stand is great. Simple, pretty low-profile, easily adjustable, and solid. Also still use a few of the cymbal stands and clamps that came with it, though they're now mixed and matched with other hardware I've picked up along the way. The hardware is just rock solid - amazing bang for the buck, and back in the day the uni-lock cymbal tilters blew my mind.

That said, I wouldn't buy a new Pearl kit now. Comes down to the aesthetics and vibe ... just kind of bland. I've played a few higher end pearl kits in studios over the years and they've sounded great, so it's not that. Just don't feel any special something something when I see Pearl kits like I do with some of the other brands.
 

TheBeachBoy

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My first good kit was a Pearl Export from the 80's or early 90's I believe. I got it in the early 2000's and still have it. In fact it's my main gigging kit for outdoor day gigs because I've pulled the wrap and stained it so I'm not worried about sun/UV bubbling damage.

I put a couple coats of poly on the inside and it sounds pretty darn good. I can only imagine their higher end models sound even better. The pipes aren't my first choice for a mounting system, but it is what it is and I make the best of it with the boom arm for the ride cymbal.

IMG_20170730_193221.jpg
 

Cauldronics

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My first kit was a Pearl, I have a soft spot for this brand, Whenever I see that logo it puts a smile on my face.

With all these manufacturers on the market, where do they stand today? I know they have well-known endorsers and ALL of their models are made in Taiwan, their hardware is probably one of the better ones. What do you think of Pearl drums? Would you pick up a modern Pearl kit?
Looking at their website, the Masters Maple Complete seems to be a great choice for a new kit and a 20/14/12 is $1400 brand new.
Why would someone pick Pearl over Yamaha, Gretsch, or Ludwig?
My first kit was also Pearl. My Dad got tired of me playing his ‘67 Ludwig Club Date kit and he knew that I wasn’t going to give up drumming like a lot of kids do, so he got me a kit.

It was an early Pearl export kit in natural maple that sounded pretty good. In fact, he wanted to trade the Club Dates for it but I didn’t know anything about kits and decided to keep it.

That kit is long gone, but since then I haven’t been that into Pearl kits. There was a late 80’s BLX kit I had and never really liked. It had power toms that I just couldn’t get a good tone out of, which was probably due in part to me not having a lot of experience with tuning at that point.

I tried many other Pearl drums in stores but they never grabbed my attention enough to make me want to get one. Not when there was Yamaha, Tama, Ludwig and Sonor on the same showroom floor.

I might very well like a Pearl kit today. It’s been a long time since I tried one.
 

dsop

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As soon as they come out with a new tom mount that looks nice and functions properly, I'll consider them. Until then, forget it. Same thing with Tama for that matter. Actually, we can add Mapex to that list.
 
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shilohjim

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I've had 4 Pearl kits over the years and they've all been fantastic. And never a single failure of any kind from the hardware. I find it amusing when people talk about the heavy, gigantic pipe mounts. The heaviest gyro-lock tom arm is still lighter than most L-arm mounts, and the pipes are a thinner diameter too. And I don't know why this is never mentioned, but Pearl also offers an L-arm mount in their catalog. It was part of the Rhythm Traveler Pod kit, which is long discontinued, but last I checked you could still order it separately. That's what I did when I got my Wood-Fiberglass kit. Used a BT-3 mount on the bass drum, and an LB-40 bracket attached directly to the 12" tom, along with the pod L-arm which is 9.5mm. Looks classic and clean.
 


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