Anybody Play Super Cheap Drums?

Drm1979

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Being a hobbyist drummer and not even semi pro I've only ever played on my cheap pulse percussion kit. It's just a simple 4 piece kit. I've upgraded the snare to a pearl piccolo but other than that the kit is all original hardware stands etc. I got it when I was about 20 years old and it withstood weekly punk rock gigs in grungy run down clubs throughout NW Florida and southern alabama. Now 20 years later with the exception of new heads the kit is all original holding up well. By the way I'm not sure if its true with all inexpensive kits but coated heads on the toms with clear resos sound as well as a more high end kit imho. I even recorded a record with this kit and for the money we had at the time it turned out pretty decent. So I say if you have the cash and after carefully checking the hardware out go for it. At the very least you'll end up with some shells that you could possibly play with. Kinda like rdavidr on YouTube. The pulse kit I own was about 250.00 brand new. 13 rack tom 16 floor 22 bass. And originally a 5x14 snare.
 
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MasterBlaster

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I don't play in a band, rarely jam with the few musician friends I have, and spend just as much (which ain't a lot!) time playing my guitars, bongos, and cajon... but why pussyfoot around?

Disclaimer - I'm not rich by any means... PDP and SW credit - FTW!68530085_693927264351543_8547467200917667840_n.jpg
 

Old Drummer

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What is the threshold for "super cheap"? I got a set of PDP FS (birch) shells 22-14-12-10 for $250, and I love them.
IMHO, $250 isn't super cheap, but it's pretty darn good for what you got. I'd say you did well.
 

pwc1141

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I only play cheap drums when I play house kits ... and they are always covered in tape by the last drummer .... I carry snare and cymbals to such gigs .....
 

sabian guy

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I know a guy that gigs an old CB MAXX kit (look at the toms!). I filled in for him one night while he was suddenly called out of town. The band said "We have the drum set covered! You don't have to bring yours!" I STILL have nightmares about that kit! Sounded like wet cardboard! The only thing with any value was a 20" K ride.

How is it even possible to play those toms?
 

Smoke N Drums

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Thanks for the opinions and experiences, folks. Interestingly, there are different viewpoints.

My takeaway is that the only way for me to know is to take a drum key, a stick, and maybe even a spare head or two over to the seller's house and make him watch me for about an hour while I fool with his drums. Playing them won't likely be enough, not only because the sounds can change with different heads and tuning, but also because hardware seems the hidden deal stopper. Although selected pieces of hardware can probably be replaced cheaply enough (well, if I can find pieces that fit) having to replace a lot of the hardware could turn out to be expensive. I think I'll have to test every tension lug by turning it, remove at least a couple heads, and otherwise give the kit a thorough inspection.

I don't know whether or not I'm up to all this, and the guy might be better off selling the drums to a mother buying a starter kit for her kid. I might well pass after inspecting the drums anyway. But the experience could be fun, so I'll see if the seller wants to waste some time watching me dismantle his drums.
100 bucks? Don't over think it. Go check it out. If it is ok buy it, tune it and play it. Expect to buy some new heads.
 

Targalx

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My touring kit is a 12/14/20 Yamaha Beech Custom in poor visual shape (shells are intact, hardware is fine) that I bought for under $300 (I think $250 or $280?). That kit also gets used in the studio. It's "super cheap" in my book, as it's the cheapest kit I own.
 

Elvis

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A guy I've dealt with before in my local drummers' Facebook group is selling a 4-piece kit of an unknown brand for $100. The photos actually don't look bad (usually I can identify toy drums from photos) though the kit can't be quality. I assume the drums are poplar (unless there's an even cheaper material) but so what? Poplar can sound good. The real risk, it would seem, is hardware so weak that the drums are unusable. But even hardware can be replaced.

I also admit to having an admiration for bucket drummers, or more practically, for finding honor in defying markets by playing really cheap drums. Of course, I wouldn't do this with cymbals, and this kit doesn't include a snare, so the snare could be quality. But if the kick and a couple toms could be made to sound OK, I can't shake the feeling that this would be a fun way to go.

Plus, who cares about cases (or spilled beer)? For $25 a drum, there's not much to lose.

Anyone actually do this, or am I contemplating wasting $100 along with some aggravation?
With exception to the Ludwig and Sonor kits, budget drums are pretty much all I've ever owned.
As long as the integrity of the shell isn't compromised, everything else can repaired or replaced.
I've recorded and gigged with budget drums and no one minded (even got some accolades on how good they sounded).
I think the more important part is using aftermarket heads and knowing how to tension them so the drums sound like something someone would want to listen to...and don't chintz out on the cymbals.
It can work, but like anything, if you can't try it in person, remember to stay open to the fact that they may end up not being for you...and that's ok.
It doesn't make the drums bad, because regardless of who's "name" is on the badge, some drums speak to us, others don't.
Get the drums and have fun with them.


Elvis
 

wayne

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Interesting how the drum snobs don't even chime in here....I mean the "real" snobs...they just don't get it!
 

Elvis

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The phrase Super Cheap Drums is their Kryptonite, so...…;)
 

wayne

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That,s the best conclusion I've ever heard!!...good for you!!
 

Drumstickdude

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If I may use this for a bit of talking ( confessional) therapy .At my regular Saturday morning big band rehearsal I'm playing the bands bashed up old traps kit, it's practical because I live about 15 miles from middlesborough where it is. I quite like playing on it and it seems a lot easier to play it with the band for some reason. I think it's cos the notes are very short on these drums and gets out of the way quickly. But , it's got me into a bad habit as when I go to the other band on a Monday night I'm having some problems adapting to using my 'real' own kit ( now 90s premier genista) with radio king snare. After the subtly of the cheap old traps kit it just feels way to loud and hard to control and a bit clumsy......what a nightmare, I'm trying to overcome this, I think it's a psychological issue.:banghead:
 

Tornado

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I think we've all heard an inexpensive kit that surprised the hell out of us. I have a hunch that people put way more effort into tuning an expensive kit because after all that money you aren't going to stop until it sounds amazing. I think people often stop too soon on cheaper kits because they think that's as good as it's going to get. Both self fulfilling prophecies.
 

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