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Are High-End Drums a Giant Waste of Money?

Vistalite Black

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Pro drummer Rob “Beatdown” Brown makes some great points while acknowledging that it’s often far more practical to take your Camry to a gig rather than worrying over your new Cadillac.

Also, Canadians are a half-inch taller than U.S. men (5’, 7.5” vs. 5’,7.0”) — which skews our thinking about the term of “giant.”

On the plus side, the Canadian Dollar (Loony) is worth about 70 cents, so you can probably find some deals up there, eh.

 

Whitten

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Short answer - no they aren't. If 1) your job entails delivering high quality drum sounds (live or record), or 2) if you can afford high end drums and they make you happy and inspire you to play more often, inspire you to play better.

The video is clickbait, it's a very common debate that has been done to death, but guaranteed to drive people to watch the video, which is $$$ to Brown.
If you are a hobby drummer playing at home or at a local bar, do you NEED high end drums? No. But that shouldn't be a rule anyone has to live by, just because a YouTuber says so.
 
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drawtheline55

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I am from the school of....."the only way to know is to buy and try"
I have 8 kits set up at home, least expensive is the Yamaha Stage Custom.
Do they sound good...yes, do they hold their own against the higher end kits...yes
Do I like my higher end kits better....yes.

In short with the Stage Custom you start with good and then go up the ladder.
Then there are other factors, fit, finish, heads, ease of tuning, feel etc.
 

DanRH

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I am from the school of....."the only way to know is to buy and try"
I have 8 kits set up at home, least expensive is the Yamaha Stage Custom.
Do they sound good...yes, do they hold their own against the higher end kits...yes
Do I like my higher end kits better....yes.

In short with the Stage Custom you start with good and then go up the ladder.
Then there are other factors, fit, finish, heads, ease of tuning, feel etc.
Same!
 

rkingston

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I think the key here is to not feel pressured into buying high end. Just like old school advertising, social-media-powered gear demos (new school advertising) really drives home the notion that whatever you’re playing now is inadequate and the pro line of brand X is where it’s at.

Bottom line: play what you can afford without getting into debt and be as good as you can on that. If that’s the equivalent of a Chevette, great. La Ferrari? Lucky you. You’re not going be any better than you already are on a kit three times the price of what you can afford.

But there is a potential exception to that rule: the sound and feel of a higher quality instrument can lead to a more inspired approach to practice, expression, and performance.

So, yes, I have no problem admitting I’m contradicting my previous point about gear, except maybe to refine it: high quality gear won’t make you better, but it can inspire you to get better.
 

Vistalite Black

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Short answer - no they aren't. If 1) your job entails delivering high quality drum sounds (live or record), or 2) if you can afford high end drums and they make you happy and inspire you to play more often, inspire you to play better.

The video is clickbait, it's a very common debate that has been done to death, but guaranteed to drive people to watch the video, which is $$$ to Brown.
If you are a hobby drummer playing at home or at a local bar, do you NEED high end drums? No. But that shouldn't be a rule anyone has to live by, just because a YouTuber says so.
I’m surprised you would like less discussion of the merits of higher-end kits. It seems that discussing this benefits drum purchasers and dismissing the topic as “clickbait” only serves the interests of marketers of upper-high-end kits.

If paying an upper-high price is worth it, the upper-high-end drum providers can justify it, right?
 

Whitten

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The choice for me is - new mid-priced kit, or second hand high-end kit.
Brown seems to be focussing on new kits solely.
I always tell people to buy better, buy used.
The hardware point is sort of moot. I use the same 15-20 year old DW hardware for all my kits
 

Whitten

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I’m surprised you would like less discussion of the merits of higher-end kits. It seems that discussing this benefits drum purchasers and dismissing the topic as “clickbait” only serves the interests of marketers of upper-high-end kits.
Bollox.
The video is click bait and the topic has been done to death.
If anyone wants to genuinely debate mid-price versus high-end based on their own needs, thoughts or experiences I'm happy to indulge. In fact I do it ALL the time on these forums, when someone says what their budget is and they are considering some brand new mid-priced kit from Sweetwater whatever. I always tell them to buy something used. There are incredible used drums from credible dealers like Wood and Weather, Rusty Drums in the UK.
By the way, I'm happy to serve the interests of family firms like Noble & Cooley compared to monolithic Yamaha and Tama.
 

audiochurch

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For me, yes, they are a waste of money. Except for 3 snares, everything I bought was used at a killer price. The return on investment has been astronomical. Can’t imagine how many gigs i’d have to play to pay off a $5,000+ kit. I need a new/updated PA more.
 

Hemant

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One thing for sure that he mentions is that the features and functionality of mid-line offering ($1K - 2K) range are better than ever. Better woods, hardware, finish and overall QC. I have said it before - I truly believe my Mapex Saturn walnut/maple shell kits were a better overall fit/finish/sound kit than my DW Collectors. I have a Sonor Ascent beech shell kit that is pure butter in sound and feel. The newer Pearl Studio Session Select line with the birch/african mahogany shells are another truly high end kit for under $2K. Still - none of these kits stop me from lusting after a custom designed SQ2 for all the reasons he mentioned. I thought it was good video.
 

Whitten

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If paying an upper-high price is worth it, the upper-high-end drum providers can justify it, right?
What do you want them to say?
Often they are hand built with love and attention. You can talk to the maker in person, not the local Yamaha rep.
In the end, people can ABSOLUTELY buy what they want. I disagree with the blanket statement that high end drums are a 'giant waste of money'.
I hate the fact by discussing this more, only makes more money for Youtube and this video.
 

Matched Gripper

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Pro drummer Rob “Beatdown” Brown makes some great points while acknowledging that it’s often far more practical to take your Camry to a gig rather than worrying over your new Cadillac.

Also, Canadians are a half-inch taller than U.S. men (5’, 7.5” vs. 5’,7.0”) — which skews our thinking about the term of “giant.”

On the plus side, the Canadian Dollar (Loony) is worth about 70 cents, so you can probably find some deals up there, eh.

IMO, a higher price is more likely (but not guaranteed), to buy better quality control, in particular, in-round shells within very tight tolerances, true bearing edges, and something more sonically desirable than the fast and cheap 45 degree inside cut. It should also buy you better designed, higher quality lugs and mounting hardware, and more attractive finish options.

As far as sound quality is concerned, I have long thought, and still think, that an in-round shell with good bearing edges and good quality heads will tune up and sound as good as any ultra high end drum.

After watching the video, and being a fan of Yamaha drums and mounting hardware of the past, my question is, can’t Yamaha come up with an aesthetically more pleasing tom mount bracket on their $8,000 Phoenix drum sets than that big black obtrusive (plastic?) plate they have on their YESS III tom mounts?

PS: Love Rob’s t-shirt “Groove Responsibility!”
 
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Plaid Sabbath

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Waste of money? Frankly, I don’t give a toss how other people spend their money. Buy and play what you can afford.

At some point, the law of diminishing returns factors into the equation. Easy for some folks to convince themselves that a higher price tag will give them “more”. Good for them. Not necessarily true but that’s the beauty of having options.
 

Vistalite Black

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Rolls-Royce is brilliant in terms of justifying the upper-high-end price of its cars.
 

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dingaling

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I have very few drums that I’d consider mid or low end. That said, 99% of my drums were bought used and most WAY under retail price.
I love drums, life is short, so play nice drums if you can.
 


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