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Are High-End Drums a Giant Waste of Money?

Hemant

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He was....RIP.
I was at Steve Maxwell's store several years ago. His store manager Ben lined up three 14" floor toms - identically tuned with ambassadors - A Gretsch Custom, Ludwig and Craviotto, and had me turn around for a blind test. Unequivocally, there was an audible richer harmonic tone and sustain from the Craviotto. I picked it out right away. A Stradavarius for sure. I can understand why for the most discerning ear this would be their tool of choice. For a weekend warrior top-40 pub gigger like myself - not so much.
 

Hemant

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Firstly, I wouldn't deal with a company that published our business discussions online.
Secondly, his website says he endorses Trick Drums.
I looked at his bio page and all it said was what he does (Musician, Educator), no mention of any notable band or recordings. So on the face of it it seems he's more of a social media, YouTuber guy trying to get ahead, than a serious working musician.
I endorsed N&C in the late 80's. One of the major considerations was what would happen if a shell was dropped and damaged in Japan, or Australia. I decided to go with it anyway. But one of the main reasons pro drummers go with mainstream drum companies is that they offer, swift and international support.
I'll go out on a limb and say that neither McCartney, Knophler or any other band leader you worked for would have cared that you had a damaged drum. They would indeed care if you did not have the proper equipment at the ready, and it would be your accountability to ensure that you had that gear ready to deliver the stage show and performance you had rehearsed (and people paid to see). Appreciate your presence and insight Chris!
 

langmick

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It's just not true.
Of course you've got more experience than I do.

Found a few things googling. to me, and THIS IS MY OPINION ONLY, that a concert tom with an Evans hydraulic head and a tampon taped to it with duct tape is a pretty dead sound and it doesn't matter how much that concert tom cost, what brand, how many plies of maple and bubinga and gum and poplar and birch and rare walnut and trees dredged up from the bottom of the deepest lake in the deepest part of Siberia, it's gonna sound like a Pearl Export drum with the bottom head off, with a tampon taped to it, with an Evans Hydraulic and on and on.

https://www.funkydown.com/downloads/shitty1.pdf

https://www.funkydown.com/downloads/shitty2.pdf

https://drummagazine.com/how-to-recreate-drum-sounds-of-the-1970s/

https://gearspace.com/board/so-much...973286-vintage-drum-recording-techniques.html
 

rsmittee

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I wish you were right. Drummers present here sure do in average spend more on better gear than the usual drummer. Fact is that literally all drum companies struggle because the only instruments they sell is entry level drums. I have been in this biz vor 17 years now and seen so many drum makers fold. I am glad for every company still being around and get nervous when I have not heard from someone for a while. Roland just bought DW, and drummers rejoiced. But this means DW was in deep trouble, and they are one of the larges drum manufacturers today with some hands full of brands (not just PDP, gretsch, slingerland, drumcraft* etc) (*they own a 25% share last time I checked).


the whole drum biz is in trouble for one simple reason - they introduced cheaper drums, counting on drummers who have money to keep buying the professional drums still. But drummers only buy in average one drum set per person*, and when they got cheaper, they just spent less on gear. So introducing cheaper drum lines, while shifting the marked towards companies who did not make any drums 20+ years ago, made no commercial sense. It is like shooting an irreperable large hole into a boat, just to take it over after everybody on board jumps into the ocean and drowned. Awsome idea, enjoy your sinking boar while you can. This, in a nutshell, is what happened 20 years ago and ruined drum biz since.

(* i said average, people reading this here - including me - are nerds who hord drums, I know, but this does not make drums a best seller) - because a drum kit needs a room, and housing prices have been going up and up the past decades, and since drums declined faster than other instruments.

In USA at least way more people are playing drums still than in the rest of the world, thanks to the fact that your school syste supports learning an instrument on high school, and thanks to most americans having enough room for a drum kit. In the rest of the world sales are going down so dramatically, drum stores close for good every week, which is really sad for a drum nerd (and drum maker) like me.

So no, most drummers sadly play cheap mediocre drums and not bother. Companies like Ludwig and Gewa colaborated to kill off the competition but have created a monster by doing so. Drums are now in average so cheap drum stores lose money when they sell them, i am not kidding. For the simple reason that the cheaper drums are made in such a high volume they are way cheaper to make, they end up being the only instruments that give them some ROI while usually everything above 1000$ is not going to sell with any profit. This is the hard truth today.
Your experience brings back painful memories of my brief time in the golf equipment business. It was the same story. Marketing is king, and nobody pays much attention to actual performance, and all the components from all major brands were made in the same plants in China. Your drums sound amazing.
 

Whitten

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I had moved on from the “ endorsement “ part of convo ..
My 1st point was you seemed to determining what it was to be a “ serious “ musician. I had left the endorsement part out of the equation.
That’s what I have issue with .

Then you assumed he “ demanded “ an endorsement..

That’s where I’m coming from ..
You can't 'move on', take my words out of context and start interrogating me on them.
Being a serious musician has nothing to do with endorsing.
In the *context* of endorsing, companies will want to see you are serious - serious about your social media presence, serious about your pro career (making records, playing shows etc). You replied to my post saying that there are 'serious' musicians no one has ever heard of. Sure, but they don't get endorsement deals, the number one criteria of which is that LOT'S of people have heard of you.
'Demand' - again it might have been a lazy choice of words. Also, it is unfortunate to be talking behind a particular person's back. I'm not happy about that, and already said so in my initial post.
In general, it is very difficult to ask a small boutique company for a discount deal. Every penny counts for them.
If it is true, a 50% discount deal is EXTREMELY generous. Even the big companies are now only offering a smaller discount to most endorsers (25 - 30%). Again, if it is true that a drummer turned down a half price kit from a small maker and asked for it to be free - then yes 'demanding' is not a mischaracterisation of the situation.
 

Mapex Always

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The value of $$ ‘vs’ the value of “enjoyment in life” , has no comparison - only one of those things is priceless , and it’s not made of paper.

Money is nothing more than one’s energy ,, in other words - high end drums are worth every penny , as long as one ENJOYS.
 

Whitten

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For me, the best solo drummer album of all time, one of the best fusion albums of all time.
 

Houndog

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You can't 'move on', take my words out of context and start interrogating me on them.
Being a serious musician has nothing to do with endorsing.
In the *context* of endorsing, companies will want to see you are serious - serious about your social media presence, serious about your pro career (making records, playing shows etc). You replied to my post saying that there are 'serious' musicians no one has ever heard of. Sure, but they don't get endorsement deals, the number one criteria of which is that LOT'S of people have heard of you.
'Demand' - again it might have been a lazy choice of words. Also, it is unfortunate to be talking behind a particular person's back. I'm not happy about that, and already said so in my initial post.
In general, it is very difficult to ask a small boutique company for a discount deal. Every penny counts for them.
If it is true, a 50% discount deal is EXTREMELY generous. Even the big companies are now only offering a smaller discount to most endorsers (25 - 30%). Again, if it is true that a drummer turned down a half price kit from a small maker and asked for it to be free - then yes 'demanding' is not a mischaracterisation of the situation.

I don’t think you ever got where I was coming from , no biggie .
 
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Whitten

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I don’t think you ever got where I was coming from
Sure I got it, I even agreed with you. There are a lot of 'serious' musicians no one has ever heard of. But that wasn't remotely the point of my original post which you were picking me up on.
 

Whitten

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There are a lot of great posts in your 'serious musician' thread, which I also agree with. But again, it has nothing to do with the specific point I was making, which was specifically replying to a discussion a drum company had with a drummer.
 

Houndog

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There are a lot of great posts in your 'serious musician' thread, which I also agree with. But again, it has nothing to do with the specific point I was making, which was specifically replying to a discussion a drum company had with a drummer.
I stopped talking about Noah instantly as we don’t know his side of story , I think that’s how you and I got mixed up .
 

Houndog

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I have a hard time conveying my thoughts typing words …..
I need to slow down , sometimes it takes until the next day for me to realize how I should have put things ..
 


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