At what point do made-in-Taiwan/China drums become cool?

dogmanaut

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Just musing on this the other day -- "made in Japan" used to pretty much mean something was crap, a cheap knockoff. All the Crestlines and Coronets and Gambles and Maxwins, etc. made out of firewood with subpar hardware. Skip forward a couple decades, though, and MIJ is a major selling point with people paying extra to get their hands on MIJ Tamas and Yamahas. Now it's Chinese and Taiwanese products that get short shrift.

The thing is, while I'm sure there are plenty of manufacturing defects that come with Chinese- or Taiwanese-made drums -- if for no other reason than the sheer volume of manufacturing that's been moved to those countries -- it's not like they're not also making extremely high-quality stuff.

Pearl's been making its drums in Taiwan for ages now, and the build quality is top notch. In fact, I saw someone on here just recently assert that their Pearl wood fiberglass kit was actually better built than their Sakae-made Yamaha Club Customs. And Yamaha, of course, shifted virtually all of its production to China, beginning with the Live Customs, which, once again, I've heard a lot of people say they actually prefer to the Japanese Oak Customs they replaced.

And the list of quality drums manufactured or assembled in China/Taiwan goes on and on and on.

So at what point does the stigma wear off?
 

bluejacketsfan

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My Pearl Worlds were made in Taiwan, and I think they are great sounding. But, I do feel like the attitude towards TW and China are politically motivated. If they were our ally, such as Japan, then the attitude, I feel, would be different for their products.

It probably doesn't help that China doesn't respect trademark and patent laws to produce competing products.
 
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shilohjim

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They're cool to me. I play two Taiwanese made Pearl kits most of the time, and they both blow all the American kits I've owned out of the water in
terms of build quality and attention to detail.
 

TDM

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In terms of quality, I don't think it matters where drums are made. Asian countries have some of the best manufacturing in the world, if not the best. Why? Because they are doing so much of it! You don't learn by not doing and this is a problem other countries are beginning to face. The countries actually doing the manufacturing are surging ahead in terms of processes and technology. Now if you ask me would I rather buy North American made or overseas made drums, that's a tougher question, but I'd probably say North American made. Why? Because I believe in supporting my local economy, in creating and supporting local jobs, and in helping my local economy build technology and processes. Back to quality and sound, I own and use drums made all over the world, and all the drums sound great and are equally well made.
 

Nacci

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Swarfrat's response seems like the only reasonable way that I can see.
 

Dan Radin

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If I was looking for a new drum set, I would likely look at Taiwanese-made drums first. I am not willing to pay the prices for new American, European, or Japanese-made drums, and having been to many of the bigger Taiwan and China drum factories, I understand the people, processes, and capabilities behind those products.

That said, with the state of the used drum market being what it is, there's simply no reason I think anyone should buy new drums unless they really want something custom, or if buying new is a key consideration.

I mean, when you can get a set of 80s-90s Gretsch in nice condition for $700-900, why would anybody even think about buying a non-pro-level new kit?
 

AtlantaDrumGuy

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Chinese is never cool.

USA for the win. I'm fine with Japan as well.

Count me out of any drums made in China. Ever. To the end of time. Companies make their choices. I'll make mine.

I'm sure some still sound good, but I refuse to purchase any. I have a right to choose and that is my choice. When I decided on something new, I went with USA DW. Good choice...and good enough for Keltner and many pros.
 

mattmalloy66

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Any drums become cool when they sound cool.
A badge that's says where they are made is not a sign of quality control.
There is no one country that has a lock on quality, or lack thereof.
 

Tommy D

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AtlantaDrumGuy said:
Chinese is never cool.

USA for the win. I'm fine with Japan as well.

Count me out of any drums made in China. Ever. To the end of time. Companies make their choices. I'll make mine.

I'm sure some still sound good, but I refuse to purchase any. I have a right to choose and that is my choice. What I decided on something new, I went with USA DW. Good choice...and good enough for Keltner and many pros.
DW has their lugs, hoops, spurs, and claws made in Taiwan. Likely their standard 32 tpi tension rods as well. The 50 tpi may be made in USA, but Im not 100% sure. Also, the majority of their stands and pedals are made in Taiwan or China. They do make some hardware in the Oxnard, CA plant, like some of their 9000 pedals and hi hat stands, but pretty much everything else with chrome on it is made overseas.
 

audiochurch

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my ludwig stainless steel black magic snare is made in taiwan. my coolest snare ive ever owned
 

pedro navahas

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Tommy D said:
Chinese is never cool.

USA for the win. I'm fine with Japan as well.

Count me out of any drums made in China. Ever. To the end of time. Companies make their choices. I'll make mine.

I'm sure some still sound good, but I refuse to purchase any. I have a right to choose and that is my choice. What I decided on something new, I went with USA DW. Good choice...and good enough for Keltner and many pros.
DW has their lugs, hoops, spurs, and claws made in Taiwan. Likely their standard 32 tpi tension rods as well. The 50 tpi may be made in USA, but Im not 100% sure. Also, the majority of their stands and pedals are made in Taiwan or China. They do make some hardware in the Oxnard, CA plant, like some of their 9000 pedals and hi hat stands, but pretty much everything else with chrome on it is made overseas.

Exactly! But,,, if you buy a vintage American kit, all the parts were made here!
 

AtlantaDrumGuy

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Tommy D said:
Chinese is never cool.

USA for the win. I'm fine with Japan as well.

Count me out of any drums made in China. Ever. To the end of time. Companies make their choices. I'll make mine.

I'm sure some still sound good, but I refuse to purchase any. I have a right to choose and that is my choice. What I decided on something new, I went with USA DW. Good choice...and good enough for Keltner and many pros.
DW has their lugs, hoops, spurs, and claws made in Taiwan. Likely their standard 32 tpi tension rods as well. The 50 tpi may be made in USA, but Im not 100% sure. Also, the majority of their stands and pedals are made in Taiwan or China. They do make some hardware in the Oxnard, CA plant, like some of their 9000 pedals and hi hat stands, but pretty much everything else with chrome on it is made overseas.
So does everyone else, far as parts. I'm aware of that. Still American craftsmanship overall.
 

xsabers

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My mind changed when I first played a Mapex Saturn.
 

TDM

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Tmcfour said:
I'm ok with not being cool. I don't have the money to be cool.
Well, yes. I understand and sometimes make similar decisions. However, when we don't support local economies, the more we reduce our own standard of living.
 

Bri6366

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Back in the 80s I read a Pearl MLX, BLX review in Modern Drummer. The reviewer mentioned that Pearl had shifted it's production to Taiwan. For the most part the review was favorable and the drums were top notch. I was a Tama guy at the time and was very skeptical about the move. One day at Sam Ash I hit a Pearl tom and WOW!!

But then again, in the 70s Made in Japan was considered lower quality. The drum industry kind of followed the auto industry. Back in the 70s when Toyota made the Celica, who would have thought they would make a Lexus that would compete with Benz and BMW? The did, and likewise, Pearl, Tama and Yamaha put the American manufacturers out of business or pretty much rendered them irrelevant until DW became popular in the 90s.

Now people look at Made in China the way they were looking at MIJ back in the 70s.
 

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