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

JDA

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There has to be a "positive' association as soon as that occurs Boom instant Cool
 

dogmanaut

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Yes recall that too. I wish I could find the article I read, but anyhow, the point was being "cool".
Ehhh... don’t zero in too much on one word from just the title. If I were to start this thread again, maybe I would have said “desirable” or something similar. Regardless, I think the original post lays it out pretty clearly:

MIJ used to equal ”bad”; now it equals “good.” But now, for a lot of people, MIC/MIT equals “bad,” so what has to happen for MIC/MIT to become “good” in people’s minds, too?

I think JDA is partially right, but it’s not like there aren’t plenty of cool drummers who are famously making incredible music on MIC/MIT drums.
 

Bri6366

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MIJ used to equal ”bad”; now it equals “good.” But now, for a lot of people, MIC/MIT equals “bad,” so what has to happen for MIC/MIT to become “good” in people’s minds, too?
I'm sure it's been said plenty of times above, but this is a fun subject and we're stuck inside....

The same evolution that occurred with MIJ has occurred in Taiwan and now China. By the early 80s, the build quality of pro level Tama and Pearl kits were superior to American made kits at the time. It was no different than the auto industry. The build quality of a Tama or Pearl kit in the early 80s is superior to Ludwig or Gretsch USA Custom today. Just look at the examples of Gretsch snares with poorly drilled lugs.

In the 80s, Pearl moved their production of pro drums to Taiwan and the quality was still up to par. I was never a Pearl fan until they introduced the MIT MMX series in the 90s.

Fast forward to the last decade or so and Tama now makes its Starclassic series in China, Yamaha makes Recording Customs in China as well. Everyone was skeptical at first, but the drums are amazing. I don't hear any complaints about the build quality of the pro level Yamaha drums MIC these days. There will always be some who don't like it to the same extent they never liked MIJ drums either.

With regard to the political opinions on China, I get that and it does pose a moral dilemma of sorts. But in the end, I take the mindset that it is a musical instrument that I'm making art on (ok, not really I'm not that good, but in theory....). I try to set politics aside. In certain configurations, I would most likely buy American. But while Ludwig and Gretsch have done much to restore their rep and improve their QC, I know I can order a Yamaha Absolute Hybrid Maple kit and it will be flawless.
 

nylontip

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But now, for a lot of people, MIC/MIT equals “bad,” so what has to happen for MIC/MIT to become “good” in people’s minds, too?
I think from a players perspective, when you get to hear and/or play some of these MIC/MIT kits those attitudes or opinions you've mentioned may start to dissipate.
I've been fortunate to have friends who turn me on to inexpensive good sounding gear and surprisingly, it's kits
that are MIC/MIT. Gretsch Cats & Renowns, Sonor Force Selects and many more. Even a batch the Ludwig Club Date SE were coming from there before Ludwig
brought them back here in the last couple of years.
I see a lot of clubs now using Yamaha Stage Customs for backline or house kits. Mic'd up they sound really good.
Growing up in the 60's/70's I get the whole "cheap sets were made over seas thing". Besides, we were hitting harder as the music/amps got bigger/louder
and those kits weren't cutting it, especially the hardware. So for many of us the American kits became the benchmark of what was good and desirable.
But hey, I had to mod a Speedking pedal because it rattled so much. I never liked it, but it was cool to have one. I digress.
Cheers!
 

BennyK

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I've never had a problem with Taiwanese made drums , musically or otherwise.
 

Bri6366

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I think from a players perspective, when you get to hear and/or play some of these MIC/MIT kits those attitudes or opinions you've mentioned may start to dissipate.
I've been fortunate to have friends who turn me on to inexpensive good sounding gear and surprisingly, it's kits
that are MIC/MIT. Gretsch Cats & Renowns, Sonor Force Selects and many more. Even a batch the Ludwig Club Date SE were coming from there before Ludwig
brought them back here in the last couple of years.
I see a lot of clubs now using Yamaha Stage Customs for backline or house kits. Mic'd up they sound really good.
Growing up in the 60's/70's I get the whole "cheap sets were made over seas thing". Besides, we were hitting harder as the music/amps got bigger/louder
and those kits weren't cutting it, especially the hardware. So for many of us the American kits became the benchmark of what was good and desirable.
But hey, I had to mod a Speedking pedal because it rattled so much. I never liked it, but it was cool to have one. I digress.
Cheers!
You do realize that $4,000 Yamaha kits are made in China and $6,000 Pearl kits are made in Taiwan? It's not just Stage Customs and Renowns these days.
 

nylontip

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Yes, it's interesting to see the drums being made over there. I wish I still had my US Mercury jelly beans. They may make a come back!
 

Jazzhead

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You do realize that $4,000 Yamaha kits are made in China and $6,000 Pearl kits are made in Taiwan? It's not just Stage Customs and Renowns these days.
I recently got back into Pearl drums and I just realized that even their highest end drums are made in Taiwan. I loved the 80’s MLX “made in Taiwan” kits.
 

Rufus T Firefly

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Pearl drums are made in China? I guess I've been living under a rock. Beings their headquarters is in Japan I always assumed Pearl drums where MIJ. Weren't a lot of the stencil kits from the 60s and 70s MIJ by Pearl? Guess maybe my drum history knowledge is sub-par.
 

dsop

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Weren't a lot of the stencil kits from the 60s and 70s MIJ by Pearl?
That was over 40 years ago. That was then. This is now. Once Chinese labor gets too pricey, I'm sure manufacturing will move to the next cheapest location. Anyone hazard a guess where that might be? India maybe?
 

RedeyeSPR

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I have never actually owned any made in the US drums besides my Slingerlands which I didn't get until they were 45 years old already. I have, however owned 3 made in Japan Yamahas in the past (Recording, Beech, and Maple Absolute), and I currently have 3 made in China Yamahas (Live Custom and 2 Stage Customs). I have never noticed any difference at all in the shell build quality. The edges and finish on the China stuff is just as well made as the Japan ones. There is a noticeable difference in the hardware weight, but that is just from using better materials to start off, not from better manufacturing. I am guessing that any shell quality difference also comes from material selection and not from manufacturing issues.
 

Jazzhead

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Pearl drums are made in China? I guess I've been living under a rock. Beings their headquarters is in Japan I always assumed Pearl drums where MIJ. Weren't a lot of the stencil kits from the 60s and 70s MIJ by Pearl? Guess maybe my drum history knowledge is sub-par.
Pearl started producing their drums in Taiwan in the late 70’s or early 80’s while also some drums were being manufactured in Japan still, so in the 80’s DLX series you will see both Taiwan and Japan but today I think all of their drums are made in Taiwan, not China. Even their high end models that cost $5000 are made in Taiwan and have top notch quality, I mean their 90’s Made in Taiwan kits also have top notch quality.
 

Houndog

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For me it’s aesthetics , I just don’t like the way new foreign drums look .
I dig some of the early MIJ knockoffs
But they were copying the look. .
I can’t think of a car made in the last
30-40 years that I like either .
 

Bri6366

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I recently got back into Pearl drums and I just realized that even their highest end drums are made in Taiwan. I loved the 80’s MLX “made in Taiwan” kits.

I remember it being mentioned in a late 80s Modern Drummer review of MLX/BLX kits that they moved production to Taiwan. I thought that was strange and would hurt their marketability as far as being top line drums, but the review was great.
 

Tornado

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That was over 40 years ago. That was then. This is now. Once Chinese labor gets too pricey, I'm sure manufacturing will move to the next cheapest location. Anyone hazard a guess where that might be? India maybe?
I would guess given China's massive presence and influence in Africa, it will be a country there. And if you thought working conditions in China were questionable, wait until the Chinese put non-Chinese to work for them.
 

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