"Beater Kits".... do you really need one?

lrod1707

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I like what I have to be aesthetically pleasing. Yes it's made to play it and that's what I do but I take care of it so it looks good always. Like that it wont turn into what would be categorized as a beater set.
 

kb

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FWIW, I also play acoustic guitar and I never take out my Taylor 410e on any camping trips or outdoors activities. It's always the 20 year on Washburn for that!
Do you really need a "beater guitar?"
 

Whitten

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Maybe my definition of 'beater' is different to others.
I own a lot of gear I regard as 'beater'.
Firstly, a lot of my high end gear is 'beater', as in it's badly damaged, missing bits or heavily used. Often this is the only way I can afford the piece, especially as rare American gear is very hard to find in Europe. Both my Camco kits have unofficial holes in the shells, I stripped back my main kit which had been covered in ghastly house paint. But when you record drums, no one sees what they look like, so that's cool.
Secondly, when I gig, I am almost always flying. I have had this discussion with several bandmates, one who (used to) travel with his precious 1970's Musicman bass, the other with a Selmer Saxophone he'd owned and played for over 40 years.
The Selmer ended up in a backstage accident and was almost completely totalled. On another trip, the Musicman bass got lost by Swissair and was only returned several days later (after our show, but to the bassists massive relief).
So I take quite nice, but easily replaceable gear to gigs, and I have suggested my mates take a modern bass and a modern sax when they fly to gigs too, just in case.
 

funkypoodle

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My "beater' kit is comprised of ebony Rogers orphans and is my only kit with a 20x14 kick, so it also doubles for my portable kit. I'm not sacrificing tone one iota, just sounding like Rogers, not Ludwigs. When we get down into the minus temperatures this will be less stressful than breaking out the Champagne Sparkles.
 

Whitten

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I never understood why would you want to sound worse than you do at home or practice space than you do when you are supposedly showing off your talent by playing out.
Often the margin between a $5000 kit and a $1500 kit is tiny.
And then there are all the other factors in playing live... what does the room sound like, what does the kit sound like through a PA and many more compromises involved.
 

wflkurt

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Often the margin between a $5000 kit and a $1500 kit is tiny.
And then there are all the other factors in playing live... what does the room sound like, what does the kit sound like through a PA and many more compromises involved.
I agree completely. I tend to get attached to gear that I have been using live as they help represent me and if it's a product I believe in and trust then I feel comfort in knowing that I will handle any gig without worry. That being said, all of my gigs involve somewhat local traveling and it's handles by me. If I were in a traveling professional road situation I would still want a nice set but I also know that I would probably have to take some emotional attachment out of it as many things can happen on the road that are out of ones control.
 

Tama CW

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A year ago I bought an 80's Tama Superstar cherry wine 8 pc "beater" kit that was formerly being utilized by a gigging drummer as both a play out kit and a studio practice kit for his students. Half of the drums were cut down from power toms....2 of the drums have extensive bleaching on one side which could hidden. When he moved away he had no use for the beaters....and put them up for sale. The beaters sounded every bit as good as my much nicer superstars. And from 10 ft away the beaters looked awesome from the front. I owned the beaters for a while and then decided the extra space being taken up wasn't worth it since I don't gig. But 3 of the better drums from the 7 piece beater kit 8/10/18 still remain with me. The guy who now owns the remaining 5 piece "beater" kit ($325) uses it for his band's practice room kit. This way his high end drum kit doesn't get as much wear and tear being dragged back and forth. Beaters have their use.
 
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tillerva

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Yep. I've got drums that stay set up at home. I've been playing shows for free beer, multiple bands playing for half hour each. Played a show a few months back with some of my fancy drums, other band ended up borrowing my drums, put a nice gouge in one moving them.
Now I throw a set of drums in the truck, yank em out, throw em back in. No one cares less.
 

jb78

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I'm surprised there are so many people on here who treat drums as collector's items. I own two kits - an early 60s Slingerland and a mid-2000s Ludwig. I would take either to any gig.
 

Tama CW

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I'm surprised there are so many people on here who treat drums as collector's items. I own two kits - an early 60s Slingerland and a mid-2000s Ludwig. I would take either to any gig.
Many of them are collector items. And you can still gig with them. Just be sure to bag them properly, and be closely involved in the setup and break down. Of course many of them are collector items. And it only makes sense to exercise "reasonable care" in keeping them in as nice a shape as possible as long as you own them. That doesn't mean you can't gig them or move them around when needed.

Collector car owners experience the same thing. They take those wonderful looking vehicles to shows and events all around their regions....exercising appropriate care the entire time....and putting up with the risk of people putting their hands, watches, and belt buckles across the painted finishes of their vehicles. Taking a drum kit to a gig doesn't necessarily mean you aren't a "collector." Now if you let others toss your 60's Singerlands around on stage and don't care what damage they sustain (you can always patch 'em up), and let random members of the audience pound on them after the show, and couldn't care less what they're worth.....then I agree....you have no collector in you. And that's fine. Not everyone is a collector. But I'd say it's pretty hard to be on this forum, own a classic or valuable set of drums, and not be at least a partial collector. One can own a single set of drums and be a collector. The number of items you have is not the criteria. It's the stewardship and thought process in the ownership.
 
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Whitten

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I would take my best drums to any studio date.
I would take my best drums to a gig if it was me taking them, and I was in control of them while they were at the venue.
I would take my best drums if it was an endorser kit (I could replace) and it was being carted by 5 star trucking and looked after by a drum tech.
It's not really about collecting, like many I've just had too many bad experiences with airlines, small local venues and support bands treating your gear like $h*t.
 

robthedrummer

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I have as my 'beater set' a Stage custom. Not really a bad set. I often play gigs after work where I have to keep a set in the car all day. Here in Texas, I wouldn't do that to either of my two nice sets (Craviotto walnut and a pristine vintage Ludwig Super Classic). If the Stage Customs were to warp or something bad were to happen, I wouldn't freak out. They also get left in the garage for quick loading. My drum room is quite a ways from the car. If not for the car heat issue, I'd probably just have the two nice sets. That's my main reason.

What I REALLY want is a JM set. Bring on the hot car! Then I could get rid of the Stage Customs and maybe sell the Ludwigs also. Keeping the Cravs, though!
 

JazzDrumGuy

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I bought a "beater" Premier kit 12/16/22 in early 2019 for gigs because for my NYE 2018 gig, I had decided to bring out one of my studio babies - a pristine RB champagne 13/16/20 - as it was my first EVER NYE gig! Well, it was a street festival with many stages and my son's group (I am the house drummer) has 20+ members (youth acoustic guitar group with a few adult teachers). Well, the stage was small and my kit and I ended up OFF the stage to the right, and literally in the gutter! Luckily, it was dry and I had my rug but talk about sobering moment! I decided then and there I need a "beater" kit so as to not my fancy kits damaged.

I played the beater in April at an outdoor festival (on a stage!) and they sounded fabulous. Because of the large group, nobody will see the drums anyway when we are onstage. I then scored a vintage Ludwig '68 Super classic 13/16/22 from a fellow DFO'er. I cleaned them up and they look pristine. I just played them in late Aug. at a festival although I was worried they would get damaged. It was fantastic to play a nice kit like that.

Life is too short to play beater drums, but if you get a call for a swamp gig, a gutter stage, or jam in a field, I'd like to have a beater kit as my backup.

I also love beat up vintage drums/kits because I love to refinish and fix them up so, although they are "worthless" versus pristine untouched kits, you still have that cool vintage vibe & sound. I have a Gretsch 12/13/16/22 Charlie Watts tribute kit that is almost done with the paint job. Once it is, I will bail the Premier kit (which was $200 on CList and SO worth it!), and will use this "beater" Gretsch as my main gigging kit....I can't wait!. For "bad" gigs, I'll use it. For nice gigs, I'll do one of my other kits.....
 

Marquisjohnson22

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I have a "beater" kit that is comprised of orphaned amazing sounding drums that I could let go of. A black 10x8 Pearl BLX tom, a maple burl in amber finish Mapex Orion 16x14 and a 20x12" Pearl Maple marching bass that I converted into a kick drum. These drums all sing and sound great as a set. Eventually, I will probably get them all matched to the same finish but even now, i wouldn't hesitate to bring this beater kit to any high end gig or session.
 

EvEnStEvEn

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I've always found a beater kit to be pretty essential for some of the gigging I do.
(outdoor events; parties, rodeos, questionable festivals, beerjoints, etc...)

I like to keep a full gigging calendar - which often means playing a few hellish locations every year for the bread.. Get in, do the job and get out, asap.

I've actually had lots of pretty darn nice beater kits that I've never felt compromised my ability or sound as a professional musician. I eventually sold most of them thru the years. I suppose now my Rogers XP-8 is the current "beater" rig.
They sound incredible and the cortex wrap is nearly indestructible. They go with me almost anywhere now and I take good care of them... but I save my pristine lacquer finish kits for the grade-A gigs and I'm fine with that.
 

Radio King

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I dont own one and never will. I take care of my stuff
I'm sure we all take care of our stuff. The problem is the other people and/or elements, of which we have no control over. That's the type of situation that warrants a lesser set. Case in point, I just left my band of the last 4 years, largely because the leader loved to book gigs that put my nice equipment at risk. He knew how to garner steady pay for the band, but along with the normal club gigs, there were far too many "at risk" gigs booked through his friends (private party gigs outdoors, cramped living rooms, etc). I finally had enough of it and stepped aside earlier this year, but not without coming way too close to having my gear damaged. Just in the past 4 years alone, I had one woman trip and slam headfirst into my bass drum hoop, and another reel around onstage with a tambourine and trip backwards, sending my mounted tom rolling across the carpet (it was in a snare basket). Another outdoor gig poolside was ruined by kids throwing a wet soccer ball around. I knew it was just a matter of time. Yep, smacked right into my crash cymbal, sending the cymbal down and splashing my beautiful Sonors with water. I was extremely lucky that none of those resulted in any real damage, but early on with the band, I brought a beautiful Walnut SSB Gretsch set to a gig and at the end of the night, a drunk toppled over one of the PA cabinets, which of course dropped right down onto my mounted tom and BD. The impact pushed the tom backwards into my snare - hard. The tom ended up with a terrible divot and rash, and the BD hoop was scuffed badly. I couldn't stand to look at them anymore, and ended up selling them almost immediately afterwards. Oh, how I wish I'd bought a beater set when I joined that band. Live and learn.

Recently I found a steal of a deal on a new set of Yamaha Tour Customs, and I was thinking they'd be the perfect lightweight kit for those types of gigs if I find myself in another scenario that's out of my control. A set that wouldn't completely break my heart should they get a scuff in the finish...or worse. Lo & behold, they happen to look great and sound even better than I'd hoped. Totally impressed with these. In addition to being as light as my old INDes, I would have no problem playing them anywhere, dodgy surroundings or not. So, I guess you could say that they've become my new beater kit.
 
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