Best build quality vintage kits

Mcjnic

DFO Master
Double Platinum Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2010
Messages
3,726
Reaction score
2,582
I also neglected to add Premier to my list. My Premier is limited to the late 60s thru the mid 70s. I love those African Mahogany shells and non-weird sizes. The size thing is what kept me from picking up early Premier kits. The build quality was outstanding and most all are aware of the chrome. Just amazing drums.
 

Ludwigboy

Very well Known Member
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
650
Reaction score
394
Location
Canada
The problem with the question is this: You could get gorgeous, great sounding, well-functioning drums from any company in the 1960s.

In a lot of ways it's like people: Some 60 year olds have taken really good care of themselves and it shows. Some have lived rough lives and that shows, too.

I've had impeccably perfect 1960s Ludwig and Gretsch kits where everything tuned up and played like a dream and everything worked. I've seen vintage Rogers and Sonor kits where I wanted to call the drum police because there'd clearly been some abuse and neglect.

But really: Drum making isn't THAT hard, and all of the companies made functional kits. Watch for bad edges and drilling on Ludwig and oversized shells and bad drilling on Gretsch, but otherwise if you buy a really clean kit based on liking the sound you're probably good to go.
The problem with the question is this: You could get gorgeous, great sounding, well-functioning drums from any company in the 1960s.

In a lot of ways it's like people: Some 60 year olds have taken really good care of themselves and it shows. Some have lived rough lives and that shows, too.

I've had impeccably perfect 1960s Ludwig and Gretsch kits where everything tuned up and played like a dream and everything worked. I've seen vintage Rogers and Sonor kits where I wanted to call the drum police because there'd clearly been some abuse and neglect.

But really: Drum making isn't THAT hard, and all of the companies made functional kits. Watch for bad edges and drilling on Ludwig and oversized shells and bad drilling on Gretsch, but otherwise if you buy a really clean kit based on liking the sound you're probably good to go.
I agree.
I have a couple mid-60's Ludwig kits and do wonder when I hear the quality control issues Ludwig had during the "Beatle boom" years; IMHO, my drums have held up well for 53-55 years old considering they were probably put together quickly...it is a testament to Ludwig's employees who assembled and wrap these drums...maybe I have been lucky but ..... :icon_e_wink:... I wonder if the Ludwig family ever thought that their drums would have as long a "life" as they have?
Something to ponder....
 

Alpine

Active Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2010
Messages
26
Reaction score
11
Location
Earth
Ok Vintage fans - what vintage drum manufacturer in your opinion has the best build quality and why ?
Bound quality would include , shells , lugs , hoops and finishes . Let’s not include Tom mounts in this instance .

So what is your choice ?
Vintage: Rogers (Up until early 70s).
Modern: DW Classics. (Best sounding modern drums that replicate vintage).

Best build quality does not = best sound. Many vintage drums that are highly sought after are not made of the best build quality (slightly out of round shells, less than perfect edges and so on) and they can sound fantastic. It all comes down to the person playing it.
 

Attachments

Alpine

Active Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2010
Messages
26
Reaction score
11
Location
Earth
I agree.
I have a couple mid-60's Ludwig kits and do wonder when I hear the quality control issues Ludwig had during the "Beatle boom" years; IMHO, my drums have held up well for 53-55 years old considering they were probably put together quickly...it is a testament to Ludwig's employees who assembled and wrap these drums...maybe I have been lucky but ..... :icon_e_wink:... I wonder if the Ludwig family ever thought that their drums would have as long a "life" as they have?
Something to ponder....
If Ringo played a different brand of drumset on the Ed Sullivan show it probably would have been a different story.
 

Dryfly

Active Member
Joined
May 6, 2015
Messages
25
Reaction score
22
Location
Lynchburg, Va
Question? Not being a smart butt by any means. Just help me understand. If Slingerland and Ludwig had so many inconsistencies in there builds back then why are they so sought after and valuable?

also agree Rogers had the best quality back then. Regret getting rid of the one I had.
I really loved the sound of an old Premier kit I heard 18, 12, 14. Not sure how well they were made but the sound was killer
 

Alpine

Active Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2010
Messages
26
Reaction score
11
Location
Earth
Ok Vintage fans - what vintage drum manufacturer in your opinion has the best build quality and why ?
Bound quality would include , shells , lugs , hoops and finishes . Let’s not include Tom mounts in this instance .

So what is your choice ?
Which one is your choice?
 

DolFan54

Camco Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
11,140
Reaction score
320
Location
Santa Rosa, CA.
My 3 for best builds would be -

1) Rogers
2) LA Camco
3) 70’s Gretsch
( Techware yes, Monster mounts NO )

Rogers is #1 because they had the best hardware for mounting toms.

Funny thing is the drums I prefer are not perfect.
 

markrocks68

Very well Known Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2014
Messages
1,157
Reaction score
610
Location
The Heartland of America
IMO: All the great American drum companies made well built sets up until the end of the 1950s.
When mass productions took off in the 60's, the quality of the builds suffered to get them out the door.
The 1950's are my favorite era of drum production. Innovation & great wood shells.
fullkit.jpg
IMG_8009.JPG
 

cobaltspike

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2016
Messages
73
Reaction score
51
Location
Washington
Just about any drum that is truly round with good edges can sound great with good heads and good tuning.
 

cobaltspike

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2016
Messages
73
Reaction score
51
Location
Washington
IMO: All the great American drum companies made well built sets up until the end of the 1950s.
When mass productions took off in the 60's, the quality of the builds suffered to get them out the door.
The 1950's are my favorite era of drum production. Innovation & great wood shells. View attachment 481268 View attachment 481270
They were coming out of the same molds as the 50's and Ludwig is still using the same molds.
 

tgregorek

Very well Known Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2011
Messages
553
Reaction score
43
Location
Downtown Indy
Well, since you asked, what I think is important is a 3 ply shell with reinforcing rings. I have 1973 Slingerlands and my son has 1967 Ludwigs. Both are 3 ply with rings. Every time I play a modern kit I feel like I have to beat the crap out of them to get any sound out of them. I think the 3 ply shells are louder and have much more tone to them.
 

AaronLatos

spang spang a lang
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
4,036
Reaction score
300
Location
upstate NY
My favorites:

Sonor Champions - everything great about the Teardrops, but with even better hoops/spurs/lugs.

Pearl- the Phenolic and All Fiberglass are stunners. Toured all over North America with a Phenolic, and have a set of Fiberglass that are as solid studio drums as they come.

Rogers- machined swivo era (the later cast collets are disasters waiting to happen, but that's a replaceable part so whatever). hardware, the shells, the bearing edges... what more could you want? A vintage kit that can sound vintage OR modern.
 

GlassGlitter

Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2020
Messages
22
Reaction score
7
Ok Vintage fans - what vintage drum manufacturer in your opinion has the best build quality and why ?
Bound quality would include , shells , lugs , hoops and finishes . Let’s not include Tom mounts in this instance .

So what is your choice ?
I think Rogers for sure! I think the 60s Rogers were built so great that to me at times they don't sound vintage/old. All the ones I've ever had sounded amazing...like quality new drums!!!
 

DanRH

Old guy, getting younger
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2005
Messages
23,439
Reaction score
4,543
Location
SF Bay Area
Yup Junior. Rogers! I’ve got a 56 year old Holiday kit that is built like a tank. Sounds great too!
 


Top