Buying drums years ago Vs today

mebeatee

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The main difference was drooling over a printed catalog versus drooling over a computing unit if you are not physically inside a store.

My first kit was ordered from a Simpson Sears catalog, not a music store, and my second kit was ordered from a Ludwig catalog from the local mom and pop music shop.
In 1971 I ordered that same Ludwig Rock Duo kit in the post above....and I still have them. I ordered a 3x13 piccolo snare instead of the Supra, an additional 16x18 floor tom, and soft shell cases for everything. I had 3 single braced Atlas cymbal stands instead of the flat base ones in the pic, and also a clamp for the hihat stand to attach to the bd hoop with the hat stand legs folded. My cymbals were a pack of Zilco's.....14" hats, 16" and 18" crashes, and a 22" ride.
Another thing was the sometime inclusion of various contraptions.....hence the term 'traps....where they included a cowbell, woodblock, or something else to whack.....
Of course things have changed with more options in all facets of the kit (that folks like to bicker about ad nauseum here ;)) but it was never like buying a car waaaay back when......your new (Ford model T) car can come in any colour you wish.....as long as it's black....
bt
 

drawtheline55

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is that accurate? or is it the dollar buys less today

lets take this set



$894 with all stands

$894 in 1971 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $6,055.14 today, an increase of $5,161.14 over 50 years. The dollar had an average inflation rate of 3.90% per year between 1971 and today, producing a cumulative price increase of 577.31%.

This means that today's prices are 6.77 times higher than average prices since 1971, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index. A dollar today only buys 14.76% of what it could buy back then.
~~
Looks like the dollar is worth less no yes? +/-

add in the cymbals:
$1100 in 1971 is worth $7450.40 today.
dollar's power has gone down +/-
I see what you are pointing out, money is worth less in the future, thats very true, but according to your example, one would need, again need $6055.00 to buy the same set or a quality set in todays dollars, hardly the case, may fine kits can be had for less than half that, many fine kits can be had at under 2k

A Yamaha tour custom is around 1200, way less then the 6k that would be needed in todays dollars.
So thats how I see it, your money goes farther buying drums in todays dollars vs. buying most other items, cars, real estate for example.
 

felis

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... may fine kits can be had for less than half that, many fine kits can be had at under 2k....
Probably because there are so many variables that you aren't taking into account:
advancements in production methods, country of manufacture and labor costs,
economies of scale, similar sets from the same manufacturer, and so on.

It's much more complicated than you're making it out to be.
 

BennyK

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Imagine growing up in Chicago , Niles or Dayton during the golden age of American drums ?
 
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kallen49

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I guess I see it differently, take $894.00 in 1971 that means one would need to spend $6055 in todays dollars to buy the same drum set, yet a brand new Yamaha Stage Custom is around $650.00 with snare.

Yamaha recording customs were 3k+ in the 80s, guess what they are 3K+ in 2021, according to inflation they should be much higher.

The Beatles white album was 10.00 in 1968 TEN dollars, I guess what I am saying certain items have come down as time goes on, remember digital watches and calculators when they came out, they would be stupid money today.
I agree current drums, especially in the price range of Stage customs, Renowns, etc,. are far better quality for comparatively much less money.
The benefit of decades of design and manufacturing improvement.
I paid $110 in 1976 for a 1966 Ludwig "Ringo" kit, 12", 14" 20". They weren't so collectable then, just old.

Album prices are in a unique category in that the entire industry flipped from inexpensive concert tickets (when vinyl was $10, we paid 5 or 6 dollars for tickets to major acts), to the reverse where little is made selling recordings but tickets can be $ hundreds.
 

drawtheline55

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Probably because there are so many variables that you aren't taking into account:
advancements in production methods, country of manufacture and labor costs,
economies of scale, similar sets from the same manufacturer, and so on.

It's much more complicated than you're making it out to be.
That may be true, but honestly who cares, the bottom line is the bottom line.
Lets look at it in reverse, one can buy a new stage custom kit for around $650 or so, that means that kind of kit could be bought for say around $90.00 in the sixties/early 70s....nope, they didnt exist at that price, not even close. These are the numbers.
 

richardh253

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in 1966, after saving for a long time, I went to Sam Ash in Hempstead NY and had enough to buy a Ludwig 20x14 and 8x12 to go with the JazzFest I bought the year before. If there was a 14x14 with the kit, the salesman didn't seem to be concerned about separating it...or, 8 months later when I came back for a floor tom, he did not suggest 14x14 goes with 12 and 20, so I took the 16x16. Same with the cymbals - he put a 20" A Zildian in thin and one in medium on 2 stands and said "which do you like better?" That was it.
 

robthetimekeeper

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Years ago I bought used kits because that's all I could afford. Now I buy used kits because of the value they offer. I've owned a couple of new kits over the years, but have always been more appreciative of the great bargains I've found on used gear.
 

felis

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That may be true, but honestly who cares, the bottom line is the bottom line.
Lets look at it in reverse, one can buy a new stage custom kit for around $650 or so, that means that kind of kit could be bought for say around $90.00 in the sixties/early 70s....nope, they didnt exist at that price, not even close. These are the numbers.
I think you just proved my point. :dontknow:
 

Formula 602

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I have been wondering what taxes on drum sets/cymbals were back in the late 60s?...Now,you can get 40%-50% off cymbals all day long......I think late 60s....maybe only 25%?
 

Rich K.

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I have been wondering what taxes on drum sets/cymbals were back in the late 60s?...Now,you can get 40%-50% off cymbals all day long......I think late 60s....maybe only 25%?
In NYC and the suburbs, all or most of the stores gave 40% off list. (There was no MAP.) I was surprised to learn later in life that many folks across the country paid list price or close to it.
I'm guessing that's what you were asking.
 

1988fxlr

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I don’t know how old you are to know how far back your own memory goes, and the UK is different than US, but I can give some info on 20 years ago.

at that time, most decent size towns still had some kind of music store that mainly survived off giving lessons or school band rentals but they would usually have a few models of sticks and snare heads. Some of the bigger local ones would have a kit or two, often from a less popular brand that wasn’t as well distributed in the big chain shops. The local I got lessons in always had one low end and one high end Mapex kit. They’d sell the low end ones occasionally. The high end one stayed the same for the two years I was going there.

there were several larger independent music stores in my region that had much bigger collections of mostly low end to mid line kits on the floor but actual knowledgeable musicians that would help you order anything you wanted from the brands they carried. They also tended to have much better accessory inventory than the smaller or big chain stores. If you needed a 15” head or something else odd in a hurry, they were your best bets. Pretty much all of these stores had the three major japanese brands and then would have a few others such as Sonor, Premier, Ludwig or Gretsch which all had pretty small market shares at the time. Some of them also had connections with “custom” builders and would have some display drums and ordering options from Spaun, OCDP, and similar boutique makers.

then you had the big chains. In my area that meant Sam Ash (the long established option) and Guitar Center ( the more recent option). Guitar Center was expanding rapidly and doing their best to put SamAsh out of business so wherever there was a SamAsh a Guitar Center would open a couple miles away. Both of these stores tended to have lots of options from the big three japanese and DW, plus low end stencil kits from their house brands. You’d almost never see anything european or from the older American brands. Both chains were usually very well stocked with common items and well staffed as they were clearly in serious competition.

For the most part the cymbals that were available were bright or brighter in traditional or brilliant. The current wave of dark and trashy was not in vogue. Zildjian, Sabian, and Paiste were the big players. I don’t remember seeing Meinl around here yet. Wuhan Chinas and splashes were readily available and they had just started making full lines of western style stuff. You might see one or two options from the turkish makers in a big shop.

the final destination available was 48th street in manhattan which was an entire block of different music stores. Manny’s on one side of the street and the Sam Ash flagship store on the other with a bunch of smaller boutique spots surrounding them. Whatever you could think of could be found there. All the weird stuff you only saw in Modern Drummer but never in person was there.

there was some internet retail but not on todays scale and also several catalog based retailers that would send you their percussion catalog a few times a year to analyze in study hall with your friends and pick out what you’d buy when you became a rockstar
 

mattmalloy66

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"back in the day", I seldom heard about what type of wood was being used or what shape of bearing edge it had.
It was simply does it look good and sound good?
 

Tama CW

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I'm not ready to concede that today's brand new $650 stage custom kit is the equal in sound, quality of woods, etc than what was buyable in the 1960's from major USA mfg's.
No doubt that automated manufactured has reduced the costs greatly and turned the market upside down. I just don't see a 2021 Stage Custom being the equal of say a 1966 Ludwig Hollywood kit....or a late 50's Ludwig.
If I were going to make a comparison I might say that the 1966 Ludwig kit would be more along the lines of today's new $2000-$3000 type of drum kit......not the $650 Stage Custom.

I remember trying out Tama's intermediate level kit (Superstar Classic) back in 2019 and was stunned to see how flimsy, light, and cheaply made the entire kit was. Maybe it did give 80-90% of the
tone of the top quality kits but well made it was not. And that's one of Tama's competitor to the Stage Custom. To make a true comparison, we need to have someone who has essentially a brand new
1966 Ludwig kept in boxes all these years......then compare that to the current list of $650-$1500 drum kits. I don't think it's that close at all.
 

Formula 602

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In NYC and the suburbs, all or most of the stores gave 40% off list. (There was no MAP.) I was surprised to learn later in life that many folks across the country paid list price or close to it.
I'm guessing that's what you were asking.
ok..I remember a local music store giving only 25% off....around 1976.......I actually thought that was a lot then,but,what did this 20 year old know?...
 

jptrickster

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Late 60's drums everywhere especially Imports. Someone converted a 2 story house not far from mine into a music store jammed packed with brand new gear. First floor drums second floor guitars. Just as you walk in about 10 kits appeared before your eyes fully set up mostly imports such as Whitehall, Pearl, Star and many others stacked against the walls. It was the drum lottery for a 10 yr old kid. I remember the whiff and shine of the new kits as you walked through the door, Utopia! Looked something like my house does today lol
 

backtodrum

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The main thing I have noticed is the marketing hype has changed dramatically. Now you have to contend with 45 degree as opposed to 30 degree bearing edges and round over as opposed to single cut or double cut 45 degree bearing edges. Vertical verse cross laminate shells, every type of wood and ply verse steam bent solid shell construction in every wood you can imagine. Virgin bass drums and on and on... Back in the 70s when I purchased my first set, I bought Ludwig's because they were American made and I liked the look of them and a lot of my drum hero's played them. I chose a color and the number of cymbal stands. I took the stock Atlas high hat stand and speed king pedal and a wafer thin Ludwig atlas throne that was so uncomfortable my legs would fall asleep after 20 minutes of sitting on it. I played and gigged the socks off them and didn't give it anymore thought. I wasn't impressed with the pot metal tom mounting hardware that would slip and strip out. But I took it in stride and fixed those issues as needed by having my machinist father fabricate pieces I needed out of superior materials to hold up to being torn down and set up repeatedly, gigging 5 to 6 nights a week. Now you have endless choices, but sometimes I feel so much of it is ridiculous marketing ploys by different manufacturers trying to set themselves apart as the best. When it gets right down to it, drums are drums and they all sound like drums overall. When the bands playing and you are competing with amplified guitars, keyboards and basses, all the resonance and nuance is lost in the mix anyway. Obviously, I realize there are exceptions to my comments here. But really over all its pretty much that simple to me. With the invention of the internet and Google and information at our finger tips. I have come to the conclusion we as drummers way over think this stuff and there really isn't a need to do so.
 
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Buffalo_drummer

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My early 80s gear all came used from teachers or from our version of Craigslist - "The Swap Sheet". My teacher was nice enough to go with me and help me buy my first kit. In the early 80s music stores had a few options, Ludwig and Slingerland, but too pricey for my paper route money.

I bought my first brand new kit, Tama Starclassic in the mid 90s. By then the local choices had expanded greatly. Oddly, that's the only new shell pack I've ever bought.
OMG! The Swap Sheet! My friends would always buy it to look for dirt bikes. Never really looked at it for drums back then...duuuh!
 

Sequimite

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In 1977 I went to Fred Pierce Studio Drum shop in St. Louis to order a new Pearl set. The catalog didn't show the new hardware, still had the swivomatic style. I spent a lot of time on it with Fred, specified a different placement of the tom bracket on the bass drums. It was 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16, 18, 24, 24 and came with a snare I never used. It was a mix of fiberglass and wood-fiberglass and cost me $1200. A year later my cousin bugged me until I sold it to him. I learned that it was WAY too many drums for me and I wasn't into double bass. Thereafter I owned many many different used sets including a half dozen and one more new one from Fred.

The biggest difference is that back then there were only two categories of drums and cymbal: professional, and krap. The quality of much of the lower end stuff today was unthinkable back then.
 


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