Have you ever happily downgraded your drums/cymbals?

Drm1979

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Downgraded...no. Downsized...yes. I used to play a 5 piece and had an old snare that I took the bottom head and snares off and cranked up the batter side to use as a make shift timbale drum. 2 years later when I got my new 4 piece pulse percussion set I was done with have those extra drums. Not just for the sake of having less to haul around but it forced me to be more creative when working on original compositions. Even now where I haven't played my acoustics in about a year and have been practicing on an electronic kit I still have it set up the same as my acoustic kit with 1 snare two toms and bass.
 

cruddola

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Just wondering, have you ever bought some gear at a lower price point and quality than what you had but you found yourself very happy with the new gear that they became your go-to drums/cymbals?
Absolutely! After one of my tours, I unloaded the 9000 Series I had used. The Bassist's daughter kept hitting me up, so I sold them to daddy. It was a tough four-week, 13- date gig in Britain, and Ireland. Expecting a three-month break I didn't have anything to play. I left the drums for about a week when I got a call. They were gonna go back for another week and open two dates, one in Belfast and the other Derry, Northern Ireland. Everything was on the promoter's dime including a mighty nice salary for three performances. There was a good possibility of opening for Simple Minds the following week because we were to be
already there. I've got two days to get ready. So off to Mitchell's (the first Guitar Center) on Sunset Blvd. where I scored a most rich-tuning demo Stage Series back in '85. They were gonna bring out a new kit. I wanted the floor kit! They took off 100 dollars. Mine! Swapped the heads for coated Ambassadors over clear Ambassadors and shipped it out that afternoon with my personal hardware, snares and cymbals. Their beautiful and long sustain sold me! The consistency from one drum to another was superlative! All five drums were the tightest-knit family I've ever had to that day! The day before leaving the two dates were cancelled. The following week Simple Minds decided to do the PR circuit instead. They were now very, very famous. The great thing is we all still got paid as if we did the two dates. Nice guys!! Those Yamaha Stage Series sit at my sister's house today. And I'll tell you, those drums can sing!! They'll put my last DW Collectors to shame!
 

cruddola

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Currently have 4 shell sets... all were purchased used for $300 or less:

Pearl Midtown (with snare!)
Premier Artist Maple (with a killer 16x22 10 lug bass)
SPL street bop (nice kit for the $$)
Yamaha SCB ( my current main player)

I feel no desire or need for anything more expensive.

BUT I would like to find a nice PDP CX (Mexico) kit in WMP for $300 or less... a guy's gotta have at least five sets, right?
One for each workday!
 

drummingbulldog

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A PDP CX kit was acquired & I retired my RC kit. Totally different drums in tone and weight but the CX kit sounded awesome. I wish I still had them. The CX sounded like a much more expensive kit but I never panicked when a beer spilled in the vicinity. I recorded with them & that is the real acid test. It passed.
 

Pat A Flafla

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I have a whole bunch of musical tools, and sometimes the cheaper ones are more appropriate for a given gig than the more expensive ones. I've traded a few plates, but I don't get rid of instruments just because I bought more. What I pull off the shelf depends on that night's notes, venue, band, and of course my mood. If I haven't played a venue before, I might bring three snares: an aluminum, a maple, and a cheap MIJ, and sometimes the MIJ wins the soundcheck.
 

JazzDrumGuy

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Generally no. When I started getting into round badge drums, I figured I'll just buy some Catalina's and make a fake round badge set. But I just knew in the back of my mind that was stupid. I'm so glad I dove head-first into my first RB kit, then 2nd, and now have a few RB and SSB vintage kits. I've never been happy with inferior cymbals. Before I had my first DW kit, I bought a DW cloned which was gorgeous. And the back of my mind I knew was always a fake DW kit up close but from across the room look the part. I ended up never taking it out because I was ashamed any real drummer would know instantly. I've had two DW kit since then and still on one of them. Definitely the right decision.
 

Mcjnic

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For a drum that turned out to be great, no one on DFO really had a clue about Ming (now Mair) snare drums before the first post about them. Even then, they were a dark horse. All we knew at first was they were very cheaply priced fiberglass or carbon (some blended, and one with kevlar) drums built in Taiwan and they were being sold on ebay for peanuts. A few here started getting their hands on them and some playing time, and suddenly they were revered for their sound and quality, and the fact that a drum that good could be had for so little. There was a huge buying frenzy of their drums here on DFO for that reason.

I still run two of those Ming snares.
2015 Ming 14x5 Pure Fiberglass Snare in Translucent Finish w/Black Hardware
2015 Ming 14x6 Pure Fiberglass Snare in Red Wound Finish w/Black Hardware
Man, I really like them.
If I could locate a kit, I believe I’d jump on it.
 

Dumpy

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I still run two of those Ming snares.
2015 Ming 14x5 Pure Fiberglass Snare in Translucent Finish w/Black Hardware
2015 Ming 14x6 Pure Fiberglass Snare in Red Wound Finish w/Black Hardware
Man, I really like them.
If I could locate a kit, I believe I’d jump on it.
There is always a crazy value out there. I missed the whole Ming thing, but I remember when the person who bought all the NOS Slingerland stuff was selling it for CRAZY prices. And you can get a really good drum set for under $1K these days.
 

Cauldronics

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I still run two of those Ming snares.
2015 Ming 14x5 Pure Fiberglass Snare in Translucent Finish w/Black Hardware
2015 Ming 14x6 Pure Fiberglass Snare in Red Wound Finish w/Black Hardware
Man, I really like them.
If I could locate a kit, I believe I’d jump on it.
Same on finding a Ming kit, but I think the odds of finding one available aren’t too high. They were going to be rare from the beginning since it didn’t look like a lot of kits were sold in the US and now, the Mair rebrand prices them much higher with limited availability.

I still have a 14x5 Ming Pure as well. It’s got to be one of the most underrated snares to come out, ever. Then there’s the fact that I paid $85 new for it. The other Ming snare (14x5.5 Special Force kevlar/carbon) I picked for I think $110 was a huge bargain, but not as nice sounding.

Neither drum introduced a hint of regret or second guessing, but the opportunity to acquire fine instruments that way is beyond rare.
 
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cruddola

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A PDP CX kit was acquired & I retired my RC kit. Totally different drums in tone and weight but the CX kit sounded awesome. I wish I still had them. The CX sounded like a much more expensive kit but I never panicked when a beer spilled in the vicinity. I recorded with them & that is the real acid test. It passed.
Those PDP CX kits are killer bang for the buck! There's a place downtown called the Scottish Rite. Kinda like a Mason or Moose lodge. Anyhow, I got invited to a jam session only because they wanted to 'see' my sister on the piano again. She's the female version of Little Richard mixed with Jerry Lee Lewis. Can't turn down a great meal, no? The house's drums were those CXs. Man, I wanted to take them home! Had I brought the van I'd have stolen them! I still have all my Recording Custom toms partnered with a 26-inch Rock Tour Custom bass drum for that mahogany flavor. But, you're absolutely right, a totally different and beautiful tone to those PDPs! Especially with those paper-thin Evans resos on top and bottom. Total aural magic! An eargasm to put it mildly!
 

kevinyarger

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I have been on the fence recently on downgrading. My craviotto was my go to until the gigs were happening often enough, I found it was a better time saver to leave a ply set on the trailer. So I picked up a Pearl Masters to leave on the trailer and then bought some matching add ons to start building a shell bank. During lockdown, knowing that gigs would be slow to start out again I was all in to use the Craviotto's at gigs and possibly trade in the Pearl shell bank to start building a Craviotto shell bank instead. Realizing I'd be lucky if the 8 Pearl drums were even worth enough to get me a second Craviotto bass drum I realized I'm not really in a place financially to be adding on yet and feel weird trying to add post Johnny drums to a full signed kit. So I've started the process of possibly selling my Crav's. I've gone so far as to take the photos, but haven't been able to pull the trigger to post them. To me this would be a significant downgrade because I love the sound of them more than the Pearl drums, but the Pearls give me a little more flexibility.

So technically the downgrade hasn't happened yet, but all signs seem to be pointing to it.
 

CC Cirillo

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It depends on one's interpretation of downgrading.

I played in a band that sort of downgraded to the drums and cymbals in my kit, as played by me. But we lasted eight years with a ton of shows with fun and great camaraderie, so they seemed to have appreciated the trading down.

As one member told me: “I got kind of tired of having to listen to a drum solo every show with our first drummer.”

So I was sort of the drums and cymbals they happily downgraded to.
 

hsosdrum

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Nothing but happy upgrades in my equipment over the past 58 years! Each new kit, snare, cymbal, accessory, and piece of hardware has always been better sounding, better quality and more expensive than what it replaced. And every single upgrade has been totally 100% worth every penny. Wouldn't have it any other way.
 

lossforgain

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I bought a 70’s Slingerland Festival 5x14 snare, not a top level drum in their lineup at the time, and it’s become my go-to snare for years.
I’m with you. I got one cheap from a friend who picked it up at a local auction, and was VERY pleased with the drum.
 

Johnny K

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Just wondering, have you ever bought some gear at a lower price point and quality than what you had but you found yourself very happy with the new gear that they became your go-to drums/cymbals?
Yes but in reverse. I had already a full compliment of Wuhan's before I started buying Zildjian A's & K's as I could afford them. Much to my amazement and disappointment. Wuhan splashes sound way better than K splashes at 80% less the price point. And my Wuhan Med Thin 16" crash sounds better than my 16" K Custom Fast Crash. And that's where it ends.
 

Neilrush88

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I've had a Meinl lightning heavy 16" Crash for 15 years maybe, I love that crash very bright and cutting very well, also it mixes great with the byzance.
 

Dumpy

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Yes but in reverse. I had already a full compliment of Wuhan's before I started buying Zildjian A's & K's as I could afford them. Much to my amazement and disappointment. Wuhan splashes sound way better than K splashes at 80% less the price point. And my Wuhan Med Thin 16" crash sounds better than my 16" K Custom Fast Crash. And that's where it ends.
Cymbals are weird little beasts. I couldn’t get a satisfactory Stewart Copeland sound from his own Signature ride and yet could coax it (easily, may I add) from a Paiste 900 Colorsound Mega Ride. One of my favorite chinas was a Wuhan knock-off from Guitar Center that was free with $50 purchase. I unfortunately had worn through the molecular structure so to speak, so it went into the recycle bin. Bought a $39.99 Sabian SR2 unheard won my heart as easily the best splash cymbal EVER. XS20 crash having a very distinct “it” sound.

I also hold this theory on cymbals: some “find” their player. It could’ve been resold five times before the player who has the touch to make it speak. This has been consistent from cheap Agazarians from a GC sale or an old K.

Every once in awhile, a truly great one escapes from a low end line and a dog escapes from the highest end production with QC in spades.
 


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