Is restoring a drum set worth it?

RIDDIM

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I'd weigh the cost of restoration over the cost of buying a new, or great quality used, kit. I'd also consider my intent - is it to play or just flip? The first consideration, either way, is cost. How much must I invest to render it playable? If I bought, say, a 4 piece tangerine sparkle set of Gretsch shells for $400.00 and I'm going to keep and use it, then I'll render it playable and tunable. That may require edgework, new heads, some hardware replacement, and maybe a rewrap or refinish job. That all might set me back maybe $800.00, in which case I've paid $1200.00 for a tangerine G sparkle kit, not a bad price from what I've seen. Depending on the sizes, I could likely flip that for at least $1500 and maybe more. If I'm buying just to flip, then I'll do as little work as possible.
 
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Sequimite

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I've put together several partscasters (strats and teles) and in that world the conventional wisdom is that if you didn't spend twice as much as you can sell it for you're not doing it right. It's having an instrument dialed into exactly what you want and the joy of creating something unique that is the motivation.
 

lossforgain

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I’m going to restate my previous answer in a different way. If you think you do (or rather, will) LOVE the finished product, then yes it can be worth it.
 

Dumpy

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I’m going to restate my previous answer in a different way. If you think you do (or rather, will) LOVE the finished product, then yes it can be worth it.
You had BETTER!

I am having a flippin’ BLAST with my new mini kit. The world’s most prog/metal kit with no drum bigger than 16” LOL It’s silly, but stupid fun. That’s what you have to have when building a hit rod kit or a resto. If not, sell the parts and buy something that isn’t that much work, I say!
 

Way Out Wardell

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Been there, for sure. There are very few things which will recoup the cost of restoration once it's finished, be it instruments, cars, or buildings (and I've done all three).
 

Vistalite Black

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I wouldn’t buy re-wrapped drums. I value originality. Watch “Antiques Roadshow” and pay attention to the part where the experts say, “If it wasn’t refinished/stripped, this would be worth 300% more.”
 

mfk252

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I'm usually a proponent of deep cleans but not modifications to drums with a few exceptions. I've cut down a few extra deep tom shells because the bearing edges were trashed so I might as well get them to the depth I want. I wanted a full shell bank in every size of a 35 year old kit so I bought a few drums in rare sizes that were wrapped. I had them custom lacquered to match the original, even though the original drums were in only fair shape. I'd never relacquer the original ones as I put nearly all of the mileage on them myself. If a drum looks good from 15 feet away with stage lights on it that's good enough for me.

I don't fixate on putting matching OEM parts (heads, tension rods, snare wires, etc) for an older drum, unless they are the best fit. I play/gig/record with the drums I buy/fix up and never sell them.
 

premierplayer

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I hobby tinker, kinda rewarding to Hot Rod a kit to your own liking. I'm not doing it for resale, I'm doing it because it's what I like/want.
My first rewrap job turned into a monumental task, I was burnt out on it's completion. I kept those for a couple of years and got quite a few complements which made it worth while. They sold for the same price as a non-rewrap kit. I was not disappointed they made me feel good about what I was playing.
 

idrum4fun

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I would say that a good majority of us, myself included, love to refurb/restore our vintage kits...and look at cost secondary. We know that we will rarely, if ever, get back what we put into them. We do it because we love it! I've brought a lot of vintage kits back to life and lost money when selling them. Did I care? Not really!! It's my "therapy" and I love working with my vintage drums! This is a picture of the kit that is next up for a restoration...a 1965 Slingerland Modern Solo 2R. That wrap has developed this weird "acne" and can't be saved. It doesn't look bad from a distance, but I plan to re-wrap them in Red Glass Glitter. The cost alone for the wrap already means I can never recoup the costs. However, my plan is to add this kit to my collection and it will be fun and rewarding to make them shine once again!

-Mark
 

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Hazim

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I have two experiences. I have Premier Cabria 1998 set. Bought in 98. And it is great Meranti/Eucalyptus shell set. 10/12/14/22. Sold the snare right away and as for what I found on forums, it was not a bad idea after all...
My current snare is for separate thread. It is over-engineered Sonor Sonic plus (only wood and lugs left from the original. But it is not really a renovation, rather squeezing the potential out of it...)

Anyway I got to that state every drummer knows, that I need 16" floor tom. SO I went to ebay. Cabrias were not available (not manufactured even iianm). At least not from 1998-1999, i.e. matching wood combination, made in UK. So I started to look on the older. I have found really cheap Olympic (3 ply birch with beech rings). It was some 30 euros. I have let it cleaned and oiled, the edge checked, replaced the legs which weer bit too rusty and let the foil go off and give it piano black lacquer to match my set. Altogether I spent some 130 euros for epic sounding floor tom, made in '60s. Sounds like a very fair price to me.

The other story though... I always wanted vintage Premier snare. Royal Ace was the final choice. The one I bought however was severely damaged. Somebody did something to the snare side edge of the shell (I still do not understand the motivation - see the pics, it makes no sense...). I should have sent it back right away!!! But instead.. I took it to a friend of mine and a drum maker (search up Hallvad). He said it might be fixable, so I requested partial refund of estimated 35 euros, which I got. Ofc I spent more. First of all, the snares were dead, same for the head. But that was expected. With the refund I paid some 160 euros, which seemed still to be reasonable price. If I only knew the struggle with the snare wires replacement!!!
Due to the necessary cut the shell got some 1-2 millimeters lower. And the UK engineers were not at all counting with such option, so the whole snare mechanism is really not prepared for this, so I am trying to get the snares back on the head. Still not resigned to replace the whole mechanism, as I like the "super sensitive" system. As I was not able to find replacement wires, I am trying to adapt the regular snares to it. And it still does not sit on the head as it should. As for now, it is hypersensitive. You cannot touch it almost without a little rumble. And the sustain of the snares is like a full second. (sounds like not a big deal? so imagine. 1 sec. on every single snare stroke...) So, still fighting with this, but getting close I believe...

So I would say, if you are careful and make good decisions, you definitelly get way better (by a class or more) stuff than from nowadays production for the price.
 

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Luddite

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I’ve done it twice, on a Clubdate with Classic floor tom kit, and my 70’s three ply Pro Beat kit. I had $350 in the Clubs, and $550 in the Pro Beats. The buy in price was low enough that I was able to wrap and refurb both of them for not a lot, relatively speaking. I had a grand in the Probeats, around $800 in the Clubdates, including the Acro that I paid $45 for. Both kits were not in great shape—-the Clubs were painted a bilious purple that was checking like crazy, the Probeats’ original wrap was completely roached. Would I do it again? Given the value of these kits, probably. I still have the Probeats, and they sound amazing. I got $700 out of the Clubs, so I paid $100 for several years of enjoyment.
 

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Hazim

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I wouldn’t buy re-wrapped drums. I value originality. Watch “Antiques Roadshow” and pay attention to the part where the experts say, “If it wasn’t refinished/stripped, this would be worth 300% more.”
From collector's point of view, yes. From player's, hell no. If you can get quality old drum, in a good shape, get it "refurbished" (counting in even adding reinforcement hoops) for decent price, which is not that big deal, you can in the end get a great drum (soundwise) for a decent price. I am no collector... ;o)
 

Sven62

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I absolutely love this thread. I went into GC one day in 2001 to buy a pair of sticks - came out with a used low-level Pearl Export 5-piece with chrome snare for $250. Thing was the awfullest green you have ever seen. After about a year I could stand it no longer. Sent away to Slammin Sam and spent $400 a month taking the kit apart and re-wrapping it in brown glass glitter. I played that kit every single gig for almost 20 years - even though it was by far the worst sounding kit I ever had. I think the wrap deadened the shells. But I got SO MANY compliments on it because no one had ever seen a kit that color. I mean, it sounded OK, obviously, or I wouldn't have been playing it - but after 20 yrs I got sick of it enough that I gave it away and bought a Yamaha Stage Custom. Man does that thing sound good. MORAL OF THE STORY: Restoring invests you deeper emotionally into the kit, may cloud your judgment about keeping it, may make the kit sound worse, and probably won't raise its value. Then again... I also restored a 1966 Rogers Powertone snare from a free piece of trash to a shiny, fantastic sounding drum. I may never part with it. So, there ya go!
 

achin225

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Vintage cars, vintage drums, it makes no difference. Do your home work first, not last and find out what you want. Make a budget and set boundaries on what you are willing to do. I you are flipping or just love the hobby the recipe is the same. Anything else and you plan to be disappointed.
 

GregR

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Great thread guys. Any tips on cleaning rust from rims - see photo below? Is there a thread here dedicated to tips / lessons?
 

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