KENT DRUMS

APelletier

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I got a lead on a 4 pc. Kent kit in Gold sparkle on the cheap. I was wondering if there's a fan base here and if it'll be worth going out to see them.
 

Polska

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Send a note to Mouse, he'll help you out. He's the man when it comes to Kent.
 

APelletier

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Is this the same mouse (I presume) who took pics for the Kent museum site? I believe the kit I going to check out has chrome plated steel kick hoops which according to the Kent Museum puts it at '67? Mouse, you out there?
 

franke

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Though some are enthusiastic about Kent to me they are on par with much of the stencil-brand stuff that emanated from Japan in the sixties. if someone is selling a kit for $100 or less then perhaps, but anything beyond that just doesn't make sense to me.

That's my .02.
 

atomicdave

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...Kent were USA made, am I wrong or correct? I thought some connection with Gretsch? I just dont learn too much about a manufacturer until I get some...guess thats why I know Ludwigs and not much else :)
 

franke

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...Kent were USA made, am I wrong or correct? I thought some connection with Gretsch? I just dont learn too much about a manufacturer until I get some...guess thats why I know Ludwigs and not much else :)
Yes, they were USA-made. Kent were a budget line meant to compete with low-cost Japanese kits.

Not sure of the Gretsch connection. Perhaps former Brooklyn workers went to work for Kent after the former moved to Arkansas?







kent
 

TommyWells

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I think the biggest connection to Gretsch is that the badge looked similar and they were both made in the state of new York. Kent was a VERY small factory. Mouse can tell you about that. A hole in the wall in Kenmore, N.Y. They were definitely budget drums. BUT, they had unique shells. They are not in 'plies" but a continuous wind that equals a 2 ply thickness. So, very thin maple shells. The thing is, especially if the edges are re-cut, they make great sounding little kits. I am actively looking for one in a configuration with the 22" bass drum. Then I will have our very own J.R. Frondelli refurb them.
 

rondrums51

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Though some are enthusiastic about Kent to me they are on par with much of the stencil-brand stuff that emanated from Japan in the sixties. if someone is selling a kit for $100 or less then perhaps, but anything beyond that just doesn't make sense to me.

That's my .02.
Yeah, they were cheap drums, but they were a tad better than Jap stencil brands, because they used real maple shells. Most of them were only two-ply. The fittings were cheapo. I remember seeing them in the music department of Woolco, the discount department store in my hometown back in the 60's. They weren't any more exciting than the Pearl and other stencil brands in the music stores.

Still, some people like their vibe because they have a distant relationship to Gretsch. Some former Gretsch employees started the company.
 

Marc M

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I have played one kit,and I think they had a cool vibe,from what I understand the lug casings are good quality,and the chroming was much better than MIJ kits I have owned,but things like tom mounts cymbal holders etc were not that great,but some designs were better than others.The kit I saw was better built than Mij of that period in my opinion.Later on (70's) the name was sold so there are some MIJ kents around also.A kit in good condition can go from 250.00 to 350.00 depending on the desirability of the wrap.It seems like a about a year and a half ago I saw quite a few auctions at this site and some others,but no one has posted any kits for sale lately.
 

Mark Cooper

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This subject has been discussed often. I have owned and played many Kent sets and I also put the Kent Museum page together. Mouse is a Kent fan and contributed the photo of the Kent factory in Kenmore, NY.He has also met one of the Kent brothers who is now deceased.

This is what I have learned about the Kent drums over the years:

The Kent drums of the 1950's and 60's were made with thin American maple shells. Bearing edges were often non-existent but some were quite well done. Very poor quality control. Often, brown glue smears were left inside the un-sanded shells.

The lugs are top quality- solid metal with good plating.

Hoops were similar in quality and construction to Ludwig hoops of the same era. They were steel.

The first tom mounts were similar to Sonor tom mounts. A very simple design, rather like a large version of a cymbal stand tilter. While they are solidly made, they tend to spin in their mounting if not tightened down VERY tight. Difficult with a drum key and hex nut.

In the later 1960's, Kent introduced a hex rod tom mount that revolved on a ball and socket fitting. They worked quite well.

Kent cymbal holders were on the same par as Ludwig's telescopic cymbal arms which were mounted in the center of the bass drum. Later, they offered a hex rod like their hex tom mounts.

Kent bass spurs were nearly identical to Gretsch. Simple telescopic design. Made from heavy solid metal. Often nickel plated.

The worst Kent feature? Their snare strainers, of course. They were horribly designed and barely work. They did offer a "Deluxe" strainer later which was much better.

The finishes offered by Kent varied in quality. Their earlier sparkle finishes were nothing special. Later, they used standard sparkles like Slingerland and Ludwig. They did offer some beautiful oyster type finishes. Definitely top quality and well applied.

One reason that Kent drums are viewed as inferior is that they made so many low line versions of their drums. Bass drums and toms with no lugs, center lug bass drums with only six lugs, six lug snare drums, etc. If you can find one of their top of the line kits, you'll have a winner. It's a fairly easy fix to improve the bearing edges. The Kent drums provide a nice warm sound that can compete with many of the upper echelon sets by other companies.

One thing to look out for....around 1969-70, Kent started incorporating cheap imported "Luan" shells and later other imported hardware items. The change in shell design marked the beginning of the end. By 1972, Kent drums were 100% Japanese. I ordered a brand new Kent set that year, thinking I was getting an American made set with maple shells and good hardware. When the boxes arrived my excitement turned to disappointment. The boxes were marked "Hoshino Trading Company" or something like that. Upon opening the boxes, I discovered cheap, standard import drums similar to those made by Pearl. Even the hardware had "Made in Japan" scratched out!

I hope this helps with your search for a nice old Kent set. They are out there.
 

Mouse

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This subject has been discussed often. I have owned and played many Kent sets and I also put the Kent Museum page together. Mouse is a Kent fan and contributed the photo of the Kent factory in Kenmore, NY.He has also met one of the Kent brothers who is now deceased.

This is what I have learned about the Kent drums over the years:

The Kent drums of the 1950's and 60's were made with thin American maple shells. Bearing edges were often non-existent but some were quite well done. Very poor quality control. Often, brown glue smears were left inside the un-sanded shells.

The lugs are top quality- solid metal with good plating.

Hoops were similar in quality and construction to Ludwig hoops of the same era. They were steel.

The first tom mounts were similar to Sonor tom mounts. A very simple design, rather like a large version of a cymbal stand tilter. While they are solidly made, they tend to spin in their mounting if not tightened down VERY tight. Difficult with a drum key and hex nut.

In the later 1960's, Kent introduced a hex rod tom mount that revolved on a ball and socket fitting. They worked quite well.

Kent cymbal holders were on the same par as Ludwig's telescopic cymbal arms which were mounted in the center of the bass drum. Later, they offered a hex rod like their hex tom mounts.

Kent bass spurs were nearly identical to Gretsch. Simple telescopic design. Made from heavy solid metal. Often nickel plated.

The worst Kent feature? Their snare strainers, of course. They were horribly designed and barely work. They did offer a "Deluxe" strainer later which was much better.

The finishes offered by Kent varied in quality. Their earlier sparkle finishes were nothing special. Later, they used standard sparkles like Slingerland and Ludwig. They did offer some beautiful oyster type finishes. Definitely top quality and well applied.

One reason that Kent drums are viewed as inferior is that they made so many low line versions of their drums. Bass drums and toms with no lugs, center lug bass drums with only six lugs, six lug snare drums, etc. If you can find one of their top of the line kits, you'll have a winner. It's a fairly easy fix to improve the bearing edges. The Kent drums provide a nice warm sound that can compete with many of the upper echelon sets by other companies.

One thing to look out for....around 1969-70, Kent started incorporating cheap imported "Luan" shells and later other imported hardware items. The change in shell design marked the beginning of the end. By 1972, Kent drums were 100% Japanese. I ordered a brand new Kent set that year, thinking I was getting an American made set with maple shells and good hardware. When the boxes arrived my excitement turned to disappointment. The boxes were marked "Hoshino Trading Company" or something like that. Upon opening the boxes, I discovered cheap, standard import drums similar to those made by Pearl. Even the hardware had "Made in Japan" scratched out!

I hope this helps with your search for a nice old Kent set. They are out there.
Thanks Mark, that's part of the story, but not all by far...Mouse
 

Mark Cooper

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This subject has been discussed often. I have owned and played many Kent sets and I also put the Kent Museum page together. Mouse is a Kent fan and contributed the photo of the Kent factory in Kenmore, NY.He has also met one of the Kent brothers who is now deceased.

This is what I have learned about the Kent drums over the years:

The Kent drums of the 1950's and 60's were made with thin American maple shells. Bearing edges were often non-existent but some were quite well done. Very poor quality control. Often, brown glue smears were left inside the un-sanded shells.

The lugs are top quality- solid metal with good plating.

Hoops were similar in quality and construction to Ludwig hoops of the same era. They were steel.

The first tom mounts were similar to Sonor tom mounts. A very simple design, rather like a large version of a cymbal stand tilter. While they are solidly made, they tend to spin in their mounting if not tightened down VERY tight. Difficult with a drum key and hex nut.

In the later 1960's, Kent introduced a hex rod tom mount that revolved on a ball and socket fitting. They worked quite well.

Kent cymbal holders were on the same par as Ludwig's telescopic cymbal arms which were mounted in the center of the bass drum. Later, they offered a hex rod like their hex tom mounts.

Kent bass spurs were nearly identical to Gretsch. Simple telescopic design. Made from heavy solid metal. Often nickel plated.

The worst Kent feature? Their snare strainers, of course. They were horribly designed and barely work. They did offer a "Deluxe" strainer later which was much better.

The finishes offered by Kent varied in quality. Their earlier sparkle finishes were nothing special. Later, they used standard sparkles like Slingerland and Ludwig. They did offer some beautiful oyster type finishes. Definitely top quality and well applied.

One reason that Kent drums are viewed as inferior is that they made so many low line versions of their drums. Bass drums and toms with no lugs, center lug bass drums with only six lugs, six lug snare drums, etc. If you can find one of their top of the line kits, you'll have a winner. It's a fairly easy fix to improve the bearing edges. The Kent drums provide a nice warm sound that can compete with many of the upper echelon sets by other companies.

One thing to look out for....around 1969-70, Kent started incorporating cheap imported "Luan" shells and later other imported hardware items. The change in shell design marked the beginning of the end. By 1972, Kent drums were 100% Japanese. I ordered a brand new Kent set that year, thinking I was getting an American made set with maple shells and good hardware. When the boxes arrived my excitement turned to disappointment. The boxes were marked "Hoshino Trading Company" or something like that. Upon opening the boxes, I discovered cheap, standard import drums similar to those made by Pearl. Even the hardware had "Made in Japan" scratched out!

I hope this helps with your search for a nice old Kent set. They are out there.
Thanks Mark, that's part of the story, but not all by far...Mouse
Did I miss something in my descriptions of the various components?
 

Mouse

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This subject has been discussed often. I have owned and played many Kent sets and I also put the Kent Museum page together. Mouse is a Kent fan and contributed the photo of the Kent factory in Kenmore, NY.He has also met one of the Kent brothers who is now deceased.

This is what I have learned about the Kent drums over the years:

The Kent drums of the 1950's and 60's were made with thin American maple shells. Bearing edges were often non-existent but some were quite well done. Very poor quality control. Often, brown glue smears were left inside the un-sanded shells.

The lugs are top quality- solid metal with good plating.

Hoops were similar in quality and construction to Ludwig hoops of the same era. They were steel.

The first tom mounts were similar to Sonor tom mounts. A very simple design, rather like a large version of a cymbal stand tilter. While they are solidly made, they tend to spin in their mounting if not tightened down VERY tight. Difficult with a drum key and hex nut.

In the later 1960's, Kent introduced a hex rod tom mount that revolved on a ball and socket fitting. They worked quite well.

Kent cymbal holders were on the same par as Ludwig's telescopic cymbal arms which were mounted in the center of the bass drum. Later, they offered a hex rod like their hex tom mounts.

Kent bass spurs were nearly identical to Gretsch. Simple telescopic design. Made from heavy solid metal. Often nickel plated.

The worst Kent feature? Their snare strainers, of course. They were horribly designed and barely work. They did offer a "Deluxe" strainer later which was much better.

The finishes offered by Kent varied in quality. Their earlier sparkle finishes were nothing special. Later, they used standard sparkles like Slingerland and Ludwig. They did offer some beautiful oyster type finishes. Definitely top quality and well applied.

One reason that Kent drums are viewed as inferior is that they made so many low line versions of their drums. Bass drums and toms with no lugs, center lug bass drums with only six lugs, six lug snare drums, etc. If you can find one of their top of the line kits, you'll have a winner. It's a fairly easy fix to improve the bearing edges. The Kent drums provide a nice warm sound that can compete with many of the upper echelon sets by other companies.

One thing to look out for....around 1969-70, Kent started incorporating cheap imported "Luan" shells and later other imported hardware items. The change in shell design marked the beginning of the end. By 1972, Kent drums were 100% Japanese. I ordered a brand new Kent set that year, thinking I was getting an American made set with maple shells and good hardware. When the boxes arrived my excitement turned to disappointment. The boxes were marked "Hoshino Trading Company" or something like that. Upon opening the boxes, I discovered cheap, standard import drums similar to those made by Pearl. Even the hardware had "Made in Japan" scratched out!

I hope this helps with your search for a nice old Kent set. They are out there.
Thanks Mark, that's part of the story, but not all by far...Mouse
Did I miss something in my descriptions of the various components?
No Mark, your right on as always.

Thanks, Mouse
 

AaronLatos

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I know a guy who's made it a point to fix up and re-edge a bunch of kents, and they all sound great. They're not exactly like any other of the vintage makes, but they can sound great in their own way.
 

Tophatjohnny

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Kent drums are cool. For one on a budget, I'd say go for it. Maybe someday the market on these cool little tubs will take off?? I had a few sets and always managed to turn a buck :unsure:
 

Archt

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Very cool vibe with Kent drums in my opinion. I would love to own/refurbish a set and plan on doing so someday.

Anyone have a link to a catalogue page with there offered finishes?
 

rpludwig

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Recut the edges, replaced the strainer and bass hoops, plugged a few extra holes, cleaned 'em up and it's a great sounding kit. Here's my first kit here, resurrected after 40 years in storage. Just be certain they're maple shells and in round.

Ron
 

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