Hello, what are the pros and cons of those clear vistalite drums? I see some nice ones on ebay from the 70s, but I've never owned a set of them and don't know anything about them. Thanks for your thoughts!
Cons can be they're heavier than many drums, and they can crack or separate at the seams. I've owned and played them and never had any of mine to crack or separate. It's something to check out closely if you're planning to buy a used set, though. Tiny spiderwebbing is also common because of their age and stress on the shells over time. I think that it's best to not use the Ludwig tom mounts but use either a snare stand or a RIMS type suspension mount in order to protect the old shells from stress. Scratches and scuffs are very common and can be mostly removed with polish and a little elbow grease. There are some threads here with before and after pictures where people have made scuffed up shells look like brand new again.
Pros are looks (obviously) and the loud and focused sound that come from the acrylic shells (some here may consider that a con). These are not warm drums. They are very loud and have a tone that is just killer. That being said, you can't expect the heads you're using on wood shelled drums to sound the same on acrylics. IMHO, old school Remo CS black dot heads sound best on them, but you may have to experiment a bit to find the right head and tuning. Once you find it, you'll be amazed at how good these drums can sound. The bass drum has a combination of attack and deep focused pitch that you can feel in your gut. My head preference on the bass drum is Evans Emad. That's because the sustain on my bass drum is overkill, but the Emad tames it and still lets the deep tone through. Others may disagree on that one but that's what works for me. I think the reason some people hate the Vistalite sound is that they're trying to get a warm sound like their vintage wood drums and that just ain't happening. Also, if you put some heads on them that sound good on wood, then they'll sound absolutely horrible on the Vistas. I currently own a set of clears and love the way they sound.
Pricing is all over the place and the market is not high on them in general right now. You'll find sky high asking prices on eBay and CL, but they're not selling. Do an eBay search in the "sold listings" and see what people are actually paying for them. It's eye-opening and very helpful in making sure you don't overpay.
Obviously lots of this is subjective and all this is just my opinion. Good luck on finding the right set if that's what you choose to do.
I have had a few of these kits as well as a thicker shelled Fibes kit in the frost finish which looked like a 70's shower door. It had black dot heads which were well used. The day I was selling it I swapped them out for clear single ply Attack heads and those drums opened up and were warm and lively. They sounded great to my ears.
I am trying to sell my concert tom kit locally on c'list. I have clear pinstripes on them and like the sound. They originally had silver dots. The concert toms are all about attack and are a breeze to tune.
I just sold a set of clear and black band Vistalites and am probably going to list the 2nd second set in the same finish with a matching snare as well, as I just have too many kits and not enough space or time to play them all. The one I just sold and am likely going to sell both have clear emps over clear ambassadors. Big, boomy sound.
These kits are not as warm as most wooden kit as mentioned above, but they will sound great with good heads and tuning.
Thank you for the taking the time to share all your thoughts guys, I really appreciate it... I'm just looking right now, it's not really a necessity, but I'm getting the itch... I never used to care for the look, but those blue vistalites have been growing on me....
I play an oversized vistalite 13, 14, 18, 20, 26. There's only one real con to playing this kit- it's extremely heavy. The controlled sounds are an absolute must on the toms. Both tone and visual aesthetics are covered. My bass drum is slightly different, 26" ps3 with black dot.
I cleaned up a blue Vistalite kit when I was 15... My Highschool band instructor found it in the storage room, held together by duct tape. I was too immature to realize how cool they were. We threw CS Black dots on 'em and they sounded killer, but like Fun 2 Drum said they are loud. My band instructor kept screaming at us to play quieter...There is nothing quiet about punk-a$$ teenagers on a Vistalite.
I had the same "itch" as you in 2010, and in Dec of that year, ordered a brand new set. 12 rack, 14 & 16 floors, and a 22 kick. Killer looks and sound is awesome, but, like many others here have said, they are quite heavy. The 22 kick is MUCH heavier than my 24 Mapex Pro M kick! The build quality is top-notch and have had no issues w/them so far (have gigged them on a fairly regular basis since the summer of 2011). The stock Ludwig heads work great, despite being marked "heavy", they are actually similar to an Ambassador thickness. Just put new ec2's on, and they are also sweet. Just for kicks I tried a clear set of hydros, but they totally killed the volume and weren't good for unmiced situations.
For my money, I'll stick w/the ec2's or newer Pinstripes...they seem to really make the drums sing without the need for and muffling/moongels/etc.
I've just bought a set (mine are white concert toms set). Awaiting delivery from oversea. Bit excited Have heard that they are loud beasts. Got them really cheap as white vistalite concert toms are not highly sought after.