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Pearl Drums

Tornado

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Thinking about hardware, and I usually don't like negativity, I much prefer Pearl 80s feel, handling etc. over 70s/80s Sonor! Sonor has this great image of German-made Mercedes Benz-type quality, but the handling is far from elegant. Toothed tilters, clunky through-the shell mounting, over-engineered stands...I cut my hand more than once on those slotted t-rods. Pearl in contrast has always been a joy to set up, felt great.
I plan to bring my 80s mpale drums with me to compare before I buy another kit. Might save some money that way.

My hunch is that the name "Pearl" and Japan itself has negative connotations to some US Americans.

I think for most Americans, Japan has become revered for quality, particularly with their automobiles, specifically Toyota. Preferences for Japanese made Tama and Yamaha drums too. There are some exceptions, like in this thread, but I don't know many people who have anything negative to say about the quality of Pearl's products. Even the Exports are well made. But the brand just doesn't inspire a lot of people when their heroes played something else. Pick a different demographic from this board though, and Pearl is one of THE drum companies to them.
 

Jhouse86

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I adored pearls when I was growing up. Ive never owned a set, but i do have a soft spot for them. The hardware seems a little bulky but I'm sure works as good as people say. I just can't get past the double tom holder They put on the bass drums.
 

Drdrumdude3009

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I think for most Americans, Japan has become revered for quality, particularly with their automobiles, specifically Toyota. Preferences for Japanese made Tama and Yamaha drums too. There are some exceptions, like in this thread, but I don't know many people who have anything negative to say about the quality of Pearl's products. Even the Exports are well made. But the brand just doesn't inspire a lot of people when their heroes played something else. Pick a different demographic from this board though, and Pearl is one of THE drum companies to them.

Would it be fair to say that the defections to the Pearl brand, in part, was due to great sounding drums with dependable hardware? After all, the louder rock music wasn’t conducive to hardware designed for jazz, big band and swing music, no?
 

Tornado

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Would it be fair to say that the defections to the Pearl brand, in part, was due to great sounding drums with dependable hardware? After all, the louder rock music wasn’t conducive to hardware designed for jazz, big band and swing music, no?

That was definitely part of the reason why the Japanese companies were dominating back in the 80s.
 

jptrickster

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Any clue what era?
AFF8052E-0C37-44B1-B650-ED9A4C5335BD.jpeg
 

flatwins

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Where did they get the idea from?
It not marketed as Camco but DW.
Drum history geek stuff:

The DW lug has roots back to 1938 when George Way worked for Conn and designed the Leedy “Beavertail” lug. It was an art deco design that really fit the period. If the lug is laid on its side and formed into a circle you’ll see the beginnings of the “turret” lug. When Way formed his own company (‘58 if I remember correctly), he used the turret lug design. Now if you want to discuss theft of a design it was Camco who did that. They were involved with George Way drums and forcefully took over the company from him after a few years of making his hardware. They were a tool & die company who became a drum manufacturer. Later, Don Lombardi purchased the rights and equipment for the turret lugs from Camco in the 70s.

The beautiful sparkle blue Leedy & Ludwig kit is owned by @markrocks68
 

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Houndog

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Drum history geek stuff:

The DW lug has roots back to 1938 when George Way worked for Conn and designed the Leedy “Beavertail” lug. It was an art deco design that really fit the period. If the lug is laid on its side and formed into a circle you’ll see the beginnings of the “turret” lug. When Way formed his own company (‘58 if I remember correctly), he used the turret lug design. Now if you want to discuss theft of a design it was Camco who did that. They were involved with George Way drums and forcefully took over the company from him after a few years of making his hardware. They were a tool & die company who became a drum manufacturer. Later, Don Lombardi purchased the rights and equipment for the turret lugs from Camco in the 70s.

The beautiful sparkle blue Leedy & Ludwig kit is owned by @markrocks68
I forgot about the GW drums being 1st .
Good work detective!!
 

BeatMeToIt

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I think he missed the point about DW "BOUGHT" Camco and all of Camco's tooling and designs.

About Pearl, personally I think they make pretty decent drums, but my only experience is with the 80's offerings. The old US Maple MX kit that I refinished sounds great.
Granted, I put some nice Aquarian heads on them and took my time tuning them. The parallel action snare that I found is a year or so older, MIJ, and it sounds fabulous. I'm almost ready with my basement so I can set up all of my drums, these Pearl's included.
I never said they “stole” it. I said they took from other companies like Pearl did and others. How many custom shops don’t use the beavertail lug design on most of their snares and kits? Quite a few. My point was that companies and yes, that includes the precious DW company take ideas from former companies and market them as “new” even though we’ve seen them before. The thread was about Pearl not being a quality company but however it is. The Sensitone line for example is overlooked since it’s a “low end” black beauty design. They sound great, put those side by side in a blind test and most couldn’t tell the difference. It’s like the old argument of hearing the difference between a virgin bassdrum and one with tom-mounts. Play what inspires you and also don’t forget.. tune them please.
 

Azoth

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Why do Pearls not get any "love" around here? Around the middle of November I'm going to refurb a set of 70s wood-fiberglass Pearls. I had a couple of sets back in the day and really liked them. They are orphans that I got off ebay almost 20 years ago. I have nice Pearl hardware to put on them and am going to recover them in gold sparkle and that is going to be "my go to set". I'm going to be selling all my other drums, 23 sets, so when I pass, I'm no spring chicken, my wife can sell these and not take a bath in the transaction. Now, again, why do Pearls not get any love here?
I have a set of Masters that are doing just fine gigging and recording. I think people who actually play, don't trash on any particular brand (for the most part). Everyone has their camp though.
 

flatwins

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Sonor has this great image of German-made Mercedes Benz-type quality, but the handling is far from elegant. Toothed tilters, clunky through-the shell mounting, over-engineered stands...
I loves me some Sonor but you’re not wrong. I have a bunch of their 70s stuff.
 

jptrickster

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All this talk all I can think about is redoing my edges even though they sound pretty good right now.... what if? Maybe I'll start with the 13 it has a little more dirt and distortion than the other toms
We shall see
 

Houndog

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I never said they “stole” it. I said they took from other companies like Pearl did and others. How many custom shops don’t use the beavertail lug design on most of their snares and kits? Quite a few. My point was that companies and yes, that includes the precious DW company take ideas from former companies and market them as “new” even though we’ve seen them before. The thread was about Pearl not being a quality company but however it is. The Sensitone line for example is overlooked since it’s a “low end” black beauty design. They sound great, put those side by side in a blind test and most couldn’t tell the difference. It’s like the old argument of hearing the difference between a virgin bassdrum and one with tom-mounts. Play what inspires you and also don’t forget.. tune them please.
Stole and Took can mean the same thing .
This is DFO , word it right or die !!
 

John DeChristopher

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I understand you just fine. Did they also buy the rights to 6-ply shells?
Yes, they did. Their initial intention was to manufacture the drums exactly like Camco did. They made no pretenses about it. It was the only way to gain credibility, or even attention, as a fledgling unknown drum company.

As the person trying to sell them in 1986, I can tell you DW was a hard sell those first few years. The fact that the shell construction was based on the original Camcos, along with their high quality and finishes, got us in the door with retailers at a time when retailers didn't need or want another drum brand to sell.

DW didn't copy Camco. They were Camco. Had Tama/Hoshino not bought the name "Camco" I'm sure Don would've called DW drums "Camco" instead of DW. It would've been a lot easier getting their foot in the door using an iconic name, which at the time, people still remembered.
 

BeatMeToIt

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Yes, they did. Their initial intention was to manufacture the drums exactly like Camco did. They made no pretenses about it. It was the only way to gain credibility, or even attention, as a fledgling unknown drum company.

As the person trying to sell them in 1986, I can tell you DW was a hard sell those first few years. The fact that the shell construction was based on the original Camcos, along with their high quality and finishes, got us in the door with retailers at a time when retailers didn't need or want another drum brand to sell.

DW didn't copy Camco. They were Camco. Had Tama/Hoshino not bought the name "Camco" I'm sure Don would've called DW drums "Camco" instead of DW. It would've been a lot easier getting their foot in the door using an iconic name, which at the time, people still remembered.
Didn't Gretsch make 6-ply shells in the mid 50's and Camco was in founded in 61'?
What I'm getting at is that companies take from each other. How does that make Pearl a cheap company or less of a good quality kit to own?
I'm not denying Camco are some of the best shells made along with Radiokings and WFL's but the hate Pearl gets is not justified.
They make it their own with influences from other companies, DW makes the best hardware I've used thus far, with exception of some Yamaha hardware.
 

John DeChristopher

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Didn't Gretsch make 6-ply shells in the mid 50's and Camco was in founded in 61'?
What I'm getting at is that companies take from each other. How does that make Pearl a cheap company or less of a good quality kit to own?
I'm not denying Camco are some of the best shells made along with Radiokings and WFL's but the hate Pearl gets is not justified.
They make it their own with influences from other companies, DW makes the best hardware I've used thus far, with exception of some Yamaha hardware.
Ok, I see where you're going. I was responding to your inference that DW copied Camco. Pearl makes fine drums.

I won't get into the minutia of Gretsch making 3 ply shells in the 50s and when they started making 6 ply shells in the 60s, they were a different 6 ply construction than Camco. I see the point you're making. Companies borrow from other companies. Always have and always will.

I've been around a lot of Pearl kits and Pearl artists, and know many Pearl employees (past and present) around the world. Great drums and great people.

My only suggestion (and my old friend @frankmott touched on this about 10 pages ago) would be to get rid of their tom mounting system. That one thing would go a long way to improving their image. But what do I know... ;)
 


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