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Pearl Drums

Monday317

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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 think Pearl is sort of like Apple, SpaceX/Tesla, and Tom Brady; people like a winner to a point but get tired of them winning all The DAMN TIME.

For the last two decades I’ve beat on them, Pearl Drums have easily been the best bang for the buck here in the U. S. of A. Build quality & tone have been first-rate.

Now yeah, DW has suckered a lot of professional drummers and I will confess that over the years that, when I compare DW to others, they are noticeably louder when struck with the same force. But I wouldn’t market a couple of my organs on eBay to get a kit. I doubt I’d expend lottery winnings or a stolen credit card on them either.

I’d certainly cough up for a used Masters Mahogany or even a Masterworks kit in the same configuration and kick myself to this day for not having gone for an MHX kit back in 2003, when I could have acquired a set. Snooze & lose.

Today, I’m also building a kit based on old ‘90s Export maple shells rescued from eBay. The wrap is miserable to remove, though. Still, it’ll be worth the pain, as 30 year old maple ought to sound pretty good and the drums are in fine condition. Hardware is kind of crap, though I planned on replacing it anyway.

So yeah, Pearl drums at any price point and vintage beat anyone else IMHO, and with careful head choices, sound great and will last. If that opinion isn’t shared by others, it a free country; folks have the right to be ignorant, misguided, and live a happy life despite the fact the marital status of their parents at the time of their conception would not stand close scrutiny… You naysayers know who you are.
 

Houndog

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.

If that opinion isn’t shared by others, it a free country; folks have the right to be ignorant, misguided, and live a happy life despite the fact the marital status of their parents at the time of their conception would not stand close scrutiny… You naysayers know who you are.

Wow , I’m speechless…
 

aparker2005

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Man the Session Studio Selects have went up in price quite a bit since I purchased mine. Of course everything has now, but I was shocked to see the shell pack at 2k now now.
 

JY Kelly

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I think they’re actually the true sleeper in Pearl’s line. My only issue with them is that they don’t come with die cast hoops.
 

lossforgain

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Today, I’m also building a kit based on old ‘90s Export maple shells rescued from eBay… 30 year old maple ought to sound pretty good and the drums are in fine condition.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Pearl Exports were never made of maple. Poplar or “select hardwoods” as far as I know. Pearl would be the first to tell you if Exports were maple, since they were one of the first companies to leverage the all-maple shell in their marketing.
 

JY Kelly

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I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Pearl Exports were never made of maple. Poplar or “select hardwoods” as far as I know. Pearl would be the first to tell you if Exports were maple, since they were one of the first companies to leverage the all-maple shell in their marketing.
Annnnd… NOPE. There actually WERE maple Exports, the ECX’s. They were replaced by the short-lived Vision line.

Though I’m Pearl-for-life, it can be argued that Pearl has/had WAY too many lines. So much so that they’ve muddled their own sales.
 

drummer083

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I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Pearl Exports were never made of maple. Poplar or “select hardwoods” as far as I know. Pearl would be the first to tell you if Exports were maple, since they were one of the first companies to leverage the all-maple shell in their marketing.
The ECX's were made from the remaining All-maple Session shells.
 

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lossforgain

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I’m okay with being wrong about there never having been an all-maple Export shell. However, as I googled the series you both pointed to, it appears those were lacquer finish drums. That means that the guy removing wrap from his 30-year old shells is not working with an all-maple shell as I suspected.
 

Drumprof

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I had a kit called an Export Select I believe it was.
Not maple, maybe poplar but with lacquer finishes. I think they were the Pearl answer to the early lacquer stage customs.
Great gig kit!
 

JY Kelly

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I’m okay with being wrong about there never having been an all-maple Export shell. However, as I googled the series you both pointed to, it appears those were lacquer finish drums. That means that the guy removing wrap from his 30-year old shells is not working with an all-maple shell as I suspected.
So I guess the badge that drummer083 attached is… a forgery?
 

lossforgain

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So I guess the badge that drummer083 attached is… a forgery?
Not at all, I stand corrected about the all maple shells. Sorry that wasn’t clear. I just meant that wrapped Exports from the 90s wouldn’t be maple.
 

Tornado

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Though I’m Pearl-for-life, it can be argued that Pearl has/had WAY too many lines. So much so that they’ve muddled their own sales.

Yeah, the Vision, Forum, Decade, and who knows whatever lines lines were completely unnecessary when they had the Export
 

drummer083

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That's not available as an option on any of their other drums, and that is no longer available to purchase separately.

It was just using standard Reliance parts that you can get at DFD. This wasn't anything that Pearl offered.

Not sure how that changes anything.
That is incorrect. The piece was from a Europe only Rhythm Traveler Pod, with one end being an L-Arm and the other end being a standard 7/8" rachet mount. I simply cut the rachet end off. It was made at the Pearl factory in Taiwan. To my knowledge, Pearl has never used anything built by Reliance. The part was still available from Pearl Europe as of 2020.
 

flatwins

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I’ll go ahead and just let y’all have dibs on all the remaining Pearl drums left on the planet.
 

CigarScott

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So I’ve played Pearl drums ever since I took up the drums 30 years ago. I got a Pearl Export, probably like a lot of people on here did for my first drum set. Played that for about 25 years. Still have it and plan on passing it down to whichever of my kids takes up drumming since it was bought for me by my dad.

I finally had the money burning a hole in my pocket a few years ago to finally buy a high end drum kit. I was looking for something different, not because I disliked Pearl, I just wanted to try something different, being that I never owned a non-Pearl kit. If I had the money in the 90’s, it would have been a DW kit but it seems like everyone has a DW kit nowadays. I considered Sonor thanks to Danny Carey and Tomas Haake but they’re not cheap and not many dealers here domestically. I always really wanted a GMS kit due to Mark Zonder but getting information and finding someone that actually still sold them wasn’t an easy task. When I finally was able to get some good info on costs and what to expect, the kit I wanted would had cost me five figures.

Then I was offered the opportunity to get a MasterWorks kit custom built at a price point that was too good to refuse. Since I already had an Icon rack and Demon Drive pedals and another dream kit of mine as a kid was double bass Pearl kit in piano black with white reso heads on the kicks which I remember seeing in my drum porn (Pearl catalogs) in the early-mid 90’s, I pulled the trigger. The process was overwhelming due to “paralysis by analysis”. Virtually every other drum company, their top shelf drums have a set shell, hardware, bearing edges, and so on so it would have probably been much easier to had bought a top shelf kit from Tama, Yamaha, DW and the like.

I drove up to Nashville and got a tour of the place and met some of the people the (Ray, John, & Kevin) and they rolled the red carpet out to me. I’m a nobody that plays at home for fun and they treated me way better than I deserved. They are all very passionate about the company and the product. I do see the point others bring up about them having too many lines but as long as everything is a great product at a great price point, then more choices aren’t a bad thing. I think they should have more videos showing the product being made and show the passion of the builders but I guess they’re trying to protect trade secret or it would be hard to show that where the people don’t speak English; I always thought that was a great marketing tool of DW with John Good wandering around the factory to show the process and talk to the people who actually build them; perhaps that could be part of the disconnect that people have with them and viewing them as a company “without any passion”.

I never realized that people hated Pearl tom mounts prior to this thread. I really like their stability and mounting options, but I only use them on my rack so I could see if you were using them on a bass drum mount that they may be annoying. I always saw the L arms being less rigid than the Pearl style mounts but I’ve never owned a kit that used them, so my experiences are limited. Perhaps, I’m a child of the 80’s and love big, strong hardware but it never was an issue to me since I never knew any different.

I also wonder what is going on with their endorser program as others have brought up. Even 10 years ago, it seemed like tons of players played Pearl but a lot have left for DW or others. Was it due to backline support, other companies offering better deals, they genuinely wanted to try something different (as Ticco Tores claims), or another reason? I have no idea. The only drummers still on the roster that move the needle for me are Mike Mangini, Todd Sucherman, Kai Hahto, and Eric Singer. Dennis Chambers is a monster and I’ve seen him live but I don’t play anything like him as I’m a rock/metal guy.

So, in short, I can attest to Pearl making great drums, great hardware, and in my interactions with their employees, they’re as passionate as any other drum company. I love my Masterworks kit but if I ever had the opportunity to get a used GMS kit with a 20” kick at a good price, I’d be interested in that as a gigging kit.
 

cribbon

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So I’ve played Pearl drums ever since I took up the drums 30 years ago. I got a Pearl Export, probably like a lot of people on here did for my first drum set. Played that for about 25 years. Still have it and plan on passing it down to whichever of my kids takes up drumming since it was bought for me by my dad.

I finally had the money burning a hole in my pocket a few years ago to finally buy a high end drum kit. I was looking for something different, not because I disliked Pearl, I just wanted to try something different, being that I never owned a non-Pearl kit. If I had the money in the 90’s, it would have been a DW kit but it seems like everyone has a DW kit nowadays. I considered Sonor thanks to Danny Carey and Tomas Haake but they’re not cheap and not many dealers here domestically. I always really wanted a GMS kit due to Mark Zonder but getting information and finding someone that actually still sold them wasn’t an easy task. When I finally was able to get some good info on costs and what to expect, the kit I wanted would had cost me five figures.

Then I was offered the opportunity to get a MasterWorks kit custom built at a price point that was too good to refuse. Since I already had an Icon rack and Demon Drive pedals and another dream kit of mine as a kid was double bass Pearl kit in piano black with white reso heads on the kicks which I remember seeing in my drum porn (Pearl catalogs) in the early-mid 90’s, I pulled the trigger. The process was overwhelming due to “paralysis by analysis”. Virtually every other drum company, their top shelf drums have a set shell, hardware, bearing edges, and so on so it would have probably been much easier to had bought a top shelf kit from Tama, Yamaha, DW and the like.

I drove up to Nashville and got a tour of the place and met some of the people the (Ray, John, & Kevin) and they rolled the red carpet out to me. I’m a nobody that plays at home for fun and they treated me way better than I deserved. They are all very passionate about the company and the product. I do see the point others bring up about them having too many lines but as long as everything is a great product at a great price point, then more choices aren’t a bad thing. I think they should have more videos showing the product being made and show the passion of the builders but I guess they’re trying to protect trade secret or it would be hard to show that where the people don’t speak English; I always thought that was a great marketing tool of DW with John Good wandering around the factory to show the process and talk to the people who actually build them; perhaps that could be part of the disconnect that people have with them and viewing them as a company “without any passion”.

I never realized that people hated Pearl tom mounts prior to this thread. I really like their stability and mounting options, but I only use them on my rack so I could see if you were using them on a bass drum mount that they may be annoying. I always saw the L arms being less rigid than the Pearl style mounts but I’ve never owned a kit that used them, so my experiences are limited. Perhaps, I’m a child of the 80’s and love big, strong hardware but it never was an issue to me since I never knew any different.

I also wonder what is going on with their endorser program as others have brought up. Even 10 years ago, it seemed like tons of players played Pearl but a lot have left for DW or others. Was it due to backline support, other companies offering better deals, they genuinely wanted to try something different (as Ticco Tores claims), or another reason? I have no idea. The only drummers still on the roster that move the needle for me are Mike Mangini, Todd Sucherman, Kai Hahto, and Eric Singer. Dennis Chambers is a monster and I’ve seen him live but I don’t play anything like him as I’m a rock/metal guy.

So, in short, I can attest to Pearl making great drums, great hardware, and in my interactions with their employees, they’re as passionate as any other drum company. I love my Masterworks kit but if I ever had the opportunity to get a used GMS kit with a 20” kick at a good price, I’d be interested in that as a gigging kit.
Very well stated. FWIW, I also give a lot of kudos to Mark Zonder for bucking the tide and having the balls to play metal on a 4-piece kit with a 20 kick. I'm not a metal guy at all, but after he did that, I screwed up the courage to try the same thing with my classic rock band and I've never looked back.

Also, just as an aside, you don't have to play the same kind of music that someone else does in order to respect their choices. I took my cue from Zonder and just because Dennis doesn't play metal doesn't mean that you can't look to him and his choices for possible applications to your situation. Information and inspiration are where you find them.

Again, excellent post!
 

little rock

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I think Pearl is sort of like Apple, SpaceX/Tesla, and Tom Brady; people like a winner to a point but get tired of them winning all The DAMN TIME.

For the last two decades I’ve beat on them, Pearl Drums have easily been the best bang for the buck here in the U. S. of A. Build quality & tone have been first-rate.

Now yeah, DW has suckered a lot of professional drummers and I will confess that over the years that, when I compare DW to others, they are noticeably louder when struck with the same force. But I wouldn’t market a couple of my organs on eBay to get a kit. I doubt I’d expend lottery winnings or a stolen credit card on them either.

I’d certainly cough up for a used Masters Mahogany or even a Masterworks kit in the same configuration and kick myself to this day for not having gone for an MHX kit back in 2003, when I could have acquired a set. Snooze & lose.

Today, I’m also building a kit based on old ‘90s Export maple shells rescued from eBay. The wrap is miserable to remove, though. Still, it’ll be worth the pain, as 30 year old maple ought to sound pretty good and the drums are in fine condition. Hardware is kind of crap, though I planned on replacing it anyway.

So yeah, Pearl drums at any price point and vintage beat anyone else IMHO, and with careful head choices, sound great and will last. If that opinion isn’t shared by others, it a free country; folks have the right to be ignorant, misguided, and live a happy life despite the fact the marital status of their parents at the time of their conception would not stand close scrutiny… You naysayers know who you are.
I really wanted a set of Masters Mahogany Pearls back in the day.
 


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