Quality Control: Which Companies Are Currently the Best and Worst?

karlcrafton

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Just going by my own experience, I haven't had any issues AT ALL with any of the Ludwig gear I have purchased (going back 40+ years).
I have heard some horror stories from friends though.
No issues with Remo, but again, others have had problems.
No issues with nicer line Mapex drums used as backline kits, same with Yamaha RC, but the Beech drums sounded dead and dull to me. I will say the Mapex adjustments were super smooth, especially on floor tom legs. The mount on the bass drum is stupidly huge, although it's never seemed to affect the SOUND of the bass drum.
Tama has always sounded cool through the speakers.

No issues with cymbals from any maker, no issues with Pearl pedals or thrones.

As far as "worth every single penny" items:
Canopus snare wires--100% recommend.
Creative Percussion beaters, and slick kick impact pads --100% recommend.
Sonall Percussion CUSH Pads--100% recommend.
LAR Sticks made by Leroy Aaron Rhodes--100% recommend.
 

TorchmanRG

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Here’s an example from a Gretsch kit. I don’t have the kit any longer and this is the best photo I have. The bass was a transparent ebony-brown and the ft and snare were a nearly solid ebony. The photo actually makes it look better than it was in person. I bought them when they were blowing out the jasper/gunmetal hw Broadkasters so I decided to keep them and deal with it. I often wondered if they took a few left over shells and threw them together to make a bop kit.

Anyway, I would not expect that much difference in finish between drums in a pro level kit that was sold together.

View attachment 455484
I had a Broadkaster kit from that era (around 2000). The kit had so many problems, I sold it in less than a year. Spinning/rattling badges, spurs and tom mounts that would not hold securely without a memory lock, rough spots on bearing edges, snare was visibly out of round. Also not a lot of tuning range. If you tried to crank them up to get that 50's/60's round badge jazz tuning, the drums would choke. Now I have a Canopus NV60-M1 kit - vastly superior in every way.
 

Han

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I've had the good fortune to do business with one of the industries best custom builders and repair, re-finish, bearing edge cutter/fixer guys. He told me the only company he's seen in all of his years working on all of them, that was as near perfect as can be, was Sonor. He said good things about a couple of others and then commented that the majority of the rest were uneven in their quality control. He did say that given improvements in machining and manufacturing the general quality of drums and hardware was improved over the past few decades.

Who keep quoting bible verses or making analogies with the bible stuff? That seems oddly a bit out of place.
 

RettaW75

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I have had more issues with Gretsch drums that I have owned . I still love the sound of a Gretsch Kit but would not buy another . If you get a good agretsfh Kit with no issues they are fantastic drums .

Every Drum Company lets out the odd clinker , who the accompany makes things right is very important and desirable from a Consumer point of view.

With the widespread usage of CNC machinery and automated processes drums are far more consistently produced . Sadly the old growth wood for musical instruments is gone .

I have had great luck with Sonor drums when it comes to quality . No issues whatsoever on any of the professional lines I have owned or seen.
I have a Gretsch Catalina Maple 7 piece and I love it. No issues to report.
 

Exploder

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Toyota should get into drum manufacturing .
I think Pearl is like Toyota..very reliable, you know what you are getting but everybody has had one and a little bit boring.
Tama is like Mazda.. abit more exciting but you have to know which model
Yamaha is like Subaru and Honda..more upmarket but you are going to pay for it..and are they really any better than your Pearl Toyota ?
 

paulwells73

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I think Pearl is like Toyota..very reliable, you know what you are getting but everybody has had one and a little bit boring.
Tama is like Mazda.. abit more exciting but you have to know which model
Yamaha is like Subaru and Honda..more upmarket but you are going to pay for it..and are they really any better than your Pearl Toyota ?
Funny - I just texted this to a friend the other day:

Yamaha = Honda/Acura
Tama = Toyota/Lexus
Pearl = Nissan/Infiniti

I’d imagine JDA might have more insight into this analogy.
 

JDA

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Gretsch- Packard Studebaker/Packard
Ludwig- Ford
Fibes- AMC/Jeep
Rogers- Chrysler
Nissan ( nice in slow speed and neutral) Pearl
Honda ( How Orient naturally deceive Americans) Yamaha
(Touch of your Old Time Amc) Toyota- Tama
VW- very weird- Sonor
Price of regular service could hinder excitement- Porsche- hmm Sonor
Mapex- Mazda
Kia- Inde
Slingerland- Pontiac, Oldsmobile ,General Motors
Audi- always under doing inspections-
 
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robthedrummer

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Gretsch- Packard Studebaker/Packard
Ludwig- Ford
Fibes- AMC/Jeep
Rogers- Chrysler
Nissan ( nice in slow speed and neutral) Pearl
Honda ( How Orient naturally deceive Americans) Yamaha
(Touch of your Old Time Amc) Toyota- Tama
VW- very weird- Sonor
price Of regular service could hinder excitement- Porsche- hmm Sonor
Mapex- Mazda
Kia- Inde
Slingerland- Pontiac, Oldsmobile ,General Motors
Audi- always under doing inspections-
Craviotto - Porsche
 
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KingLudwig

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The crew @CRAVIOTTO know what they're doing.
I have NEVER had a problem with their drums. And if I did I know that they would have my back and take care of it.
 

htkfred

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I just bought the Gretsch Catalina Birch Special Edition 20, 10,12,14 and 14x5.5. I was surprised how great it sounds! It totally screams, I put it together, all parts good, extraverts too! I HAVE TOP LINE DW, Pearl,Premier, And this kit was super easy to tune, I checked all edges, and shells, perfect. Only $650. Top flight hardware. I changed out cheap "looking"Snare butt for Inde universal, because Im a snob! The Snare really barks and rim shots fierce. My last Catalina rock 26,13,16,18 was not this good a sound by far (mahogany vs Birch)but quality was good.
 

Squirrel Man

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I've owned 3 Pearl kits along the way, four actually, all bought new. Two Exports, a Roadshow (my re-intro into drumming kit) and the Decade I have now.

The Exports were great although the first one I got in high school I barely remember, it was wine red and stupid massive 9pc or something like that. I wish I would have kept the second kit.

The Roadshow is what it is, beginner kit, super crappy hardware. Tom and stand mounts screw right into the pipe so I have all these dents and pings from tightening. Feels like a kids toy but the shells are fine.

I had huge problems with the Decade though, hoops. 1.6mm hoops, most were warped or pinged when I got the kit. One so bad I had to almost pry it off the tom. It didn't do any damage and Pearl replaced all of the hoops with... more warped and pinged 1.6mm hoops. I requested 2.3mm but they said they would only replace with stock hoops so, for what it's worth.

I wound up buying all new hoops from DFD, 2.3mm. Cost a buck and a half so if you're looking at a good maple kit with the Decade keep this in mind.
 


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