Skill level vs Gear level

speady1

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WAIT! Where did you find a 3,500 sq. ft. house for only $400K?!? Here in the L.A. area, $400K is barely the price paid by a first-time homeowner. They might be able to get a 1-bedroom condo in a marginal area...?
My home is a typical 3 BR, 2.5 Bath, 2200 sq ft. two-story on a golf course in Central Kentucky. We paid less than $200k in 2004. Current value is about $250k. A good friend in Orange County, CA has the SAME floor plan as my house, also on a golf course. He paid $1.37M in 2009 during the real estate crash. Go figure. $400k here will buy almost anything in any subdivision. More than that and you're buying a horse farm that's 5+ acres.

The three things to know about real estate: location, location, and location.
 

JimmySticks

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Having come to drums really late from guitar, I've been playing a 67 MIJ kit for about a year and a half now. l actually love this red sparkle kit, because pretty much everything I've learned about drums and drumming has been on this kit. I put heavy stick saver hoops on it, went through a lot of drum heads to experiment with different sounds, and I even drove them up to Precision to have the edges re-done, and honestly, they really sound pretty darn good now, and I learned an awful lot about drums, tuning, heads etc. working on them. I'm glad I started on these and I'll probably keep them.

But, I'm ready for something better now, and recently ordered a Pork Pie Custom USA kit. I feel as though this is a natural progression and I'm ready for it. And compared to guitars, custom made drums are cheap. I think my playing has gotten to a point where this kit will take me to the next point, whatever that might be. I know much more about what I want in a drum kit now than I did when I started, so I'm confident in my choice. Hey, I'm 61 now, I love drumming and I'm not going to wait any longer, and fortunately I'm in a good place financially, and I can do this.

So that's this old guys drum story :)
 

repete

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Let’s not forget in some cases cheaper might mean not as good sounding as something more expensive. To a beginner that does the research about quality, even though they might not hear the difference right away may be more inspired to play and learn and stick with it knowing they have an instrument that is “better” than entry level. The same can be said about seasoned players that may buy less expensive gear but know about tuning and head selection to make said instrument sound better. Either way, I’ll sleep fine tonight
 

CherryClassic

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Well, I'm probably a little lopsided with more gear than my skill level. But I like the sound of pro level drums. I'm setting on the seesaw when it comes to student level individual learning on any instrument. Over the years I've seen many young people give up because it wasn't fun for them. Then when a parent ask me how much do you think I can get for it? I look and it's junk/cheap stuff. It makes me wonder if that is the real reason the student lost interest. I realize they don't want to pay for pro level but I think parents should do a little research and buy good used instrument. Then if it don't work maybe you can get most of your money back.

sherm
 

kdgrissom

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I have no opinions either way on this issue and everyone seems to be all over the map here. However, as a private teacher I try to advise parents (who are seeking a drum set to buy for their kid) to start with a used, well-known and respected brand so that if he/she loses interest, they will be able to re-sell it and re-coup most of their money. I find that the student tends to have a bit of pride in their instrument, especially among their peers.
 

JDA

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See if you go back 30 or 40 or even 50+ years, a Sears catalog drumset new (MIJ) was $75. A used local/ Slingerland- Ludwig (Rogers even) was $125-$225.
So if you were watching and reading the magazines you saw what the bands at the time were using.
So- at that price difference- if you were serious- you went with the used Ludwig/ Slingerland/ Rogers etc.
and you didn't fall for the Monkey Ward $65 new set. That's some serious lack of inner-guidance.
 

VinSparkle

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Nice kits, or rather nice-sounding kits really inspire me to play better and be more creative. Unfortunately, given my tonal tastes, that means I have to spend a lot of money. On the positive side, drums made from centuries old timber buried deep in a Transylvanian river don’t do it for me. ;)
 

CC Cirillo

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My home is a typical 3 BR, 2.5 Bath, 2200 sq ft. two-story on a golf course in Central Kentucky. We paid less than $200k in 2004. Current value is about $250k. A good friend in Orange County, CA has the SAME floor plan as my house, also on a golf course. He paid $1.37M in 2009 during the real estate crash. Go figure. $400k here will buy almost anything in any subdivision. More than that and you're buying a horse farm that's 5+ acres.

The three things to know about real estate: location, location, and location.
That does it. Say no more. I’m leaving Marin County and coming to Georgetown, KY!
 

Phantomlimb777

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There are a lot of pros playing “student” level drums. There’s a lot more hobbyist drummers who play “pro” level drums.
 

jb111

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As some have said, the MI industry lives on beginners and mid-level enthusiasts who loooove gear. This goes for most popular instruments (definitely for guitars as I saw it firsthand working for a major brand). But, as others have said, if you're able to do it and it makes you happy...whatever works for you!

Maybe age has something to do with it, too. At 16 I loved my Pearl Export. But I just loved having a kit. Then I moved up to a 70s Slingerland (that 6.5 Krupa Sound King!), then Sonor, vintage Ludwig....Today I have my Bleifuss Custom, 60s Rogers, and my new Gretsch (turned 50, chose a new kit instead of a big party). I've had 7 kits in 35 years of playing. I gig constantly (well, pre-pandemic), so the drums eventually pay for themselves.

While I'm not the type of person to say, "I deserve this..." I love my drums. I am definitely guilty of music and gear geekery (he said while posting on a drum forum), but it doesn't replace my practice time. And in the end, what the hell, it's all a part of what makes me really damn happy.
 
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pwc1141

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All my many kits were paid for in some way by gigging even if house kits I also played helped pay for them along the way. I was never into brands per se but just looking for a configuration, sound and look at each turn I took from very portable Flats kits through more conventional bop kits. I would like to think my skill level grew along with each kit regardless of the cost level of each. The only exception is my most recent kit which is way better than I deserve in skill level and is unlikely to get paid for in gigs these days......
 

drummer5359

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"Whatever he wants..."

A few years ago a singer that I worked with wanted advice on buying a first kit for his twelve year old nephew. The nephew had been to several of our shows and decided that he wanted to be a drummer. The singer was going to buy the cymbals, his brother (the boy's father) was buying the drums, and the grand mother was buying the hardware. They all intended on buying new, The singer knew that I was a drum geek, and wanted to buy decent gear that had resale value if his nephew didn't take to the instrument.

I'd been playing in a band with the uncle for about four years at this point, knew the whole family, I was happy to help.

It was originally going to be a surprise for Christmas. I met the uncle, dad, and grandmother at the uncle's house. I explained shell packs, cymbal packs and hardware packs and suggested something along the lines of a Yamaha Stage Custom or Gretsch Catalina. We pulled up different options on line. They all were happy with suggestions. We saved links, they were going to talk it over, and then order a kit.

The following Tuesday at rehearsal the singer told me that grandma told her grand son what they were up to. He was really excited, but Yamaha or Gretsch entry level kits would just not do. Josh Dun of Twenty One Pilots was his favorite drummer, he wanted a set of SJC drums. I explained that a set of SJC drums likely would not have the resale value of some of the major brands. They didn't care.

At this time SJC was just starting to sell less expensive kits. "No, that would not do at all." Eventually they ordered a custom set of SJC drums, a Gibraltar hardware pack, plus additional stands, and the exact Zildjian A Custom cymbal setup that Josh Dun used. In total they spent over seven thousand dollars on drum gear for a kid who had never held a set of sticks.

When everything arrived I went over to their house and set everything up. I spent an hour with the nephew teaching him a basic beat. I recommended a great teacher in their area, gave them his contact info, I tried to help in any way that I could.

He went to his first lesson. "This is boring." They tried another teacher, that didn't help. They tried yet another teacher, a really pretty blonde in her twenties, even that didn't help. (Although the dad enjoyed driving him to lessons.)

This whole adventure took a couple of years. He really never got past the simple 4/4 beat that I showed him on the first day. Then he lost interest completely. The singer eventually asked me if I was interested in buying any of the gear, I wasn't. They took everything to a Guitar Center and got just over a thousand dollars for everything. The singer wasn't mad, he realized that they went against every bit of advice that I had given.
 

drummerfriend

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I say if you can comfortably afford to buy it and want it - get it.

When I began in the 70's you could either buy crap or pro gear. Since I didn't come from money, I played crap until I could afford my own stuff. By that time more affordable midlevel gear was invented so I saved my money and purchased it. Mid level gear just kept improving.

Eventually sold midlevel stuff and purchased pro gear. Between giving lessons and playing tons of gigs (when they used to exist) I made back every penny I spent and way, way more.

I'm no longer gigging or teaching. Since I'm not, am I not worthy of having the pro level gear I own? Should I sell it all and buy mid-level or entry level??

I purchased 3 saxes and a clarinet within the last 5 years. I will never make it to a level of performing. I purchased 2 used and 2 new, but I purchased the best I could afford and comfortable spending money on. They are not remotely near the top of what is considered the best stuff - but only one of those horns would be considered advanced beginner/intermediate level while the others could be used at a pro-level, but even then, they are at the lower end of pro-level. That was were I felt the best bang for the buck was.

These days you can buy amazing midlevel quality and save money. However, I say, especially as an adult, go for the best gear you can afford. If you are picking up the sticks for the first time and want to buy Craviotto, USA Customs or any of the other high end stuff - have at it.. Who am I to decide and why should I care??? Your money - your decision.

eta: If someone I knew asked me for an opinion on what to get as a first time set - I would head them straight to Stage Customs.
 
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MrYikes

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I say if you can comfortably afford to buy it and want it - get it.

When I began in the 70's you could either buy crap or pro gear. Since I didn't come from money, I played crap until I could afford my own stuff. By that time more affordable midlevel gear was invented so I saved my money and purchased it. Mid level gear just kept improving.

Eventually sold midlevel stuff and purchased pro gear. Between giving lessons and playing tons of gigs (when they used to exist) I made back every penny I spent and way, way more.

I'm no longer gigging or teaching. Since I'm not, am I not worthy of having the pro level gear I own? Should I sell it all and buy mid-level or entry level??

I purchased 3 saxes and a clarinet within the last 5 years. I will never make it to a level of performing. I purchased 2 used and 2 new, but I purchased the best I could afford and comfortable spending money on. They are not remotely near the top of what is considered the best stuff - but only one of those horns would be considered advanced beginner/intermediate level while the others could be used at a pro-level, but even then, they are at the lower end of pro-level. That was were I felt the best bang for the buck was.

These days you can buy amazing midlevel quality and save money. However, I say, especially as an adult, go for the best gear you can afford. If you are picking up the sticks for the first time and want to buy Craviotto, USA Customs or any of the other high end stuff - have at it.. Who am I to decide and why should I care??? Your money - your decision.

eta: If someone I knew asked me for an opinion on what to get as a first time set - I would head them straight to Stage Customs.
Yes, but, but, but. The important question then is: What reeds are you using? Have you moved up to the pro level Legere, yet? lol.
 

hector48

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This response is directed to more intricate instruments like guitars, but I feel that a beginner needs to have an instrument that is at least an intermediate level of quality. Cheaply made instruments can easily deter a beginner, and may discourage the student from advancing. I higher quality instrument is more enjoyable and easier to play, both mechanically and audibly.
 

Dumpy

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This response is directed to more intricate instruments like guitars, but I feel that a beginner needs to have an instrument that is at least an intermediate level of quality. Cheaply made instruments can easily deter a beginner, and may discourage the student from advancing. I higher quality instrument is more enjoyable and easier to play, both mechanically and audibly.
One of the best entry-level guitars I had ever seen when set up properly was Johnson’s Fender copies from about ten plus years back. I still record with their P-bass copy using the stock pick ups. But this is an exception, not the rule.
 

deegeebee

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See if you go back 30 or 40 or even 50+ years, a Sears catalog drumset new (MIJ) was $75. A used local/ Slingerland- Ludwig (Rogers even) was $125-$225.
So if you were watching and reading the magazines you saw what the bands at the time were using.
So- at that price difference- if you were serious- you went with the used Ludwig/ Slingerland/ Rogers etc.
and you didn't fall for the Monkey Ward $65 new set. That's some serious lack of inner-guidance.
Not that diffetent today in terms of price difference. A player's shape Big R kit with hardware and 70s As is going to come in somewhere in between a rock bottom entry level package and the next level up. Big difference is that the pros in the magazines are playing $10k+ super kits and young players only know Rogers as a telecom company.
 


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