Skill level vs Gear level

Matched Gripper

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As I’ve said to my dear wife about my drum buying “at least it’s not going up my nose, to another blonde or on something that goes 150 mph”.

I’m an okay intermediate player. I have expensive gear. It brings me joy.
A friend of mine, who is not a pro driver, owns a Lamborghini and drove a Nissan GTR as his day car . . . because he can.

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OldeEnglishD

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When my son and I started drumming 4 years ago, our instructor told us about a set of used Stage Customs his guitarist had for sale. It came with Zildjian ZBTs and all the hardware. We bought the kit (with my 11 year old son contributing some of the $ towards the kit so he had skin in the game). As we continued to progress as drummers and were sure we would keep going, we upgraded all the cymbals to Zidjian As and Dream Contacts (all used), bought a used Pearl Double pedal, a used Roc N Soc, etc. I told my wife that eventually I wanted to get a nice kit for me so we would be able to give my son the Yamaha kit when he moved out and had a place for them. A year ago a beautiful set of Pearl Masters Studio Birch (MBX 4 ply with re-rings) fell into my lap with a full set of pro cymbals (Zildjian/Sabian) and all the hardware for a steal of a price. I snapped it up instantly. Am I a pro grade drummer? Hell no, but having a nice kit to play inspires me to get on the kit to get better. The Yamaha set is still really nice, and inspires mon son as it is "His" kit. Our playing may not be up to our gear (at least mine isn't), but we were smart about how we got our gear. I probably have less $ into the 2 kits with all pro cymbals than I would spend on a mid level new shell pack and cymbal pack.
 

drummerfriend

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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.
After battling cane for 6 months, I went right to Legere for everything. Haven't looked back.
 

TheMattJones88

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My gear level definitely well exceeds my skill level. I'm a meat and potatoes rock drummer who tries to play some fake jazz sometimes (think Darren Jessee and Dave King). I do the latter pretty poorly.
 

Murat

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I grew up in a middle class family . There was some money to spend on things to support my activities (mostly tennis) and my father had a saying that never made sense to me until I started making my own money . He used to say " I am not rich enough to buy cheap stuff". What he meant by cheap was not necessarily the dollar amount always but the quality of the product, as in "cheaply made". If he thought something was better made in his view and was going to last, he was not opposed to buying the cheaper dollar amount product but in vast majority of the cases, it wasn't the case. The tennis shoes and rackets he bought me to compete were always the best that he could afford.
Everyone is on a budget. But like my father, I believe in buying the best product within my budget. I will even stretch the budget a little bit if I really see the value. If I have $200 in my pocket, I am not buying three Zildjian Scimitars. I am buying one A or K. :cool:
 

drawtheline55

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I agree with Murat, BUT the good news is these days one can get a fine kit like a Stage Custom for short money. So it starts off really good and just gets better albeit at a cost.

I do think the better the gear, the better chance of playing better, to wit I did a sit in on a swing jazz gig
a few yrs ago, the drums were old exports and heads that were so worn it was like hitting mud, and cheap Zildjian cymbals, cheap snare...out of tune, it was AWFUL. So when I got home I played a few of my kits
and it was like ahhhh.......big difference.
 

Pounder

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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...?
With real estate LA is an outlier. You know that.
 

Pounder

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The discussions about gear outweighs the discussions about playing, on this forum. That being said, I think about the enthusiasm I had playing the Japanese Apollo set as a kid, and I think it works out this way: Play with the enthusiasm of a kid who doesn't care what brand of drums you're playing. If you want to shop for something within your means, feel free. But the enthusiasm and the focus of the kid playing and learning is the important thing, try not to forget that.
 

JDA

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A friend of mine, who is not a pro driver, owns a Lamborghini and drove a Nissan GTR as his day car . . . because he can.
potentially? a dangerous combination like those Hollywood starlets (and stars) who wrap their Lamborghinis and 911s around telephone poles on Rodeo Drive or some canyon road or even a James Dean who couldn't handle it (or more likely was a victim of physics (ha
 
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Jazzhead

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I think it is no one’s business how they spend their money. I know a guy who is rich, never played drums but he bought a big set of Tama Star Bubingas, I think it is like 8 pieces and he put it in the middle of his house. He enjoyed listening to me playing some beats on that kit but he can’t play it and I don’t think he plans to take lessons, he is in his late 50’s now.
 

robthedrummer

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I always buy the absolute best equipment that I can afford when it makes sense. Don't buy something you know you can't afford or justify. Kids and bills come first.

I also try to buy used when possible and the instrument has been maintained well. If I then down the road need or want to sell something, that quality pays off in re-sale value. I always maintain my instruments very well.

If it's something that I use very seldom, I'll try to go budget if there's a decent option.

Don't skimp on the quality of your snare and your cymbals. Those are the things that make you sound like you.
 

robthedrummer

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I think it is no one’s business how they spend their money. I know a guy who is rich, never played drums but he bought a big set of Tama Star Bubingas, I think it is like 8 pieces and he put it in the middle of his house. He enjoyed listening to me playing some beats on that kit but he can’t play it and I don’t think he plans to take lessons, he is in his late 50’s now.
Show up and mow his lawn a few times. Hey, you never know!
 

Seb77

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As for the rich guzys buying excessive gear - as long as they know that gear doesn't equate skills, no problem at all. If they were my students, I would be happy for them to have some great instrument to learn on.
I think when you're just starting out, gear level should exceed skill level. If it didn't, a beginner wouldn't have any instrument. Then we're into the validity of "sticks on rubber pad only for a year", which is a pedagogical debate.
 

Jazzhead

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150mph? Ha! These aren’t Toyotas. How do you feel about 200mph+?
Too much lol I like car racing and seeing these cars pushed to their potential, but only on the race track. So spending money on something that goes fast is not waste to me or anything bad to do, this can’t be compared to spending money on drugs or another blonde.
 

Rock Salad

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One thing
It is good as a performer on a stage that things match. If you come across as a "blues lawyer" you'd better be darn good to play an old beater, otherwise get that gold hardware and lacquer finish. Or alternatively, if you appear to be like a young parentally sponsored student better be really good on something other than an Export.
Gear on stage is kinda like your clothes posture etc. in projecting style.
My gear is better qualified to be on stage than me, but the drums have no badges, are not shiny and my cymbals have patina, so I think we match ok. I am trying to work up the guts to show up with a three piece kit, almost there.
 

drumnhands

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When I was in retail sales, I recommended that you invest as much as you're comfortable in your gear, even as a first time buyer. The better the gear, the longer you're likely to keep it rather than selling it to upgrade as you improve. If you buy low end, it's almost worthless when you go to sell it to upgrade. Why not invest in something more satisfying to play and look at, if you can comfortably afford to do so?
 


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