Step up kit advice

klamjamz

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I've been playing the same Pearl Export kit for the last 15 years and it's time for an upgrade. I was hoping to get some other drummers to weigh in with their thoughts.

I'm playing in a indie/alternative band (or was, before Covid19) and need something for rehearsal and gigging. Priorities for me are sound, durability, and looks. I'm also interested in something that will be recognized as a serious instrument (my exports get no respect). I like either 20/12/14 or 22/13/16 for sizes.

I'm looking at used/vintage Sonor, Ludwig, and DWs. I was also checking out new kits from the smaller companies, SJC, C&C, INDe, but I've never seen or played one of these so it's hard to tell if the hype is real.

Looking to spend around $1500 but I can go higher if I really fall in love with something. Any gearheads out there with some recommendations?
 

Browny

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I've been playing the same Pearl Export kit for the last 15 years and it's time for an upgrade. I was hoping to get some other drummers to weigh in with their thoughts.

I'm playing in a indie/alternative band (or was, before Covid19) and need something for rehearsal and gigging. Priorities for me are sound, durability, and looks. I'm also interested in something that will be recognized as a serious instrument (my exports get no respect). I like either 20/12/14 or 22/13/16 for sizes.

I'm looking at used/vintage Sonor, Ludwig, and DWs. I was also checking out new kits from the smaller companies, SJC, C&C, INDe, but I've never seen or played one of these so it's hard to tell if the hype is real.

Looking to spend around $1500 but I can go higher if I really fall in love with something. Any gearheads out there with some recommendations?
If you're after modern/new (and the reliability of modern hardware/mounts/etc) I'd start by looking at a Ludwig Classic Maple kits in the 'FAB 22' configuration (22x14", 9x13", 16x16"). That'll do just about everything. You could go downbeat sizes (20x14", 12x8", 14x14") if you prefer the smaller sizes or also want to cover some 'jazzier' thangs, but if you're primarily doing the indie/alt thing I'd go for the 22/13/16 kit for backbeat stuff.

Older/vintage stuff is a different kettle of fish as there are so many more variables regarding condition & value of particular model/sizes/finish.
 

RIDDIM

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I'd look for a higher end used kit. I see a lot of great stuff out there daily. It'll hold it's value better than say, a used Export or Catalina. Make sure the edges are round and the bearing edges are good before you buy.

Or, you may be able to enhance your Exports - maybe get the edges looked at, possibly a rewrap. I would not worry about the kit not getting any respect - what you bring to the music that will earn respect or not. Concentrate on that.
 
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DrumSmith

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1000% can recommend Ludwig Classic Maples, and a used North Carolina 3-piece can be had at your price range (but just barely).

What I'd like to stress though is sizes. There's a big difference in 22 with a 13 sitting up there than a 20 with a 12. Play both configurations. It will literally change the way you play, physically. Also consider a 22/12/16.
 

RedeyeSPR

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I don't have one (yet), but I concur on the Classic Maples. I have a buddy with one, and they sound killer! Also, if respect is important, that kit will get it. It's not a "turn your head and gasp" look like some high end DW, but other musicians respect the Ludwig stuff. If I had $1500 to spend right now, I would get one. What is your cymbal situation? I think more of your sound is reliant on those and you obviously can't tune them. I always spend money on cymbals over drums. Good luck!
 

tripp2k

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Change the resonant bass drum head to a straight Pearl labeled one, change the heads on everything else (and tune them properly) and invest the rest on good cymbals. Sure, a new drumset may sound different and one with a certain brand might make you feel better, but the end result is going to be the skill and timekeeping behind the kit rather than the set. My 2 cents.
 

cworrick

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Or, you may be able to enhance your Exports - maybe get the edges looked at, possibly a rewrap. I would not worry about the kit not getting any respect - what you bring to the music that will earn respect or not. Concentrate on that.

^^^^^^^
THIS

I don't know who's dissing your exports but they are clueless. The export line has been the workhorse of the Pearl line for decades.
The sound is in the head choices you make.

I agree to have the bearing edges checked to be sure they are solid.
Then maybe buy a couple different heads for you smallest drum and try it out before committing to a whole set of heads. Once you find one you like, you can equip the whole kit.

Also, do some research for the bass head (front and batter) there are a lot of opinions out there as to what works best but only YOU know what will work for YOU .

Also - what redeyeSPR said - put the $$ into the cymbals.


All that being said, You say you've played them for the past 15 years. You know these drums, their hardware, and their reputation pretty well.
You may want to look at the next series up in the Pearl line. There are a lot of choices with wood, sizes and finish available through the Pearl line.

I'd keep the Exports set up as your practice kit and take your next kit for gigs. That will save a lot of time with tearing down to go to gigs and having to set up again when you get home to practice.

Good Luck.
 

NobleCooleyNut

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Do your research, determine exactly what kit you truly like . Then try and find a used model. You will be happier long term than just settling for say a mid price new kit .
 

TheBeachBoy

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Two choices:

Don't worry about the drums not being respected. That's a "them" problem, not a "you" problem. Upgrade the kit with new heads, polish the chrome and maybe a rewrap, give the insides a few coats of polyurethane, wood filler and sanding of any rough spots on the bearing edges and maybe some paraffin wax, and it'll be like a new kit. I did that with my Export kit I've had since the early 2000's and I've gotten so many compliments on the sound, including from our bass player who used to poo-poo it.

Second choice, new kit. I like the sound and looks of the Ludwig Classics or lately, I've been eying the Jenkins-Martin drums for something a little different. I've never heard a bad sounding kit.

IMG_20200202_131400904.jpg
IMG_20200311_203646391.jpg
 

CherryClassic

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Ludwig or Gretsch end of story. LOL

Try to go high end if you can any size you want. Do your research buying used, it's also a good way to save money.

I love my new Classic Maples, they hard to beat,
sherm
 

TheBeachBoy

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Three of my kits have 12 and 16 for toms. Great spread on those. We play everything from outlaw country to power pop and alt rock.
 

klamjamz

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Thanks for all the responses.

In response to some of you:

I have an EMAD2 batter and an EMAD reso on the bass drum and I'm happy with that. The toms used to have Evans G2 coated batter and G1 clear reso. I swapped the batters out for Remo black dot clears. I have never been able to get a sound I love out them with any heads. Snare is a Blackrolite with Evans hydraulic batter and Remo Ambassador hazy. I'm very happy with the Blackrolite.

I'm comfortable with my cymbal setup but have plans to make additions. I have:
14" A Custom Projection hats
16 Paiste Signature Power crash
18 Paiste Signature Power crash
20 A Medium Ride

To clarify a little; I plan on keeping the Pearls. I've had them forever (relatively) and I have dragged them along for several cross county moves. It's a solid kit and I love it. I suppose my wording about them getting "no respect" was a little heavy-handed. This purchase is a grad present to myself, and I guess I'm hunting for something that will make my jaw drop in a way my Exports don't.

After some thought, I've ruled out vintage kits. I think modern hardware suits me better. I've played Sonor Prolites, Ludwig Classics, and DWs and I know I like those 3, with the Prolites being my favorite. I've played Gretsch Brooklyns and did not care for the look or feel of them. Dan's C&C kit looked sweet, but alas, they are gone. Any other kits you all think I should be looking at?
 

TheBeachBoy

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Try the polyurethane coatings inside the shells. It really helped my Exports and it's a pretty inexpensive and easy upgrade. After I did that my drums had a clearer tone. I use coated vint Ambassadors and vint Emps on batter and coated regular Ambs on the reso side, but regular Ambs and Emps sounded good on it too. I'm sure other brands/types of heads would sound better than before too.

And that's great you're getting a new kit for a grad present! That's something you know you'll enjoy for years. You really can't go wrong with any of the three you mentioned, and if you like the Sonors the best, that's probably the route I'd go. INDe has some nice sounding and looking drums and his hardware designs are great. Josh posts here regularly too. Jenkins Martin fiberglass drums are pretty cool too. I believe they post here as well.
 

Elvis

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I've been playing the same Pearl Export kit for the last 15 years and it's time for an upgrade. I was hoping to get some other drummers to weigh in with their thoughts.

I'm playing in a indie/alternative band (or was, before Covid19) and need something for rehearsal and gigging. Priorities for me are sound, durability, and looks. I'm also interested in something that will be recognized as a serious instrument (my exports get no respect). I like either 20/12/14 or 22/13/16 for sizes.

I'm looking at used/vintage Sonor, Ludwig, and DWs. I was also checking out new kits from the smaller companies, SJC, C&C, INDe, but I've never seen or played one of these so it's hard to tell if the hype is real.

Looking to spend around $1500 but I can go higher if I really fall in love with something. Any gearheads out there with some recommendations?
My votes would be Ludwig Neusonic or Pearl Decade Maple.
Both kits are great values and sound fantastic.
I think you'll have to email/call Ludwig for available sizes, since the website is a bit ambiguous about that.
Pearl does offer a 24/13/16 setup which would probably be a killer setup for what you want to do.
Your old Pearl set could be used as the rehearsal space kit, with the new Pearl kit being used as the gig kit.
Good luck and please let us know what you end up with (pics required, of course ;) )

Elvis
 

greegor

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I traded my big 10pc Exports in for a beautiful Gretsch 5pc maple set and couldn't be happier. Well ok, once I drank the great Gretsch sound coolaid I then got a Catalina bop kit for rehearsals and a Brooklyn for shows.
 


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