The future of Sakae drums?

f.stahlenius

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So, heard about this yesterday, that Korg bought/invested in the Sakae company. From The Drum Shop Tulsa:


And, from Korg's website:

https://www.korg.com/jp/news/2019/0125/

Anyone have more information? As a fan of Sakae drums (I own three Trilogy kits), I am really interested to see in what direction Korg will move. Maybe better distribution. Maybe we will se a pre and post takeover of Sakae in terms of quality. Who knows.
 

troutstudio

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Thanks for the post. Hope it works out. There is much goodwill for Sakae. I’m just so glad I bought mine. Best recording drums I’ve ever played. Finally moving them out of the studio for a concert in February and I can’t wait.
 

drawtheline55

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Certainly hope we see them again, I like my trilogy kit....alot.
 

Pimp-a-diddle

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Are these drums supposed to be a higher end version of Yamaha, in competition with Canopus for dominion in the Japanese market?
 

mgdrummer

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Are these drums supposed to be a higher end version of Yamaha, in competition with Canopus for dominion in the Japanese market?
Sakae was the company that produced all of Yamaha's high end kits for years. Awhile back they decided to strike out on their own.
 

Pimp-a-diddle

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Sakae was the company that produced all of Yamaha's high end kits for years. Awhile back they decided to strike out on their own.
Good enough. Thanks! I could be wrong, but I believe that at the price point of the high end Sakae, Yamaha, and Canopus drums, they are going to struggle in the American and western European markets against not only the (3) 100 year brands, but the myriad of high quality offerings from smaller, custom outfits.
 

gutenberg

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Interesting that Korg will have complete oversight on the rebuild of Sakae, especially since they have no experience in drum manufacturing, only distribution. Their drum marketing is pretty weak too -- when was the last time you saw anything on Crush?
 

cribbon

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Was the same deal with Yamaha when they partnered with Sakae. in the 80s a Yamaha rep (in Japan) told me that the only reason Yamaha originally got into the drum business was because the biggest (and most visible) instrument logo onstage was the bass drum logo - their motivation was strictly for brand visibility. Yamaha reportedly felt that drum making was a very specialized skill that they knew nothing about and didn't want to spend years learning/perfecting, so they just partnered with the Sakae family to make their drums for them.

Interestingly, word was that they were so voodoo-spooked about the drum making thing that they shipped all the drum hardware, which was made at Yamaha's home location in Hammamatsu (essentially a Yamaha company town where they made all their products except drum shells), down to Sakae in Osaka, where they put the hardware onto the shells they made and then shipped the assembled product back to Hammamatsu - all this instead of simply having the shells shipped up to Hammamatsu and putting the hardware on them there. That unnecessary back and forth cost money and guess who paid for it? (Hint: not Yamaha or Sakae) Ever wonder why Yamaha drums are so expensive?
 

Pimp-a-diddle

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Was the same deal with Yamaha when they partnered with Sakae. in the 80s a Yamaha rep (in Japan) told me that the only reason Yamaha originally got into the drum business was because the biggest (and most visible) instrument logo onstage was the bass drum logo - their motivation was strictly for brand visibility. Yamaha reportedly felt that drum making was a very specialized skill that they knew nothing about and didn't want to spend years learning/perfecting, so they just partnered with the Sakae family to make their drums for them.

Interestingly, word was that they were so voodoo-spooked about the drum making thing that they shipped all the drum hardware, which was made at Yamaha's home location in Hammamatsu (essentially a Yamaha company town where they made all their products except drum shells), down to Sakae in Osaka, where they put the hardware onto the shells they made and then shipped the assembled product back to Hammamatsu - all this instead of simply having the shells shipped up to Hammamatsu and putting the hardware on them there. That unnecessary back and forth cost money and guess who paid for it? (Hint: not Yamaha or Sakae) Ever wonder why Yamaha drums are so expensive?
Horrible business plan. Even the most marginal of labor can be trained to operate an electric or pneumatic drill with which to assemble parts. And I'm guessing that "awhile back" when Sakae split, was when Yamaha's drum "muse" began heading towards the point we are at today, with basically one premium line of drums, one re-hash, and a whole lot of the same sound going down the line progressively with your choice of some of the most limited and uninspiring finishes on the market.

Blech.
 

troutstudio

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Sakae was the company that produced all of Yamaha's high end kits for years. Awhile back they decided to strike out on their own.
Not quite correct. Yamaha moved most of their drum manufacturing to China. Sakae is an old Japanese company with a proud heritage. They just didn’t want to go. It was always going to be a tough thing to pull off though. Even with the quality of manufacturing, which is outstanding.
 
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skinsman

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Not to be a skeptic........but Sakae's biggest mistake in my opinion was thinking they could capture some of the high end market, piggybacking off the success of Yamahas immense marketing structure. Never ever happen.
No doubt they make fabulous drums, I have owned dozens of high end yammies and I can say firsthand that the sound, fit and finishes were absolutely top top shelf.
Non withstanding though, just because you can make a great drum doesn't mean you can sell one, and given Yamaha sold plenty of drumsets says nothing about profitability of the same. Yamaha is a huge multinational and given the bass drum logo....could be a loss for that division. Would Sakae know that?
I'll believe this like I have hope for Fibes and Slingerland. Sakae used to make great drums for what......a year before the business fell apart.
 

Rhyma Hop

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Not to be a skeptic........but Sakae's biggest mistake in my opinion was thinking they could capture some of the high end market, piggybacking off the success of Yamahas immense marketing structure. Never ever happen.
No doubt they make fabulous drums, I have owned dozens of high end yammies and I can say firsthand that the sound, fit and finishes were absolutely top top shelf.
Non withstanding though, just because you can make a great drum doesn't mean you can sell one, and given Yamaha sold plenty of drumsets says nothing about profitability of the same. Yamaha is a huge multinational and given the bass drum logo....could be a loss for that division. Would Sakae know that?
I'll believe this like I have hope for Fibes and Slingerland. Sakae used to make great drums for what......a year before the business fell apart.
This is VERY right on IMO. I ALWAYS thought they totally screwed up by offering all these incredibly nice, expensive models RIGHT OUT OF THE STARTING GATE.... Sakae was the one who made the 80's/90's Tour Custom and Club Custom mid level kits.. THAT is they type of kit they should of started with.... luan/birch with non-fancy finishes and left it like that for the first couple years.. THEN bring out the top end kits.
 

nickrobotron

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This is VERY right on IMO. I ALWAYS thought they totally screwed up by offering all these incredibly nice, expensive models RIGHT OUT OF THE STARTING GATE.... Sakae was the one who made the 80's/90's Tour Custom and Club Custom mid level kits.. THAT is they type of kit they should of started with.... luan/birch with non-fancy finishes and left it like that for the first couple years.. THEN bring out the top end kits.
Truth. I am the perfect market for an older Tour Custom-esque kit.
 

f.stahlenius

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Interesting points. Thx everyone.

No matter what the future holds, the Sakae business/company story/model and the historical connection to Yamaha is interesting. If Sakae/Korg wants to sell mass produced drums, they have to think differently. For me, the Trilogy series have the sound and feel of something "boutique" (excellent shells and craft) while retaining a weird resemblance of a cheap vintage MIJ-kit (more so than resembling 3-ply vintage Ludwig or Rogers). I wish Sakae would have pushed these aspects harder.

I have so far only owned Trilogy kits and snares + one aluminum snare, so can not say much about the sound and quality of, for example, Road Anew and Celestial. The Celestial were never an option for me financially and I got some good deals on my Trilogy kits (I was able to buy single drums at a good price).

Anyway, looking forward seeing what will happen to the Sakae brand.
 

halldorl

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“Designed in Osaka” it says on the Evolved series badge, probably meaning Made in China.

Sakae built their reputation on being the Yamaha drum makers for decades. If that is gone and the drums are now being made in the same factory as plethora of mid and low level brand kits, what is left?
 

dogmanaut

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“Designed in Osaka” it says on the Evolved series badge, probably meaning Made in China.

Sakae built their reputation on being the Yamaha drum makers for decades. If that is gone and the drums are now being made in the same factory as plethora of mid and low level brand kits, what is left?
Wait, which badge is this?
 

jaymandude

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This is VERY right on IMO. I ALWAYS thought they totally screwed up by offering all these incredibly nice, expensive models RIGHT OUT OF THE STARTING GATE.... Sakae was the one who made the 80's/90's Tour Custom and Club Custom mid level kits.. THAT is they type of kit they should of started with.... luan/birch with non-fancy finishes and left it like that for the first couple years.. THEN bring out the top end kits.
good post, but Club Custom kits ( Orange Swirl Steve Jordan ?) were expensive for what you got. That's one reason they were discontinued quickly. They didn't sell very well..
 

Bri6366

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Interesting that Korg will have complete oversight on the rebuild of Sakae, especially since they have no experience in drum manufacturing, only distribution. Their drum marketing is pretty weak too -- when was the last time you saw anything on Crush?
Sakae came out in a big way. I.e., they had full lines of drums and hardware from day one. To finance that operation they went heavily into debt and never had the sales and distribution to be profitable. I had initially put the blame on Korg for the distribution side, but in retrospect the plan was probably doomed from the start. It is very difficult to go from being a factory that makes products for a name brand to becoming a name brand of your own and going head to head with your former partner in the marketplace.

The details of Sakae's reemergence are sketchy as well. From what the guy in he video was saying, there is a definite market for Sakae drums. His shop was moving product, but there just weren't enough shops like his across the country to sustain the size of the operation Sakae was. If they come back on a smaller scale, they can have success and build from there.
 


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