Thoughts on DW drums!

Jazzhead

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I always gravitate towards drum brands that were big in the 50’s through 70’s. Some drums were hyped in that era then later came the 80’s and 90’s with mostly Yamaha dominating, but I have never looked close enough to DW. However, I always saw some big names playing DW in the past 10-15 years. All I know is that they are expensive and probably have the best looking finishes.
Upon researching a bit, I am intrigued by their Jazz series. Also, I recently read on the forum that the quality of their drums has dropped for some reason, not sure it that is true or how that’s happened.

What’s your opinion of DW drums? Have you or do you own a set?
 

lossforgain

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Assume you’re going to get a variety of responses. I am not sure there is a huge number of DW fans on this forum, but there definitely are some. I’ve owned several DW drums in the past but never one of the Jazz series. IIRC, @NobleCooleyNut had some at one point? But I’m not sure.
 

Jazzhead

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Assume you’re going to get a variety of responses. I am not sure there is a huge number of DW fans on this forum, but there definitely are some. I’ve owned several DW drums in the past but never one of the Jazz series. IIRC, @NobleCooleyNut had some at one point? But I’m not sure.
How was your experience with your DW drums? What did you replace them with?
 

DanRH

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I've had a few DW Collector kits in years past. I even owned one of Joe Morello's last DW kits a while back. They're fine drums, top notch quality. I just grew tired of their look honestly. Now, I'm on a Yamaha kick. I also own a lot of DW hardware.

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A pic of Joe on my future kit.
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Lee

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I bought mine in 2008. I must like them because I still have them. I have been told by the people I have performed with that they are very articulate. The only thing I would trade them for is a set of Ayotte, because I never got around to getting a set before the apparent demise of that particular company. I am blessed in that if I am not working the DW kit, I am working my Sonor kits. For sure a first world dilemma.

I cannot speak to the reported drop in quality. Mine arrived fresh from Oxnard and have held up very well with no issues in 13 years. Mine are the Collectors series in champagne glass glitter ply finish.
 

rculberson

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I'm drinking the DW Kool Aid hard right now. In the last month, I've picked up 13 DW drums, with 12 from the Keller-shell era and the last one a DW/Crav snare from 2003. I'm absolutely loving them, but I'm not the right guy to talk to around here, as I'm a straight up pop/rock dude.
 

Jazzhead

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I've had a few DW Collector kits in years past. I even owned one of Joe Morello's last DW kits a while back. They're fine drums, top notch quality. I just grew tired of their look honestly. Now, I'm on a Yamaha kick. I also own a lot of DW hardware.

View attachment 487843 View attachment 487844

A pic of Joe on my future kit.
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View attachment 487846
Whaaaat, that champagne sparkle kit you are playing is the same one that Morello is playing!? Why did you sell it!? Oh my God!
I can see how one can grow tired of the look, maybe because of the lugs, but they are very iconic.
 

Jazzhead

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I'm drinking the DW Kool Aid hard right now. In the last month, I've picked up 13 DW drums, with 12 from the Keller-shell era and the last one a DW/Crav snare from 2003. I'm absolutely loving them, but I'm not the right guy to talk to around here, as I'm a straight up pop/rock dude.
What are the eras for DW? Keller-shell and then what? I am not very familiar.
 

rculberson

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What are the eras for DW? Keller-shell and then what? I am not very familiar.
After Keller, they started making their own. Sometime in 1997, if I'm remembering correctly. musiqman here on the forum knows the timeline really well... I'll defer to his expertise.
 

bbunks

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I have a kit from 2002 and have owned a good half dozen DW snares. All my hardware is DW. I also own a vintage kit and one that’s more boutique.

DWs are well built and easy to tune. Reliable. Easy to get parts for. Near infinite choices in finishes.

I like the sound. Some folks like the way other drums sound better. Nice to have a variety to choose from. They’ve sounded good with any head I’ve used.

I think DW raised the bar on finishes and manufacture, and as a result the other companies had to up their game. I was able to tour the factory and their commitment to quality and innovation was evident. Good time to be a drummer.

If I were buying a kit, the Jazz Series would be my first or second choice.
 
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ChicagoDave

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I was obsessed with DW in the early 90s, but there was no way a 12 year was going to afford a set. Then my church gave me (yes, for free) a 1960s Ludwig Club Date set. Sky blue pearl faded to duct tape gray. Been into vintage gear ever since.
 
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bassanddrum84

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I’ve had a design series. The acrylic series and a collectors. They all sound good. Quality all around was great. I hate the lugs. After while they just got uglier and uglier everytime I looked at them. I still own a dw black nickel over brass snare. Tons and tons of dw hardware. Won’t use any thing else. I own many other drums now and they all sound good but I will end up getting a edge snare. Played one and fell in love with them.
 

Rotarded

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I bought mine in 2008. I must like them because I still have them. I have been told by the people I have performed with that they are very articulate. The only thing I would trade them for is a set of Ayotte, because I never got around to getting a set before the apparent demise of that particular company. I am blessed in that if I am not working the DW kit, I am working my Sonor kits. For sure a first world dilemma.

I cannot speak to the reported drop in quality. Mine arrived fresh from Oxnard and have held up very well with no issues in 13 years. Mine are the Collectors series in champagne glass glitter ply finish.

I've owned a DW kit, multiple snares, and a ton of their hardware. Still have 2 snares and most of the hardware. Wonderful instruments, great hardware, very well designed and made.

I have absolutely nothing bad to say about them, but they are like Corvettes to me. Fine engineering, fine performance, fine finishes, but met a few too many owners who acted like elitist asshats.

I had the opportunity Lee spoke of just last year, and sold the DW kit and bought the dream Ayotte...
 
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seungkeeya

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Had Collector's maple kit in Natural Satin Oil 10,12,15,20 and matching 14. But now gone. DSC00054.JPG 23825969_335081516960190_7286492665316102175_o.jpg
Currently own Jazz Series Cherry/Gum in Natural Satin Oil 8,10,12,14,16,22. IMG_9060.jpg IMG_4109.jpeg

First I got the Collector's in 2006, never looked back since.
 

drumstuff66

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What are the eras for DW? Keller-shell and then what? I am not very familiar.
My DW's are date stamped 10/11/99 and have DW shells (finger joints on the re-rings). My buddy has a DW kit date stamped several months earlier and they are Keller shells (straight joints on the re-rings).

I also have a DW snare - no date stamp (but has a note stamp), straight re-ring joint (Keller), badge number is a couple hundred lower than my kit's number.

Looks like they were still working through their Keller inventory into 1999. The joint on the re-ring is the way to tell if it's DW or Keller.

FWIW, I've gigged mine hard since the day I got them - well over 1000 shows, small tours, recording - ZERO issues with sound or function, though I can't speak to modern DW build quality.
 

ARGuy

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I would not put any stock in any posts on any drum forum about a supposed drop in the quality of DW drums. Some drummers don't like the look, some don't like the sound, some don't like their image and marketing, but anyone that's claiming that the quality is lacking is not to be taken seriously, IMHO.
 

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drummer5359

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Like you I had played various other American brands over the years, for me that was Slingerland, Gretsch, and Rogers. In the early 2000s I decided that I wanted to buy a brand new quality drum set. After considering my choices, I bought a brand new DW Collector's series kit in July of 2008. (Here is a photo taken shortly after I bought it.)

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Through 2019 it was my principle gigging kit. I feel confident that I played over a thousand gigs with it over eleven years. Here is a photo of it from a gig in 2016.

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In 2017...

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And in 2018...

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They are beautifully made, and sound great. I never had a situation where they didn't do everything that I asked of them. (They still look brand new by the way.) In January of 2019 I ordered a set of Gretsch USA Custom drums. This doesn't reflect poorly on the DWs, I just wanted to play something different. I didn't sell the DWs, I installed new (Factory) heads and they are currently stored on racks in their Humes & Berg Enduro cases.

I own a lot of their snare drums as well, the newest is a 2019 Collector's Series Super Sonic solid shell maple drum. I have seen absolutely no drop in quality. None.

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In my opinion they make excellent drums.
 


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