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Thoughts on DW drums!

bpaluzzi

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I'll admit I'm guilty of this one:

big round lugs + round badge: eww.
big round lugs + winged or oval badge: wow!
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;)
 

hmm92

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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?
I had a kit made in 1999 and they are still amazing drums.
I had the matching snare made in 2001 and the 12-14 ft made last year as they had found a piece of the discontinued wrap.
Quality so far has not been an issue.
I also have a new BNOB snare from them that is b stock and the quality there is excellent as well.
I have a one of 25 , limited edition snare on order from them.
Not expecting any issues.
 

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YabaMTV

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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?
I own a 1990’s manufactured DW Collectors Series kit. I bought it used with hard cases included over a decade ago off eBay at a price one could not refuse. 24K gold hardware. Its a great kit. I am currently playing it as Noble & Cooley works on my Horizon Series kit. They are finishing the 8” tom color matching to the 10” tom. Nick pulled out the old log books and checked the serial numbers on my kit. It was the 8th Horizon kit they made. Side by side I would pick my N&C Horizon kit over the DW kit but only by a small margin that may boil down to personal preference. I also own a bunch of other kits but I thought I would compare these two as I have played and recorded them the most.
 

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MikeO'Krongly

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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?

All I use...THE best!
 

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cobaltspike

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From the very first time I saw Doug Clifford of CCR playing a Camco set I could just never get over how [in my opinion] the lugs are and they take away so much of the drums looks. I have played on DW's and they have an OK sound but so does just about anything if you put the right heads and tuning to it. They do have some really beautiful finishes but that is taken over by the lugs and the mounting system. And then there is the price........
 

Steech

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The only thing I dont like (next to my earlier mentioned laquer and chroming quality), is their current prices here in Europe. 2 to 3k for a kick only is just insane, let alone pricing out a full kit.

For that money I would rather buy an SQ2.

With that being said, my old Maple Mahogany was pure magic, and exactly what was being said about sounding different than a regular maple shell. Biggest loss ever I have to say.

View attachment 595932
The maple mahogany is the only DW Collectors kit that I would consider.

BTW I’d be surprised if you could get an SQ2 bass drum for under 2K Euro.
 

Drummer69BB

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Alright sports fans I couldn't stand it anymore and bought a Collector's kit. I would never pay full freight for any kit that I did not custom design (only done this once in life with a TAMA kit and it ain't cheap!) but from time to time I have seen deals on 'new old stock.' I found such deal this week on a 4 piece custom lacquer STANDARD MAPLE kit in 10, 12 and 16 (FAST Toms) and a 22 x 16 bass drum (22x16 for me going forward - perfect balance of attack and resonance).

As previously mentioned in this thread I prefer the more traditional cross laminate pattern of their standard maple offering (non SSC) as they tune to more traditional pitches. I tuned up a 10" SSC tom in a Guitar Center last summer and was stunned - it sounded gorgeous but locked in on the exact same pitch as my 12" Tama Starclassic Maple tom. Too low for me.

I have three 10+6 maple collectors snares and two of their Collectors brass snare drums (best brass snares I have ever played hands down - 5.5 and 6.5 x 14 - WOW) and a second rack, hardware and set of cymbals / pedals so it should take about 15 minutes to setup and dial in. As soon as I get it setup I will post a few pics.

Here is the thing though - and important - 'watch and learn' as grandpa used to tell me. I spent a year long process of searching for the right deal.

I found a guitar specialty shop in AZ that must have had a drummer on staff for a short period of time that told them they had to order this custom kit or something because they had no idea what they had. Literally paid 55%-60% of what the equivalent would have cost me for such a custom order.

There is a way to obtain a high end kit at a non high end kit price, if one is patient. Setup gear alerts, look online at your lunch hour, network, etc. Let some other fool pay full freight.

The kit comes with the standard clear DW heads (quadrant type tone control rings around the edge) and the matching bass drum batter head (think its a PS3 basically) to which I will probably swap out for clear emperors over ambassadors to aid projection a tad...
 

Drummer69BB

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Sorry - late on the follow up, I am a business intelligence analyst as well as the guy who maintains three corporate databases and year end is well, year end.

Anyway!

Burnt Toast Burst. 22x16, 10x8, 12x9, 16x14. Collectors Maple Standard shell.

Now THIS is the DW sound I remember! Basically DW's 'v2' in house shell, right after the one they are now calling their Santa Monica shell (DW fan club plz correct me if I am wrong). Same design as the Santa Monica, but 1/36" plies versus the 1/32" used on the original. I believe the only shell that is thinner is the Sonor SQ2 vintage, and not by much.

Very deep, full, sustaining resonance, traditional pitches. The bass drum is the best I have ever heard, there's just no other way to say it.

The rack toms are bright and sustaining, but no harsh overtones at all. The floor tom is stout, with a shorter decay (it's 7 ply with 3 ply rings like the bass drum), and I am a huge believer in graduated shell thickness between small and large drums.

Very interesting comparison using a Tama Starclassic Maple as the benchmark. Due to the extreme thin shells in the DW, it resonates at a lower frequency than the Tama. It's all lows and a little lower mids. And DEEP. The depth of resonance brings an almost 'exotic' sound, for lack of better explanation, akin to African Mahogany, etc.

Where as the DW is full and deep, the Tama is more sustaining, with broader resonance and a much wider dynamic range. The Tama gets HUGE sounding when I really lay into it, increases in both volume and fullness and will not choke.

The DW has a depth and near field sound that have to be played to appreciate, but it has clear limits. I.E.. you are gonna need mic's on the DW unless it's a small venue and you can get your idiot guitar player to TURN IT DOWN (sorry - bad memory with one guy - convinced he was deaf - many moons ago - the band fired him pronto).

The DW is mainly lows and the Tama is more midrange in frequency.

The only real weakness I can find in the DW is due to it's very thin shell design, which is projection. You're going to need to be mic'd with this kit unless it's a small venue with moderately amplified guitars. Other than that it is an excellent choice for any near field type of sound (close mic'd recording, performance).

For larger venues where there you have nothing to plug into, the TAMA is a far better projecting kit and also projects an absolutely gorgeous fundamental as well.

Honestly it would come down to the room.

Three last points that stick out:

The DW feels a lot stiffer under the sticks due to the re-rings. Much like a marching snare drum, whereas the Tama is much more supple. Stick Control by George Lawrence Stone highly recommended for you wanna be DW stars.

Having the opportunity to literally go from one to the other, you are INSTANTLY aware of how much the die cast hoops dry out the Tama kit. STUNNING difference. And then about 2.6 seconds later you hone right back in on that sound because it's made that way for a reason. ZERO harsh overring - I have even purposely tweaked it six ways from Sunday TRYING to get a harsh noise. No dice. You simply can't make it sound bad. All of that aggravating overring is just not there. Just enough to complete the complete full fundamental, but no more. I.E., drop a mic on it and GO.

Last point - the fit and finish on the DW is SECOND TO NONE. THIS is where DW has improved over the last 10 years based upon 4 decades of playing and seeing the build quality over time. You can tell that the Oxnard plant has acquired a lot of laser guided tools to help the staff perfect the overall product. It's really good to see this level of quality coming from America again. I have always expected it from Japan, but to see it from the USA is a really good thing. And damn it sounds good near field!!!!!

DW Side.jpg
DW Front.jpg
 

crash

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DW makes fine drums. But DW isn’t a brand I gravitate too any longer. I used to play a 10-6 collector snare, but it was a sound that I eventually grew to dislike. If you are slamming 2 & 4 time patterns, it was great. But as far as projecting sensitive work, it didn’t cut it. Too boxy a sound and I sold it. Also, some of DW finishes on their drums look so much like museum furniture, you can end up thinking twice about gigging them. In all honesty, check out PDP. Far less money and sound very good too.
Came across a PDP MIM set locally. Think I need to grab it, Cheap, basically the same shells.....
 

Ryneaux

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Today marks exactly one year since I took possession of what will be my final kit. 50th birthday present to myself. I ordered it old school-style (no internet research). Went to my local drum shop (Bentley's in Fresno, CA) and told Dana what I was after. He suggested the shell layup and had a set with that layup in the shop. They made the sound I wanted, so I ordered my set with those shells. Thick, 9-ply with no reinforcement rings. They remind me of 6-ply Ludwigs and XP8 Rogers but with an added modern DW thing. 1970's thud with 2020's resonance and sustain. Seemingly an oxymoron, but they actually do have thud and sustain at the same time. Before hearts start going into A-Fib, I'm a pop/soul/rock guy. No jazz sounds here.

IMG_2377.jpeg
 

Drummer69BB

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Today marks exactly one year since I took possession of what will be my final kit. 50th birthday present to myself. I ordered it old school-style (no internet research). Went to my local drum shop (Bentley's in Fresno, CA) and told Dana what I was after. He suggested the shell layup and had a set with that layup in the shop. They made the sound I wanted, so I ordered my set with those shells. Thick, 9-ply with no reinforcement rings. They remind me of 6-ply Ludwigs and XP8 Rogers but with an added modern DW thing. 1970's thud with 2020's resonance and sustain. Seemingly an oxymoron, but they actually do have thud and sustain at the same time. Before hearts start going into A-Fib, I'm a pop/soul/rock guy. No jazz sounds here.

View attachment 603726
See my new baby - just reviewed it - mine was my 54th bday present brother! That's a gorgeous snare BTW...WOW.
 

T_Weaves

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I don't think it's any different today than it was in the 70's. If you liked Ludwig you didn't have any interest in Rogers or Slingerland. Fast forward to the present and it's the same deal. If you like Tama you probably won't buy Pearl or Yamaha. If you like Sonor, DW might not appeal to you. It's all just personal preference. Personally, I don't care for the turret lugs and what to me is a rather one dimensional sound. Listening to John Good is painstaking to me as well. They seem to be a high quality kit though. They sure are ubiquitous, especially on the west coast. I'm happy for anyone who buys them and really loves them. Isn't that what it's all about?
 

Stephen.DeBoard

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I think the name of the company is lazy. It should be called Good Drums. What a missed opportunity.

To me John Good and DW drums are to the drum community what Paul Reed Smith and PRS guitars are to the guitar community.
 
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