Thoughts on DW drums!

ARGuy

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You’re sophistry does not work on me. I stand by what I said.

Without knowing what forum, what post, what context, whst scope, what evidence, without looking into the claims yourself and being able to speak knowledgeably and intelligently about them you have zero foundation for the statement you made or aspersions cast.
I'm standing by what I said as well. I am speaking knowledgeably and intelligently but it appears to go over your head.
You're one to talk about casting aspersions . . .
 

CigarScott

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As a child of the 80's, it seemed like all of the drummers that I liked in the 80's were rocking the Japanese brands: Pearl, Tama, and Yamaha. Then in the 90's it seemed like everyone hopped on the DW train. I idolized countless drummers who were playing DW but like others have said, no way in hell that a typical 12-14 year old could afford a DW kit.

I saved up late in high school in the late 90's to buy my first double pedal: a left-footed DW Turbo. This is before e-commerce and being able to find any oddball item a company makes in a matter of minutes. I knew that most drummers, particularly the rock/metal guys where playing Accelerators but the only one I could find available was the Turbo so I got it. I was never happy with it. I would play single-footed or right-footed Accelerators at drum shops and they felt so much better and were much faster, at least to me. I eventually traded it in for a Pearl Demon Drive and that was a major upgrade.

I have played some of their kits in the shops and they're great kits, I don't think many people will dispute that. I do own some of their hardware, mainly cymbal stackers for my dozen splashes, bells, and other effect cymbals since Pearl doesn't make anything comparable. I wouldn't mind owning one of their kits and keep an eye on the secondary market for used Edge snares.

I do think to myself, however, how much cheaper their products would be if they didn't have a 1000 endorsers, some with multiple kits, as well as if they weren't manufacturing in California...
 
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John DeChristopher

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Ahhhh I thought that DW "bought" the Gretsch company and just left Fred Gretsch in charge and has left the Gretsch operation alone and in the hands of Paul Cooper and co. Interesting to know thats not that case!
No worries. I know it confused a lot of people. I'm glad to have clarified it for you.

Here's the Reader's Digest version. Kaman Corp was a major player in the music industry. They were the parent company of Gibraltar, Toca, LP, Ovation Guitars, CB 700 Drums, the defunct Legend Drums etc, and they distributed many major brands, including Sabian and had the licensing agreement for Gretsch.

About 10 years ago, Fender bought Kaman (swallowed is a better word) and assumed ownership and distribution of all those and other entities. So that was the end of Kaman as a music company. It sent ripples through the music industry at the time.

Fast forward to six years ago and Fender is looking to reduce its debt and consolidate for better financial posturing in order to go public, so they agree to sell their percussion brands to DW, including their licensing agreement with Gretsch. Ovation was somehow part of the deal, but I believe DW eventually sold it. So DW bought all those brands and assumed the licensing and distribution for Gretsch drums, via their purchase of Kaman. Gretsch drums are still made at their Ridgeland, SC factory under Paul Cooper. Fred still owns the company, but with DW's marketing muscle and distribution. Kaman distributing Gretsch 20 years ago is what really gave them a jump-start and DW has continued to build on it. DW has since sold Gibraltar to Reliance, the parent company of Dixon and Rogers.

Interestingly (to me anyway) as part of DW buying Kaman, they secured the US distribution rights to Sabian - it was part of the deal. This didn't sit well with my friends in Canada and they negotiated that aspect of it. So the deal had greater implications than just licensing and distribution of Gretsch, but that was definitely the cherry on top for DW. The partnership has worked very well for all parties. It was as close as I've come to getting back into the industry.

That's the condensed version and hope it clarifies it...
 
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JazzDrumGuy

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I had a collectors 14x16, 13x13, 8x10 micro bop kit with matching 5x13 snare in broken glass finish. Just gorgeous! Excellent quality, but I could not dial in a good jazz sound. Regular maple, not the jazz line. I sold them. I then bought a yellow pre-collector Keller kit in 12/14/18 and swapped a few toms around and it was a jellybean kit (black, red, yellow). Same great sound but still not jazzy. I bought die casts for the toms and it made a huge difference. The bass is still a cannon for an 18", but a much better sounding kit for jazz with a muffllig pillow inside.

I "rewrapped" in black panther and have a "matching" 5x14 DW Craviotto I salvaged that someone had badly neglected, and it's one of my favorite gigging kits. It has a May mike in the kick so I've even done large outdoor festivals and no low end issues at all. I didn't use it much for jazz because I started getting heavy into vintage RB kits.

I've never seen or played a Jazz series kit in person but they sound pretty amazing from those Erskine vids a few years back. (blue kit). That WMP kit posted above is great too. I have many of their snare drums and love their 5000 pedal, too.
 
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Nacci

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I'm standing by what I said as well. I am speaking knowledgeably and intelligently but it appears to go over your head.
You're one to talk about casting aspersions . . .
We will let the Gods decide.

There are a myriad of reasons why the overall quality of a company could go down, in general, and specifically over the last year.

For example you could have supply issues, costs on certain inputs could go through the roof so you surreptitiously replace them with lesser quality inputs to keep your overall costs from rising. Your best and most experienced people may likely be older and because you operate in a state with onerous restriction and a high level of fear perhaps you are making do with younger less experienced people. Perhaps you are servicing an increasing debt load and juggling several new brand acquisitions. The list goes on.

I have experienced exactly that on several fronts in the last year, specifically with a cabinet maker I use. Half way through the job on a custom quarter-sawn white oak kitchen/library I started getting boards that were finger-boarded and biscuited together, grain and coloration mismatched, finish splotchy, shelves crooked, the backing went from 1/2” to 3/8”. All of this went against the specs that were agreed upon. His work prior to this was spot on.

When I addressed it with him he went off in righteous indignation ( you know what that is) about how he can not source the clean boards, half of his best guys are out and he has to make do with rookies and demand is through the roof and so on and so forth.

Again, my point before I drop this and move on is that without investigating a claim you have no standing to unilaterally dismiss it.
 

cornelius

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I have a Jazz Series kit from 2006. Before that I had a 1999 Collector's Series with the in house re-ring shells (should have kept that kit).

Beautiful looking drums that tune up easily - I've had lots of compliments on both kits in the studio and on live gigs. I really like the Jazz Series, mine have the die-cast rims - they're very versatile drums - not just for jazz...
 

zenghost

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My experience with DW customer service places them among the best I've ever encountered.

The build options (shell lay-ups and obviously finishes) are likely unmatched. You do pay exorbitantly for most of that.

In my experience of several DW kits over decades, build quality is fine, but is generally not what I would consider top-tier craftmanship and attention to detail (aside from finishes) - possibly not what it once was. Nothing that renders a drum unusable, just smaller details that you may notice only upon disassembly. This may or may not matter to most if they are bedazzled enough by some other aspect.

Sound - Fine, they sound like drums, with some slight variations for shell ply lay-up but more so for shell type (thin with re-reings etc) and edges etc. The mystique of the various woods etc is way overblown marketing hooey for the most part in my experience. DW delivers nothing sonically special, above all the other contenders, particularly at that price point. So, I would pay what DW asks for a drum only if it was the sole possible way to achieve a very specific set of criteria with regards to sizes, finish, and shell lay-up in that order of priority. Not because DW is not a good drum, but because there are better ways for me to spend my money - the value proposition is low for me based on my criteria.
 

musiqman

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In regards of the build. I do found that the laquer is not as durable as let's say my experiences with Yamaha. When I dropped something on a kick from either one, the Yamaha didn't even have a scratch.

Also, my DW has a dent and some scratches from lightly bumping the snare into the rack tom.

The topcoat/sealer isn't as tough.
 

Deafmoon

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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.
 

ConvertedLudwigPlayer

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I owned a 2002 Collectors in Satin natural finish a few years ago. Very nice drums. Great sound. If I were looking for a take to the grave kit in an exotic finish and budget wasn't a concern they would be on my list of companies to look at. I thought they tuned down and up pretty darn well.

My sizes were 10, 12, 14 (hanging), 22. If I could have found a matching 16" floor tom, I might still have them. But, I do like to change things up and try new kits, so who knows.
 

bellbrass

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For 1,000,000 time... DW does not own Gretsch. They are the exclusive distributor for Gretsch and the two companies have a partnership, but Fred Gretsch owns Gretsch. Period. Maybe you didn't know the facts and if so, then now you do. But to say DW owns Gretsch is perpetuating incorrect information.
Yes, and John's word certainly has more credibility than mine, but FWIW, this is exactly what I've been told by at least 2 Gretsch and DW dealers. DW has an agreement with Fred Gretsch Enterprises - the company that owns the entire Gretsch range of musical instruments - to market and distribute the drum lines. There is also input and cooperation from the manufacturing end. What this basically means is that if DW has a suggestion that might result in more efficient manufacturing, better sales, easier distribution, etc., then they may have a free hand to implement it, with the apporval of Fred Gretsch Enterprises, of course. If DW had bought Gretsch outright, you would have seen a number of major changes, not the least of which would have been a likely closure of the factory in Ridgeland. So, DW no more owns Gretsch than a major successful nationwide car retailer would own GM.
 

noreastbob

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As in general on forums there is the usual generous dose of subjectivity in this thread.
I look at a dw drum from 1985 and one from 2021. I disassemble them and they are both perfect in every way I can find... so I think I feel the new one is of lesser quality. And I heard a guy had a problem.
And the astronomical price: Has anyone priced a custom Sonor SQ2" A Yamaha PHX? Most boutique brands? All top series offerings are expensive and many MUCH MORE so than dw!
You pay for options very simply. Those options cost the manufacturer a pretty penny!!! Performance are Collectors without the myriad choices and some slightly different hardware.
Unless you're gonna have multiple kits for different sounds and uses dws are as good and in many cases a better choice for an only set than many other brands.
 
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Old Dog

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This seems an outrageous and indefensible statement to me.

Without knowing the specific claim how do you dismiss it unilaterally?

You basically just said that, without even looking into it or knowing specifics, anybody on any drum forum who states that they had quality issues with DW is a liar while inferring that they only made this statement because they don’t like DWs sound or image or marketing.


How does someone “like” this statement?

We just had a member here who had quality issues with a new DW kit. Hopefully I can provide a little cover fire for him to at least relate his experience for context.
But for the most part, this is basically true for ALL manufacturers. I've seen threads on Gretsch, Ludwig, Sonor in the past few months. Maybe not on this site in particular. Tama as well. So, 4 OTHER of the top manufacturers have issues too.

What do we do, stop buying drums? That is unlikely. One consumer having QC issues doesn't mean the entire process has gone down hill. This goes for ALL of those manufacturers, not just DW.

Maybe they should all switch to making picnic tables. :rolleyes:
 

Nacci

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But for the most part, this is basically true for ALL manufacturers. I've seen threads on Gretsch, Ludwig, Sonor in the past few months. Maybe not on this site in particular. Tama as well. So, 4 OTHER of the top manufacturers have issues too.

What do we do, stop buying drums? That is unlikely. One consumer having QC issues doesn't mean the entire process has gone down hill. This goes for ALL of those manufacturers, not just DW.

Maybe they should all switch to making picnic tables. :rolleyes:
This completely missed the point.
 

richardh253

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About 10 years ago I bought a used DW kit in some kind of red/orange
DW Drum Set 001.JPG
burst finish + black hardware. I could never get comfortable behind it, which is an intangible emotional issue, nothing 'wrong' with the drums. My therapist could probably explain my aversion to round lugs -- lugs to me are "supposed" to be vertical to the edge of the shell. "My-First-Ludwig" sentimentality perhaps. The gigantic sliding tom mount attached to the bass drum really was a turn-off - I removed it for a 2d snare stand to hold the rack tom. But at the end of a month or two, this was clearly not a kit for me, so I sold it and moved on to a 1979 Ludwig maple Hollywood Ringo kit that restored nicely. When I sat behind that kit it felt right. Nothing against DW. But now, ten years down the road, I can barely decode their website, between custom woods, configurations, sizes, plies, et.al. I guess I'm from the less-is-more school. Or, as my kids suggest, "resistant to change" :)
Ludwig Maple 1.jpg
 
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pwc1141

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I have only ever had a DW snare drum - a 12 x 6 Edge series. It was a great drum in memory but just too heavy to carry around for gigs so I sold it. As it happens I have a local custom 14 x 8 that uses DW Collector series lugs or something very, very close to those ...

.
17883773_10209195894082442_4490350037128935738_n.jpg
 

aparker2005

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I have had 3 Purpleheart Collectors Series snares. The first one, a 14x6.5 VLT, was the best. That drum sounded incredible, and I hated that I sold it. At the time, I had to.

Second was a 14x7. Musicians friend sent the wrong size, didn't care for this one.

3rd was a 14x6.5 HVLT. It just didn't seem to have the magic the VLT had. I like horizontal grains on snares verses vertical, but the vertical grain drum definitely sounded better.

I look forward to eventually getting a keeper in the future.
 

NobleCooleyNut

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I never understand the vitriol and disdain many Drummers have for DW. DW pretty much restarted the US made drum industry . They made US drums cool again . I would think especially if I was American that ai would hold the company in better stead .

DW are fantastic marketers and it goes without saying . Is this not an admirable trait for a Company ?
DW has been innovative , has not been devious about their manufacturing practices .

Why the dislike folks ? Is it trendy or cool to like on DW ? Maybe I missed the memo ?
 

Jazzhead

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Steve Distanlao uses a Jazz Series with David Gilmour:
View attachment 487916


Also Satnam Remgotra uses one with Hans Zimmer Live (and in the studio):
View attachment 487920
View attachment 487919
View attachment 487918

Yep! And here is David Gilmour playing his DW kit. I always thought his kit was black but I saw in some photos that it’s actually dark blue, he may have both sets.


I always thought these 2 sets were the same since the finish looks exactly the same, apparently not, based on the badges.
2CCA7A08-DD11-4C00-A6D4-E8965D9A06D8.jpeg

E6A428D1-3AAB-4C0E-90C1-609545D597AB.jpeg
 
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