Thoughts on DW drums!

bassanddrum84

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As a dw owner/player I've pondered the anti dw sentiment by many on the forum and came to the conclusion it's an artifact mostly inherent among the vintage enthusiasts. I think they feel like dw somehow trespassed and/or violated the holy shrine of Ludwig/Rogers/Slingerland.... and what's worse.....they succeeded mightily where the icons were floundering if not already relegated to the scrap heap of failed businesses.
That's all I can come up with as their stuff is fantastic.
A lot of the vintage guys like just that. Vintage luds, leedy, slingys. Dw is great really good sounding drums my only complaint is the price more then anything. I could never justify spending 7k+ on a collectors when I’m just as happy playing my cheaper kits. I could deal with the lugs they just aren’t my thing. The smaller lugs are cool tho. The hardware I will never stop using.
 

John DeChristopher

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Weren't the Sakae family or family who made Sakae making all of Yamaha's drums? If so, it would make sense that it wasn't a profit generator if they farmed it all out to another company.
Yes, Sakae made all of Yamaha's Japanese drums up until about five or six years ago when Yamaha moved it all to China. Vic Firth made Zildjian's sticks for the five years prior to Zildjian buying Vic Firth in late 2010, and they were higher quality and more profitable than when we had our own factory. Look at all the drum companies that buy their OEM hardware from Reliance. It's possible to have an OEM supplier and still be profitable. And who knows, now that they're made in China, they may well be showing a profit. I hope so.
 

Jay-Dee

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My original comment about not remembering hearing a set recorded or live that I really liked was incorrect. I had forgotten about Ginger Baker's set in their Albert Hall reunion concerts I saw years ago.

Watching the Toad drum solo posted in the other thread I think his DW's actually sound really good.
 

Rich K.

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My take on DW:

• Their marketing has always been way too much "Blessed With Unicorn Tears" for my taste. Ever since the '90s when DW was using Keller shells (which made them a drum finisher, not a drum maker) I chafed at their "We're So Special" marketing approach, since if you don't make your own shells you're not responsible for any mojo your drums may have. This has left a bad taste in my mouth for the brand that the past 25 years has not removed.

• If you know how to tune a drum it doesn't matter what friggin' note John Good says the drum's shell is supposed to be. Sheesh. (P.S. Selecting the right heads for the sound you want is way more important than selecting the right shells.)

• DW still markets their wood finishes more than they market anything else about their drums, and I've always thought that wood finishes look lousy on stage. Throw colored lights on 'em and they all turn into a cross between coffee and chocolate milk.

• Their drums just don't have enough 'bite' to satisfy my ear. I want my toms to bark, and DW toms don't (especially with those coated/clear factory heads). And their bass drums are way too much 'thump' for my taste, I like my BDs to have more presence with intact reso heads. Their snares aren't bad, but nothing I can't get from other brands for fewer $$$.

• I HATE the turret lugs; I hated them all the way back to when Camco was still up and running in Oaklawn. They're a deal-breaker for me.

• I also hate that "around the lugs" suspension mount. Of course, I hate all suspension mounts. Max Weinberg has it right: Screw a bracket onto your tom shell, hang it from a bass drum tom mount with an L-arm and get down to business.

• I LOVE DW bass drum pedals. I'm using a pair of 9000s and they're by far the best pedals I've ever laid my feet on. You know that 'direct contact' feeling you get when you tap your foot on the floor? That's the way playing with DW 9000 pedals feels to me — like there's nothing intervening between my feet and my bass drums. No other pedal has ever felt that way to me. A total game-changer.

So as far as I'm concerned, DW is the best pedal company out there. Everything else? Not so much.
So since Rogers, Gretsch and Camco outsourced their shells, they weren't drum makers?
 

Dumpy

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The Keller (and when Jasper was still around) that you would buy as an at home drum maker and what drum manufacturers get are likely not the same shell lay ups and plies. There is a lot of difference between specs. Unless we’re talking single-ply steam bent, maple shells for off the street customers can be totally different.

How are the bearing edges cut? How are they finished? Re-rings? How are the finished? How is the inside of the shell finished? What specs on the hardware?

A shell decorator would literally buy a pre-cut shell, finish it the way they wish, mount hardware they like, and call it a day and likely gets a decent sound.

The builder will do R&D on shell lay up, test a few samples, see what their endorsers like, order the shells after settling on specs, weigh what the edges will do, what the hardware will do to the sound, cut the shell, cut the edges, finish the shell as desired, mount the hardware, and pack the drums in boxes and send them to dealers.

There is a fair bit of difference between a customer who buys a generic shell pre-edged, drills for hardware, finishes, then admires and plays their handiwork and a company who designs and builds a drum (treating a shell like a raw material rather than a component) and sells their wares.
 

CigarScott

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Yes, Sakae made all of Yamaha's Japanese drums up until about five or six years ago when Yamaha moved it all to China. Vic Firth made Zildjian's sticks for the five years prior to Zildjian buying Vic Firth in late 2010, and they were higher quality and more profitable than when we had our own factory. Look at all the drum companies that buy their OEM hardware from Reliance. It's possible to have an OEM supplier and still be profitable. And who knows, now that they're made in China, they may well be showing a profit. I hope so.

It was smart that Zildjian used Vic Firth to make their sticks, I still have negative perceptions of their sticks due to their quality issues from when I started playing in the 90's. I remember saving up for a brick of Eric Singer's sticks, which was some coin to a 14-15 year old and they were about as durable as a pencil; I went through that brick in no time and I'm not a particularly hard hitter.

I never heard of Reliance - who else is getting their hardware from them besides Gibraltar? I'm assuming GMS was when they were still marketing hardware as well as some of these other boutique makers who got a little over ambitious and wanted to sell their own hardware...
 

John DeChristopher

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It was smart that Zildjian used Vic Firth to make their sticks, I still have negative perceptions of their sticks due to their quality issues from when I started playing in the 90's. I remember saving up for a brick of Eric Singer's sticks, which was some coin to a 14-15 year old and they were about as durable as a pencil; I went through that brick in no time and I'm not a particularly hard hitter.

I never heard of Reliance - who else is getting their hardware from them besides Gibraltar? I'm assuming GMS was when they were still marketing hardware as well as some of these other boutique makers who got a little over ambitious and wanted to sell their own hardware...
It’s easier to list the companies Reliance doesn’t make hardware for. They’re the OEM hardware company for DW, Pearl, Gibraltar, Gretsch, Ludwig, Remo, I believe Mapex and many others. They’re also the parent company of Dixon Drums and Rogers.
 
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WesChilton

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Thats fine with me, my DW hardware is amazingly high quality. Same with my old 80s and 90s Yamaha stuff. If it works it works... I just wish it was a little more affordable. ;)
 

CigarScott

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It’s easier to list the companies Reliance doesn’t make hardware for. They’re the OEM hardware company for DW, Pearl, Gibraltar, Gretsch, Ludwig, Remo, I believe Mapex and many others. They’re also the parent company of Dixon Drums and Rogers.
That's wild. I always assumed what I call the Big 3 in hardware: Pearl, Tama, and DW were making their own hardware. I would have never guessed that all of those brands were made in the same building.
 

hsosdrum

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And since Rogers and Slingerland outsourced their hardware I guess they weren't really drum makers either.
And GM and Ford aren't carmakers, no one makes anything as a matter of fact.
The essence of a drum is its shell. If you don't make the shell you don't make the drum. A car is a far more complex item that can't be boiled down to its essence in nearly the same way as a drum. Apples and oranges.
 

WesChilton

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I laugh every time I see any augment on the internet about anything devolve into a car analogy! :laughing4:
 

noreastbob

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The essence of a drum is its shell. If you don't make the shell you don't make the drum. A car is a far more complex item that can't be boiled down to its essence in nearly the same way as a drum. Apples and oranges.
I'll certainly agree the main part of a drum is its shell but without hardware it is just a tube. Until you add lugs and a vent it is not a drum. The fact that Ludwig and Slingerland outsource their hardware like everyone else makes them a "finisher" too.... one that makes (made) shells. So I guess if Keller Products bought some hardware and screwed it to some of those tubes they manufacture they'd be one of the oldest and respected surviving drum companies in the country. Right?
But this is silly since dw, the subject of this thread, has been making shells for going on 30 years and the actual focus of this discussion is likely your resentment of them for succeeding where Rogers and Slingerland (and almost Ludwig) failed.
 
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hsosdrum

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I'll certainly agree the main part of a drum is its shell but without hardware it is just a tube. Until you add lugs and a vent it is not a drum. The fact that Ludwig and Slingerland outsource their hardware like everyone else makes them a "finisher" too.... one that makes (made) shells. So I guess if Keller Products bought some hardware and screwed it to some of those tubes they manufacture they'd be one of the oldest and respected surviving drum companies in the country. Right?
But this is silly since dw, the subject of this thread, has been making shells for going on 30 years and the actual focus of this discussion is likely your resentment of them for succeeding where Rogers and Slingerland (and almost Ludwig) failed.
All you need to do to see how much a drum's shell is considered its essence is to read the myriad of threads here on DFO that discuss how shell construction affects (or doesn't affect) a drum's sound. Suggesting that it's not the shell, but rather it's the lugs and other hardware that are primarily responsible for the essence of a drum's sound is (to be charitable about it) an outlying opinion on the matter. However I do 100% agree with your notion (sans sarcasm) that Keller's long history of constructing drum shells would indeed qualify them as one of America's oldest and most respected drum companies were they to decide to add hardware and heads and sell them as finished goods.

Your assumption about my supposed "resentment" of DW is completely erroneous. If you care to speak with authority on the matter in the future please read my initial post (#125) in this thread, where I explain in detail my reasons for disliking DW.
 

Tornado

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Drums are membranophones. Therefore the essence is the membrane. The heads. Rototoms exist without drum shells at all. Everything else is secondary.
 


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