Upgrading a Cheap Kit vs New Kit

rstange1

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Any money you put into the Breakbeats will be a dead loss when you sell the kit. I would not recommend that at all.

Option 3: Play the Breakbeats as is until you find a good deal on a used kit (or deeply discounted new kit) that pushes your buttons. Buy that and then sell the Breakbeats to help offset the cost.
 

bdlp_r

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Any money you put into the Breakbeats will be a dead loss when you sell the kit. I would not recommend that at all.

Option 3: Play the Breakbeats as is until you find a good deal on a used kit (or deeply discounted new kit) that pushes your buttons. Buy that and then sell the Breakbeats to help offset the cost.
sound financial advice. No way anyone will pay extra on a breakbeats with nice bearing edges and a nice finish. Hand-wringing about "sunk cost" is a bad idea.. .you should always switch for the better alternative.... ie. a fully new set or a "new" used set. A completely illogical part of me just wants to see the breakbeats with bling.
 
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This might sound like a ridiculous question but wanted to get you take on this from all of you gear heads and drum experts.
I've got a Ludwig Breakbeats kit that's made of 7-ply "hardwood" with a wrap. I've had it for like 7 years. It's served me very well for practice and jamming with friends. The sound is OK, punchy not very resonant. Certainly much better than any other "entry-level" kit I've ever played. (Before that I owned a Pearl Export kit for like 10 years but had to get rid of it due to space constraints).

I called local drum builder and there are two roads I can take:
1) Get an all-new micro-kit built with Keller maple shells. Same exact sizes as the Ludwig Breakbeats but with possibility of picking and choosing shell thickness, bearing edges, hardware, etc.
2) Freshen up the old Ludwig Breakbeats: Get all-new bearing edges cut to something civilized, wrap removed and a new finish put on there. Probably improve some of the hardware and hoops. This is like 30% cheaper.

Sizes are: BD:14x16 / T:7x10 / T:13x13 in both cases.

What do you think of the second option? Has anyone done something like this? Is it worth it at all? Of course I wanna save some money but I don't know if freshening up a cheap kit (with a resale value of basically $0) is a good idea or just a total waste of money, where I end up just getting a the maple kit built within the year and spending MORE money instead of less.

Some context: I am not a pro. I do not even gig nor record anything. I like to jam and practice for myself and friends but I really enjoy the sound of good drums. I do own good snare drums, just not nice toms nor bass drum.
I've played the Breakbeats, and they aren't bad. I would re-head those drums and do a cursory check of the edges (just to see if there is anything EXTREME there) while the heads are off. Don't spend excess money on rewrapping them though. New heads and some practice tuning will make those Breakbeats sing. Sealing the inside of the shells sounds harmless (I don't have an opinion there, but it surely couldn't hurt.) And if you were to buy something else, used is always a great way to go. However, I don't know the used market in your area.

So many people get new drums when the problem is that they are still using cheap old heads (sometimes the VERY cheap heads that originally came on a set.) Re-heading (top and bottom) with some tuning knowledge and experimentation can go a long way.

On the other hand, (as you said) life is short...
Welcome to DFO!
MSG
 

markkarj

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This might sound like a ridiculous question but wanted to get you take on this from all of you gear heads and drum experts.
I've got a Ludwig Breakbeats kit that's made of 7-ply "hardwood" with a wrap. I've had it for like 7 years. It's served me very well for practice and jamming with friends. The sound is OK, punchy not very resonant. Certainly much better than any other "entry-level" kit I've ever played. (Before that I owned a Pearl Export kit for like 10 years but had to get rid of it due to space constraints).

I called local drum builder and there are two roads I can take:
1) Get an all-new micro-kit built with Keller maple shells. Same exact sizes as the Ludwig Breakbeats but with possibility of picking and choosing shell thickness, bearing edges, hardware, etc.
2) Freshen up the old Ludwig Breakbeats: Get all-new bearing edges cut to something civilized, wrap removed and a new finish put on there. Probably improve some of the hardware and hoops. This is like 30% cheaper.

Sizes are: BD:14x16 / T:7x10 / T:13x13 in both cases.

What do you think of the second option? Has anyone done something like this? Is it worth it at all? Of course I wanna save some money but I don't know if freshening up a cheap kit (with a resale value of basically $0) is a good idea or just a total waste of money, where I end up just getting a the maple kit built within the year and spending MORE money instead of less.

Some context: I am not a pro. I do not even gig nor record anything. I like to jam and practice for myself and friends but I really enjoy the sound of good drums. I do own good snare drums, just not nice toms nor bass drum.

I remember visiting drum builder Tom Wells in Brantford Ontario. He had a floor tom from a kit he was re-working... I gave it a quick hit and it was simply incredible... warm, beautiful sustain, and a very sweet finish. I asked what it was, and he noted it was a very cheap Yamaha drum.

So there is *some* logic in upgrading an inexpensive kit for a new purpose. I'd suggest the major caveat is if the raw material is good enough. You have noted the Breakbeats have a lot of punch but not much resonance... maybe new edges and suspension mounts might help, but a poplar shell (which is what I think they are) probably won't have the same resonance as a maple shell.

One other thing to consider: custom drums are great. But their value proposition is likely very much in the eye and ear of the beholder. If you choose to sell them later, you may not get as much money as an equivalent name brand kit. I don't agree with it, but many people buy brand names. I doubt my menagerie of Premier and various custom drums will have the resale value of my Yamaha kit.
 

bdlp_r

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So many people get new drums when the problem is that they are still using cheap old heads (sometimes the VERY cheap heads that originally came on a set.) Re-heading (top and bottom) with some tuning knowledge and experimentation can go a long way.

On the other hand, (as you said) life is short...
Welcome to DFO!
MSG
Hey thanks! yes I'm now to the forum... I have re-headed the drums quite a few times over the last 7 years and settles on a nice and very playable sound but still think they're somewhat limited. Not a lot of resonance/sustain is what I think so the bearing edge thing occurred to me. They're just straight cut 45º and not exactly perfect.
 

bdlp_r

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I remember visiting drum builder Tom Wells in Brantford Ontario. He had a floor tom from a kit he was re-working... I gave it a quick hit and it was simply incredible... warm, beautiful sustain, and a very sweet finish. I asked what it was, and he noted it was a very cheap Yamaha drum.

So there is *some* logic in upgrading an inexpensive kit for a new purpose. I'd suggest the major caveat is if the raw material is good enough. You have noted the Breakbeats have a lot of punch but not much resonance... maybe new edges and suspension mounts might help, but a poplar shell (which is what I think they are) probably won't have the same resonance as a maple shell.

One other thing to consider: custom drums are great. But their value proposition is likely very much in the eye and ear of the beholder. If you choose to sell them later, you may not get as much money as an equivalent name brand kit. I don't agree with it, but many people buy brand names. I doubt my menagerie of Premier and various custom drums will have the resale value of my Yamaha kit.
Agreed. If I buy the custom kit I'm keeping it for the long run, not getting it for re-sale value. I do confess a big % of wanting to go for the custom kit is a) thin maple shells b) the finish
I don't know what the breakbeats are. It just says 7-ply "hardwood" much more knowledgeable people than me in this forum will probably have the answer.
 

bdlp_r

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I would just coat the inside of the shells with wipe-on poly and leave them alone. Barring head changes and maybe just having the bearing edges crisped up, I would do little else than poly on the inside and sharpening the edges, along with a head change.
what's the coating for? having a harder smooth surface on the inside face of the drum?
 

cworrick

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The thing that concerns me with option #1 is the "Custom Builder" end.
For starters you are wanting to build a set in some very uncommon sizes. Add the custom builder label and the drums may not ever re-sale for near as much as you pay to have them built.

The Ludwigs may not be the high end model, but they at least have a name recognition. Because of that, and the cheaper option, I'd go with refurbishing the Ludwigs.

- oh and DON'T remove the wrap.
 

bdlp_r

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- oh and DON'T remove the wrap.
sounds like you're done that before hehe
I kind of pictured taking off the wrap, sanding the glue residues and giving it a solid black gloss finish to try to hide any probable imperfections. Aside from the obvious destruction of the re-sale value, are there any other problems that you foresee?
 

goodcat1337

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I haven't read any of the replies, so I'm sure this has been said already. But are you planning on refinishing them yourself, and cutting the edges? Or were you gonna send them to someone to have it done?

I've always wanted to fix up an old/cheap kit, but could never find the time to do it. So I'd say if you're gonnna DIY it, stick with the Breakbeats. But if you're gonna have to send them somewhere, you might as well let someone else build you a new kit and get what you can from yours.
 

bdlp_r

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are you planning on refinishing them yourself, and cutting the edges? Or were you gonna send them to someone to have it done?
nah I don't have the tools or the skills for that. I'l send them to a drum builder in my city and he'll do all the crafty things.
I want to experiment on the breakbeats but it's mostly just curiosity. I wonder if most people could tell the difference between a breakbeats kit w/ better bearing edges/hardware and a similar maple or poplar set in a blind test.

I'll probably get the drums built for me and sell the BBs. I can get the set built here for a very reasonable price.
 

Drdrumdude3009

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nah I don't have the tools or the skills for that. I'l send them to a drum builder in my city and he'll do all the crafty things.
I want to experiment on the breakbeats but it's mostly just curiosity. I wonder if most people could tell the difference between a breakbeats kit w/ better bearing edges/hardware and a similar maple or poplar set in a blind test.

I'll probably get the drums built for me and sell the BBs. I can get the set built here for a very reasonable price.
I have heard great sounding kits that were an absolute surprise when it came to their origins just like I have heard some well-regarded name brands sound like dog do do.
 

goodcat1337

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nah I don't have the tools or the skills for that. I'l send them to a drum builder in my city and he'll do all the crafty things.
I want to experiment on the breakbeats but it's mostly just curiosity. I wonder if most people could tell the difference between a breakbeats kit w/ better bearing edges/hardware and a similar maple or poplar set in a blind test.

I'll probably get the drums built for me and sell the BBs. I can get the set built here for a very reasonable price.
Gotcha. Honestly though, I don't think having someone re cut the edges will be that expensive. I have a friend local to me that recently got the tools to cut edges and he was only charging like $35 for toms, and $50 for a bass drum. If you really want to experiment, I'd say do that and go ahead and order the new ones as well.
 

bdlp_r

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Gotcha. Honestly though, I don't think having someone re cut the edges will be that expensive. I have a friend local to me that recently got the tools to cut edges and he was only charging like $35 for toms, and $50 for a bass drum. If you really want to experiment, I'd say do that and go ahead and order the new ones as well.
The prices are similar here for the re-cutting. A little lower. Getting the whole kit done would be only like $120 USD + whatever I did to the snare drum. The price would only go up significantly if I got rid of the wrap and re-finished it, which some forum members have strongly advised against.

Getting the 3 piece custom made is like $1500 USD, and I can sell the bbs for 300 or so.
 

drums1225

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C) Get a quality used kit for the most bang for the buck (pun intended). There's no shortage of mint or excellent condition pro-level drums that you can get for a steal.
 


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