Upgrading a Cheap Kit vs New Kit

WLVN

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Get a new or used brand name intermediate "rock" sized kit, don't build. Keep the BB's as they are for now, stack them in a corner and put a lamp shade on top of them (the Mrs. will never know). Then, you'll have the versatility of two different sized kits. Plus, the branded kit will get you a better re-sale value in the divorce.
 

bdlp_r

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Get a new or used brand name intermediate "rock" sized kit, don't build. Keep the BB's as they are for now, stack them in a corner and put a lamp shade on top of them (the Mrs. will never know). Then, you'll have the versatility of two different sized kits. Plus, the branded kit will get you a better re-sale value in the divorce.
"Don't you get it? it's not that I want another kit, I obviously NEED another drum kit. Where will it fit? easy, let's just get rid of something bulky like the dinner table or your closet full of clothes you never wear" G.A.S. claims yet another victim.
 

lossforgain

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Sorry, I’m going to pile on with the crowd by saying DON’T throw your money away doing the “customization” of a low end set.

When I used to sell cars, there was a guy we saw once a year or so. He would come to our dealership and buy the cheapest, base model, underpowered sports car we could get. Then he would go home and put stickers and fake chrome stuff all over it to make it look “custom.” He would come back a year later with a base model pickup truck that had received the same treatment (my favorite thing was the stick-on non-functional hood scoop) and trade it for a sports car again. He went back and forth every year doing this. And he was the subject of endless laughs as the managers not only made fun of his “custom work” but also how much money they made on the guy.

Don’t be that guy.

I also wouldn’t recommend a local neighborhood “custom builder” unless you know he has name recognition and lots of happy customers. With all the options available on Reverb, there is really no excuse for paying too much for something when there are used options that sound great and cost a lot less.
 

premierplayer

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I own a set of BB's. I bought them to put in a practice space I frequent a couple of times a year.
I also own Pro grade Birch and Maple Kits.
I enjoy playing the BB's as much or more than the two Pro level kits. They're just fun.
They (BB's) far exceeded my expectations. Currently they are the single set in my drum room / practice space. They've never been moved to the practice space across town as planned. Covid played into that also.
I did stain and poly the interiors. I was very happy with the results, more focus, more sustain. Not Birch or Maple levels but a marked improvement.

I've been searching for a used Bop size Maple kit since the first week I played the BB's. They're just fun sizes to play.
I will sell a kit when I find such a kit, I don't think it will be the BB's.

Soooo, my vote is, have the edges cut, poly the interiors. Play on! while searching for a quality Maple Bop kit.

BTW, I bought my BB's brand new, the packageing was not all that. There was some edge damage, and a few bumps & scrapes here and there I found as I assembled them. I dressed up the edge damage the best I could with some careful hand sanding.
I think having the edges recut professionally will do wonders for your drums.

Last thing, I'll share a few pics.
That's two coats of Red Mahogony stain, then two coats of satin poly. (alkyd)

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Jazzhead

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Both are great alternatives. I have a crush on Inde drums and that would be my preferred alternative but cost + shipping and import taxes they end up more expensive than getting a custom built kit here. The Sonor Safari is more or less the same cost as getting the custom built set here. Sooo the economics don't make sense. Only Yamaha Stage Customs makes sense but that's kind of a middle of the road option.

I prefer to either spend very little money upgrading the Breakbeats OR go for a custom kit. Basically that's my whole question. Breakbeats are not bad drums so would it be possible to just upgrade them and NOT need a new kit?
Oh I thought you were in the US.
If you don’t mind an unoriginal kit then yea just work the bearing edges I guess and refinish it. I like original kits even if it is a cheap one. However, I don’t mind a nicely stained wood finish and nice bearing edges. In the US, it won’t make sense to “upgrade” a breakbeats kit.
 

bdlp_r

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Sorry, I’m going to pile on with the crowd by saying DON’T throw your money away doing the “customization” of a low end set.

I also wouldn’t recommend a local neighborhood “custom builder” unless you know he has name recognition and lots of happy customers. With all the options available on Reverb, there is really no excuse for paying too much for something when there are used options that sound great and cost a lot less.
Both really good points. If I went with improving the BBs it certainly wouldn't be to "flip" them hehe which is sketchy as you just said, it would be to actually play them and keep them for quite a long while, obviously expecting an improvement in sound. On the second point, this drum builder is Mexican but he's done several kits for pro drummers and been to trade shows in the US, etc. I went to his workshop and had a long talk with him, played his drums, etc. I'm 95% certain he's going to do a good job.

edit. Won't go into detail but the second hand market in Mexico is a mess and not as easy as buying from reverb/ebay in the US: Customs, Int'l shipping, etc.
 
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bdlp_r

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I own a set of BB's. I bought them to put in a practice space I frequent a couple of times a year.
I also own Pro grade Birch and Maple Kits.
I enjoy playing the BB's as much or more than the two Pro level kits. They're just fun.
They (BB's) far exceeded my expectations. Currently they are the single set in my drum room / practice space. They've never been moved to the practice space across town as planned. Covid played into that also.
I did stain and poly the interiors. I was very happy with the results, more focus, more sustain. Not Birch or Maple levels but a marked improvement.

I've been searching for a used Bop size Maple kit since the first week I played the BB's. They're just fun sizes to play.
I will sell a kit when I find such a kit, I don't think it will be the BB's.

Soooo, my vote is, have the edges cut, poly the interiors. Play on! while searching for a quality Maple Bop kit.

BTW, I bought my BB's brand new, the packageing was not all that. There was some edge damage, and a few bumps & scrapes here and there I found as I assembled them. I dressed up the edge damage the best I could with some careful hand sanding.
I think having the edges recut professionally will do wonders for your drums.

Last thing, I'll share a few pics.
That's two coats of Red Mahogony stain, then two coats of satin poly. (alkyd)
Awesome post! interesting to hear about your experience trying to improve the sound of the BBs. I do agree, the workmanship on the edges straight from the factory ain't all that great and I feel that fixing that + the interior poly can change the sound quite a bit. Still the bottom line is.... despite the fun factor in the BBs you would prefer a maple bop-sized kit right?, so I guess that really sums it up. If I can manage to find a way to keep both sets - new maple set + modified BB - I'll be a happy man. But if I can't then I'll be a happy owner of ONE maple set.
 

bdlp_r

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Scrap the overseas junk and have your buddy build you some drums with Mexican love !!!!!
haha I'm counting on that magic Mexican love.
But hey beggars can't be choosers man, I'd much rather spend the money on a nice brand kit - Gretsch, Inde, George Way, etc. - used or new that checks every single box.... except that they are either not available here OR available at an outrageous markup which I'm not willing to pay. Id have to buy the drums in San Diego and drive them over the border at Tijuana or something.
 

Matched Gripper

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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 would go with the new Keller shell kit. Well worth the extra 30%, IMO. The Breakbeats is all poplar to my knowledge. What wood are you looking at with the Keller shells.
 

bdlp_r

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I would go with the new Keller shell kit. Well worth the extra 30%, IMO. The Breakbeats is all poplar to my knowledge. What wood are you looking at with the Keller shells.
It’s all maple shells. 6 ply (~4mm) in toms and 8 ply (~5mm) in the bass drum. Going thin.
 

1988fxlr

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How is the hardware on the breakbeats? Would it be worth cannibalizing them and just replace the shells and bass hoops?
 

Matched Gripper

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It’s all maple shells. 6 ply (~4mm) in toms and 8 ply (~5mm) in the bass drum. Going thin.
Excellent! If you do buy the new kit and keep the Breakbeats, you can fix the bearing edges of the Breakbeats yourself without special equipment, and with minimal skills, if you want to.
 

bdlp_r

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Excellent! If you do buy the new kit and keep the Breakbeats, you can fix the bearing edges of the Breakbeats yourself without special equipment, and with minimal skills, if you want to.
Minimal skills you say? Sounds like me. Tbh i’d be more comfortable leaving that to the pros. Have you done that yourself?
 
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Plaid Sabbath

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I realize that the OP is in Mexico, but you mentioned a budget of about $1500. That’s what a Wafarer kit from INDe would cost. There was also a maple kit on the INDe site for $1250. They also sell single drums, if that would make the shipping hassles worthwhile.

Just a suggestion. (Waiting for my INDe kit to be built and delivered, hence my enthusiastic tail-wagging.)
 


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