Were you ever bitterly disappointed by a signature product?

Johnny K

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The VF Buddy Rich sticks have a mixed reaction for many here.
Not from me. They are my favorite stick. The only signature thing i ever bought that was a great disappointment to me was the 1990 Eric Clapton signature Stratocaster that I special ordered in early 1990 and waited 9 months to get. I ended up playing it sparingly on gigs, favoring my '74 Les Paul Goldtop Deluxe for 80% of the songs. If you think about it, drum sticks seem to be the one musical item that has a lot of 'signature' models relative to other musical instruments. Maybe as much or even more than guitars.
 

Elvis

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A couple of Paiste cymbals come to mind...


Way back when, I started working on the hats for the Ludwig kit (13" Signature Daark Crisp hats), the first thing I did was try a Traditional bottom under the DC top.

...sucked out every bit of life those hats had.

I'd have been better off cutting a sheet of plywood into a 13" disc and using that.
ICK.
It got swapped out pretty quick.

Recently, I picked up a 19" Dark Energy crash, hoping it might work as a light ride.
NOPE.
Too light to ride, too heavy to crash.....$500+ I never got back.

After that, a pre-Ludwig Ghost pedal I had in the 80's.
Flippy, floppy, flung it down the road.


Elvis
 

Monday317

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The VF Buddy Rich sticks have a mixed reaction for many here.

Maybe bitterly disappointed is a strong term, but I had TWO Stewart Copeland Blue Bell rides. I loved it on aesthetics, but it was so hard to coax the normal Paiste bell sound from it. It was one of the hardest rides for me to play bearing the Paiste name. I wanted it to work so much I bought it TWICE! Saddest part was that the cymbal it’s based upon is easier to play!

What about you?
About 15 years ago, I made the acquaintance of a vintage drum collector who had a 1927 Ludwig Deluxe 14” x 5” snare drum, what we now call a Black Beauty. It was factory engraved with a nice floral pattern, fitted with tube lugs, single flange hoops and a rudimentary throw off. All metal hardware was brass and coated in what they called “Ludigold”, which looked liked nothing more than a slightly glittery gold paint. The drum had its original skin heads and catgut snares. The kind of drum that, if it went up on auction, would probably have a reserve of $12,000 USD and sell for a lot more. Beautiful!

Yet when I played it, the drum sounded just like any brass-shelled drum you might run across. You couldn’t have distinguished it from the new BB I owned at the time, except for the slightly sharper attack of the more modern drum; they were tonal clones otherwise. Worse, I visited a local drum store and whacked on a Pearl Sensitone II brass drum that I actually preferred more, kicking myself for buying into the BB hype in the first place.

Still, it was a relief to learn the Holy Grail of Snare Drums’ sole magic was in its vintage status. That and a Fiberskyn head sounds just like calfskin sans PITA factor. First time it hit me between the eyes how hype affects the brain and heart...
 

Monday317

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About 15 years ago, I made the acquaintance of a vintage drum collector who had a 1927 Ludwig Deluxe 14” x 5” snare drum, what we now call a Black Beauty. It was factory engraved with a nice floral pattern, fitted with tube lugs, single flange hoops and a rudimentary throw off. All metal hardware was brass and coated in what they called “Ludigold”, which looked liked nothing more than a slightly glittery gold paint. The drum had its original skin heads and catgut snares. The kind of drum that, if it went up on auction, would probably have a reserve of $12,000 USD and sell for a lot more. Beautiful!

Yet when I played it, the drum sounded just like any brass-shelled drum you might run across. You couldn’t have distinguished it from the new BB I owned at the time, except for the slightly sharper attack of the more modern drum; they were tonal clones otherwise. Worse, I visited a local drum store and whacked on a Pearl Sensitone II brass drum that I actually preferred more, kicking myself for buying into the BB hype in the first place.

Still, it was a relief to learn the Holy Grail of Snare Drums’ sole magic was in its vintage status. That and a Fiberskyn head sounds just like calfskin sans PITA factor. First time it hit me between the eyes how hype affects the brain and heart...

Not a Signature disappointment but I thought the experience might be helpful to pass on.

FWIW, the Pearl Omar Hakim signature snare is truly all that and a bag of chips! I couldn’t live without mine.

Also Bopworks’ 40’s Swing Classic sticks are worth every penny. I have never found a wood-tipped stick that actually improves the tone of a drum (at the throne of course) as these do. Astounding!
 

LRod1707

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I don't buy "signature" anything! I've never believed that whatever works for a famous musician is going to be what works for me. I like specifications that are specific to me and not somebody else. For example, I loved Neil Peart but never bought a Paragon cymbal. I also find it strange to have the persons autograph stamped on to the product that I'm using. Makes me feel like I'm paying homage to them or something of the sort.
 

senecaty

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To be honest, I’m automatically disappointed by most signature products; I chalk most of them up to marketing gimmicks. While I’ve come across a few goodies, most don’t seem to actually embody their signee IMO. On top of that and as others have mentioned, I find it a little weird having someone else’s name on my gear. I’ve learned that it’s better to try and find your own sound...

My biggest disappoints were oddly both Chad Smith products. His Sabian Crash/Ride from the 90’s and Pearl snare from the 2000’s weren’t up to par. They clearly weren’t the RHCP sound and mistakes I made in my early years.

With that said, there are well done products as well. Most Promark signature sticks seem fine. My Stanton Moore SoNO is incredible (but it’s a Dunnett...so there’s that). I’ve even met a few Sabian sigs that are great as well!
 

Richie Paradise

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The Istanbul Mel Lewis cymbals are amazing and is probably why their resale is pretty high.

I use the 19" crash ride (as a crash) and the hi hats in my big band (and other gigs, they're great). I also use the 21" sizzle ride a lot with any jazz gigs. I picked up an Istanbul Tony Williams 22" ride recently on offer and that too is really great. I think because they've designed the cymbals to replicate the sound of those guys and it's the sound I associate with those styles of music.

I was given some of the BR sticks and was surprised how well they played seeing as they came across as much thicker that what I was used to, but they weren't right for me.

Also that Chad Smith snare is a really good piece of kit for the money. I loved the snare throw and it was really focused for a steel snare.
 

Whitten

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Yet when I played it, the drum sounded just like any brass-shelled drum you might run across. You couldn’t have distinguished it from the new BB I owned at the time, except for the slightly sharper attack of the more modern drum; they were tonal clones otherwise. Worse, I visited a local drum store and whacked on a Pearl Sensitone II brass drum that I actually preferred more, kicking myself for buying into the BB hype in the first place.

Still, it was a relief to learn the Holy Grail of Snare Drums’ sole magic was in its vintage status.

It's all so subjective. I owned and recorded with a 1970's Black Beauty for years. I have owned and recorded with a 1920's Black Beauty since the 1990's. I think I paid $1250 for it at the time. It doesn't sound like a 70's Black Beauty to me, certainly not like 'any brass shelled drum'. I'm not saying it's better, just different. It's subjective what is good for you might not be good for me.
All my drums are player drums. I don't go for vintage just for the sake of it, gold hardware etc...
The 1920's BB always sounds good in the studio. I have rented and borrowed other brass snares, especially things like Drum Paradise and Worldmax, and they don't sound AS GOOD to ME. that's subjective again.
I sample drums for living (in part) and I have always been impressed with the Pearl Sensitones. They are killer sounding drums at a very affordable price.
 

Whitten

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The Istanbul Mel Lewis cymbals are amazing and is probably why their resale is pretty high.
Again, not to be a cracked record, but a good cymbal is a good cymbal, whether it's supposedly a signature product or not. I have a very nice Mel Lewis ride. Cindy Blackman's Mantra crash is probably my favourite crash. I'm borrowing one of her 22" Mantra rides this week, again it sounds wonderful.
based on the product description, I really want to try the Idris Muhammad and Joey Warner rides. The rest of my Agop are just 'Traditional Series'
 

DamnSingerAlsoDrums

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I've owned lots of signature products.Not much to do with the 'signature' but it sometimes gives you a clue how the product is gong to sound. If I like something I use it, whether it's a signature product or not.
I really have no interest in Steve Smith, although I obviously respect him as a player. I tried a bunch of sticks once and the VF Steve Smith felt the best for me. So I often use his sticks. I also use VF 'American Classic'.
I really like the Istanbul Agop Mantra crash (Cindy Blackman). Again I just tried a few crashes and liked that one. A friend recommended her Mantra hats (15") so now I use those too. I like what Joey Waronker stands for, and a lot of the projects he is involved in (Beck, Roger Waters), so I'm intrigued to try his Agop ride. It's not like I'm trying to become him.
Those 15" Agop Mantra hats (Blackman) are the only signature item I own at the moment, and I think they're great. I wasn't even aware of the Blackman connection when I selected them out of 8 or 9 pairs of hats I tried that day. The sales dude told me about it after I'd made up my mind.

I'm usually wary of signature items. For me , a printed on or inlaid autograph is more of a deterrent than an incentive. The Mantra hats do not have an autograph displayed, wich I think, is a classy move.
 

Rufus T Firefly

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Never really got into the signature stuff. I don't care so much about how some other guys stuff sounds. I know what I like and that's what I buy. That said I have been using the dark colored VF Dave Weckl sticks for years now. They're just the perfect stick for me. Now I couldn't care less about Dave's name being on them and quite frankly I'd much prefer to be able to buy the same stick without the paint. But they work for me and I don't see any need to look for anything else.
 

Mcjnic

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Now I couldn't care less about Dave's name being on them and quite frankly I'd much prefer to be able to buy the same stick without the paint.
Years ago, Evelyn Gleanie (sp) had a signature stick that was almost dead on to the Weckl. I used to play those when the Weckl color transfer got to be too much.
She had several models, but if you dig the specs from them, you should nail the model I'm speaking of. The measurements were pretty much identical. It was a brilliant stick. Felt and played like the Weckl ... and I believe it also came in a nylon tip, which was a cool extra.
 
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Dumpy

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I have never bought BECAUSE of the signature unless there were hallmarks that were present from a player’s style. Of course the Stewart Copeland cymbal was just weird.
 

Rufus T Firefly

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Years ago, Evelyn Gleanie (sp) had a signature stick that was almost dead on to the Weckl. I used to play those when I got tired of the Weckl color transfer got to be too much.
She had several models, but if you dig the specs from them, you should nail the model I'm speaking of. The measurements were pretty much identical. It was a brilliant stick. Felt and played like the Weckl ... and I believe it also came in a nylon tip, which was a cool extra.
Interesting. Nylon tips are a must for me. Are these still available? The paint is the one thing I don't like about the Weckl sticks. First as you use them and the paint chips away from cymbal strikes they just get uglier faster than unpainted sticks. Second, when I play using the butt end of the stick it leaves those ugly paint marks on my pretty coated ambassadors. I've stuck with them nonetheless because they were just the perfect stick for me aside from the paint. I would definitely be very interested in a similar stick without the paint.
 
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WLVN

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I bought some of Zildjian's Steve Gadd black drum sticks at a good discount and found out that they must've been discounted for good reason. They left horrible black marks on my brand new heads.
 

Dumpy

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Never really got into the signature stuff. I don't care so much about how some other guys stuff sounds. I know what I like and that's what I buy. That said I have been using the dark colored VF Dave Weckl sticks for years now. They're just the perfect stick for me. Now I couldn't care less about Dave's name being on them and quite frankly I'd much prefer to be able to buy the same stick without the paint. But they work for me and I don't see any need to look for anything else.
I feel the same, except if I think I can get a sound that I hear from that particular drummer by using that item (Copeland ride LOL). Price point stuff won’t normally get a second look.
 

Rufus T Firefly

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I feel the same, except if I think I can get a sound that I hear from that particular drummer by using that item (Copeland ride LOL). Price point stuff won’t normally get a second look.
Oh absolutely Dumpy, if there is a signature product out there that fulfills my needs I will buy it. I'll just never buy it BECAUSE it's a signature model. I actually own a Ludwig Carl Palmer Venus piccolo snare. I bought it because I liked the sound and it's just an absolutely beautiful drum to gaze upon. Carl's name on it mattered to me not at all.
 


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