What are some “sleeper” great vintage drums?

AustinFitz

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I would also add Pearl's early MIJ Maple shell kits. My favorites being the G-Series/ET-Series from around '79 to '83. They were the predecessors to the MLX/MX line. They're 8 ply Rock Maple shells, 6mm thick, no re-rings, and beautifully rounded 45 degree bearing edges.

I picked up my 1980 G-Series kit from a pawn shop last year for a steal, and have been madly in love with them ever since! I was blown away after hearing them for the first time, but a lot like the pre-Recording Series Yamahas they seem to stay under the radar, and not many people realize that they're professional level kits. According to the 1981 Pearl price list my Walnut lacquer Big Beat kit had a list price of $2,123!

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thejohnlec

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Maybe not considered vintage just yet, but the Slingerland drums made in Nashville in the 90s were well-made, looked great, and sounded terrific.
 

dogmanaut

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Ooh, yes. This is exactly the kind of thread I needed to fuel my already-out-of-control GAS! Keep ‘em coming, guys!

I will add my vote for British-made Premiers. Those 3-ply AM shells, in particular, are incredible.
 

lrod1707

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Maybe not considered vintage just yet, but the Slingerland drums made in Nashville in the 90s were well-made, looked great, and sounded terrific.
I love those and always wanted one. I wonder how many were actually built? I don't think they were a big seller so in the eventual used market, they might be high value kits.
 

lrod1707

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They are. Not cheap by any standards.
Never got to own one then and probably won't get to own one in the future because of that one simple reason!:confused:
I've got my limits on what I would spend on a kit!
 

AaronLatos

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Pearl fiberglass drums... can't speak first hand but they seem to go like wildfire and for not much bread. There was one on the FB Marketplace last week for $200 with 22 bass, 13 and 14 toms, 18 floor with steel snare. Couldn't justify the miles to go and get it. Last Sunday, I brought a Pearl FG bass I found to NY for DFO member Aaron Latos. He showed me how easy it was to get the old wrap off and I was amazed how nice they looked in the sun back lit! I decided I was going to drive the miles to get the kit but it was sold! Ah well, another will pop up. Our resident Studio drummer, Tommy Wells (RIP) swore by these drums... he said they record like a dream! Japanese take on Rogers hardware is pretty cool on the older drums!

Yep! :) And such huge thanks for getting that drum my way. It's going to see a lot of use.

My thoughts on sleeper drums echo some other folks:

Pearl Fiberglass and Phenolic. IMHO, the best built shells of the 70s were these and Sonor. They're THAT good. And they sound incredible: the FGs are a little more airy and ambient, whereas the phenolics are more focused, "dense," and POWERFUL. The FGs are readily available in lots of different sizes, and are easy to refinish to build a player kit (wrap is just adhered at the seams, but well, and you don't have to worry about pulling off chunks of wood). The Phenolics are a little less common, but lots of them have the beautiful 'diamond cut' lug and fun psychedelic wraps.

Plus, they're a gigging drummers dream with their temp/humidity resilience. Go ahead, leave em in a hot/cold car, shock them with a humidity change guilt free. There's no reason they shouldn't be as expensive as anything else, but you can still get steals on them.

Others: Ludwig USA-built Rockers. They get a bad rep, even from some folks on here... but I may like them even better than 3-ply Luds. They're the 4-ply m/p/p/m shell Ludwig also used on their short-lived "Superclassic" line. You can find them dirt cheap, the hardware is readily available, they're lightweight... some of them even have great outer plies.
 

barryabko

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The German Sonor Performers are great drums that can be had for cheap. I still regret selling my ferro-manganese 6.5x14 Performer snare.
I have a 6.5" x 14" Sonor Performer snare available. Please send a PM to me if you are interested in it.

Barry
 
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Ooh, yes. This is exactly the kind of thread I needed to fuel my already-out-of-control GAS! Keep ‘em coming, guys!

I will add my vote for British-made Premiers. Those 3-ply AM shells, in particular, are incredible.
Would New Era drums fall in that category? I've had a hard time getting any info about them, except they might have been student level? Mahogany shells, though.
 

dogmanaut

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Would New Era drums fall in that category? I've had a hard time getting any info about them, except they might have been student level? Mahogany shells, though.
Hmm. Don’t know on that one. I’ll have to defer to the real Premier experts on the forum.
 

AustinFitz

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I would also add the '70s Pearl COB snares. Word seems to have gotten out about them in the past few years, but a lot of people don't even realize that they're brass. I have a 6.5×14 Jupiter model with the parallel strainer. Takes a little while to dial everything in, but once it's set up it's AMAZING!

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tommykat1

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The Rogers 5x14 COB Powertone. One of the best sounding/playing snares and very reasonably priced.
True, that. The wood ones are getting fairly expensive, though still a deal compared to the wood Dyna-Sonics (I'm not a fan). The 5" and 6.5" COB Powertones are top notch drums and CHEAP for the quality and sound. I have both, and play them often, though I prefer their wood counterparts. You just can't screw up the tuning of these drums with whatever heads you choose. They are unforgiving and have an incredible, throaty sound, with a huge tuning range.
 
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