What Caused Drummers to Start to Seek Vintage Drums?

Targalx

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I was watching a Rick Beato video tonight and they were talking about how guitarists in the 1970s started seeking guitars from the '50s and '60s because the major manufacturers in the 1970s weren't making new guitars with the same quality or playability or materials as those they produced 10 or 20 years prior. Also, at the time, the "vintage" guitars were actually cheaper than the new guitars.

What made drummers start to seek vintage drums? When was that turning point of "maybe we should start buying older kits" instead of new ones? When did newer not necessarily mean better, and why was that the case?

Here's the video link (they talk about the start of finding vintage instruments around the 8-minute mark):
 

tommykat1

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I began collecting vintage drums when I bought them new, LOL! I still have my Rogers Buddy Rich Headliner from new in 1967 and Rogers XP8 Londoner 7 from 1980, hand picked from the Monrovia factory. That's my vintage drum story.

BTW, I wanted to trade that 1967 4 piece blue sparkle Rogers Headliner as a down payment on the 1980 Londoner, but the dealer would only give me $50, so I said, screw it, I'll keep 'em. The rest is history. My history. Yeah!

I still play all these drums today because the design was way before their time, and they sound fabulous in any setting.
 

Hop

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I was watching a Rick Beato video tonight and they were talking about how guitarists in the 1970s started seeking guitars from the '50s and '60s because the major manufacturers in the 1970s weren't making new guitars with the same quality or playability or materials as those they produced 10 or 20 years prior. Also, at the time, the "vintage" guitars were actually cheaper than the new guitars.
I think those are the key points here... I'd also say that the bigger driver was better pricing on a used kit (well, at least a few years ago).
At some point though certain items just start to become silly. Like the Bonham kit, or the 6.5" Black Beauties from the late 70's/early 80's. Never understood why those were fetching ~2K when you could get a new one for at least 1K less than the "vintage" one. I used to wonder if some folks merely confused these with the 2-pc shells from the 20'S, but these things were getting another 1-3K uptick!!!

I think standards for many manufacturers are much higher today than there were 20+ years ago. So, I think you get a lot of instrument for your money, and a big plus to that is just how custom of a kit you can get from just about any of the big companies (plus countless other boutique shops).
 

Iristone

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For metal snares, price.
For wood drums, sometimes a relatively minor difference in construction can take a drum from "nice" to "that's it!" for me, and sometimes those "that's it" drums just happen to be not in production right now. :wink:
 

Ludwigboy

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I wonder if drummers were seeking out vintage drums for the same reasons vintage guitarists seek out vintage guitars.... they are trying to "get that sound" all of us heard on the records 35-50 plus years ago or may be after a "vintage" sound etc etc (e.g. Stray cats) for newer songs so they seek out vintage instruments including drums.
If a drummer was doing 60's-70's cover songs, he might want to seek out drums of that period which might give a more "authentic" sound than buying a new kit. I think this is especially true with tribute bands (Beatles, Eagles, Stones etc etc) who drummers may try and acquire the drums that the groups used then to "get that sound".
And then there's the non professional drummer who always wanted a set in a particular wrap played by their favourite drummer.
One other point is that fact that, at this point in time, companies aren't able to duplicate the wraps that were around years ago..I'm thinking of Ludwig's oyster black pearl, oyster blue pearl, oyster pink pearl, psychedelic red and citrus mod specifically. The new wraps are fine but they haven't been able match the 60's wraps so if you want that actual wrap, you have to acquire the actual drum with that wrap from that time period.

And let's not forget how GREAT some of the old wraps looked whether at home or on stage.:):) (not that I am "knocking" new wraps)

Just my humble opinions :)
 

steambent

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I am out of touch. About 3/4 way thru the video they started talking about the newer amps, never heard of them.

Around 1980 I drove past a Salvation Army and saw this huge bass drum in the window. Went in and it was a Leedy (I had never heard of them) and it had weird heads on it (calf and I had never seen them). Of course I bought it and in my opinion grossly over paid for. Then a few years later in MD was the article about about someone fixing up a RK Kit for BR and then shortly after that MD had an article on Charlie Donnelly.Shortly after that hear is LAB with with Bum playing his BDP RK Kit on the cover. I have been broke ever since then!!
 

kdgrissom

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As a kid, I had choices, but I wanted the drums that my teacher had, so I went with a '75 Rogers kit with some help from my parents. My teacher loved Rogers, but he once said that he wished he had a Camco. I recently got my own Camco and I now know why he wanted one.
I think that another aspect of this desire for vintage instruments is that a lot of collectors never had enough scratch to buy their dream kit when they were kids, so now they seek out that model that will transport them back to their youth.
 

Tama CW

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Other aspects not mentioned already were inflationary economic trends that caused people to seek out value in collectibles of all sorts. Drums were not immune. I saw the trends in coins, art, furniture, cars, etc. Relative value.

I recall in 1984 selling my 60's or 70's BDP Rogers 5 pc kit for $225 to a friend in order to get a new Tama Superstar for 4X the price. And in the end the Superstar didn't give me anything magical over the Rogers and other USA brands I had tried in the 70's and 80's. It was not a smart relative purchase....more like an MTV or Modern Drummer mag "influenced" purchase. The used vintage kits were great bargains vs. the new drums. And eventually more and more people realized that.

Stages to the recent collecting booms were 1962-1980, 1982-1990, 1995-2008, and then another shot in the arm 2012-2016. Due to the influences of Donnelly and others, and just pure economics, drums really started participating in the 1980's, and then especially in that 1995-2008 window. I saw the exact same dynamic occur in collector muscle cars where in 1993. I refused to pay $22,000 for a new LT1 Firebird Trans Am when there were perfectly good and cool muscle cars from the 1964-1972 period still out there in nice shape for $3K-$12K. I ended up buying a 1969 roadrunner 383ci 4 speed for $3K....and fully gone through and needing almost nothing....and a far better relative value imo over a $22K new Firebird (and today that RR is worth 5X more and the Firebird about 1/5th as much). And the muscle cars in general still had more performance and power than what Detroit was putting out. Muscle car prices soared from 1996-2007....going up by a factor of 3X to 5X for the more desirable models. Vintage musical instruments and drums got sucked up into that as money was being printed with minimal control during the past 60 yrs. That was the underlying driver....the cheapening of currencies....which was a good reason to influence past generations to buy the drums of their youth.
 
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PaulD

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Other aspects not mentioned already were inflationary economic trends that caused people to seek out value in collectibles of all sorts. Drums were not immune. I saw the trends in coins, art, furniture, cars, etc. Relative value.
I agree. The prices on vintage stereos have gotten ridiculous. Restored monster receivers from the late 70s (like the Pioneer SX-1250) are past $2000
 

davezedlee

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i'd have to say, Levon Helm, who purposefully created a whole "genre" that emphasized mismatched period pieces... when that style of music had a revival, everyone went out to put their stamp on their version, and the demand started the ball rolling

using "new" drums reduced the authenticity, plus the sounds were less bright and "attack-y"
 
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CC Cirillo

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There is also a bit of a nostalgia factor for some. One might be north of forty and start to long for that kit of one’s youth, or that kit one longed for but never had.
Vistalites in Tequila Sunrise are typically more affordable than a ‘72 Barracuda, and take up less space in one’s garage.
 

K.O.

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For me it was a picture of Bun Carlos playing his vintage Radio Kings and thinking " That might be cool to have an old kit like that" That thought festered in my mind for a couple years without resulting in actually buying any old drums. Then I picked up an early issue of Not So Modern Drummer which really peaked my interest to the point where I started actively looking for old drums. This was pre internet so that meant sending away for sales lists and flyers from various places. It has snowballed from there, further facilitated by the internet and discovering ebay in the late 90s. Further enhanced by the Chicago Drum show and having a Music Go Round open nearby.

I think in my case a lot of it is nostalgia for the drums of my youth that I could not afford coupled with a love of history. I tend to like older stuff, including drums, although I will be the first to admit that modern drums are much better made than vintage ones.

I think drums are different from guitars in that famous drummers, for the most part, tend to use the latest and greatest new sets on tour while guitarist tend more towards vintage instruments that the manufacturers try to reproduce for the masses.
 

JDA

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In the Eighties you started seeing drummers using vintage (or weird) snares with their sets.
Old WFL, Ludwig & Ludwig, Radio Kings..
Started with snares- big deep phat wood snares. With "new" kits, right?
(maybe Porcaro and Jordan)

Maybe at the time "they" the big companies weren't making them. (or pushing them) (WOOD)
Could be same with cymbals. In the 80s "they" weren't making them (thin, handhammered, dark) . So the turn back- towards- true Turkish (Mel Lewis) (that brought on the Turkish explosion and the mining of old Ks...)
nostalgia (not to be confused with actors nostalgia) It was that, the sound (and feel) was getting lost. That (moreso than the look) I think was what the resurge was about. Look didn't hurt either (not in cymbals tho, looks don't matter much there) It was sound.
 
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PaulD

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One thing to consider in all this is selection bias. The video at the start talks about vintage guitars. The ones they're holding were all at least decent guitars to start and there may have been a good reason they were treated well and preserved. There's plenty of vintage stuff that was complete garbage at the time. They do make a good point about stuff in the 70s. That decade was a disaster for lots of types of manufactured goods. That's an unfortunate byproduct of the type of economy the 70s had.

With new stuff, modern CNC manufacturing and computer aided design has made even low end items function very well and be reliable. Wood is another factor and old growth wood really might be a differentiator that can't completely be replicated now.
 

BennyK

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Great video !!

My favourite guitarists played Les Pauls - Peter Green, Paul Kosoff, Harvey Mandel , Dicky Betts as examples .

Mahogany vs Maple , Gibson vs Fender . A similar polarity seems to assert itself in the vintage drum world too .

Maximum effect with minimum effort isn't always decided by the age or manufacturer, but seems to be consistently inherent in some vintage instruments , drums included . If I'm clever, I'll hold on to my Pearl fiberglass .

Maple vs Mahogany , Gibson vs Fender . It must be a transcendent experience to hold a piece of history in your hands , thank God I've been spared that particular vice .

BTW my buddy has a sixties Silvertone hollow body electric that even I sound pretty good on - go figure .
 
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Frank Godiva

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I don't know the answer but I will say that Buddy Rich did not endorse any drum company in the last years of his life so he could have played anything he wanted, but he chose Slingerland Radio Kings

Gotta find the Larry King interview where he talks about it
 

gkrk

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Electronic drums and drum machines sort of led to a reaction and "return" to acoustic drums and that got some people reconsidering the earlier drums, and all this happening parallel to the rise of computer designed and computer assisted production of new drums and attention to bearing edges and wood types. This seems to be a line of thinking I encountered here on DFO or somewhere in other sources.
 
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