First mention I've ever heard of "poor Sonor quality."In 1978 I ordered a new SONOR Phonic Rosewood 18/12/14”, at the time the most expensive drums money could buy. I have played my rear end off to be able to afford it. Poor SONOR quality (all lug screws were loose) upset me and made me buy my first vintage drum, a 1961 White Marine Pearl LUDWIG Super Classic snare drum. I sold that SONOR set to my drum teacher in 1979 and have not touched a SONOR drum ever since.
The main difference to me, vintage drums have aged woods, were hand-made to a large degree and they do have a "soul" which mass production drums from Asia cannot have. Also, light hardware. In terms of quality, nothing beats pre-serial Keystone LUDWIGs (early 1960s), PREMIERs up to the late 1970s, SLINGERLANDs up to the late 1960s or French ASBAs up to the mid 1970s. GRETSCH is not on that list, they just sound good. I have restored over 150 drums by now and I have seen quite a bit, good and bad.
Having said that, quality has become better and even cheap sets for $ 600 or so do sound good today. View attachment 426262 View attachment 426263 View attachment 426264
I helped his tour manager load the aforementioned Slingerland drums onto the bus when I saw Buddy play in 1985. I then got to meet Buddy one-on-one. It was a cherished memory for me. ^^He says they sounded better than anything they make today. I agree, it's a huge misconception that you need new drums to sound great.Here it is:
After purchasing several late model Drum kits from many manufacturers, I could never achieve the sound I was searching for. I tried changing drum heads rims, mounts and still the sound was choked... I was struggling to get back to the sound I had enjoyed years ago.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):
I agree. The Yamaha builds from 1977 to the early 1990's are pretty sweet. The RC's are very pricey though. The relative value of the 7000 and 9000 series drums is excellent....same quality....and fairly similar tones to the RC's. I'd toss the early Tama Superstars right in there too.I settled with Yamaha vintage drums because I knew they finished their drums inside and out in the 60s, 70s and 80s. and most were not laminate coated. This approach protected the wood from delamination, and I could live with external scrapes, scratches and gouges, plus Yamaha quality has always been the best... Finally, the current Yamaha hardware fits their vintage drum shells ... so for me personally, it was the obvious choice.