What do you recall about drum marketing when you were a kid?

drummer5359

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In the mid seventies I would go to "DRUMS" in Crafton PA with my drummer buddy Kevin. Every local drummer that I knew had a set of Ludwigs or wanted a set of Ludwigs. Well, everyone but me. DRUMS sold Ludwig, Slingerland, Rogers, Gretsch, Premier, Pearl, Fibes, and at one point North. It was an amazing shop at that time. They had catalogs on the counter, I gravitated to Slingerland. I read those catalogs cover to cover until the covers fell off, then I read them some more. One day we walked up to the shop and they had my "grail" in the window. It was a "blakrome" 1975 Slingerland kit. It was a 12", 13", 16", 22" kit with a COB snare. The bass drum was virgin with no tom mount, the toms were mounted on a separate stand. WOW!

I don't remember the price anymore, but I'm thinking that it was somewhere around $700 with hardware. It may as well have been a million dollars, it was out of reach. I continued to play my beat up sixties era blue sparkle "stencil kit" (Del Rey) and dream. When I was eighteen I bought a used 1965 champagne sparkle Slingerland in beautiful condition, I never forgot that kit in the window though.

Fast forward to 1992. I had lived up and down the east coast and found myself back in the Pittsburgh area. I had a bad motorcycle accident the previous year and sold everything I owned of value while I was in recovery. I was finally getting back on my feet (literally) and started looking for a used kit. Guess what I stumbled upon! It had a sticker in the bass drum that said "DRUMS". It had to be the same kit. I bought it of course. I found an 18" floor tom in the same finish and serial number range years later. Here is a photo of the kit in 2008.
 

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jptrickster

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Wow, My old stomping grounds bought my first Rogers swivo pedal at Drums. Small world once again! Had to be 71 or 72. My Grandmother lived in Crafton I grew up in Crafton Heights, lots of family in the Burgh. Miss those times
 

Skyrm

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My memory on this is fuzzy, but that sounds probably like Creem magazine. For a few years they did an annual drum/percussion special section (maybe 10pp or so) written by Dave somebody at some drum shop in Memphis or Nashville (if I'm semi-remembering correctly).
DAVE PATRICK! He wrote one in Creem that I saved: "Skin Tight! Boy Howdy's Guide to Drums". My favorite part was a pic of Earth Wind and Fire in concert, with all their percussion up front. He titled it "The Drumset That Ate Cleveland!".

Dave is a great guy - he was at Memphis Drum Shop, and I met him in the late 80's while I was working at a certain drum company in a small South Carolina town. He taught me a lot in a short while, including helping develop my ear for cymbal sounds. We spent lots of time going through the crates of Istanbuls.
 

Skyrm

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And yeah, for me it was drum catalogs and posters, until Modern Drummer came out! I was lusting after Ludwigs like Carmine's, Sonor rosewood finish, Tama Superstars, and Gretsch. in 1980, my aunt passed away and left me some money. I happened to read a Gretsch kit reviewed in some mag, and the tagline was "Gretsch owners don't worry about mundane things like money!"

So, I spent $1,000 on a really nice stereo, $1,000 on a Syndrum quad setup, and $1,000 on a Gretsch walnut finish kit: 10, 12, 13, 14, 16, 22 and matching snare. The stereo lasted me a long time, the Syndrums were gone in a few years, but the Gretsch kit stayed with me for 27 years!!
 

cribbon

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And yeah, for me it was drum catalogs and posters, until Modern Drummer came out! I was lusting after Ludwigs like Carmine's, Sonor rosewood finish, Tama Superstars, and Gretsch. in 1980, my aunt passed away and left me some money. I happened to read a Gretsch kit reviewed in some mag, and the tagline was "Gretsch owners don't worry about mundane things like money!"

So, I spent $1,000 on a really nice stereo, $1,000 on a Syndrum quad setup, and $1,000 on a Gretsch walnut finish kit: 10, 12, 13, 14, 16, 22 and matching snare. The stereo lasted me a long time, the Syndrums were gone in a few years, but the Gretsch kit stayed with me for 27 years!!
Apparently they also didn't used to concern themselves with dinky details like functional/reliable hardware. >;^)
 

Skyrm

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Apparently they also didn't used to concern themselves with dinky details like functional/reliable hardware. >;^)
Actually, the article Dave Patrick wrote for Creem has a big section on Gretsch, and how he bought virgin drums and added other brands of hardware to them. The guys from EWF got a couple kits from him.
 

cribbon

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Actually, the article Dave Patrick wrote for Creem has a big section on Gretsch, and how he bought virgin drums and added other brands of hardware to them. The guys from EWF got a couple kits from him.
That was a big thing in the 70s and 80s. You'd see all these guys in NYC (including Omar Hakim) playing Gretsch drums with the hip hardware-du-jour on them (mainly Pearl in the 70s and then Yamaha in the 80s). Omar was using his Gretsch/Pearl kit when he joined Weather Report in 82.
 

Rik_Everglade

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Modern Drummer was it, in the 70's - 80's. There was an add for an Artstar set with Neil Peart. Get the poster for $2 they said. I sent in two $1 bills with the add(hey, I was a kid). I never got the poster. I remember that, and I don't buy Tama.
 

kdgrissom

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I was a lad the late 60's and I lived no more than about 8 miles from Drums Unlimited in Bethesda, MD. They always had lots of free catalogs/pamphlets/flyers on the countertop. Long after bedtime I would curl up under my covers with my boy scout flashlight and read and re-read those items as well as Schwinn bicycle catalogs and comic books.
 

hector48

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1980 Ludwig catalog. The drums had clear heads with the silver dot in the middle.
They were the coolest looking heads ever. My drum teacher suggested either Yamaha or Pearl for my first real set.
In the Yamaha and Pearl catalogs, the heads were boring coated white.
Ludwig had the nicest looking drum catalog.
So, I got the Ludwigs for 1980 Xmas, based mostly on the drum heads and the catalog pictures.
Looking back now, I wish I would have chosen Yamaha.
But, for what it's worth, I still have that Ludwig kit.
 

PaulD

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For cymbals really Zildjian and Paiste were the only options at that time (K Zildjian had folded and the trademark not yet resurrected by the American branch of the family). I didn't pay much attention to Paiste although I would write for their catalogs. Zildjian's Cymbals set-ups of pro drummers booklets were real eye catchers. I had a similar book from Paiste but didn't recognize much of anyone in it. Zildjian's had Buddy, Gene, and Louie, and a whole lot more.
I remember I had a soft cover book, maybe 6x8" that had all of Zildjian's endorsers and their cymbal set ups. It had to be 200 pages and I flipped through that all the time.
 

GeeDeeEmm

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1960s for me, and the ONLY exposure I had to the drumsets that I simply loved to look at were those heavenly catalogs (no music stores, so every year, the first week of January, I would send my letters to Ludwig and Slingerland, who would dutifully send them to me) and whatever glimpses I could get of drumsets on television - the Lawrence Welk Show and Ed Sullivan. That was it. Living in the sticks made finding anything to do with drums quite the effort.
GeeDeeEmm
 

ncdrumr

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I remember seeing the Tama Xtras in a catalog in the early '80s, and watching so many drummers go to power toms, square sizes, etc. I guess Sonor and Slingerland had been doing the power sizes already.....? Never liked them myself.
 

thejohnlec

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All the Modern Drummers ads. The back cover was always a Zildjian endorser and they always said the coolest stuff in those ads, and the cymbals looked just magical. I also had a bunch of catalogs and carried around the Ludwig catalog at school all the time.
 

A.TomicMorganic

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I was on my second drum set before I even knew there were catalogs. Got my first kit about 1953. Used Slingerland blue and silver duco. Got Ludwig (new) in '59 when I got my first real union gig.
 

squidart

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Catalogs and more catalogs! I was extremely forunate that my parents were good friends with Phil Hulsey who worked for St Louis Music and later for Slingerland. I had enough paper to start my own route! You might guess what brand my first pro kit was :)
 

pwc1141

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A magazine in UK called Melody Maker was my only source of information from ads. I used to cut out the pics and file them way before I ever had a kit. Then, ironically, I bought whatever I could afford as my first kit and it was unbranded as I recalll ....:)
 

Seb77

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My earliest infleunce (late 80s) regarding brands were two Pearl kits, one at my teahcer's place and one at school; the ubiquity of the Export series was its own advertising My teacher also had a Sonor Phonic as his personal kit that seemed out of reach (and heavy).

I also got some catalogs and I remember the strong rock/metal bias Tama seemed to have, not my thing. Sabian , too, remembering very colorful lighting and long hair in their catalog.

If I had had the money, I would have gone K Zildjian/Yamaha just like Weckl :) Never got into Yamaha for some reason (got some more Pearls instead), but the Z marketing worked in my case :)
 

aratts

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Slingerland, Rogers, Ludwig, Pearl catalogs from the 1970s— would look at them for hours. Later independent drum store catalogs (Pre Guitar Center). Even later MD
 

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