Why do we buy vintage drums vs modern drums?

Jazzhead

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There are so many different brands on the market that make great sounding drums with consistent quality, great lightweight hardware and great customer service.
BUT why do most of us prefer vintage drums? Many times our vintage drums don’t have good and reliable hardware, difficult to find or expensive to buy add-ons. Are you sure the vintage kits sound better!? Hmmm not sure!
is it the charm, the aesthetics, or the belief that vintage drums are better made (are they?) or sound better (do they?)? OR is it because they were made in the USA, England, Germany instead of China/Taiwan? Is it the appreciation value? Or because all those 60’s/70’s cats played on them!? Well those were the brand new drums at the time.

I mean a clean brand new great sounding 5 piece Tour custom is $1300, kind of in the same price range with a good/player condition 3 piece Rogers kit from the 60’s, why would you take the Rogers or the 60’s Ludwig over the brand spanking new Tour Custom or equal?

EDIT: Why do SOME of us prefer vintage drums?
 
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JDA

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Why? Because the center tom post is so, darn lighter.

That and the hoop (height) to head (surface) seemed to have been assembled/settled-on by drummers (not by "assemblers" or robots) {"feel"}
Just had what felt/feels like "more human input"
That's all. Either you feel it or you don't.
 
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JimmySticks

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Iys probably a combination of all the things you mentioned in your opening post, but I think for many they were the drums of our youth, but many couldn't afford them BITD. Money was tight for most families back in the 60s and even worse in the miserable 70s. But the boomers have come a long way, financially speaking, and can now afford those kits and they want to harken back to the days of their youth. And it's not just drums, it's cars, bikes, motorcycles, guitars etc.
 

JDA

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I never "longed" for the past it's either better or different enough to still be valid and hold up today musically. I never had the "it's what I wanted but couldn't afford in the 60s" feeling either, (sometimes I try to muster it up ; it'ain't there..) or the "harken back to the youth" thing...
Drums- good drums- pro drums- used pro drums- were cheap in the late sixties. Full set of used 60s Ludwigs were $225. With fibre cases, all the stands and A.Zildjian cymbals. If ..it was a potential career long time vision you found the $225. Gigs paid it off in a years time (see small time pro) and after that made you money..

Drums are now. If a sixties (or 50s or 40s or..30s..) instrument still works for ya it still works for ya.
Drums are now. This moment.
 
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thestorysold

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I definitely think it's a mix of all the questions you posed up there. Comparing a new Yamaha set to a vintage Ludwig set is tough in itself I think. I bought a 1967 set of Ludwigs that were spray painted black and restored them back to the original Champagne Sparkle- all in about $950 or so. If I wanted a new set made up the same way as those (wood and re-rings) I'd be spending what, $3k+? Sure the newer ones may be better overall, but the cost savings for me is huge. I really love Ludwig's new Vintage Bronze Mist finish, but the Classic Maples are $2,200-$2,500 new which is personally more than I could justify spending. Currently it's the only kit I think I'd be willing to sell some other gear for if I ever come across a used one.

Another plus with vintage drums is finding people that know nothing about drums that sell them extremely cheap. I think really good deals are getting a bit harder to come by, but they're still out there.
 

Drm1979

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I don't own any vintage drums, but if I had my pick, space, and funds to get a vintage kit it would be vintage tama superstars. With. 13" up and a 16 and 18 on the floor with a 22 kick. I love the sound of those drums. Then I'd have a Ludwig 5x14 acrolite for my snare. There are certain sound qualities that vintage drums have that excel over newer models. I'm not saying that all vintage drums are better but there are definitely standouts. And I also believe it's a matter of personal preference. And my preference on a vintage kit would be what's stated above. For newer drums it'd be a pearl masterworks in the same configuration with a sensitone snare.
 

atomicdave

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I <3 this topic!!! WHY? Here's my take on it:
Vintage drums, for the most part, are great quality!!! Not saying that SOME new ones arent, but a lot are mediocre quality.

Vintage drums have character....Chicago Illinois, Cleveland Ohio....better than....China...?

When we BUY vintage drums from a person or business in the USA, it helps OUT economy. IT doesnt put more $$$ into another country, and some, but not all of the factories in China are not what we would ever consider a good, safe workplace and envornoment.

Speaking of environment, vintage drums will not cause any more pollution or destruction of natrual resources than they did when made...but, buying a new kit will just add to that. Part of the recycling effort is REDUCE/REUSE, so to reuse a kit is being a little environmently friendly vs factory pollution and continual shipping of products overseas.

Oh, and lets REALLY talk about CO$T!!! I know, a lot thing vintage drums may be expensive...I think rarely so. Collector grade are a good percentage of the kits out there, but a lot are in a lesser category due to things like wrap fade, some extra/different parts added, or using some replacement parts/hardware, or the usual just need a good dismantle/clean. I guess over the years, I have aquired many vintage kits as "finds", and not bought as already "found an sold". Its a fun hobby, not as plentiful, but there are still drums and kits out there in garages, basements, attics, yardsales, and occasioinally washing ashore on ebay from someone selling to the highest bidder, which is another kind of fun in the hunt.

Did I mention quality? Ludwig is my main brand, and although some edges from kits in the mid 60's from the Ringo boom could be recut without sin, I see a lot of shells from the 40's and 50's that rival any new manufacture vintage style shells at 3X the price...and these...drum shells....are over 50 years old....and the hardware too....what will that Pearl Forum kit look like in 50+ years? The chrome will likely be pitted and rusted...I had a Pearl drum set info pack paper once (came in a shipping box) and actually stated not to leave in damp/humid basement or garage ofthe like as hardware will rust. Ive pulled kits out of barns that had prob been sitting for 20 years...soap bath and chrome polish...BETTER PLATING is my point!

The mistuque...if those drums could TALK! I know a lot about a kit I have, a 67 Champagne sparkle downbeat kit I bought from a drummer who died...learned a lot about him later, heard recordings of him, spoke with guys who played with him in late 1980's, and 25 years after buying met a guy who was almost certain he sold the kit to him cuz knew him and remembered him as a costumer at the music shop.

Cool wraps...and Vistalites!!! Reissue vistalites a lot more expensive than the original.

I could probably double the amount of what Ive said with being more descriptive, but I think I got my main points in here. In my best Homer Simpson voice USA! USA! USA! :)
 

JDA

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People don't but should/could/ add Polls to threads...
Maybe iPhones don't show them and adding a Poll to a thread, has gone the way of the old "light" twin tom holder ; )
 

backtodrum

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I prefer the newer stuff over vintage for the reasons stated above... Pure and simple hardware on even entry level kits are arguably better than a lot of the pro vintage stuff of the day. To me drums are drums. with the right heads and tuning they all sound good from just about any major player manufacturer now days. There is no comparison of my newer kits to the older 70s vintage Ludwig stuff I started out with and gigged into the ground... I was always having hardware issues years ago. from stripped cymbal stand set clamps to tom mounts not holding my toms without slipping down, to bass drum spurs slipping and having my bass drum creep all over the floor. Things are far better today in those areas. I can see some of the vintage vibe and sound that other players hope to return to... as for me, I just want them to set up easily and stay where I put them and not have to fuss with crappy hardware slipping and stripping out.
 

EyeByTwoMuchGeer

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I think part of it is that those vintage drums are just what people in general think drums sound like because they've been on every popular recording (basically) for the last 70 years. Not to say that people in general realize a drum sound is vintage or not. But if you took, for instance, a Civil War era field drum and played it blindfold against a Supraphonic, most people would say that the supra is what a drum should sound like, even though both drums are legit sound making devices.

I'm not saying that 'modern' drums haven't appeared on thousands of albums, but, I'd venture that some form of vintage Ludwig, Gretsch, Rodgers, etc was on most of the really popular stuff. If not those tracks, then certainly a lot of tracks that were cut by the top session guys. People just got used to working with those sounds and that's what we think of now as what a drums sounds like. There is really no reason why the aluminum Supraphonic is basically the iconic snare drum. It isn't better or worse than any other mass produced snare. But it worked back then, and it still works today.

You can see this also in the enormous amount of heads, dampening, and devices dedicated to making drums sound basically vintage. I never got the trend for making modern drums ultra resonant or lively, because unless you really know what you're doing, all that ring and resonance can drive an engineer or soundman crazy.
 

ThomasL

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Or, How about New Gretsch USA Customs, offering the Best of both worlds. Near exact sound to the classic round badge, but with better hardware and no scuffs!
I don't understand why Gretsch doesn't offer RB style outer roundover tom edges as an option?

Still, except for 18" RB bass drums, vintage drums are generally cheaper than new ones.
 

Ludwigboy

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For me, it is because I play a lot of 60's music and these drums were the sound (for me, Ludwig was the name you saw and heard so I have these ...each of us has our own preferences and drum brands we love) . Same as we see guys playing 60's Gretschs', Telecasters, Gibson ES335s', etc etc. to evoke a "sound" from"days gone by"...or maybe, also why I do it, they are more unique than buying a newer set where there are plenty around (nothing wrong with new sets if that is your interest) . This is probably why tribute bands try and get the original instruments...in order to "capture" the essence of the music they are playing.
For me, if I see a drummer playing a vintage set of drums, it seems "neat" (sorry, can't think of a better word now) since many drummers use new sets:D
 

JDA

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I don't understand why Gretsch doesn't offer RB style outer roundover tom edges as an option?

Still, except for 18" RB bass drums, vintage drums are generally cheaper than new ones.
I don't think (....) they want to confuse the market.. I can see in 10-15 years... a USA Custom Round Badge Ultra...... with the old tom tom edge.....
You say except for 18" bass drums ....old are generally less $...How's about 14x14 floor toms? Think the upper (or lower dollar) hand there goes to new ... Throw in an 8 x 12 tom....and buying new...18/12/14 besides those "ultra" tomtom edges...is the New deal/
That old tomTom edge (mounted and floors) was a little softer rounder sound

Hi Tom!
they basically put that old edge on the (new) 3 ply Broadkaster toms don't they; I don't know what the (new) bass drum and snare- in Broadkaster- edge is..)
 

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