Why do we buy vintage drums vs modern drums?

tgregorek

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Well my vintage drums were just used drums when I bought them. I bought a set of 1973 Slingerlands in 1977. It was a standard 5 piece kit, 22,12,13,16, I already had a chrome snare drum, a 1975 Slingerland COB Gene Krupa I had bought new. I have since then collected 14 matching pieces. I never played "Professionally" full time so I never felt the need to buy new drums. I took care of mine and I play out occasionally. What I have discovered is that, at least in my opinion, that my drums are louder than modern drums. when I have to play modern drums I feel like I have to beat the crap out of them to get any sound out of them. My son started playing and I found a set of 1967 Ludwigs that someone was literally giving away. I have added extra matching pieces to it as well. So I guess the Grand answer is I bought them before they were vintage.
 

Radio King

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Tour Customs are Stage Customs with a maple shell... they are designed more fore studio work than live play. Compare those to the old tour customs made in the 1980s and you will hear a very distinct difference. I figured out a few years ago as I was going through kits like women go through shoes, that there was a change in drum design which occurred in the late 90s onward..

Drums of today are designed for studio work... therefore the focus is to make them not have ring, sustain, harmonics... etc.... by the way theses are all desirable functions of a live venue kit Older drums were constructed for live play .... newer drums however are mostly designed for studio play
Where are you getting this info?
 

TheMattJones88

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Drums of today are designed for studio work... therefore the focus is to make them not have ring, sustain, harmonics... etc.... by the way theses are all desirable functions of a live venue kit Older drums were constructed for live play .... newer drums however are mostly designed for studio play
My Noble and Cooley and Sonor kits would like to disagree. My 60's Slingerland was super thuddy and didn't cut at all. The new drums resonate way more and have significantly more cut in a mix.
 

Robert Albiston

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Good topic. I have a dw kit and two 60's Ludwig kits. I believe I first got on the 60's Ludwig train when I was looking to get a Supraphonic snare about 7 years ago. I ended up getting a '78 LM400 and a few months later found a very minty '65 Acro at a great price. Both of these snares sound fantastic and have held up very well.

Just recently, I looked at getting a Ludwig Classic Maple kit. I then realized that I wanted something different than an all-maple kit as that's what I've had since 2001. I looked into the Ludwig Legacy series kits; when I came across someone playing a 60's Ludwig 3-ply kit. Once I heard the sound and tone coming from that kit I knew that's what I needed to get. After doing some further research, I was blown away by how well they sounded when played in modern bands on big (or small) stages to be 50+ year old drums. I always thought of them to be 'fragile' since they were so old. Nope.

I was then impressed by the price on which you could get a 60's kit that's in very good condition. Some, as we know, are overpriced....

When they arrived, it was like I was going through my grandparent's old furniture - the smell of the shells and just wondering where they have been the past 50+ years. Seeing the date stamps and the chalk marks/initials on the shells was awesome. Someone at the Ludwig factory dated these shells and signed off on them and I still see it to this day. They tune up very easily and sound great. The bearing edges are great and the shells have no issues.

I was so impressed with the first kit that I purchased another with a smaller depth bass drum (12x22) and in my favorite wrap - Oyster Blue Pearl.

Granted, my dw's are almost 20 years old and have held up very well. They are also very well made, but these Ludwigs kits have certain characteristics that the dw's just don't have - a certain tone, mojo, vibe, etc. that I love.
I agree. I’ve spin sanded my ‘67 Ludwig Hollywood kit a little to refine the bearing edges. Musicians used to modern kits have praised them as “the real deal.” They have a beautiful sound, groove, and seem to invent new patterns. I wouldn’t dis a great modern kit by any means, but rolling these out is worth it.
 

Howstamychi

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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?
Great question. The vintage drums worth owning are far more beautiful and elegant imo and sound warmer and yes often better. Arguably the tone of the wood tempers as it does with a violin and creates a more pleasing tone. Re rings were standard. That said brand new kits, now vintage, on classic records sound better than anything I hear recorded today, samples and drum replacements notwithstanding. The finishes were thinner, sometimes woven into the plys of the drum and with the pearls contained toxic metals and materials now banned that gave them a luster no modern wrap could compare to. Like looking into a marble. The smaller chip patterns on modern pearl wraps to my eye are less than desirable and one dimensional and you can sometimes see where the pattern repeats as on a quilt. A tight seam on a vintage drum is far less noticeable due to the thinner wrap and often placed behind a lug or mounting bracket. The hardware while often not as sturdy on vintage drums is plenty sturdy and arguably lighter and adequate and classier as compared to clunky and capable of being the foundation of a skyscraper. Very often vintage hoops and metal shells and lugs were chrome over brass and triple chrome dipped and/or with nickel Lugs. Rather than a metal alloy single chrome dipped. Vintage drums were mostly hand crafted as opposed to mass produced. I think for many it is the chance to own kits they lusted after in their youth, played by their heroes and ogled at in catalogs or the local music store. Also only a modern kit like a Sonor (especially the beautiful vintage series) or a Gretsch USA Custom/Broadkaster or Ludwig Legacy can truly compete with a vintage kit and while the aforementioned setups are 3-5k a collector grade vintage kit can be had at $1500. I’d personally rather own a new crock pot and dining room table then a set of new Tour Customs. Anyway it’s early and these are the first thoughts of the day, I’m sure many will disagree and/or I may be stating the obvious but as I mentioned it is a juicy question.
 

codydee12

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The comment that sticks out that I don't agree with was about social reasons and new drums being made for the studio. Go to any studio of stature and you will find more vintage than new. Look at Paul Mabury, Carter Mclean, Chris McHugh, Ash Soan, and Aaron Sterling just to name a few.

I have a WFL from the 50s, a ludwig from the 60s, and a maple classic thats a year old. I bought the old drums to get a distinct tubby and warm sound that only come from that era of drums. They also have a very different feel from drums made today. I have the maple classics for a brighter, more thick and percussive sound.

To me, the appeal for vintage is that specific sound and feel. The appeal for modern is stability, tuning ease, and less worry about it being in the back of a bus and something happening to them. I can replace the maple classics running down to guitar center. I would have to search the earth for the WFLs.

Blues are the oldies, white is the maple classic.
 

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WestLAGuy

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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?
After 40 years I've decided I want a set of drums again. I've got the space for it and sound proofed so I can play whenever I want day or night. Will I be happy with one of those Ludwig 5 piece sets with hardware and cymbals for $799 if the drums I had growing up in LA and playing professionally until the military after college were 1953 Leedy-Ludwigs? Thanks, Bill
 

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richardh253

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It‘s like trying to tell a stranger about rock and roll....do you believe in magic?
part of it for me is where you stepped in to the drum story. I did in 1966. Like in love, there’s never anything like your first real one. So you get this emotional vibe going, and no new kit ever resonates the same way.
as I have posted previously on DF, my first kit was 66 Ludwig BDP bought piece by piece over 18 months with paper route and lawn cutting money. Sitting down behind that kit at age 14, nothing like it.

Fast forward to 2020 when I had to sell my collection to downsize. Steve Maxwell had a great 66 Ludwig BDP identical sizes, year, color as my first kit last summer. Steve called it “an honest kit.” He was exactly right! Bought it...Jack Lawton cleaned up the Tom edges and it sings. Sold the other eighteen kits...ended up where I started.
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But more important, When I sit behind that 66 Ludwig kit, it feels just like 1966 again. (Ok, I still feel 67 years old, but I can pretend!) And I lucked into a 14x14 BDP vintage 1963 at Feb Delaware Drum Show. Like Springsteen says, gotta get that feeling.

nothing wrong with new. Tried a few. Sound was great, hardware too. But the feeling wasn’t there. No fault of the drums. It it’s about your relationship with your instrument and when it’s the right relationship, you know what love is and why you stay.
 

Houndog

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It’s an extremely rare new kit that makes me want it .
I really can’t explain it .
I came up in the Export era .
So it’s not to harken back to my youth .
I don’t like any vehicle post 39 either .
I just think old stuff has an intrinsic quality
to it ..

I like drums that have a cohesiveness to
All the fittings and modern bass drum foldout spurs ruin an entire kit for me .
 

jaymandude

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this thread is bringing out the people that never post.

It's weird.
 

codydee12

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this thread is bringing out the people that never post.

It's weird.
It was a good question, honestly. Or maybe a fun question that pulled on a lot of heart strings. What would be interesting is asking this on reddit. I bet there would be a pretty different response with a pretty different audience.
 
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Jazzcrimes

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Tour Customs are Stage Customs with a maple shell... they are designed more fore studio work than live play. Compare those to the old tour customs made in the 1980s and you will hear a very distinct difference. I figured out a few years ago as I was going through kits like women go through shoes, that there was a change in drum design which occurred in the late 90s onward..

Drums of today are designed for studio work... therefore the focus is to make them not have ring, sustain, harmonics... etc.... by the way theses are all desirable functions of a live venue kit Older drums were constructed for live play .... newer drums however are mostly designed for studio play
Not sure I agree with this premise, and I know there are many variables here, but, how much of this is because of the 1.6mm vs thicker 2.3mm hoops on modern drums and head choice?
 

footbeat

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I like buying new gear. I feel that it is MINE!! Regardless of how classic something is, I don't want someone else's used stuff. If it were valuable, I wouldn't actually play it, so it would just end up collecting dust in my already small living space. That being said, I WOULD buy a good condition Barry Companion. But as far as vintage gear, that's the only thing I have on my wish list.
 

Pounder

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I am a cheap person and, realizing that old drums and new drums are still, drums, I consider the market to be flooded. New drum producers rely on image and marginal hardware improvements, while 99% of vintage drums simply get bought by myself and others who care about drums and drumming because they're a great deal by comparison. Sure, there's the 1% of vintage drums that are more expensive than their new counterparts, but most of us don't ever sniff that stuff anyway.

Plus growing up, I recall burned into my little boy memory banks stumbling into my neighborhood friend's brother's bedroom and seeing the black diamond pearl Ludwig set in there. Later my little boy memory got hit with the sheer power of his drums from across the house. The kid was in a band with his other older brother who played a Gibson guitar. That is also burned into memory as is the sound of their garage band playing out in the garage one day.

Then, going home and discovering the Beatles, then Cream, then Led Zeppelin, and looking at pictures of them playing those old ass Ludwig drums and their drumming again, burning into the little boy memories I was building. Today by comparison these young whippersnapper upstarts like DW can't hold a candle to those awesome drum companies like Rogers (Buddy Miles plays a red/white/blue set on a album cover) Slingerland (Buddy Rich is on the pamphlet cover readily available at my young drumming, dreaming music store I got lessons at as a kid), Gretsch (Tony Williams where/whenever)... you get the picture!

We are even speaking of companies like Gretsch and Ludwig who have to compete with themselves and all these old drums they sold in years gone by. The number of drummers on the planet simply can't be as many as there are old and new drums out there. It's basic market econ 101.

Vintage guitars are worth good money now too. But most still haven't gotten to the price level of new ones made in USA.

So this isn't really a question of why vintage, but rather why pay more for newer, and either worse or marginally better drums? I look at the entire market. I'm just that young impressionable kid at heart, trying to get some kicks and find a cool drum set for CHEAP SO I CAN PLAY THE MUTHAS.
 


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