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Thread: What are the bottom tier kits to avoid

  1. #1

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    Talking What are the bottom tier kits to avoid

    Im convinced to go with a used kit, this question may be a pain, but can you guys tell me for brands like Pearl, Ludwig, Tama etc. Which lines to avoid buying used? ex. Accent for Ludwig etc.

    Radther than to ask for suggestions on what to purchase, I think it may be easier to know which lines, models, tiers etc. for each respective brand to avoid.

  2. #2

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    Default Re: What are the bottom tier kits to avoid

    Thats a tricky one as even entry level kits from the big drum company's can sound good with decent heads and good tunning. My advise as always with used gear is to take someone who knows about the workings of a kit with you. They will know what to look for regarding warped or split drum shells and other related problems. Unless money is tight do not worry about heads too much as these can be replaced. A dirty kit can sometime be hiding a stunning finish, other times it can be hiding tell tail signs of neglect!
    Dustin Lee Burgess
    Northfleet, England
    mapex mafia & paiste posse


  3. #3

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    Default Re: What are the bottom tier kits to avoid

    Listing everything is a big chore, beacuse if you get something used we have no way of knowing if it's still in production, plus part of the fun of buying a kit is all the research you personally put into it.

    This is what I would avoid in my current situation. I'm not sure what level you are at.

    Anything covered and not lacquered
    Anything that is a blend of birch and poplar or basswood
    Anything with a 12-13-16 tom configuration.

    There are probably many good sounding kits with the above characteristics, but I've been through that kit level and wan't something lacquered and 100% birch, maple, etc..
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  4. #4

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    Default Re: What are the bottom tier kits to avoid

    Huerta, the easy answer is for you to look at the bass drum hoops. In the better sets, the hoops will be wood. In the cheap sets, that are mass produced in Asia for any manufacturer to buy and sell as their bottom line sets, the hoops will be hard plastic.
    Quoting gonefishin: Just have some bacon with ya when you go pick her up..........youre an instant chick magnet.





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  5. #5

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    Default Re: What are the bottom tier kits to avoid

    Also look inside the shells and at the bearing edges. Cheap drums don't even look like wood!

    • 1966 4-piece Ludwig Black Oyster Pearl
    • 2000 8-piece DW Collector's Grey Swirl
    • 2002 8-piece Pearl Masterworks GB Packer Gold
    • 2008 8-piece Tama B&B Lava Glass Glitter
    • Paiste Signature 12, 14, 14, 16, 16, 17, 18, 18, 20, 20, 22
    • Paiste Formula 602 14, 14, 16, 18, 20


  6. #6

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    Default Re: What are the bottom tier kits to avoid

    Quote Originally Posted by ShaneRoney View Post
    Listing everything is a big chore, beacuse if you get something used we have no way of knowing if it's still in production, plus part of the fun of buying a kit is all the research you personally put into it.

    This is what I would avoid in my current situation. I'm not sure what level you are at.

    Anything covered and not lacquered
    Anything that is a blend of birch and poplar or basswood
    Anything with a 12-13-16 tom configuration.

    There are probably many good sounding kits with the above characteristics, but I've been through that kit level and wan't something lacquered and 100% birch, maple, etc..

    I couldnt disagree with you more.
    Wraps make ZERO difference in the sound of a drum.
    My Tama Superstars are a birch basswood combo and they sound killer.
    12, 13, 16 is the standard configuration.

  7. #7

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    In drum buying there are 2 things that really matter. The fellows bring up many points about bearing edges, wraps, sizes etc... When all is said and done...Sound....Vibe are most important. The feeling a set gives as you imagine yourself behind it. The cool factor so to speak as it pertains to YOU. Noone else. The Sound the drums make. do they speak to you?

    all the best...

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Northern Redneck View Post
    I couldnt disagree with you more.
    Wraps make ZERO difference in the sound of a drum.
    My Tama Superstars are a birch basswood combo and they sound killer.
    12, 13, 16 is the standard configuration.
    Sorry - no offense meant. Since helping someone make a decision without knowing more about their situation is impossible, I just gave him my current preferences. My wrap vs. lacquer tastes are purely aesthetic. My size choices are for versatility. I think 10-12-14 with optional 16 will work in almost any situation, while 12-13-16 can be limiting sometimes.
    Website with free full song transcriptions: redeyepercussion.com
    Youtube channel with covers, lessons, and product reviews: youtube.com/RedeyeSPR

  9. #9

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    ....just adding my two cents....all of the above advice is good....the most important factor of course being what the drums sounds like, and how well they work for you......you just really have to get out and do some \exploring and decide what you like.....over time you may find that what you like changes a bit.....so, it helps to get out there and stay up on what is available....

    I have played on some of the cheapest sets out there (and they sounded great in some instances) and likewise have played on some higher end kits that didn't sound so great....you gotta decide for yourself...enjoy the journey!
    ...I am not seeing things as they are....I am seeing things as I am....

  10. #10

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    Default Re: What are the bottom tier kits to avoid

    [QUOTE=ShaneRoney;152611]
    Anything with a 12-13-16 tom configuration.

    QUOTE]

    I beg your pardon. I have been playing drums for better than 45 years and there is nothing wrong with a 12, 13, 16 tom combo. In fact it is my preference. I have two 6 piece kit with a 10” ad on and with the combination of the 12 and 13 to 16 I get all the deep sound one would want and with the 10” I get a nice higher level drum. I would take a 12,13, 16 over a 10,12, 14 any day just for the bottom end you get. Bottom line don’t rule out a kit configured with a 12, 13, 16 just because its not in fashion right now.
    Now playing Gretsch and Slingerland Drums

  11. #11

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    Why not double up?...two 12's or two 13's...that sort of thing.

    all the best...

  12. #12

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    You are going to get too many different answers. The brands you mentioned are all good and they too have entry level kits new. If you're looking used you may have a chance to get a higher end kit that you might not be able to afford if it was new.

    Woods, hoops, heads finish are important. However, an entry level kit with good heads, tuned well can sound pretty amazing. However, the drummer makes the drums, not the other way around.

    Go play a few kits then decide. If you can narrow down your choices then post those choices here, you are more likely to get consistent replies. Right now your question is too broad. Good Luck.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tazmania View Post

    Go play a few kits then decide. If you can narrow down your choices then post those choices here, you are more likely to get consistent replies. Right now your question is too broad. Good Luck.
    All due respect to you Taz, but this I disagree with. Walk into a music store and the DW in the corner is probably not tuned well and will sound like poop, compared to another brand that the store gets higher commissions on that is properly tuned and has better skins than OEM.

    Huerta, The carpenter builds the house, not the hammer he swings. With that said, if he comes to the job site with a plastic Fisher Price tool box, y'all got some problems!!!

    The entry kits from Ludwig, pearl, Mapex, whatever are good kits.

    Stick with a name brand and you'll be fine.
    Last edited by CycleDude; 01-09-2009 at 01:37 PM.
    Kevin
    DW Performance series - Gun Metal Metallic Lacquer
    24/12/16 6.5x14
    Sabian AA/AAX hi-hats & crashes
    Sabian HHX Evolution ride

    Drummers can be very tempomental.....

  14. #14
    Larrysperf Guest

    Default Re: What are the bottom tier kits to avoid

    Quote Originally Posted by Scooter View Post
    Also look inside the shells and at the bearing edges. Cheap drums don't even look like wood!
    Trick drums are not cheap lol sorry had to

  15. #15
    Larrysperf Guest

    Default Re: What are the bottom tier kits to avoid

    [QUOTE=rritter;152939]
    Quote Originally Posted by ShaneRoney View Post
    Anything with a 12-13-16 tom configuration.

    QUOTE]

    I beg your pardon. I have been playing drums for better than 45 years and there is nothing wrong with a 12, 13, 16 tom combo. In fact it is my preference. I have two 6 piece kit with a 10” ad on and with the combination of the 12 and 13 to 16 I get all the deep sound one would want and with the 10” I get a nice higher level drum. I would take a 12,13, 16 over a 10,12, 14 any day just for the bottom end you get. Bottom line don’t rule out a kit configured with a 12, 13, 16 just because its not in fashion right now.
    Ditto, rock on dude. NUFF SAID

  16. #16

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    huela....

    All the name brand set you listed are still good quality sets , if you are going to by used then I suggest staying with those name brands and look at the intermediate sets not the entry levels .

    Also , when it comes to choosing cymbals , do the same , buy used hi-end cymbals and not the entry level cymbals . You will be much happier . Best of luck to you .

  17. #17

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    I think durability is the key issue. Finish is subjective, 99.99% of people can't tell you what wood a drum is if they don't know beforehand, drum sizes are subjective... but if the drums just fall apart after a few months, then they're total garbage.
    "Life is backwards. Happiness isn't something you seek, it's something that finds you when you are doing the right thing." - Zone47

  18. #18

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    I can't believe some of the nonsense on this thread.
    First, poplar is a good wood and some of the most expensive drums have poplar plies with other woods.
    Second, I've had Mapex pro-m and they were the worst I've ever had, and even the poplar sonor were better sounding and hardware, and if I'm not mistaken, they were both made by the same factory.
    Saying Paiste signature and 602 series are bad if a hard one to believe.
    I'd believe more likely the twenty series is bad compared to those.
    I've had many many drum sets, from many manufacturers, and I think because most of the people writing in this thread aren't exposed to the really cheap sets like Fernando, gtx, Stagg, maya and other extremely cheap Chinese made drums.
    Pearl, Tama, Ludwig, Sonor, Gretsch are the best manufacturers of drums, but they are making the entry level up to semi professional level sets in China now, so that's the thing to watch for. Just an example, Tama Starclassic are Chinese now, but used to be made in Japan, and were probably the best sets around and many pros used them. But I personally wouldn't buy one just because it is made in China because who knows how strict the quality control is and Chinese factories just love to get by with inferior materials whenever possible. So I'd say it is pot luck buying anything from China.
    The most recent set I've bought is a Tama star walnut, and they are a work of art. BUT I still had to go over the hardware because like every manufacturer, regardless the original country USA, Taiwan, Japan, etc, they make the shells, the hardware is still Chinese. And they still slip some bad chrome or nickel finish by inspection.
    I had two different years of Mapex pro-m, and they were by far the worst drums I've ever had. Not to mention that it was impossible to order extra toms and hardware, only sets and what came with them. Some loose hardware was around but hard to find.

  19. #19

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    How about you guys make a separate "whats your favorite sizes thread" to argue there as it is pretty off topic.

    As far as used, If there are wraps check the condition of the wraps. When you get them into different lighting you will notice scuffs and scratches you didn't see. Same goes for laquor. REALLY check out the physical condition. You most likely will have the kit for a long time and you want it to make you happy.

    I don't know your level of playing or knowledge, but SOUND. Does the kit speak to you? Birch, Maple, Bubinga.... Do your research and make sure you know it's a kit you will enjoy the sound of. I don't go look at used kits if it's not a drumset I know I want. They all sound very different. Birch being very punchy, bubinga is very deep and resonant etc.

    Bearing edges. Chances are you don't get to take off the heads, If they are clear you can see inside the drum at least. If they are beat up or chewed up run. While they can be redone, it's not cheap so it better be worth your while such as buying a $2000 kit for a few hundred and wanting to restore it.

    Sizes. Who cares what others think is right for you. I have had 4 piece kits, 11 piece kits. Big kits, small kits. I have had 16,18,20,22, and 24 inch kicks in my life. Find the one that works for you and they style YOU play. 10,12,14 and 12,13,16 are BOTH normal sized kits. I'd get a different size drumset if I was playing jazz, or rock. In metal I like em a bit smaller for speed and definition, but I love the sound of a big deep drum. This is YOUR choice.

    Now, on to brands/drums to stay away from , Every company has multiple tiers of kit. Some of the companies such as Track / CB drums are quite cheap. PERSONALLY I wouldn't buy these or gig with them. That being said I have played over 20 years, and like to stay in the upper mid tier quality area. I spend a ton of money on this stuff. For a beginner they can sound just fine. Once you have a year under your belt it's nice to reward yourself with an upgrade if you are going to stick with it. I wouldn't recommend my Pearl Reference Pure to someone just starting as although it sounds good, it's a pretty penny if you decide to quit in a few months.

    Id take a low end kit over low end cymbals any day. Cheap cymbals sound very bad to me.

  20. #20

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    Another thing to think about is how technology has changed significantly over the last 30 years. Many feel that the same cheap drumset back then would these days not be sounding too bad for a beginner kit. It's always nice to hear different opinions but I still go with top of the line to ensure things like properly cut bearing edges, seams that are glued professionally (if covered), etc. Knowledge about brand is helpful to know how each manufacturer pays particular attention to certain details. This is where the boutique drums sometimes really shine.
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