Thursday, January 06, 2005

Buying Drums?!?

Yesterday a student asked me about buying drums. All he wanted to get was an additional tom for his set, and a new crash cymbal. He has been taking lessons with me for a number of years, and wants to get some good equipment. I had to explain one of the harsh realities of being a drummer....DRUMS ARE EXPENSIVE. Now, there will always be deals out there, and with some luck, and many hours of searching, you may be able to find them. This is ecspecially true for universal components such as hardware, and pedals, so don't take what I say as the only option. I am assuming we are shopping for new, good equipment from reliable and reputable companies.

First let's start with the cymbals. For a good cymbal by a well known company such as Zildjian, www.zildjian.com, Sabian, or Paiste, you can expect to pay about $10 per inch and up, so a 16" crash would run around $160. Of coarse you will also need a stand to hold the cymbal up, which can run anywhere from $40-$140 depending on strengh and durability. My favorite hardware is from a company called Tama, www.tama.com. They have very nice stuff that can be made to work with almost any kit.

Finding a single tom to add to a kit can be very difficult. A lot of companies change their drumset design every year, and don't usually keep the old stuff around. On top of that, many of them do not like to sell single toms because it is a very time consuming process of finding just the right color, size, model, etc. Not to mention the system for mounting it to your kit. I did a quick search on Pearl.com, and there was no way to buy just one tom. You may get lucky on an online auction, but it is kind of a longshot. I would not expect to find a tom for under $80, and would probobly guess more like $150. The mounting hardware can run anywhere from $100-$250, depending on how fancy you want to get.

So lets add it all up....to add a crash cymbal, tom, required stand and hardware, you are looking anywhere from $380-$650. Wow. Plus many hours of searching to find just the right stuff. I suggest, in this case, that you seriously look into buying a whole new drumset. (Did I mention drums are expensive?)

The Percussive Art Society, (www.pas.org), just published a newsletter containing the results of Modern Durmmer Magazines 2004 Consumers Poll. Under the category of 'Most Valuable Product', they listed these drum makers: DW Collectors Series, Yamaha Maple Custom Absolute Noveau, Pearl Export, and Tama Starclassic. Every set except the Pearl Export is over $2000, but I would seriously look into the Export series to find one right for you. I am sure you could find a set that comes with all the drums, hardware, cymbals (alothough usually cheap), peadals, and throne for $600-$800. I can't quite tell you were to look, but perhaps a good starting point is www.pearl.com. Along those same lines, I would suggest the Tama Rockstar series. A lot of my students have purchased the Rockstar kit, and they have been very happy with it. Once you have an entire kit, it is much easier to replace and add custom components little by little over a period of time. I don't remember a birthday or Christmas where I did not recieve some sort of new piece for my drumset. If you care for your equipment, it will last a very long time. Some things, like drums and cymbals, can actually become more valuable over time.

Happy searching, and if you have any questions, please drop me a line.

John

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