I stated earlier, in the blog titled “New-Orleans part 3: the noble garbage man”, that drummers from New Orleans used pretty much any artifact to build the music they played. I am not changing my tune. And my approach to drums and drum makers reflects that.
I am not endorsed by anyone, I should state that first. My cymbal set is a collection of different brands as are my drums. One is different from the others.
I like the job of being a drummer because it is not a steady one. What I mean is that even in pop music, now populated with sound boxes and drum machines, we can find a very wide catalog of percussive sounds (not all of them doable with an acoustic artifact). The good old bass drum/snare/hi-hat combo is still present, but not taken as literally as in the 50’s and 60’s. So, us drummers, are forced to change our approach constantly. But, if we studied the technique correctly, the command over our limbs and our understanding of rhythms should help us navigate any situation, no matter how goofy the percussion orchestra is.
So, where does it put us with the drum makers?
Well, it’s a tough one. Because even the drummers who are sponsored by a certain brand sometimes pledge allegiance to another brand when they play. Famously, Stewart Copeland, who was endorsed by Tama, at the peak of the fame of “The Police”, played all the greatest hits on a Pearl snare drum. And Steve Gadd, who has been with Yamaha forever, keeps an old metal Ludwig snare for when the time is needed. And most pros admit that you can get yourself crazy with the choice of wood, hoops, finishes, sizes available for drummers these days.
A great drum set is not necessarily a precise one. If that’s what’s needed for the job, then fine: precise and accurate it shall be. But the number of modern recordings done on old drum sets who float on an approximate glue job, snare buzzing to high heaven and worn out bass drum is here to contradict the shiny new advertising about the latest drum set made of titanium.
Of course, that doesn’t answer the question of which drum set one should chose when they go shopping.
First, I recommend Craigslist. Because, unless you intend to become a collector nut, any drum set that you purchase can be loved and cherished forever. Just make sure everything works, and that there is no water damage.
But, if you have money to spare and you absolutely want something new. Then I say that any drum set within a price range will be equivalent to others in the same price range.