American made drums

busickpg

New Member
I have started looking for a new American made shell pack and have started documenting the drum makes and models that are made in the USA. It seems as if drum manufacturers who still make drums in the US also have cheaper lines that are made overseas. Wanted to know if anyone else has done the leg work to verify other makes and models. I’d appreciate any contribution. So far I have:

Gretsch
Broadkaster
Brooklyn

Pearl
Music City Custom

DW
Performance series

Pork Pie
USA Custom
 

jda

Silver Member
Gretsch has three lines made in South Carolina- but nothing is since about 1972 All-American -made
USA Custom - Brooklyn- Broadkaster
parts, pieces, springs and screws etc +/- are sourced globally

So if you want an All-American down to the screws and washers, look around 1972 maybe to 1975-79,80, etc. American Sets.

As far as Design goes ok. Even with some Global parts. Designs- can be seen as 'all" American- "all" Japanese- "all" European- etc..
I play a Gretsch (USA) set that was the last series (2007) to have "USA" in the badge.
The hoops were (and the last of) still made in Jersey.
 
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BGDurham

Well-known Member
C&C
Sugar Percussion
Bucks County
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
As far as I know ludwig classics and Legacy lines are Made in the USA in Monroe North Carolina. My ludwigs are club dates from 2019 and they were made in America also.
 

SYMBOLIC DEATH

Senior Member
How do you define American production? The shells, the hardware, etc?
From what I've heard most of the hardware is made/plated in Asia, regardless of the company due to regulations and cost. I could be wrong about that, but Andy would know more about this than I do.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Many countries have a bar that must be reached to claim “made in ----“.

In the US, it’s “all, or virtually all” materials & components as a percentage of the wholesale price. Given the very low cost of typically Asan sourced drum shell components, it’s entirely doable to produce shells in the USA with attributable high percentage cost, and complete the build with imported shell hardware whilst conforming to “Made in USA” requirements, especially considering “virtually all” is not the subject of percentage clarification.

Ok, so that’s the consumer optics stuff out of the way. It should be of no surprise that global brands source globally, & smaller brands tend to source more locally, but most small builders are still obtaining their shell hardware from imported sources via in country distributors. It’s simple sourcing quantity leveraging economics.

In Western markets, sourcing genuinely home market manufactured shell hardware is a significantly more expensive option, so there has to be a quantifiable benefit to doing so. That benefit is usually quality and / or material upgrade, but in reality, the average drum customer cares little about such things, especially if the retail cost uplift is considerable, leaving only those builders with a very defined design goal prepared to place performance over competitiveness. I’d struggle to count such builders globally on one hand.

The bottom line is, for most players, does this all really matter in terms of ROI when selecting an instrument? Given the vast majority of use contexts, I’d say no. If you have very specific performance expectations, or your patriotic flame burns strong, then maybe it’s an itch worth scratching. Outside of that, buy at a level within your budget that’s fit for purpose.

As a footnote, made in (insert country here) should never be taken as a mark of guaranteed quality. I’ve seen both exceptionally good, & exceptionally bad quality originating from just about any market you can name.
 
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mikyok

Platinum Member
What sound are you after? A bit of ink on a bass drum head or country of manufacture sticker has no bearing on the sound quality or build quality but it does seem to make things more expensive.

There's a lot of American drum manufacturers but they will all differ sound wise and have varying degrees of build quality.

It's the same with guitars Asia has caught up so it's a very level playing field.

Trust your ears not your eyes and get what sounds best to you.
 

Chris Whitten

Silver Member
Regarding mainstream kits I think you are right.
However, most of the smaller US makers specialise in less mainstream sounds.
So a Pork Pie, Crav or N&C kit will sound different to a Pearl, or Tame. Not necessarily better depending on your taste, usually a bit different.
 

J.D.

Active Member
Of course, there's a zillion boutique companies. Parton is pretty popular in the E TN area.
 

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busickpg

New Member
What sound are you after? A bit of ink on a bass drum head or country of manufacture sticker has no bearing on the sound quality or build quality but it does seem to make things more expensive.

There's a lot of American drum manufacturers but they will all differ sound wise and have varying degrees of build quality.

It's the same with guitars Asia has caught up so it's a very level playing field.

Trust your ears not your eyes and get what sounds best to you.
I agree on sound, I just try to support American labor where I can - even at a premium, and I fully realize it doesn’t necessarily mean equal, better, or worse quality.
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
I agree on sound, I just try to support American labor where I can - even at a premium, and I fully realize it doesn’t necessarily mean equal, better, or worse quality.
That is both admirable and understandable.

I don't know if this will bring you any happiness or comfort but the unemployment rate in the US is around 3.5% right now which is low by historic standards - this despite the "all the manufacturing jobs got shipped overseas" narrative we've been hearing for years. The unemployment rate in 1960 was 6.6%, by way of comparison.

All that to say, don't force yourself to pay more for something to alleviate some kind of guilt that you might have when there are plenty of other excellent reasons to buy a kit made in the USA.
 
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Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I don’t even think it matters these days. If you can play and get to work a lot, it matters even less. What drums they are, if they’re inspiring you to play everyday, then those are the ones. You won’t play any better if they’re made in the USA or not. And that point is proven every time you see a great player playing Yamaha or some other overseas company.
 
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