Non-Drummer seeking advice: refurbished vs. new kit

I am a non-drummer looking for some advice. I have been building a recording studio and, although I prefer to record a drummer playing his own kit in a band situation, I would like to have a good kit on hand for people just sitting in to back up solo artists, demos etc.

My question is this. I received an old drum kit some time back as a gift and I am trying to decide whether to invest in restoring it or just purchase a new kit instead.
The kit is a well-used Pearl 3-piece maple shell pack from the early 80’s. The original owner had used it for decades before removing the exterior coating, staining the wood and retiring it for use as his home kit before he retired and gave it to me. Although I assumed it was junk, to my surprise every drummer who has played around with it at my place has commented on how cool it sounds. “That’s a great rock & roll kit” “fun” etc.

I paid nothing for the drums and, if I could hire a person who knows what they are doing replace the lugs/hardware etc. (which work fine but are corroded a bit) and get it into fighting shape I’d be quite pleased. If a kit that old and worn is unlikely to be practical for regular studio use however, then I can certainly afford to buy a good new kit with no problem (although for space reasons I would need to get rid of the old kit).

The shell dimensions are 14x24, 15x18 and 10x14

Thanks!
 

Iristone

Well-known member
How's the bearing edge? I'd assume that by the early 80's Pearl already had quite good hardware, so the condition of the shell itself would be the deciding factor.
 
How's the bearing edge? I'd assume that by the early 80's Pearl already had quite good hardware, so the condition of the shell itself would be the deciding factor.
I honestly can't answer. The person who gave it to me assured me that it was tip-top and he had the funds to have anything he wanted (came with new heads).
 

Lefty Phillips

Well-known member
I think it tracks well, though the bass drum was a learning curve for me (perhaps due to dimensions?). Ended up liking a dynamic close to outer head rather than a condenser out 6 inches as a I anticipated would sound best for a "vintage" kit.
Dynamic mic as close to the kick drum's resonant head as you can get it is part of the Glyn Johns method, which you've heard many times on Classic Rock recordings.

Kit works, it's not going on tour, so I would spend the money on other studio gear. That's my advice, and it is worth every penny you paid for it!
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
Get a modern kit. The sizes of your kit (24/14/18) are not ideal for the vast majority of drummers.

The ideal sizes would be something like (20/12/14) or (22/12/16.) And a 10" tom for those who want a 5 piece configuration.

Old kits can be great...but they come with plenty of issues that modern kits don't have. (bad bearing edges, warped rims, shells that are out-of-round, rickety hardware, and they can be difficult to tune, or won't stay in tune, etc.) And they'll have a vintage sound, for better or worse.

If you want a no-fuss kit that any drummer would be happy with, get a modern kit, either new or used. If you tell us your budget, we can help you pick one out.

The best budget kit would be a Yamaha Stage Custom. The best mid-pro level kit for recording would be the Pearl Session Studio Select. (I love my Gretsch Renowns, but they're quite lively and would require extra work to dampen them for a studio environment)
 
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harryconway

Platinum Member
..... I can certainly afford to buy a good new kit with no problem (although for space reasons I would need to get rid of the old kit).
Those old Pearl All Maple shells are nice ..... buy the sizes are less than desirable for a studio kit. Yes ..... great "rock and roll" drums. But like IBitePrettyHard stated, something like a 20, 10, 12, 14 or a 22, 12, 13, 16 kit would be more practical.
 

Chris Whitten

Well-known member
Buy used anyway. Studio recording is not about looks or newness, but sound.
The Pearl kit sounds great, so use it as well. Only refurbish if something REALLY needs it, like a faulty stand, not cosmetics.
The standard studio kit is 22" bass drum, not 20". 16" floor tom. The mounted tom is variable, but maybe 13", maybe 12"although the distance between 12 and 16 is more unusual these days.
In the end, something that looks tatty but sounds great is definitely the way to go.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Looks in the studio count for absolutely nothing! It should be fine for recording, as others have said those sizes might not be the most versatile so keep an eye out for a used shell pack in 22/12/13/16 or 22/10/12/16 which seems to be the 'in' config at the mo. Keep the other kit though so you have a lot of configurations. If you want to keep everything Pearl you can get a Masters used for a great price. The MLX kits of the 80s/early 90s are even cheaper if you can find one.

As long as the bearing edges are good, you use good heads and can tune the things you're good to go!

If you're thinking bands will be regularly using your kit the biggest cost in the long run will be heads so make sure you charge accordingly and check what their drummer thinks an acceptable kit for recording is!
 
replace the lugs/hardware etc. (which work fine but are corroded a bit)
Just remove some of the rust if it bothers you. If the lugs don't show signs of breaking, there is no reason to change them. A lot of issues (e.g. cosmetics, rattling lugs, rusty rods...) can be fixed quite easily: http://vintagedrumguide.com/how_to_vintage_snare.html
Those good 80s Pearl sets are highly regarded by their owners, but aren't selling for high amounts (not what collectors are looking for, often deeper toms). You can use that to your advantage as you can probably find a cheap 22/12/13/16 configuration to have many options. Your current toms could also be used as the foundation of a small "Bop set".
The cash you save now will probably vanish anyway as you start looking for cymbals and snare drums. :D
 

BGDurham

Well-known member
Your profile says you're from Corning, NY. I was curious about kits available near you. There seem to be some good options on Craiglist if you are interested in replacing or adding:



The crowd will go bananas for this one:
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
Those are large sizes, delivering lower tones. 10” and 12” diameter mounted toms are more common nowadays, with 14” and 16” being common sizes for floor toms.

But since most music uses bass & snare, I’d run that bass drum through a series of tests to see if it’s worth keeping. The 24” diameter will deliver exceptional results in the studio, and if your drum is in good physical shape then keep it.

A variety of snare drums are needed to offer different voices to musicians. I’d throw money at creating a quiver of snare drums. Same with cymbals. Toms are not that critical of an element compared to the bass, snare & cymbals.

After you have built up your stash of snares and cymbals, then consider adding a few smaller sizes of toms.

Also, post some photos so the Pearl boyz can chime in.
 
Your profile says you're from Corning, NY. I was curious about kits available near you. There seem to be some good options on Craiglist if you are interested in replacing or adding:



The crowd will go bananas for this one:

Ha! Since I am in the "crystal city" perhaps I really need a vistalite kit.
 
Dynamic mic as close to the kick drum's resonant head as you can get it is part of the Glyn Johns method, which you've heard many times on Classic Rock recordings.

Kit works, it's not going on tour, so I would spend the money on other studio gear. That's my advice, and it is worth every penny you paid for it!
I typically use GJ with a pair of vintage style long ribbons, M160's, or violet large diaphragm condensers (knights/amethyst/globes depending) on overhead. I have always used a violet globe vintage or older blue mouse outside the resonant head back 5+ inches in the past, but have found that a beyerdynamic TG-X 50, up really close, works great for this kick.
 
Those are large sizes, delivering lower tones. 10” and 12” diameter mounted toms are more common nowadays, with 14” and 16” being common sizes for floor toms.

But since most music uses bass & snare, I’d run that bass drum through a series of tests to see if it’s worth keeping. The 24” diameter will deliver exceptional results in the studio, and if your drum is in good physical shape then keep it.

A variety of snare drums are needed to offer different voices to musicians. I’d throw money at creating a quiver of snare drums. Same with cymbals. Toms are not that critical of an element compared to the bass, snare & cymbals.

After you have built up your stash of snares and cymbals, then consider adding a few smaller sizes of toms.

Also, post some photos so the Pearl boyz can chime in.
Here are a few pics on it languishing in a corner unused. Note that my kids (who are 11 & 13 and are actually drummers) dragged a 16" floor tom from their beater kit over by it. Like I said initially, it is very worn but was well loved by the original owner.
 

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Lefty Phillips

Well-known member
I typically use GJ with a pair of vintage style long ribbons, M160's, or violet large diaphragm condensers (knights/amethyst/globes depending) on overhead. I have always used a violet globe vintage or older blue mouse outside the resonant head back 5+ inches in the past, but have found that a beyerdynamic TG-X 50, up really close, works great for this kick.
Right on. You clearly know what's up. Much respect.

I had to google Violets, but it was worth the time. Some nice mics! My recommendation stands, after reading the remarks of veteran drummers who know drums better than I do; if it tracks right, it is right. Players will want to come in with their own snares and cymbals almost 100% of the time, so there's that. They'll need stands and booms and such, which might be in your interest to provide.

I'm really interested to hear how ribbons work out for you as the "overheads". Are you putting one a few feet above the snare and the other to the right side of the kit, or are you genuinely using them as overheads, in an X/Y or A/B configuration somewhere above the entire trapkit?

Large diaphragm condensors are the standard, and rightly so. I happen to prefer small-diaphragm condensers at 40" to 48" from the snare, one directly over the snare, the other just to the right side of the kit. If you haven't already, I would recommend trying it, if only for fun. I went with the Sennheiser 602 for the kick, but it's only marginally better than an SM57. As I'm sure you know, you get most of what you need from the condensors; the other mics are just salsa.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
Note that my kids (who are 11 & 13 and are actually drummers) dragged a 16" floor tom from their beater kit over by it. Like I said initially, it is very worn but was well loved by the original owner.
Yes !!! That second floor tom. Kudos to your kids. That's what you needed. My Slingerland kit is a 24, 13, 16, 18 (well, I have a 10 & 12 also). BIG ROCK DRUMS !!!!
 
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