Please explain the allure of MIJ kits to me

Superman

Gold Member
No this isn't a joke. I recently went to a drummer's house and he had 4 MIJ kits and told me he was looking for more. They all had names I had never heard of (like Del Ray), they had cheap hardware and frankly they sounded like...well let's say subpar in my opinion. I spoke to another drummer I know who said he knows someone who is always buying MIJ kits and snares. Maybe it's me.. I just don't get it. I fully understand vintage collectors who want classic Slingerland, Gretsch, Ludwig and Rogers kits. But why MIJ stuff like Del Ray and Kingston????
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
It may be stemming from the fact that a lot of people really like the made in Japan Yamaha and Tama upper upper lines but don't know the difference between stencil kits and high quality kits. So they figure all made in Japan kits we're great I don't know
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry" - Administrator
Staff member
IMO, only maybe 25% of drummers can make a set sound killer by tuning and heads. I feel I'm being generous there. So MIJ kits can't be properly evaluated until someone with the right skills can get the most out of the MIJ drums.

I think it's like Brian said. These people likely owned a Del Ray set when young. Heck even myself...I'd buy a gold sparkle MIJ Stewart kit because that was my first kit at age 10 and I am genuinely curious as to what it would sound like now, after all these years, had I kept it. My tuning skills have greatly improved since 1968 so there's that too.
 
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Nostalgia. Old men with money trying to relive their youth.
Most likely. But why don't they buy the high quality vintage drums, that they wanted as a kid?
Maybe because it's a cheap way to start a collection and those old stencil kits have increased a bit in resale value, so there is next to no risk involved. Also, most people wouldn't install new tom mounts on a vintage Gretsch set. But a shoddy mount that never worked well in the first place? Drill away and tinker with stuff.
I guess, the carelessness, that you can afford with those old sets, is also a part of the appeal. You don't need to look out for scratches and you don't overthink tuning because it'll be a bit lo-fi anyway. I've seen that with guitarists, too - they may have better guitars, but they enjoy playing that $20 flea market guitar, too.
(4 stencil kits is still a bit much in my opinion, but who cares? :D)
 

Bozozoid

Platinum Member
Nostalgia. Old men with money trying to relive their youth.

Same reason they buy the old Camaro with a carb and rear drum brakes, no power steering or a/c, and it gets 8 miles to the gallon. Obviously the new version is a better car.
UNTIL...you run into the engine of a Burlington Northern and the railroad is sueing you for damage to the right front quarter of the train while you brush off and get a banana split at the Dairy Queen thinking whoa!..where'd that thing come from..i had Grand Funk blasting and bam!.
 

Bozozoid

Platinum Member
I still search ebay for a nice MIJ kit..the cheap ones..i remember looking at the Sears catalog thinking someday..someday.
 

Superman

Gold Member
Well, it's the same thing, just for a different product.
I suppose, I just meant that those kits i mentioned were ones that famous drummers used and that they heard on the radio. I think wanting Slingerland cause of Kruppa, Ludwig cause of Ringo, Rogers cause of Buddy, Gretsch cause of Charlie Watts is different than wanting Stewart. Just my opinion. There is definitely a market for Stencil kits, I just don't get it and wanted some opinions so I can learn.
 

acsunda

Well-known Member
Count me among the crowd that digs MIJ kits. Currently restoring a late 60's "Black Jack" kit. I like these for a couple of reasons.
1) They've got that vintage drum mojo.
2) They're generally much cheaper than name brand vintage kits like Slingerlands and Rogers while having the same cool vintage vibe. The kit I'm currently working on cost me $250.
3) If the bearing edges are in good shape, you can get them tuned up to sound almost as good as the name brand vintage kits. Not quite as good, but not bad, by a long stretch. The black Jack kit sounds killer, just like a 1966 Slingerland kit I had a while back.
4) All of that aside, it's just one of those quirky niche hobbies like collecting stamps. The only people who think they're cool are the people who think they're cool.
 

someguy01

Platinum Member
Kinda like a guy who collects Corvairs and Pintos.
 

Ransan

Senior Member
Fun fact.

Yamaha made good quality drums before they partnered with Sakae in 1967, which made them even stand out from the regular stencil kits in that period already.

I always love the older 60’s kits from Japan.
Pearl was inversely similar in that they are MIJ titans.

They were building and supplying various lines such as Crest, Majestic, Revere, CB, Apollo, Maxwin, Whitehall and many, many others.

They refined the craft of stenciling, and in ‘66 came out with the phenolic President series.
 

TheDrummerFromAmsterdam

Platinum Member
Pearl was inversely similar in that they are MIJ titans.

They were building and supplying various lines such as Crest, Majestic, Revere, CB, Apollo, Maxwin, Whitehall and many, many others.

They refined the craft of stenciling, and in ‘66 came out with the phenolic President series.
Wasn’t Mawin/Maxtone building drums for Pearl first?

I remember reading about that last year when researching for a Maxtone snare I had, that was the same as the Pearl model, but with a more affordable shell.
 
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