Old 11-03-2022, 07:21 AM
#11
thin shell thin shell is offline
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Default Re: C&C: how do they compare?
It is a misconception that the American manufacturers of old made everything that went into their drums.

Ludwig made their wood shells, mylar heads and hoops. They outsourced just about everything else. Similar with Slingerland although I don't know if they made their own mylar heads. Everything else was outsourced.
Same with Rogers and Gretsch although they didn't even make their own shells or hoops. All outsourced. Rogers might have made their own hoops.

Wrap, diecast parts, stamped steel parts, mounting screws, Chrome and Nickel plating, badges are all highly specialized and it makes zero sense to invest in all of the specialized equipment to make those parts for a relatively low production number product such as drums. They would have never survived.

The only real difference is that now most of those outsourced parts come from Asia rather than American suppliers.
Old 11-03-2022, 09:48 AM
#12
J!m J!m is offline
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Default Re: C&C: how do they compare?
All true, but it IS possible to have a 100% American made and sourced drum (or set of drums).

Even back in the 90's when Joe Montineri and I were seeing each other more frequently (his shop was the next town over from our guitar shop) he was having his tube lugs made at a local machine shop and plated at another shop- all USA companies and materials. His shells came from Keller, and he (and his brother) did all the machine work on the shells, plus wraps, in their shop. I saw it all myself.

I think he farmed out any lacquer finishes to a body shop- I don't recall any booth for painting in his shop (maybe he didn't offer painted finishes then?). I did the cobalt blue (started with "French banner blue" and tweaked it in by eye from there) on the snare he made for me, since I was all set up for painting guitars anyway (I also did lacquer finishes for Art Benson [RIP] who made a few custom snares for people).

Hoops could be machined from steel billet, and chrome plated. This would be more expensive than stamped steel from China of course, but totally USA made. And Brass could be used rather than steel. Or aluminum. Or titanium. The options open up wide.

I know of a company that spins metal to make complex round shapes. They work predominantly for the aerospace industry, but they could make seamless snare shells (actually any size shell) and also laser drill every hole with extremely tight tolerance. Aluminum, mild steel, stainless steel, Brass, Bronze Titanium, Inconel, Hastelloy you name it. I had thought about if there would be a market for replacement shells... I'd target the Ludwig Acrolyte/ Supra/ super sensitive first if I did it. But that is a completely USA made option too.

So, it really boils down to how much you want to spend. The old saying from Mad Max "Speed's just a question of money. How fast you wanna' go?" really applies here. I just finished up a turntable, as an engineering exercise mainly, but predominantly American made (not 100% USA parts). However, it will be difficult to sell, because the cost to do this is rather high as compared to other turntable options on the market...
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Cobalt Blue Yamaha Recording Custom 20b-22b-8-10-12-13-15-16f-18f
Red Ripple '70's Yamaha D-20 20b-12-14f
Piano Black Yamaha Recording Custom Be-Bop kit 18b-10-14f
Snares:
Yamaha COS SDM5; Yamaha Cobalt Blue RC 5-1/2x14; Gretsch round badge WMP; 1972 Ludwig Acrolite; 1978 Ludwig Super Sensitive; Cobalt Blue one-off Montineri; Yamaha Musashi 6.5X13 Oak; cheap 3.5X13 brass piccolo
Old 11-03-2022, 10:59 AM
#13
O-Lugs O-Lugs is offline
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Default Re: C&C: how do they compare?
And then we arrive back at the point....which is that the reason that American made drums and kits are so desirable is partly due to the fact that no manufacturer can afford to do what they used to do to make them. The unattainability is what drives the vintage drum market. That's why we are here. And, as long as there is interest in vintage drums, the prices will continue to go up. However, if interests wane and the collecting market evaporates, then it's a different story.
TBH, beyond WHERE the products are made, I'm not even sure the quality of the metal used is the same as it once was. Even the way the raw materials are made is different....castings are different, etc. I can see and feel the differences when I compare the stuff I have collected over the years.
Manufacturing adopted a "good enough" philosophy at some point. Even Rogers went from machining their collets to casting them. But when the Asian market got serious, American manufacturing really started to cut corners to keep up. But, they couldn't do it well enough and eventually joined the new trend in outsourcing overseas parts. To me, that was the beginning of the end of the American-made drums.

edit: nice turntable!
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Last edited by O-Lugs; 11-03-2022 at 12:15 PM.
Old 11-03-2022, 12:27 PM
#14
O-Lugs O-Lugs is offline
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Default Re: C&C: how do they compare?
Just as an anecdote....I was watching a YouTube video by a guy I am following for homesteading advice. Like me, he used to buy/wear only Levi's 501, shrink-to-fit, button-front jeans and Levi's jeans jackets. But, over time, the great, AMERICAN company, Levi Strauss & Co., started to cut corners. Now, their product is so inferior to what it used to be, the only source for a similar (if not exact) copy of the old Levis....is to go to a JAPANESE manufacturer who makes their jeans based on the old, original Levi's model. Apparently they even use the old machinery that Levi's once used. How's THAT for ironic?
So, yes, you can still buy Levi's jeans, new...but they aren't what they used to be. They COULD be what they used to be....IF people were willing to pay the price....but most aren't. "Good enough" is the new norm. Even the people who ARE willing to pay the price for getting something done "the old way" are going to have a hard time finding places that do it.
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Old 11-03-2022, 12:39 PM
#15
thin shell thin shell is offline
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Default Re: C&C: how do they compare?
Yes, you could make a drum from mostly US parts. However, the cost would be so high that only a small percentage of people could afford them. The cost would make DW Collectors series drums seem like entry level drums in comparison. Especially when you start suggesting billet hoops. Billet anything is going to be much more expensive, no matter where it is made. It would be very hard to find mounting hardware to mount things to the shell that were made in the US however. There are very few if any US factories pumping out small commodity fasteners any more. The margins are just not there. The market from drums is tiny compared to most consumer products so the economies of scale will never justify it. Tension rods would also have to be custom made because nobody makes them in the US. Try quoting making them here. The cold heading and thread rolling setup costs would sink you easily. Once you start suggesting having everything made state side, in very small quantities, I think you would find that the costs would be several orders of magnitude higher than you are thinking. Minimum order quantities, tooling and setup costs would price anyone without a lot of capital up front from even attempting such a thing. So if you want to just provide drums to the top 2% of consumers, then knock yourself out, otherwise you will be bankrupt in a week.

I suspect that 90% of that turntable is made from offshore parts. Rega tonearms are made in England and I doubt much of anything off the shelf that went into that build was imported. Most of the tonearms and cartridges are made in other countries and command very high prices. Of course, turntables is very much a niche market, much smaller than drums. Heck, even the base which I am assuming is Zebrawood doesn't even grow here.

I am not saying I am a fan of having everything made in Asia. Far from it, but that argument will quickly become political for many reasons so I am not going there.
Old 11-03-2022, 12:53 PM
#16
thin shell thin shell is offline
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Default Re: C&C: how do they compare?
Quote:
Originally Posted by O-Lugs View Post
Just as an anecdote....I was watching a YouTube video by a guy I am following for homesteading advice. Like me, he used to buy/wear only Levi's 501, shrink-to-fit, button-front jeans and Levi's jeans jackets. But, over time, the great, AMERICAN company, Levi Strauss & Co., started to cut corners. Now, their product is so inferior to what it used to be, the only source for a similar (if not exact) copy of the old Levis....is to go to a JAPANESE manufacturer who makes their jeans based on the old, original Levi's model. Apparently they even use the old machinery that Levi's once used. How's THAT for ironic?
So, yes, you can still buy Levi's jeans, new...but they aren't what they used to be. They COULD be what they used to be....IF people were willing to pay the price....but most aren't. "Good enough" is the new norm. Even the people who ARE willing to pay the price for getting something done "the old way" are going to have a hard time finding places that do it.
It's all about the bottom line and what the consumer is willing to pay.
You also seem to be equating where something is made with quality. As if it is the people making the product has a lot to do with it. If so, that is a fallacy. Levis could make just as good a pair of jeans that they used to make here, in any country with no problem if they wanted to. They just don't want to or know that if they did, they would price themselves out of the market for the average consumer. You can go to a factory in China, Mexico, Bangladesh and get an equal pair of Levis made to anything ever made here. As long as you spec it that way when asking them to make it and are willing to pay a higher per unit cost associated with that level of quality. The problem is most of the companies don't do this. Not only are they trying to keep the prices affordable, they (the executives) are also thinking of their stock options and the shareholders. They place more weight on those last two things more than the consumer or the product.

And yes, the average American consumer want's cheap over quality in most cases. Most don't care if their Levis last more than a year or two. They are going to throw them away in that time frame anyway.

I don't find it ironic at all that a Japanese company is making Levis like the old US made ones. Japan is known for very high quality and has been for a long time. But even the Japanese drum companies have outsourced a lot of their manufacturing and suppliers to Chinese factories. For the same reasons. Cost savings.
Old 11-03-2022, 01:25 PM
#17
J!m J!m is offline
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Default Re: C&C: how do they compare?
I see a lot of good comments here I'd like to "multi-quote" and add here, but I guess we don't have that option on this board.

First, thank you for the comment on the table. It was over a year planning and building. Tyhe wood plinth (which is Ebony veneer, but does look a bit like Zebrawood) came from Moldova. I then did quite a bit of modifications myself to it.

The platter and sub-platter come from South America. Arm is Rega, so UK origin.

The aluminum constraind layer sub-plinth is my design and manufactured here in CT by an Aerospace machine shop. The rubber sheet in the "sandwich" was water-jet cut to my drawing here in CT. Same with the power switch/level bezel (level is back-lit when power is on). Dust cover is Rega UK- recycled. Fasteners are US made I'm reasonably sure. I used 4-40 button head cap screws for bezel and logo, and 10-32 low head cap screws for the sub plinth construction/attachment. Brass inserts in the wood plinth for all the fasteners are US made I'm reasonably sure (I honestly wasn't focused on that when finding the right parts). Motor is original but from Premotec; I believe... Belgian?

But the Levis analogy- yeah. And I've looked into getting a few pair of Selvage jeans from Japan. I think if you simply adjust for inflation, the pricing is not out of line at all, from 1980 Levis. But I haven't checked. Problem is I'll still ruin them, and I buy my jeans at the thrift store these days!

Assuming you are making more than one drum, billet hoops would not be too bad. It would be run on a CNC machine (probably Japanese origin machine!) and the more you do, the less that cost. Start with a pipe, not a solid round bar, to reduce waste (although smaller hoops could be made from the drops). It requires good planning and utilization of respurces, but it's possible to keep pricing "reasonable" but it would still be above DW with their mass-produced cheap lug castings etc.

(I will say that I liked the old "jazz" drums DW made before buying the Gretsch name. Maybe Gretsch are the same shells but I don't know.) I think DW is on par with any premium drum, say the Recording Custom (now made in Taiwan) or even the PHX (made in Japan still). When the Stage Custom Birch line came out, I told my bass player to buy them for his daughter (and he did) they are the same shell technology and construction as RC, but made in Taiwan. Just change the heads to USA Remo heads and you cannot tell them apart sonically. Yamaha figured that out for themselves (or it was a test to see how they did) and re-badged those shells with a nicer finish, and those are current RC drums too...
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Cobalt Blue Yamaha Recording Custom 20b-22b-8-10-12-13-15-16f-18f
Red Ripple '70's Yamaha D-20 20b-12-14f
Piano Black Yamaha Recording Custom Be-Bop kit 18b-10-14f
Snares:
Yamaha COS SDM5; Yamaha Cobalt Blue RC 5-1/2x14; Gretsch round badge WMP; 1972 Ludwig Acrolite; 1978 Ludwig Super Sensitive; Cobalt Blue one-off Montineri; Yamaha Musashi 6.5X13 Oak; cheap 3.5X13 brass piccolo
Old 11-03-2022, 07:18 PM
#18
O-Lugs O-Lugs is offline
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Default Re: C&C: how do they compare?
I'm probably just being an old fuddy-duddy, but, when I was young, I just took it for granted that I would always have access to quality manufactured products. I didn't think about any of it. Buying a pair of Levis meant that you had to calculate how they would shrink and also how long it was going to take to break them in....because the old denim was thick and built to last a farmer at least a year of hard work. "Made in Japan" used to mean that the product was cheap by comparison to the mighty American-made quality. How things have changed. I guess we all rely on China to provide everything now. If I had a choice, then I'd be living in a cabin in the mountains and doing without any of this new standard we have come to accept. But, I'm married and......yeah. I better stop talking now.
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Old 11-03-2022, 09:09 PM
#19
J!m J!m is offline
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Default Re: C&C: how do they compare?
I feel similar.

Put me about eight miles from nowhere and I’m happy. But also married…
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Cobalt Blue Yamaha Recording Custom 20b-22b-8-10-12-13-15-16f-18f
Red Ripple '70's Yamaha D-20 20b-12-14f
Piano Black Yamaha Recording Custom Be-Bop kit 18b-10-14f
Snares:
Yamaha COS SDM5; Yamaha Cobalt Blue RC 5-1/2x14; Gretsch round badge WMP; 1972 Ludwig Acrolite; 1978 Ludwig Super Sensitive; Cobalt Blue one-off Montineri; Yamaha Musashi 6.5X13 Oak; cheap 3.5X13 brass piccolo
Old 11-04-2022, 01:57 AM
#20
latzanimal latzanimal is offline
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Default Re: C&C: how do they compare?
Another thought...

Most drummers (excluding the fine people on this forum, of course) are just plain cheap...

I will give 2 examples... 1) A friend of mine was making a living playing full time and had a drum business building drums around 10-12 years ago. He needed a new throne, but didn't want to spend more than $100 on a new one. Here's a guy who was knee deep in the business, not wanting to spend money on one of the important tools of the trade. One, upon which he would be sitting on for 3-4 hrs a night, 3-4 nights a week...

2) Another acquaintance worked at a large chain music store in Chicago. In the 15 years he worked there, the most expensive thing he ever sold was a $700 snare he sold himself.

I started building with another guy in the mid 90's, before the boutique thing hit. We had our tube lugs cut at a local machine shop, buffed and assembled them ourselves. Strainers, hoops, etc were imported. I watched this guy price himself right out of the market even with the high profile clients we had.

While I still build, it is sparingly and only for someone who really wants one. I have my price and if you want it, I'm happy to build it. If not, thanks for asking....
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Last edited by Tommyp; 11-05-2022 at 05:30 AM.
 

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