Old Japanese drums vs newer Chinese stuff

Dr. Tweedbucket

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You would think the old higher end Tama or Yamaha Japanese drums would be collectable. It's hard to get anything out of them, yet when I compare with today's stuff, to me they are superior. I wonder if new drummers realize the difference? :huh The hardware was better, the shell wood was better the shell construction was better, the hoops were superior. The really, really old stands weren't that good but anything 80s on was fine. :red

Other opinions? :waiting
 

redchapterjubilee

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Used to be one could score good deals on late 70s/80s Japanese drums but the price has started to come up. Recording Customs have always held value but prices on series 5000/7000/9000 and Stage/Tour Customs have started to climb too. Granstars and Artstars used to be a bargain but have started to climb too, as have vintage Superstars. That said, you can still score full sets in the high hundreds. are they worth it? Sure! if you like what they offer. Thick shells, built like a tank with great hardware, always in round, easy to tune and plenty of volume. By the end of the 80s DW had revolutionized sharp 45 bearing edges and brought back thinner shells For higher end drums and players turned away from the golden age of Japanese drums. But as people have gone back looking for deals and can’t find many in the golden 50s/70s drums people have remember how well built those Tama and Yamaha drums were and started collecting them.
 

slayerbear17

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I remember buying a kit in Australia when I lived there. More or less to make it easier for our aging drummer who didn't want to haul his huge MIJ Tama kit.

He was quite impressed for a $500 purchase, MIT, Decent hardware, and impressed by the shells.

I'm not a drum expert by any means or a drummer, but MIT still has some decent quality. I wish I could afford some MIJ drum gear.
 

eigentone

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I'm with you. I own a Yamaha Recording Custom set from 1985/1986. Plus a ton of add ons (shell bank.) MIJ Yamahas have really risen in value in recent years. They have aged well and still sound great. It's a pro drum kit. A lot of the newer drums I try feel cheap and flimsy. The chrome on the previous drum kit I owned looked bad after a few years. The 35 years old RCs still look great. Sound-wise, I often leave drum shops underwhelmed and feeling good about the drums I currently own.

One day I will add another flavor. Maybe something with Mahogany and rounder edges. But I think I would have to pay a small fortune to buy a shell bank which I was convinced sounds better, if I were considering buying a shell bank I thought would be an upgrade.

Recording Customs are no longer made in Japan by Sakae. They are made in China and they have their fans. I have not tried the newest RCs. A new RC set will cost much more.
 

jmoose

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Recording Customs are no longer made in Japan by Sakae. They are made in China and they have their fans. I have not tried the newest RCs. A new RC set will cost much more.

I have experienced the new Recording Customs and they're a great kit absolutely worthy of the legacy. That price though...

A) Yamaha never made their own drums until just a few years ago. Everything was contracted out, if your Yamaha RC's say "made in England" they were built by Premier.

B) Sakae is out of business. Gone forever. The only reason they really existed in the first place was for Yamaha... Yammie owned the molds and machinery and let Sakae keep everything when they split. They tried to make a go of it but didn't have the support or distribution.

I sorta became an expert on Yamaha's about 5 years ago when I wanted to get a second kit and thought, well I probably can't justify it but I wonder how much a new set of Recording Customs are only to discover that Yamaha had discontinued everything! Reason because they were moving all drum (and other instrument) production to a brand new in-house factory.

Part of the problem with older 80s Tama's and whatnot is that you've gotta find someone who wants those sizes. The big power toms, while they have their fans just aren't that popular. Couple that with the heavy hardware and thick shells and you have kits that aren't exactly flavor of the day.

Another factor is the overall value vs ease of sale. Most drum kits trade at a local level... shipping a drum kit can be difficult and expensive and that totally plays a role. You either have to be willing to take the hit, or have a kit where the value is high enough that shipping costs offset the bottom dollar.

Lets say your old Tama kit is worth $700 and costs $300 to ship. That doesn't make it a $1k kit to the buyer... its still a $700 kit. Now if you have some old Lud's or a new top end kit, something worth a couple grand, that $300 shipping cost isn't a big hit.
 

wraub

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I have a 30 year old (mostly MIJ) Yamaha kit with power sizes that I got for dirt cheap- it looks and sounds great imo, and I like that it isn't the same kit as seen in every store. That said, I get the dislike for the bigger toms for some, the size can make comfortable placement difficult.
It is a very well made kit, imo, and I am glad to have it.

Also, Sakae is still hanging on... https://sakae-drums.com/en/


I have experienced the new Recording Customs and they're a great kit absolutely worthy of the legacy. That price though...

A) Yamaha never made their own drums until just a few years ago. Everything was contracted out, if your Yamaha RC's say "made in England" they were built by Premier.

B) Sakae is out of business. Gone forever. The only reason they really existed in the first place was for Yamaha... Yammie owned the molds and machinery and let Sakae keep everything when they split. They tried to make a go of it but didn't have the support or distribution.

I sorta became an expert on Yamaha's about 5 years ago when I wanted to get a second kit and thought, well I probably can't justify it but I wonder how much a new set of Recording Customs are only to discover that Yamaha had discontinued everything! Reason because they were moving all drum (and other instrument) production to a brand new in-house factory.

Part of the problem with older 80s Tama's and whatnot is that you've gotta find someone who wants those sizes. The big power toms, while they have their fans just aren't that popular. Couple that with the heavy hardware and thick shells and you have kits that aren't exactly flavor of the day.

Another factor is the overall value vs ease of sale. Most drum kits trade at a local level... shipping a drum kit can be difficult and expensive and that totally plays a role. You either have to be willing to take the hit, or have a kit where the value is high enough that shipping costs offset the bottom dollar.

Lets say your old Tama kit is worth $700 and costs $300 to ship. That doesn't make it a $1k kit to the buyer... its still a $700 kit. Now if you have some old Lud's or a new top end kit, something worth a couple grand, that $300 shipping cost isn't a big hit.
 
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redchapterjubilee

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I suppose is useless without pix. And technically not Japanese, as Yamaha offshored manufacture of their drums 1977-1980 to Taiwan before bringing production back to Japan some time in 1980. These were made in November of 1979. 9000-DA series, so birch/mahogany. If you blow up the pic and look at the bass drum hoop it has the same striation of layers as the shells. I bought them specifically to put heavier heads on for recording but I'm pretty sure they are much louder than my other two 3-ply w/rings kits.


yammys.jpg
 
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In Absentia

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Newer Chinese stuff is no joke. I’ve played some incredible kits from China.
But let’s make no mistake, it’s no where the Japanese stuff was back in the day. Sakae made some killer stuff for Yamaha, and Tama was great back in the day.
 

wye

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Lets say your old Tama kit is worth $700 and costs $300 to ship. That doesn't make it a $1k kit to the buyer... its still a $700 kit. Now if you have some old Lud's or a new top end kit, something worth a couple grand, that $300 shipping cost isn't a big hit.
This, never understood the hype of certain brands when a vintage 3ply Ludwig is quite (compared to guitar vintage market) a steal cheap, would never buy a new drum set...had quite underwhelming experiences in shops.
 

Dr. Tweedbucket

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It's weird though, I had some mid 2000s Tama Star Classics and they listed for about $4000 for a 5 piece kit including snare and no mounting hardware. I've been trying to sell it with hardware and cymbals for $1500 for 3 months and it's like near mint condition. I finally moved it for a bit less but it's mind boggling.... I'm not even factoring in inflation. :messedup Now take a high end guitar... you can usually always get about 50% out of it used if it's super clean and a popular model. Why do you get so beat up on drums?
 

wye

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A better sounding 60s vintage ludwig 3 ply is half the price of a legacy series Ludwig one in Germany...the drum market is a paradise for the buyer compared to the guitar market.
You can get vintage parts cheaply and have the edges recut and reskin the wraps very budget friendly.
 

redchapterjubilee

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Drum trends can be fickle. Seems we are in a 50s/60s fetish for drum gear. Thin shells w/rings, round over edges, cool wraps, vintage style hardware made to modern tolerances, thinner/darker cymbals, overall less volume And less heavy to carry. The drums of the 80s -> 90s got thicker, deeper, louder, brighter. 2000’s seems all the drum makers were into fusion sizes with all hanging toms, burst finishes, and are often heavy to carry. My brother plays too and he often comments on how he sees lots of bands using the wrong gear, like metal bands using smaller, thinner shell drums and thinner cymbals trying to get over big guitars. I remind him that drums benefit from the same advances in PA’s that guitar dudes have enjoyed. Smaller amps and smaller drums mic’ed. And chuckle at his hypocrisy, since this is the guy that played in alt-metal bands in the late 80s on bop kits.

There are certainly still high dollar items were one to be interested in that sort of thing, stuff Like Tama bell brass snares, Radio King stuff, Camco drums, unmolested Bonham size kits, Turkish K’s, etc. The drums almost have to have a celebrity connection, like Neil Peart’s 70s Slingerland kit that’s on auction now, for them to be 50s Fender prices. Finding stuff unmolested really is the key. Finding drums that made it through the 70s with bottom heads on the toms/kick is 50/50, likely you may have to hunt down hardware and recut edges. Wrap peels, drums rub against each other, they got thrown around in vans/trucks without cases, most drum-mounted hardware sucked so finding drums that have original spurs or tom mounts can be a challenge. Snare strainers break and OEM parts aren’t always readily available. The thinner shell drums from the pre-80s eras are sometimes out of round, are sometimes finicky about heads (they are slightly overlarge) and the consistency out of the factory left a lot to be desired. drummers are hell on drums. I went through a period in the late 90s when pretty much everything I owned fell apart. Broken stands, cymbals, pedals, hardware. i really think the very nature of drums and cymbals being things thet get abused repetitively means it’s harder to find stuff that held up to it.

Sometimes you can still find case queen quality stuff In the wild. My 76 Ludwigs were in extremely good condition when I got them 6 years ago, but even then they were missing the tom mufflers, mounting hardware, and one of the hoops had a split repair. My Camcos have been worked over with refilled holes, recut edges, and rewrapped somewhat poorly. Those series 9000-DA’s in the picture above are still stock and the bearing edges perfect but there are lots of finish scratches and gouges.
 

wraub

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There are definitely a lot of drums just laying around, it seems- No shortage of sets on the local CL, ranging from higher-end to bargain basement.
There's two starter sets near me, one's a Ludwig, for $65. Both are clearly older import sets, and both may be fine.

I do notice a lot of sellers say prices are firm, and it seems like prices in general are up.
 
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"""and it seems like prices in general are up."""
yes.16 pack of ball park franks were like $5.65......now about $7.50 :confused::confused:
wait till TP hits $2/roll ,,,,,,,,:oops::oops::oops::oops:
 




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