is it the drums? or the player? that makes them sound good?


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Hey all you drummers out there, I have been playing drums for a long time and hear a lot of people bashing on drum companies just because they own a different brand.
I seriously think I could make a Wal-Kit sound good. but what do you think? is it the drum? or the Musician? that makes them sound good?

Thanks for you input,



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if you feel comfortable with the kit you play better, so its both i think

but the tuning of the drums and make sure it sounds like one instrument.


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The drums don't affect you chops, but I like the sound of good drums over bad drums (whatever that may be in your opinion) anyday.


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I saw Steve Gadd play a set of whipped to death OLD Pearl Wood/Fiberglass shelled drums. The heads were toasted.

There were TWO musicians in the band... Chuck Mangione on Piano and Flugelhorn and Steve Gadd on Drums.

The sound was amazing. Steve could make garbage cans sound better than a 20,000 kit in the hands of a lesser player...

It's ALL about the feel and the skills of the player. The rest is icing on the cake.


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Its most definately the player that makes them sound good, you could have a complete drum noob get on say Mike Portnoy's kit and it would sound like crap.

Look at buddy Rich, very simple kits sometimes all he really needed was his snare, a hi-hat, bass drum, and a cymbal.


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I think it's a bit of both, I just had the chance to play a DW kit the other weekend and I was stoked to be allowed to play the kit, so I left my Gretsch behind but as soon as I hit he snare and bass drum I let out a gawd awful "Aaaaaghhhhh", it sounded crappy................I was like, "This is what a top of the line DW sounds like?"...........

So I asked if I could re-tune the drums and get it to atleast a playable sound, needless to say that I was told no! She told me thats how she likes it and I was like "WOW", because if thats what a DW is supposed to sound like my lowend SONOR kicks its ass hands down.........I still played it but I would never own one.......

There are times my SONOR sounds better than my Gretsch so it depends on the music and the wood used but a damn good drummer can make a "FirstAct" sound good........It may take some tweaking but I think it could be done........

But just find a kit that feels good to you whether it costs a couple hundered bucks or a couple thousand, I have had the pleasure to play some real expensive kits and I must say they do sound much better when the craftmanship is there........But a good kick pedal, a cushy throne and a nice Hi-Hat stand makes a bigger difference than the kit itself at times..............



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[Thanks for the input folks,
I am aware that you can't replace a well made drum. it just bugs me to hear people say " So & So's drums Suck!" just because they don't own a set . I think it shows their knowledge, (very little). I think it would be safe to say that " if there was only one brand of drum, we would all be playing that brand because we love playing drums" it's not about who made, it's about who's gunna bang it. again, thanks for the input.

Have a great day, ]

The Heel

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They player and the guy tuning them really.

I've heard DW an Ayotte kits sound like garbage with weak players playing them. (The DW guy couldnt tune either) and I've heard Ludwig Accent junks and even mixed bag junks sound like a million dollars with a skilled player just sitting down at them.

A great set of drums will make a great player sound better, but a great set of drums isnt gonna make a weak player sound great. Ever.


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Drum sound is for me 50% of your presentation. This is a mix of your touch on the instrument, the choice of stick, heads, tuning, and miking. If you have great drums that are tuned and miked well, then you will sound good unless you can't use it to your advantage.


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I'm pretty sure the nail was hit on the head with the tuning person. You can make a low end kit sound great but when you apply the same practices to a upper level kit you will hear it for sure. I actually feel you should do your time with a low end kit just so you can learn how to tweak tunings and learn the art of tuning which in my oppinion is all but lost thanks to all the triggering and pro tools etc that can make paper plates sound good.LOL


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I agree with the view that it is mainly the player that is the deciding factor. Although, if a great player is playing a horrible sounding set, the playing itself will be there, but the tone won't

Of course it's all opnion based, like many other things, but in my opinion, I can only listen to bad sounding drums for so long before I start to cringe. Even if the playing is good.

That scenario remindes me of a great singer, singing through a horrible PA system. Sure his/her singing is there, but the sound itself leaves somthing to be desired.



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vargasdrumbeast":2zrwvpa4 said:
Look at buddy Rich, very simple kits sometimes all he really needed was his snare, a hi-hat, bass drum, and a cymbal.
I saw Buddy Rich play a chair, a desk and the floor and it sounded great!


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You need decent shells and GOOD heads to have a good sounding kit. The better the kit sounds, the better you sound, no matter your skill level. On the other hand, if your skills are sub-par, then it really doesn't matter how good your kit is. I've seen good drummers pull grooves out of junkyard kits, and have seen some bad drummers with the best equipment known to man sound like poop. You have to spend time and experiment with tuning what you have. The better your kit sounds, the more inspired you'll be to play them well. I play Pearl EXR's, not the most expensive kit out there, but I keep good heads on them, have learned to tune them, and use professional cymbals (Zildjians) with them. Keep practicing, get your shells to sing, and you be surprised on how much time you'll want to spend in the throne perfecting your art.


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I think it is a combination of both the skills of the drummer and his kit. A skilled drummer will know how to tune his/her drums as well as the nuiances of their kit. I have heard a top of the line DW sound like crap as Ive heard a low line Pearl Export sound simply fantastic! (the DW guy was a rich kid who couldn't keep even time, and really couldn't tune his drums. The export guy was a skilled player, just broke!!) I believe that any kit can be tune to sound reasonably good for studio/stage I also believe it is also easier to tune a well crafted kit than a cheaply made one


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When I was 9, I told my teacher that my drums didn't sound good (and they didn't cuz they were out of tune).

He told me "it's not the drums, it's the drummer," and sat down and showed me the flaw in my thinking.

Since then, I've have always looked at drums with an eye influenced from that moment. Even a crappy set of drums are still drums. Like if a great guitarist picked up a Sears peice of shit geeetar, he could still make it sing.

And that is our calling, to make any set of drums sound good.

I've been to many parties, with impromptu jams. If asked to play, I would check out the drums. When the drums totally sucked, I got excited! As most of the cats who played them wouldn't have any enthusiasm for playing such a kit, I always looked at them like a kid that just needed love, and set forth to make those drums sound like a dream.

That is always the way to go. Yeah ttry to get the drums sounding the way you like, but it's your love for playing that sells the sound to the listener...
It's mostly in the player and the player's knowledge of tuning and heads. I play 2 different kits, a 7 piece higher end Sonor Force Series, which usually runs for about 1000 bucks, for the shells, not counting the Joey Jordison snare that was bought separatley. It's a very nice kit and sounds great.
My other kit is a 5 piece Rockwood by Hohner kit. A cheap $350 kit I bought about 8 years ago. I can make that $350 kit sound almost just as good as the Sonor kit. It's all in the kind of heads you use, how you tune them, and you're over all knowledge and touch. You cant bash the hell out of the drums and expect them to sound good. That just kills the tone.