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Tips and info on buying used drums (Read 4228 times)

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#1 Tips and info on buying used drums
July 17, 2010, 06:33:03 PM
If your buying a used drum kit, things to consider is price, is it just a shell kit or, does it come with hardware, and cymbals? Once you have this info go online and check the prices to get an idea of what it's worth. I have seen deals where the snare and hardware is well worth the asking price alone. Don't forget if your buying it on line and there is a shipping charge to ad this to the price.

Buying used shells online can be a hit or miss deal. Allot of drum sets are bought new by a person who has never played drums, has money to burn, and decides they want to be a drummer not realizing like any other instrument it takes allot of time, work, and practice, they drop $1200 - $1500 or more on a kit. They get it home, bang on them a bit then get discouraged or for what ever reason decide drumming is not for them, so they just pile everything up in a basement corner. After sitting neglected for years they decide hey that's money piled up there so they either take to a musical shop to try another type of musical instrument and trade their kit in, or put it online like ebay or craigs list. 

In the scenario above the whole problem is how this person stored the kit. If they brought it to a musical shop to trade, the musical shop will offer say $500 trade towards a $3000 Fender Strat. The music store in this case is not to concerned of the condition of the kit as they are making a $3000 sale on a guitar that at their cost, cost them $1500 or less. So now the music store takes the kit  and lists it on their web side in their used equipment page, in most cases if it is a mid to upper level kit with mid to upper level hardware they will break it up and sell the shell pack for $500 and then try to pick up an extra $200 or $300 on the hardware. The whole deal here is buying from a store online does not always mean your getting a great kit at a great price.

So what's all this leading to? Well as stated in previous paragraph the problem is how well did a previous owner or owners take care of the kit? Drums are like any other fine musical instrument and if not taken care or stored properly they can become not much more than ornaments. For instance try to picture what would happen to an acoustic guitar if stored for a long period of time with the strings left fully tuned with all that stress on the neck and then tossed into a damp basement. Most likely the guitar will be ruined, I'll leave all the damage that can occur to a guitar under these conditions to a guitarist to post. But with a drum shell it can warp the shells, the glue used to hold the ply's together can weaken, the hardware on the shells as well as other hardware can pit and rust. The rust and pitting is just a cosmetic thing but the shell damage is irreversible.

If you must buy online ask allot of questions about condition and guarantees they offer that the shells will be in good condition, if shells are found to be bad will they give full refund including return shipping? Or better yet buy a kit close to home that you can go inspect with your own eyes, either a local music shop or Craigs list. If your only spending a couple hundred dollars than it may not be a big deal but if your spending $1000 + then you should be careful what your putting you money into.

Things to look for that are tell tale signs a kit was not stored properly or badly neglected. If you see pitting or rust not good, if they are wrapped shells and wrap is starting to peel also not good, look the shells over carefully out side as well as inside, look for cracks, blistering or bubbling  of the wood, from inside the shell look around the mount and lugs nut/washers to see it they appear sunken into the shell. If you see any of this stuff they are not good signs. And a final test, this may sound extream but if you want to know what your getting is a must do to check for shell warpage. you either need to bring something perfectly flat with you like a 14 X 14 mirror or find a surface on site that is perfectly flat. Take the top and bottom heads off at least 1 tom, set it on a flat surface and look all the way around the edge if you see any gaps the shell is warped. Another thing that can happen that is bad to a shell is it can go out of round, you could use the drum hoop without the head, put the hoop over the shell try to center it best you can and look for any wider gaps on either side of the hoop, if you see this than the shell is out of round or oval shaped. A shell that is warped or out of round can be very difficult to tune, and will never tune up very well.

I hope the article has helped shed some light on buying used kits and what to look for. Only things I can add here is decide what your budget is, do your home work look around the internet at what is available in your price range, maybe determine what make and model you would prefer to own, then with the info I have provided here along with your home work on the internet you are now ready to go shopping and make a smart purchase. Just keep one thing in mind, if the first kit you look at don't seem right, have a little patience, there are many used kits out there for sale and if you shop smart you will end up with a decent kit at a decent price. Happy shopping.

Note: I will be posting another post on my suggestions on what to buy and what not to buy that will go along good with the info in this post. 

Mapex Pro M Maple standard, Pearl 800 series cymbal stands, Vex hi hat stand, Pearl P201P double bass pedals, Tama mid level throne, All Zildjian A cymbals, 21" Rock Ride, 18" med thin crash, 16" med thin crash, 10" splash, 14" new beat hi hats.