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What's up with Pearl?


drumtrav

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I recently got a part-time job at my local Guitar Center selling drums.

Working with the drum department manager, we started talking about different kits. I told him that I thought Pearl made some really good drums, and that I was going to purchase one of their high-end Master kits when I get a chance. He asked me to go over and bring one of the Tom's from a new export we have just got in. We took the top head of and he asked to to feel the bearing edge. To my surprise, you could actually feel the bearing edge go from 45deg. to 30deg. and back again in several spots on the rim. To even make matters worse, he told me to do the same thing to a MHX kit. The same thing hapened to it as well. I couldn't believe that Pearl would let these drums go out of the factory, or even the drums passing QC.

 

Another thing that he pointed out. On the inside of the shell you could feel were the ply of the wood came together, on both kits. Then we got a Tama Rockstar and he asked that I close my eye and feel to see if I could find the same thing. I could not.

 

I have always thought that Pearl made good kits. My opinion is now iffy about this company. I'm not sure if other people have had this experience, or is this just an isolated one. I thought and I tell most people that before they put on the drumhead, to visually look at and feel the bearing edge of the drum. Anyone else have any comments about this?

 

Drumtrav

Drumtrav
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I worked in a music store here in Cleveland for almost two years till the big boys moved into town.

 

I always thought Pearl kits were on the cheap side. I liked the kick sound on some of the Masters we got in but I always thought the sound of the toms could be more focused. Then I heard Dennis Chambers a few years after that play a clinic on a horrible sounding masters kit. I think he wasn't too happy. The last engineer I talked to said most pearl kits in the studio he got in sounded crappy usually as well. He liked Fortune, Yamaha and Sonor kits for the most part.

 

Why on earth would you want a taiwan made kit when there are so many other great ones out there? I never liked Pearl hardware either. I'd much rather have a Japanese made Yamaha kit. I believe all chromed hardware is made overseas as well because there are no EPA laws and the byproducts of chroming need special handling/disposal.

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Hey, Felix:

You are correct about hardware.

Some of DW's stuff (pedals and hihats) are made in the US. Axis is strictly made in the US (and all out of local-to-their-area material).

 

When I worked for Mapex and Slingerland, I frequented the manufacturing plants in Taiwan. I can tell you that, although I cannot speak for Pearl as I have not been in their factory, the facilities in Taiwan are like Operating Rooms in a hospital. They are clean and spotless. The outside grounds are cleaned and manicured. They are extremely concerned about high quality. Heck, at Mapex, they even made me take my shoes off and wear little hospital-like slippers in the finish area!!

Now, on the hardware side ... the raw materials (i.e. chromed tubes, raw legs, tilters, etc.) are made at sub-factories that produce for all the manufacturers. Many of these were in remote areas. There were dirt floors with chickens running everywhere. In many cases, ... it was apparent that the waste material for chrome (as you mention Felix) was not being properly processed. (A scary thought!)

 

There really is nothing wrong with a Taiwanese made drumset. Many of the sets that you have considered to be "mid-ranged" pro sets are made there. Some of the drums are really killer.

 

For a pro set, I do personally prefer a US made product. (I.e. DW -who make there own shells, Gretsch, Pork Pie, D'amico, etc.) But, and that is a strong but!! ... With as much Taiwanese material used on these US built kits, ... they are barely legal as US product. When you consider lugs, hoops, tension rods, badges, hardware is all from overseas.

 

This, however, is not derogatory. As mentioned, there are great things coming out of Taiwan in the past 10 years. Most of the negative attitude regarding offshore products was started when they originally became involved (in the 60's and 70's) in drum manufacturing. Back then, they simply were "green" regarding drum building fundamentals. Believe me, ... they have and continue to do their homework to crank out better product.

 

Thanks,

DJ

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I think I need to retract some of my statement above (probably a bunch of them but who really cares?)

 

I'm not sure if any of you cats have heard Type O Negative before but that dude plays pearls and they sound awesome in my book.

 

Did they have the bearing edges recut, are there gates, reverb, eq and compression involved? Maybe...but those pearls sound awesome just the same.

 

If one hasn't heard the sonic texture that is this band's trademark-well check it out! It is very unique. It oozes!

 

ciao

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Recently I tried a Pearl drumkit at the official Pearl dealer in Santiago (Chile), a mid-range kit. The Pearl cymbals (made in Canada by Sabian) were extremely good for a kit in this range, but the drums sound was horrible. We tried tuning it in many ways with little success.

 

Pearl has also taken to promote vaporware like software makers of old. Their "Eliminator H2000 Hi-Hat" has been advertised in drum publications(specifically Modern Drummer) on sale since October 2000, but the actual device was available to customers only on February 2001. I have the Pearl Eliminator kick pedal and I find it formidable, but on Pearl drums I think I shall pass.

 

Someone here has written about the Mapex factory in Taiwan and I believe him fully: My kits is a Mapex Saturn Pro SP6225 (http://www.mapexdrums.com/saturn/SP6225.html) natural wood and it's a great kit. These drums not only are a great-sounding instrument but they look terrific too.

 

Brand names are fine, but seriously, many less renowned companies, whether American or from somewhere else, deserve a good look, like Mapex ORION and SATURN PRO kits.

 

Best,

JD - Santiago (CHILE)

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Neil was endorsed by Pearl? Not for long I bet. LOL

 

My good buddy has an old japanese pearl kit (I'm pretty sure) but it is all birch in a trans red. That is a very very punchy five piece. And the free floater snares are pretty nice if I remember...he has a steel 6.5 that really honks.

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I thought Neil Peart was a Ludwig endorser; is this not true?

I know that he endorsed Ludwig for many years, but I don't keep up with who's using what. I'm beyond the point of caring anyone since I have my own opinions and tastes. I could be the only person alive using a particular product and it wouldn't phase me one bit! http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/wink.gif

 

 

 

------------------

Bart Elliott

http://bartelliott.com

Drummer Cafe - community drum & percussion forum
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As far as I know ...

Neil was a Slingerland endorser for a very short time. He loved the snare drum and kept using it all through his glory days.

He was a Ludwig endorser for many years. (20 I think)

 

He recently (within the last few years) became a DW endorser. (but I am sure he still uses his Slingerland snare! )

 

I do not think he ever endorsed Pearl.

 

DJ

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Well, if my memory serves: Neil started with a Rogers kit, switched to Slingerland, went to Tama (where his imput helped to design the Artstar line), briefly went with Ludwig and now he's with DW. I don't think he ever endorsed Pearl.

 

--

Rob

I have the mind of a criminal genius.....I keep it in the freezer next to mother.
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