Buying Used Gear: Smart Consumerism
At Boston Drum Lessons, we want to help our students buy the best kinds of drums for their needs. Whether you're a beginning drummer looking for a deal on a used drum kit or a seasoned collector of vintage instruments, researching different types of drums beforehand can prevent you from bringing home a heap of junk. This brief guide will help steer you in the right direction when buying used gear.
Research Brands of Drums
First and foremost - have you heard of the brand name before? A quick internet search should turn up results on any well-known brands of drums. If you haven't heard of a particular brand of instruments before and you can't find much information after doing the slightest bit of e-digging, chances are it's a cheaply made product that never caught on for a reason.
What to Look for When Buying Used Drums or Cymbals
Used instruments won't look perfect. Expect some wear and tear - maybe a few scuffs, tiny dings, a touch of rust on the hoops, stick marks, etc. Cosmetic issues will not impact the sound or durability of a drum or cymbal. However, there are plenty of crucial things to check for when buying used drums. Before purchasing drums, ask yourself these questions:
- If the shells are wrapped, are there any bubbles or warped areas? Is the wrap peeling at the seam?
- For ply drums, are any plies beginning to separate? Are there any gaps between plies?
- Are there any blemishes along the bearing edge? (The point where the head makes contact with the shell)
- Are the hoops warped or bent in any way?
- Is all of the hardware fastened tightly to the shell?
The drum on the left has a big crack running through it and the shell on the right suffers from separating plies. Each drum can be restored, but not without some knowledgable treatment.
When Buying Used Cymbals, Ask Yourself:
- Are there cracks in the edge or body of the cymbal? Any crack will rapidly expand once it begins forming.
- Does the cymbal exhibit any keyholing?
- Are there any noticeable dents or bends?
The cymbal on the left exhibits keyholing, while the cymbal on the right sports a large edge crack. Cymbals damaged in these ways should come at a low cost.
What's a Fair Price for Used Drums?
If a price seems high or a deal seems too good to be true (it probably is), another quick internet search should reveal the going rate for practically any name-brand piece of gear. Used drums and cymbals should be priced significantly lower than their list price. Most sellers give an honest and accurate depiction of what they are selling with appropriate pricing, but it never hurts to arm yourself with knowledge against those with nefarious intent.