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  1. The Fight Revisited.

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    Default The Genius Switch Drum Set Anthology

    Hey everybody! I've been on this forum for almost 7 years! (Formally as "ironcobra8" but I changed my user name last month) Hardly a day goes by that I'm not on here....mostly to drool over other peoples kits! Since I currently do not own a full kit I decided now was a good time to take a look back at what I've owned, what I liked and didn't like about each of these kits, and maybe to answer ANY questions you might have about what you see here. (All sizes are listed as depth x diameter)

    So let's get down to it. I took an interest in drums around 1994 when I was in the 5th grade. I think part of the reason was that soo much attention was on the grunge scene and the Kurt Cobain aftermath. This was back when MTV would actually play music videos (!) You just couldn't escape the onslaught of Seattle music. I spent many many hours in my room hitting pillows and books, trying to figure out which hand or foot does what.

    In 6th grade I joined concert band and my parents bought me a Ludwig Acrolite student snare. I didn't have any idea how nice it was at the time, but these were pretty much standard issue. (Not my photo.)


    Before long I convinced my mom that I was ready for a full kit. Of course she wasn't going buy me anything more than a beginner set. This was a Dixon Tempo 5 piece with Powerbeat cymbals. I was so excited to finally have a kit of my own, even though looking back it was a horribly made set of drums. I had to literally pry the batter head off the snare drum using a screw driver and hammer. I distinctly remember taking the heads of the toms and being overwhelmed with the scent of Tinker Toys! Within a year or so, I pursuaded my mom into getting me a full set of Sabian B8Pro cymbals, some of which I own to this day. Note the "custom" initials on the front head (White Out). The first shot isn't my kit, but an identical kit on eBay.


    Well in 1998 after many many summers worth of grass cutting, and even more pleading to my parents that I wanted to drum for the rest of my life, I made quite a leap to a lovely Pearl ELX in Amber Mist lacquer. This was the first year for ISS mounts on Exports and for $1200 I felt like I finally had a kit to be proud of. This kit lasted me 5 years and saw many upgrades including more cymbals, the ICON rack, and an Iron Cobra strap drive double pedal.

    I really have zero complaints about this kit. It had tons of pro features like the Uni-lock tom holders and beefy 800 series stands. I remembered playing them for the first time in my living room and saying "Oh yeah! Now we're talking!" I used the same B8 Pros from before and eventually added a Sabian AAX splash, a set of Zildjian A Custom crashes, and an Oriental China Trash.

    16x22 10x10 10x12 12x14 14x16 and 5.5x14 steel snare.






    No kit was complete without a fuzzy sloth monkey hanging off the rack, even though on the day this photo was shot it was off to the side.


    (I still own that shirt, it's in my closet right now)

    Somewhere around September of 2000 I entered a Modern Drummer contest and won! It's a Canopus Solid Zelkova 6.5x13 and it's carved straight out of the log. Solid shell with no seam. The shell is very thick but is milled down on the outside to make the bearing edges slightly undersized in relation to the heads. The finish is called Ninja Black. Super crisp, loud, ultra sensitive, and pricey. They list for about $1400. I've never seen one on sale in a store but I'm guessing it would go for about $800 on the street. I will NEVER get rid of this snare drum! It will be buried with me.







    One day at a DCI show I saw a drum corp using some strange Yamaha kit on their front lines. I loved how it sounded and evenually I saw them at Guitar Center and had to have it. Behold the Yamaha Manu Katche Hipgig Jr. kit in Silky Silver. I think the sizes here were 16x16 kick, 7x10 and 13x13 toms, and 5x12 snare. $700 with hardware. Funky kit, obviously a lot easier to handle than the monster ELX with the ICON.



    Current kit - Pearl VBX Ruby Fade Outdoors
    All my previous kits - Here

  2. The Fight Revisited.

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    Eventually I decided I had outgrown the Export and was thinking it was time to go all out on my ultimate dream drumset with the idea that it would be the last kit I would ever need. I had always dreamed of owning a DW and I figured this was the time to do it, even though the extent of my drumming career was playing for a church or doing a few free-lance studio tracks for a bass player friend. 76 days later, I was a very proud owner of a DW Collectors in Broken Glass Finishply.

    But my joy quickly turned to dismay as several issues arose from the kit. For starters I made a stupid move at the time of using money left over from a student loan to get the hardware, and then put the cost of the shells on a credit card. Strike 1.

    After the newness wore off the kit, I soon realized there were some flaws that I had denied the entire time, but in reality they simply should not have occurred on a kit of this caliber. I'm talking about things ranging from gaps in the bearing edges, to a stripped air vent on one tom and the vibrations it caused, to simple design flaws like the over-sized memory locks on the floor tom legs or having the tension rods interfere with the large rubber gaskets on the STM mounts.

    To top it all off, there was a noticeable flaw in the finish on the bass drum. Luckily it was on the underside, but it meant one of two things. Either the builders at DW knew it was there and tried to hide it OR they didn't notice it and the drum left the factory anyway. Strike 2.

    Anyway here are the pics. Don't get me wrong, I was very lucky to own such a prestigious kit, but I learned a lot of valuable lessons about marketing hype and the true value of a well built kit.

    Sizes were 18x22 7x8 8x10 9x12 13x16 with 9000 series stands. Grand total was about $3800.








    Last edited by Genius Switch; 03-07-2009 at 10:33 PM.
    Current kit - Pearl VBX Ruby Fade Outdoors
    All my previous kits - Here

  3. The Fight Revisited.

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    Strike 3 for the DW came one day when I stopped into Guitar Center and heard a fellow playing a Gretsch Catalina Birch kit. It sounded phenominal and at 1/4th the cost of the DW shells, I was smitten to say the least. I had no plans of buying another kit, but with all the frustration the DW kit caused me, I thought it was worth a shot to try these on. To this day, these were the best sounding drums I ever owned. Forget that they were cheap Asian imports, the toms had awesome tone and clarity, an absolute beast of a kick drum, and decent snare. The finish was called Caribbean Blue. These drums were very classy looking, and I had zero problems with them. Even the cheap RIMS mounts held up nicely and didn't cause any trouble with positioning or tuning like I expected.

    But since I was still paying off the DW kit (and did so for the next 5 years) I couldn't justify having two big kits and within 30 days they were returned to GC for a full refund. It's the biggest regret so far in my drum endeavor. I would pick these up again in a heartbeat if they still made them.

    Sizes were 18x22 7x8 8x10 9x12 14x14 5x14. Price was around $750.





    Next up came a wonderful Pearl Masters BRX in Platinum Mist. I was so excited to finally be part of the Masters family. One of the main reasons I bought these was because a lot of Pearl dealers were offering a FREE Eliminator double pedal at the time. I couldn't let that deal slip past me, as I was eager to be back with Pearl. Total price for the shells was around $1600, half that of the DW. Andy from Mass Music hooked me up with these. I had kept my old ICON rack and was able to pull off some really elaborate configurations as you will see. I also traded my DW Delta 5000 hi-hat stand to another PDF member for his used Eliminator RH-2000 remote hi-hat stand...not a bad deal at all considering that the cable snapped and Pearl still replaced the entire unit free of charge. My only regret about this kit was getting just one hanging rack tom. I really hard a hard time getting it positioned where I liked, especially when I didn't use the rack. From that point on I decided floor toms on legs were the best option for me and vowed to never own hanging floor toms again. The shells on these were flawless, the finish was of course very beautiful. Since this was a NOS kit, it actually came with a set of first generation Gyro-lock tom arms, in addition to the newer Gyro-lock arms that I ordered along with the kit. One thing I noticed is that the Pearl tom arms coupled with the Optimounts were extremely stable. These drums didn't bounce what so ever. In terms of fit and finish, these drums blew the DW clear out of the water. Enjoy these pics.














    Current kit - Pearl VBX Ruby Fade Outdoors
    All my previous kits - Here

  4. The Fight Revisited.

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    Well things started to take a turn for me financially. I moved into a nice house with my soon to be wife. I had a mortgage, lots of credit debt, and was in the midst of planning a wedding and needed some extra dough to cover the honeymoon. I offered to sell these off since I really wanted a kit with bigger floor toms and it didn't make any sense to special order add-ons and wait 6 months.

    Once again I was without a kit. I knew what ever I ended up with next, it had to be at a good price/performance ratio. Low and behold I came across another incredible deal courtesy of Just Drums Online in June of 2008. Mapex was clearing out there inventory to make room for their undisclosed Meridian kits for 2009. I was already interested in trying out Mapex because I heard lots of good reviews and had seen several up close and knew the quality was just what I was looking for. I was in love with this color called Bermuda Sparkle, but the only kits they had in stock with two floor toms was the Classic Plus shell pack.

    Sizes were 20x22 9x12 10x13 16x16 16x18 with matching 7x14 snare and FREE 6x13 Black Panther. An extra bonus came in the form of two TS960 tom/cymbal stands which I didn't expect to find in the box. It seems that Mapex didn't normally offer Pro M kits as shell packs, and the two stands come from the factory packaged with the drums. All I was counting on were two individual tom arms that I would mount to my existing stands. Man I was stoked!!! The total for the 7 drums and the 2 stands was $780. Another killer deal IMO.

    I really liked these drums. The shells were thin and had nice wood grain. It of course had all the bells and whistles of a pro level kit like 2.3mm hoops, floating floor tom legs, ITS mounts, and excellent sparkle finish. The only drawback with these, like any other mid-range kit, were the factory heads. Otherwise these would easily pass as a high-end kit.

    The sizes on the other hand were a bit too large for me. The extra deep kick was powerful, but not leaps and bounds more than an 18x22. I didn't have cases that fit these drums so taking them out was not an option. Also I wasn't digging the 12/13 rack tom combo. There just wasn't enough tonal difference between the two and I really missed having that 8/10/12 setup for longer fills.

    The final blow came in the form of a pending bankruptcy in late 2008 and once again I offered to part ways with this kit to help out with our budget. Although I didn't have any problems with these drums in terms of quality, I am a Pearl guy at heart and I knew I wouldn't be totally happy unless I switched back. These were eBayed for about $660. I kept the Black Panther though.









    So that brings us to today. I don't have any drums aside from my snares, the cybmals, and lots of left over hardware. Oh yeah here's a decent shot of my cymbals minus the latest addition of a ZHT Flat ride, and a Zildjian Splash.



    I also wanted to share with you these shots of me from one of my only paying gigs. It was for a local church. They hired me for their yearly Christmas special and these were bought specifically for me to use so I consider them one of my personal kits in a way. Roland V-Drums with the TD-8 module. These were lots of fun!




    I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did reminiscing about my collection. Please feel free to ask any questions you have about any of the kits I posted. Thanks Again!
    Last edited by Genius Switch; 03-07-2009 at 10:34 PM.
    Current kit - Pearl VBX Ruby Fade Outdoors
    All my previous kits - Here

  5. Will Accept Free Gear

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    Great gear! I enjoyed it!
    Zildjian - DW - Tama

    "Adversity shows true character."

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  6. Registered User

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    I wish that I'll someday be able to make a thread such as this.

  7. Registered User

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    i really enjoyed reading ALL of this. i suggest others take the time to read the whole thing. it really made me think about my whole drumming "career" and how far i've come as not only a drummer but as a person. drumming has really changed who i am... thanks for not wasting 10 minutes of reading, man

  8. The Fight Revisited.

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    thanks that really means a lot. I know I've been very fortunate to go through so many kits, but it wasn't until I started uploading all these photos that I realized just how far I've come. Each kit represents a different point in my playing, but it all started with that first kit. I mean I didn't know it at the time, but the setup on my Dixon Tempo kit closely resembles the whole Neil Peart/Freddie Gruber approach to setting the drums up. I was just looking for something cool to do with what I had.

    I drum for fun mostly but I've had opportunities to take it on full time. But then it would become more like work and not play. That's the main reason why I didn't stick around in any bands I was in. It's what I do to get away. I still dream of the Rock Star lifestyle, but at the end of the day I am happy with where I'm at knowing that there is still a long road ahead of me.
    Current kit - Pearl VBX Ruby Fade Outdoors
    All my previous kits - Here

  9. The Fight Revisited.

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    I know somebody is probably going to ask so I'll beat you to the punch and rank these kits. Sound is the biggest factor followed closely by build quality and look, then price/value.


    1. Gretsch Catalina Birch (Best sound - Excellent price)
    2. Pearl BRX (Wonderful sound, higher cost, but best quality overall)
    3. Mapex Pro M (Great value, even at full price. Nice maple sound, too bad I never got a chance to swap the heads)
    4. Pearl ELX (What can you say, Exports are popular for a reason!)
    5. DW (Sure it sounded Ok, but it lost lots of points due to high cost and production flaws)
    6. Yamaha Hip Gig Jr. (Good auxiliary kit, well made but a little pricey for what you get)
    7. Dixon Tempo (Nothing special, but I loved them very much.)
    Current kit - Pearl VBX Ruby Fade Outdoors
    All my previous kits - Here

  10. Registered User

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    my top 3 favorites in order...

    1. BRX
    2. Mapex Pro-M
    3. DW

  11. Registered User

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    If you haven't already come to this conclusion, I'd suggest buying a high quality birch kit as your next.

  12. Charles.

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    Awesome kits!
    Free the JJ thread.

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