Only read the following if you're interested in the path I traveled to eventually own this kit.
I would like to start off by thanking Al Percival and Gene Okamoto in Nashville. Every time I've needed help, or had a question, they were always very accommodating and determined to keep me making forward progress. I don't want to spend too much time on the history of this order (or the problems), so I will give a brief description of this whole process AND GET ON TO THE PICS AND SPECS!
In March 2011, I started talking with Al Percival, Tom Storch and my dealer about a kit I was dreaming of. The order process is quite laborious if you want very specific details in your kit... especially finish. From March 2011 to August 2011, we finalized my Masterworks Artisan order. It was for 15 drums, all with a figured Bubinga finish and three-wood construction.
In April 2012, the kit arrived. Al was nice enough to unpack a drum and snap a pic so I could finally see the drums. I was very excited, but that quickly turned into disappointment when we discovered the factory took it upon themselves to paint the drums with a reddish brown burst instead of the finish I chose, black burst to natural bubinga. With Tom and Al's help, we re-ordered the kit and adjusted some of the specs. This process took a while, because the factory really wanted to make it right the 2nd time. We went through every spec, and had shell samples made... dotted the "i's" and crossed the "t's". One nice adjustment Pearl was willing to make was to outfit the 2nd kit with black STL lugs (normally available only in chrome).
While waiting for the 2nd kit, we ran into another snag. The factory made my 8x6.5 drum without checking to see if STL tom lugs would fit on it. They didn't, so the factory went ahead and put STL-65 snare lugs on the tom. Of course, I didn't want that because it didn't match the rest of the kit. So Pearl held the entire kit, and remade the tom as an 8x7, so the STL lugs would fit. Then another problem arose. Even though the factory still had the kit, they didn't color match the new 8x7 tom to the rest of the kit... so it didn't match.
Another issue involved the bearing edges. I ordered 45° edges on the snares and concert toms, rounded 45° edges on the rack toms and fully rounded edges on the floor toms, gong drum and kicks. The factory decided to cut all 45° edges for the whole kit. I decided to work with the drums the way they are, and enjoy the attack and punch you get from the "Masters" edges. At that point, I was ready to move onto another company to get my dream kit made. I looked at DW, Gretsch and Ludwig. The only company that came close to being able to create a kit like this was DW. However, there were several factors that made me rethink this situation, and stick with this beautiful Masterworks kit. The DW kit would've cost $10,000 more, and would be missing several features that come standard with a Masterworks kit.
Since I decided the 45° edges would be fine, there was only one more problem to fix... the 8" tom! I wasn't going to wait 4-6 months for another tom. Plus, they didn't match the drum correctly when they had the kit there. So what makes me think they will match the finish on another replacement tom? But wait... there was another matching tom... the 8x6.5 that the factory outfitted with the incorrect lugs. With the help of Al, Tom and my Pearl dealer, we retrofitted the 8x6.5 tom with custom-trimmed STL tom lugs... now the kit is complete!
Now that I've gone over the rocky road I traveled to get this kit... let's look past the few negatives, and focus on the many positives that this kit has to offer. I wanted to write all of that out to basically clear the air and move on.
Here are pics of the kit arriving... I will get on to drum pics next!
Here is the new video... Assembling my Masterworks Kit
Latest Pics are in posts #287, #288, #289, #481, #482 and #595!