Monday, April 9, 2012

Gear Up: Getting the most bang, boom and crash, part 2

Part 2 of 2. If you missed Part 1, you can check it out here

Buy used.
I’ve always hated to be the first person to put a scratch, mark or dent on something. I think that’s why I’ll never buy a new car off the showroom floor. Especially in the case of drums and cymbals, you’ll end up paying way too much for a cymbal that’s going to be “used” after the first day anyway, so find somebody who has a well-taken-care-of item that you need, and get a good deal.

These days almost all retail stores have a decent collection of used gear that has been traded in (which we’ll talk about in just a second), which means that it’s probably in good condition, and the store may even offer a limited warranty. 
That being said, there are a few things I won’t buy used: sticks, heads and thrones. It’s too easy to abuse those things, and - especially in the case of sticks and heads - new is cheap enough that it’s not worth the savings to get it used. 
Trade for it.
If you’re like me, you have a special pile of gear that you never use, but you just can’t bring yourself to get rid of it. Well, it’s time. If you haven’t used it in practice or a performance in over a year, find somebody who has what you want and offer them a trade. I’m constantly finding things I want online or in stores that somebody bought and then found out that they didn’t like/need/want/use it, and your item might be a perfect fit for a trade. Barter groups are springing up all over the place, so check one out.
Also, as mentioned above, many stores will take your used gear in on trade for new stuff. This is an excellent way to decrease the price of what you need at the same time you’re getting rid of stuff you don’t.
Several years ago I won second place in a solo drumming competition. The prize was a 22” Swish Knocker. I was thrilled! That is, until I took it home and played it. I tried every which way to convince myself that it was a cymbal I was going to use, but six months later it was leaning against the wall in my studio gathering the proverbial (and literal) dust. So when my hardware bag died, I took the Swish into the drum shop and traded it straight across for a new, better bag that has been serving me ever since. 
Be patient.
More times than I care to admit I have purchased something that I needed, “right now,” only to find a better deal pretty shortly thereafter. I was in such a rush that I settled for a bad deal! This goes along with having saved up and done your homework, but if you don’t get “buyer fever,” you can recognize a deal for what it is, and get a good one when the time is right.
Remember the old adage, “Haste makes waste.” And in this case, what you’re wasting is money. 
Here’s the bottom line.
You can get almost anything you need and want if you’re willing to save, research, wait for a bargain, barter and trade. There are many options out there for you. So, go ahead and get more bang, boom and crash for your buck!
Happy shopping!


  1. I need someone's advice. I'm a huge Rush enthusiast and I'm fascinated by Neil Peart's drumming. Only in order to play Rush, you need a minimum of a 7–piece set and my 5-piece just isn't cutting it. I found a really nice used 7-piece DW for 1800. That's what I beileve to be a really good price, only I don't know how I'm going to pay for it. I would get a job, but I'm only 14 and I can expect no help from my parents. Selling my kit now is an option but I know I wouldn't get very much for it. If you have any ideas, please feel free to share them. Thanks!

  2. Hey, Josh! Thanks for checking in. I think what I might do in your situation is to look for your two extra pieces on the cheap to get to the 7-piece minimum. Then you can start saving money towards the DW (or another great kit). If you can figure out what your kit is worth (say, $500 for example), and save up the other $1200 or so (assuming you can get the next kit for $1700 cash), then you start thinking about selling the kit you have. The last thing I would want to do is be without a kit for a long period of time.

    Best of luck!


Why musicians should watch the big game (Seriously!)

Photo by  Ameer Basheer  on  Unsplash Here we are, about to watch another televised wrestling match over who puts a football on one en...