Drummers, you know how it is: our gear can get expensive. And not just ‘cause we break a lot of it on a semi-regular basis…by the time you pick your shells, collect all your hardware, and track down each cymbal you want, you’ve shelled out (see what I did there?) quite a bit of cash in getting that kit up and running. And that’s just getting standard stuff: imagine the money hemorrhage you’d be bandaging up if you want to get custom woods, wraps, finishes, whatever! Well, there’s some good news about that…
On the Bigfoot Blog I’ve talked before about how you don’t have to go high-end to get the best possible drum gear. Hell, half of what makes any set of drums sound awesome is a decent set of heads and a quick tune. However, it’s amazing what sort of a level of fanciness just a few hundred dollars can get you these days when it comes to drums (or most instruments, for that matter). Great quality matched with great affordability is, in fact, out there for the discerning drummer; you just gotta know where to find it. We at Bigfoot happen to know about finds like that…It’s why we get paid the big bucks.
Oh, did you think we meant money?
The Mapex brand may not be as much of a household name as say, Ludwig or Pearl; in the grand scheme of American drum manufacturing history, Mapex is still a pretty young brand - just a little older than me, actually. But unlike most 20-something year old humans, Mapex Drums are anything but pretentious, style-over-substance posers. They claim to make hardcore quality, performance-ready drums with elite materials that sound and feel awesome: and if you ask us Bigfeet, they make good on that claim. Some of the cool things Mapex is best known for:
1) They “Get It”: most of the folks who design, build, and essentially run the show at Mapex drums are drummers and musicians themselves so you can trust that the products they make are tailored to the interests of players and performers. They’re also often eager for feedback and unlike many major manufacturers, like to be collaborative about the stuff they build and the innovations they make. Which reminds me…
2) SoniClear™ Bearing Edges: This is where I’m gonna get a little geeky, but Mapex boasts one of the best technologies in drum manufacturing with their trademark SONIClear bearing edges which provide better, faster tuning adjustments, superior resonance and punchy response.
3) They Strike the Balance: some manufacturers make the sexiest looking drums at the expense of completely ignoring the practical stuff…like, whether or not the drums actually sound good and play well. Other companies make consistent, quality drums that sound and play great but are either never adventurous enough with their designs and looks so they stick with the boring, standard stuff or…they just have awful taste. Mapex strikes the balance between good lookin’ gear that lives up to your drumming potential just about perfectly; style AND substance.
Here’s a quick list of some of their best from-the-box kits and shell packs that I recommend checking out if you’re looking for great deals that hold up to the rigors of playing and performance just as well as any high-dollar brand:
Armory Shell Packs: birch and maple hybrid shells bringing out excellent tonal possibility and featuring SONIClear bearing edges.
Mars Shell Packs: 100% birch and shallower shells, for fast and clear playing and features the SONIClear goodness.
Storm Sets: awesome complete set options for intermediate players or pro’s looking for quick, portable, and great quality on-the-go sets for gigs. 100% poplar, 100% SONIClear.
Voyager Sets: available in Standard, Jazz, or Rock options, these sets are of excellent quality and value for those looking to get a full-meal deal that delivers! You can get the basic sets or for a little more cash get yourself a nice set of Zildjian cymbals to minimize your shopping time and expenses.
Rebel Sets: the least expensive Mapex option out there, but definitely one of the best deals you can find anywhere. A complete, ready-to-play drum set for your first drum experience or for a great second set for practice and play!
Pretty cool stuff, right? Well, we haven’t even gotten to the best part…
A Fresh New Way to Get Custom-Built:
For the longest time, if you wanted a custom drum kit or shell pack you had two-and-a-half options: 1) Find a drum luthier who knew what he/she was doing, 2) Wrestle and bicker and stress yourself out trying to get a hold of a human from a major drum manufacturer to make you a custom kit that cost you several grand and took eighty-seven months to be completed and shipped to you or, 2.5) Make the shells yourself and cobble together the best pieces of hardware you could from scratch. In other words, custom drums have been a viable option of drummers for a while, but they are often expensive, inconvenient, and rarely 100% consistent with your vision.
Mapex, on the other hand, is a company that wisely sympathizes with the drummer’s plight seeing as how most of them are drummers themselves and they get it. That’s why the Mapex MyDentity customizable line of shell packs frankly can’t get enough press around here since we think it’s the best way for people to get awesome-quality custom kits for reasonable prices and wait time. Check it out:
Staying in the not-so-crazy neighborhood of a couple grand or so, you can pick any 4, 5, or 6-piece configuration with your choice of 100% maple or 100% birch shells, an impressively wide selection of custom dimensions for each drum, your choice of wrap-finish, hardware colors, and then some! Heck, half the fun of designing your own kit is in setting up your own personal MyDentity profile and just playing around with all the ridiculously cool options until it’s well past your bedtime!
Don't be afraid to dream big...clearly.
But how do these kits sound? Let me put it this way: even the ugliest looking custom kits that we’ve seen come off the Mapex assembly line and into our store (and believe me, some folks have got weird taste) have been some of the best playing, best sounding drum kits we’ve ever sat behind.
There’s only so much yakking about the MyDentity deal I can do: I recommend heading to their page right now (let’s face it, you want an excuse to procrastinate today) and start building that secret dream kit you’ve always wanted! Or better yet, feel free to set up a time with one of us here at the shop and we can get you going designing your perfect kit and give you more in-depth detail on order time and prices. And speaking of prices, after you’ve got your dream kit all dialed in and lookin’ good I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how affordable the quote at the end looks…
If you’ve never checked out the MyDentity thing before or even Mapex drums at all, stop on by the shop here and unload all your burning questions on us. We’re always proud to sell and use gear from fine folks who “get it” and let me tell ya: Mapex “gets it”.
Stay excellent and try not to burn alive out in that sunny, sunny weather!