Monday, 1 August 2016

The Origins of 4 Popular Drum Kit Brands


If you are a drummer yourself or at least have interest in this particular musical instrument you are well aware of the few leading drum brands around the world. There are indeed a large number of high quality drum kit brands in the market these days, with many having stories that date back a century or more. 

In this month’s blog article, we’re having a look at the histories of just a couple of these great brands.


Pearl, arguably the most recognisable brand name in drumming industry, was founded in Tokyo just after the Second World War. The company started out as a manufacturer of music stands - which seems like quite a specific niche industry - but soon branched out. In 1950, 4-5 years after the founding of the company, he started producing drums and by 1953 all manner of percussion instruments and accessories including kits, cymbals, stands and timpani. 

The rock n’ roll era in the 1960s saw Pearl start selling and distributing products worldwide.

Tama Drums

Tama Drums also originates from Japan, and was originally marketed as ‘Star Drums’. The products were manufactured in the same building as products of the Ibanez brand were in the early days. From its founding in 1965 until the late 1970s, the brand found success in the US selling lower-cost drums that measured up favourably compared to more expensive and arguably lower quality American brands at the time. 

From the 80s till today, the brand has focused on delivering quality and distributes some of the most dependable drums available in the market.

DW Drums

DW Drums has quite an interesting story, dating back to 1972 and coming out of Santa Monica, California. Don Lombardi is the founder however he originally started the company as a teaching studio - true to its name Drum Workshop was just that, with Don offering private lessons and workshopping too. To cover overheads, management was forced into selling some equipment on the side. They struck gold when they put together the height adjustable trap seat, which allows for easier transportation of drums and cymbals. 

The demand for this product took off and DW Drums became a full-time manufacturer of drum equipment.



One of the oldest musical instrument manufacturers, Gretsch started out as a small shop in Brooklyn and was founded in 1883 by a German immigrant of the same name. It was his son, Friedrich Jr. that took the company to greater heights as he moved the shop to a large, 10-story building soon after he took over. In the early 1900s, Gretsch became one of the most trusted names in musical instruments and was producing everything from banjos and guitars to drums and percussion instruments.

Until 1967, the company was run by the Gretsch family - at this time i was sold to a larger music company called Baldwin. Unfortunately, the company faltered over the years that followed and was eventually reacquired by Fred W. Getsch in 1985. Today, the company stands as one of the leaders in the guitars and drums.

These brands certainly have some interesting stories! If you’re in the market for a drum kit, check out the range from these manufacturers and others at Drummers Paradise.