Whether you’ve been playing drums for a long time or you’re just starting, you may be wondering what drums are made in the USA.
I understand the crave of American-made drums, being a proud American myself. It also stimulates any brand’s local economy when you buy your new drums from them, which is awesome!
The Cream Of The Crop US Brands
With various locations stateside, you really have a lot of choices available today. Ludwig, DW, and Gretsch drums are among some of the best brands you can choose from, who are based in the United States.
They all have a long proven record of producing some of the highest quality drums in the drumming industry.
So Many Others Stateside
These brands are all based in the US, but there are other brands you can find and some you may have not heard of.
While they don’t have the presence of the big dogs, they shouldn’t be overlooked, so let’s delve into a few, as well as discuss the big dogs mentioned!
What Drums Are Made In The USA?
Ludwig Drums, one of the most popular and well-known drum brands, is based in the United States.
The company has a long history dating back to 1909 when its founder, William F. Ludwig, Sr., invented the first commercially successful bass drum pedal.
Today, Ludwig is a leading manufacturer of drums and percussion instruments.
The company’s products are used (and also have been used) by some of the world’s most famous musicians, including Ringo Starr, Roger Taylor, John Bonham, and Keith Moon.
Higher quality Ludwig drums are manufactured in Monroe, North Carolina. The company has a state-of-the-art facility that features a wide range of manufacturing and assembly processes.
I’ve been using the Ludwig brand for a few years and have played different Ludwig kits over the years.
They have always been one of my favorite companies because you can find affordability through their mid-line kits and still get the sound you need.
If you really want a cool looking shell pack, full kit or are in the market for snare drums, I’d recommend their Vistalite kits!
They are made from acrylic and come in an assortment of finishes. These Vistalite kits are also known to have great attack, presence, and crispness!
DW drums are another brand with roots in the early 1970s. This brand will almost always pop up when you ask the question, what drums are made in the USA?
Based in Oxnard, California, it was originally a studio.
Don Lombardi (founder) and John Good (co-founder and vice president) collaborated ideas and grew Don’s initial studio for lessons/workshops into this massive company that makes some of the best drums on the market.
Don’s son, Chris Lombardi, is the current CEO of the company.
I can’t verify that every series DW kit is made in the United States. Their top-of-the-line Collector’s series are made in the Oxnard factory and I also believe the Performance series are too.
If you want a solid drum kit, I’d recommend checking those two series out!
I know drum production for their PDP brand is done in Mexico, so they may have their lower price range DW drum sets made there as well.
Gretsch Drums is another major drum brand with roots in the United States. Founded in Brooklyn, New York in 1883, Gretsch Drums produces drums in Ridgeland, South Carolina.
The company is well known for its affiliation with drummers such as Neil Peart of Rush and Mike Johnston. There are a lot of other professional drummers who swear by the great Gretsch sound.
I’ve used Gretsch to record some drum tracks before and the sound was phenomenally big and full.
I think a lot of it has to do with Gretsch’s obvious craftsmanship in their shells, including their 30-degree bearing edge cuts.
The point that meets the drumhead where these cuts are made are just one of the many ingredients that give them their specific desirable sound. The New Classics were always a full sounding set of drums for a decent price.
I will say that they aren’t the only drum company who utilizes different degree bearing edge cuts.
Precision Drum Company
Moving on, Precision Drum Company is another company, who is based in Pleasant Valley, New York. They make high quality control custom drums as well as custom wraps and repairs.
They’ve been around since 1961, so a tad longer than DW. I haven’t personally used them, but they look sick!
TreeHouse Drums are another brand who have been around since 2000. They are based in Topeka, Kansas and were founded by a guy named Derek Sharp.
They have a ton of options for any aspiring drummer who wants to take a dive and experience real, quality, and affordable drums.
They use their kits for a lot of area jazz festivals, camps and many different universities. They’re associated with a lot of independent drummers and universities.
I’ve always been attracted to the aesthetics of their kits and they sound phenomenal. Plus, they are located in my neighboring state.
Outlaw is another company I have to mention. They build high quality custom stave and segment drums and use 200-600 year old reclaimed wood.
This wood is from historical houses, closed bridges, barns, and gyms. Artists such as Styx and Casting Crowns have used their drums.
I think their drums are extremely responsive and also a great piece of history.
Risen drums is another brand who have been around for over 20 years. They’re based in Minneapolis, MN and you can get some great sounding custom drums from them.
The beauty of custom is that there aren’t any other drums like the one you’d get made. They’re associated with bands such as Owl City and NeedtoBreathe.
Other US Brands:
Some other US drum brands you may hear about are Noble & Cooley, Truth Drums, SJC Custom Drums, Pork Pie, Battlefield Drums, and C&C Drums to name just a small sliver.
There are definitely not a shortage of drum makers in this country!
Thoughts on International Brands:
For the larger brands, just because they have a US factory, doesn’t mean they don’t produce drums internationally.
A lot of these companies produce their cheaper series internationally. Production costs tend to be cheaper and they can focus on mid-tier kits and up stateside.
If you custom order from any of these companies, you can expect that your kit will be made in the USA.
I will say, that I’m not completely against international drum companies. I absolutely love Tama and everything about their drums and gear. I went more in depth about them in this post here.
They’re made in China and I will never stop using their hardware. Pearl is another great company who makes their drums in Tawain. I would never turn down their epic Music City Custom kit if given the chance to play it.
I played a Pearl Export kit for several years and I was able to obtain a really beefy sound that was perfect for hard rock and metal.
That was a cheaper entry-level kit too. Also, a lot of drum hardware in the drumming industry is made in Tawaiin and China.
They make SOLID hardware and I’ve bought from manufacturers directly in the past.
A lot of businesses would fail if they couldn’t save the budget by buying international. A lot of American-made drums are used internationally as well, so it’s awesome that it goes both ways.
I’m looking at making some purchases real soon again. Don’t knock the brand just because they are international.
Ask Other Drummers
Now you have an idea of what drums are made in the USA. There are definitely a ton more you can find just by looking around online and asking other drummers.
What Is Your Favorite Drum Company?
What experiences have you had with any of these brands? There are so many more companies I didn’t go over, but I’d love to hear your thoughts! Let me know in the comments section!
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Until next time!