June 2, 2022
A lot has happened over the past few years, not the least of which was COVID and then all of the related supply chain issues, many of which are still not resolved, plus upheaval in world politics. In addition, International shipping rates have gone totally crazy. Some of the shipping rate issues are justified, but a lot of it is simple greed on the part of the companies shipping the containers. All of these issues have had an impact on new drums and related products simply because the supply just isn't there, but, the demand is still high and that is the good news.
The vintage market has benefitted from the supply shortage of new drums, and it is actually easy to understand why this has happened:
1. Supply and Demand. "New" versus "Vintage"
If new drums now take as long as 12-24 months to order, more and more people are unwilling to wait and will look at what is currently available. This search introduces the vintage market to an entirely new group of buyers. Of course, there are many of us who are steeped in the history of vintage drums and have a deep appreciation for the quality and sound, but, the current environment has created an awareness of vintage drums with a much broader group of drummers than ever before. We are seeing drummers in ALL age groups migrating to vintage sets. They see these sets as statements of quality; as part of the legacy of drumming and drum building; and there is also a uniqueness to these drums and that helps a player make a specific "style" statement.
As a result, demand has increased dramatically for everything from player grade to collector grade sets, and prices have gone up. Currently, "dealer-to-dealer" prices are now at the level that was previously the market selling price. So, as an example, a drum set that previously sold to an end user at $3000 is now $4000, with the dealer now paying $3000.
While this does make the cost of acquisition higher, drummers do need to remember that vintage drum prices still trail the prices for vintage guitars by quite a bit. Vintage drums are still a bargain by comparison.
The past few years have also introduced a great deal of stock market and economic volatility, and we are still facing uncertainty over many world events. In light of this, we have seen a definite trend towards vintage drums as a hard asset investment. This is actually long overdue. Think about the high-end collector market. Rare paintings and rare automobiles sell for millions. Rare violins, rare guitars, and many other examples all demand premium prices. There is a fairly simple way to view this:
- Yes, you can, (and should have), investments in sectors like the stock market. But, that investment isn't something you can touch and feel every day. You can't display that mutual fund on the wall and admire it for its beauty. Rare instruments are like fine rare art. They serve three purposes: We love them for their beauty; we love them for the music we can make with them; and we love the idea that this is a solid investment. Of course, the finest quality and rarest items are the ones that would be granted "investment grade" status, but that market is there. I specilize in the highest quality and rarest vintage drums and I can attest to the fact that people are purchasing these items and doing it for the exact reasons I have outlined here.
So, in a nutshell, despite the challenges of the past few years, the vintage drum market is thriving. Awareness is growing and prices are strong. Of course, the highest quality always brings the highest prices, so that hasn't changed, but the wonderful part of this scenario is that awareness of the vintage market has expanded to cover drummers in virtually all age groups. I don't see this trend ending anytime soon, which is great for the vintage market and for drummers overall.