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Pearl Drums and Drum Sets - Pearl History - Dedicated to The Pearl Drum Company

Pearl Drum Catalogs and Pearl Drum History

The Pearl Drum Company started in the 1940's not as a drum maker, but a maker of music stands. It was not until the 1950's that the company started making instruments.

We will pick up the history from the late 50's and learn more about drum identification and the company's entry into the import drum business. I contacted Gene Okamoto of the Pearl Drum Company USA to see what early history was available.

Through discussions, I learned that Pearl USA is a subsidiary of Pearl Musical Instruments in Japan and the history for Pearl USA picks up in 1964. He did mention that two years ago (2008) they did have all of their catalogs scanned and he is in the process of organizing and preparing them for their web site.

History prior to 1964 is handled by Pearl of Japan and they have it in their archives. Even though it is troubling for a historian not to be able to get to this information, it is still good to know that it is there and some day we might all get to see it.

As a collector of all forms of drumming literature and history my collection is not short of Pearl catalogs. The collection of catalogs for drum set scans includes the catalogs by year and a link to see all of the drum set configurations on one page. (click the image to open new window)

The web site is organized with a specific intent in mind and seeing all of the sets on one page allows you to quickly see them at a glance and narrow down your drums history much quicker.

If your trying to ID snare drums then you can go to the Pearl Snare Drums scans page.

The earliest badges we have on record come form the late 1950's and they are on the badge page of the main vintage drum guide.

A discussion of Pearl is not complete unless we star talking about the entry of Pearl drums into the US market. We have an excellent story that covers this topic on the main web site. The story is an interesting read and covers the import side of the Pearl business. Pearl imported drums under different names and sold them to stores and drum shops.

The Pearl drum building story picks up in the mid 60's when they started importing their own Pearl Badged kits on a much larger scale and that really is when the history is well documented by the catalogs. You can see how the quality and products changed from the 60's to the 70's and decade to decade ofter that.

In the early 90's the Masters series introduced some of the best quality Pearl drums and defines how the company became a maker of some of the finest drums in the business.

If you are trying to date the history of your drums and when they were made then use the image links above to go to the associated sections on the main vintage drum guide. All of the different Pearl sections on the main vintage drum guide are located on one page. So you can bookmark the page and keep checking back. (Click the Pearl logo to go to the Pearl Section.)

We also have an extensive shopping section set up on this web site for finding vintage and new Pearl Drums on eBay. You can support our efforts by visiting the main drum set shopping page and clicking on the searches based on the different types of drumming products you are looking for.

If you are trying to find parts or fine tune the history of your drums then we would be able to help. You can email is here for more information and we will point you in the right direction.

David Anfuso
Drum Historian


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The Pearl Drum Experts is not affiliated with the Pearl Drum Company. This web site is about new and vintage Pearl drums and the history around them. We have an extensive collection of Pearl catalogs and Pearl history. We have Pearl snare drum catalog scans and Pearl drum set catalog scans.

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