There have been hundreds of drum brands coming and going around the world. Some are small-town drum manufacturers that gain relative popularity in their country, while others are huge corporations that have been going strong for decades.
One drum brand that the older drummers among us may recognize is CB700. These kits were everywhere in the late 20th century, but you can’t find too many of them around these days.
We’re going to explain exactly what they were and why they were so popular.
CB was a brand owned by Coast Wholesale Music. Coast Wholesale Music later turned into Kaman, which is the company that owns other popular drum brands like Gretsch, Gibraltar, and Evans.
At first, the drums were known as CB700 drums, but they were later simply named CB drums. There were thousands of them around the world in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, and they became many people’s first-ever drum sets.
That’s why they were so popular, and that’s why so many older drummers resonate with the name. If you’re a drummer who was born after 2000, you’ve most likely never heard of CB700 drum kits.
Who Were They For?
The CB700 kits were mostly intended for beginner drummers to use. They were incredibly inexpensive, and their hardware and quality weren’t amazing. You wouldn’t see professionals use them, but almost every music store stocked them with highly attainable price tags.
The main demographic were kids who were just getting into drumming, but a lot of beginner adults purchased them as well.
A lot of CB700 kits came with shells, hardware, and cymbals, and that made them a great starter package for new drummers. You’d get everything you need to start playing with a single purchase.
Were They Good?
For the purpose of starting people off, they were brilliant. Beginner drummers don’t need the most professional tones or hardware quality. They just need a set of full-sized drums to learn on. They worked excellently for that.
However, they weren’t great if you compared them to drum sets from higher-quality brands like Gretsch or Ludwig. This is why pro drummers would never use CB700 drum sets.
You could make the same comparison today with modern beginner drum kit brands. A set from Mendini will never compare to the quality of a set from Pearl.
So, the CB700 kits were only good for complete beginners.
Are CB700 Drums Still Around?
The brand doesn’t exist anymore. So, no new CB or CB700 kits are being produced. However, you can still find the drum kits being sold on secondhand marketplaces.
The beauty of drum sets is that they don’t degrade. You can still play on a drum set that was created in the 1920s, and you’ll get great tones. There may just be a bit of corrosion damage.
There were so many CB700 kits going around back in the day that there are still hundreds, if not thousands, of them to be found now.
We wouldn’t suggest getting one, though, as there are better modern beginner kits available. You should only get one if you love the historical value that they hold.
Why Did Taylor Hawkins Write CB700 on His Bass Drum?
There was a specific Foo Fighters concert where Taylor Hawkins wrote the brand’s name on the front of his bass drum. It was a big joke, as it was him pretending to use a beginner drum set to play with one of the biggest professional bands in the world.
It’s unclear whether Taylor Hawkins wrote it or Dave Grohl, as Dave Grohl was also a drummer who grew up in the time when CB700 beginner kits were extremely popular.
It was a nod to everyone in the crowd who also grew up playing on CB700 kits.
How to Make Cheap Drum Sets Sound Good
While CB700 kits don’t sound amazing, there are a few things you can do to them to bring out a better overall sound. You can also apply these techniques to any beginner drum kit that sounds poor. Here’s a quick rundown.
If you put high-quality drumheads from Evans, Remo, or Aquarian on a cheap kit, you’ll get much better tonesthan what the poor-quality stock drumheads offer. These will also make it a lot easier to tune the drums.
You can then apply muffling to cut out all the harsh overtones. The drums won’t sing with rich tones, but they’ll sound decent enough to use in a gigging setting.
No beginner kit has a good snare drum, especially beginner kits from very cheap brands like CB700. If you have a CB700 drum set, one of the best things to do is replace the snare drum with something better.
The toms can be tuned to sound decent, but the snare drum will always have sensitivity issues and a poor snare wire design.
The cymbals that came with CB700 kits were mostly poor. So, the final thing to do to better the overall quality of a CB700 kit is to get a fresh set of cymbals. You should do the same thing if you get a modern entry-level drum set that comes with brass cymbals.
You can muffle and tune drums to get better tones, but you can’t do anything to better the sound quality of cymbals. So, you need to replace them if you’re looking for better sounds.
Final Thoughts on CB700 Drums
While CB700 drums were, by no means, amazing drum sets, they hold a special place in the hearts of many drummers who were born in the 70s and 80s. Most of us are very attached to the first drum set we got, and the CB700 kits were everywhere around that time.
Taylor Hawkins writing the brand name on his bass drum was a funny callback to these kits that many of us loved. If you’re an experienced drummer now, you may go back and detest the sounds that these kits made.
However, you can just change the drumheads, get a new snare drum, and play with a high-quality set of cymbals to make the overall sound of the kit good.