Since 1946, Pearl's mission has been to be the absolute best: to have the best quality, the best functionality, the best durability, and the best sound. Research is constant and development is uncompromising in the pursuit of being the best, and when it comes to sound, Pearl determination to explore new and innovative shell materials and develop innovative new shell-making techniques (such as our Superior Shell Technology) is relentless.
Pearl was founded in 1946 by Katsumi Yanagisawa and by 1953, the company's name had been changed to "Pearl Musical Instrument Company," and manufacturing had expanded to include drum kits, marching drums, timpani, Latin percussion instruments, cymbals, stands, and accessories.
In 1957, Mitsuo Yanagisawa, Katsumi's son, joined the company and immediately formed an international export division to meet the growing demand from other countries including the U.S. after the rapid growth of Rock n’ Roll and popularity of drum kits. In 1961, Pearl purchased 4015m2. of land in Chiba and built a 4090m2. factory to meet this demand.
In 1966, Pearl introduced its first "for the professional" outfit, named the "President" series. Japanese professional players liked the originality of sound and design, and visiting drummers from other countries such as Art Blakey, J.C. Heard, and many others, were exposed to the new Pearl "President" drums while in Japan. These drummers offered suggestions and based on the input from these top pros, Mitsuo continued to upgrade equipment and perfect production methods to improve quality and performance.
In 1972, Pearl introduced the "Artist" kit with fiberglass/wood shells and shortly after introduced the "President Export" with 100% fiberglass shells. The following year, the "Crystal Beat" with seamless acrylic shells was introduced. Impressed by the diversity of shells and the quality of Pearl products, artists such as Louis Bellson, Shelly Manne, Ed Shaughnessy, Cozy Cole, Larrie Londin, Peter Criss, Russ Kunkel, and Butch Miles (just to name a few) made the switch to Pearl.
After the electronic induced 80’s, Pearl met the returning demand of a ‘natural’ drum sound in the 90’s with the "Classic Maple" shell with thinner Maple shells with reinforcement rings for a full-bodied, natural sound ideal for recording. This was closely followed by the "Masters" series with Maple, Birch, and African mahogany shells for the broadest spectrum of sounds available to fulfil the needs of drummers of every musical genre. The "Reference Series," a drum set like no other where each drum was an instrument unto itself with thickness, wood blend, and bearing edges optimized for each size, made it's debut in 2005 and immediately won the prestigious Musikmesse International Press Award for "Best Drum Set".
Pearl’s commitment to quality, innovation, and sound has set the direction of the drum set industry of today and will surely dictate where the industry goes in the future.