Drum Buyer’s Guide – 2021
Trying to decide what you need to purchase to start drum lessons?
If you’ve done an online search for drums, you’ve probably seen that there are thousands of drum options, parts, and accessories! What are the most important things to have first as a beginning drum student? We are here to help guide you through the basics and take some confusion out of deciding what to purchase.
First of all, where should you shop for your first keyboard or other music gear? Sweetwater is our preferred musical instrument seller. They have a top-notch sales department, competitive pricing, and reliable shipping times. We do not receive anything in return for this suggestion. This is simply where we order a lot of our gear for our schools.
If you aren’t sure whether you want to invest in a full set, you can just start on a practice pad!
Practice pads are small pads usually with a rubber surface, that don’t make much noise but let you work on the fundamentals of drumming. For example: practicing drum rudiments, patterns, dynamics and other stick skills. Even if you have a full set already, this is an excellent, portable way to focus on the basics and practice almost anywhere. The Vic Firth Single-Sided/Divided Practice Pad is a quality product.
For younger drummers (age 5-8), a junior drum set is just what Dr. Rhythm ordered!
Let’s face it, if your feet can’t reach the pedal you are going to have a hard time keeping a solid beat. While the junior sets are smaller and cheaper than the full sets, you can still expect to spend between $100 and $300 for a well-made kit. PDP has a great, low priced kit, and the Ludwig Questlove Pocket Kit Drum Set is another great option.
For full-sized kits, you’ll find that many are priced without the cymbals so be sure to read about what's included before you purchase
(and the cymbals are pretty important), so don’t be fooled by low prices on one given kit. One of the most economical sets is the Pearl Roadshow 5-piece Complete Kit While it may say Pro in the title, this isn’t really professional quality, but it has what you need to get drumming! For higher quality sets, turn to the names you can trust in percussion. Pearl, Yamaha, Ludwig, Gretsch, and DDrum. Expect a basic shell set (minus the cymbals) to cost between $300 and $700. Top-quality sets will probably start at around $1000. It’s worth noting that putting new drum heads on a basic kit can dramatically improve its sound and only cost between $40 and $100.
If you are concerned about loud drums in the house, electronic drums can save your sanity!
Don’t get me wrong, if you need volume, you can plug into an electronic drum amp and bam! you are making serious noise. But for when you don’t need to be loud, you can put headphones on and lose yourself in a little drumming world. We prefer Roland electronic drums. Their quality seems to far surpass its competitors in this field. The Roland V-Drum Kit will last for years and has all the bells and whistles you could want.
Hopefully, this has answered some questions for you. Good luck on your drum buying journey. Remember, your drum teacher is a great resource for ideas as well!
Happy Drumming from 4/4 School of Music!"