Choosing the right drum set as a beginner is crucial for starting your musical journey on the right beat. It can be an exciting but overwhelming process, with various types, configurations, and components to consider.
In this guide, we'll break down everything you need to know to make an informed decision when buying your first drum set.
Understanding Different Types of Drum Sets
When it comes to drum sets, there are two main types to consider: acoustic and electric. Each has its pros and cons, so let's explore them briefly.
Acoustic Drum Sets: Acoustic drums are the traditional choice, consisting of wooden shells and metal cymbals. They offer a more authentic and organic sound, ideal for various music genres. Acoustic drum sets are known for their "feel" and are relatively easier to set up.
Electric Drum Sets: Electric drum sets feature rubber pads and electronic components that produce sound when struck. They offer the advantage of volume control, making them suitable for practicing in apartments or noise-sensitive environments. However, they may lack the tactile experience and organic sound of acoustic drums.
In addition to the type of drum set, you'll also come across different configurations such as fusion and standard kits. The main differences to consider are that fusion kits have smaller tom diameters, producing a punchy tone, while standard kits are better suited for rock music with larger tom diameters for more volume.
Components of a Drum Set
Before diving into specific considerations, it’s worth revisiting the various components that make up a drum set, as you’ll want to consider your choices for each when buying your first drum kit:
- Shells: The shells are the actual drums, typically made of wood. Different types of wood, such as maple, birch, mahogany, and bubinga, can influence the sound. However, we’d advise choosing a drum set based on how it sounds which is not just influenced by the type of wood.
- Cymbals: Cymbals are essential for adding accents and dynamics to your drumming. The three main types are crash, ride, and hi-hats. Crash cymbals are used for accents, ride cymbals produce a bell-like tone, and hi-hats consist of a pair of cymbals played with a foot pedal.
- Bass Drum Pedal: The bass drum pedal allows you to play the bass or "kick" drum. Beginners typically start with a single pedal, while more advanced drummers may opt for double pedals.
- Throne: The throne, or drum seat, provides comfort and stability while playing. Look for an adjustable throne to find the right height for your posture.
- Drumsticks & Brushes: Drumsticks come in different sizes and materials, influencing the tone produced. Brushes are a softer alternative for producing quieter sounds. Experiment with different drumsticks to find your preferred sound.
- Hardware: Drum hardware includes stands and racks for holding cymbals and drums in place. Look for durable hardware that can withstand regular use.
Considerations for Younger Drummers
If you're buying a drum set for a younger drummer, there are additional factors to consider:
- Size and Reach: Ensure that the drum set is appropriate for the young drummer's size and reach. Junior-sized kits are available with scaled-down drum diameters, allowing younger kids to comfortably reach all drums and pedals.
- Quality and Durability: Look for reputable brands that offer quality junior drum sets. Our recommendations would be the following brands; Ludwig Junior, Mendini By Cecilio, Gammon 5-Piece Junior, and Rise by Sawtooth. These kits will provide a solid foundation for young drummers.
Choosing the Right Drum Set
When selecting a drum set, several factors come into play:
- Age and Eagerness to Learn: Consider the age and level of enthusiasm of the drummer. Younger beginners may benefit from junior-sized kits, while older beginners can start with standard-sized kits.
- Practice Space: Evaluate the available practice space at home. Consider the size and portability of the drum set based on where and when the drummer will be practicing.
- Budget: Determine the budget you're working with. While quality drum sets can be expensive, there are affordable options available without compromising on sound and durability.
- Music Style: Take into account the preferred music style of the drummer. Different drum sets may be better suited for specific genres. Research reputable drum brands like Ludwig, Tama, Pearl, Slingerland, Sonor, DW/PDP, Gretsch, and Mapex, and explore their beginner-friendly options.
Budget plays a significant role in choosing a drum set, but it's important to strike a balance between affordability and quality. Here are some tips to help budget conscious buyers:
- All-Inclusive Drum Kits: Look for all-inclusive drum kits that include shells, hardware, and cymbals. These kits provide a convenient and cost-effective option, especially for beginners. Pay attention to the quality of the included hardware and cymbals.
- Used Drum Kits: Consider buying used drum kits, as they can offer significant savings. Visit reputable instrument resale stores such as Reverb, or explore private sellers. Inspect the drums for any damage, such as cracks or missing hardware, and ensure that the hardware is in good condition.
- Shell Packs: Shell packs are a great option for upgrading the shells of an existing kit. They include only the wooden drum shells, allowing you to choose your preferred hardware and cymbals separately.
Setting Up Your Drum Kit
Once you've chosen your drum set, it's time to set it up properly. Follow these steps for a successful setup:
- Drum Placement: Place the bass drum at the center, with the snare drum positioned between your legs. Arrange the toms above the bass drum and adjust their angles for comfortable reach. The hi-hat should be to the left of the snare, and the ride and crash cymbals to the right.
- Tuning: Tune the drum heads using the lugs around the drum. Experiment with different tensions to find the desired pitch and tone.
- Hardware Assembly: Set up the cymbal and drum stands according to your preferred setup. Ensure that all screws and nuts are tightened securely.
- Pedal Adjustment: Adjust the bass drum pedal to your desired tension and position. Ensure that it feels comfortable and responsive.
Choosing your first drum set is an exciting step towards becoming a drummer. Remember, it's essential to consider factors such as type, configuration, components, and budget. Take your time to research and try out different options before making a decision. With the right drum set, you'll be ready to embark on an incredible musical journey filled with rhythm, creativity, and joy. Happy drumming!