Beginner’s Guide to Choosing the Best Drum Kit

Drumming has become very popular amongst the youngsters in the recent years. As drummers hold a very crucial role in the band by setting the tempo and mood of the song being played, it makes it all the more amazing and cool to be drummer. With the rising popularity of drumming and increased number of people looking for drum kits, this article aims to aid the beginners and parents of young drummers in finding the most suitable drum kits to cater to all their musical needs.

A huge of selection of drum kits are available in the marketplace in different materials and a range or varying prices. For beginners, the most common choice is the 5-piece kit for the complete experience of drumming basics. The 5-piece set includes the snare and the bass drum and two mounted toms, with one floor tom. The mounted and the floor toms should be portable and easy to use and carry. So let’s take a look at the various factors that need to be considered when buying a starter drum kit: 

1. Choosing the right type of drum set

Drum sets come in various types including traditional wooden sets and electronic sets and varying sizes including four, five, six and even larger sets to fit to the need of amateurs and experts in the field. They can be purchased as complete sets or shell packs or even add-on packs. Many complete sets will contain all the necessary hardware for cymbal mounting while the shell packs comprise of drums without additional hardware. Shell packs are most suitable for buyers who already have the hardware and could serve to save money. Also add-on packs could be the suitable option for upgrading an existing set as it only consists of some drums which could be added on to the set.

The acoustic and electronic sets differ in their settings as the electronic ones already have different songs installed in them which can be triggered as play-along accompaniment. Also their compact sound allows them to be turned down, making them the most liked by the parents of beginners as they don’t have to bear with hours of practice sessions. But even then, the best choice would be the traditional acoustic sets as they are most suitable for learning the art of drumming. Moreover, acoustic drums allow the beginning drummer to become familiar with tuning techniques.

In addition to these types, there are also specialty drums which are specific to different styles like jazz, rock, contemporary and fusion. These genre-specific drum kits usually include certain size dimensions that are normalized within the genre. Unless a beginner has decided on a certain musical genre, these specialty kits are generally not recommended at the beginning stages of learning. The most appropriate for a beginner is an affordable complete set comprising of all the necessary drums and hardware to jump in and start learning right away. Also, if you’re buying for a child, it’s important to remember that the color and finish of the drum shells can play a huge part in the child’s inspiration. Accordingly, choose something that looks cool!

2. Choosing the right construction and wood type

Different constructions and wood types play an important tonal role in determining the quality of sound produced by a drum set. Among the various types of woods used in the making of drum sets, the most common ones are maple, falkata, birch, mahogany, poplar, basswood and oak. These woods are used to make drum shells which contain multiple plies of wood to produce different tones and timbres.  In terms of construction, the bearing edge of the drum shell and the angle at which it is cut is significant in producing different sounds ranging from brighter to soft and mellow tones. However, wood selection is often too technical of a subject for beginners so we won’t go deep into it here.

3. Choosing the right hardware and accessories 

The hardware for a drum set comprises all the equipment necessary for assembling and playing it. Majorly comprising of stands, thrones and pedals, purchasing the hardware in bundles can be very cost effective for the beginners as they can get all the necessary hardware at much cheaper prices.

Different kinds of pedals are available in various configurations for drummers interested in different styles of music. For example, hard rock and heavy metal drummers commonly play a double bass pedal (See this example on Amazon). But dual pedals typically require an intermediate skill level. Therefore, it is recommended that beginners initially learn on a single pedal (See this example on Amazon). The most important factor in selecting a kick drum pedal is comfort. A pedal should be reactive to the drummer’s movements with speed and precision that makes it an extension of the drummer’s foot motion.

Drum thrones are another component of the hardware important for drummers as it provides the correct height adjustment, body support, and portability for a convenient drumming experience (See this example on Amazon).

Then comes the stands, which are very important for assembling the drums in a suitable manner. Stands for toms are usually included with shell packs. Cymbal stands are usually sold separately. Racks could also be used in place of stands for mounting the accessories, cymbals, and toms. Drum racks provide more flexibility and mounting options that give the drummer a higher degree of comfort while playing.

It should also be noted that the drum heads play a prominent role in determining the tone of the drum. Typically, the standard drum heads included with starter drum kits are sub par. Therefore, it is highly recommended that the standard drum heads be replaced with 3rd-party products. This simple upgrade will greatly improve the tonality of most starter drum kits. Check the pricing of these quality drum heads on Amazon: Remo AquarianEvans

Cymbals form another crucial component of the drum kit that plays a vital role in producing the right kind of sound. As they don’t typically come with the drum sets, they have to be purchased separately to get the complete drum kit experience. There is a plethora of cymbals available in various colors, shapes and material in the market to choose from (See this example on Amazon).

Drumsticks are another hugely important component of the drum sets as drums cannot be played properly without these. They come in various sizes and shapes and their selection could be very challenging for beginners. The best way for selecting a suitable drumstick requires experimentation and trying out various types so as to find one that is most suitable. Check out our blog post entitled, How to Choose Drumsticks.

Other than these, drum sets could be complemented with a variety of accessories ranging from bags, drum covers and cases to cleaning kits.

Amazon.com offers a great platform for selecting a suitable drum kit as it provides a huge plethora of choices to select from. Among the most prominent brands available on this platform, the notable ones include Tama, Drum Workshop, Pearl, and Yamaha. These drum kits for beginners and kids are being embraced by amateurs around the world making them the best-sellers. Their affordability coupled with high quality makes them the ideal drum kits for newbies. Also they come in different varieties of three, four, five and six piece sets for different expertise levels. Best Choice and Ashthorpe are other trending brands of drum kits hugely liked by smaller children.

It can be said that choosing the best drum kit can be challenging for beginners and usually requires a lot of experimentation. However, we can recommend that beginners should opt for buying complete sets at affordable prices and focus on learning the art of drumming before spending more on add-ons. With the right drum set and lots of practice and patience, the skills can be acquired to make the beginners ascend to the level of experts in a short time period.

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