Some people will never choose to move past the old school look and feel of acoustic drum sets any more than Vladimir Ashkenazy would ditch his baby grand for a Casio to join a synth-pop band.
But for the rest of us who want to explore the expanding world of electronic drums, there are now amazing possibilities. In fact, these electric drum set reviews will convince even the purists who shouted that electronic music ruined everything in the ’80s are being forced to admit, “we’ve come a long way baby.”
This review will help you find the best electronic drum set for beginners as you learn more about your electronic music options. From the world’s first Rhythmicon to the Roland TD-50VK, electronic drum choices are endless.
We have broken these informative reviews into different sections to help you gain the most benefit from your reading time, including:
These electric drum set reviews will explain what these kits contain, rough pricing, and best application for the kit. This will help you to choose the best electronic drum set for your skill level, desired use and music genre of choice. Whether you would just like a simple beginner’s set to try out the field or need a professional quality set for studio recording, the right set is out there.
The kit comes with:
Of all our electric drum set reviews, this is the ultimate portable drum kit for practice. It doesn’t come with a stand because it’s meant to simply be rolled up and stored in a backpack for travel. To play it, you can simply place it on any table or even the floor (although a table makes working the foot pedals easier).
You will need to add a lightweight portable speaker if you want to share the sound with others, but that’s not really the point of the set.
This kit is mostly used for practice with your favorite MP3’s while wearing headphones so you don’t drive your neighbors and family nuts. You can operate the pads with AAA batteries or the USB charging cord so no external power source is necessary unless you want to practice on the go.
While the Artempo Portable doesn’t have the sound quality needed for professional or even amateur recording, it sounds very pleasing when played with your MP3’s and headphones, and you can use the record function to playback your set and review your progress.
For under $50, this electronic drum set just can’t be beaten. You can, however, beat the heck out of the set with the included sticks all you want. Mom won’t hear a thing. Beginners will find this to be the best cheap electronic drum set for learning without making a huge financial commitment.
This ultra-compact electronic drum kit comes with:
The Alesis CompactKit 4 comes with 70 different percussion sounds and 10 effect sounds, and the sound is higher quality than one would expect from typical electric drum set reviews of portable sets. There are 10 pre-programmed drum kits included in the setup. 50 play-along songs will keep beginners busy for months as they hone their skills, and the interactive games add excitement to the practice routine.
The output switches between built-in speakers (which create a surprisingly good sound), and headphones so players can be public or private as the mood or need arises. The headphone jack connects to an M-Audio interface as well so it can be used to add tracks to digital recordings.
Probably the best thing about this set is its compactness. It’s great for someone who doesn’t have a lot of room and needs to be able to store their kit away when they aren’t using it, such as a kid with a crowded room. Adults can have a lot of fun with this set too, but it’s probably best suited as a teaching tool for a beginner who is just learning how to make different rhythms.
In fact, at less than $10
0, it’s probably the best electronic drum set for the money and one of the best beginner teaching tools on the market. At 3.3 pounds, it travels well and can plug into a wall outlet or use 6 C batteries. On battery power, it will last about four to six hours, so the kit can be used anywhere, any time, in any setting.
This portable tabletop kit comes included with:
Older children and adults alike will not easily grow bored with this electronic drum kit. Actually, it’s more than just one kit. It has 45 pre-programmed setups for different types of music, and it leaves room for 5 more user-programmed kit designs for those who want to create their own special sound. The built-in metronome can be adjusted fast or slow, as well as the included sound loops.
Sound can output through headphones or the internal stereo speakers, which give a nice full and realistic sound, albeit lacking in full volume without amplification. Since MP3s can be played through the input and the set comes with a built-in self recorder, you can record yourself playing along with your favorite songs and track your progress, or record tracks to run through a multi-track mixer.
Players can use endless possibilities of styles with this set, including hand percussion, so this has a lot of possibilities and potential. It may not be the most professional choice for a drum kit, but users can squeeze out some pretty decent recordings. This makes the best budget electronic drum set for a musician who really needs portable, quality sound.
The Spectrum AIL 602 includes:
Lower-end electronic drum kits have not yet reached the point that they can fully mimic the hundreds of different sounds created on an acoustic set (such as hitting the bell verses the rim of a cymbal or playing a high-hat set open and closed). But this electric drum set reviews with a remarkably good rendition that doesn’t miss those subtle nuances with a little skill.
In other words, they are the real thing, not a disappointment. The pedals are a bit sticky and don’t always register, so people who plan on using this for amateur recording might want to consider buying separate pedals with better function.
Older children will really advance with this kit, along with adults that need to practice or relearn their skills. The set can be found for less than $180, so it’s a bargain for the quality and variety it provides.
This kit comes with:
For those who want to use this kit for performance, there may be a few issues with the pedal triggers that make it difficult to ensure consistency. Occasionally the pedals miss or trigger sounds that they are not programmed for.
It doesn’t usually affect the sound for the average bystander, but someone who is honing their skills to a professional performance level will most likely notice the problem. Also, the use of very heavy sticks is likely to damage the pads over time, especially on the cymbals where players hit the edges more often.
It’s better to use something close to standard 5A sticks instead of specialized acoustic performance sticks to preserve the integrity of the padding. Other than this, the sound is amazing. Switching between kits, whether pre-programmed or custom-built, is seamless and fast. The set up feels very natural, like a regular acoustic set, and the bass pedal is nice and snappy.
This kit is a wonderful gift for someone who is moving into the need for a full set or needs to practice at times of the day or in places where they might bother others. And at less than $600, it won’t break the bank.
It doesn’t have internal speakers, so players need to use headphones or an external amp to hear the full sound effects. It’s recommended to use an amp that is specially made for electronic drum sets to preserve performance.
The TD-K1 is equipped with:
The TD-K1 will hold its own against many lower-end Yamahas. It probably won’t satisfy a pro-player as it isn’t the best electronic drum set for professional performances, but more experienced beginners will be happy with its resonance and natural response.
The hi-hat responds completely realistically, so players can master every style. Those who want to play double bass or add more cymbals can expand the set to their needs.
Best, sound dampening equipment can be added to the kick to reduce the noise further. This is probably one of the quietest practice sets for those who share the drummer’s space, yet the sound quality with headphones is amazing so the player can pick up all of the nuances to check their style.
One of the best features of this kit is the built-in coaching function that helps beginners take their playing to a new level.
This set comes with everything you need to get started except for a throne and headphones or an amp to hear the sound, both of which are a matter of personal preference anyway. It can be expanded with more options (sold separately), including an OP-TD1C cymbal, PDX-8, and PDX-6 pads, KD-9 and KT-10 kicks, PM-03 personal drum monitor, and TDM-3 V-Drums Mat.
This is definitely THE drum set for a young player that knows they want to become a professional and the best budget electronic drum kit in our electric drum set reviews, hands down.
The Forge Kit comes equipped with:
This kit puts the ability to create pro sounds in the hands of any beginner/moderate player with a little programming savvy and a creative mind. A small sacrifice is that it’s not the best kit for developing acoustic styles that translate well to a full acoustic kit because it tends to miss certain subtleties with the pedals and needs a lot of tweaking to get certain sounds out of the different pads and inputs.
There are some expansion options available, but in most cases, the player will be sacrificing one sound to create the other and will eventually feel too limited if they are trying to play this kit like a standard full set. But that’s not what this kit was created to do. It is designed to work with electronic/programming savvy musicians who want to develop new styles and sounds.
Today’s music equipment and recording/programming equipment options are amazing. We get to perform electric drum set reviews on sets that professionals in the 70’s and 80’s would have happily given anything for.
The Alesis Forge is just one example of the world of possibilities available to young composers today. This is no old-school set. It is specifically designed for a player who experiments with programming and different recording options and sampling. For this particular purpose, it is an absolutely phenomenal kit.
The kit is equipped with:
Beginners will definitely be pleased with the options available. It can be fit to play Rock Band 3 and 4 with the MIDI adapter too, which makes it the best electronic drum set for gaming. It’s also great for adults who are just learning.
Assembly is fast and easy (and won’t confuse beginners or parents who know nothing of drum setups), and the set comes with all equipment needed to complete setup in about an hour.
Considering that ddrum is the company that pioneered the electronic drum revolution, the DD1 isn’t quite what you would expect. This is one of the more disappointing electronic drum sets reviews. Long story short, this set is only suitable for beginners.
It will fit the bill just fine if you are starting out, but once you become sufficiently advanced, you will be annoyed by some of its nuances and quirks.
This pro kit includes:
You will need to provide the other stands and parts to build out your kit.
Roland has developed the state of the art Supernatural Power TD-30 module to create a literally unparalleled experience in the world of electronic drums. The breakthrough technology of the supernatural engine responds to the subtleties of technique in a way that is unmatched in today’s market.
The TD-30 drum module utilizes behavior modeling technology that recognizes a wide variety of drumming techniques from rim shots to ghost notes in every imaginable dynamic. The PH-13 hi-hat’s motion sensor triggering picks up chokes, chicks, cooking–literally everything you can think of in any shape and volume. Describing even half the features of this kit in this short review would be literally impossible.
Long story short, of all our electric drum set reviews, this is literally the best electronic drum set you can buy, but getting this set is a lot like buying HD TV when they first came out–in other words–expensive. Now HD TVs are a dime a dozen and everyone has a few because they’ve become the industry standard. This drum module is much the same.
The technology is setting a new bar, but with a price tag under $10.000, it’s a bar that’s difficult for most drummers to reach. (The TD-50KV is more than $7000.) Dare to dream though, because someday our electric drum set reviews will show this to be the new standard of the next generation’s electronic drums.
The TD-4KP V-Drum kit includes:
This kit is designed for mobility, so it’s not meant to look and feel like a full-sized kit. The foldable stand can be stored in a very small space. The quick set up, breakdown and easy transport of this kit make it the best electronic drum set for practice gigs or very small performance spaces. It’s also great for personal recording.
Roland is proving that good things can come in small packages with this model. While the sound won’t match a top-end Yamaha (or even a top-end Roland), this is one of the best feelings and sounding electric kits for the price and size. It’s the one to pick if you are limited in space or need more sound in a small package.
This pro kit includes:
There is also a lot of tweaking required for the set to start sounding great to a truly pro ear. It’s not exactly ready to go straight out of the box. But once you hit that sweet spot, you’ll know why you decided on this particular kit after reading the electric drum set reviews for it.
Of course, ghost notes are a bit harder to achieve on this set than an acoustic, but the fact that it picks them up at all is a huge selling point. It just takes a little practice. The sound quality of this set is as beautiful as its appearance–very vivid and rich.
The set comes with 100 pre-programmed kits and 100 user-programmable kits that can be fully personalized for your needs. You can adjust volume, reverb, sensitivity, tone and more with each pad so that it’s precisely what you want, so it’s safe to say that the set can make a million different sounds and then some.
The RealHead drum pads included in this kit are hard and loud. Players who worry that they still aren’t quite enough to avoid disturbing others can opt to purchase mesh heads from Alesis online and replace the native ones in the kit.
This is among the best electronic drum sets for less than a thousand bucks, the sound quality of the set is perfection. It’s suitable for both youth and semi-professional adults.
This pro kit includes:
The hi-hat for this set feels and plays like a real hi-hat, which is so hard to find. Even better, this is the best electronic drum set for double bass. So few e-kits are able to keep up with a double bass pedal (sold separately). This one can in spades. The realistic studio sound is more than suitable for making quality recordings and playing small venues or concerts.
If you like the feel of your snare pad to be tighter or looser than usual, the included pad can be adjusted to match your preference. The included sounds have tone adjustment so you can infinitely tweak your custom kits to match the other instruments you are playing with, which is probably the most important reason that this kit qualifies for studio recording.
It’s also very easy to hook up to computer and monitoring equipment with the USB connection. But if you just want to jam at home, the set comes with 50 preset kits that feel and sound great. Like other kits, you can plug your own MP3s into this set and play along with your headphones.
The only difference is that with this set, you’ll actually sound amazing. It creates a truly Zen playing experience to just zone out and groove along with your favorite song and a quality pair of headphones.
Whether this set is for a young player or an adult who wants a quality electronic kit, the TD-11K weighs in with the best electric drum set reviews out there. It’s an ideal setting for church bands since the volume control and reverb can be adjusted to match the unusual acoustics of this type of auditorium.
Actually, it’s going to be easy to tweak this set’s sound for any type of room, from a well-insulated studio to a garage to a high-school gymnasium. It will last for years too. It’s durable enough to be moved around and played aggressively (hence the double bass), without breaking down over time.
While it’s too bad the toms don’t pick up rim shots, and the set doesn’t have the same extreme quality 3-zone pads that some higher-end Yamaha and Roland kits are now featuring, it gets the job done.
This bundle includes:
The built-in training functions provide a great learning tool for beginners, and the set is large enough to help young players develop the proper reach, although the placement can feel a bit awkward because it’s not fully adjustable.
The KU100 kick unit is probably one of its best features because it allows for completely silent movement. That residual kick sounds on an e-kit can be very annoying over time. The 10” pads feel great and produce a natural sound for this price range. It’s not a top of the line set, but it’s no slacker either.
Before you think that 10 drum kits aren’t enough when compared to other sets that have 50 or 100 kits, these are 10 QUALITY sounding kits. This makes a huge difference in playability and sound because the kits are well matched to produce truly pleasing sounds.
Some e-kits may come with dozens of pre-programmed setups, but if they don’t sound pleasing to the ear, then they don’t constitute variety. They are just a collection of useless noise. Yamaha knows how to create beautiful sounding presets, and it shows in these selections. The preset kits include Maple Custom, Vintage, Funk, Jazz, R&B, and Rock among others.
While these types of e-kits will never completely match the look and feel of an acoustic set, it’s an amazing tool for quiet practice that will develop a better ear for quality sound. The pads’ Accent Articulation will pick up subtle playing styles according to hit strength to help learn more nuanced skills.
Once they have a feel for the included, players can create their own custom kits with the 169 very natural sounds to suit their own style. Again, as stated above, even though Yamaha states that the kit can be modified for double bass, this is the one area where the sound will fall short.
Double bass players should review other electric drum set reviews for a more suitable set. All other aspects of the kit are extremely well engineered for high-quality playing experience.
This little kit includes:
The kit has 254 GM compatible voices that can be assigned to the pads in any kit design, and assignable hi-hat and kicks pedals, so it may be able to approximate the sound of a full e-kit, but not the feel. This is what makes the kit so perfect for some uses, but ill-conceived for others.
Parents may be tempted to buy this kit for kids who want to learn to play full kits because our electric drum set reviews show that it comes with a kick and hi-hat pedal as well as 8 pads. Proceed with caution though despite the high quality.
This tiny kit may be a huge step above the smaller DD-40, but it can create bad movement habits with young drummers who want to learn how to play a full set. On the other hand, its hand percussion mode teaches accompaniment instruments like Latin drums beautifully.
And since an MP3 player can be plugged in for play along, this can make learning hand percussion extremely fun. It’s also great for someone who only plays drums as a hobby and spends more time behind a keyboard or mixing board than in front of a kit.
If you’re not planning on moving to a full set, this is definitely a good choice for variety and quality of sound. Consider these purposes when making your e-kit purchase.
This pro kit includes:
Oooooohhhhh. You could actually professionally gig with this set. It’s worth every penny. The CPU is the same as the DTX520 model (meaning it’s one of the best among these reviews), but this set comes with an actual hi-hat system with top and bottom cymbals, which is hard to find even on a quality pro set.
The hi-hat stand gives an improved feel and better playability than the base model which just has the pad and a wired foot pedal. All of the parts are customizable so you can set it up as you prefer for your comfort and style (even left-handed).
You might experience some issues with getting a double to peddle to trigger correctly, so if you plan to use one, you should try your pedal with the set first (see the above complaint about the set not come with a pedal designed for it.)
The plastic casing for the snare pad may lack enough durability for very hard playing as well. It’s easy enough to replace if it cracks, but it should be a bit more durable for the price. After all, for just under $2000, you might not expect it to survive a world tour with you, but you should not have to think twice about beating it to death.
Despite its (very minor) flaws, this is THE best electronic drum set if you would spare no expense. With a little care, it will last for years. For fear of being ostracized for blasphemy here, the set is versatile enough to actually replace an acoustic set in almost every way. It might even be considered a dramatic improvement on what an acoustic set has to offer, considering the ability to change kits with the flip of a switch.
This small kit includes:
For adults, this is the type of toy you could plug into a 4 track cassette recorder or FL-Studio on your computer and go to town with. With a little savvy, equalization and effort, it can mimic the sound of a full kit remarkably well if you don’t go too fast with your beats per second.
It absolutely is not the top electronic drum set to support super-aggressive, fast playing. It comes with 50 preset drum kits, but you can also program your own kits for personal preference with the 99 individual drum voices.
Don’t expect a full universe of drum sounds with this tiny kit, but for the basic purpose, it does Yamaha pretty proud. Kids have an absolute blast playing with this, and since it has volume control and a headphone jack, they can play it for hours without causing headaches.
This is a great way to encourage experimentation with young musicians, even if drums aren’t their first instrument of choice, and improve hand/eye coordination and rhythm recognition. You can increase the learning experience by adding a bass pedal (sold separately).
The tiny pads are not meant to train a person to use a full-sized set, so this isn’t ideal for a truly aspiring drummer. Someone who wants to really branch out into drumming as a career should check the other reviews. However, a multi-instrument player (say, a kid who dabbles in keyboards, guitars, brass and anything else they can get their hands on) will love adding this to their collection.
This pro kit includes:
One of the nicest features of this kit is the 3 zone snare pad which has pickups across all the natural playing areas of the pad, including the rim. This creates an incredibly realistic sound and feels to the set because it picks up everything from rim shots to rolls with the full range of expression. Furthermore, it’s specifically designed to be the best electronic drum set for ergonomic comfort.
This is because the silicone snare pad is textured with air bubbles that cushion and absorb the shock to arms and wrists so extended playing is less painful.
All of the strength exercises, braces and special practice techniques in the world can’t compete with the cumulative damage of repetitive motion injuries, so it’s nice to find out during the course of these electric drum set reviews that the industry is addressing the long-term health concerns of drummers.
The cymbals and hi-hat have the same 3-zone pads, so you can get the full range of sounds out of your crash and rides when you hit the cup, bow, and edges. And it produces almost the full range out of the hi-hat sounds, with a foot pedal that allows for half-open, pedal and splash sounds.
Let’s face it, hi-hats are so dynamic that even thousands of dollar e-kits haven’t completely managed to mimic all of those sounds yet. This one gets very close though. The natural swaying motion of the cymbals and choke function make playing them so realistically that you don’t feel out of sync when switching back and forth to an acoustic set. The sound and feel are very similar.
The drum module of this kit alone is worth the price, with an entire universe of sounds and mixing options when paired with the accompanying free software and a compatible Apple device. The 32 note polyphonic tone generator and nearly 700 percussion sounds create an unbelievable variety of sound.
The 50 preset drum kits cover the standard options that this type of kit normally carries. This kit is definitely worth its weight in gold (if you are an iPhone user.)
Even the best electronic drum set needs the right accessories to get the most from them and enjoy the full range of possible tones and sounds. Most people choose to upgrade their sets with improved (or additional) bass drum pedals to play double bass or get a better, snappier sound. Great kits sound even greater with professional studio headphones that are designed to pick up the nuances of different drumming techniques.
After all, what is the point of combing through reviews to pick out the best electronic drum kits if you don’t get the best possible sound? Also, most people don’t like the standard drumsticks that come included with electronic sets. While the factory included sticks are probably designed to work with the specific set without damaging the equipment, they tend to lack the feeling that a player needs to match their style. We’ve reviewed these items and found three of the best options to help you get the most from your new electronic kit without costing an arm and a leg.
The Demonator single chain is an amazingly responsive bass pedal with an infinitely adjustable beater angle (frictionless) spring roller that will fit anyone’s foot and need for speed. Double pedal and conversion kits are available as well.
A lot of the included bass pedals for electronic kits just don’t respond well to the heel-toe technique or tend to miss faster or subtle rhythms. This pedal fills the gap, assuming the kit is equipped to work with a standard drum pedal (most are).
Does your foot like to go fast? I mean really, really fast? Your only limit with the Demonator will be the processing speed of your electronic kit’s triggers and module. Even if you have a lower-end kit, it will benefit from a better pedal.
ATH-M30X features 40 mm drivers composed of copper coated wire voice coils that provide amazing definition for mid-range sounds.
Most people play their electronic drum sets with headphones, as one of their main benefits is practice without disturbing others. But cheap headphones won’t pick up subtle undertones or can distort the sound of your set. These headphones are engineered to take the beating of percussive sound.
These headphones are perfect for field recording and studio work in addition to performance practice. The clarity and sound isolation make it possible to pick up the most subtle sounds of your kit so you can tweak your technique to perfection.
Plus they sound so fantastic that practicing with your favorite tunes is an act of pure joy. There’s nothing like full-on surround sound filling your brain with the perfect beat. Just be sure to protect your hearing because, when coupled with the top electronic drum set, they can crank out some serious volume.
These 5A sticks from the American Classic Series are made from dense hickory that has just enough given not to become brittle with hard playing.
Well-balanced, hickory sticks will help produce a fuller, more pronounced sound from your kit, and they are flexible enough to withstand heavy shock. The 5A’s are a bit thinner and more flexible than the 5B’s, so they are better suited for electronic drum pads that, no matter how well built, are subject to damage just like acoustic drum heads, and a heck of a lot more expensive to replace.
Don’t settle for the cheap feeling sticks that came with your kit. Nothing beats a pair of Vic Firths for the price.
There are pros and cons to both electronic and acoustic drum sets. The benefits and features are so varied that it can get a bit confusing trying to make a choice. Here’s a basic breakdown of the pros and cons of each type of set to help you with your decision making process.
One of the best benefits of electronic sets is that they are great for learning without disturbing others. But there are many other benefits, and a few trade-offs even with a best electronic drum set that should be considered.
It’s honestly just hard to beat the look, feel and sound of a good, old-fashioned, well-tuned acoustic set. Even a cheap one. The feel of the stroke is still more natural than the best electronic drum and nuances are endless, instead of muted or limited by electronic pickups. But there are some things that acoustic sets just can’t do as well as electronic sets. Here are a few pros and cons.
Which type is better? Both of course! Both types of drum sets have benefits that the other type will never be able to match. And both types sacrifice some sort of convenience for those benefits. For instance, in order to maintain the beautiful nuances that an acoustic set can create, the kit requires much more maintenance than an electronic set.
The heads must be replaced and tuned often and cymbals must be polished to maintain their tone. The truth is, many drummers have both electronic and acoustic sets to suit different needs. Your ultimate choice will be simply a matter of preference. Hopefully, this article will help you with that decision.
In order to ensure you are happiest with your purchase, you need to consider a few things when deciding which type of electronic drum set to buy.
First, what is your budget? If you are very limited on budget and want to get the best bang for your buck, then you must carefully consider the following questions when exploring reviews in order to make sure you are getting the best electronic drum set for your money.
What are you using it for? This is a more complex question than it sounds because options for electronic kits are so varied. For instance, if you are purchasing the kit for a pro who switches back and forth between an acoustic and an electric, and they need a quality set for practice on a limited budget, the Roland TD-K1 may be a perfect choice because it recreates the sound quality of an acoustic set with decent accuracy.
On the other hand, if you are buying the kit for a young player who is experimenting with electronic music styles, they may become quickly frustrated with the Roland because it lacks a variety of style and sounds.
You may find that it becomes a virtual money pit as they need more equipment to suit their musical goals. The Alesis Forge is an alternative that will provide a virtual sampling playground foe the same price and probably not need much extra equipment at all. Consider the use, and build your choice from there.
What is their skill level? If you are purchasing this set for someone who plays double bass at Slipknot speeds, you’ll need to search through several reviews to find a more expensive set capable of expanding equipment and using fully adjustable external pedals and lightning-quick trigger pickups. In other words, expensive. Beginners will never notice a slower trigger speed or limited inputs. A less-expensive, expandable set could provide years of joy for their drumming needs.
Finally, all the reviews in the world only provide guidance. The ultimate deciding factor is personal preference. The ear knows what the ear wants.
Now that you have learned about the different types of drum kits that are available on the market and what each has to offer, why not consider grabbing your favorite pair of drumsticks and heading to your local music store to try out a few brands for yourself?
There’s no need to feel embarrassed about being a newbie. There are so many different types of electronic drums and portable kits available and even experienced drummers get lost in the forest of options at times. But now you at least know enough to ask the right questions so you don’t end up buying more, or worse, less equipment than you need.
You’ll know what you want when you hear it, and any sales agent worth their salt should be able to show you how to tweak the set to see if it can make the sound that you want. If you are playing with a band, consider having your mates shop with you so you can try out your different instruments together and get a feel for the sound mix that different set ups will create.
Don’t forget, if you have a favorite pair of headphones, bring them along with your sticks. Different sets respond to different types of equipment in surprising ways, and headphones vary greatly in sound reproduction and quality.
Whether you are searching through electric drum set reviews to find a full kit for performance and recording, or just a simple roll out pad to learn basic rhythms in the privacy of your own room, there’s no reason to wait considering the world of options available at any price range, big or small.
Truth: You haven’t LIVED as a drummer till you’ve basked in the joy of learning a song down to the smallest downbeat and played it so many times while reveling in the sheer perfection of the rhythm that your neighbor is banging on the door begging you to stop. So, you might as well get this fundamental life experience out of the way first thing.
And then you should probably acquire some nice, quiet practice pads or the best electronic drum set for quiet practice before they call the police on you. (Of course, many drummers will say that you haven’t lived till you’ve acquired your first mug shot too.)
In all in good fun though, and they’ll forgive you…someday. Meanwhile, prepare to crank up your stereo and get your beat on, because these 10 songs are already within your grasp to master so you can build your confidence and feel like a pro from the start.
1. Highway to Hell – AC/DC: Highway to Hell is basically the drummer’s version of Stairway to Heaven for guitarists. Basically, if you walk into a guitar center, you need only wait a few minutes before you hear a newbie try to crank out the first few notes of that melody. Ipso facto for the drums. Listen carefully and you’ll hear that steady beat coming from the back room where the drums are. Why? Because it’s hands down the easiest drum rhythm to master…ever. It’s basically the one rhythm that almost every drummer learns to play first on their set, whether they knew they were playing AC/DC or not. The video below shows the basic beats and slowly demonstrates the breaks so they can be picked up by beginners as well.
2. Victim of Love -The Eagles: Sooooooo easy! This song would be first if Highway to Hell wasn’t. This is a great song for teaching very basic timing while learning to work in breaks for the first time. Because it’s so down tempo, novices can experiment without falling off beat too hard. It’s easy to pick back up from mistakes too. You’ll also learn the basic use of sustain and mute. Once you get it down, this is one of the beats that invites to to experiment with different riffs. You may find that you like the way the song sounds more when you play with it than without after a while.
3. Summer of ’69 – Bryan Adams: This song will make you feel like an instant pro. The beat is as basic as the come and the footwork is simple. You will use your full set. Probably the most complex part is the hi-hat footwork. You’ll need to be able to switch to open and closed playing and master chicks as well. It’s a full body workout so this is one of the better practice songs to get you to utilize your entire set.
4. Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash: If you have learned your 26 American Drumming Standards, then take a crack at this song. You might fall right off your throne when you realize that you got the rhythm right on the first try. The footwork is basic 1 and 3 for the kick and 2 and 4 for the hi-hat, so if you have been practicing the fundamentals while using your feet for time, you’ve already played the song. Try it. You’ll see… Plus, everyone should know how to play at least one Johnny Cash song.
5. Living After Midnight – Judas Priest: Don’t let your neighbors know I tipped you off to this one. They will NEVER forgive me. This one could be played forever on a loop. Best, you can have a blast going crazy on your crash and ride. The hi-hat is all chick with a heavy bass downbeat. If you really, really hate your neighbor, or just want a little revenge, play this after midnight. Make sure you work that reverb in there. They won’t know whether to scream at you or tell you how much your drumming has improved. Just kidding. They’ll scream for sure.
6. Get Lucky – Daft Punk: Who doesn’t dream of playing with Daft Punk and Nile Rodgers? Pharrell Williams made this particular fantasy a reality with Daft Punk’s multi-platinum album Random Access Memories. And who cares if you can’t pick up the intricacies of the beat, Guy will pick up the slack with some of the best electronic drum set grooves you will ever witness. Just have some fun and cut loose on this one. You won’t regret it. Incidentally, Nile is set to be inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year. It’s a blast to watch him groove in this video.
7. Bad to the Bone – George Thorogood: Bad to the bone is a Rock Band favorite. If you’ve never played Rock Band, it’s pretty much the most fun you can have without leaving your sofa. The reason this song is a Rock Band favorite is that it’s pretty much the same beat all the way through. There isn’t much in here to trip a beginner up.
8. Brick House – Tower of Power: Ok, this one isn’t easy at all. There’s a lot of fancy footwork going on here. Luckily you can hang in there with a more basic beat and practice picking up some of the more complex riffs as you go. This song is so funky that your neighbor might actually just decide to boogie along instead of calling the cops. It’s so much fun to learn that you won’t get bored even if you go at it for hours. There’s also a little bongo toward the end so you can polish your handwork. Heck, just play along on the bongos for the entire song. It’s an amazing groove.
9. She Drives Me Crazy – Fine Young Cannibals: This one sounds harder than it really is. It’s a good one to impress your friends with, and any beginner can pick it up. This is because it’s basically a straight beat on the closed hi-hat and snare with very basic footwork. It’s also a great learning tool because this song teaches fast, steady hand work utilizing a bit of a stretch. Just like practicing arpeggios on the guitar, you need to learn to switch between drums and cymbals with smooth movement to expand your skills. You’ll work your arms out till they feel like they are going to fall off, but it won’t take more than a few tries to get the basic beat down.
10. Seven Nation Army – White Stripes: Last but not least, ANYTHING by the White Stripes, but start with Seven Nation Army. This isn’t because it’s the easiest song to play. Believe it or not, it’s one of the harder ones to really master because the sound is so pared down that the tiniest glitches in beat will throw it off. Meg White’s a lot more skilled than her simple riffs imply. She’s like a human metronome. Here’s a video to help get you started.
While learning the fundamentals is essential, every beginner needs to break up the routine a bit and have a little fun. After all, that’s the entire purpose of making music in the first place. Playing along with your favorite songs is actually an amazing learning tool for these reasons. Best of all, every one of these songs can be played with the most basic beginner’s drum sets on the market. The variety of styles will help you learn which kinds of equipment you might want to branch out into as you grow as well. If you haven’t chosen a basic kit yet, check out our new reviews to find out which ones might be right for you. Perhaps a set that’s easily equipped with a mute pack, so your neighbors can recover from their headache.
Everyone knows the phrase “a man’s castle is his home.” Well, the drummer’s seat is his throne. So, put the right throne in your castle and you’ll be the ruler of your drums!
In all seriousness, the seat you choose for your set affects your performance almost as much as the set itself.
You may spend more hours on this seat than any other chair, so it should be as comfortable as possible while letting you access every part of your set with ease. Read this article to find the best drum thrones that will pamper your bum while you rock on the drum.
This lightweight drum throne is great for young drummers. It adjusts to a 23” maximum height and 19” minimum. It will handle a weight limit of 225 lbs., so it’s appropriate for preteens and teenagers alike, at least up to the weight limit.
The throne weighs about 8 lbs., so it’s heavier than the typical youth seat, but it breaks down for both storage and travel so it’s easy to bring along to practice. The double-braced legs and non-skid rubber feet provide great stability, even when the drumming gets a little wild. The bolt-thru height adjustment keeps the seat from slipping once it’s been adjusted to the best height.
With the 4” range, it’s not as adjustable as a higher-end model. It will also take longer to adjust the seat height because the bolt must be completely removed and reinserted through the seat. It’s worth it for the extra stability and safety of the setup, though.
The seat makes a fantastic first thrown for aspiring drummers who know they will spend hours on their seats. It’s so comfortable that most teens use it for videogame time and other uses as well.
This throne will support a full-sized adult and can adjust to heights between 20 and 28 inches.
Height adjustment is very quick and easy. Simply turn the seat to the desired height and then tighten the two-point locking mechanism to hold the adjustment. The third lock, called a memory lock, is tightened with a drum key to ensure a secure hold.
While the height adjustment is quick and easy, you’ll have a problem if you lose the key. It might be best to attach it to the stand to make sure it never gets lost.
All Gibraltar 9000 series thrones are built with very heavy duty bases. The leg base is double braced to provide even more support and stability for the rubber-mounted feet.
It’s well-suited to both male and female adult players who want a simple throne that stays comfortable for a few hours and won’t break their budget. It is probably not the best seat for travel due to more time-consuming disassembly and weight, but it serves its purpose well in practice studios and with home practice sets.
The Pearl D730S is built for smaller drummers, with a height that adjusts between 16 and 23 inches. The legs are only single braced so they won’t support as much weight as a sturdier double-braced seat, but it should support an average-sized teenager with ease.
It is a cost-effective option for a lighter adult that needs a lower height adjustment or a teenager who is purchasing their first adult-sized set. The slip-proof height collar keeps it from needing frequent readjustments, so it stays put through regular use.
There’s no getting around it. The round seat is hard. Some may find their legs or backside going to sleep after an hour or so. Of course, firmness is a matter of personal preference, but someone who knows they will be spending several hours a day on this throne may want to consider better padding.
This seat shouldn’t be expected to support a full-grown man or stand up to the type of beating that drummers like Dave Grohl can dish out, but it will do for a first throne or a backup seat for practice.
The MAPEX T775 has a four-point support system to provide complete stability for adult drummers. The steel spindle height adjustment allows precise height changes between 18 and 26 inches.
The best feature of this throne is its 17-inch saddle seat with a 4-inch cushion. The seat has an adjustable backrest that provides customizable back support where it’s needed for extra-long sessions. Also, while many seats have only the legs, this one has four for added stability.
The seat has a little play that causes it to slightly wobble if it’s not tightened correctly. If this problem is bothersome, the spindle should be readjusted and the bottom of the seat re-tightened. Wobbly seats wear out fast.
Drummers who find their feet and legs going to sleep from hours on a round seat can benefit from a nicely-padded saddle seat that relieves pressure. It is worth it to have extra back support and stress-relief for the back of the legs. The rock-solid build will support even tall, heavy drummers who need the extra height and support.
This bicycle-seat throne has a height-adjustment between 18 and 24 inches.
The seat is very comfortable, with a 3.5-inch-thick pad, and it isn’t prone to slipping with the additional locking mechanism that can be tightened with a drum key.
The double-braced legs will support a heavy adult just fine, but it may feel a bit wobbly at its highest adjustment. It also takes a few minutes to adjust the seat because you have to remove a wingnut.
This drum seat has professional features and support for serious drummers at a very affordable price. Professional drummers can have all the support and comfort needed with this lightweight seat.
The price is also appropriate for those who have never tried a bicycle-style seat before but think it may be just the thing for relieving the leg pressure caused by typical round seats. Bicycle seats aren’t for everyone, as they tend to shift weight more to the tailbone rather than evenly distributing it across the backside and upper thighs.
At this price, it’s worth it just to experiment with a possibly more comfortable sitting position. At the least, you’ll have very sturdy replacement hardware if you don’t like the seat.
The Nitro Throne adjusts to between 18 and 24 inches and is one of the most comfortable bicycle thrones the tattered drummer’s spine can enjoy.
This is because the throne has nitrogen gas shock absorbers built into the seat mount that provide more cushion for a drummer’s explosive movements. You will notice the give of the shock absorbers when you first sit on the seat, but it still provides powerful support for adults.
A lever under the bottom-right of the seat adjusts the hydraulic height, just like an office chair. The seat padding is firm, with less give than some more expensive thrones, but you’ll soon find that this firmness works perfectly with the shock absorbers to give you just the right amount of support.
If you are a fan of backrests, you’ll have to spend extra. They are sold separately.
If you’re suffering from the lower back pain that most drummers begin to experience after years in an inferior seat, this is worth the small extra expense for fantastic ergonomic support. Best, the double-braced legs are so sturdy that this may be the last drum seat you ever have to buy.
This cushy seat is 14.5 inches wide with a height adjustment between 21 and 28 inches. Pork Pie drum thrones are well known for their comfort. Their padded, ultra-comfortable seats and super sturdy double-braced legs are made to support large, heavy drummers. But they also adjust down to a very comfortable low for the average-sized person.
This model is the more basic type, with a stable base and spindle height adjustment. You’ll only need to hand-tighten one locking mechanism to hold it good and tight. The leg-brace lock is lined with a bushing to prevent marring of the base metal when you tighten the wing nut. Pork Pie also produces hydraulic support seats that are even easier to adjust, but complaints about any of their designs, including the basic models are not likely.
You’ll need a key to completely remove the seat for storage but it’s hard to imagine ever packing it away. These seats are so comfortable and well-built that it’s hard to imagine going back to the standard type of seat included as an extra in most drum hardware packs.
This is one of Gibraltar’s most comfortable seats. The pad for this seat is five inches thick, to help absorb even the most punishing shock and movement. The seat height adjusts from 18” to 24” via the spindle height adjustment system, that holds tight once the height is set.
The tripod base is double braced and complimented by Gibraltar’s Super Foot foundation. In other words, it will hold up through the worst punishment you can imagine.
The seat doesn’t come with a drum key, so you’ll have to use the standard one that comes with your set for certain adjustments. You will also need a wrench to open or lock the swivel.
The base of the Softy is as well-built as Gibraltar’s other throne models, with liners for all adjustment points to prevent metal to metal contact. Best, the simple height adjustment is equipped with a memory lock to make set up and teardown quick and fast. After all, what’s the point if you can’t take it with you?
This throne features a 13-inch vinyl seat with 3 inches of solid foam padding. It has a lock nut mechanism that will allow it to spin freely or lock it in place for stationary use. The secondary locking mechanism provides extra support for heavier adults.
The memory lock is intended to keep the adjustment stable so the height does not slip, but it still has the tendency to slowly slip down over the course of a few sessions with an average-sized adult.
Since this seat is light and easy to breakdown and store, it makes a great gig seat that won’t sacrifice comfort for portability. And the memory lock makes it easier to adjust your height quickly on set up. This throne makes a wonderful middle of the line investment.
This is a pretty basic seat for teens and younger adults that can be adjusted between 17 and 22 inches. It’s a well-constructed seat with double-braced supports and sturdy rubber floor mounts, so it will hold up to fairly heavy use.
The 12” seat only has about 2.5 inches of padding, so this isn’t the type of soft and cushy seat that a heavy-set drummer would want to use for hours. Also, the bolt lock height adjustment only allows for five different height adjustments, but this also assures that the seat height will not slip with heavy use.
As far as comfort goes, this throne is just a small upgrade from the typical seat that comes with most standard hardware kits. But, it’s sturdy build will last a quite a while as the first seat for teenagers or a backup throne for adults. Considering this use, it’s a very good purchase.
When choosing the best throne for your needs, it’s important to remember that the best throne for you won’t necessarily be the best for everyone else. Drum throne reviews provide reliable information on sturdiness, adjustment, and size, but the comfort level is a matter of personal taste.
So, consider the following when choosing your next throne:
Do you need extra wide
for a plumper backside?
Or a bicycle seat
for more blood to your feet?
Does a thin-padded throne
make your back groan?
Or does your height call
for a seat that’s quite tall?
Easy set-up is sought
cuz you travel a lot?
Or you need a cheap pair
for both here and there?
Ok, perhaps limericks and rhymes make too much light of such an important decision as to where to plant your bottom for the large part of your musical day. Just remember that you’re the king of your castle, so you deserve a proper throne.
Choosing less won’t be fair
to your derriere.
Sorry…last one…promise. 😉
Choosing the right cymbal is a more complex decision than it seems at first. There are so many types and brands and each of them has their own unique sound. If a salesperson tells you that any cymbal will do in a pinch, they’re wrong. Even beginners will benefit by best matching their cymbal to their drums and their musical style.
Below you will find cymbal reviews of the various types and brands, their sound spectrum, and what instruments and styles they best accompany.
You can use this guide to learn everything you need to know for a fully informed purchase, whether you’re purchasing one cymbal for your little beginner or a variety of sets for a professional gig set up.
Let’s start with a caveat. Any instrument is a good instrument in the right hands. I have a hand-made, broken guitar that I bought 10 years ago from a t-shirt store in Mexico. The back is cracked, the G string is never fully in tune and it produces a very painful sound when I play it.
So why don’t I throw it away? Well for one, it has sentimental value. It was a fun trip. Also, this broken-down pile of junk produces a magical sound when my friend Tommy comes over to play. It’s his favorite toy. The first time I heard him play Folsom Prison Blues on that broken relic, I just about fell out of my chair.
Still, you should hear how amazing Tommy is on my Alvarez DYM75 Yairi. The same goes for cymbals. A good drummer can work with just about anything, but they’re at their best when working with the best cymbals for their sound.
A cymbal’s depth of sound and volume should match the drums and the other instruments it accompanies. The wrong type of ride cymbal could completely drown out other musicians and overwhelm the sound. Technical knowledge and an ear for balance are key to the perfect selection.
This is the standard cymbal in most drum sets. Ride cymbals are not as loud when struck, but they produce longer overtones with a richer sound. If you hit a crash cymbal and a ride cymbal at exactly the same in exactly the same place, the ride cymbal will still be ringing a few seconds after the crash.
It’s actually a bit difficult to tell the difference between a ride cymbal and a crash cymbal, but generally, the ride cymbal is thicker and heavier.
There are several types of ride cymbals. The typical ride with a bell in the center is used for all kinds of music. It will generally be played with the dominant hand and used to carry the beat along with the snare and bass drum. A flat ride lacks the bell in the center and is often used for jazz music because of its more subtle sound.
A sizzle cymbal was most often used in early rock, second to a regular ride symbol, to add variety to the rhythm sounds. A swish and pang cymbal has a sound more similar to a China cymbal (which is the last type we will talk about on this list).
Here are five cymbal reviews for the more popular ride cymbals on the market (click on the picture to check on amazon.com):
This is one of the best cymbals for beginners on the market since its introduction in 2009. It’s loved not only for its price but also for its durability and full sound. Because of its size, 20 inches, it produces a fuller tone, yet has a fast decay.
This produces a very tightly focused sound that a less skilled drummer can control. The sound of the bell is powerful too, which is unusual at this price point – under $100. This is an unbelievable bargain for this type of hand lathed brass craftsmanship.
One of the best things about Meinl cymbals is that they come with a two-year warranty. You probably won’t need it though, because they stand up very well to the type of abuse that beginners can dish out. The medium sustain is versatile enough for any kind of music.
This makes it an explorer-type of cymbal that helps a new drummer develop their own unique feel and style. Just like the Sabian, the price is very affordable at under $100, making this a realistic purchase for a first set. There is no sacrifice in sound for the price. It has a beautiful clear bell tone and a very warm sound.
Zildjian knows what they are doing when comes to cymbal making. They have been producing top-notch instruments for nearly 400 years, and it shows in their product. This 20-inch ride weighs about 5.4 pounds, so it delivers a nice, high pitch with a longer sustain.
You can crank a lot of volume out of this baby too—it won’t complain. The bell is razor-sharp and the crash is reliable, without the hanging sustain or weird harmonics that a lesser cymbal might have. No matter whether you are pairing this with more expensive cymbals or other starters, it will hold its own and compliment the set.
This 20-inch medium ride is the best ride cymbal for a kit that needs extra options for sound. If you want to add a slightly wet pingy vibe to your kit for jazz, this is the cymbal for the job. It still works well for rock and country too.
It gets very loud on the crash, with slow decay, so consider that for your style. Like most cymbals, it has a copper-tin ratio of 80/20, but it’s more sturdy. The sturdiness is reflected in the price, anywhere just under $300. It comes in 22 inches and 24 inches as well for those who want more depth of sound and longer sustain.
This is THE rock ride cymbal. It’s perfect for drummers who demand extreme power, speed, and hard-core aggression. Sabian uses a new bell design and a larger hammering pattern to produce the perfect sound for heavy metal or hard rock with excellent stick definition.
And this cymbal looks great on any set. The uni-rolled bronze has a high-gloss, beautiful finish that stands up well to the type of beating it will sustain. At under $200, it’s a definite bargain and a low-risk purchase as it comes with a rock-solid two-year warranty.
The purpose of a crash cymbal is to accent the beat. The sound is much shorter than that of a ride cymbal. It makes a loud, very sharp “crash” (thus the name), and is standard on most drum kits. Rock kits will often have two suspended crash cymbals so they can both be hit at the same time for added effect. Crash cymbals are usually 14 to 18 inches and have a very thin edge, but specialty crashes can be as small as 8 or as large as 24 inches. Thick cymbals are used for rock music while thinner, more delicate ones are used for orchestras and often played with mallets instead of drumsticks.
It is important to get a very well-made crash cymbal as they are the first to crack or warp, especially with beginners. This is because they are repeatedly struck on their very thin, delicate edge, and a poor technique or poor construction will reduce its lifespan. Many drummers spend more to buy the best crash cymbal for this reason because the quality isn’t just worth it, it’s flat-out necessary. Here are five cymbal reviews for the most popular crash cymbals, useful for a variety of styles.
This is an ideal starter crash, not just because of the price—under $100—but also because it comes with a one year warranty. It has a highly polished, bright sound with a minimal sustain. This crash has a much higher sound but a very nice ring.
Even beginners can get a tightly focused accent out of this one. It may not last forever, especially under the type of abuse a beginner can dish out, but the price makes it a less-risky investment for a first, (or even 10th) buy. This is the one to learn your art on.
At 18 inches, this crash has a deeper sound than the standard size. The sound goes well with most types of music. It’s brighter than most crashes and a bit sharp, without the tinny undertone that occurs with lesser crash cymbals of this size.
This cymbal is very durable too, even if you have a severe case of the butterfingers. It will stand up to getting dropped, beaten and battered without losing its bright, stable tone. This makes the Zildjian ZBT one of the best values in its price class, just under $100.
To say that the Meinl HCS is dynamic and versatile is an understatement, which is amazing at this price, under $100. This cymbal produces brilliant sound for anything from light riding to super heavy crashes at the peak of a song.
It doesn’t look particularly special, with a standard traditional finish, and it’s a basic medium weight, so it’s outstanding quality makes it the hidden gem on any beginner’s set. While the HCS is extremely versatile, it creates a darker sound than some crashes, so you might want to balance it out with a brighter crash as well for pop or jazz setups.
The Meinl HCS Trash Crash is the first choice for many beginners when they start to expand their kit for more variety in their sound. Of course, it’s ideal for the heavy metal and hard rock sound, but it’s a standard add-on for other musical styles as well.
This is the type of higher pitched crash that compliments a heavier, traditional crash. Even though this is a beginner’s cymbal, a lot of pros use it for a back-up crash. It only costs a little under $100, and looks pretty tight with the cut-out pattern.
This is the most traditional sound you can think of in a cast bronze crash cymbal. The hand-hammered bronze produces just the right pitch, and the raw un-lathed bell has a very high, crystalline tone. The hand-hammering methods that Stagg uses create amazing overtones that sing with depth and character.
It blends well with medium weight crash symbols, enhancing and harmonizing without overwhelming or out-shouting. It definitely screams when you crash it though. It sells for under $100 and is a steal at that price.
Hi-hats consist of two cymbals suspended, one above the other, on a stand and operated with a foot pedal. Hi-hats are the most versatile cymbals on a kit. When a hi-hat is played with the foot or struck while closed, it creates a short, muted sound that drummers call a “chick.”
This is usually used as an accent to the beat. The foot plays a big part in this sound because the tone changes with the pressure of the foot. With more pressure, the sound is dampened and short. With more pressure, the sustain holds longer with louder volume.
The sound of on open hi-hat can be changed by adjusting the gap between the two cymbals so that it resembles the tone of a ride cymbal. It is an essential part of any drum set and a necessary sound for all musical styles.
When played open, it’s not easy to get such warm undertones from a 13-inch high-hat pair, but somehow Meinl pulled it off with sizzling undertones to boot. When played with the foot, the chick sound is super tight.
This is basically the “go-to” for high-hats. This is because of the durability, versatility and amazing sound quality they provide. This set is designed for beginners who don’t quite have the feel of their stride yet, so it’s strong enough to handle a lot of stick play. No need to feel shy about mixing it up—you aren’t likely to break it.
Definition. This is the main plus of this cymbal pair. It’s due to the alloy which is 92% copper and 8% tin. The modern manufacturing technique used to make this set uses a small round hammer to strike a very precise pattern and lathing only on the top side.
The result is the best hi-hat on the market, with high definition, extremely focused tones, and bright, bold response, whether the player is a beginner or a pro. Best, this new manufacturing technique produces a very consistent product, so there is little variation between sets within each model. In other words, you know exactly what you are buying at this great value—just under $150 for a set.
Balance is the operative word with this set. They are great for a second set or an effects cymbal. These are some of the higher quality sheet bronze cymbals made by Zildjian, made from 88% copper and 12% tin to produce a much more melodic sound, whether played open or shut, with enhanced mid and low frequencies.
The chick sound is amazing. The sound profile is especially suited to electronica and hip-hop. Amazingly they get a great volume, along with the dynamic sound. It’s hard to believe that you can get this type of ultra-responsive recording quality sound for under $200, but it’s true.
This set has a more focused, heavier sound than the average set. Like the Mini, it’s manufactured from an alloy consisting of 88% copper and 12% tin. It’s great for louder volume and lower pitch needed for heavy rock sounds. The rebound is tight enough to make the set work for inexperienced beginners, to help them get a feel for their combo leg/handwork.
Many players buy them as a cheap set for their practice kits (they only cost a bit under $130) but then fall in love with them enough to break them out for gigs.
These are the babies you break out when you have to get very, very serious. They are more expensive, at just under $500, and absolutely worth it—a bargain in fact. Whether you beat the heck out of the rim or smash them like a ride at full volume, they will take the beating and thank you for it.
Many musicians will say that this is the type of set that only gets better and gains a richer sound with wear. The copper/tin alloy (80% copper to 20% tin) produces a phenomenal, full-bodied sound with rich color and tone. Best is the high-end sparkle you can squeeze out of the overtones when played partially open.
Splash cymbals are the smallest on a set. They come as small as 4 inches and as large as 13 and are used almost purely for accent. There are 6 different basic types: Bell, thin, salsa, china, rock and traditional. They are a modern invention, like the hi-hat, and didn’t really become popular till the ’80s, when Stewart Copeland of The Police was blowing minds with his unique drumming style.
They aren’t a fad though. They were widely used in the ’20s and ’30s with jazz music and are now adapted to every style because there are so many sizes and styles. Basically, pro drummers use the wide variety of splash cymbals available to add color and depth of tone to an extended drum kit.
Most pros don’t just stop with one. They have multiple splashes of different styles and sizes so that they can generate an almost melodic sound during drum solos or for an ultra-complex, harmonic rhythm.
The A-Series is among the best Zildjian cymbals for the price. The A-series has a short and quick crash with a traditional finish. If you want a Christmas or birthday present for a beginner who already has a full set, one that will send them over the moon with a happy dance, this is one of the best cymbals for that gift.
It usually runs at a bit less than $150 and is worth every penny. It’s short sustain and bright mid sound adds a musical flavor to even the most standard set, letting bother beginners and pros add a few more beautiful notes to their musical vocabulary.
Akira Jimbo helped to develop this gem. In case you don’t know who he is, he’s basically the Japanese Josh Freese of jazz fusion. Drummers all over the world look to this musical guru to learn from his unique flavor and style. You’d expect no less from one of his creations, and this splash delivers in spades.
These custom hybrids (all of them, not just the splash) is only lathed on the outer two thirds to create a darker sound than you would find in an A Zildjian, with some wash, but a good, quick decay for control. The entire series was originally introduced only in Japan but received so much interest and buzz that they have become popular everywhere.
This Splash is super affordable, at $50 and under, but does not sacrifice quality, style or tone for a beginner set. This is a very controllable piece that helps newbies deliver that bright and cutting clip with a longer sustain. It can be placed just about anywhere on a kit, according to taste, and plays well with the rest of your set because of its medium weight.
Even as it blends, it still stands out properly as a splash should. It’s extremely sturdy, so you probably won’t need the two-year warranty, but you’ll have it if you manage to break it despite its excellent build.
This is the all-purpose splash that drummers use to expand their sound while fitting into many different styles, and it’s so affordable it’s ridiculous. Most places sell it for less than $30. That’s pocket change to add high-quality variety to your set.
The entire cymbal, from the rim to the bell, is roughly lathed to add surprising depth to the tone. What’s most surprising is that many musicians, in a blind test, will prefer the sound of this splash to the stock cymbals that come with their sets. It’s basically no risk, all benefit at this price.
Thin, crisp and quick is all any drummer wants from a splash cymbal. Why shell out more than $60 bucks when you can get the same quality for just over $30? It’s a favorite with pros and newbies alike. Surprisingly, it holds up well to the heavy beating of heavy rock styles and still delivers a remarkably musical tone.
Most pros keep two or three on standby so they can switch them out when they crush them. Not that it’s flimsy. Pros have had a single Wuhan as part of their set for years, but aggressive drumming styles can have unexpected effects at times. At this price, you can get as aggressive as you want.
China cymbals are made to produce a very crisp, bright, loud, and most importantly, explosive sound. Most drummers call them to crash cymbals. If you are wondering where the name comes from, it’s called a China cymbal because of the similarity in sound it has to a Chinese gong.
Nine times out of ten, it’s mounted upside-down, making it easier to strike it for that long, ringing sound. A typical China cymbal will have a truncated cone and a turned up outer rim reverse to the main bow, with almost no taper from the rim to the bell.
There are many variations to this style, however, because the feature that truly makes a China cymbal is its sound, which is basically trashy, and many builds will fit the bill. Check out these cymbal reviews to learn about the top five China cymbals on the market.
Most drummers interested in Meinl cymbals review this brand first. It’s popular because it produces one of the best trash sounds without sacrificing depth and harmony. The medium-dark sustain adds a fantastic, quick trash sound and explosive attack that beginners can master with ease.
The warm tones work well with rock, pop and jazz styles to bring crescendos to their maximum peak. It’s one of the more durable builds available for this type, so there’s no worry about losing pace during a gig.
This cymbal both looks and sounds sweet. Sabian’s uni-rolled bronze produces a focused, bright and tight sound that provides the most cutting accents. This isn’t just a beginner’s cymbal. Pros favor the B8 for its control. It can be found as a standard mainstay on many professional kits.
It suits to literally every musical style from grunge to funk and hip hop to pop. Rock drummers favor the B8 because they can keep control while playing with power, speed, and a very aggressive style.
This is one of the best cymbals for the drummers who desire the classic Oriental gong sound that gave China cymbals their name. The fast decay, massive attack, and sharp focus come through strongly, especially when played at maximum volume.
It has a trashier sound than most cymbals in its class, so it’s best suited to heavy metal and thrash, and as a secondary to other styles. It’s very affordable, just under $100, so it makes a solid investment for both beginner and pro sets.
These cymbals are a bit hard to find because they are so popular, not just because of their amazing sound, but because of their affordability, so they sell out fast. For under $100, these handcrafted cymbals are made according to an ancient, two-thousand-year-old method. You can only get this kind of unrefined, complex and aggressive sound from experts at their hand made craft.
How on earth can it be possible to get this amazing, sizzling sustain and massive trash from a cymbal that costs less than $50? The HCS China delivers all of this, plus a fast, sizzling sustain to deliver a surprisingly unique, medium bring tone and explosive attack.
It will follow with warm tones in the longer sustain, making it a perfect top for the buildup. This is literally one of the best sounding cymbals on the market.
Most beginners think the best advantage of purchasing a cymbal in a pack is the price discount. Not true. The real benefit is knowing that you are getting a set that you know is perfectly matched for tone, harmony, and sound.
This way, you can be sure that you aren’t sacrificing harmonic balance and style for price. Many pro sets are designed by pros to match their unique sound and style, and if it suits your style, it will turn out to be the best buy you ever made.
To make the best cymbal pack purchase, explore the musicians behind the make and the manufacturing style that makes this specific pack unique for the market. Then, give it a test drive, with your own mallets and sticks, to see how it feels with your favorite songs. If you feel a sense of musical bliss, well, that’s the point of a well-matched set.
This is an unbelievably affordable box set. They are the best cheap cymbals on the market, providing both versatility and durability. This set includes a 14-inch crash cymbal, a 13-inch hi-hat pair, a 10-inch splash cymbal and a free pair of sticks. All the cymbals are perfectly matched or tone and harmony so beginners can start with confidence.
It’s a durable set too, cast from a highly durable brass alloy that provides all the range and sound quality a drummer could want, whether a newbie or well-seasoned veteran. Its medium range will blend well with most other enhancements, so the kit is ready to grow as the student becomes a pro. Best, go ahead and practice all striking styles without fear of losing your investment, because this set comes with a 2-year warranty.
At the end of the day, a cymbal is only as good as its stand. The best cymbals will fail without proper support. The DW 800 Boom Cymbal Stand combines durability, flexibility, and strength for a perfect all-purpose medium weight workhorse.
The double-braced legs and large-diameter tubing provide extra support for even more violent styles of play.
First, one must qualify the following information by clarifying a very important point. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Purists will tell you that the more expensive a cymbal is, the better the quality of sound. A hard-core purist will tell you that the difference between a sheet cymbal and an individually cast, the hand-hammered cymbal is equivalent to the difference between filet mignon and welfare burgers.
Much of this misconception is based on the fact that modern cymbal making techniques really were substandard. This isn’t the case anymore. Modern techniques have come a very long way.
A lot of well-respected professional drummers prefer to play their sheet bronze Sabian or Zildjian cymbals instead of more expensive cast cymbals because the sound print of their sheet cymbals better meets their need. This is because modern cymbal making techniques produce different overtones and undertones. These differences are easier to explain if we go over the cymbal making techniques used, both old and new.
The traditional method for cymbal making required that individually cast blanks were heat-forged, usually with annealing processes, to make the basic shape. Then the cymbal was cold hammered so that the metal hardened unevenly. It was then turned on a lathe to reduce its thickness to meet the need of the cymbal type. Truly art-inspired makers would often use a very coarse lathe tool and very limited polishing to leave marks called “tone grooves” to enhance the undertones. The result is that each cymbal was as unique as the musician who played it.
Modern cymbals can be made either by roto casting or by stamping out sheet metal. Rotocasting involves spinning the cymbal into a mold using centrifugal force. It’s an expensive method and is used for some of the higher quality bell bronze cymbals. Sheet metal stamping produces cymbals from more malleable alloys instead of bell bronze. There is a lot of prestige attached to individually casting a cymbal instead of using sheet metal, but in truth, modern methods have improved vastly and many musicians are convinced that the new methods have far surpassed the old.
The truth, as usual, lies somewhere in between. Louder, heavy metal and rock drummers need sheet cymbals for their explosive volume, while jazz and classical players use cast cymbals for their rich overtones and undertones. Almost all drummers are thankful that they have more variety to choose from now because there are so many different manufacturing techniques. It’s also another reason that most professional drummers have a collection of cymbals that would boggle the beginner’s mind.
When choosing the right cymbal, you’re best to consider these factors; bell size, weight, profile, size and of course, the test drive.
Bell size The size of the bell affects both the tone and volume. A larger bell generally produces more volume and lower tone than those with smaller bells. This is general though because the manufacturing method and type of alloy used always have an effect. Still, the general rule usually stands.
Weight-Weight affects all parts of the sound, from articulation, and tone to volume and power. The thinner the cymbal is, the fuller the sound. This is one of the reasons rock drummers prefer sheet-stamped cymbals to hand cast. Modern methods are capable of producing thinner cymbals that produce the explosive sound they need and can still stand up to the powerful beating of their drumming techniques.
Thin crashes produce explosive sound while a thin ride will provide less stick articulation and more tone. Heavier cymbals produce a louder sound so for loud rhythm, medium to heavyweight cymbals will fit the bill.
Profile-The is higher the profile, the higher the pitch. You’ll need a higher pitch if you want your sound to cut through the accompaniment with less need for volume. You’ll need a lower profile and lower pitch if you want the sound to blend with the other instruments.
Size-This one is basic. The larger the cymbal is, the more volume and longer sustain. Smaller cymbals have faster response and smaller volume and sustain.
The first and most important thing to remember about your test drive is to bring your own drumsticks. In fact, if you can, bring your other drums too so you know how this cymbal blends in with your own instruments.
Now that you’re (hopefully) set up properly for the test drive, pick the right kind for your style. If you’re playing heavy and hard, you need a heavy and large cymbal that can stand up to the beating. If you are playing a more subtle, lighter volume, a smaller, thinner cymbal will probably be best to give you the tones you want.
If you can, set the cymbal up at the same angle and spot that you would place it for your normal set up. Play it at the same volume and style that you do with your band. A test tap or playing with unfamiliar mallet won’t show if the cymbal can make the sound you want or not. Take as much time and play as many styles as you need so you really have a feel for its resonance.
Have the salesperson play it for a bit while you listen to it from different angles. This way you can get a feel for its projection and basic vibe, even if you aren’t the one playing it. If they are willing, have the salesperson use your sticks too.
Finally, ask questions. Ask a lot of questions and don’t be shy about showing your lack of knowledge. If the salesperson wants to put you down for not knowing enough, they don’t deserve your business. The simple fact is that no one knows everything and musicians learn from each other, which is why they are so willing to share their knowledge. A salesperson who is intimidating or not forthcoming is most likely trying to cover for a lack of knowledge. You’re better off and will make a better purchase if you go with the person that treats you right and doesn’t mind taking the time to share their personal experience (and a smile) with you.
A cymbal will only last as well as it’s cared for. Any number of things can affect its quality of sound, from how it’s played to where how you store it, to the amount of grime you allow to build up. The more care you give, the more likely your investment is to survive.
First things first-It doesn’t matter how well you care for your instrument if you play it in a way that it wasn’t designed to withstand. If you are truly going for brutal volume and beats, you need a cymbal that can stand up to the punishment, or else a steady stream of backups when they crack. There actually are some musicians who throw their hard-earned money into the second choice because they just need to abuse the heck out of a more delicate instrument to get the signature sound that they want. But if you’re like the rest of us, and don’t want to have a stack of ten cymbals on standby at every gig, you need a heavy instrument for a huge sound. Now that’s out of the way, here are the three basics of great cymbal care:
Mount it properly – Your knobs should be good and tight, but make sure not to overtighten the wing nut, which could ruin the bell (it also messes up your sound). And most important, make sure all your mounting equipment is in top-notch condition. Nothing cracks a cymbal faster than flying across the stage at full speed because it came loose or the mounting equipment fell apart!
Now you have the knowledge it takes to start exploring your musical options. You know, according to your style, what you need to produce the best sound and how to get a feel for the instruments as you try them. So why wait? Go shopping! Take one or ten for a test drive until you have found one that sings just the right way, just for you. And then make sure that you have all the care equipment, including cases, packing supplies, cleaners and mounting support to make your set last a lifetime.
Cymbals are an investment—in some cases, a very serious and expensive investment. But you now know how to choose the right one for your needs and style and how to best care for it when you have chosen the perfect match for your set. Not only will your choice show in your sound, but your fellow musicians will thank you for your new investment as well.
Have you ever wanted to learn how to play drums, but didn’t know where to start? This isn’t surprising if you have, because the types of equipment available are endless and the internet is full of lessons, books and accessories that you just HAVE to have according to many websites. There are a befuddling variety of drum kits available from electronic to acoustic, each designed for different uses and needs. If you don’t know exactly where you want to branch out, it’s possible to make equipment choices that become a source of regret, or even worse, dust collection.
The truth is, all you really need to start drumming is a pair of sticks. Where you go from there depends entirely on the type of music you want to make and whether you are going to go solo, which is entirely possible with today’s modern recording equipment, or eventually play with a group. This guide will help you sift through this overwhelming onslaught of information so you can start your new dream in a way that makes sense for you.
There are many great lessons on line to learn different beats, but there are just as many great tips on how to sit and how to hold your sticks. Why? Because using the wrong style doesn’t just harm your back, neck and arms over time; it also hampers your style. Although many great drummers have developed horrible postures over the years, they are not unaffected by this defect. They are overcoming a handicap. Why handicap yourself from the day you start when you could easily launch your skills ahead of others in your bracket just by learning the proper posture and stick holding technique? One way you can reinforce this good habit is to use a mirror to check your positioning or have a helper examine your posture as you play. We have included a couple links to show the best positioning techniques in the ten tips listed below this article because this point bears repeating.
First, know that you aren’t alone in your endeavors, even if you plan to play and practice alone. There’s so much information and so many teaching tools that the most talented drummer in the world would still be able to learn something new every day. Even better, many of the best drummers in the world share their wealth of knowledge on the internet for free simply for love of the art. Take advantage of this knowledge and use it to expand your initial inventory of skills so you have a better fundamental foundation. A great starting point, and the one most drummers launch their learning from is the 26 Standard American Drumming Rudiments.
No, not a nerd, a NARD. Believe it or not, there actually is a National Association of Rudimental Drummers. I won’t go into the history here, but to make a long story short, there is a set of fundamental drumming skills that have been held sacred by musicians for centuries. This isn’t because they were necessary for certain archaic types of music, but because they teach a skill that just can’t be duplicated by any other teaching style. What is this fundamental skill you ask?
Drumming is a lot like learning how to pat your head and rub your belly at the same time. Ok, I might be using a silly analogy here, but in truth, have you ever tried to do that? You can learn to do it with practice but it’s not going to happen the first time you attempt it– that’s why it’s so funny to watch people try. Drumming is pretty much the same thing. Mastering the 26 rudiments can be learned with nothing more than a pair of sticks and a little instruction and demonstration, so this is a good place to start while you are searching for–or waiting for the arrival of–your first drum set. Learning these rudiments will also help you learn to read sheet music, which is a more essential skill than it initially seems to beginning drummers.
This is something important that some beginners miss out on, and it can trip them up over time. This isn’t to say that you need a kick and hi-hat pedal from day one. Quite the opposite. Just get used to moving your feet every bit as independently as your hands. A good way to do this is to use both your feet to tap the rhythm while you practice the 26 fundamental rhythms. For instance, use your right foot to tap beats one and three, while using your left foot to tap beats two and four until you can smoothly maintain the beat. A metronome beat on your computer or smart phone can help you tighten your sense of timing while you master this skill. This article has some great tips on training all four of your limbs to hold a steady rhythm while accenting different parts of the beat. This way, when you finally find the best electronic drum set or best acoustic set for your needs, you’ll already know how to integrate the pedals and make a full sounding beat.
Finally, don’t relax once you’ve learned the initial skills. Try to acquire a new technique as soon as you have a basic grasp of the previous one. Notice I didn’t say that you should master one technique before moving onto the next. As soon as you can make a basic warm up routine of the fundamental rhythms, you should switch up your larger practice routine. This is because the art of drumming requires the ability to quickly and easily embrace any rhythm while switching up the beat on a dime. How many songs have you heard that have just one beat through the entire song? Ok, this may not be fair if you listen to a lot of pop music, but for the most part, you will need to be able to switch it up or you will be limited to just a few songs. This can be a little fun at first, but it will get boring over time. Try choosing a few easy songs with drastically different beats so you can branch out to many different styles. This guide will give you a few ideas for creating your beginner’s wish list of songs to master.
Here’s a few more tips to get you started on your drumming journey today.
As you can see, you don’t need the best electronic drum set or expensive instruction to get started on your musical journey. In fact, the drum is actually the easiest instrument to begin learning because in the very beginning, it requires nothing more than sticks or your hands, and something to beat them on.
Of course, as you progress, you are likely to develop a syndrome known as GAS. No, not the kind you get from beans. G.A.S…Gear Acquisition Syndrome. Once you’ve mastered certain techniques, it’s almost impossible to resist the pull of that shiny new tom that can add another note to your beat or the smother kick pedal that can keep up with your newly-skilled feet. In fact, GAS may actually be one of the funnest parts of being a part of the drumming community. It’s so much fun to compare the pros and cons of different pieces.
There you have it. Starting the drums isn’t nearly as complicated as it looks. In fact, you can even start today, right this very second, so why wait? There’s no time like the present.
So, you’ve decided that it’s time to get a new set of drums. There are a few things that you should consider when purchasing a set.
Most importantly, what is a good drum set? Most agree that the best drum sets are not complete without at least a hi-hat, kick, snare, toms and crash. Of course, depending on your skill level, you may choose to create your own kit to match your style.
Whether you are a pro or just learning how to choose a drum set, the drum set reviews contain useful tips and tricks to help you choose the set that will work best for you.
If you are just getting started, the difference between the best starter drum set and simply a good starter drum set is how well they are matched for your style. If your basic building blocks are well-matched to the sound you’re shooting for, you will be able to build your perfect set as you grow. These five basic sets provide a good foundation to grow from.
This may be the best drum set for the money if you are a beginner. You can find the full set for under $300, complete with:
Most of the hardware that comes with the kit holds up extremely well. And just like a chain that’s only as good as its weakest link, a kit is only as good as its hardware. You will still be able to use these stands, mounts, clamps, and holders after you’ve beaten the heck out of the cymbals and shells.
The snare is not going to be perfect for everyone. The sound isn’t quite as strong as it should be to balance the rest of the set. Also, the hi-hats are only good for more basic techniques.
The shells are made of nato wood, which gets great lows. This may be what is holding back the sound of the snare, but this also makes the set better for rock sounds
Do not expect this kit to hold up to the type of abuse that a professional musician could subject it to, but all things considered, this is the best drum set for beginners who are still finding their voice.
This solid four-piece set comes with:
Sonar’s 45-degree bearing edges create incredible harmonic overtones that brighten the sound without taking away from the low tones. Of course, this makes tuning a bit more work. You’ll be shelling out a bit more as you build this kit out with cymbals, hi-hat and perhaps a medium tom, but it’s worth it.
The snare head won’t sound right straight out of the box. It simply needs to be tuned and tightened to squeeze a good sound out, but it pops beautifully once it’s fixed. The best part about this kit is that it can be squeezed into a tight space for a small club, but it still booms hard enough to fill a warehouse. If you are light on travel space, this set can easily be carried in just two cases.
It’s hard to find a jazz set this complete for less than $400. The full kit comes with:
This set is ready to go straight from the box, but if you have already developed preferences, tweaking it is a snap. Pearl has very specific instructions on its website to show beginners how to set up and tune the drums to give them exactly the tone you need.
In short, this set is so complete and well-built, it’s almost too extravagant for a beginner’s set. Despite its durability, it’s built more for jazz and lighter rock; it’s not the best drum kit for speed metal or huge sounds. This is not because it lacks in quality. Rather, it’s specifically built for jazz and excels for this genre.
The Martini TGS 4-Piece set comes with:
It’s a cocktail kit, not a toy. The cross-laminated shells provide beautiful resonance and a bright tone that can be tweaked to your exact desire, even very tight, with Tone Tune Safe lugs.
You aren’t done shopping once you’ve purchased the kit. You’re going to need a bass pedal, snare stand and cymbals. But for the price, this is a beautiful quality compact set that will last for years.
This well-rounded student set includes:
These beautiful drums aren’t going to make the perfect set for a professional, but it is certainly the best drum kit for beginners.
It will probably be best to replace the hi-hat and cymbal before long. They will sound ok out of the box, but you won’t get something that lasts forever at this price range. The hardware, on the other hand, is built to last, saving a lot on start-up costs. This makes it one of the best drums sets to start with.
It’s never too early to start playing the drums. Some children start as early as they can hold a pair of sticks in their hands. Most kids don’t become the youngest drumming prodigy or a pro by the time they are in their teens, but that’s not the point of music. Learning a complex and coordinated skill early in life will develop other skills and confidence so each child will grow up to be the best at their own unique talents.
Drumming provides amazing development boosters for young children. In fact, it has so many benefits that teachers often utilize drums for cognitively impaired children. This is because drumming enhances:
This makes drums the perfect development tool for children of all ages, abilities, and skills.
Drums also teach children a sense of harmony and tone. Many people are under the misapprehension that drummers are tone-deaf. Actually, they have an even more finely-tuned sense of harmony than the average musician. They have to be able to tune a set and match their instruments so that overtones and harmonies create the best background for their band’s style.
In addition to all these benefits, academic performance is shown to be directly related to musical training. Music lessons build math skills by showing kids how to divide parts of a whole, think creatively and count. As stated in the introduction, becoming the best drummer doesn’t have to be the whole purpose of learning to play. Sometimes the journey means more than the goal.
To help small children learn to play, sometimes it’s best to get a junior kit instead of starting with an adult kit. What is a junior drum set? Junior and children’s drum sets are smaller than adult sets and built for a child’s shorter arm reach. They come in all types and sizes from tiny sets to near full-size sets for teenagers. Whether your child is starting as a toddler or a pre-teen, this review will provide all the information you need to make the best choice for a starter kit.
This junior set comes with:
The drums come with their own stands, but they need to be tightened occasionally. Still, this small drum set is strong enough to take a beating — which is good since it’s a drum. But the hardware needs to be readjusted so often that it may not last as long enough to pass on to the next youngest sibling.
This set’s size is most appropriate for children under the age of seven. You may have to get a shorter seat for very young children so they can reach the pedal because the seat doesn’t lower enough. Basically, this youth drum set will last long enough to let your little one decide whether they want to move up to a bigger set or take on a different instrument. For the price, it’s an excellent buy and will bring hours of fun to your children. They will grow out of it fast, though.
This 5-piece junior set comes with the complete setup. It has:
The hardware pack consists of all the needed stands and mounts, a stool, drum sticks and a key for tuning the drums.
The beautiful wood tone helps your child develop an ear for sound. All the hardware is adjustable, so it can grow a little bit with your toddler. Still, it won’t be useful much past the age of 7 or 8, especially if your child is tall.
All points considered, this is a surprisingly good starter set for the price, usually under $200. It’s a good starter set to see if your child is interested without breaking the bank, and can easily be upgraded with better cymbals and pedals for a small expense. The standard setup is worth it alone, just to help your child get the feel of the usual adult kit setup.
This 3-piece set by Best Choice Products is a very basic beginner’s set. It comes with:
The kit is more solid than one would expect for less than $100. It may even stand up to the type of beating a kindergarten class can deliver for a few years. The simplicity of the set up can be a drawback if you are certain your child wants to advance. It can also be an advantage for beginners just learning hand/eye/foot coordination.
This is a very junior starter set. It’s designed for toddlers so don’t expect as much from it as you would a larger set. Your kids will have fun with it till it’s time to ask them if they want to move into a more complete set. On the bright side, your child will most likely outgrow it before you need to think about replacement parts.
The pulse 3-Piece comes with:
The accessory kit includes a drum throne, one set of sticks, all necessary stands and a drum key to tuning the set for the best sound.
It’s worth it to shell out a few more dollars for a sturdier set if you know your child will be playing with it for a while. Still, the sound can be tweaked to personal preference as your child grows. A floor tom can add more variety if your child wants to branch out, and the equipment is strong enough that you can modify it with additional braces and pieces.
Overall, this is a great set for kids 10 and under. It will likely last from diapers to this age with a little work and expansion. You may have to replace the drum throne as your child grows older as well, but you should be able to expect years from this basic set.
This full junior set comes with:
You may not notice much resonance when you play, but you will be able to tune the set to sound very good with the right ear. Like the cymbals, the snare is built for sturdiness, not as much for sound, so don’t expect the set to sound like an adult set. It will, however, play like an adult set. With good spring on both the hi-hat pedal, learning complex rhythms is totally within reach with practice.
This is the granddaddy of all junior sets! It’s the one you buy when you know your kid is born to drum. It’s worth the extra expense, at just under $300, because the overall function is great for a junior set. You may find yourself replacing the hi-hat stand and pedal over time and perhaps the snare once your little one has learned a little finesse, but this is a great set to grow with all the way to the teens.
When you are ready for full-sized or professional drums, a full set provides more bang for your buck, so to speak. Not only will you get an entire set at a substantial discount compared to buying pieces separately, but more importantly, the parts of the set are designed to work together to create the best sound.
At this point, you are looking for a kit with quality parts that will last for years. In most cases, quality is more important than quantity, because a full set isn’t worth it if one is replacing an entire set worth of breakables, such as cymbals, heads, and hardware, within a year. If this happens, one would have been better off just getting the basic shells.
If an expense is a factor, then it’s best to have a quality kit that can be expanded with quality parts one or two pieces at a time, starting with hardware and breakables and moving on to extensions. The sound is worth it.
Beginner drum sets, while designed to take a child’s unskilled beating, are built more for sturdiness than sound. Basically, subtle nuances and harmonics are sacrificed to material strength, although the hardware on junior sets is often lacking and needs frequent readjustment.
An intermediate set will be built to support the weight and strength of an adult, with the understanding that the skill level has advanced enough to require fantastic harmonics and resonance. For instance, a quality bell and rim on the cymbal that truly matches the overall tone of the bass, just several octaves higher.
The PDP Concept Series is a fully customizable, quality shell pack that comes with:
The set includes some chrome hardware, including tension rods, counter hoop, lug and mounting hardware for the drum shells, etc.
These shells make an incredibly professional studio-quality sound for a very affordable price. The maple 10-ply shell of the snare drum and 7-ply shells of the rest of the set ensure both warm resonance and projection. The set is also available in birch for a slightly more focused, brighter pitch. PDP’s Concept F.A.S.T. sized toms are more shallow than a typical tom. This produces a faster decay so that individual tones become more clear and melodic. With the True Pitch tension rods, it’s possible to build the set out in a way that can practically carry a melody by itself.
This shell kit is a great value for the price. A set like this should be built-out with the drummer’s preferred cymbals and additions after it has been tuned to the player’s personal preferences. This is because the set is built to produce melody and has such a wide range of tuning options and resonance levels that it would be impossible to match the sound with a generic cymbal pack.
This beautiful 6-piece shell pack includes:
There is only room for two toms on the bass rack. The other tom must be mounted to the cymbal stand (not included), which makes placement a bit awkward.
This set 30 degree bearing edges on this set balance the deep, rich warm tones of the maple perfectly. This is part of why the sound of Gretsch has become so popular. All the drums come with a clear resonant head for projection and coated batter heads to add warmth and balance. The bass drum batter head and logo head come with a muffled ring to increase the lower overtones and provide more overall focus.
If you already have the hardware, this Gretsch set will help you upgrade your sound without breaking the bank. The kit’s head types and tom sizes are designed so they can be adjusted to any musical style. This is basically the jack of all drum sets that can take on any flavor depending on tuning, adjustment and tone and type of add-ons.
This new fusion set is ready to go out of the box, including seat and sticks.
The tone of this kit is fairly decent. It won’t be displeasing to the ears, but it doesn’t provide the type of nuance and subtlety that one expects from a truly professional set up. Also, the tone of the cymbals just doesn’t quite match the muted sound of the drums. Fine-tuning will help, but don’t expect studio perfection sound. Still, it’s hard to beat a sturdy, well-built full set for less than $500 that sounds this good.
This is the perfect kit for a young drummer who has decided that they definitely want to go all the way and want great base equipment and hardware that will grow with them. The sturdy hardware alone (except for the drum throne) makes this a good investment that will likely last through several upgrades and even new shell packs for years. Adults will appreciate this set as a secondary practice/groove kit as well.
The PDP Concept Maple 5-Piece Shell Pack comes with:
All shell material is made with a 7-ply maple and 45-degree bearing edges for a warmer tone. The snare drum is a 10-ply shell. The snare provides extra versatility with a MAG throw-off system that snaps back and forth with the flick of a finger in less than a second.
This shell kit is perfect as an upgrade for an intermediate player who may have a beginner’s set with some solid hardware. Young players and adults alike find themselves over the moon at the rich, warm tones and overall versatility of sound. It will also last for years, so it’s a solid investment.
The M-Series DS MP-20 does not include cymbals or cymbal hardware. The 5-Piece kit does include:
The 8-ply shells and non-standard sizes make for an incredible sound once this kit finds its sweet spot. The sound will stand up to any higher-priced kit.
The red sparkle finish is show-ready and the set sounds incredible in a big room or small, this kit will do for both small gigs and practice. It will even sound great in the studio for beginner’s recordings. The tone is so unique that you should get it fully tweaked before you shop for the right cymbals.
Yamaha’s Custom Birch 5-piece shell pack comes with:
This is a gig set, and it’s built for quick set up and tear down. The bass drum legs have stoppers to take the guesswork out of positioning. The hooks, mounts, and clamps are buffered with resin, which helps cut down on rattling and slipping that sometimes catches up to hardware that is subjected to repeated adjustments.
A great-sounding gig drum that stands up to beating and travel is a rare find—at less than $700, it’s a steal. Coupled with a great cymbal set, this shell pack will last for years.
This shell pack comes with:
The kick drum is 8-ply as opposed to the usual 7 on maple sets, which adds to the low-end thud. The rest of the pieces are 6-ply. The star-mount double tom holder is easy to adjust for the best tilt. In fact, all the hardware is top-notch.
This shell kit is a fantastic deal for the sound it produces. It’s very highly recommended for the classic rock sound and will work well for other types of rock. The retro sound is enhanced by the Tama’s old-school T-shape badge and single lugs. While the Star-Mount system looks simplistic, it’s tight. The end result is maximum reverb, projection, and sonically-pleasing harmonies and undertones.
The best toddler drum set is a simple one. The Remo Rhythm bongo drum is a simple and no fuss starter drum for a toddler. It’s important for a bongo to be well-tuned, so the heads on this drum are tuned at the factory. The heads are synthetic, which makes a less pleasing sound, but the tone won’t change if they are stored in a place that gets damp, hot or cold.
They won’t ever be as loud or resonant as an adult bongo set, but in some cases, this can be a blessing, especially if mom is prone to headaches. They will still be loud enough to hear with other kid’s drums and best of all, these bongos can stand up to an entire preschool class year after year.
This ten-inch floor tom has a surprisingly warm sound for a kid’s toy instrument. The shell creates more pleasing tones because it contains wood instead of just pure plastic, making this a beautiful sounding first drum set. Remo makes its shells by laminating recycled wood fiber with special resins to create a uniform, strong shells that will hold up well while your child learns.
And best, it’s basically waterproof (and drool-proof.) The Fiberskyn 3 Drum Heads are strong too, so they can handle drumsticks, the two included mallets or hands and still produce a fun, musical sound. You may discover as your child gets stronger that this drum really projects, which is great for playing with others.
It may seem a bit extravagant to spend more on a kid’s drum, but this 22-inch gathering drum is big enough for three toddlers to play at once, making it an ideal part of a drum set for 3-year-olds. Kids can learn cooperative play and coordinated rhythm with this beautiful and extremely durable instrument.
In fact, this drum is so strong, there are reports of it still producing good sound even after kids repeatedly spill their drinks or stand on it. The tone is not perfectly even, but it’s far from an atonal toy and beats the heck out of clanging pots and pans together. Of course, the volume level nearly beats banging pots and pans together too. It’s nice and loud. This drum is meant to be played in a group.
Kids love to rock and roll with this Konga drum. It produces a wonderfully clear sound that won’t grate on mom’s nerves as a lesser-built instrument might. Of course, it is quite loud because it’s built for resonance and deeper tones.
But the noise is pleasing and fun. The strap lets children dance and play at the same time, so they can learn full-body coordination and rhythm together. It’s also an excellent way for your little one to expend excess energy. He or she can pretend they are leading a marching band or lead the charge. They will wear out before the drum does.
This adorable learning toy helps toddlers learn the joy of music while teaching them how to play. The toy set has three drum pads and even a little cymbal, all with different sounds to help children explore and experiment. The kit plays accompaniment music in different styles so kids can play along.
It also has four play modes to teach numbers, letters, play-along and freestyle. The lights and sounds are very stimulating to developing minds, but if parents feel it’s over-stimulating for the moment, the background music and sound can be turned off so kids can just play the pads.
It’s very small, so one shouldn’t consider it to be a good purchase for a 6-year-old, but it’s absolutely perfect for the baby’s first drum set.
Kids can start out with equipment made for adults, but having sticks designed especially for little hands will make it easier for them to learn to master their sound. Toddler sticks should be shorter and lighter, not only so little hands can grasp them better, but because they work better with lightweight junior drum kits.
It’s also important to teach budding musicians to protect their hearing from day one. The leading cause of hearing loss among musicians is exposure to excessive noise. While most kid’s kits don’t produce the kind of decibel levels that adult sets can, they can still get very loud. Learning to use protective equipment at an early age will ensure they can still hear and love music when their hair is grey and they are teaching their grandbabies to play their first instruments too.
These hickory wood sticks are built exclusively for little hands. At 13 inches, they are 3 inches shorter than adult sticks, affording children more control over their aim. Their smaller diameter allows children to have a better grip as well. Since they are very lightweight, they won’t hurt the drums as much (or you) while children are learning to control their aim.
Drums, even kid’s drums, can get very loud. That’s why ear protection is necessary to prevent damage to the delicate nerves of the inner ear. These kids’ earmuffs come at a very small price, less than $20, to preserve the gift of your child’s hearing for life. They are also great for blocking out noise from large crowds or outside events that might otherwise overstimulate your child.
The earpads are comfortable enough that children won’t fuss about wearing them while they play the drums; plus, they come in a variety of fun colors. The low-profile and lightweight make them even more cozy for long-term wear, up to hours. The headset is completely adjustable to retain comfort and a perfect fit from toddlerhood to adulthood, so they will protect your little one’s ears forever with the proper care.
Your drum throne is almost as important as your kit. Toddlers and small children won’t be able to reach their pedals from most adult-sized thrones, and kiddie chairs just don’t allow for the mobility needed when learning how to use both legs and arms in rhythm.
The Percussion Pluss 300T will help your child maintain the full mobility needed to operate pedals and reach cymbals and toms as they grow. It’s lightweight and single-braced, so it’s not designed to support an adult or even an older child, but this adjustable throne is perfect for toddlers and small children till they are ready to graduate to an adult-sized seat.
It is this versatility that makes this pair the best bang for your buck, and they will work with every device you desire, even a tablet or smartphone. They provide a full range of sound with a frequency response between 15 and 22,000Hz and a sensitivity of 96dB.
The sound shines in the mid ranges, with tight bass and clear, discernable high pitches. They won’t fully block out ambient sounds such as high wind, background hums or audience buzz, but they do a fantastic job at helping musicians identify and isolate their part. For comfort, they don’t clamp too hard but will stay put during a gig.
The very long cable is sturdy and thick, so it will last longer than most. These headphones are the holy grail of headphones due to their versatility both in the field and in the studio.
These closed-ear headphones can reduce up to 32dB worth of ambient sound with almost no external leakage, so other’s noise won’t interfere with your listening and you listening won’t disturb others. The replaceable coiled cord can stretch between 3.3 and 9.8 feet.
Earpads and headband padding are replaceable as well to increase the life of the headphone set. They will stay comfortable through extended wear, even for hours in a hot, uncomfortable setting. The sound is warm and natural with an excellent frequency response of 8 – 25,000 Hz.
They are pricey, coming in at around $100, so if budget is a concern, there are lesser priced models that fit the bill. If budget is no concern, then these should be a nice investment that will last for years, especially because it has replaceable parts.
Vic Firth knows what musicians need and these headphones are no exception. They give great protection from loud music, filtering out ambient noise up to 24dB, so drummers can focus on the rest of their band without damaging their long-term hearing.
The 6-foot cord is straight for those who aren’t fans of coiled chords. They are, unfortunately, not as sturdy as other headphones in their price range, but the sound is great. They can be used with iPods, smartphones and MP3 players as well, and since they cancel out so much background noise, users will find themselves listening to lower volumes, which is also better for the ears.
When most people ask this question, the first concern on their minds is actually “how much does a drum set cost?” The determining factor to both questions will be the size of your kit and the quality of the instrument you purchase. The best starter drum set will have the following pieces:
Your set will grow with you as you branch out into different sounds, but these are the basic components of the best drum kits. The best drum kits for beginners will provide all these parts out of the box.
Again, the more prominent question on the mind is usually “how much is a drum set?” This depends entirely on you. You can start with the best cheap drum kit and still get an incredible sound if you choose wisely, or you can go pro right from the start. Whichever you choose, make sure that your drums cover the basics and your type of style.
The best benefit of playing drums is the obvious one. It’s pure fitness. Even cheap drum sets teach coordination and exercise every part of the body. So, price should never be a barrier to starting. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that knowing how to play a drum set pretty much makes you instantly cool.
To get started on your drumming journey, you can check out our full guide here.
It’s a shame that many a drummer spends so much time choosing the right drums, and then bangs away at them with any old set of sticks. The type of sticks you use matter almost as much as your choice of the drum. This is why sticks have numbers and letters to indicate their type. The numbering system varies by maker, but the traditional system of numbering has changed over the years anyway.
Here is how the modern number and letter system works: Lower numbered sticks have a larger diameter, so a stick with the number 6 will be thinner and more delicate than a stick with the number 2. Letter designations show their best application. “S” sticks are best for louder volumes. “A” sticks are lighter and more suitable for delicate playing. “B” sticks are recommended for soft rock and jazz.
Aside from the numbers, you want a stick that has the right anatomical features for you. All sticks have a tip, shoulder and butt end. The shape of the shoulder, called the taper, will give the stick a more delicate sound the more tapered it is. A heavier butt can be used to provide more power to the stroke.
Benefits of Having Professional Drum Sticks
Professional sticks are made with the type of music in mind. You wouldn’t want light, thin sticks for speed metal, or you’d be replacing them every 30 seconds during a show. Professional manufacturers consider thickness, taper, tip shape, length, and material types when designing the best sticks for a genre and set. With the right sticks, you will be able to coax the sound that your set was designed to make. With the wrong sticks, you’ll always be struggling to get your sound just right.
Good manufacturers know that a fuller teardrop tip will enhance the dark, rich lows of a well-made orchestra cymbal. Nylon tips are durable and make a brighter tone. Small round tips enhance a cymbal’s high overtones. Whatever type you choose, there’s a wide variety of professional drumsticks to choose from, and a well-made set will take your playing to a new level.
Best Drum Sticks for the Money
For all-around durability and versatility, it’s hard to beat the Vic Firth American Classic 5A Drum Sticks. This is the most popular size on the market, with a 16” length and .570 diameter. Made of hickory, they are very dense with very low flex to produce a more definitive sound. The lacquer coating and medium-sized diameter provide a great, no-slip grip. These sticks are well balanced at the butt end as well—so well balanced, in fact, that they seem lighter in the hands than they are. The balance is uniform across the production line due to the precise manufacturing method and almost nonexistent variations in the denseness of the hickory wood used. You’ll know what you are getting with each pair. They come with either wood tips or nylon tips if you need additional durability. At less than five bucks a pair, these are the best drum sticks for the money on the market.
Best Drum Sticks You Can Find
At over $25, CooperGroove 5A Performance Drumsticks may cost too much for beginners who are still going through a couple of sets per week. However, once a drummer has reached pro levels…let’s just say that once drummers go CooperGroove, they don’t go back. The biggest joy these sticks provide is comfort. The grooved handles keep the sticks from becoming slippery with sweat while helping drummers keep track of their grip placement.
The special design decreases shock against the palm of the hands so that drummers can play longer without pain. Combined with ergonomic set design, even drummers with arthritis and carpal tunnel should experience some relief and enhanced playing time. That alone makes the price of this set a bargain.
Other Great Drum Sticks for Everyone
These great sticks don’t come at bargain-basement prices or top-of-the-line design, but they are great all-around sets for beginners and pros alike.
Best Headphones for Drummers
To state the obvious, drums are loud. Headphones are necessary for three reasons:
Volume, controlled, noise-canceling headphones will provide the protection musicians need while helping the drummer hear what the audience is hearing so sound and tone can be adjusted for best performance.
There are a lot of pitfalls that one can suffer when shopping for drums. These are the 3 things to avoid so buyer’s remorse isn’t part of your musical experience.
Even with noise-canceling headphones, drummers may need earplugs to further protect their hearing. Noise-induced hearing damage can be irreversible and even progressive with older age. Damage has already occurred once a person begins to hear a high-pitched ringing in the ears. This damage is called tinnitus, and it can get very loud, drowning out all the subtle nuances of sound that professional musicians need to hear. Don’t risk it. High quality earplugs not only protect the delicate nerves of the inner ear, but help to filter out excess noise for better tone perception as well.
Good quality earplugs have a noise reduction rating (NRR) between 20 and 35. You will need a higher rating for louder music and background noise. Most earplugs are foam, although some prefer silicone plugs for comfort. Those who are willing to make the investment may want to consider a specialized set of earplugs designed specifically for musical use. A pricier, but very good alternative are non-disposable, custom-made plugs that specifically fit your ears and sound needs.
These earplugs come with a neck cord and carrying case so they won’t get lost. The shorter stem discreet and designed to fit comfortably under helmets or over-ear headphones. They are completely reusable, with interchangeable and replaceable eartips to extend their life. The 20-dB sound reduction applies equally to the entire tone spectrum to preserve overall sound and clarity. Eartips should be replaced every few months to retain elasticity and preserve noise protection. The three flange tips come in sizes from large to mid-size, with standard size fitting most ears. The mid-size tips work well for girls and young teens, so parents can encourage their children to preserve their hearing from the start.
These VSAS earplugs come with a keychain carrying case so they are always with you when you need them. They also include two different inserts with sound protection ranging between 16 and 30dB. Both inserts fit into the carrying case with the plugs so both levels of sound protection are available at all times. The level of sound protection for each of the inserts varies across the spectrum. They both block less sound on the low spectrum and more on the high. This causes a little loss in the clarity of both music and voices, but it’s nice to be able to change the inserts depending on background noise.
These earplugs deliver roughly the same sound quality as regular foam earplugs, but they are much more comfortable and come with a convenient carrying case. The three flanges of the earpieces are designed to filter sound without completely muffling it, but they tend to filter the sound unevenly. Basically, users will hear more lows and midrange while losing much of the highs. If basic protection is all that is needed, these will do. But if specific tones need to be preserved, such as in a recording situation, drummers might want to opt for a pair better suited to musical use.
Sometimes, earplugs or basic headphones just won’t do. A typical arena concert can produce continuous sound levels in excess of 120dB, while continuous sound in excess of 90dB can cause permanent hearing loss. So, in a situation that produces an excess of 120dB of noise, earplugs that provide less than 30dB of protection will still leave the user subject to 90 or more dB and thus, not prevent ear damage. Situations like this call for the big guns for big protection.
These earmuffs have the highest NRR rating to provide hardcore hearing protection when it’s needed most. This rating makes these headphones powerful enough to provide protection on gun ranges, construction sites and the loudest concert venues. If more protection is needed, they can be comfortably doubled up with performance earplugs to provide even more protection in the loudest situations. The adjustable headbands provide for the tightest comfortable fit — which is necessary for the best protection — with well-cushioned pads to keep ears from becoming painful with extended wear. At less than $30, this is a small price to pay for long-lasting protection that will help preserve your most important musical tool (your ears) for life.
These headphone ear protectors are well-suited for lighter use, with a noise reduction rating of 22 decibels. This makes them ideal for the lighter noise levels of a practice room or studio, but probably not strong enough for the loudest concert sound without additional earplugs. While they don’t provide as much sound protection as other headphones, they make a good second set for musicians who prefer earmuffs to plugs but want protection with a lighter NRR rating for greater sound clarity at practice.
Question: I want to get a drum set for my 8-year-old. My friends tell me electronic drum sets are great for cutting down on noise. Is this a good option for someone who is just starting?
Answer: This depends on how far they want to go with drumming. An electronic drum set can be a great alternative, but there are certain things that you can only learn with an acoustic set. If you can stand the noise, this is the better starting option because acoustic sets teach drummers how to coax out subtle tones and notes that can’t be reproduced yet by electronic kits. Electronic drum kits are beginning to catch up to acoustic kits, but for learners, teaching subtlety is key.
Question: What height should I set the drums and the throne up compared to my child’s height?
Answer: Honestly, setup is a matter of personal preference. Everyone does it differently. The only truly important thing to remember is that your child needs to be able to comfortably reach the pedals and all their cymbals. Also, note if there is any pain after a few hours of playing. If there is, you should readjust the set for greater comfort. Understand that drumming can cause repetitive motion injuries, so the most ergonomic setup can help to avoid this problem.
Now that you know more about the types of drum sets and music equipment available for both aspiring and professional drummers, you can get started with the fun part…shopping! Whether you are shopping for yourself or for a gift, remember that the little things are just as important as the big.
If you are shopping for a gift, take a little time to find the answers to a few questions first so you can make the most of this guide.
It’s the ultimate question–what to give to the drummer who has everything? It’s not so easy shopping for a drummer, especially if they already have the best electronic drum set for home practice and the most professional sounding acoustic for performance.
What is there to buy after they already have the perfect drum sets? It’s even harder if you don’t know much about drums or the art of drumming in the first place.
This review will give you a few ideas to help you find the perfect gift for the drummer in your family. Whether they are just getting started or getting ready to play their first concert, it’s a blast to watch the natural-born drummer’s eyes light up at the sight of a shiny new gadget or much-needed accessory.
To a drummer, any surface is a potential practice pad. If you doubt these words, just check out their furniture. You’ll see the telltale marks on table surfaces, chair backs, and desk edges. That’s why an actual practice pad is a gift that keeps on giving.
This two-sided practice pad is made of neoprene for endurance practice on one side and gum rubber on the other for a more real-feeling rebound effect. The material will stand up to immense wear (much more so than your furniture) and last for years.
Evans also makes smaller, less expensive 6” practice pads that can be used alone or added to the larger pad to mimic a full drum set layout. If portability is a factor, the 6” pads provide the same feel as the 12” and are much easier to transport in a backpack.
You don’t need a stand to use the pad. In fact, many players just place it on a chair or table or even in their lap to work on snare techniques. Other drummers like to mount multiple pads to their existing stands in order to recreate their set for quiet practice so they can hone their skills. The pads provide a very realistic feel while creating very little noise. This is also great for students who may only have full equipment at the learning site and need something to practice on at home.
Back pockets don’t always make the best drumstick holders. Plus, they only hold a couple of pairs at the most, and those uncomfortably. That’s why a drum stick holder makes the perfect gift, especially if your favorite drummer goes through 5Bs by the dozen.
The C-shaped mounting clamp can be adjusted to fit any hardware stand where it will be easiest to reach. Break a stick during a show? Don’t even miss a beat! It’s angled by the extension arm at 45 degrees so it can be adjusted for fast and easy reach. The angle makes it easy to identify sticks by color if the drummer changes out stick types during sets.
The cup holder holds up to 8 sets of sticks and can be removed for cleaning so it doesn’t accumulate dirt that may gum up sticks over time. Best, the neoprene bag keeps the sticks from picking up the vibration of the drum set, so they will not create any extra noise by vibrating against each other while playing. This is very important for low-volume sets or recording.
If your favorite drummer does not yet have a quality set of earplugs, this should be the absolute first gift on your list. Just ask any older rock star who never considered the use of hearing protection because the industry had sadly not learned its lesson yet. Most are suffering hearing loss to varying degrees, many to the point where they can no longer perform.
Most modern performers would never consider playing without protection, and not just because they don’t want to go deaf. The fact is, a quality pair of acoustically balanced earplugs helps the performer to differentiate the subtle tones and notes that they need to be able to hear in a noisy environment. These high-fidelity earplugs do this by filtering out low-end noise that muddles clarity and high-end sounds (like the screeching of adoring fans) while letting mid-range tones come through (less) loud and perfectly clear. This improves the ability to play everything accurately from timing to pitch and tone.
Let’s face it, drums produce the type of percussive sound that can damage hearing even with very short exposures. Drummers are literally guaranteed to experience some level of hearing loss if they don’t take the proper precautions. There is no greater gift in the world for a musician than the gift of perfect hearing for a lifetime.
Ask any drummer, what is the one thing that is never there when they need it. The universal answer is a set of keys. No, these are not the keys you need to open a door or start your car. They are the keys that drummers need to tighten, tune and adjust their sets.
Whether the drummer is playing an electric set or an acoustic set, if it comes on stands, it needs keys. But they are always getting lost, so over time, it’s necessary to have a backup set.
This 3-pack of keys by Drum Starz is constructed with durable, chrome-plated steel in the industry-standard ¼ inch socket size. You can ensure that your favorite drummer will never be frustrated again by a wiggling stand or tuneless snare at the worst possible time with no way to fix it. They can hide a couple away in a special place in case they lose their included key at a gig or simply forgot where they put it. They can even store a couple of extra keys in their drum stick holder!
Another huge frustration for drummers in the case of the traveling toms. To put it succinctly, no matter how good a drummer’s hardware is braced, the legs tend to walk across smooth floors as they are played. This is doubly true for players who have a very aggressive style.
This 6′ by 4′ pad keeps sets from creeping out of place by providing a non-slip surface that firmly grips the bottom of the stands. The pad is composed of a durable PVC that will not curl up annoyingly at the edges.
It’s designed for transport, weighing only 5 pounds, and comes with a nylon carrying case with a shoulder strap and two Velcro straps that keep the pad folded up securely when not in use.
This pad is also nearly essential for home players who use electronic drum kits. This is because the mounting hardware is usually lighter than the hardware for acoustic sets. Even though the stands are often made of one fully connected piece, they tend to walk away from the drummer en masse when played very hard, and unconnected pedals move around all over the place. This will keep the throne, pedals and the set exactly where they need to be.
Drummers who use carpet spikes need not worry about ripping the mat. It’s durable enough to take the abuse. It is also an absolute saver of hardwood floors, protecting them from the inevitable scuffing and scarring they would suffer at the hands of any set.
Blisters are inevitable with drummers. Practice enough and they happen, eventually turning into callouses, just like the ones you see on the fingertips of a guitarist. It’s just hard to stop when you’re in the groove even when it hurts.
These ultra-sleek gloves feature soft lambskin palms that not only protect sore hands but also improve grip on even the slickest drumsticks so they won’t fly away in sweaty hands.
The Velcro closures are adjustable to increase comfort and fit. They are the perfect size for an older child or an average-sized female adult.
One of the nicest features of these gloves is that the material is compatible with many of the integrated touch-screen devices that come with the best electronic drum set models. So if a drummer is using computer equipment, they are less likely to be forced to take the gloves off while programming. They won’t work with every touch screen device, so try them out first before counting on this feature.
This is the best gift for a drummer that just can’t stop and wants to increase their playing time in perfect comfort and style.
Whether electronic or acoustic, upkeep is vital to maintaining the life and quality of a set. This professional four-pack cleaning product cares for both types of sets.
The cymbal cleaner is acid-free, so it won’t damage the metal while polishing it to a beautiful shine. This is important because cymbals must be properly maintained and oxides removed or their sound can acquire some off-putting undertones. (Of course, some grunge drummers put their cymbals through hell just so they will develop these weird undertones. To each their own, and c’est la vie.)
The all-purpose drum detailer can be used to clean electronic drum pads, as well as shells, hardware, thrones, and cases.
The included, no-lint microfiber towels are designed to work with the cleaner to restore a brilliant glow and can be washed and re-used. Proper maintenance will add years to your set, so this cleaner is a must-have.
This gift is just flat-out cute. Everyone knows that each Zildjian is a work of art. So why not use one as a functional decoration that showcases a musician’s style while helping them keep track of their practice time? (Obviously, so they can ignore the time and keep playing anyway because … why stop?)
This 13-inch cymbal clock is battery operated, so it can be mounted anywhere for the best display. Made of beautiful bronze (80% copper and 20% tin) it glows with a brilliant shine. It will make a wonderful conversation piece for any room.
Another gift in the cute department, these drumstick pencils are flat-out groovy fun. It’s hard to resist the temptation of flipping these HB wooden pencils around and playing a set or two in-between paragraphs.
It’s also an interesting old-school composing tool since one can tap out the beat, flip it over and write down the notes they just composed.
Mostly though, they are a great way to poke happy fun at your favorite drummer who can’t seem to stop using their pencils and pens as makeshift drum sticks. (Hint: They come in pen designs too!) These make one of the more unique ideas for musician stocking stuffers.
Ahh! There is no gift like the gift of knowledge.
Rascal Flatts drummer Jim Riley shares his immense knowledge of the musical world in this incredible informational resource guide.
With 124 professionally recorded play-along tracks, learning drummers can expand their musical vocabulary and styles to branch out into any genre. Recordings of each groove are provided to make it easy and fun to learn new forms.
Jim’s straightforward approach and simple explanations will help any aspiring drummer take their performance to a whole new level. It’s great for pros who have never explored outside their genre as well.
2. The Drummer: 100 Yeas of Rhythmic Power and Invention
This gift book, made by the producers of “Modern Drummer” magazine, is available in both Kindle, hardcover and paperback and contains a wealth of history and information for the person who eats, breathes and lives drums or just music as a whole.
This fun and the informational book will carry the reader through the past century as clangers morphed into shoes, then low-boys and eventually the modern hi-hat; or follow the founding fathers of our genres as they created the landscape of our modern musical styles. From the evolution of the instrument to the music is created, this book has it all.
It’s a very classy gift for a teacher or older drummer who loves to relive the glory days while thumbing through the beautiful photos. It’s also a wonderful gift for teachers to give to students to help foster their love of the art.
As said above, it’s not so easy picking out a gift for a drummer if you don’t play yourself. There are so many little things that make life easier, reduce frustration or help to improve playing methods. Of course, the best gifts for drummers are the ones that show how well you know and love their unique personalities and help them show it off to others.
Now that you have some unique ideas, you can give the musicians in your life gifts that will reflect their style and help them build their skills. Whether it’s a simple and fun gift or something as vital as plugs that protect precious hearing, you will be able to show them how much you support their endeavors. They will appreciate your thoughtfulness and support.