drummer

Words of Wisdom: 11 Drummers Share Their Best Advice for Beginners

When you’re learning to play drums, it’s important to remember that it takes hard work, determination, and patience in order to improve.

It may be a slow process, but don’t get discouraged; even experienced drummers had to start somewhere.

Need some inspiration? Here, 11 experienced drummers share their best advice for beginners.

 

1 - 10 Words of Wisdom for Beginner Drummers

“Never stop learning from everyone around you. Confidence, skill, dedication, and determination will ensure you go far!”

#NeverStop – @lindsaybird44 – Ontario, Canada drummer for @DirtyJeans

 

2 - 10 Words of Wisdom for Beginner Drummers

“Never give up and don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t play because your’e different. And no matter what you do, love what you’re doing. Smile and have fun! It’s what music is all about.”

@Jynyates – professional drum set and percussion teacher

 

3 - 10 Words of Wisdom for Beginner Drummers

“Take lessons. They give you a solid basis to build on until you’re ready to step out and explore on your own. You can never be too good at rudiments!”

@harryomatic – drummer for JuneBug

 

4 - 10 Words of Wisdom for Beginner Drummers

“When it comes to getting good at anything, you have to put in the time; practice, practice, practice. Take lessons and learn from anyone and everyone. Play, play, play, and always have fun!”

@Richredmond – drummer, producer, and author

 

5 - 10 Words of Wisdom for Beginner Drummers

“Practice from the head, play from the heart.”

@Jonesylessons – Ireland session player and teacher

 

6 - 10 Words of Wisdom for Beginner Drummers

“Get a metronome, and always practice with it. It will help you keep time. And practice hard and don’t give up on your dreams.”

@drummerboi911Hole Dug Deep drummer

 

7 - 10 Words of Wisdom for Beginner Drummers

“Make it your passion! Even the simplest of lessons can be an intense learning experience! Also, watch ALL drummers and absorb what you see!

@jeffpagedrums – Burbank, CA drum teacher, drummer for @alicecooperland @theremotesband and @its_memargaret

 

8 - 10 Words of Wisdom for Beginner Drummers

“I tell my students who struggle learning a new beat: If you can sing it, you can (almost) play it.” #rhythmisamelody

#rhythmisamelody – @beckbeat – touring drummer and songwriter

 

9 - 10 Words of Wisdom for Beginner Drummers

“Practicing without goals is like playing basketball without a hoop.”

@keithperc – Salt Lake City musician and educator

 

10 - 10 Words of Wisdom for Beginner Drummers

“Live in the pocket. This is so crucial. Play for the band and not for yourself; your career will go a long way!”

@MattPanaMitchell Grey drummer

 

11 - 10 Words of Wisdom for Beginner Drummers

“Learn the 40 rudiments early in your drumming career and NEVER stop practicing them! Mastering these will enhance your creativity behind the kit when playing beats and fills. Practice the rudiments on a practice pad and then apply them to the drum kit using multiple drums, cymbals, and even your feet.”

@MikeD_rums – New Jersey-based drummer

Follow these words of wisdom, keep practicing, and stick with. Before you know it, you’ll be an experienced drummer just like these guys, and beginner drummers will look to you for your advice!

Ready to get started? Search for a drum teacher near you! 

Photo by Anais

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10 Steps Guaranteed to Make You a Better Drummer

10 Steps to Become a Great Drummer 3

If you’re taking drum lessons, you probably want to know the fastest, most efficient way to improve. While learning drums takes practice and hard work, there are certain steps that can take you from a beginner to an intermediate drummer, and beyond.

In this guest post, Marcel Blanchet, a drummer, producer, composer, and recording artist, shares his 10 steps to help you advance beyond the beginner stage, and put you on the path to becoming a great drummer… 

Every beginner has to have a starting point, but a beginner also needs a reference point to come back to in order to move forward.

I have been playing drums professionally for many years, and during this time I have learned  important lessons from trial and error, drum teachers, friends, and other professionals.

Here are 10 steps that will help you become a great drummer.

 

REPETITION

Repetition is the key to learning anything, but when it comes to drumming, you will have to repeat the same exercises over and over in order to improve.

Repeat the same hand and foot movements, read, or play the same rhythm over and over.

 

CONSISTENCY

 

For drummers, consistency is related to accuracy. When you’re accurate, you play in time. The groove is a consistent groove.

You will always be looked upon as a time keeper first.

sticks

 

You need drum sticks, you don’t necessarily need drums, at least when you’re a beginner.

Don’t just get a pair of drum sticks and think it’s the only pair of sticks you will ever need. Really spend some time at a music store or drum shop, and hold and feel the drum sticks.

Make sure they’re not too heavy or too long. Go with a teacher or another drummer and pick sticks together.

*For a look at different drum stick brands, check out our drummer’s gear guide.

WATCH AND LISTEN

Between YouTube, DVDs, and live performances, there are so many ways to watch and listen.

Watch as many other drummers as you can. Listen to the way they sound. Watch how they tune their drums, how they play, and how they hold their sticks.

Pay attention to their technique and practice this on your own.

 

RUDIMENTS

As a beginner, you don’t need to know all the rudiments to start playing, but it’s important to learn the basics.

Learn the single-stroke roll and the double-stroke roll, and learn to play them with your feet, too!

 

experiment

Experiment when you play; try something new every day.

If you’ve mastered the single-stroke roll, try playing it in between your hands and feet.

Try to play new sounds. You don’t even need a drum set for this, look for new sound sources like boxes, tin cans, plastic paint buckets, plastic pipes, and metal lids.

BE OBSESSIVE

We mean this in a good way, of course, but be obsessive about learning and playing drums.

Eat, sleep, read, watch, and consume all things drum related.

BE UNIQUE

Don’t just copy others, set yourself apart from other drummers.

This doesn’t mean you can’t learn from watching other drummers.  In fact, study their every move, but figure out what you have to offer that is unique, different, and special.

Find and develop your own signature sound.

stick with it

Find a style that you like and stick with it. You can always try new styles, but as a beginner, pick one style and stick with it.

If you like rock music, then play rock music. If you’re a hip hop fan, then play hip hop.

find a teacher

Find a teacher, and let him or her know what you really want to learn.

A private drum instructor can help you reach your goals and master your technique.

Marcel Blanchet is a drummer, composer, producer, and Sony recording artist. Marcel is a touring drummer for traveling shows, and has provided motivational keynote speeches and business entertainment through his drumming skills. Learn more about Marcel here!

 

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bass drum

5 Simple Ways to Boost Your Bass Drum Technique

bass drum

 

If you want to add some deep, booming sounds to your drum solos, then you need to develop your bass drum technique . Here, Saint Paul, MN drum instructor John S. shares his five keys to help you improve your bass drumming skills…

 

The bass drum is the heart and soul of the drum set. If you’ve ever been to a rock concert or blasted the radio in your car, you know that the bass drum is the drum that you actually feel. The bass drum is important, it’s often up to the bass drum to establish the foundation of the groove.

The bass drum also presents a unique challenge because you play it with your foot rather than your hands. There are countless techniques and exercises to help you develop your bass drum technique.

To help you get started, here are five things to remember when you practice the bass drum.

1. Use a Metronome

This is without a doubt the most important point on this list. Using a metronome may seem pretty straightforward, but there is a correct and incorrect way to use a metronome to practice drums.

As a general rule, you should start practicing at a slow tempo, and gradually increase your tempo in small increments.  For many drummers, it’s actually harder to play a slow pattern because there’s more room between each note.

To improve your bass drum technique at a slow tempo, use subdivisions on the metronome (8th- and 16th-note patterns) to improve your timing and accuracy.

Hint: If your metronome doesn’t have a setting for subdivisions, multiply the tempo times two to get an 8th-note pulse.

2. Technique

There are two basic ways to play the bass drum: heel up and heel down. Playing the bass drum with your heel up gives you more power, while playing with your heel down provides a quieter, more resonant tone.

Regardless of the type of music you’re playing, it’s important to develop both techniques since many advanced patterns require the ability to integrate techniques.

3. Coordination

Coordination refers to the fluid relationship between the bass drum foot and the rest of your limbs. To develop coordination, practice exercises that force your hands and feet to work together in alternating patterns.

For example, alternate two strokes on the snare drum with two on the bass drum. Start at a slow tempo and gradually increase your speed.

Here is a nice exercise that explores bass drum coordination with both hands.

4. Independence

Independence refers to the ability to play a wide range of bass drum patterns with a repetitive hand pattern. The best way to develop independence is to start with a simple pattern (1/4 notes on the hi-hat), and play a non-repetitive bass drum rhythm over the simple hi-hat loop.

Here is a great beginner/intermediate exercise in bass drum independence.

5. Repetition

Regardless of which music style you want to play, it’s imperative that you repeat each exercise for more than just a few measures.

Repetition reinforces the muscle memory in your brain, which allows you to naturally transfer your skills seamlessly into real-life playing situations.

There is an endless supply of bass drum exercises, both for free online and in many well-written instructional books. The best way to develop your bass drum technique, however, is to work with a drum instructor.

As with all areas of drumming, start with slow, easy exercises and focus on developing good practice habits before moving onto harder exercises.

Happy bass drumming!

AndyWPost Author: John S.
John S. is a drum and percussion instructor in Saint Paul, MN. A full-time musician and teacher, he performs with two different bands and teaches in-home and in-studio lessons. Learn more about John here!

Photo by alexmerwin13 

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3 Ways to Play Complex Drum Patterns (With Audio)

3 Ways to Play Complex Drum Patterns (With Audio)

3 Ways to Play Complex Drum Patterns (With Audio)

As you advance in your drum lessons, you will want to take on more complicated drum patterns and grooves. Here, Federal Way, WA drum instructor Kendra M. explains how you can learn to play complex drum patterns…

Complex drum patterns can be intimidating for new drum students. Take this “tricky” groove for example:

Learning Complex Patterns 1

Even though this groove sounds complex, there are actually several ways to break patterns like this one down into manageable parts. Before you know it, you’ll be able to play complex drum patterns with ease!

Using the example above, here are three ways to conquer difficult drum patterns:

Method 1: Simplify Each Line

Take out all of the 16th notes to play a simplified version of the pattern.

complex patterns 2

Then, add the 16th notes in, one limb at a time.

complex patterns 3

Method 2: Create Short Loops

Loop a short section of the pattern while keeping time on the ride cymbal.

Create short Loops

Keep adding a little more of the pattern into the loop.

keep adding

Method 3: Reduce the Number of Parts

Play the parts for only two limbs. For example: the right hand on ride cymbal and the left hand on snare.

reduce number of parts

Then, use a different set of two limbs. For example: the right foot on bass drum and the left hand on snare drum.

complex patterns last

If a groove is too difficult to play all at once, break it up. Keep building the groove from the most basic version you can create, to its complete form, step by step.

The more familiar you become with each element of the groove, the closer you will come to putting it all together. Don’t worry about speed at first; practice each variation at a tempo where you can play it successfully.

Be patient. Think of each challenging groove as a puzzle created for your enjoyment. Then, piece it together and have fun!

Want to improve your drumming skills? Sign up for lessons with a private drum instructor! 

KendraMPost Author: Kendra M.
Kendra M. teaches drum lessons in Federal Way, WA. She has performed with professional orchestras across the United States and earned her Doctorate of Music from the University of Arizona. She is interested in the percussion music of cultures across the globe, and she has spent time studying drums abroad in Trinidad and Ghana! Learn more about Kendra here!

 

Photo by Kyle Sorkness

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rock drum beats

Rock On: 3 Rock Drum Beats for Beginners

rock drum beats

Hey drummers, want to learn how to play rock beats that will make the crowd move and shout? Here, San Diego, CA drum instructor Maegan W. breaks down the strategy behind rock drumming, and gives you three rock drum beats to practice at home…

Rock ‘n’ roll: what is it, and what makes it rock? A solid, authoritative drum beat, that’s what. It’s up to you as the drummer to make sure the band and the audience have something to make them move, shout, and throw their hands in the air.

Here are some tips to help you improve your rock drumming, and some rock drum beats that will leave your fans begging for more.

Different Styles Have Different Sounds

This may seem obvious, but it’s important to note that different music styles have different sounds. Rock music has a completely different sound than jazz.

If you look at the snare, bass drum, and hi-hat as three sections of a triangle, you will be able to make a sound pyramid. The sound at the top has the least room, so you will play this quietly, by comparison.

When you play jazz, place these three elements in order from top to bottom (softest to loudest) as follows: Bass drum (quiet unless accenting), snare (medium to soft unless accenting), and cymbals (loudest, main focus).

When you play rock, do the opposite. The cymbals will be loud, but not louder than the snare and bass. The snare should be loud and cracking. When I play rock and I hit my snare, it makes peoples’ eyes twitch, and this is a good thing!

The bass drum is your driving force. Play the bass drum like you’re trying to break through the head. Make people feel it; make them move to your beat!

Less is More

Once you understand how to adjust your sound for different styles, you have to decide on a beat to play. In rock music, less is always more. Keep it simple.

Big, open fills are best. Remember, we’re talking about rock, not metal or punk. Simple, direct beats work best, and these beats make the audience move.

Attitude is Everything

The last, most important factor in rock drumming is attitude. You have to own it. As a rock drummer, you can’t be timid or shy. The stage is yours. You drive the bus and control the speed and feel. The band needs to know they can count on you; play with confidence.

Have Fun

Rock music is all about freedom. Freedom of expression, freedom of choice, and the freedom to be as loud as you want. Let it all out, and have fun. The drums are the driving force in rock music, never underestimate the power of what you create and share with the world. Your drum sound is unique and important.

Now that you understand the principles behind rock drumming, it’s time to practice!

Try these three beats:



rock drum beats

With proper adjustments, you can use the first beat in practically any song in any style of music. The other two beats are just slight variations, but they also adapt well to almost any rock song.

 

Want to learn more rock drum beats? Find a private drum teacher to help you improve your drumming skills!  

 

AndyWPost Author: Maegan W.
Maegan W. teaches drums, songwriting, and more in San Diego, CA. She earned a degree in Percussion from the Musician’s Institute, and has been teaching private lessons since 2004. Learn more about Maegan here!

 

 

Photo by Florian Stangl

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The 10 Best YouTube Drum Lessons 2

Learn Drums Online: The 10 Best YouTube Drum Lessons

 

The 10 Best YouTube Drum Lessons 2

Whether you’re a beginner or an intermediate drummer, YouTube is a great resource to help you practice between drum lessons. Here are the 10 best YouTube drum lessons you can find online.

Bill Bachman Drum Lesson Series

This video series is from Bill Bachman, a world-renowned technique expert, drum clinician, and author.

The videos break down essential techniques to help you develop drumming skills, improve speed, groove, and timing. The videos feature great close-ups and visuals, and the exercises and repetition will really help you improve!

Mike Johnston’s Drum Lab


Mike Johnston’s Drum Lab is one of the largest educational web resources for drummers. Offering live and pre-recorded drum lessons, Johnston breaks down essential concepts and techniques to boost your drumming skills.

Johnston also has has a website which features iPod- and iPad-compatible lesson downloads for a nominal fee.

Drumeo

Drumeo’s YouTube drum lessons channel features one of the largest libraries of organized drum lessons and resources.

Jared Falk offers clear instruction in his fun-to-watch video lessons, which help you learn drum fills, vocabulary, and more.

Subscribe to Drumeo’s paid service to access full drum lessons from famous drummers like Benny Greb, Thomas Lang, Tony Royster Jr., and more!

BoomBoomTV With Jen Lowe

Talented songwriter and instrumentalist Jen Lowe shares her years of drum corps and teaching experience on her YouTube channel. Lowe offers various playing tips for timbales, congas, djembe, hand percussion, and drum kits.

Alan Tackmann’s GoAndPractice

This YouTube channel is a great resource for beginning drummers. In his videos, Tackmann demonstrates hand-and-foot combinations and various techniques to help you take your drumming to the next level.

Alex Ribchester’s Fun Free Drum Lessons

From drumming vocabulary to rudiments and grooves, Alex Ribchester’s fun and casual lessons will help you learn and practice essential drum skills.

There are over 190 lessons available, plus downloadable PDFs to help you practice between drum lessons.

Jeff Randall

Great for drummers of all ages, Jeff Randall’s lessons come with transcriptions, and will help you learn to breakdown and create your own drum grooves.

Stephen Taylor

Featured in the October 2013 issue of DRUM!, this YouTube channel covers beginning and intermediate lessons, and all things drum related.

The Drum Coaches

If you love gospel chops, this is the YouTube drum lessons channel for you!

Funny and entertaining, these lessons are transcribed and packed with various hand-foot combination licks.

The 80/20 Drummer

Already past the basics? The 80/20 Drummer is dedicated to teaching good drummers to be great.

Bookmark this site for tons of in-depth lessons which will teach you more about drumming and music theory.

YouTube drum lessons are fantastic learning tools, but there’s no substitute for one-on-one, in-person instruction from an experienced drum teacher.

Want to take your skills to the next level? Find a drum instructor near you!

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drum fills

You Got the Beat: 16th-Note Drum Fills for Beginners

drum fills

As you progress in your drum lessons, you will learn to play more advanced drum patterns. Here, Federal Way, WA drum instructor Kendra M. shares some exercises to help you play 16th-note drum fills… 

When you create a four-fill beat, the possibilities are endless. Many beginning drummers, however, tend to rely on the same pattern every time they play a one-measure solo. One of the first fills most drummers learn on a five-piece kit moves from snare drum down through all three toms as follows:

Drum Fills

This pattern may be overdone, but with a few slight alterations, it can be brought back to life and can restore a drummer’s pride. Each of the drum fills below include constant 16th notes, played on the four drums in a standard five-piece drum kit.

Your hands should alternate: start with the right hand (right stick, left stick, right stick, left stick, etc.)

The following notation guide shows you what to play and when:

Drum Fills

Choose a basic rock beat to play for one or three measures between each one-measure fill. Here is one possibility:

Drum Fills Try the following variations, and then create your own!

1-2. Start with the original pattern, and then reverse it

Drum Fills

3-4. Reduce the number of strokes on each drum, and change the order

Drum Fills

5-6. Reverse direction

(Move the opposite way around the kit during the fill.)

Drum Fills

7-8. Strike each surface three times for the first three beats

Drum Fills

9-10. Strike each surface five or six times, until you run out of notes

Drum Fills

11-12. Accent each beat with a tom and play the rest of the 16ths on the snare

(Then, use buzz strokes on the snare drum.)

Drum Fills

13-14. Accent syncopated rhythms on toms, while you play the rest of the 16th’s on snare

Drum Fills

15-16. Use any pattern, and move around all of the drums with alternating 16th notes

(Just keep your hands moving, and keep counting!)

Drum Fills

Create your own variations using cymbals, rims, double strokes, and anything else you can imagine!

Want to hear what these drum fills sound like? Listen to the audio file here:

Take your drumming to the next level. Sign up with a private drum instructor today!

Kendra MKendra M. teaches drum lessons in Federal Way, WA. She has performed with professional orchestras across the United States and earned her Doctorate of Music from the University of Arizona. She is interested in the percussion music of cultures across the globe, and she has spent time studying drums abroad in Trinidad and Ghana.  Learn more about Kendra here!

 

 

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drummers

4 Little-Known Secrets for Drumming Success

drummers

So you’re taking drum lessons, and you want to know how to take your drumming to the next level? Here, San Diego, CA drum instructor Maegan W. shares four lesser-known secrets to help you succeed…

Have you ever watched a band or artist and thought to yourself, “I’m just as talented and I work hard, how come I don’t get gigs?” Well the answer may surprise you. In fact, I hope it does.

I found out long ago that getting a good gig, playing big festivals, and making money as a drummer doesn’t come from being a great musician. Of course, this is a key ingredient, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle.

Whether you’re a beginner or an intermediate drummer, if you practice and dedicate yourself, you have the potential to be an amazing drummer. If you want to take your drumming to the next level, pay attention to these lesser-known secrets to drumming success.

1. Mindset

Adopting the right mindset is the first step to attracting better gigs and experiences.

When you watch other bands, pay attention to your energy and the way you feel. Do you feel jealous or envious, or do you appreciate other artists’ talent? What are you saying as you watch these bands or artists?

It’s important to recognize and appreciate another artist’s talent. This allows you to operate from a place of inspiration, as opposed to a negative, jealous head space.

2. Define Your Goals and Go After Them

Professional drummers are always looking for opportunities. They don’t just sit back and wait for things to happen.

Successful drummers know exactly what they want, and they make a commitment to make it happen. This don’t mean you should be rigid and stubborn. In fact, the opposite is true: you must be able to go with the flow and allow the magic to happen.

Be clear about your goals. It may be helpful to share your goals with your drum teacher so he or she can keep you on track and hold you accountable.

3. Practice, Practice, Practice!

OK, I know this isn’t exactly a secret, but for some reason, the pros try to hide how much time they really practice. When they play, they make it looks effortless and natural, but this is the result of hours of hard work. Remember, every successful drummer has put in the time to develop their skills.

Think of it this way: When you’re not practicing, someone else is! You can always find ways to improve; keep on practicing!

4. It’s Not Just What You Know…

The last secret most pros don’t share is that it’s not just what you know, but who you know. This is not to say that talent and work ethic aren’t essential, but there are also intangible factors that can help you succeed.

Always remember: it’s a small world and people talk. It’s helpful to maintain a positive outlook and attitude. Also, successful drummers spend just as much time marketing themselves as they do working on their drum technique. Make connections with other drummers. You can always learn something, and you never know who will be able to help you get to the next level.

These lesser-known secrets should give you a new perspective, and help you achieve your drumming goals.

Want to improve your drumming skills? Find a drum instructor today!

Maegan-WMaegan W. teaches drums, songwriting, and more in San Diego, CA. She earned a degree in Percussion from the Musician’s Institute, and has been teaching private lessons since 2004.  Learn more about Maegan here!

 

 

 

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Playing the Drums

8 Talented, Adorable Animals Playing the Drums

Playing the Drums

When you’re learning drums, you may need some inspiration or a practice break. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Nothing is cuter or more entertaining than some adorable animals playing the drums.

From funky monkeys to puppy percussionists, here are eight adorable, talented animals rocking out on the drums.

1. K9 on the Kick Drum

These proud dog owners shared this home video of their German Wirehaired Pointer playing the hi-hat and bass drum.

2. Musical Monkey

This is Tito the monkey, and he obviously loves playing the drums! We’re not quite sure about Tito’s backstory, but we’re definitely grateful that YouTube user mmannddalla shared this video with the world.

3. Little Drummin’ Dachshund

This dachshund has obviously mastered speed and tempo, and he proves you don’t need a drum set to rock out!

4. Primate Percussionist

We’re not sure if this little guy is practicing or monkeying around, but either way, we still love him!

5. Doggy Duet

Watch this dog providing back up on the kick drum for his owner. Dogs really are man’s best friend, especially when it comes to making music!

6. Music by Maple

Maple is a Border Collie/Golden Retriever mix with a huge fan following on Vine. Besides The White Stripes, Maple plays along to songs by Imagine Dragons and The Script.

7. He Can Feel it (“In the Air Tonight”)

Check out the soulful solo from this gorilla drummer. Actor Garon Michael suited up in a gorilla costume and played along to Phil Collin’s “In the Air Tonight” for a 2007 Cadbury commercial.

8. The Puppet Master

No list of musical mammals would be complete without Animal, the drum master himself. Besides his drum solos, watch the Muppets star play with famous artists like Buddy Rich, Rita Moreno, and Travis Barker.

If these adorable animals can do it, then you can too! Grab your drum sticks, and get ready to practice!

Want to see more musically-inclined pets? Check out these 10 incredibly talented animals playing the piano.

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Photo by Tom VanNortwick

Drum Kits

Drummer’s Gear Guide: The Best Drum Set Brands

Drum Kits

When you’re learning to play drums, you may have a lot of questions about what gear you need to pursue your new passion. Here, Edmond, OK drum instructor Tracy D. breaks down the best drum set brands. 

So, you have decided to take drum lessons. Congratulations! With all the gear out there, you may feel a bit overwhelmed with all the choices. This guide will help you make a more informed decision in your search for your first set of drums. This guide will compare acoustic and electric (E-kits) drums, some of the best brands on the market, and various practice pads.

When it comes to acoustic drums, there are the standard sets that are usually constructed with various types of wood. The shells are made in various depths and diameters. Acoustic drums require head changes and tuning. If you are concerned about noise levels, you may purchase mutes, which are relatively inexpensive.

Here are some of the best drum set brands who offer fantastic entry-level drum kits.

Acoustic Drum Sets


Gretsch

Gretsch Renegade

Photo from Gretsch

Gretsch offers the Renegade series, which has brass 13-inch hats and an 18-inch crash/ride. The Energy series is a step up, boasting 30-degree bearing edges (which convey more of Gretsch’s distinctive sound) and Sabian SBR cymbals. Both have fast-size toms, constructed of poplar, which allow for lower positioning for younger players.

Street prices are $499 and $699.99 respectively.

Pacific Drums (PDP)

pdp drums

Photo from PDP

PDP  offers the Player kit, which is sized for kids with 10-inch hats and a 12-inch crash. Step up with a student model Z5 (full size) or a full-size Mainstage, with a four-piece Sabian cymbal pack and hardware pack.

All are constructed of hardwood. Street prices are $329.99, $399.99, and $699.99 respectively.

Pearl

pearl drum set

Photo from Pearl

Pearl offers the Roadshow, with a choice of four finishes, three configurations, hardwood construction, hats, and a 16-inch crash/ride. They also offer the Export (EXL or EXX) which is their most well-known entry-level set.

Pearl drum kits come in a variety of finishes and configurations, and are constructed of poplar and Asian mahogany. The street prices for five-piece configurations are $449 and $599-$749 respectively.

Yamaha

Gig Maker

Photo from Yamaha

Yamaha offers the GigMaker set for beginner to intermediate drummers, with a choice of five finishes and two configurations (made of basswood and poplar), and wood bass drum hoops (as opposed to plastic on some models). Street price range from $399.99-$599.99.

Some other notable products among the best drum set brands include Ludwig’s Accent, Tama’s Imperialstar, Mapex’s Voyager, and Sonor’s Smart Force.

Some of the perks of acoustic kits include aesthetic beauty, feel, response, resonance, configuration possibilities, and reliability.

Electric drum kits have different drum presets and metronomes (depending on brand/series). They are usually made with mesh or rubber pads which trigger sounds to a “brain” or module, and they can be used with headphones. Here are a few choices for you to consider.

Electric Drum Sets


Roland

td1k kit

Photo from Roland

Roland offers the TD-1K which has 15 presets, support for advanced hat work and cymbal chokes, coach, metronome, and recording capabilities.

Another option is the TD-4KP, which features natural-feel rubber surfaces, coach/record, eight pads, and customizable sounds. Street prices are $499 and $699 respectively.

Yamaha

dtx400k

Photo from Yamaha 

Yamaha offers the DTX400K, which features 7 pads, 10 presets, sound customization, and recording capabilities (into a DAW).

Alesis

alsesis drum kit

Photo from Alesis

Alesis offers the DM Lite kit, which features 10 presets, a coach feature, metronome, 200 sounds, and four pads. Street price $209.95-$299.The advantages of electronic kits are compact/portability, volume level control, sound libraries, on-board metronomes, and direct MIDI/DAW connectivity.

If you’re not quite ready to splurge on a drum kit, practice pads are always a great option. In fact, practice pads will be with any serious drummer for the long haul.

They can be outfitted with various surfaces, such as gum rubber or a coated side for brush practice. These are great for quiet practice and for the drummer who is always on the go.

Practice Pads


Gibraltar Pocket Practice Pad

gibraltar pocket practice pad

Photo from interstatemusic.com

Gibraltar’s Pocket Practice Pad straps securely to your leg; it’s compact design allows for maximum portability. (I own this practice pad, it comes in handy and is fun to use.)

Evans Real Feel

evans real feel

Photo from interstatemusic.com

The Evans Real Feel pad is 12 inches and can be situated in a snare stand or set on any surface.  This drum pad is very durable (I’ve punished mine for many years now, and it’s still in great shape).

Remo’s Practice Pad

remo practice pad

Photo from Sweetwater.com

Remo’s practice pad is tunable, comes in different sizes, and may be mounted onto a stand.
When it comes to drum sets, there are so many great options. That being said, I would recommend a five-piece kit configuration, because it’s standard, and most instructional materials are written with this in mind.

***TIP*** Some sellers, such as Guitar Center or Musician’s Friend, will sometimes offer specials with the purchase of a kit, such as cymbal/hardware packs or an extra tom (usually around the holidays).

Use this guide to get you started, but make sure to talk to the experts at your local drum shops. With some patience, you can find the perfect kit to help you reach your drumming goals.

Looking for a drum teacher in  your area? Find one here!

TracyD

Tracy D. teaches percussion and drum lesson in Edmond, OK, as well as online. She has been playing the drums in various bands for more than 13 years, and has also played intermittently with the OKC Community Orchestra for the past five years. Learn more about Tracy here! 

 

 

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Photo by Jana Reifergerste