If you or your child has suddenly shown an interest in the drums, one of your first questions is likely “How much does a drum set cost?” That answer depends on a few different factors, which we’ll discuss in this article.
Professional instruction is the quickest and most efficient way to learn to play the drums, however, a single lesson a week for many weeks can only get a new drummer so far. To truly understand and embrace the drums, a new musician will need to commit to practicing in between the lessons, as well – and that means you’ll need a good quality drum set!
Drum kits can range in price significantly, depending on the type, the size, the brand, and the level you’re playing at. Beginner drum kits can be found for as cheap as $200, while professional drum kits can cost upwards of $10,000, depending on the type and added elements.
Junior Drum Kits
Complete junior drum sets typically start at around $300. This price includes stock cymbals and all the necessary hardware and stands. Drum thrones – what you sit on – may not be included, and can range in price from $30 up to $200. A drum kit in the $300 range is acceptable for a young, first-time player.
These junior kits are traditionally three- or four-piece sets. They include a base drum, two toms, and a cymbal. Three-piece sets will not include cymbals, but you can purchase them separately when buying the kit for a relatively low price. So before asking “How much does a drum set cost?”, it’s important to first question what level of kit you’ll need. Typically these junior kits are intended for absolute beginners and small children.
While the set won’t sound as rich and warm as more expensive kits, it will allow for practicing while in the home. If your child is just starting out on the drums, and will be practicing at home, you may want to purchase silencing pads, as well. These cost around $50 for a set, and mute the sound the drum heads make, while still allowing for the drummer to feel and hear what they are doing. These are great to have, as they allow kids to practice in a basement or bedroom without the noise disturbing the rest of the house.
Now that you know the answer to “how much does a drum set cost?” for beginner kits, you are probably wondering what more advanced kits will cost.
Intermediate Drum Kits
As you learn to play, and play well, eventually you may want a better kit to practice on. While junior kits are great for kids just starting out, they can outgrow them quickly, both in size and the type of playing they are doing. When this happens, it might be time to purchase a full-size, intermediate kit. An intermediate kit is, traditionally, a five- or six-piece configuration. Most intermediate kits will include a shell pack only, and cymbals will need to be added separately.
When picking out an intermediate drum kit, you’ll want your budget to be around $700 to $1,500, depending on the type of kits you are looking at. There are several intermediate kits that can be more expensive, and a few that can be found for under $700; however, most would agree that the $700 to $1,500 range will afford you a decent kit to practice on.
If you or your child have joined a band and is planning to play a lot, a professional drum kit may be more your style. Professional kits come in the same configuration as intermediate kits, but are built with better wood and components. They can stand up to greater travel, movement and playing. When picking out a professional drum kit you’ll want the drummer to try out kits before making a decision.
Professional kits can cost between $3,000 and $10,000 depending on the kit and components included. Most professionals will opt to purchase a shell pack with hardware, then add specific drums or cymbals that they feel are necessary. Picking out a professional drum kit is less a question of “how much does a drum set cost?” and more about what feels right to you and your needs as a player.
Added Components and Accessories
During your research on drum set cost, you’ll likely encounter many different opinions on accessories and added components, as well. Even if you have a beginner drummer in your home, you’ll want to purchase sticks, stands and cymbals separately. In addition, you might want to invest in drum bags. These travel cases protect the drums as they are moved.
There are also a few components you will need as you progress as a drummer that will not come standard with a kit. Some drum kits, for example, do not come with cymbal stands and cymbals. Advanced drummers may find they like particular cymbals for their sound and feel, so then you have the option of purchasing these components separately.
Once you get a certain level, the quality of the instrument you plan on will make a big difference. Invest wisely, and you’ll be rewarded with years of playing and gigging!
Photo by Derrick Coetzee