So you or your child has started taking drum lessons and now you need to buy some gear. Not sure which set is the best one for you? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Here, drum teacher Maegan W. shares her tips for buying your first drum set…
“Which drum set should I buy?” is such a common question for new drummers. Whether it’s for yourself, your child, or someone you know, the first drum set can make a world of difference in a beginning drummer’s journey.
There are a few things to consider when deciding which drum set to buy. I’ve been asked over and over, and the answer remains the same: none! Yes, this may be surprising, since drums seem like they’re essential when you’re learning to play, but the bottom line is that it’s too early on to make an informed decision when you first begin playing and learning.
When you’re just starting out, there’s so much work to do on a practice pad alone. I recommend postponing buying a drum set for at least a few months. If there’s still an interest in playing and learning after a few months on a practice pad, which can run anywhere from $20 to $100, then you should look into investing in a drum set. A practice pad can be helpful throughout your entire drumming career, so it’s a great place to start.
Another reason to hold off on buying a drum set is that you, or whoever you’re planning to buy the set is for, will start to develop personal preferences. Drum sets are unique in style and sound, just like any other instrument, and need to be selected according to your goals and tendencies, and these will change as you evolve as a drummer.
If you feel like you have already made up your mind to buy a drum set for yourself or your child, than here are some things to consider.
What is your practice situation? Do you need to keep quiet? Do you have a lot or a little space? Are there stairs ( easy load in and out?) An electric drum kit may be a good option If you need to play quietly or have limited amount of space. An acoustic drum set with muting pads may also be a good option if you have unsatisfactory practice conditions.
Of course, we musicians like to think money doesn’t matter, but it does. An electric kit may also be a good option If you’re still trying to figure out if you or your child will continue playing. Electric drum kits are less expensive and generally include everything you need. When you buy an acoustic drum, you usually have to buy everything (cymbals, stands, throne, pedals, snare, etc.) separately. Also, the base price for a low-end acoustic drum will usually be at least couple hundred dollars more than an electric drum kit.
If you or your child are in love with the drums, and you know it’s going to be a main focus, than it may be worth investing in a nice kit right away. If this is the case, then acoustic is the only way to go in my opinion. There are so many things like dynamics, finesse, rebounds, feel, and hi-hat technique that can’t be learned or applied on an electric drum kit. Also, playing a live show with electric drums is like driving a go kart vs. a real race car.
No matter which way you go as far as acoustic vs. electric, or high end vs. low end, it’s important to do some research. Go to music stores and try out different sets. Look online at the drummers you admire or the style you’d like to play and see what they use. You will notice most drummers in a particular style or genre generally use similar drum kits.
Finding the right drum set is like falling in love, when its meant to be, you will know!
I hope these tips were helpful, I will try to answer any and all further questions, so leave them below.
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 Peter Sawatzky