As they say, a band is only as good as its drummer… Drums are a key instrument in a band, an orchestra, and even a chorus. They help to keep the rest of the musicians in sync and in time. So, whether you are just learning how to play the drums, or you already know how to play percussion and you want to step up your skills, you are going to want to get a drum set. Finding the best drum set for your specific needs can be a bit challenging, though. There are so many options to choose from, which can make it difficult to determine which drum set is the best one for your specific needs. To help you on your quest for finding the best drum set, we have put together this handy buyer’s guide. In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about buying a drum set, including the different types of sets, the factors to consider when choosing a drum set, the features that they can offer, and the best drum set brands. After reading this buyer’s guide, you will be well informed and ready to purchase the best drum set for your specific needs.
Types of Drum Sets
In order to choose the best drum set for your specific needs, you first need to know that there are different types of drum sets. Often referred to as drum kits, drum sets can be differentiated by their configuration.
There are six main types of drum sets, which include:
- The standard drum set
- The fusion drums set
- The junior drum set
- The starter drum set
- The double bass drum set
- The complete drum set
- The shell pack drum set
Below, you will find a complete breakdown of each of these types of drum sets, which will help you determine which type will best suit your needs.
The Fusion Drum Set
A fusion drum set usually offers 10 inch and 12 inch mounted toms, a 14 inch floor tom, and a 22 inch bass drum. The main advantage of the smaller diameter of the pieces is that they offer a punchy tone and a more articulate sound.
The Standard Drum Set
The standard drum set offers pieces that are larger in diameter; typically the mounted toms are 12 inches and 13 inches, the floor tom is 16 inches and the bass drum is 22 inches. The main advantage of the larger diameter of the pieces is that they produce louder volume and a bigger tone.
The Junior Drum Set
This type of set is designed specifically for children, so if you have a child that wants to learn how to play percussion, this is the ideal choice for you. The junior drum set is scaled down in size, meaning that the pieces are smaller than they are in other types of sets, making them the ideal height for children to handle. They contain all of the essential items, including a snare drum, a bass drum and cymbals. The junior drum set is also less expensive than other types of drum set, making them a wise investment for children who want to learn how to play, but may not be quit invested in playing the drums just yet.
The Starter Drum Set
If you are an adolescent or an adult who is interested in learning how to play the drums, the starter drum set is the right choice for you. The starter drum set is a cost effective option for the beginner drummer, and it offers all of the items that you need to learn how to play, including a snare drum, a base drum, cymbals and all of the stands and other hardware that you need to learn how to play. They are also designed to be durable, so they can withstand your novice drum playing skills.
The Double Bass Drum Set
If you already know how to play the drums and you want to further your skills and add more beats to your music at fast speeds, than the double bass drum set is a good pick for you. As the name implies, this type of drum set offers two bass drums, as well as all of the other necessary elements of a drum set, including snares, toms, and cymbals.
The Complete Drum Set
The complete drum set comes with everything you need to play the drums, including the instruments and the hardware that they need to support them. If you don’t have the hardware, this is a wise choice for you.
The Shell Pack Drum Set
Unlike the complete drum set, which comes with all of the hardware and the instruments you need, the shell pack drum set only comes with the instruments; not the hardware. This is a wise choice if you already have the hardware, as you won’t get additional parts that you don’t need, and you won’t be spending money on pieces that you don’t need, either.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Drum Set
In order to choose the best drum set for your specific needs, there are a number of factors that you are going to want to take into consideration before you decide which set to purchase. Some of the most important factors to consider include your skill level, the type of music you will be playing, and the cost of the drum set. To learn more about these and other factors that we think are important to take into consideration when choosing a drum set, please keep on reading.
Your skill level
Obviously, the first – and one of the most important factors – that you are going to want to take into consideration when choosing a drum set is your skill level, as this will determine which type of drum set will work best for your specific needs. If you have never picked up a pair of drum sticks before, a starter or a junior drum set (the latter, if it is for a child,) is the best option, as these sets are specifically designed to meet the needs of beginner drummers. If you are a more advanced drummer, a more advanced drum kit will work for you.
The type of music you want to play
What type of music do you want to play on your drums? Jazz, acoustic, pop? Different drums and different drum sets are designed to play different types of music, as drum sets come in a variety of sizes and are constructed out of different types of materials. These two elements will impact the type of sound your drums will make, and will thereby impact the type of music you can play. Basically, larger and heavy drums are best suited for playing rock music, and lighter weight, smaller drums are better suited for playing pop, jazz and acoustic. It is important to note, however, that you can learn how to play on any type of drum set, and in fact, it is highly recommended that you do learn how to play on multiple styles.
The Wood and Construction
You are also going to want to take the wood and the construction of the drum kit that you purchase into consideration. There are several different types of wood that are used to make drums, and all of them offer different and unique sound qualities. Some of the different types of wood used to make drums include:
- Maple – Offers a warm and balanced tone, and one of the most popular woods used for drums
- Birch – Dense and tough, and offers a bright, hard and loud tone with highs and lows that are enhanced, and a midrange that is reduced.
- Falkata – Often used in place of maple, it is less expensive, but shares similar sound qualities as maple.
- Mahogany – Offers an enhanced low end and midrange sound, with reduced highs; a sound that is slightly warmer than maple.
- Poplar – A more cost effective alternative to maple and birch, but offers a similar sound to both woods.
- Basswood – Another more cost effective alternative to maple and birch.
- Oak – Offers a sound that is similar to maple, but the sound it creates is more powerful and bright.
The construction of the drum shell is usually made of several layers of wood. Generally speak, the more layers of wood the shell has, the brighter the sound and the more fundamental the notes; the fewer layers, the warmer the notes and the lower the fundamental notes will be. Also, the angle at which the bearing of the drum shell is cut will have a direct impact on the sound quality. The sharper the angle of the bearing edge, the brighter the sound will be, and the more rounded the edge is, the softer and mellower the sound will be.
The amount of space you have
Another important factor to take into consideration is the amount of space you have to devote to the drum set. The amount of space you have available will impact the size of the set that you should purchase. Before you purchase a drum set, make sure you measure the size of the area where you want to use it, and take those dimensions with you so that you can purchase a set that will fit into that space.
The drum throne
The drum throne, or the seat that you will be sitting on while playing the drums, is another important factor to take into consideration. It is not advisable to sit on anything but a drum throne, as they are specifically designed to be adjustable so that you can get the right height for playing. Make sure you choose a throne that you are comfortable sitting on, and that you can adjust to the height that you need.
The drum heads
You should also consider the drum heads, as they will make a big difference in the sound of the kit. Heads come in a variety of styles; coated, clear, single ply and double ply. The type of head your drums have will directly impact the sound the drums will make. Coated drum heads make less of a ringing sound, for example. Also, drum heads vary in thickness, which will also impact the sound; the thicker they are, the more controlled the sound will be.
You also want to make sure that you consider the cost when purchasing a drum set. They can vary widely in price, and you want to make sure that you aren’t spending more than you are comfortable with. Generally, the larger the drum set, the more it offers, and the higher the quality, the more expensive it will be.
Features Drum Sets Can Offer
There are a number of features that drum sets can offer, and the more features, the higher the price will be. Here’s a look at some of the top features that drum sets can offer.
Stands and Racks
Some drum kits come complete with the stands and racks that are needed to mount your drums and cymbals. This means that you will get the stands and racks that will fit your instruments perfectly, and you also won’t have the added expense of purchasing additional equipment.
Sticks and Brushes
While you may want to purchase your own sticks and brushes, some drum sets do come complete with sticks and brushes, which will save you money, and may be ideal if you are just starting out. You can always upgrade to different sticks once you figure out what type will best suit your style.
Some drum kits even come with the tools that are needed to tune them. This can help you make sure that your drums make the ideal sound.
Best Drum Set Brands
For the best drum set, consider purchasing one of the following brands.
This company produces exceptional drum kits with components that are extremely high quality. They offer great sound and they are very durable.
This is another highly regarded brand in the drum kit world. Pearl Wood drum kits are thoughtfully designed, offer a variety of features, and users report that they offer excellent sound quality.
Another well known and highly trusted name is Gretsch. This company produces durable drums that are well designed and offer a variety of options that will allow you to get the perfect drum set for your needs.