A Buying Guide to Choosing the Perfect Beginner Drum Kit

If you are an aspiring drummer or have a child who is, the best drumming equipment is essential to your art. One of the immediate difficulties in buying the equipment is the wealth of choices available for purchase which can be overwhelming. 

You’ll want your drum set to be functional, so look for a beginner set that includes all the basics necessary for performing. Let’s consider which drums you need to get started and how to choose and buy them. 

Drum Kit Components 

There are potentially dozens of various drum set combinations, but basic configurations might include varying combinations:

  • Bass drum or “kick” drum

The lowest voice in the drum family will lay the foundation for the rhythm of  what you play.

  • Snare drum

The classic snare drum will offer accenting and rhythmic framework when playing.

  • Tom drums

Drum kits may include from one to numerous toms. Standard beginner kits will generally include two. These are drums that offer tonal color during a performance.

  • Cymbals 

There are three standard kinds of cymbals: the crash, ride, and hi-hats. 

  • Hardware

These are the pieces of the structure that allow the drums to be played. Hardware includes cymbal racks, snare stands or racks, tom holders, drum sticks, brushes, and a kick pedal for the bass drum. Other essentials are added as needed. See if a drum throne or stool is included in the deal.

  • Drum cases 

Necessary for transport.

What Do Beginner Drum Kits Contain?

Many beginner acoustic drum sets will be either 4-piece or 5-piece sets. They will feature these drums:

  • Bass or “kick” drum
  • Snare drum
  • Floor tom
  • One or two rack toms

Cymbals and hardware may be considered as extras unless stated otherwise, but it’s worth your while to look for a beginner kit that is complete with hardware and cymbals.

Drum Set Types

The proper drum set type, even for a beginner, will be decided above all by the kind of music you may be playing and where you’ll be playing. If you will be playing in a smaller space, smaller drums are more appropriate while larger venues can benefit from larger drums for acoustical purposes. Drums and cymbals can be arranged to answer a performer’s specific needs.

Among the most common drum set types, you’ll find:

Fusion drum kits

Fusion drum sets are middle-sized that are larger than a club kit but smaller than a rock band set. They are highly versatile offering a wide range of repertory.

Hip-hop drum kits

Featuring smaller shells and cymbals, they are specially sized for a quick controlled response during play.

Jazz drum kits

A jazz kit will feature smaller drums with lower volumes so as not to drown out combo members.

Metal drum kits

Rock drum kits

Made for large stages, these sets have large shells for more volume projection.

Studio drum kits

These drums produce a drier sound appropriate for recording studios.

Kids or junior drum kits

Junior-sized kits are made to enable children to reach drums and pedals comfortably. Known also as “pocket kits” they are scaled down for children. Eventually, junior drummers will outgrow them.

Acoustic Drum Sets

These sets are usually made in combinations of wood and metal and are designed for sound projection. They will include cymbal sets. While drum shells are available in plastic, most are in wood. Among the most common woods used as shells for drums are:

  • Birch
  • Bright and loud, perfect for loud environments
  • Mahogany: A softer wood for softer lower tones
  • Maple: Middle of the road in terms of tone and hardness, it is probably the most popular shell wood in circulation.
  • Bubinga/African Rosewood

Electric Drum Sets

The electric drum set features a rubber pad. When the pad is hit, the sound is sent to an amplifier or a headset. These sets are ideal if you have neighbors or family members that would not appreciate the sound volume associated with drum playing. They are a fantastic alternative for apartment living or close living quarters.

Are a Drum Kit and a Shell Pack the Same Thing?

No, a drum kit should provide everything you need to begin playing. Shell packs only include wooden drum shells. Shells are a better option when upgrading a drum set where hardware is already present.

What to Consider When Purchasing

There are several aspects to decide upon before beginning your search for a beginner drum set. Try out the set before purchasing for both size and reach.

  • Budget

Decide from the beginning what your budget is. Most drum manufacturers will feature varying grades with different price starting points.

  • Practice and playing space

Where will you be practicing? How much space is available? Select drum sizes and the shell wood type that best fits your playing location. Also, consider if you will be traveling with the set or if your set will remain basically in one place. If traveling, select a drum kit that is easily transported. If you have potential problems with noise, an electric kit may be an optimal choice because the volume can be adjusted, and they can even be played using headphones to keep the noise down.

  • Pick the drum combination that best suits your musical needs

Will you be playing jazz, fusion, hip-hop, rock, or other? Do you prefer an acoustic drum kit or an electric drum kit?

  • Look for a kit that includes all the necessities for playing

This will avoid having to buy a drum set piece by piece. Look for a kit that includes cymbals and hardware included. Choose the best drum material for your needs. Drum finishes can be found in a variety of woods or even plastic if used by children.