Drums are the standard backing instrument in many genres of music including rock, soul, jazz and latin, and together with the bass guitar makes up the ‘rhythm section’.
A typical drum kit comprises 5 drums: bass drum, snare drum and 3 toms; hi-hat, crash & ride cymbals and stands and pedals.
Playing cymbals wears out sticks quickly, so it’s a good idea to buy several pairs (5A is a good weight to start with), and if you plan to move your kit around, you will need a set of cases.
The drum kit can be loud although the sound can be damped considerably by using practice pads that are placed on the drumheads and the cymbals in a matter of seconds. They are not expensive.
An alternative is the electronic drum kit, which can be used with headphones and has been growing in popularity over recent years.
What to look for
- Value for money – check carefully whether the deal includes all stands and pedals (usual) and cymbals (usually only in basic starter kits).
- Whether the kit comes boxed for self-assembly, or already built and tuned by the dealer (some good dealers will offer this service – tuning a drum kit is a skill which comes with experience).
- Whether or not a height adjustable stool is included.
- What the cymbals are made of (basic ones are brass, bronze is better).
- How many drums are in the set (five is standard, and most tuition books are scored for five drums).
- Quality of stands, pedals and drumheads, all of which can get considerable wear and tear.