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There’s a straightforward answer to the question, and you probably don’t want to hear it: As much as you want.
That’s it. Question answered. They range from as little as just a hundred bucks to several thousand. It depends on what you want, what you’re expecting, and how good you want them to sound and feel.
In the interest of answering this the right way, I’m going to break it down into several categories according to needs, specs, and price.
One of the first things to consider when buying a set of drums is what are you going to use them for? Are they for home use, are you thinking of joining a band, or is this an incentive to get your kid to try and bring out his musical inner-being?
My Personal Preferences
- Mapex TND5294FTC Tornado Standard – 389€
- Pearl Roadshow 18″ Red Wine – 564€
- Roland TD-17KVX E-drum Set – 1749€
Acoustic Drumkits or Electronic Drumkits?
The correct answer would be: it depends on what for. All drummers indeed prefer an acoustic drum set to play, but the reality is that it is not possible to use an acoustic set on many occasions, so electronic sets come in handy. Today’s electronic drums have nothing to do with those first electronic drums of the seventies. They were indeed a revolution in those years, but their technical capabilities, sound, and response to the musician were minimal. Today these drums have changed radically and offered incredible potential. Top drummers such as Thomas Lang, Johnny Rabb, Tony Royster, or Omar Hakim regularly play electronic sets.
If you are starting in the world of drums, it can be challenging to choose the ideal model to start with. I’ve put together a guide to what I think are the best drum kits for beginners and not-so-beginners.
So How Does an Electronic Drum Kit Differ From an Acoustic Drum Kit?
The Range of Sounds
The sounds in an electronic drum set are generated by the module. This allows an electronic set to produce hundreds of sounds from different instruments and different styles. In other words, you can have a drum kit to play jazz, rock, a Latin set, or any kind of style you need, just by touching a button. It’s like having Dozens of different drums in one kit.
The Space it Takes up
One of the advantages over acoustic sets is that the electronics take up very little space, something really important when we do not have large places, such as a bedroom. In addition, it can be assembled and disassembled very easily. You can also fold it and leave it against a wall in just a few seconds.
What Time and Where Can I Play?
With an electronic set, you can play almost anywhere and at any time. Electronic drums do not have conventional drum heads but pads made of rubber or mesh. While playing, the drumsticks hardly make any noise when hitting the pads. Just plug in your headphones and play. Your neighbors and family will thank you for the purchase.
An electronic drum kit always sounds the same regardless of the room, drumhead tuning, atmospheric conditions, etc.
This is one of the main differences (and advantages, I would say) over acoustic drums. You won’t need microphones, effects, noise gates, or tuning. It will always sound the same as when you programmed it, and through headphones, it will allow you to play in small clubs with your usual forcefulness without having problems with the room manager 🙂
Why Not Cut Corners on Your First Drumkit?
If you are reading this article, you have an existential dilemma: should I or should I not spend my money on good quality, high-end drumset?
Many people come looking for a good drum set, but with one requirement: Not breaking the bank.
If you do not have much experience in the world of percussion, it is scary to spend a lot of money on a product that you do not know if you are going to get all the possible benefits from. So, what would be the advantages of investing in a good drum set?
Cheap Things end up Being Expensive
We all know that cheap things take their toll in the long run. It is better to invest a little more than we would like, always keeping in mind that the drumset you are buying will be “for the rest of your life” or, in the worst-case scenario “until I sell it second hand to buy my next one”. There are the typical phrases that some people will say when looking for their first drum set: “I don’t need anything that sounds too good- I’m just starting out” or “when it breaks, I buy another one”, we should forget that, since a long term investment is a sure success, and learning how to play something uncomfortable to play or sounds dreadful, just doesn’t cut it.
Think Long Term
This case is the same as when you go to buy a new cell phone. The time comes when your old one breaks and you decide it needs to be replaced. We go to the store and look at several options. In this sense, although it may be more expensive to invest in high-end products, in the long run, investing in quality means long-term savings. As long as you don’t lose it, that is. But you’re not going to lose your drumset, are you? It’s the same in the world of percussion!
Quality and Savings go Hand in Hand
Let’s say you go for the cheapest acoustic option: A compact drumset for 199,00€, like the Pearl Compact Traveler, which is a good drumset, ideal for beginners. But if you think long term, you will have to buy another one. You won’t get the real uncut experience of how it is to play a “real drumset” if you don’t add some cymbals and some toms. On the other hand, you could decide to buy a drumset with a slightly higher price, for example, a Pearl Decade Fusion, for 969,00€. If you are someone who is determined and sure they’ll persevere, this drumset sounds excellent, comes with cymbals and toms, and doesn’t cost more than one of iPhones’ newest models, perhaps. If it doesn’t work out in the worst-case scenario and you stop playing or realize you don’t have time for it, you can always resell it on a second-hand website.
Pearl Compact Traveler Kit – 198€
This nifty little set is ranked nº2 on Thomann’s drumkit sales. Excellent product for the price. Very good construction and quality. The knobs are reliable and resistant (the brand is Pearl, which usually speaks for itself). The sound is excellent, considering it is a 10″ snare and 18″ bass drum with no depth. You can turn it into something a bit more complete, as you can see in this video:
DDrum D2 Rock Starter Set – 289€
Ddrums, as a brand, produce quite good quality drums. This Rock starter set is ideal if your budget can’t go beyond 300€. It is the bare minimum you will need to get started. For a low-quality drum set, you will find yourself having to tighten the kit quite often, even probably upon arrival. My recommendation would be to set it up alongside a more experienced drummer, and as soon as you can, swap the patches for something better sounding and tune it up proper.
This Mapex drum set is a great choice for beginners who want a higher-quality pick because it plays surprisingly well. Its sound is good for the price and can deliver tuned-in lower frequencies. The bass is stable, and the mids, along with the brightness, improve with use. The configuration chosen for the cymbals is 14″ Hi-Hat and 16″ Crash. The Hi-Hat machine has a good response to the foot movement, and both cymbals (Hi-Hat and Crash) are resistant and do not bend easily, which is good because very few drumkits come with this sturdiness at this price range. I think this is a sweet spot if you want to buy a cheap setup without too many drawbacks.
Pearl Roadshow 18″ Red Wine – 564€
A drum set that I found to be a great option to start with. I have tested it again recently, and it is one of my favorites in this section. It is very easy to assemble and also comes with a video and detailed instructions. It offers a professional sound at an affordable price. It is not the cheapest, but the features it offers for its price make it an excellent choice for beginner drummers who are looking for a drum set that will be with them for a long time. It’s built to last, so it’s perfect for taking your first steps and bringing out the musician in you. It’s an expressive drum kit that’s perfect for rock, pop, and more.
This Pearl drum set is a beautiful maple series kit, with a very good sounding 14″ snare and 22″ bass drum. It’s worth every penny, and if you can afford to start with this kit, you’ll be thankful in the long run. It sports a bright sound along with a very slick finish. This set, like many higher-level sets, comes without cymbals, so you can buy the specific set you like and personalize the setup if you’d like to. I’d personally go with a Zildjian A series set, which would set the entire set price just above the grand. If you intend to spend enough money on drums to give you another incentive for them to last, this would be the perfect pick.
Acoustic drums have a lower starting price and a starter kit can be found for less than 300 €. We must also know that the kit usually comes incomplete, so you have to pay attention when buying one. Typically, the basic set that we acquire is composed of all the hardware: bass drum, snare drum, toms, hi-hat, pedal, snare stand, and two cymbal stands. To this should, you’d have to add cymbals and the covers for when you transport it.
If we’re talking about an electronic drum kit, prices can vary. We can find some starting at 400 €, which would be a decent low range, up to 1000 €, where higher ranged drumset would be. For a beginner, a budget of 500 to 700€ is ideal for getting started if you’re going for electronic drums. For this, we must take into account:
- Sound module: The motherboard of the drumkit, gives us the repertoire of sounds.
- Hihat: A cymbal with a realistic sound and not just a square pad.
- Bass drum and pedal: This must have a natural mechanism to hit an actual bass drum pad. If not, we get used to the feeling of just stepping on a pedal without chain tension.
- Materials used: Mesh heads are best for snare and create a better feel. It “emulates” acoustic drums in a more efficient way.
I’ll list 3 options according to our possible budget. I wouldn’t even consider getting anything cheaper than the first option:
Alesis Surge Mesh Kit– 529€
The entire Alesis “Mesh” lineup is quite a good bang for your buck. We’ve reviewed this exact model before, and found it to be a perfect balance for an entry-level set. The mesh pads give a good feel, and Alesis has managed to develop a very good sound module to pair with the excellent physics of the drum set. You’ve got an independent bass kick, and you can even fit a double pedal when you’re ready for it. Three 8″ Toms and a slightly small dual-zone snare are enough to get started with.
In addition to having a larger number of sounds than other cheaper Alesis electronic drums, the Crimson II model is the first to have 3 cymbals: 2 crashes and a ride. The presence of two crashes is important if we want to reach a high level playing the drums, as it allows us to play complicated drum fills where we will work with both hands on the crash playing 2 or more crash notes on each drum fill. It allows us to tackle any musical style without suffering limitations in our creativity due to the lack of cymbals.
Although occupying a medium price range in the range of Alesis electronic drums, the Crimson model introduces us to the world of high-level sets both for the sounds it offers and for its build.
Roland TD-17KVX E-drum Set – 1749€
This Set is one of Roland’s flagship electronic drums sets. Roland is known in this league for its durability, a very good resemblance to acoustic drums and extremely, and excellent drum module development. If you’re a professional drummer, rest assured that this kit will also deliver according to your expectations. It might be well over a budget-friendly kit but is every bit worth it. You can adjust the touch of each pad’s sensitivity, rim gain, and all. If you’re interested, you can find this kit second-hand on many websites for less than 1200€.
How much do drums cost? Well, that’s a damn hard question. I know I could talk about that all day and still not have a clear answer, even for myself. Not to be disheartened, You have a very good outline of specs you should look out for, which is most important. There isn’t a “bad” purchase in the end. As long as you’re well informed, the important thing is to get down to business: Get playing. Instruments come and go, break and get lost, but the technique you’ll develop stays with you no matter what set you play. As a personal preference, I know that I’d prefer to practice an instrument I enjoy picking up, not something I grudge buying from the start.
Answer: I would set the bracket between 300€ and 1200€
Answer: The amount of hardware, shells, and cymbals. On top of this, the kind of wood, the shell’s thickness, and metal alloy (usually bronze and tin) are used for the cymbals.
Answer: This is a complicated question to answer. In short, the difficulty isn’t in the harmonic element. You don’t need to learn notes, but you have to have a very good sense of rhythm, and you have to develop each limb independently.
Answer: Of course they can! It doesn’t matter how old you are or how little time you’ve got- learning an instrument is a very effective way of venting frustration, connecting with other musicians and people in a special way, and creating new neurological pathways. The most important thing is being constant, and not giving up.
Answer: Depending on your musical ability, and your rhythm, I’d say the minimum would be 6 months to get acquainted with a drumset, and about two years to feel comfortable sitting down with a drumkit and know you are capable of playing more or less any basic rhythm.
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