How to choose a drumkit?

Are you buying a drumkit for the first time?

Choosing a drumkit can be overwhelming with so many drumkits on the market. I often get asked about buying a drumkit from parents of drum students so I thought I'd put this useful guide together to make this easier for you and hopefully steer you in the right direction.

Acoustic or electronic?

For a starter drumkit your first decision should be whether you'd like an acoustic or electronic kit. There are many brands offering a range of quality in drumkits both acoustic and electronic. There are a few basic points to consider here. Acoustic kits are obviously loud, usually take up more space in the room (unless you buy a junior kit) but is the real instrument so will feel better and not even the most expensive top-of-the-range electronic kits on the market in my opinion, do not feel as good as the real drumkit. However there are some great electronic kits available, they take up less space in the room, you can play with headphones if you wish so you'll only here the noise of the pads when they are striked. You can also play an electronic kit with a loud speaker/amplifiler as well.

What brands of electronic drumkits should I be looking at?

The very best electronic drumkits are made by Roland and Yamaha. These kits are well made, have excellent drum sounds and extremely reliable although they are more expensive. There are many intermediate brands who also make very good starter electronic drumkits such as Alesis and Session Pro.

Can I play an acoustic drumkit with pads to reduce the volume?

Yes you can. There are some very good silencer pads available to reduce the noise of the drumkit on the drums and the cymbals. Some silence pads are more effective then others. A very good range of pads is the company 'Soundoff'. See the video of me below with silencer pads.

So what acoustic drumkits should I be looking at?

This really depends on your budget. As with electronic drumkits, acoustic drumkits vary massively in range from the very beginner starter kit to high quality professional kits. There are also many brands providing kits in the bginner range, intermediate and professional range.

Beginner Drumkits

There are some very basic kits around that are fairly poorly made with cheap parts and thin drumheads that I would encourage you to avoid although these are cheaper and will last 2/3 years or so of a reasonable level of regular playing. There are some beginner drumkits available that are still reasonably-priced but are a little sturdier and slightly better built. Companies like Stagg, Tiger and Session Pro make fairly reliable beginner/Starter drumkits with basic parts but would recommend if you can stretch your budget to the beginner kits made by brands like Mapex, Yamaha, Pearl, Premier, Tama or Sonor.