Beginner Drum Lessons: What to Look for in Your First Drum Set

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The earliest known drum dates back to as early as 5500 B.C. and since then the drummer has become the backbone of any band.

The drummer is the band’s heartbeat — they keep the rhythm alive and own more gear than anyone else in the band. Don’t worry though, if you’re starting off with beginner drum lessons buying the perfect drum set isn’t as scary as it seems.

There are important factors to take into consideration when purchasing your first drum set, such as how many pieces you’re looking for and what extra hardware you may have to buy.

Don’t worry though, we’re here to help make the process as simple as possible. Here are things you’ll want to look out for when purchasing your first drum set.

How Many Pieces Do You Need?

Drum sets have pieces. Most standard drum sets come in either four-piece, five-piece, or six-piece kits. The numbers refer to how many drums are in the set and don’t include cymbals and hardware.

The pieces refer to the bass drum, snare, and toms.

As a beginner starting small is your best bet. You don’t want to feel overwhelmed so a four-piece kit is suggested. However, you may choose to purchase a five-piece kit as your first drum set. This way you can remove a piece to turn it into a four-piece kit without having to buy the fifth piece once you’re ready for it.

Once you get into the groove of playing the drums you can begin to add more pieces into your set such as more toms or cymbals.

Choosing the Right Size – Rock, Fusion, or Hybrid

Drum sets come in different sizes, referred to as rock, fusion, and hybrid sizes. 

Rock sets are one of the most popular sizes of drum sets. They have slightly bigger drums with the bass drum measuring 22 inches in diameter, toms measuring 12, 13, and 16 inches in diameter, and a snare drum measuring 14 inches in diameter. Rock sets produce a deeper sound.

Fusion drum sets include a bass drum with a 20 or 22-inch diameter, toms measuring 14 inches in diameter, and a snare drum measuring 14 inches in diameter.

Hybrid drum sets have a bass drum measuring 20 or 22 inches in diameter, toms measuring 10, 12, and 16 inches in diameter, and a snare drum measuring 14 inches in diameter.

Hybrid and fusion drum sets are becoming more popular because compared to the rock set they take up less space and can be set up closer together. Plus, the smaller measurement of the toms enables them to be positioned lower which is convenient for younger rockstars.

As for the sounds made by the different size drum sets, larger drums have lower pitches while smaller drums have higher pitches. So, if you’re looking to be in a band that you can rock out loud in, you may want to go with smaller drums.

And, of course, you’ll want to fit comfortably at your drum set since there’s no point in purchasing a drum set if you’re too short to play it. So keep your height in mind when it comes to picking the right size for you.

Keep An Eye Out for Hardware

While your drum set may come with all the necessary pieces remember that this term doesn’t include the required hardware to put your drum set together. Some drum sets will include hardware while some may not, so it’s important to always keep a lookout for the product’s description.

The hardware is all the metal parts of a drum set. It includes all the stands, legs, and mounts. You most likely will have to purchase the bass drum pedal and drum throne, or drum seat, separately as well.

Make sure the hardware is sturdy and heavy enough that your pieces won’t fall, but not too heavy where they’re too much to lug around with you.

As for the appropriately named drum throne, you’ll want one that’s comfortable and doesn’t wobble as you’ll likely be spending a lot of time at your drum set and your level of comfort can make a huge difference in how well you play.

And finally, when it comes to the bass drum pedal, you can choose a single or double pedal. A single pedal is played with one foot and a double played with two. With a double pedal, you can make your bass drum sound like two drums rather than one without having to purchase a second bass drum.

Cymbals or No Cymbals

Most brands have entry-level cymbals, good for beginners, and they’re often available in packs making it much easier to know what to buy.

Cymbals come in different weights and different diameters which both affect the sound. If you’re not purchasing entry-level cymbals, you may opt for medium weight cymbals as they produce a sound that’s versatile and great for various styles of music.

It’s okay to start out with what’s included in your drum set and leave the cymbals for a later date once you feel more comfortable, so don’t feel rushed.

Electronic vs. Acoustic

Acoustic drum sets are traditional drumsets with wood shells and metal cymbals. Electronic drum sets are pads made of rubber, plastic, or mesh drumheads that produce the sound through a small box called a module.

Electronic drum sets are much quieter, so if you live in an apartment building this set may be the better choice for you.

However, electronic drum sets don’t give you that traditional drum sound and feel, so you may be better off just going for the acoustic drum set and making an agreement with your neighbors regarding what times you should and shouldn’t play.

Ready for Your Beginner Drum Lessons?

You’re never too young to start drumming — John Bonham from Led Zeppelin started playing at the young age of five!

Let us help you find the best drum set for you so you can start rocking out the right way!

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