Buying any musical instrument for a beginner can be a daunting task for parents. Do you spend a lot of money to be sure they have the best? Or do you get the cheapest in case they don't stick with it?In some instances, it doesn't matter. But with others, it matters a lot.
Buying a drum set for a beginner is one of those times it matters the most. Several professional rock music drummers share their recommendations for buying the first drum set for a young rocker.They all agreed that one of the most important considerations is the "throne," which is what a drum chair is called. Parents frequently overlook the throne, thinking it's just something to sit on.
While a drummer does sit on it, given how the body moves while drumming, it's critical that the right throne be purchased for your child. It must be a sturdy, well-balanced seat to help your child play better and to prevent injuries. The throne is the only part of the entire kit that is used ALL THE TIME. When shopping for the throne, find a sturdy seat that is easy to move up and down. This will likely be harder to find for a beginner than you may think. Many beginner thrones are a pain in the ... butt...to move up and down, so people end up just leaving them at one height, which can be uncomfortable and non-ergonomic and lead to back injuries and poor playing posture.You can't make a final decision on the throne until you pair it with the drum kit.
So which sets should you consider? While our professional rock drummers didn't agree on brands or set ups, they did all agree that it's best to forego any set that is marketed as a "beginner set." They just don't last long enough to be worth the investment. For a little bit more you're better off buying a mid-level set up. The sound created by a beginner set doesn't sound like "real drums" and kids often mistake that for their own playing deficiency. When you invest in the mid-level set you'll get a truer sound, a more durable set which will last longer and perform better. All of the top name brands have a mid-level set. Consider DW, Gretsch, Yamaha, Pearl, Tama, Mapex or Ludwig and you won't go wrong. For a mid-level, five-piece kit with no cymbals, you're looking at $ 700 - $ 1,000.
All of these brands will deliver on quality wood, good construction, etc. so it often comes down to look and the image your rocker wants to project about himself or herself. However, there are a few things to check on whichever set you settle on. Check the hardware carefully to make sure it is sturdy. Look at the stands. Are they double-braced? How's the bass drum pedal? If it feels flimsy, move on to your next choice. Are there boom arms on the cymbal stands for better cymbal placement?
Speaking of cymbals, a beginner should start out with a hi hat, a crash and a ride. These can be bought in packs. They'll probably want more but this is all they need to get started. The brands the professionals recommended were Zildjian ZBT Rock pack; Sabian B8 Rock pack, and Paiste PST rock pack. It's just personal preference.
Finally, your young rocker will need drum heads. Remo is the best known and most widely used brand. They are the standard for pros and beginners alike because they are known to last longer than other brands.With this information in hand, you're armed to go shopping for your child's first drum set. You may be inclined to go to a Best Buy or Guitar Center because they are big brands. Or your neighborhood specialty shop. You'll likely have better luck at a shop in between those extremes; a mom and pop local shop. Your Sam Ash or Guitar Center is going to have the cheapest sets both cost-wise and quality. Your specialty shop may have a mid-level set or two, but the selection won't be too vast. If you don't have a mom and pop music shop in your town then go to the specialty store and tell them you want a mid-level set.
If they don't have one on hand they may be willing to bring one in for you to check out. If you must go to Guitar Center or Sam Ash, inspect the drum set very well. Their products are primarily machine manufactured so the sound can be very different even between two of the same brand and model.Unless you have someone with you who really knows their drum sets, stay away from CraigsList or individual sellers.On your way out the door, be sure to pick up a few 5B drum sticks. There's an entire selection of drum sticks for all different styles of playing and types of music but most beginners begin with 5Bs.