Congratulations on graduating from drumming on table tops, people’s backs and heads, and generally all hard surfaces; you are officially ready for your first drum kit (mostly because your drum teacher gave you the green signal.) The market is filled with different brands and types of drum kits, so choosing one may seem a little confusing.
To ensure it is a fun and exciting process for you, Music Central has prepared seven tips for you to follow.
The Two Big B’s – Budget and Brand
Before setting out, decide how much you want to spend on a drum kit and if you want to pick up a branded (imported) kit or one manufactured locally. If you are on a tight budget, then you can pick up a second hand drum kit from any of the online classified sites. You may be able to pick up a kit between 15k to 20k, but make sure you physically check it out to ensure it is in good condition. If you want your first kit to be a branded one, then compare drum kits from Tama, Pearl, Mapex, and Ludwig.
The Sound of Drums
What kind of music genre do you want to get into? Pop, Rock, Jazz, Blues, Reggae, your own style perhaps. This will help in determining what kind of shell (the type of wood that drums are made of) you need. The shell is the heart of your drum kit – this is where the sound starts when you hit the head. The most common woods used are maple, walnut, mahogany, oak, birch, beech, and cherry. Each wood gives a different sound; maple wood produces a bright and warm sound ideal for jazz whereas birch produces a punchier and darker sound perfect for metal.
The drumhead is the skin or membrane that is stretched over the drum. A thicker drumhead produces a more darker and focused sound where as a thinner drumhead produces a lighter sound with greater resonance. Before zeroing on a drumhead you need to decide what kind of sound you are looking for. Coated drumheads produce a bright and warm sound and resonance where as a clear drumhead produces more of a sustain effect and overtones. It allow for more attack and is recommended for rock, metal, and blues.
The most common configuration of drum kits is standard and fusion. The diameter of each drum distinguishes the configuration. A standard-sized kit consists of 12” and 13” mounted toms, a 16” floor ton, and 22” bass drum which produce more volume and a bigger tone. The fusion-sized one consists of a 10” and 12” mounted toms, a 14” floor tom and a 22” bass drum which produce a punchy and higher tone.
The Clash of the Cymbals
Cymbals are the fun part of the drum kit which shines and vibrates the most. Cymbals are made from bronze or copper. The sheet bronze/ hammered cymbals produce light sounds where as dry / hammered cymbals produce heavy sounds. German drummer Benny Greb shares "It's good to use your sound wisely, especially with Cymbals... We step on holy ground because we are in the frequency range where all the articulation of the instruments happen.” We recommend picking up any of these brands; Meinl, Zildjan, SABIAN, and Paiste.
Drumsticks are made with oak, maple or hickory wood and have a wood tip or a nylon tip. The most common size used are 7a -a thin and light stick that produces a soft sound; 5a –a medium sized stick that allows soft and loud play; and the 2b/5b a thick stick for loud play.
Must Have Accessories
Everything looks a little better with accessories. Since you are just starting out, don’t go wild. Pick up a comfortable throne (drum seat) as you’ll be spending a lot of time practicing on your kit. Other items that are essential are a stick holder, sound dampening pads, clamps, cowbells, a drum tuner, and stands.
Once you are done with assembling your drum kit, all that’s left is to play, enjoy, repeat. Happy Drumming!
If you need any assistance, the team at Music Central will be happy to help. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org