Best Beginner Drum Set | Buyer Guide
If you are looking to invest in a drum set, but don’t really know where to start, then you need look no further. This list has some of best drum sets available to beginners. In fact, even if you’re slightly more advanced than beginner, these drum sets will still be suitable for you. Perhaps your teenage son or daughter is looking for their first proper drum set; any of these drum sets would be perfect.
Or, maybe you are looking to start playing the drums yourself. Maybe you’ve seen Dave Grohl playing them on the television. Maybe your friend plays them and you’ve caught the bug. Or, maybe you’re just making an impromptu decision to start playing the drums. The drums are a great introduction into the world of music for people of all ages, whether you’re a teenager or an adult.
No matter the reason, whether you’re looking for yourself or a friend, we can certainly help you find the best beginner drum set. Our list below helps you compare each drum set and gives a brief rundown of what each different drum set can offer.
Competitors for Best Beginner Drum Set
Best Beginner Drum Set | Beginner Drum Set Reviews
Best Choice Complete Drum SetCheck Amazon Price
Bass Drum: 23″ x 16.5″
Cymbals: 12″ & 14″
If you’re looking for a simple beginner drum set, then you could do much worse than going with this Best Choice Complete Drum Set. As the name suggests, it’s the perfect example of a complete drum set. By complete, it is important to fully understand what is meant by complete. In this case, Complete means that it has the full five piece drum set, like all of the drums that we have listed. There are many different definitions of ‘five piece’, but usually it refers to the drums themselves, which is a common misconception. A Complete 5 piece drum set consists of a bass drum, snare drum, two high toms and an additional floor tom. This Best Choice drum set has all of these drums.
People commonly mistake a ‘five piece’ as meaning the drums, cymbals, drumsticks and other accessories of the drum set. As explained above, the ‘five piece’ refers to the actual drums themselves, not the set. Anyway, as well as the drums in this set, you also get some good quality cymbals, drum throne and and drumsticks. The only real negative to this set is the drumsticks, which may not hold out forever if you are using them aggressively. This isn’t too much of an issue, though. It’s pretty easy to pick up a good quality pair of drumsticks for under $20.
Aside from the drumsticks, this set is a great beginner drum set. It’s extremely easy to assemble, which is ideal if you have no experience of setting up a drum set in the past.
Gammon Percussion Full Size 5 Piece Drum SetCheck Amazon Price
Bass Drum: 22″ x 14″
Cymbals: 12″ & 14″
Even if you have lots of experience within the drumming world, then the likelihood is that you may not have heard of Gammon Percussion. They are a small, family run business that specialize in complete drum sets, both for adults and juniors. Being a smaller company (originally at least; their popularity has soared in recent years) enables Gammon Percussion to deliver consistently high quality products of the same standard as bigger companies, if not better. This is because they can concentrate on the finer points of creating a quality drum set.
Aside from the usual five pieces that come with most complete beginner drum sets, this set also comes with both a 12″ high hat and a 14″ crash cymbal. 14″ is actually considered slightly small for a crash cymbal. This isn;t bad, though as it still give great performance. It also means that the drum set is slightly more compact, which is good if you are short on space.
This could also be the best beginner drum set down to the sheer quality of the drum set itself. You are unlikely to find a better quality drum set at this price. In fact, all of the drum sets that we have listed are reasonably cheap. This drum set is never going to last you forever, but its price reflects that. As you progress as a drummer, you will start to look for different materials for your snare and higher quality drumsticks. This drum set would be a great choice, as it is a fantastic drum set for any beginner and will definitely give you a great idea of whether you wish to pursue your drumming career.
Mendini by Cecilio Complete Gloss
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Bass Drum: 22″ x 16″
Cymbals: 14.5″ & 16″
Out of all of the drum sets that we have listed, this Mendini drum set has to be the most attractive. The set we have shown you is finished with a nice gloss white, which is only our personal preference. It is also available in a variety of other colors, including silver, blue and a very elegant wine red. Its attractiveness and luxurious gloss finish are sure to attract the more design conscious, making this set as suitable for teenagers as it is for adults.
The Mendini drum set comes with a sizeable 16″ crash cymbal and a 14.5″ high hat, making it a fairly large beginner drum set in comparison to the other drum sets. Along with the cymbals, this set comes with a high quality pedal, drumsticks and a solid drum throne. With a double braced snare drum, this set would be suitable for a beginner who is looking to practice aggressively with their drum set. The high quality build gives the set the ability to be hit – hard.
Mendini are an offset of the brand Cecilio, who are known to have made quality instruments for many years now. They make everything, from strings to woodwind, so they have a vast knowledge if instruments. One of their best is this beginner drum set.
LAGRIMA Black 22” 5 Piece Complete Drum Set
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Bass Drum: 22″ x 16″
Cymbals: 12″ & 14″
Probably the least know brand of drum set on our list is LAGRIMA. Though they aren’t as well known as the other brands, this does not mean that the quality of this drum set is any lower than the other drum sets in our list. In fact, this drum set is actually probably a better quality drum set than the majority of other drum sets on the market. It is also one of the cheapest, which is the main advantage of it being made be a lesser known brand.
This set is also a standard 5 piece and comes with the usual accessories that you will find with most drum sets. It is available in the 22″ x 16″ size that we have featured, which is what we feel is the best size. This set can be suitable both for older children and adults, so you can buy this for your children as a birthday or Christmas present if you wish. It is also available in a smaller 16″ size, which would be fantastic for smaller children. This size is considerably cheaper as well, so it is worth checking it out.
We think that LAGRIMA will become a more sought after drum in the world of percussion in years to come. Whilst it currently is a growing brand, they still produce a high quality drum set that you will struggle to find any better.
Alesis DM6 USB Kit | Eight-Piece Compact Beginner Electronic Drum Set
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Bass Drum: N/A
We decided to mix the list up a bit by including an electronic drum set. Of course, if you’re after an acoustic drum set then you can completely ignore what I’m writing right now. But, if you’re open to different things, then it’s totally worth exploring the idea of getting yourself an electronic set. There are various different advantages to owning an electronic as opposed to an acoustic.
The main advantage for a beginner is the sound. You don’t have to worry about waking your neighbours up, and can play throughout the night. This is pretty important, as many people find themselves most creative throughout the dark hours. This Alesis set has rubber surfaces that help reduce sound and vibration significantly.
As you progress, you will realise other advantages of an electronic drum set. Of course, you can record and edit your drumming sounds. As technology advances, it would be a good idea to invest and learn on a electronic drum set now as a beginner. This means that you avoid having to adapt at a later stage. This set has 5 custom slots and 10 presets, which mean that you can save several beats at a time. This might not make sense to you now as a beginner, but it will in time!
This Alesis set is what we believe to be one of the best electronic drum sets on the market right now. It isn’t much more expensive than an acoustic set. If you’re looking for a drum set as a gift for your children, it’s worth considering this electronic drum set.
Ludwig Accent Drive 5-Pc Drum Set
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Bass Drum: 22″ x 16″
Cymbals: 13″ & 16″
Ludwig. The most prestigious brand in the drumming world. And with great drumming prestigiousness, comes great responsibility. So, what about this Ludwig Accent Drive 5 piece? Is it much better than its competitors?
Well, it is made to high quality. Like Apple, you are buying into the brand as much as you are buying the product. Most Ludwig products are built specifically to be a higher quality than their competitors. This drum set is of a particularly good quality
The only drawback with this drum set is the cymbals. Like many other beginner drum sets, you might have to upgrade after a period of time. This won’t be for a while, but you should expect to upgrade after a period of time. Cymbals aren’t too expensive. It is pretty norma to buy a beginner drum set and upgrade it slowly as your progress. Starting with the cymbals, then you could look at investing in a better floor tom, for example. You don’t need to do this immediately, but you might want to after a period of time.
This is a great drum set for anyone looking to get into playing the drums. You can’t really go wrong with a Ludwig drum set, as they’ve been the most popular drumming brand for a long time now.
So, which beginner drum set is best for me?
Well, it will of course differ for each person. It depends on what criteria you are looking to meet. You should first analyse the different criteria that you need to meet. You should consider:
In general, you need to consider the size of the drum set and whether you have room in your house for them. The reason we included an electronic set in the list is that they’re a lot more portable and easy to move than an acoustic drum set. Whilst you won’t get the same experience with an electric drum set, you will still get a great drumming experience.
A good quality drum set is certainly not cheap. You pay for quality and long lasting named brands like Ludwig. Whilst the drum sets that we’ve listed are actually quite reasonable, when you become more advanced a good drum set can end up costing quite a bit. You shouldn’t buy a drum set if you’re only going to play it once, though if you do they do tend to have a good secondhand resale value.
We’ve listed the bass drum and cymbal size in all our featured drum sets as these are the most important elements of a drum set. The bass drum is sometimes called the base drum or the kick drum. It’s the big drum that is central to most drum sets and is played by pressing your foot on a foot pedal. The bass drum is central to most of a drummers work, as it produced deep notes and will make up the downbeat of most songs that feature drums.
We also included the height of the cymbals; both the hi-hats and crash cymbals. The hi-hats are the two cymbals that are also used by pressing your foot on a pedal, making them close in together. You can also hit the hi-hat with your drumsticks for a more reserved noise. The crash cymbal sort of speaks for itself, and can make some serious noise. You’ll also sometimes find a ride cymbal, which is similar to a crash cymbal but makes a more gentle noise.
Our pick – Gammon Percussion Full Size 5 Piece Drum SetCheck Amazon Price
It was a tough choice to decide between the drum sets that we have listed. What made this the best beginner drum set was the affordability and quality of production. Gammon Percussion are a relatively new company when compared with some of the other more established brands we’ve listed like Ludwig. In spite of this, we think that they are creating some really high quality drum sets that can compete with the bigger brands. This beginner drum set is a great example, as it has everything you need.
We would suggest buying your own drumsticks after a few months of owning this drum set. They might not be a suitable quality for someone looking to really take drumming serious and progress as a drummer. Drumsticks aren’t something that you need to worry about too much though. You can pick up a decent pair of drumsticks for around $20-30, so this shouldn’t affect your decision whether to buy this drum set.
As its current price, we think it is quite a bargain. It is significantly less than the more expensive brands that also create drum sets for beginners. Gammon Percussion have a good warranty and have excellent customer service, which makes this set even more attractive. You would be hard pressed to find a better drum set than this one, which is why we believe it to be the best beginner drum set.
How to play the drums | Beginners Guide
Learning how to play the drums isn’t easy. Fortunately, we’ve put together this guide of drums for beginners that should make things a little easier. If you don’t have any experience, don’t worry; we’ll show you that it’s entirely possible to learn how to play the drums for beginners.
The rhythm is one of the most important elements of music. It is the core of every song; you can change the key of a song, the pitch, even the instruments, and a song would still keep the same “vibe” or “feel”; but if you change the rhythm or the tempo, it becomes a completely different song.
We are all very receptive when it comes to rhythm. This is probably because it is the oldest form of music. Do you know what the first instrument was? Your palms. Our ancestors produced the first music by clapping, so the propensity towards rhythm is rooted in all of us. Although today’s drums are much more complex, the essence is basically the same.
In the text that follows, we are going to learn basic things about drums and how to play it. Let’s begin!
Elements of the Drum
When it comes to drums, the number of elements can vary. Some forms of percussion have only one element (Cajon) and other can have a few dozen. However, there are couples of elements that can be defined as the basic drum set.
This is the biggest element of the drum. It is played with the foot by pressing the bass pedal. The standard kit has one pedal, although some drummers (usually in metal genres) are using two pedals, and it is called “double bass pedal”. Its main characteristic is that it produces a very low tone.
Unlike the bass, the share produces the high and sharp sound, because of the strained wires under its skin. It is played with a pair of wooden sticks. There are different ways to hold the sticks, but we will come back to it later.
This is a thin element that can be made of different kinds of alloys. There are many kinds of cymbals (crash, china, ride, splash, etc…) and they are usually differing by their diameter.
It is an element that is constructed of two cymbals, one on top of the other. It is played with a stick, but it can also be modified with a foot; by pressing its pedal, the hi-hat is “closed” (i.e. the two cymbals are connected to each other) and by moving the foot out of it, the cymbals are “opened” (i.e. the cymbals are separated as the top one goes up).
These elements are similar to the bass drum but just smaller. They are usually located above the share. The standard drum kit contains three toms; however, there can be two or even one. The smallest tom is located on the left side, the medium on its right side, and the biggest is called “floor tom” or just “floor” because it has three legs (so it is touching the floor, unlike the other two toms) and is located on the right side of the drummer.
Although it is not actually part of the drums kit, sticks are a necessary element as drummers use them to hit the drums. There are many kinds of sticks – they are mainly differing in weight and size. The best advice is to try different sticks in order to find the one that suits you the best.
There are different ways to hold your sticks. It mostly depends on the music genre that you are into. There are two basic ways: Matched grips and Traditional grip.
Matched grip is called “matched” because you should hold both of your sticks in the same way. There are three categories: French grips, American grip, and German grip.
French grip : The sticks should be located between your thumb and your index finger.
German grip: Unlike the French, while using German grip your palms should be located from the side, rather than above the stick.
American grip: This kind of grip is somewhere in between previous two; your palms shouldn’t be on top and neither on the side, but somewhere in the between, at the 45-degree angle
The main characteristic of the traditional grip is that you should hold your sticks in different ways. With your right hand, you should hold your stick in American style and with your left hand just like it is represented in the picture on the right. These techniques are mostly used by jazz players, so you probably shouldn’t start with this one, but rather try to master it once you learn a few of matched grips.
Now, no matter what style you chose, you have to remember two things. First of all, you should never hold the sticks at the very end, but rather let approximately two or three centimeters of it out of your hand. This way you will gain more control and will be able to play more naturally. Besides this, you shouldn’t hold your sticks too tight. If you do so, not only that you will probably fell pain in your wrists and palms very fast, but you will also have troubles with keeping your beats sound smooth.
Before you start practicing, you should probably consider getting a metronome. It is a device that is producing short, high, and repetitive notes in the equal time interval. This is a great device because it will allow you to build your playing skill in a proper way, i.e. to always keep a constant tempo. In the beginning, drummers tend to play fast fills that they have mastered, but on the other hand, parts that they don’t know very well, they play slower. This way you can lose a sense of a constant tempo and timing, and that is the most important thing for a drummer. Metronome won’t allow you to stay off the tempo, as you will clearly notice when your tempo doesn’t match the tempo of the metronome. You shouldn’t try and learn how to play the drums without a metronome.
Now that we have learned all of the parts of the drum, and proper ways to hold the stick, we can start practicing. The basic patterns for beginners are called rudiments. These are the basic skills that need to be adopted before you actually start to play drums. Now we will see what those rudiments are, but before that, just a little bill of necessary theory.
4/4 time signature
4/4 time signature means that you have four beats in one bar. What is a bar? It is that interval from the first to the fourth beat. You just have to count it – 1, 2, 3, 4. That is a bar. It should be mentioned that there are many different time signature like 3/4, 7/8, etc, but for now, we will stick to the 4/4.
Of course, this can also be represented as 8/8 or 16/16 time signature; it is the same thing, just twice as many bets. There are more beats but they are also played faster. All of these time signatures are called even rhythms.
Let’s try to apply this to the share hits. The letter R means right hand and the letter L left;
4/4: R L R L
What does this mean? It means that you have four beats in this bar and that you should hit the snare with your right hand, then left, right and left again. OK, let’s go further;
4/4 R L R L
L R L R
Now we have two bars – when you finish with first you should continue to the second one in the same tempo. The trick there is to end the first bar and to start the second one with the same hand (the 4th beat of the first bar and the 1st beat of the second one should be played with the same hand). This may be little tricky at the beginning, but it will feel natural in almost no time;
8/8 R L R L R L R L
In this case, we have 8 beats per one bar. As you can see, you should hit your snare 8 times. Try to count while hitting the share, at least in the beginning until you get the feel. One tip, if you count, you should do it like this: one, two, three, four, five, six, SE, VEN. Split the seven into two parts, so the “ven” is eight. You should do this because seven has two syllables, so it may feel unnatural to pronounce two syllables and to play one beat. Besides this, you can also come up with the word that has 8 syllables, and to repeat it (for example, individualization);
4/4 R L R R
L R L L
This is another pattern for practice. The trick is to play the last two beats with the same hand. Remember to keep the constant tempo!
8/8 R L R L R L R R
L R L R L R L L
This is basically the same thing, just with more beats.
6/6 R L R R L L
L R L L R R
Don’t let this 6/6 time signature scare you; it is still an even rhythm. It’s the same thing like 4/4 just with two additional beats. This is so far the most complex pattern, so don’t worry if you can’t master it right away. Be patient and slow down as much as you need in order to play it properly, and then, gradually, speed up the tempo.
Snare & Bass
Once you have mastered these patterns it is time to include the bass drum as well. We will use the letter S to represent snare and letter B for bass.
4/4 B S B S
In our first example, you should play alternately bass and share. If you are right-handed, you should play the share with your left hand, and vice versa (because you will play hi-hat with your dominant hand).
4/4 B B S B
It this case, the trick is to finish the pattern with the bass and to start the next pattern with it.
8/8 B B S S B B S S
This is 8/8 time signature so we have 8 beats – two bass and two shares alternately.
When you come to this point, you have almost learned to play drums (the beginner level of course; you can’t expect to become Lars Ulrich in a few weeks!). This is a very tricky process, as you have to train your hands and feet to work independently. The symbols for the bass and share are still the same (B and S), and we will add H, representing hi-hat.
4/4 H H H H
B S B S
This is the simplest version. Just in the previous examples, only that now you have hi-hat beats through the bar;
4/4 H H H H
B S S
Now we miss one bass. Your right foot will probably press the pedal impulsively when you hit the hi-hat, but don’t worry because this is perfectly normal. With a little practice, you will manage to separate your hands and feet.
8/8 H H H H Ho H H H Ho
B B S B B S
You have probably mentioned the new symbol Ho. When you see this symbol, it means that you should play “open hi-hat”. As you probably remember, “open hi-hat” is played when you move your left feet of the hi-hat pedal. So, on every 4th beat you should do precisely that – raise your foot from the pedal and hit hi-hat.
8/8 H H Ho H H H H H
B B S B B B S
It gets further complicated. This time you should play open hi-hat and share at the same time. So, you have to hit the hi-hat, hit the share, and to raise your feet from hi-hat pedal, all at the same time.
Songs for Practicing
When you learn all of these patterns and feel comfortable playing them, you have almost learned to play drums. The other very important thing that you should practice is listening to songs, i.e. the drums in it, and to try to repeat it. We will mention a few songs that are relatively easy to play and can serve as a great training.
White Stripes – Seven nation army
This is one of the simpler songs there is. It starts with the bass and then the snare and hi-hat are added. This is a great song for the beginners.
Queen – We will rock you
Another very popular song that is basically consisted only of one bar that is repeating over and over again – B B S. You can also add floor tom to every of these beats.
Green Day – Wake me up when September ends
This song has a very catchy drum part at the beginning. It goes B B S three times and the fourth one has an open hi-hat at the end B B S Ho. The rest of the song isn’t so simple, so you can either practice just this part, or you can play the whole song but in a simpler way. Just try to follow the tempo.
A lot of people think that playing the drums is an easy task. “There aren’t any notes” they often say. However, although the drum isn’t a melodically instrument, it is certainly the most important one in a band; it drummer makes a mistake, everything falls apart.
Of course, it is impossible to learn how to play drums overnight, so you shouldn’t expect to become a virtuoso in just a few months. In order to become skilled at playing drums, you have to take your practicing very seriously; with dedication and regular practice, everything can be achieved.
All in all, there are two most important things that you should remember when it comes to playing drums – keep practicing and keep the tempo constant.
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