Freeway Music — Columbia, SC’s Premier Music School

Drum Set: To Buy or Not To Buy?

Great question! Now, where do I start?

Let’s start at the BEGINNING.

If you’re the parent of a budding drummer, you’re already among the coolest people that I know! Seriously, I understand it takes a leap of faith to entertain the idea of housing what most consider a “noisy” instrument. I suggest, from the outset, that you designate a consistent window of time for playing this instrument and enroll your child in private lessons. Drums don’t have to be played loudly, but the visceral nature of this instrument means that we can go from a whisper to a scream with no volume pedal. More “screams” than “whispers” come from drummers with no qualified instruction. Invest in those lessons!


A “young drummer” is a drummer with little to no experience playing drums, no matter the age. A drum kit is a big, shiny object and inspires lots of gawking and daydreaming among “drum kit-less” drummers of all ages. This obsession can be used as a “carrot on a stick” to both encourage development and to gauge dedication and interest. I never discourage purchasing a drum kit, no matter the level of the student. A student can grow with a drum kit or grow without one; however, the attraction of “playing” on a set of drums can be a distraction from working on the fundamentals that improve the ability to play a set of drums. That statement might sound like it doesn’t make sense, but consider the fact that anyone can grab a stick and strike a drum (or cymbal), getting a sound. The ability to PLAY a drum kit (coordination, technique, musicality) takes most people several months (or longer) to acquire.


So, if you decide to buy a drum set for yourself or your child, use it as “dessert” for practicing the “meat and potatoes” of drumming. Those fundamentals should be practiced on a practice pad (practice pad). The hands are the most important component in drumming and they are best developed on a single surface. A practice pad, a stand to hold it, and a pair of sticks (with private lessons, of course) constitute the best way to get started with drumming. This package can be purchased for as little as $100.


The “nature of the beast” idea as it applies to drum kits means that the volume produced while playing on them is as inescapable as the footprint required to have them set up, occupying a lot of space. Both of these issues can be addressed by purchasing an electronic kit.

Electronic kits can be played directly into headphones or through a speaker made specifically for them. Either way, volume control is drastically reduced from the start. While volume control is a great benefit to these kits, the “feel” of playing on any electronic kit is nowhere near realistic when compared to an acoustic drum kit. Another point to consider is that the cubic space required to set up an electronic kit is half of its acoustic version. Bedrooms tend to be the most popular place for a student’s drums and this space consideration might be the difference between the two options.


There you go… a primer on drum kit buying. As always, I suggest buying the most quality that you can afford (after you’ve compared the pros and cons of the available options). Consider feel, volume control, available space, and skill level before purchasing either type of kit. Also, discuss these (and other) options with your private instructor. Happy drumming!

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