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What drums should I buy for a beginner?

Many parents ask me what drum set they should buy for their child who is just getting started playing drums. Your first important decision to make is whether you want electronic or acoustic drums. The second decision is how much money to budget for a drum set. I've listed drum set recommendations at various price levels and highlighted the pros and cons of each option. All of these options are good enough for beginning drummer to learn and practice with. 

Acoustic Drums-

Acoustic drums are the real deal. They sound great, they feel great to play, and they allow you to really explore the nuance of each instrument. They give you access to the full range of volume from whisper quiet to thundering loud, and they reward diligent practice with rich tones that require skill and finesse to produce. 

I give one major piece of advice on buying drums for kids- Buy a 20 inch bass drum, not a 22 inch bass drum. For kids under 12, a 22 inch bass drum makes it much more difficult to play the drum set. Tom sizes are less important, but I recommend smaller size configuations like 10", 12", and 14" . I steer people away from configurations

like 12",13", and 16". The 12 and 13 pair tend to be very difficult to position for kids.

What is the difference between "Complete Drum Sets" and "Shell Packs"

A complete drum set comes with drums, cymbals, mounting hardware, and pedals- everything you needed to start playing, often even sticks. Be aware that some complete drum sets do not include a drum throne, so check out the one you're looking at. 

A drum set labeled as a "shell pack" only comes with the drums. Shell packs typically only include tom mounting hardware that is specific to those drums, but it does not include cymbals, stands, pedals, seats, sticks or anything else. 

On the low end you can spend $300. Intermediate complete kits are around $600-$800. The cheapest professional kit costs around $1200. The sky is the limit when it comes to high end drums. Here are a few options at different price points:

This kit comes from a no-name brand, has very small sizes, and it has some corners cut and it's construction. It will probably last a couple years. It is good for younger drummers around 3-6. 

This kit has a 20 inch bass drum, making it better for kids 6 and up, but little ones can also play on this drum set and grow into it. This is coming from a major drum brand, though not a top teir brand. Mapex are known for great value at the price. 

I can't write an article about budget drum sets without including the Yamaha stage custom drum set. This is the all-time champion of budget drum sets coming from a top-tier Japanese brand, known for excellent attention to detail and quality. This is a popular kit among professional drummers performing live because they sound great, but you don't have to worry if they get dinged up loading and unloading night after night.

This is the only shell pack I've included, so you'll have to buy stands and cymbals separately, but you can put together a complete professional level kit for around $1200. With proper care, it will basically last forever. 

Electronic drums

Electronic drums are a great choice for beginners. They allow the drummer to use headphones which provides a significantly quieter sound level. Other people in the house will just hear the sound of the sticks tapping on rubber pads. There is still sound, but it's nothing compared to a full acoustic kit. 

Electronic drum sets are also easy to buy because you only need to buy one item that includes, drum pads, cymbal pads, set up hardware and the drum module or "brain". It's nearly an all-in-one purchase.

Keep in mind, there are two things you will need to purchase as well:

-You MAY need to buy a bass drum pedal. Some kits include a pedal, and some do not, so you'll have to look into your specific model. Get this Yamaha Bass Drum Pedal for around $70

-You DEFINITELY need to buy a drum stool, called a "drum throne" in the drumming world. (We're very humble artists)

What's the best way to get a pro level drum set on a budget?

I recommend looking for a used stage custom shell pack for around $300-$400 and outfitting it with new stands and cymbals. This way you can get a pro level drum set for $700-$800. Just keep your eye out for one with a 20 inch bass drum

. I also sometimes see complete sets of stage customs on the used market for $500-$700, which is an outstanding deal. 

For electronic drum sets, look for a used Roland TD-17 around $600-$700.

If you want to go all the way, shop for used cymbals as well. You can get some great deals on pro level cymbals around $150 each. Keep an eye out for another blog article about shopping for used cymbals. 

If you're also looking for lessons for your new drummer, BeatsWithMike is your premium option in Irvine, California. Mike has years of experience working with a wide variety of different ages and abilities including toddlers, kids, teens, adults, and those with special needs. He knows how to adapt to different learning styles and cater to the interests of his individual students. Whether the student loves BTS or Metallica, Mike can connect with them and help them grow as a musician. 

More info here

Are you looking for a drum party for kids or adults? Are you looking for a fantastic activity for after school programs, summer camps or daycares? So Cal Drum Party is Mike's second business offering drum circles for special events. Mike provides instruments for the entire group and leads them through fun warm-ups, games and jams. He really brings the whole group together!

More info here

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