How to choose a drum kit
How to Choose

How to choose a drum kit

Drum set (drum set, eng. drumkit) – a set of drums, cymbals and other percussion instruments adapted for the convenient playing of a drummer musician. Commonly used in jazz , blues , rock and pop.

Usually ,  drumsticks, various brushes and beaters are used when playing . The hi-hat and bass drum use pedals, so the drummer plays while sitting on a special chair or stool.

In this article, the experts of the store “Student” will tell you how to choose exactly the drum set that you need, and not overpay at the same time. So that you can better express yourself and communicate with music.

Drum set device



The standard drum kit includes the following items:

  1. Cymbals :
    – Crash – A cymbal with a powerful, hissing sound.
    – Ride (ride) – a cymbal with a sonorous, but short sound for accents.
    – Hi-hat (hi-hat) – two plates mounted on the same rod and controlled by a pedal.
  2. floor tom – tom
  3. Tom – tom
  4. bass drum
  5. snare drum


Cymbals are an essential component of any drum set. Most drum sets don’t come with cymbals, especially since you need to know what kind of music you’re going to play to select cymbals.

There are various types of plates, each performing its own role in the installation . These are Ride Cymbal, Crash Cymbal and Hi -Hat. Splash and China cymbals are also very popular in the last few decades. On sale is a very wide selection of plates for various effects for every taste: with sound options, colors and shapes.

Plate type China

Plate type China

Cast plates are cast by hand, from a special metal alloy. Then they are heated, rolled, forged and turned. It’s a long process that results in the cymbals coming out with a full, complex sound that many say only gets better with age. Each die-cast cymbal has its own unique, pronounced sound character.

Sheet plates are cut from large sheets of metal of uniform thickness and composition. Sheet cymbals usually sound the same within the same model, and are generally cheaper than cast cymbals.

Cymbal sound options are an individual choice for everyone . Usually jazz musicians prefer a more complex sound, rock musicians – sharp, loud, pronounced. The choice of cymbals is huge: there are both dominant cymbal manufacturers on the market, as well as alternative not hyped brands.

Working (small) drum

A snare or snare drum is a metal, plastic or wooden cylinder, tightened on both sides with leather (in its modern form, instead of leather, a membrane of polymer compounds is colloquially called “plastic” ), on the outside of one of which strings or metal springs are stretched, giving the sound of the instrument has a rattling tone (the so-called ” stringer “).

Snare Drum

Snare Drum

The snare drum is traditionally made of either wood or metal. Metal drums are made from steel, brass, aluminum and other alloys and give the sound an exceptionally bright, cutting tone. However, many drummers prefer the warm, soft sound of a woodworker. As a rule, the snare drum is 14 inches in diameter , but today there are other modifications.

The snare drum is played with two wooden sticks , their weight depends on the acoustics of the room (street) and the style of the piece of music being played ( heavier sticks produce a stronger sound). Sometimes, instead of sticks, a pair of special brushes is used, with which the musician makes circular movements, creating a slight “rustling” that serves as a sound background for a solo instrument or voice.

To mute the sound of the snare drum, a piece of ordinary fabric is used, which is placed on the membrane, or special accessories that are placed, glued or screwed on.

Bass drum (kick)

The bass drum is usually placed on the floor. He lies on his side, facing the listeners with one of the membranes, which is often inscribed with the brand name of the drum kit. It is played with the foot by pressing the single or double pedal ( cardan ). It measures 18 to 24 inches in diameter and 14 to 18 inches thick. Bass drum beats are the basis of the rhythm of the orchestra , its main pulse, and, as a rule, this pulse is closely related to the rhythm of the bass guitar.

Bass drum and pedal

Bass drum and pedal

Tom-tom drum

It is a tall drum 9 to 18 inches in diameter. As a rule , a drum kit includes 3 or 4 volumes There are drummers who keep in their kit and 10 volumes The largest volume is called floor tom . he is standing on the floor. The rest of the toms are mounted either on the frame or on the bass drum. Typically , volume a is used to create breaks – shapes that fill in empty spaces and create transitions. Sometimes in some songs or in fragments , the tom replaces the snare drum.


Tom – a tom fixed on a frame

Drum set classification

Installations are conditionally divided according to the level of quality and cost:

sub-entry level – not intended for use outside the training room.
entry-level – designed for beginner musicians.
student level  – good for practicing, used by non-professional drummers.
semi-professional  – the quality of concert performances.
professional  – the standard for recording studios.
handmade drums  – drum kits assembled specifically for the musician.

Sub-entry level (from $250 to $400)


Drum set STAGG TIM120

Drum set STAGG TIM120

The disadvantages of such installations are durability and mediocre sound. Made according to the kit template, only in appearance “similar to drums”. They differ only in name and metal parts. A suitable option for those who feel completely insecure behind the instrument, as an option to start learning at least with something, or for very young people. Most small size baby sets are in this price range.

The drums are not intended for use outside of the training room. The plastics are very thin, the wood used is of poor quality, the coating peels off and wrinkles over time, and the stands, pedals and other metal parts rattle when played, bend and break. All these shortcomings will come out, severely limiting the game , as soon as you learn a couple of beats . Of course, you can replace all the heads, racks and pedals with better ones, but this will result in an entry level setting.

Entry Level ($400 to $650)


Drum set TAMA IP52KH6

An excellent choice for children 10-15 years old or for those who are very tight on a budget. Poorly processed mahogany (mahogany) is used in several layers, the very one from which solid solid doors are obtained .

The kit includes mediocre racks and a pedal with a single chain. Most rigs with a standard 5 drum configuration. Some manufacturers produce jazz entry-level models in small sizes. The Jazz configuration includes 12″ and 14″ tom drums, a 14″ snare drum and 18″ or 20″ kick drum. Which is acceptable for small drummers and fans of the original sound.

The main difference in the installations of this category in the racks and pedals. Some companies do not save on strength and quality.

Student Level ($600 – $1000)


YAMAHA Stage Custom

Drum Kit YAMAHA Stage Custom

Robust and good-sounding units in this category make up the bulk of sales. The Pearl Export model has been the most popular over the past fifteen years.

Good for drummers who are serious about improving their skills, and a great choice for those who have it just as a hobby or as a second rehearsal kit for professionals.

The quality is much better than entry-level units, as evidenced by the price. Professional-grade stands and pedals, tom suspension systems that make life a lot easier for the drummer. Choice woods.

Semi professional (from $800 to $1600)


Sonor SEF 11 Stage 3 Set WM 13036 Select Force

Drum Kit Sonor SEF 11 Stage 3 Set WM 13036 Select Force

An intermediate option between pro and student levels, the golden mean between the concepts of “very good” and “excellent”. Wood: birch and maple.

The price range is wide , from $800 to $1600 for a complete set. Standard (5-drum), jazz, fusion configurations are available. You can buy separate parts, for example, non-standard 8″ and 15″ volumes . Variety of finishes, outboard tom and brass snare drum. Ease of setup.

Professional (from $1500)




They occupy a large part of the installation market. There is a choice of wood, snare drums made of various metals, improved tom suspension systems and other joys. Iron parts in the best quality series, double chain pedals, light rims.

Manufacturers make a series of pro level installations of various types, the difference can be in the tree, the thickness of the layers, and the appearance.

These drums are played by professionals and many amateurs . The standard for recording studios with rich, vibrant sound.

Handmade drums, on order (from $2000)

The best sound , look, wood, quality, attention to detail. All sorts of variations of equipment, sizes and more. The price starts at $2000 and is unlimited from above. If you are a lucky drummer who won the lottery, then this is your choice.

Drum Selection Tips

  1. The choice of drums depends on what kind of music you play . Roughly speaking, if you play ” jazz “, then you should look at the drums of smaller sizes, and if “rock” – then large ones. All this, of course, is conditional, but, nevertheless, it is important.
  2. An important detail is the location of the drums, that is, the room in which the drums will stand. The environment has a huge impact on the sound. For example, in a small, muffled room, the sound will be eaten away, it will be muffled, short. In each room, the drums sound differently , moreover, depending on the location of the drums, in the center or in the corner, the sound will also be different. Ideally, the store should have a special room for listening to drums.
  3. Don’t get hung up on listening to one setup, it’s enough to make a few hits on one instrument. The more tired your ear is, the worse you will hear nuances. As a rule, demo plastics are stretched on the drums in the store, you also need to make a discount on this. Ask the seller to play the drums you like, and listen to them yourself at different remote points. The sound of drums in the distance is different than near. And finally, trust your ears! Once you hear the sound of the drum, you can say “I like it” or “I don’t like it”. Believe what you hear!
  4. Finally , check the appearance of the drums . Make sure that the cases are not damaged, that there are no scratches or cracks in the coating. There must be no cracks or delaminations in the drum body, under any pretext!

Tips for choosing plates

  1. Think about where and how you will play the cymbals. Play them in the store as you normally would. You wo n’t be able to get the sound you want with just a light tap of your finger , so when choosing cymbals in the store, try to play the way you normally would. Create a work environment. Start with medium weight plates. From them you can move on to heavier or lighter ones until you find the right sound.
  2. Place the cymbals on racks and tilt them as they are tilted in your setup. Then play them as usual. This is the only way to “feel” the cymbals and hear their real sound .
  3. When testing cymbals, imagine that you are playing in a band and play with the same force , loud or soft, as you normally would. Listen for attack and sustain . Some cymbals perform best at a certain volume. Well, if you can compare the sound – bring your own cymbals to the store.
  4. Use your drumsticks .
  5. Other people’s opinions can be helpful, a salesperson in a music store can provide useful information. Feel free to ask questions and ask other people’s opinions.

If you hit your cymbals hard or play loudly, choose larger and heavier cymbals . They give a louder and more spacious sound. Smaller and lighter models are best suited for quiet to medium volume playing. Subtle crashes and not loud enough to star in a powerful game. Heavier cymbals have more impact resistance, resulting in a clearer, cleaner, and punchier sound .

Examples of acoustic drum kits



Sonor SFX 11 Stage Set WM NC 13071 Smart Force Xtend

Sonor SFX 11 Stage Set WM NC 13071 Smart Force Xtend





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