Everything you'll need for a beginner's drum set

Once the banging on pots and pans phase passes, serious drummers can begin music lessons and buy a real drum set. Use this guide to get started.

Everything you'll need for a beginner's drum set

Practice pads

Start an at-home practice with pads and a pair of drumsticks. Some practice pads come in sets laid out or mounted like real drums; others are single pads. Totally silent practice pads can be frustrating, so look for ones that make a muted sound.

Electronic drum kit

An electronic drum kit has some advantages over a traditional drum set. Many electronic sets are compact, though some are set up like traditional drums and take up the same amount of space. Electronic drums need to be hooked up to a sound system in order to make noise. You can use them with headphones, which is a big plus if you live in a crowded home or have thin walls.

Acoustic drum kit

For most players, an electronic drum doesn't have the same feel and thrill as banging out on a traditional set. It's easiest to buy kits that include everything needed, rather than buying pieces individually.

Junior kits size everything down to fit children. These smaller kits usually include three or four pieces, with a bass and two toms, plus cymbals in the four-piece set. Junior kits are usually relatively inexpensive.

Most regular-scale kits have five pieces, including mounted toms, a snare, a bass drum, a floor tom and cymbals. Kits generally require assembly and tuning. A higher number of tuning lugs on the drums increases the accuracy of tuning and results in better sound. Some kits also include a drum throne and sticks.

Kits may include hardware like drum pedals and stands for the equipment. If the kit doesn't come with everything, buy hardware separately or in hardware packs.

The size of drums in kits varies. Bigger drums give a bigger sound; these louder sets are good for rock styles, while sets with smaller drums are better for acoustic styles like blues and jazz. Drumsticks and brushes also vary in weight, with heavier ones suited to rock and lighter ones suited to acoustic styles.

Used drum equipment

Since it's a starter set, there's no need to buy everything new. Buying a used set can mean getting better quality, intermediate-level equipment for the same price as a new beginner-level set. Just be sure to check the overall condition of the equipment, first.

There's another advantage to buying a used set besides affordable, upgraded quality: you may also get tips from the previous owner, and who knows, maybe a connection that will get you into a band.

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