So you have just stepped foot into the world of drumming have you?
Playing Drums is exciting. It’s the foundation of most types of music and makes use of the natural rhythms that we are all born with.
The thing is, drumming isn’t as easy as you may think, and picking the right kit can be a considerable burden. Most beginners have no idea where to begin when picking a kit.
You surely don’t want to spend half a grand on a drum kit that won’t suit you. This is why we’ve put together a small guide to give you our take on the best starter drum kits on the market. Let’s dive in.
Top 5 Starter Drum Sets...
The Pearl Roadshow has everything you need to start drumming right away! You get five drums, cymbals, hardware, sticks, and a bag for your sticks to gig with when you’re ready.
With a sturdy, 9-ply poplar build, the shells are built for serious tone and power. Even after years of playing, these things will still sound like new. Beyond that, they also have 45-degree bearing edges that make them far easier to tune, a task that can seem futile for beginner drummers.
One of the things we love so much is the extended tuning of the bass drum, allowing you to get those insane, heart pounding low blows to drive your rhythms home. Many experienced drummers talk about how high-quality this set sounds for being a beginner’s kit.
Not only is the Pearl Roadshow easy and fun to play, it’s also a piece of cake to set up thanks to the pro-grade Pearl hardware. With the interlocking tilter adjustments and steel legs, you can bang away without worrying about your set shifting.
Bottom Line: The Pearl Roadshow is no doubt one of the best beginner drum sets around for any learner. With durable, high-quality materials and a tone that will make you excited to play, it can’t be beaten.
Best Budget Option
If you’re looking for a beginner drum kit for your little rockstar, the Mendini by Cecilio is one of the best around. This junior drum kit is the perfect, all-in-one set that is exciting to play for any youngster.
Even though the kit is scaled down for little ones, it is an entirely functional kit, reminiscent of the full-sized kits that we’re used to seeing. In all, you get a bass drum, rack tom, snare, crash, a miniature throne, and some sticks. You get everything you need for your little one ready to rock.
The hardwood build makes the drums feel sturdy even though they’re small and the user-friendly hardware makes them extremely easy to adjust so that your child can make adjustments for comfort, even when you’re not around.
Bottom Line: Perfect for children that are 3-5’ tall, the Mendini by Cecilio is a great beginner drum kit for aspiring rockers. With high-quality materials and a solid, punchy sound, these drums are both exciting and easy to learn on.
The Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove is based on the kit that Ahmir Questlove Thompson used when he was a boy.
The beauty of the Ludwig Breakbeats set is that it is super compact, making it perfect for people who don’t have large enough spaces to accommodate a full-sized kit. If you are looking to gig at smaller coffee shops or venues, this kit is solid.
The most surprising thing about the Breakbeats kit is how punchy the drums are. The attack is thanks to the 7-ply poplar shells that gives you a dry, yet focused sound, perfect for funk.
The 45-degree bearing edge gives you the classic attack and sustain that you would expect from a standard drum set, while the triple-flanged hoops help give you those gunshot rimshots that are prominent in the funk. Overall, the kit comes complete with four shells, so you will need to buy your own cymbals to go along with it.
Bottom Line: If you’re in the market for a good beginner drum set that is both portable and punchy, you can’t go wrong with the Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove. With the small size and funky sound, you’ll be busting out those danceable rhythms in no time.
The Ddrum D120B BR D is an excellent drum kit to start out with before hopping up to the higher end Ddrum models. It features many of the same characteristics as Ddrum’s higher-end line, though the bass drum and toms are smaller for a more portable, punchy playing style.
With the kit, you get five drums, a hi-hat, crash, bass pedal, and a throne. All you need to buy to start is a good pair of sticks!
The black wrap finish on these beauties looks sleek and modern, making them more exciting to play with a professional look. The 8-ply Basswood shells are sturdy and tone-heavy, giving you a hard-hitting, resonant sound to add a bit of fire to your playing as you run through the basics.
Bottom Line: The Ddrum D120B is one of the most versatile beginner drum kits around with the fusion-style build, perfect for adults and children alike who are ready to learn. With well-rounded, high-quality shells and sturdy hardware, it’s a kit that you can take with you into your intermediate phase.
Rise by Sawtooth’s full-sized student kit is an excellent drum kit that is meant to last.
With the 6-ply poplar build, you can get some insane sounds out of these drums. This is because the poplar used is made for an even, polished tone that has tons of warmth in the lows and a nice, warm sound in the highs and mids. This makes it an excellent kit for practicing loud without being too ear-rupturing.
With that said, when you start to hit hard, you can get those sweet, rock n’ roll sounds out of it too.
This kit comes in three different colors so that you can buy one to fit your own style. You get five pieces, a hi-hat, crash, sticks, and all the hardware that you’ll need to get started. If you want cymbals that will last you a bit longer, you can upgrade to the Zildjian ZBT cymbals before finalizing your purchase.
Bottom Line: The Rise by Sawtooth Kit is a sleek, yet powerful kit that is perfect for those who are just starting out in the world of modern rock drumming. With a complete setup and high-quality materials, it’s a kit that will last you for years to come.
How to Choose the Right Beginner Kit
Shell Pack or Complete Kit?
When sifting through online stores such as Amazon, photos and marketing materials might lead you to believe that every drum kit comes to you in full. This is a common mistake we see with many beginners, as there are a wide variety of drum kits that don’t come with any hardware or cymbals. Drum companies refer to these types of packages as shell packs.
Shell packs will likely contain higher-grade kit pieces than complete kits, as companies can’t afford to sell off higher-end hardware and cymbals for cheap in full kits. This is the reason that many pro drummers will buy individual kit pieces and Frankenstein their drums together.
The reason why many beginner drummers buy complete kits is that they give you everything you need and are much cheaper. If you don’t have a preference of brand or drum type yet, or you’re not sure if drumming is something you’ll stick with, we recommend going with a complete kit instead. If you have an idea of what you want and want to get a kit that you can grow with, we recommend getting a shell pack and building on top of it with third-party purchases.
# Of Pieces
The number of pieces that you decide to get with your drum kit is dependent on many factors.
If you’re someone who is a fan of the larger-than-life, Keith Moon, rock n’ roll style of drumming, a 15-piece set with 5 different toms and a few different cymbals might tickle your fancy.
On the other side, you might be a Ringo Starr fan, loving the small, simple, vintage Ludwig kits with only four or five pieces.
We always recommend starting small at first and building as you get better.
Even if you want to be a rock god, there’s no reason for getting 10 toms and a load of funky cymbals if you can’t even play a simple two and four.
We could write a whole article on drum construction, and how it affects the sound of a kit, but because this is a beginner kit article, we’re just going to dip our toes in the water.
What you should know is that the construction of drum shells can have a significant impact on your tone and longevity. The three most popular types of drum shell wood types are Maple, Birch, and Mahogany. These woods are extremely popular across the board and won’t typically put a large dent in your bank account like drums made of Oak or Ash.
If you decide to go a bit cheaper, you could also look into synthetic shells. The materials are more widely available, and many of them sound great!
Junior Vs. Full
Deciding between a junior set and a full set is dependent on a few different things.
First of all, if you’re a girl or guy who is over 5 feet tall, you’ll want to get yourself a full-sized kit. Junior kits are scaled down to accommodate smaller players who wouldn’t be able to reach the drums or stretch the necessary length to play comfortably.
Junior kits also look like toys next to full-sized adults, so hopefully, you get our point.
The only reason that we would buy junior kits would be for a small child who isn’t able to play full-scale, or for a child who can play full-scale but isn’t sure that he or she will stick with drumming. They are much cheaper, meaning you’ll feel less guilt if you have to sell it when it starts collecting dust.
Drum Roll Please…
Many beginners see reviews of professional drummers bashing on starter drum kits for their unreliability, and low-quality builds. The thing is, most of those drummers started back in the day when beginner kits weren’t high-quality. There’s no need to spend a thousand dollars on a professional kit to get a solid sound anymore.
Hopefully, this article has made your search a bit less overwhelming. Overall, we highly recommend the Pearl Roadshow 5-Piece. It’s a durable, high-quality kit that comes with everything that you need to get started. It will keep you jamming until you become good enough to step up to more professional kits with larger pieces.