Guides: Questions to keep in mind before buying a drum set
What do I need to play the drums?
Before you buy a drum kit you should have organized a suitable room. Because: drums are, as commonly known, very loud instruments. Above all, the low frequencies of a bass drum are very difficult to isolate and can, therefore, be perceived even over long distances.
Acoustic drums are very loud. Jazz drummers have an advantage over rock drummers here, as playing with brooms and the smaller kick drum have a positive effect on the volume level.
Suitable rooms for drums are basements (the lower the basement the better), barns or generally remote places, as well as bunkers or garages. With sound insulation, the basic rule applies: Only mass insulates the sound to the outside. So the thicker the wall the more promising!
What’s the sound of a drum kit?
Careful, this can not really be generalized, it’s also genre-dependent. Gentle jazz pieces or even ballads are not comparable to metal songs.
Often the cymbals or the snare are perceived especially loudly directly on the drums. What the neighbours still have the most is the low frequencies of the kick drum. This is in the nature of low frequencies; its wavelength is longer and requires much thicker materials to shield it. Everybody knows the phenomenon that in front of the nightclub you hear only the thumping of the kick, while you only notice the details of the song when you enter the club.
Nevertheless, drums are also a very loud instrument in general. Not for nothing should you play as a drummer with hearing protection. Drums can be as loud as 110 decibels, which is similar to the volume of a chainsaw.
If you do not have a suitable basement or practice room, you should look for electronic drums. Anyone who is prepared to make some money in their hands can count on very good alternatives to the acoustic drums.
What components is a drum set?
To keep it general, a drum kit consists of only three parts:
- Hardware (stands and mounts for drums and cymbals)
So basically simple. Of course, it will be a little more special.
Drums are distinguished by the following three:
- Bass Drum / Kick Drum
- snare drum
The bass drum is struck with a pedal and produces a deep, in the best case oppressive sound. It sets the beat and is one of the most important elements.
The snare often has a whipping, brighter and clearer sound. Through the carpet, which is attached to the underside of the snare is done the typical buzz. In the Taktraster, the snare is mostly on the beats 2 and 4 (in modern pop/rock music). So if you’ve clapped to a song, you’re probably going to clap along with the snare.
The snare is also an extremely important element in drumming. Not only the sound but also the feeling of playing is important here, as a snare should have a good rebound so that even fast drum rolls are possible.
TomToms are mostly used infills. Just think of “In the air tonight” by Phil Collins, then you know what makes good toms. However, if you are a beginner you should pay more attention to the quality of the kick, snare and hi-hat, as they are simply the most used.
You can also differentiate between a few essentials:
- crash cymbal
- Ride Cymbal
Hi-hat together with snare and bass drum is the most important element of drums. The hi-hat is also the most complex instrument. It consists of two superimposed pelves that can be opened or closed by means of a foot pedal.
For a classic rock/pop groove, eighth notes are played on the closed hi-hat. This can be opened to set accents in certain places.
You should pay special attention to the quality of hi-hat, as it will be a key element in your drumming.
Crash and ride cymbals are less important than hi-hats, though not negligible. Crash cymbals have a crashing sound that is often played after fills on the first beat. Crash cymbals are available in different sizes and thicknesses – both affect the sound and resistance to hard knocks.
Unlike the Crash Cymbal, the Ride Cymbal should be precisely playable and reverberate with less “wash” sound. You can also use the pelvis to set accents using the dome, but it is particularly good for supporting the rhythm. To jazz music could e.g. Ride pelvis fit more responsive and less penetrating.
In contrast, in loud music genres such as Rock the cymbals louder in order to prevail over other instruments.
Two things are important here. First, you have to be able to adjust the height and inclination angle so that you can play in an optimal position. Second, the bracket should not damage or obstruct the snare carpet and the drum itself.
Again, there are single and double stud stands. As with the others, the single-strand is not that stable. In addition, the stands must be adjustable here as well. You should order Standtomständer from the supplier where you also bought the Toms. In most cases, there are no universally available stands.
Pedal machine for the bass drum
It is important, of course, that the pedal does not slip and may even be fixed on the floor. It also needs to be solidly built and easy to operate. For this, joints and shafts should be equipped with a ball or nail bearings.
With Direct Drive, the connection between the pedal and the racket is firmly connected. Here we have listed the 3 different drives for bass pedals.
Another criterion is whether the racket holder is rotatable and thus adjustable. The retaining spring must also be easy to reach. Some drummers also prefer pedals, where they can change the drive between chain and belt. Which of them you prefer is a matter of taste.
There are single and double foot machines. As the name suggests, single-handed machines can only use one racket. However, on a double foot pedal, you now have two pedals, with one transmitting the movement to the second club via a shaft. It allows for a very fast game.
The stand should be very stable and offered single and double-braced. The double-braced Hi-hat stands have a lower centre of gravity and are heavier overall, providing a firm footing.
The spring tension and bottom hi-hat adjustment screw must be easily accessible and adjustable.
If you have space issues, such as using a bass drum double-foot pedal that does not fit next to the hi-hat stand, a cable hi-hat is an answer. As the name implies, the foot pedal and hi-hat are connected by a cable. This allows the hi-hat to stand almost anywhere and take no space.
A drum rack is a sturdy construction to which you can attach most parts of your drum kit. It is a very stable frame that holds TomToms, pelvis, etc. This will not put you in the way of too many stands.
A post shared by @worshipdrummer on Jul 19, 2018 at 4:23 pm PDT
What materials is a drum kit?
Traditionally, most drum kettles are made of wood. There are two different types of production. On the one hand, boilers can be made of solid wood. This means that they are worked out of a large piece of wood. The process is time-consuming and involves high costs. Therefore, mostly the second construction method is chosen. Several layers of wood are glued together under pressure.
In comparison, the laminates are hardly inferior to solid wood boilers, no matter if sound, the precision of the round shape or burring etc. This fact and the optimal price/performance ratio is the reason why many top manufacturers mostly specialize in laminated boilers.
Many drummers stand for the inimitable sound of a solid wood kettle. However, these are very cost-intensive in comparison.
Probably the most popular material today is maple wood. It sounds warm and clear and especially brings out the depths clearly. The high and middle pitches are harmonious and supported normally.
Birchwood highlights higher and lower layers, making it sound slightly sharper than maple but balanced. It also makes it a bit better in the drum kit.
The powerful sounds of the beech are particularly evident in the depths and middle layers. It is considered to be a combination of maple and birch, combining the warmth of maple and the power of birch.
Oakwood again supports the depths, but at the same time heights and mid-layers are also very clear and clear. This balanced wood is therefore very versatile.
The former standard material of boiler production is mahogany. Because it is rather expensive, maple wood is often used today. Although both woods support the depths, the mahogany wood is tonal but much warmer.
In addition to the more expensive mahogany, there is the poplar wood. It is used as a substitute for mahogany, maple and birch because of its similar properties, as it is cheaper. Producers often use poplar in combination with the above-mentioned woods, with the inner layers being for the cheaper wood and being used outwardly, for example, maple or mahogany.
Linden wood’s sound resembles that of maple and mahogany and highlights bass notes. It is, therefore, another, fast-growing and cheap alternative.
By and large, there are two common thickness grades of laminates.
Thicknesses are more suitable for rock or metal kits. A thicker wall makes it harder for the skin to absorb the vibrations. As a result, the sound is more direct and louder. The typical wood sound remains a bit on the track. These cauldrons are then about 7.5 mm thick.
The thin drums sound more natural and the tone is a bit deeper and richer. They have 5 mm thick walls with their woody and dynamic sound.
How many layers in the laminate are glued together depends on the diameter. The larger this is, the more stable the outer wall must be. That’s why more layers are needed. The number varies from the small drums with four wood layers to 9-layer boilers.
But the boiler thickness does not necessarily increase with the number of layers. The manufacturers use layers of different thickness, for example, to be able to build a stable bass drum with fat bass and natural sounds. However, this sound can only be produced through thin layers of laminate.
The place where the drumhead lies on the drum is called burring and is shaped in many different ways by manufacturers to produce different sound patterns.
Marcel Tippmann Music Equipment Expert
“If you live in an apartment and maybe want to play in the late evening, maybe an E-Drumset is for you.
You can almost anywhere at any time – except for the clacking on the rubber and mesh heads – drumming at any time of day or night and play the sound through the headphones.
Pay attention here – as well as with acoustic sets – to the expansion possibilities and listen to the sounds before, if they suit your taste. ”
At this point, of course, a portion of the vibration is damped by the support surface, but also transferred the vibration of the fur on the wood. Thus, one has a decisive influence on how the sound should be transmitted. An improperly crafted burr can greatly degrade the drum sound.
The burring of a kettle is essential for the resulting sound.
There are several types and forms that have become established:
The simple 45 ° burr ensures a relatively wide contact surface. The burr consists of an outwardly inwardly extending, sloping at 45 ° angle surface. Thus, in comparison with others, of course, more of the sound is muffled and the sound is a bit deeper.
The double 45 ° burring is slightly different. Here two surfaces fall from the middle of the edge at a 45 ° angle (reminiscent of a saddle roof). This shape provides a variable and open sound and is very often used today for boilers. This shape also makes it easier to tune the drums.
The rounded double 45 ° burr has a larger footprint and sounds duller accordingly. Basically, it looks like the double 45 ° burr, with the difference that the top of the saddleback is now rounded.
Another one of the many options is the Vintage Roundover Grating. This is like a long, outwardly arched semicircle. Here the surface is even bigger and the sound is very warm and full.
There are of course more variants. Basically you can remember:
Most basins today are made of a bronze alloy. But changing the mixing ratio of tin and copper can produce different bronze alloys with different properties.
The most widely used bronze alloy is the so-called B20 bronze. The tin content here is 20%. Cymbal manufacturers are always working on the mixing ratio and try to work in other metals in the search for new sounds. However, these procedures are kept secret and so we deal with and with the most common forms.
As soon as the proportion of tin in the bronze mixture exceeds 8%, the alloy is biphasic. What does that mean? Simply put, the mixture, such as the B20 bronze, is now limited in formability, making the manufacturing process difficult. The so-called malleable bronze has been designed to produce lighter and therefore cheaper cymbals, but to date, manufacturers have not been able to reproduce the sound of the original B20 bronze in them.
The advantages of the B8 bronze are not limited to the low price, but also to the resilience. This alloy is more robust and therefore suitable for music styles such as rock, where the pelvis are struck with more force. This is also an advantage for beginners. As a result, they do not run the risk of damaging an expensive pool due to incorrect play.
Two other alloys are brass and nickel silver. Both are in the production and the material cheap and therefore good for beginners. Brass basins are more subdued and warmer than bronze basins and are therefore not so popular. Proportionally, they consist of 38% zinc and 62% copper.
Nickel silver is an alloy of 12% nickel and copper. Also, this metal mixture is cheap and often found in beginners or less often in the high price range. In the latter one tries to create special sounds. The keynote of the Nickel Basin is very bright.
Create your own or buy a drum kit?
Once you are aware of all the limiting criteria and come to the decision that you are able to regularly practise on acoustic drums, you are faced with the question of whether you should buy a drum kit or the individual components should find out yourself.
Beginners will do well to buy a complete set of drums. Advanced Drummers can put together their own kit of components.
In the ideal world, you buy a drummer for life and thus avoid spending on the second or third acquisition. However, as a beginner, you first have to learn to understand the instrument in order to evaluate and evaluate the various offers that are available on the market.
That’s why it’s best to have a middle-class drum set for beginners. We do not recommend very cheap variants, as the quality here can greatly reduce the fun of playing.
How much does a drum set cost?
Cheapest sets you get from 150 euros, which does not speak for the high quality of the individual instruments and hardware. Also, look carefully to see if any components are missing.
Medium price sets you can find between 750 to 1,500 euros and should rather correspond to what one understands by quality. The premium products can be found at 2,000 to 3,000 euros. The recommendation, however, is: when you’re ready and you want to buy a really good (and expensive) drum kit, you’d better arrange one of them according to your own wishes.
Is playing the drums difficult?
When learning to play the drums, the learning curve is extremely steep at first, which means that you will be able to accompany a (pop) band within a very short time, provided you have the right tact.
But if you want to play not just pop, but also metal or jazz, it’s the same with the drums as with all the other instruments: once you’ve mastered it, a few years will come with thousands of hours of practice.
Do I have to tune my drums?
Beginners may be confused as they wonder how to tune a drum kit. The answer: do not worry about tuning the drums at the beginning.
Tuning the toms and snare becomes important when you want to record the drums and adjust the sounding frequencies to the tone of the piece. When you’re ready: there are many instructions on how to tune the drums on the internet. At first, this is less important.
However, you can play around with the stringing of the snare drum to shape the sound characteristics of the snare drum. The tighter you are, the brighter and clearer the sound becomes.
How do I learn drums most effectively?
The internet offers various possibilities here. It’s also not easy to assume that a private teacher is always the best option.
A good course of action is to take a good teacher, in the beginning, to learn the basics like posture and lifting technique. That way you do not develop annoying habits right from the start.
When the basics are in place, you can get on well for a while using Internet resources and then take private lessons as needed.
How to learn best is also an individual decision; For example, some people do not like being dictated to others, others wanting to be guided, and so on. So you have to figure that out for yourself a little bit.
Decision: Which types of drums are there and which ones are right for you?
If you decide to buy a drum set, you are faced with choosing which type of kit you prefer. Essentially, there are four main setups:
- Minimal Kits
- Fusion Kits
- Rock Kits
Each of these kits has been designed with different objectives in mind and offers certain advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Minimal Kits
The minimal kit consists solely of the groove-giving instruments. These include the bass drum (18-22 inches) for the low basic rhythm, the accented snare drum (14 “diameter x 5.5 or 6.5 inches deep) and the hi-hat.
A minimal kit is the smallest drums that are perfect for beginners because it has few components and is therefore cheap. Nevertheless, it fulfils the most important criteria that are important for a beginner.
- Forced additional purchase of pelvis and toms
- Stylistics strongly limited
With the Minimal Kit, you can train all basic rhythms from all genres of music. At the beginning, rhythm and coordination exercises are also the most important construction sites.
Another benefit of this set is that you can easily remove it. In addition, if necessary, you can also purchase a Floor Tom (for example, 16 inches) and a ride/crash cymbal. So you can possibly avoid double expenses – nevertheless, one is strongly limited with a minimal kit. Many drummers are known to say that what is actually most fun is the fills – mostly played on toms or cymbals.
So if you want to play the drums in the long term, you should definitely buy toms and additional cymbals.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Jazz Kits
The jazz kit/bebop kit also has a hanging tom (12 inches). Thus, it was and still is very compact and is very well suited for small stages and frequent transports.
It should also be noted that jazz should produce a filigree, accentuated style of playing. Therefore, the bass drum and all other boilers should have a relatively small depth, unlike normal or rock kits.
- Not an all-rounder
- Restrictions on different styles that require multiple toms, for example
This increases overall pitch, but more importantly, lower volume and higher pitch the shorter sustain, allowing a precise play. Also, the pelvis should be relatively thin and light, so you can play easier and more precise.
The relatively clear assessment of such kits: If you want to play jazz, you should get a jazz kit. Although you can play other genres on a jazz kit, if you want to play mainly other genres, you will not be satisfied with a jazz kit.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Fusion Kits
Probably the most widely used drum form is the so-called fusion kit. In addition to bass drums (20 – 22 inches), snare drum (14 inches x 5.5 inches or 14 inches x 6.5 inches), hi-hat cymbals and ride / crash cymbals, there are also two hanging toms (10 Inches and 12 inches) and floor toms (14 inches and / or 16 inches).
The idea behind Fusion kits is this:
To get more tonal variability and versatility in drum kits, many drummers have added three or even four toms to the drums. If you match these cleverly, the character of a drum set can be changed, strengthened, or highlighted. Remember “In the air tonight” – at least one Fusion Kit is required for such fills.
- Good quality can cost a lot here
- Big and unwieldy
- usually much louder than jazz or minimal kits
The toms in fill-ins, ie solo passages, transitional passages or improvisations, determine the following Timbre of the set. The assessment:
Advantages and Disadvantages of Rock Kits
Rock kits have a lot of pounding and loud sounds that are good enough to beat the other relatively loud instruments, and that they can accentuate the intensity of a rock song.
This effect is achieved with larger drums; Both depth and diameter of the drum are significantly higher. When a kettle is deeper (or longer), not only the volume but also the length of the sustain increases.
Longer-sounding drums also perform better and carry the sound, but unfortunately you have to make a fool of the attack. This sounds no longer as precise as the jazz kit. For rock drums, this is fine. In addition, the root note with deeper depth of the drum also gets deeper.
Basins are also more stable, heavier and thicker for rock kits. The reason for this is that, in contrast to jazz, the drums and cymbals are more heavily edited or struck in rock. Accordingly, they need to be stable enough to withstand the drummer’s enthusiasm in Rock Rush.
- The big drums are not perfect for every genre
- Priced at the top of the spectrum
- Big and unwieldy
Of course, the thicker cymbals will lose the wash effects that you would like to create in a crash cymbal, for example. It will also be harder to get the pelvis going at all, meaning that the stroke will not be smooth. Two other changes associated with thick cymbals are the stronger ping sound and longer sustain.
In detail, very large bass drums with a diameter of 24 to 26 inches are often used. Furthermore, even with 16 to 18 inches, the stave toms are slightly larger than normal. Rock sets with two Foottoms are also played. Another popular change in hard rock and metal is the use of two bass drums.
This Double Bass Drum Kit allows faster and more voluminous play. Contrary to expectations, this set originally comes from the jazz genre and has only later established itself in rock kits. Another way to play faster is a double foot pedal. With it, you can play a big drum with two rackets and two pedals at the same time.
Rock kits can do one thing really well: rock music. This is their strength, for which they have been developed. The hard and loud sound of such kits is not ideal for any genre. But if you like listening to rock music and want to develop your drumming skills in this direction, you should think about purchasing a rock kit.
Purchase criteria: These factors allow you to compare and rate drum kits
Especially for beginners, it’s difficult to judge if it’s a good or bad drum set. The quality of a drum kit is determined by the quality of the individual components. That means that you can get a high-quality snare in a set, but the bassdrum leaves a lot to be desired.
So it’s best to make an overall impression of the drum kit by evaluating the individual components in terms of processing, sound and playing style.
The bass drum consists of a wooden cauldron and a powerful impact and a thinner resonance head. The drum also includes the foot pedal, which translates the kick into a punch. Mostly you can find size ranges in diameter from 18 inches to 24 inches. Of course, there are exceptions.
When you hit the resonant head with the clapper, you should hear a deep, oppressive sound. It is also fairly compact and does not last long. By subsequently stretching a new (and better) resonant head, you can also turn up the sound here in retrospect. Of course, the sound is also affected by the pedal and the size of the bass drum. The bigger the bass drum, the lower the frequency.
Ideally, the kettle of the bass drum is made of solid wood. For most drum sets, this will certainly not be the case. Notice less the coat of the bass drum (this one can be easily retrofitted), but how the coat is clamped.
Does this mechanism last? What screws are used? Are these in simple plastic threads or is metal used? In addition, one should pay attention to the painting of the boiler and whether certain materials generally feel “cheap”.
The quality of the style of playing the bass drum is determined more by the quality of the pedal. Nevertheless, one should check which bass drum head is used, so you can make sure that you have to invest money for skins right after purchasing the drum kit.
The main function of the drums in a band is creating a basic rhythm that carries the band and together with the other instruments of the rhythm group (bass and keyboard) gives the supporting groove.
Directly in front of the drummer, in the centre of the drums is the snare drum. With beats on the second and fourth beats, she is another metronome that drives the groove forward. It stands out in terms of sound from the remaining cymbals and drums and is also used for accents.
The peculiarity of the sound is due to the mostly metallic snare-carpet, which gives the drum the characteristic rattling sound. Most snare drums are typically 10 inches to 14 inches in diameter by default.
The snare drum is the only element of the drum kit that can be made of metal (and not wood).
Most snare drums in drum sets are made of wood or steel; more expensive variants are made of bronze, copper or brass. At first, you should not worry too much about the nuances and just make sure that the overall processing quality of the snare is right.
The same applies here as with the bass drum: Check the clamping screws and the general quality of the painting. Are bumps visible? Are many parts made of plastic? These things can tell you how long your snare drum will last.
At least as important is the sound, whereby the sound can also be positively influenced with hindsight; for example, by using other collars, another coat, or a new snare rug.
So with the snare especially the clamping screws are important; be sure that they hold well and do not come off, otherwise the sound of the snare will change as you play.
Quality of Hihat
The hihat is next to the snare and the bass drum the most important element in your drum kit.
To the left of the player is the hi-hat machine, consisting of a stand, a foot pedal and two cymbals, which are held apart by a spring. The clash creates a chick sound. Depending on how far you remove the pelvis from each other, you can set accents in addition to the beat character using the sticks.
By default, like the Ride Cymbals, the Hi-Hat Cymbals are made of bronze, brass or nickel. The standard sizes here are between 8 inches to 16 inches in diameter.
The most important criterion here is that the pedal holds the hihat in the given position and does not slip anything. Because one chooses with certain intention how far one wants to open the hihat. In addition, the hihat is nothing special to note for the moment; because in an emergency you can also retrofit basins here.
Quality of TomToms
Hangover the bass drum and to the right of the drummer are the TomToms. There are deeper and larger stilt toms and smaller hanging toms. Together they are not there for the basic beat, but for accentuation and form the sound of the drum set.
How many toms you need depends on your taste. In standard sets, there are usually two smaller hanging toms and a larger stand tom. You also have a wood boiler and usually two skins.
For all elements other than kick, snare, and hi-hat, you can compromise on drum set buying. Because Tom’s and Crash Cymbals are played a lot less often. Apart from that, what is also true here with snare and bass drum: The quality of the screws and threads is particularly important so that a once stretched coat also keeps its pitch.
If you move lower priced, you should not expect too much from your toms; But that does not matter, because you can exchange them easily in the course of your drum career.
Cymbals are lighter and cheaper to retrofit than the bass drum or snare. That’s why you should not worry too much about these elements when you buy a complete drum set.
In addition to the hi-hat, a distinction is still essentially made between crash cymbals and ride cymbals.
Ride cymbals are usually located between the bass drum and the stomp right of the drummer. The rhythm is supported by its clear, defined sound. It is mounted on an often straight cymbal stand.
Ride cymbals can be found in ranges from 18 inches to 24 inches in diameter. In addition, they are often made of different bronze or brass alloys. The most popular and at the same time most elaborate is the B20 bronze. But this is also more sensitive than the cheaper, easier to vary and produce B8 bronze. That’s why the latter is better for beginners. Other materials are brass and nickel.
A rock kit is always accompanied by at least one crash cymbal. It is smaller than the ride cymbal and creates a washed-out, rushing, explosive sound that quickly fades away. The crash cymbal is mostly used for accents only.
A gallows stand is often used for this pool. Here are the sizes between 14 inches and 20 inches. The crash cymbals are also made of either high-grade B20 bronze or cheaper bronze, nickel or brass alloys.
Still, do not worry too much about Ride and Crash Cymbals at the beginning, and focus on making sure you get good bass and snare drum, as well as high quality hihat for your money.
The quality of the hardware is basically pretty easy to judge as it does not affect the sound of the kit. The hardware is needed to add stability to the drum set and ease handling. In addition to pedals and stands, these include all parts that hold the framework of instruments together.
When deciding what features to use, you should always ask yourself if you need to carry the drums often (for example, during performances). In this case, it is advisable to keep the weight relatively low.
But maybe you also have heavy cymbals or you’re playing with a lot of intensity (for example on rock tunes). Then you should bet on a stable and heavy hardware.
Each piece should be non-slip and adaptable to your playing style. This means that you can adjust the height, position, angle of attack, etc. Of course, these functions are also price dependent. More expensive models have simpler, easier-to-reach and multiple settings options, but even cheap hardware can do it.
Trivia: Facts worth knowing about drums
How can I record my drums?
If you’ve been playing drums for some time, it’s understandable if you want to record your game. It’s also a great way to reflect your game. In particular, playing and recording along with a metronome is a great practice method and has already exposed one or the other drummer.
For such purposes is already a single microphone what you can connect via USB to your computer. However, if you want high-quality drum recordings, you have to (unfortunately) dig a little deeper into your pocket.