Posted May 11, 2011 by Brian Jenkins - No Comments

How to Buy a Beginner Drum Set

How to Buy a Beginner Drum Set

Rocking out on a set of drums has always been a dream of yours, but the question is where to start? At first glance a drum set can seem intimidating, especially since there are so many different parts, but never fear they are not as complicated as they would seem. When purchasing a drum set, you have two different options. One option is to buy a drum kit, meaning that the pieces are already assembled, or the second option is to piece together a customized set.

Drum Kits

Typically, a drum kit will contain five main pieces: bass drum, snare drum, two tom toms, and one floor tom. The kit will also include: a cymbal, hi-hat, tom tom stands, bass drum pedals, and drum thrones. Essentially, a kit comes with all the basic pieces you would need to start playing the drums. A drum kit is a very good choice for the beginner drummer and for someone who doesn’t know what type of music they want to specialize in yet.


Customizing your drum set is when you pick out your specific pieces according to what type of sound you want to achieve or type of music you want to play. The components are the same as what you would get in a drum kit, but how many of each piece you get and the combination of pieces you choose is what makes this special. Since this will differ from person to person, lets go over the different pieces you have to choose from!

  • Bass drum: this is the big round drum that sits on the floor. You play this drum with foot pedal instead of hitting it with a stick. Typically, the bass drum is what you keep the beat with and it gives off a deeper, lower sound.
  • Snare drum: this is the main drum that you usually play. It typically sits right in front of you and it is what you use to hit the backbeats.
  • Toms: the tom toms come in several different sizes and can be used mounted or on the floor. Each size and type of mounting will give a different sound. Because of this, toms are typically used to “fill” in the sounds.
  • Cymbal: this usually refers to the ride cymbal. The ride cymbal is the largest cymbal and sits the highest and furthest toward the dominant hand. The ride cymbal gives a louder, more sustained sound when compared to the high hat.
  • Hi hat: the hi hat is made up of two smaller cymbals that is played by a foot pedal. The foot pedal causes the discs to hit together which causes a very open and closed sound.


Picking out a drum set, whether a preassembled kit or a customized set, should be a fun and enjoyable experience. Ultimately, you want to find the unit that is most comfortable for you because this is going to be your new prized possession that you can rock out on! Try going to a musical instrument store and play on some of the units, get comfortable with the different pieces so you can have a feel for what you want. Then, try discussing what you are looking for with your teacher; they may have some suggestions to lead you to the right choice. Remember through the process to always have fun. You are on your way to learning a new skill!