Beginners Guide to Buying Drums and Drum Kits
Buying a beginners drum kit is not as hard as it may seem at first. Drum kits can essentially be split in to two types: acoustic and electronic, with both having their advantages when you’re first learning to play. Many players now favour an electronic kit for their first choice, especially because they’re near-silent when used with headphones and many offer a range of built-in practice tools. If your mind is set on an acoustic kit then don’t worry, as we offer some great beginner acoustic drum kits.
Beginner Electronic Drum Kits
Electric drum kits normally consist of a set of pads rather than drum shells. As a result they don’t make the same noise when you hit them. All of the drum sounds are generated by a drum brain that is linked to all the various pads, and because all the sounds are created electronically you will be able to hear far more than the sound of just one drum kit.
They are ideal for practice using a set of headphones, they are virtually silent compared to an acoustic kit, and are much smaller, lighter, and easier to move around a small room. However, if you plug them into a dedicated drum amplifier they sound enormous!
We stock a huge selection of digital kits, from brands such as Yamaha, Alesis and the full range of Roland V-Drums. This encompasses everything from the entry-level Roland TD-1, through to the flagship, professional TD-50kv. Here are our top recommendations if you’re looking for a starter drum kit.
- Alesis DM Lite
- Yamaha DTX400K
- Roland TD-1K
- Mirage JDK Junior Drum Kit
- Mirage Raven Drum Kit
One of our most popular beginner drum kits is the Alesis DM Lite, with good reason! Although it’s designed to be a great first kit whilst also being one of the most affordable on the market there are still some extra features on-board. One of the most notable of these are the LED illuminated pads which, when used to enhance the built-in learning functions, come in extremely handy. Another thing we find beginners love about this kit is that the rack on which the pads sit is pre-built, meaning initial set up is quick and simple so you can get playing straight away!
Whilst you’re playing the kit you’ll be treated to a choice of 10 built-in drum kits with different sounds assigned to the relevant pads on each one, meaning you can use the DM Lite to play in a range of musical styles with ease. You can then output this sound to the gear of your choice: either plug in a set of headphones to the dedicated 1/8″ headphone out, just like you find on most smartphones or mp3 players, or plug in to an amplifer or PA system using the 1/4″ outputs. You can even connect a music player to the kits module using one of these cables so you can play along with your favourite songs! Overall this is a great first kit, with a range of features that will make learning to play the drums even more enjoyable whilst making sure you don’t annoy the neighbours!
The DTX400K kit by well-known musical instrument company Yamaha offers some features from their excellent line of professional digital drum kits, including newly designed drum pads, as well as sounds sampled from the Yamaha acoustic drums range, also known for being a top professional choice. This kit is built around an easy to use “module”, where you choose the current settings and also plug everything in. With a simple set of dedicated buttons for settings like current kit selection, volume control and access to the on-board training functions, you’ve got no hard-to-understand menus to deal with here!
There are 10 kits built in to the Yamaha DTX400K but all of them are customisable. This means that you can replace each of the individual drum sounds with any of the other 169 drum sounds that are built-in to the kit. This is a great feature if you’re looking to create an individual sound and will really come in useful as you develop your playing with a unique style. You also get USB connectivity, alongside a dual use stereo headphone/main output which you can use for silent or amplified playing (when used with an amplifier).
The Roland V-Drum range is widely regarded as the cream of the crop when it comes to digital drums. The TD-1 gives beginners a taste of the V-Drum range at a great price, with features taken form the much more expensive, professional range of kits. The kit is built on a compact and ergonomic stand which is perfect for use in the home and even lets you adjust the height of the pads, making it great for beginners of any age. The pads and cymbals have been created using three decades of expertise to create a responsive playing surface with excellent durability and advanced features such as cymbal choke and enhanced nuances on the hi-hat.
You get 15 kits built-in, including acoustic and electronic sounds, so a great range of musicial styles are catered for with professional sounds that are easy to switch between. The module is also extremely easy to use, letting you access the kits and the built-in coach function at the touch of a button. When you look to output your sound you’ll be happy to find a 1/8″ headphone/main output, a mix in for playing along with your favourite songs and a USB output which can send note data to your favourite recording software. The Roland TD-1K is built to grow with you as a player so there are plenty of upgrades available including extra cymbals and upgraded pads, some of which are pre-installed on the TD-1KV model.
Beginner Acoustic Drum Kits
Acoustic drum kits come in a range of brands, sizes and colours, but normally consist of a bass drum, a snare drum, up to three tom-toms plus cymbals and hi-hats. This configuration is often referred to as a ‘five-piece’ kit. Younger beginners may find it difficult to play a full size drum kit, so especially for the smaller musician it is possible to buy junior sets.
A good starter kit will normally include all the drums, a set of sticks and a stool. It is worth considering at this point that acoustic drums are naturally loud, and depending on where you live it might be worth investing in a set of silencers. These are pads that sit over the drum skins, and while they don’t take away all of the sound they will make it much more pleasant for your neighbours! Here are our top beginner acoustic drum kits…
This Mirage junior drum kit is ideal for beginners and is made for young drummers between the ages of 4 and 8, anything older than that and it becomes worth investing in a full size kit. This acoustic kit is well made, easy to assemble (watch our video here) and makes for a great practice tool for budding drummers. This 5-piece kit consists of a bass drum, snare, two rack toms, one floor tom, a crash cymbal with integrated stand and a hi-hat with stand. This set-up lets the young drummer start playing all of their favourite songs with ease, as it’s basically a full-size professional kit, but smaller!
Our full-size choice for those new to an acoustic kit, the Mirage Raven offers amazing value for money if you’re just starting out. A 5-piece kit featuring a 22 inch bass drum, snare, two rack toms, a floor tom, crash cymbal and hi-hat, the Raven has all of the stands and pedals you need as well as a pair of sticks and a drum stool. Truly everything you need to start playing!
The main drum shells are made using 6-ply with a PVC coating giving the drums a stylish and sleek black finish. The rims of the drums also have a black finish, making the whole kit look tidy and professional.