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Drum Buying Tips! Read This Before You Buy!

Ok so all that money you saved up from christmas/birthdays/9-5 job is finally burning a hole in your pocket. What better than to blow it on a drum set! Buying a drum set can be either a blessing or a burden, depending on your level of experience with drums. To the beginner buying a drum set can be very frustrating!

Picture this, your standing at your favorite music shop surrounded by drum sets, all made by different manufactures and name brand drums, all different shell combinations (what the drum is made of), and prices. This can make buying a drum set a daunting task for the beginner. Let me give you a few tips on what to do when getting a new kit.

1.Set a budget before you set off to get your new drums. Keep in mind that drum sets run from 200 dollars to thousands. Don’t shoot to low when buying a kit because it might take you longer to find that particular drum set for the price. Beginner drummers that are looking for an intermediate kit should set there budget in the 200-450 dollar price range. Intermediate drummers that are looking for a better kit should look to spend anywhere from 500-1200 dollars.

New Or Used:
2. Decide if you want a New kit or a Used kit. New kits at the store are cool because not only are they new (wink wink) but you can actually go and check them out and play on them! I would highly recommend buying new opposed to used. One reason is you might find a used kit on Ebay/or the internet somewhere for cheap, but you might not be getting exactly what you want because with purchases over the internet you cant necessarily go out and play on them and check the quality of the drums/hardware/cymbals before the big purchase. I would recommend only buying used drums at local music stores or pawn shops where you can actually go and beat on them for a while (plus you could even talk the price down even more, if your savvy enough).


3. Check out the drums “quality-wise”. If you are buying an introductory kit, simply check the hardware quality, pedal quality and cymbal quality. If you are buying an intermediate kit, do the same but ask about what wood the shell is made of and how many plys it is. The more plys of the wood in the shell means a thicker/bigger drum tone, and the opposite for smaller drum plys. The wood of the drum should not be some partial board composite either ;) Generally maple, birch and mahogany are common drum woods for intermediate/pro sets. Below are some guidelines to follow when checking the quality of the drums:

Cymbals – The first thing to check are for cracks/keyholing/dents/ripples. If there are any of these signs on the cymbals thats usually a bad sign.

Hi-hat stand – This should be your first piece of hardware you check. Make sure that the pedal works when depressed, and that the spring inside of the stand actually pushes the cymbal up when your foot lifts off the pedal.

Hardware – Check all the stands out, move the cymbal stands legs out and make sure that the stand is sturdy and that all the screws that tighten everything works great. Also check the kick drum pedal for damage. Usually a choppy sluggish feel in the kick drum pedal when depressed is a bad sign.

Drumheads – Make sure that the heads do not have huge dints or splits in them. Always check both sides of the drum too. The bottom heads are just as important as your top heads when it comes to the sound quality of the drum. Shells – Look inside the drum for extra holes that were drilled in the drum for extra clamps, this is usually not a good thing. Check the outside of the drum on the finish for cracks/bubbling/fading on the drum, these are signs that the drums were not treated well.

Hopefully this guide will help you out on your big purchase this year! Remember to have fun when you go out there buying drums! Get out there and beat on them, check the hardware/cymbals and always try to talk the price down :D

About zildjianmatt

An avid drummer, educator and author on all things drums!

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