No matter what kind of music you listen to, the drummer will almost always be playing the most important role. The drum set’s many sounds cover all frequency ranges and the instrument forms the foundation on which the rest of the music is built. Not only does the drummer keep time, it is also the instrument that all other musicians lean against, keeping the music together.Drum sets on Amazon
On this page, I will tell you all about drum kits and I’ll show you the best drum kits on the market.
Top 5 Best Drum Kits
In the following I will show you some of the best drum sets on the market. Common to all of these drum kits is that the quality is really good while the prices are still reasonable. I have found and included junior drum kits as well as a rock, jazz and an all-round drum set. So there’s something for everyone – any genre and age.
Overall Winner: Best Drum Set Right Now
Best Beginner Drum Set
Best Drum Set for Intermediate & Advanced Players
Best Professional Drum Set
Best Drum Set for Kids
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Drum kit parts
The drum set consists of many different parts and it is up to the individual drummer to put together their ideal drum set. However, there are a number of standards parts which are normally included in a drum set. I’ll tell you more about this in the following. If you are unsure about anything I’m saying, refer to the picture to the right of the text for clarification.
The snare drum: The snare drum is often seen as the most important part of the drum set, as this gives the song its ‘back beat’. Snare drums are available in many different sizes and materials. The snare drum is one of the few elements that almost always included, no matter what drummer you are dealing with. Typically, it is the characteristic sound of the snare drum that defines the sound of the individual drummer, as it can be tuned in so many different ways and produce an almost infinite amount of sounds.
The bass drum: As the name suggests, the bass drum is the largest part of the drum set and is often referred to as the pulse of the music. Typically, the bass drum works in the particularly deep frequency range, but for some genres you can use smaller drums, which you tune higher, giving a different sound.
The tom-tom drums: Often just called ‘toms’, the number and size of the tom-toms is typically what separates one drum set from another. Many standard drum kits contain three tom-toms: two hanging tom-toms and one floor tom. However, it is pretty common to only play with one hanging tom-tom (either a mid-tom or a high-tom) and one floor-tom – this is the standard setup for drummers who play jazz or classic rock. That’s not to say that you can’t have five or even six tom-toms if you want. Only you imagination and the space you have at home or on stage is what sets these limits 🙂 The tom-toms have drumheads on both sides and the tonal relationship between these is particularly important, when tuning the drums, to get exactly the sound you want.
Cymbals: The cymbals can be as varied and versatile in size and character as the toms. They are available in very small sizes; starting from 8 “in diameter, they can easily come in sizes up to 24” in diameter. There are many different types of cymbals, and each of these types serves different purposes. The three most common cymbals included in virtually all drum kits, however, are the hi-hat cymbal, crash cymbal and ride cymbal.
Crash cymbal: This typically measures between 14 “and 20” in diameter, and these provide the explosive sound that is often used to start a new part of the song or to end a fill. Many drummers in hard genres, including hard rock, heavy metal and more extreme metal genres, often use the crash cymbal as a ride cymbal (see below) to give extra power to the sound of the song.
Ride Cymbals: These typically measure between 18 “and 22” and are often referred to as the “chorus cymbal”. The cymbal has got this name as it gives a higher and richer sound than a hi-hat. As a result, many drummers change from playing on the hi-hat to playing on the ride cymbal in the chorus of the song. Ride cymbals are produced in a very different way: some ride cymbals are thinner than others, so you can also use them as big crash cymbals. Others are very thick but, in turn, have a higher volume and are therefore better suited to certain types of music.
The hi-hat cymbal: This is often placed to the left of the snare drum (for right-handed drummers) and is often used to keep time. Unique to the hi-hat is how it is mounted on a special hi-hat stand, which allows you to operate it with the left foot. This makes it possible to still use the hi-hat, even if your hands are busy playing on the tom-toms or on the ride cymbal. The hi-hat is one of the most central parts of the drum set, and virtually all drummers have at least one hi-hat in their drum set.
Hardware: The hardware includes all stands, racks and other parts that are used to tune, position and support the parts in the drum set mentioned above. The hardware is often one of the most overlooked items, as many focus only on getting great cymbals or tom-toms. Therefore, the hardware is often overlooked because drummers forget its importance to the quality of the kit. A good set of hardware can make a world of difference. The stands should be able to hold heavy ride cymbals and stand firm, no matter how hard you play. Likewise, legs and tom-tom equipment must be able to hold the drums in place. Most hardware is produced in such a way that you can adjust both the height and angles on virtually all parts.back to menu ↑
Drum set size
Drums come in a multitude of sizes: tom-toms will often be between 8 ”and 18” in diameter, while bass drums are typically between 18 ”and 24” in diameter. Snare drums are typically either 13 “or 14″ in width and typically measure between 4″and 8” in depth. For rock music, you will typically use wide, deep drums to give a bigger, richer and deeper sound. Jazz drummers, however, often use small, compact drums. The deeper the drum, the longer it takes for the sound to reach the resonant drum head and back again; this means that deeper drums often have a slower response than shorter drums. Deep drums can thus provide a deeper, heavier sound but they will typically not have as high a volume as shallower drums. The drum’s width also has a great influence on the sound of the drum, as it increases the amount of air in the drum that the sound waves can push around without reducing the drum’s response. Broad drums also provide a deeper sound – it is up to the individual drummer to assess which sound is most appealing to them!Buy your acoustic drum set on Amazon back to menu ↑
Materials for drums
Over the years, producers have experimented with all kinds of materials, including acrylic, fiberglass and even concrete. But the vast majority of drums today are made out of either wood or metal. Most drum kits are made of wood and it is often only the snare drum that is made of metal. However, for some drum kits, all the tom-toms and the bass drum are made entirely of metal.
Most drums are made in several layers, with the inner layers having the greatest effect on sound: many manufacturers therefore produce drums with one type of wood in the middle and another type of wood as the outer layer, often for aesthetic reasons. Below are some of the most common materials:
Maple is one of the most popular woods to produce higher quality drums. The wood has a warm tone that enhances the developed frequencies, which makes maple drums particularly suitable for tuning them deeply.
Birch is a very dense and durable wood species. The tone is slightly more aggressive than that of maple, as birch also greatly enhances the high frequencies. This gives a more crisp sound with more impact. The amplified low frequencies thus provide a good balance that doesn’t shrink the sound.
Beech wood is not used so often, but the material has some special properties; it is as hard as birch, but the surface is more rough, and you can get a deeper sound out of beech drums. If you want the strength of birch, but keep the deep, warm sound of maple, beech is a good alternative.
Mahogany was once the standard material for the production of drums, but the expensive wood is, unfortunately, not so common anymore. Some manufacturers still offer mahogany drum kits but the material is far from being the industry standard. The tree has a very strong low-end which gives an extremely rich and warm tone, often associated with many vintage drums. Also, mahogany has a reinforced midrange, which gives the drums a little extra punch.
Poplar is relatively durable and has traditionally been used as “filling” between other layers in drums. Nowadays, poplar is often used to make drum kits for beginners, but this does not mean that it results in a bad sound. In terms of sound, poplar reminds most of a mixture of birch and maple, as they – both the high and low frequencies – are amplified slightly.
Steel has some of the most characteristic features as the sound is very light, has a long sustain and a very penetrating sound. Especially when playing rimshots. Many snare drums are made of steel precisely for the material’s ability to penetrate the sound wall of a live band. In addition, it is normal for beginner sets to include a steel drum, as they can often be produced cheaper than, for example, birch or maple.
Brass gives the same bright, crisp sound as steel, but with a slightly warmer tone as the material enhances the lower frequencies, giving the sound more bottom and balance.back to menu ↑
Drum set buying guide
When choosing a drum kit, it is important that you have an idea of what kind of music you want to play. There are no “laws” about which drums can be used for what, but if you want to play rock and want a large, rich sound, with lots of bottom and punch, you will probably be disappointed by buying a jazz set with an 18″ bass drum. The material of the drums obviously has a great influence on the sound, but it is, primarily, the drums’ respective sizes, as well as the way in which they have been tuned, that has the greatest effect on the sound.
Additionally, it is important to assess whether the set sizes provide a challenge in other ways: if you are out and buying junior’s first drum kit, it is usually a good idea to explore the possibilities of adjusting the angles and heights of the different parts. The vast majority of drum kits have hardware that allows you to easily adjust the angle of the drums, and the angle of the cymbals, as well as lower them if they are too high. It is, therefore, a good idea to check if the size will fit the child. Likewise, the lack of control over heights and angles can pose a problem if the drums cannot reach high enough, and therefore you don’t feel comfortable while playing.back to menu ↑
How to tune a drum set
Many are not aware of it, but drums must be tuned. Tuning drums is not as simple as tuning a guitar or bass. But there are tools that can be helpful if you do not have experience with it. You tune the drums to change the tone, making them higher or deeper. You can also remove the worst overtones (horrible ringing sounds) by tuning the drums. As previously mentioned, the tonal relationship between the top and bottom skin has a great influence on the sound and knowledge of this tonal relationship can give the drummer more control over their sound.
Sometimes tuning the drum set isn’t enough to get the sound you want and you may feel compelled to ‘dampen’ it to remove the overtones. There are several different DIY methods for damping drums. The most common type of attenuation is to put a pillow or a blanket into the bass drum, as most drummers want this to have a more short and punchy sound. However, the best results are often obtained by using products specially designed to dampen drums, like dampening gel pads.
Dampening is a trick that most drummers use to gain more control over the sound, but it is important that you do not dampen the drums too much, as this “suffocates” the sound. It is also important to remember that you can’t save badly manufactured drums simply by dampening them.back to menu ↑
Questions & advice
As always, you are more than welcome to get in touch by mail, live chat or by commenting on the site. We provide free, no-obligation advice when purchasing musical instruments. We usually respond to emails within a few hours and, if we are online on the live chat, you can get answers right away!