Buying your first drum set can be a daunting project, especially if you have little to no experience with the instrument. In addition to reading product reviews, getting recommendations from drum teachers, and talking to drummers who have been playing for a while, it’s a good idea to consider some of the following tips.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money.
There’s no reason to spend a fortune on new drums. Used drums usually work out fine. Broken drum heads are easily fixed (about $20 – $30 per head). Buy a complete four or maybe five piece set, including working hardware; keep in mind that you’ll eventually need to bring these to a gig, so don’t go crazy with a 7 piece kit. Bad bass drum and hi-hat pedals are expensive to replace, so pay close attention to those when shopping around.
Cymbals and Hardware
If the cymbals aren’t great, don’t worry about that. You can always upgrade those later – just be patient and wait for good deals on Craigslist or Reverb. The hardware is one aspect of buying your first drum set that needs a lot of attention. Make sure that the hi-hat stand is working properly, look at the lug nuts on the toms and kick drum, and take a good look at the snare wires and lever; everything should be nice and tight and not loose or starting to fall off.
Get a Second Opinion
If you have already picked a drum teacher, or are already taking drum lessons, have your teacher take a look at the drum set, if at all possible. Another option is have the seller play the drums while you take video with your phone and send that to your teacher. The audio won’t be great, but it will give him or her an idea of what they sound like.