The Beginners Guide to Buying Drums

The Beginners Guide to Buying Drums

The Beginners Guide to Buying Drums

How to choose the right starter drum kit, cymbals, drum accessories to bring out the best in your budding musician while maintaining your budget and sanity.

Sometimes parents who discover musical ability in their children have pleasant fantasies of their prodigy performing sweet-toned violin concertos or mellow classical guitar solos. But those fantasies are often shattered once those parents discover their offspring aren’t interested in such things—they want a drum set and nothing else will do!

In this guide we’ll walk you through the components that make up a drum set and highlight some beginner-friendly sets that are likely to make sense for your budget while thrilling than new drummer. We’ll also take a brief look at world and concert percussion instruments.

Drum set components

While most drum sets may look essentially similar to the untrained eye, there are significant differences among them in terms of their overall quality as well as the number of individual drums, cymbals and other percussion instruments they include. The average 11-year-old may likely have a “bigger-is-better” attitude and gravitate toward the big kits. But what are all those pieces, and which ones do you really need?

Kick, snare, hi-hat: the big three

These are three three basic components in any drum set. They provide the backbone of most drum rhythms, and are often the first to get upgraded as a musician progresses.

  • Bass Drum - The bass drum, also called a kick drum, is the biggest drum in the set. It is the one that stands on its side in the center of the drum set and is played with a foot pedal. It produces the deepest notes, usually the basic downbeats.
  • Snare Drum - The snare is the main drum in a set. It is mounted on a stand and positioned between the drummer’s knees, and produces a loud, sharp sound.
  • Hi-Hat - The hi-hat is a set of two cymbals positioned next to the snare drum. It’s played by clashing the cymbals together with a foot pedal and by hitting them with drumsticks.

Every drum kit will include a kick, snare, and hi-hat.


Toms, sometimes referred to as tom toms, are the other drums that make up the kit. They typically produce a hollow sound at various pitches depending on the size of the drum. Most drum sets have one or more suspended toms mounted on the top of the bass drum and sometimes called hanging toms. They also include a larger, deeper-sounding floor tom that’s mounted on its own stand placed on the floor.

  • High Tom - This is the smallest tom and is mounted over the bass drum, nearest the snare.
  • Mid Tom - The mid tom, if there is one, is also mounted over the bass drum, beside the high tom.
  • Floor Tom - The largest tom, it’s usually mounted on a stand positioned by the drummer’s leg.

The toms are usually positioned to create an arc, from the highest pitch near the snare and hi-hat to the lowest pitch on the outside of the kit. Two or three toms should be perfectly adequate for a beginner drummer.

Pearl Vision Birch Floor Tom

The Pearl Vision Birch Floor Tom is a standard-size floor tom that stands independently, like most floor toms, on three legs.

Some advanced drummers never add a mid tom, because they like a simple kit or because their musical style doesn’t require one. Other musical styles make consistent use of three different tom tones, and so those drummers insist on a mid tom and perhaps several more.


In addition to the hi-hats mentioned above, there are two common cymbals found in most starter drum kits.

  • Crash Cymbals - Crash cymbals come in a variety of sizes, and are usually mounted above the toms. They are usually the loudest cymbals in a kit.
  • Ride Cymbals - The ride cymbal is larger than the crash cymbal, and is generally suspended above or near the floor tom. It creates a more gentle sound “wash.”

A junior drum kit will usually include one or two generic cymbals. They are smaller—to fit the scaled size of the kit—and don’t have the sonic quality of full-sized cymbals, so they are often not specified as “crash” or “ride” cymbals.


Many starter-level drum kits include a throne, but be sure to double-check. Conventional chairs and office stools are too tall for a drum set, so if the kit you’re looking at doesn’t include a throne, you’ll want to pick up one. You’ll find a large assortment of drum thrones to suit any budget at Musician’s Friend.

Best junior drum sets for beginners

Pulse’s 3-Piece Deluxe Junior Drum Set is a great option for younger beginners. It‘s scaled to accommodate kids’ smaller frames appropriately, but it is built of rugged metal and sturdy poplar wood so it’s definitely not a toy. It comes complete, with a kick, snare, hi-hat, tom, a small ride cymbal, throne, and drumsticks—all at a very budget-friendly price.

Ludwig Junior Outfit Drum Set

A complete drum set on a smaller scale, the Ludwig Junior Outfit Drum Set brings Ludwig quality to a great beginner kit.

Ludwig is a big name in drums, and their Junior Outfit Drum Set adds step-up features not found in similar junior sets. In addition to a junior kick, snare, hi-hat, cymbal, and high tom; this kit adds a mounted tom and a floor tom, as well as a more substantial cymbal stand.

A step-up drum set for older players

If your new drummer is a teen, a full-sized starter set is a good place to begin. Drum diameters are similar to more advanced and expensive drum kits and overall quality is higher than that of junior sets.

ddrum D2 5-Piece Kit

A respected brand among drummers, ddrum’s D2 5-Piece Kit deliverers satisfying sound and feel and can serve budding drummers for many years as they develop their skills.

The D2 5-Piece Drum Set from ddrum is a very affordable set that includes everything necessary to begin playing straight out of the box. With its step-up hardware and deep-toned mahogany drum shells it can make a great introduction to drumming that will keep new players enthusiastic as they progress in their skills. The complement of three toms with a bass and snare together with all hardware, a throne, and 5 sets of sticks with a stick bag make this set a great value.

What about electronic drum kits?

As you start shopping, you will likely come across electronic drum kits.They are convenient for small rehearsal spaces because they can be played with headphones or at very quiet volumes. Electronic kits are sometimes useful in a studio setting because their sound is easier to control, and they can produce hundreds of drum, cymbal and percussion sounds.

While many experienced drummers prefer the natural sound and playability of an acoustic drum kit, electronic drums have the advantage of offering quiet or silent practice—a blessing for family members and neighbors. They do however usually cost more than starter acoustic drum sets.


The Yamaha Dtx 450 Session comes with a complete set of drum and cymbal pads, hardware, and a module that contains hundreds of drum and cymbal sounds plus an excellent learning mode for developing your skills.


Still unsure about getting them drums?

If you’re still unconvinced about getting junior a drum kit or hand percussion, consider this: Learning to play the drums improves a person’s sense of rhythm and coordination, and can provide a healthy outlet for frustration. Research also shows drumming encourages synchronous brain activity in which both hemispheres of the brain work together at the same time.

We’re here to help

Armed with a basic understanding of the different components of a standard drum kit, and a few examples of what you might be looking for, you’re ready to make a kid’s dream come true. If you still have questions about which drum kit is right for you, call Music Bliss at 016-3111 286 We will be happy to answer your questions and help find the right drum kit for you or your child.

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