So you want to buy a Budget Drum-Kit!
Buying second hand is always where the potentially best deal is, but you can also get ripped off pretty easily unless you have a pretty good idea what stuff is worth - particularly replacement parts. Drum kits are a bit like cars in that the mark up on replacement parts is much much more than on a new kit, so you can often get a really cheap second hand kit that only needs a couple of things fixed, and it ends up costing a whole lot. So if you go second hand - then be prepared, or don't agree until you know the whole cost.
What I often advise my students to do, is to buy the real cheapo kit new from the local store and modify it a bit. To be honest most of what you get on a cheapo kit is pretty similar to what you get on one that costs thousands. Not the same of course, but in terms of value for money, much better, and pretty close in general. The actual drum shells, lugs and tensioning rods etc are in fact not of huge importance to the beginner drummer, as they don't play a large part in the production of the drum sounds relatively speaking. They also don't suffer wear and tear a great deal more than the more expensive versions. The thing to understand, is that what needs to be of a good quality is the parts that actually make the sounds - and the parts that take the wear and tear of movement or getting hit. So in short, buy the cheap kit BUT, in this order of importance make sure you replace the following parts with higher quality versions.
- SKINS - especially the top heads of the drums, the bottom heads are not nearly as important. Go with a thicker pin-stripe head or similar, and don't let the salesman tell you the ones that come with the kit are ok, because they have about 10% chance of being ok.
- Bass drum pedal - Doesn't have to be really expensive, just solid. The ones that come with pearl export kits are usually around the mark at any given time. (I think at the moment they ship with the P100 pedal)
- High-Hat stand - another moving part which suffers quickly if of a poor quality.
- General hardware - ie stands etc.
Always get better cymbals - don't even bother with cheaper ones. The aluminium alloy ones in particular sound crap and dent and split quickly. Make sure you get at least middle of the road bronze alloy ones. You generally won't need a drum kit with heaps of cymbals, but having the cymbals you do have, sound good and last well is important. If you can afford it, a good starting package is: a high-hat pair, a 20inch ride (dryer is probably better to start with, and a 16inch heavy to medium crash. If you can't afford that, still get the high-hats of course, but replace the other two with an 18inch crash/ride and get the other two later when you can afford them.
Now that you are getting a drum kit - discover the FASTEST way to learn to playing it properly!
written by Jim MCCarthy - 26/10/01
For more help on buying a drum kit you can email Jim.
Back to ARTICLES list