If you are buying a drum kit for the first time there are many things to look out for. Drum sets come with a wide variety of options to choose from.
Elephant Drums has put together this article to help answer the important questions when buying your first drum kit.
When to invest in buying a drum kit?
Here at Elephant Drums we’ve had drum students who have been learning drums for 3 or 4 years before deciding it’s the right time to buy their first drum kit. On the other hand, we’ve also had students that start with buying a drum kit and then come to us for drum lessons.
It boils down to two different types of personality… The first type of person wants to know they can reach a certain goal or level on the drums before committing to buying a drum kit. The second type of person wants to dive straight in with owning a drum kit in order to ensure that he/she stays committed to learning the drums.
There are of course other factors including cost and having space in your house to put the drums which will influence when you’ll be able to invest in a drum kit.
Noise and neighbours!
Is having a drum kit in your house going to cause a problem with the neighbours? That’s one of the biggest concerns for drum students thinking about buying a kit.
And there are 2 main solutions:
- Talk to the neighbours about your plans to buy a drum kit. Discuss possible times of day and the amount of time you’ll be playing your kit. Better to have them on-side from the beginning and you’re far less likely to receive complaints.
- Buy an electric drum kit (which you can play using headphones) rather than an acoustic drum kit. Or buy muffle pads for your acoustic drum kit.
Buying a drum kit shouldn’t be something you go out and buy without putting some research and thought into first. Kits can be expensive, noisy and large so really make sure you have thought about the practical implications.
Things to consider when buying for the first time: type, price and budget, number of drums needed, sound quality and what you’ll be using the kit for.
A situation you don’t want to find yourself in is paying hundreds of pounds for a very expensive quality drum kit only to see it gathering dust or becoming a clothes rack in the corner of your bedroom.
Buying a new drum kit guarantees that no one else has damaged it. There are many basic first time kits selling for around the £200 mark.
Budget kits are at a budget price for a reason so be aware of possible problems with going to the cheaper end of the spectrum. Cheap kits have thinner shells, use cheaper wood, have simple finishes and have weakened hardware than more expensive kits. Budget electronic kits might have some issues with triggering the intended sound (sometimes you’ll hear the drum you intended to hit and its neighbouring drum as well). None of these attributes mean that the kit is unplayable. Simply you get what you pay for – so prepare for anything that may need working on.
- New kits will be in top condition
- It will more than likely have a guarantee with it so if something does go wrong within the first few months you have it, it can be taken back to the shop you bought it from
- It will benefit from up-to-date technology and trends if a recent model
- It will be more expensive than if you bought something second hand
- It may not include all the necessary parts (cymbals, stool, hardware, pedals), therefore these items will need to be bought separately
- Cymbals, if included, may not be the best quality or the right sound for the drum kit you have just bought
Second hand kits are well worth considering when buying drums. If a drum kit has been maintained to a decent standard the only thing that will probably need some work on is the drum heads. Drum heads can be easily replaced. (See our Drum Kit Repairs article). Attention should also be given to the shells and hardware.
You don’t need get yourself worried or stressed about buying a second-hand drum kit. It should be an enjoyable and educational experience. Just ask yourself a few basic questions:
- Are the shells in good condition or chipped and dented?
- Is the metal hardware pitted/rusty or shiny/looking great?
- Was the kit stored in a warm and dry room or a cold and damp garage?
- The kit should be complete and may even include extras such as drum throne, sticks and learning resources
- The cymbals may have been upgraded
- You might get yourself a bargain and have something that would be double the price if bought new
- Some parts of the kit may show wear and tear and could be damaged
- You may have to pay out more if you need to get hardware replaced soon after purchase
- It may not perfectly match the description if bought online
Where to buy from
Elephant Drums has a number of drum stores around London where Elephant Drums students can get various discounts from on a number of things including new and second hand kits (see List below).
If your new kit comes packaged up and you are not sure where to start you can also get some help from our previous articles – including our Guide to setting up a drum kit.
You can also buy secondhand kits online (eBay and Gumtree etc) but here are some important points to remember when doing so:
• Most people won’t go to the efforts of posting drum kits so make sure you can go and collect.
• Always ask to see the kit before buying. Sometimes the kit can turn out differently to what was shown in the picture
• Make sure you look at all the points mentioned above. If you need to start buying new parts after a week you’ll find it much harder to get your money back than if you had bought it at a shop.
Elephant Drums Students Discounted Shops
Some useful contacts:
Below is a list of a few shops that we at Elephant Drums know about for buying new and second hand kits locally. We might add to this list from time to time, please feel free to contact us or write a comment at the bottom if you can recommend other shops.
Where discount offers are displayed these are only valid for current Elephant Drums students. Please speak to your teacher about picking up your student ID card. In most cases the discounts are valid in-store only.
Please note: we do not receive any commission from the shops listed and none of the places listed have paid to be featured in this guide.
Want us to feature some other shops here?
Let us know below…
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