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The cheap beginner drum kit

Posted by Andy Anderson on 14th November 2015

Drum Kit or Toy?

Its not often I get time to sit down and write a blog and when I do its normally in a coffee shop like Starbucks or Costa comprising of screaming babies with mothers chatting on about what such and such did at the weekend, however today I finally get some peace and quiet to write this little blog hopefully to help customers to make the right choice when making that big purchase for their first drum kit.

So with Christmas time approaching and lots of customers asking about certain brands of drum kits what to buy and what not to buy I thought I would write a few words to help some customers new to the world of drumming what to look for in a drum kit.

First and foremost the days of finding a cheap drum kit or a cheap second hand one are far and few. We do however have customers regularly coming into the shop looking for parts for the drum kits they found on eBay which need drum heads, parts, stands and cymbals, this is great for our business but not for the customer who ends up spending more than they should have, always be aware that bargain may not be the bargain you thought. 

Two things I would like talk about firstly the 'Toy' drum kits on the market and secondly looking at what to look for and what to look out for when buying secondhand drum kits.

The 'TOY' or Cheap Drum Kit

So whats a toy drum kit? i guess this is something within our industry that basically breaks within a couple of days or weeks and ends up in the corner of the bedroom in bits and interest in this wonderful instrument is not pursued.

Anyone at any age can start to play drums and we do get customers asking for a smaller drum kits for children. We recommend getting a smaller drum kit maybe a 16" or an 18" bass drum to start, the drum kits from the local Argos or Toys R Us are simply toys and will not take the beating a youngster will give it.

There are many drum kits on the market which are cheap imports which have had very little research and development these tend to be found in general music shops and also offer very little in the way of durability or spares when they develop problems. We have a website which buys drum kits and we see a lot of these cheap drum kits being sold off. The beginner drum kits (starter drum kits) which are branded, good quality and the ones to look out for are the Mapex Tornado drum kits, Pearl Roadshow drum kits, Mapex Horizon drum kits, Sonix drum kits, Yamaha Gig Maker and Ludwig all of these kits have brand history and have spares available and are the drum kits which will last the test of time.

So always try to go for the branded drum kit which will cost you a lot less in the long run, also bare in mind when you purchase ask about better drum heads (drum skins) as the original branded drum heads will serve you well if you ever part exchange the drum kit for a better model.

Arh second hand drum kits, good quality Premier drums, Gretsch, Rogers and the uncle Colin used to have an old Ludwig like Ringo's are all kits you may be told to buy..... These will come at a premium price as the old vintage drums are becoming more and more valuable if you find a good one. We are however talking about the cheaper beginner drum kit so here are a few pointers.

Remember if your looking for a second hand drum kit here's a few things to look out for.

  • What is the brand of drum kit and can you get spare parts?, most of the unknown brands simply do not supply spare parts.
  • Check the drum shells to ensure they are not out of round.
  • Check the bearing edges of the drums to ensure these are free from damage. Have bearing edges re cut can be an expensive ordeal.
  • Ensure that the threads on the drums and the stands are not cross threaded.
  • Replacing drum heads (drum skins) can be expensive so check if the drum heads have any life left in them. Good drum heads can make your drum kit sound totally different so ensure that the drum heads are of good quality, the American drum heads are generally the best to buy such as Remo drum heads or Evans drum heads.


Hope these few words help to ensure you make the right decision when purchasing your first drum kit be it new or second hand.

Our staff are always available to give impartial advice and help with any brands or used drum kits you may wish to purchase.

Thanks for reading ;-)