Christmas – a guide to buying drums
Adding a new drum kit to your Christmas list this year? Or maybe you need some advice buying for your partner or family? Our guide steers you through the perils and pitfalls and tells you what you need to know to choose the perfect drum kit this Christmas.
What’s included in the box?
First of all, you’ll need to know what you’re getting with a drum kit. Whether electronic or acoustic, check what’s included, as you may not get everything you need – and it’ll be too late to sort out on Christmas Day:
Acoustic drum kits tend to come complete with drums and hardware (stands) only. If it’s a starter kit though, budget cymbals may be included
Electronic kits will usually come complete with drums (pads), cymbals and stand, but you’ll need to buy a kick drum (AKA bass drum) pedal, drum throne (AKA drum stool), headphones and possibly a hi-hat stand too
There are hardware and accessory packs available for use with electronic kits
Many retailers will sell a ‘complete’ package with electronic and acoustic drums, offering a saving when you buy it all together
Should I buy acoustic or electronic drums?
This is the big question. Generally speaking, the advice is to learn, play and practise regularly on both. Some drummers, for example, may have lessons on an acoustic kit, but practise on an electronic kit. But, drumming is drumming and learning the patterns, rudiments and techniques is the priority and both camps will offer this. Whatever you choose, there are pros and cons to consider:
An acoustic kit is usually larger than an electronic kit. If going from an electronic kit to an acoustic kit, the acoustic can seem much larger, especially for younger players. It’s good practice though, to learn how to set-up, tune and play an acoustic kit
There’s no hiding it, acoustic drums can be loud – which is part of the appeal. But noise damping pads are available to kill the noise as much as possible
The sound of an acoustic kit is what it is. In drumming, different musical styles require different drums, cymbals and tones. Experienced drummers will have a whole range of acoustic drums and cymbals that they can interchange for this reason
The acoustic playing experience can be great. When you know what you’re doing and how to tune and set up acoustic drums, the ‘feel’ for the drummer is fantastic and can be hard to replicate with an electronic kit
Electronic drum kits are smaller and more compact, which is a big advantage for playing at home. Some kits can even be packed away after use! But playing an acoustic kit can feel different and much bigger if an electronic kit is what you are used to
They’re also much quieter, another advantage in the home or where noise is to be minimised. But don’t be fooled into thinking all electronic drums are silent. Depending on the brand and budget, some can almost be as load to play as acoustic drums. Roland V-Drums are acknowledged by many as the best and quietest in the market.
Electronic kits have interchangeable sounds, essentially offering many kits in one. Roland V-Drums have hundreds of interchangeable drum, cymbal, effect and melodic sounds that can be swapped around and customised
Electronic kits have tools to help you improve. It’s important to regularly practise with music and a metronome (or click) to improve timing. Roland V-Drums take both to a new level with a range of ways to connect to music and specific tools to help improve timing and show your progress
I need QUIET drums. Which are quiet?
OK, so we drummers are a noisy lot. So if quiet is what you need, there are some solutions.
Generally speaking, electronic kits are quieter. But footboard/pedal noise on the floorboards is often hard to combat and the noise of the sticks hitting the pads can be louder with some kits
Roland V-Drums feature tension adjustable mesh heads and some of the quietest playing surfaces on the market. So for the drummer, it means a playing surface which looks and feels akin to an acoustic drum and is one of the quietest around