Drum kits, we've all seen one and we've all wanted one. Nothing in the world of musical instruments is quite as cool, or as mysterious as the drum kit, and that's why you're here! But how do you choose a drum kit when you know next to nothing about them? Well that's why we're here!
We've written this handy guide to help take the stress out of purchasing a drum kit, because music isn't supposed to be a chore!
Let's get started with a few drum related key terms which will help you navigate the world of percussion.
- Heads - Drum heads or "skins" were traditionally made from animal hide, although now polymers are used. Drums on modern drum kits have two individual heads; a "batter" head which is struck, and a resonator head which helps the drum sustain it's sound and project volume.
- Shells - Drum shells are the body of the drum and are generally made from specific tone woods, but can also be made from metal or acrylic.
- Lugs - Lugs are used to tune each drum head to your desired pitch.
- Hardware - Refers to the various stands, pedals and lugs which are used for tuning, playing and supporting your drum kit.
- Bass drum - The bass drum or "kick" drum is the largest drum in a kit, and is played using a foot pedal.
- Snare drum - The snare drum features a row a thin metal wires which give this drum its distinctive "crack" sound.
- Tom-Tom drum - Tom-toms or "toms" come in a range of size, and a standard five-piece drum kit will feature three toms; a floor tom and two rack mounted toms.
Now you're a bit more familiar with some of the drum world's lingo, let's look at how to choose a drum kit!
Drum kits are produced in a range of different sizes for a range of different musical styles, but for now, let's just worry about size. So, first things first, to choose a drum kit you need to consider who'll be playing it and which size kit will best suit their needs.
The best place to start when choosing a drum kit is the drummer's height. For anyone below 135cms a smaller "junior" kit is recommended, and for anyone above 135cms a full size kit is the way to go.
Drum kit sizes can also be broken down by age group.
For young children up to the age of five years old, a three-piece "junior" kit is recommended. Three-piece "junior" kits are generally played while standing and are a great way to introduce very young children to the world of percussion.
For children over the age of five we recommend a five-piece "junior", or mid-sized "middy" drum kit. These smaller sized drum kits allow kids up to the age of nine to sit comfortably behind the kit, and allowing them to easily reach every part of the kit.
The reason we recommend a five-piece drum kit is because they have become the industry standard due to their sonic flexibility. This added flexibility means drummers can play a large array of popular music styles, without sacrificing any more space than a four-piece drum kit.
For children nine years and over, as well as for all teenagers and adults, we recommend a five-piece full sized drum kit.
As we discussed previously, five-piece drum kits are more flexible musically. This is a significant advantage when learning a new instrument, as it gives the student greater musical freedom.
Sonic Drive five-piece rock kit
When choosing a full sized drum kit it's important to be aware of the sonic difference between kit styles. The most common styles of drum kits are "rock" and "fusion" kits. These kits have small differences in drum sizes which significantly impact of the kit's overall sound.
The size of a drum defines its frequency characteristics and volume. As the drum size increases, so does the drums mid-range or bass response. Quite simply, larger drums are louder and have a deeper sound than smaller drums.
Rock kits will generally have larger toms and a shorter bass drum, where as fusion kits feature a longer bass drum; this additional length gives the drum more resonance. Fusion kits also usually come with smaller toms than rock kits.
Fusion kits are popular with musicians who prefer the extra clarity of higher pitched drums, where as rock kits are the go to kit for musicians looking for a louder kit with a beefier sound.
So, those are the basics of choosing a drum kit! All of the kits we stock here at Muso City come with all the hardware you need to get drumming straight away.
Stay tuned for our guide on setting up your drum kit, coming soon!
And remember, if you're still unclear about which drum kit would best suit you, a family member or a friend; give us a call, shoot us an email or just drop by anytime!