READ OUR BEGINNERS GUIDE TO DRUMS IF YOU WANT TO PLAY DRUMS BUT DON'T KNOW WHERE TO START, OR WANT TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ACOUSTIC, ELECTRONIC & HYBRID!
We've put together a handy Beginners Guide To Drums, so you can decide what's right for you - acoustic, electronic or hybrid drums. If you got rhythm and love a good beat, playing drums can be one of the most enjoyable experiences in your life!
Here's our drunk buying guide which we hope will help you discover what you need to know before you get started.
Drummers sometimes get a bad rap, and end up being the butt of endless drummer jokes. But this cliché is totally unfair. Sure, a lot of people think of Ringo as the least talented of The Beatles, but just try and imagine the Fab Four without him. Or The Police without Stewart Copeland. Or Metallica without Lars Ulrich. Or Rush without Neil Peart. Yeah, you get the idea...
In our opinion, a good drummer makes your band look good.
The drummer is the backbone that holds everything together, and we salute you here at PMT!
Good drummers know how important they are, and how hard it is for a band to find a great one! It's a truism that bands are only as good as their drummers, and talented drummers - more than guitarists, singers, keyboard players or bassists - will always be able to find a band to fit in, as they can turn their hand to different musical styles.
BENEFITS OF PLAYING DRUMS
Believe it or not but playing drums is actually good for your health!
A few years ago, researchers found out that playing drums for a band requires the stamina of a footballer. A study by Chichester University, in 2008, found out that playing for one hour at a gig could burn up to 600 calories. Blondie's drummer Clem Burke took part in the project, which showed that playing drums can be a great exercise and even help overweight people.
"It is clear that their fitness levels need to be outstanding - through monitoring Clem's performance in controlled conditions, we have been able to map the extraordinary stamina required by professional drummers" said one of the doctors leading the experiment. Watch the video:
HEALTH BENEFITS OF PLAYING DRUMS FOR CHILDREN
It's no wonder that the starter drum kits for children are very popular. For a few years now, it's been known that drumming is great for kids, for several reasons. According to a study at Chichester University, there are countless benefits to playing drums for children including:
- Drumming can help students grow academically; it can improve students' ability to concentrate and complement their studies in the arts, math, science, language arts, history & physical fitness.
- According to scientific research, playing music, and hence drumming and playing percussion, increases the development of various regions of the brain, including the corpus callosum, motor and auditory cortexes.
- Playing drums and rhythms can be an optimal experience and encourages participants of all ages to achieve flow.
- Drumming is a healing art and therefore it can give participants of any age a better sense of well being.
- Drumming increases body awareness & kinesthetic development; drumming helps students develop graceful coordination and self-control.
- Playing rhythms improves listening skills and increases children and teens' ability to focus for extended periods of time.
- In general, the increasing of rhythmic skills increases students' confidence.
Research has shown that children with special needs, including schoolchildren diagnosed with autism, can benefit from the positive effect of drumming experiences in many ways including social behaviour, grief, self-expression, self-esteem, group cohesion, depression, behavioural issues, bi-manual coordination, and more!
Mapex Tornado kits are great value (Pictured Left), with prices starting at under £400 (subject to change) making their kits the most affordable starter kits we sell. If you're on a budget then other musical instruments may offer a fun alternative for children to experiment with rhythm: Our selection of Percussion Instruments includes shakers, Tambourines and Cajons.
If you want to start playing the drums without disturbing the neighbours or want to get a kit that your child can play all day without making too much noise, then an electronic drum kit like the TOURTECH TT-16S Electronic Drum Kit is a great option as you can play in silence and just hear the drums through a set of headphones.
ACOUSTIC VS. ELECTRONIC DRUMS: WHICH DRUMKIT SHOULD I CHOOSE?
Which drum set should you choose? Digital or acoustic drums?
No beginners guide to drums would be complete without discussing the differences between electronic and acoustic drums. Both types of drums are great, and today's electronic drum kits can sound very realistic. There are different, distinct advantages to either, so the important thing is that you know how the kit will be used. Ask yourself these questions:
- Will the other people at home be annoyed by the noise caused by the drums? Are the neighbours likely to complain? If you answer YES, then you need an electronic drum kit.
- Do you have enough space for a drum kit? If YES, then an acoustic drum kit, but if you think you're short of space, then buying an electronic drum kit will be more convenient.
- Is the drum kit likely to be used for performing / gigs? If the answer is YES, then you have the difficult decision of choosing either as both an acoustic drum kit and electronic drum kit will work for both.
Years ago we would have said that acoustic drums are the best choice for pros and those who perform live, whereas electronic drums are the best choice for beginners and the more casual drummers who only play at home. However, the more high-end electronic drums by brands such as Roland are made for live use too, and many professionals use them. There are also many different budget-friendly versions of both styles.
We would say though, that live bands often use acoustic drums more so than electronic drums which is something to consider.
Also, these two types of drums are not mutually exclusive, and mixing acoustic with electronic drums is becoming increasingly popular, as we'll expand on the next point.
As part of our beginner's guide to drums, we have to talk about the benefits of hybrid drums!
Drummers are moving on with times, and a trend that's been getting more widespread now is to mix acoustic drum kits with electronic drums - creating the so-called Hybrid Drum-Kits. So, what's that all about?
Basically, your main drum-kit will still be the acoustic drums, but you then add extra electronic elements, such as Electronic Drum Pads, to have access to a wider palette of sounds, trigger samples etc! You can have a real drummer sounding like a TR-808, even! The possibilities are endless, and that's why a lot of pros are starting to go this route: from Coldplay to Reverend And The Makers, all the way to The who. If you already own an acoustic drum kit, adding some digital technology is definitely a very interesting option.
Check out how you can use hybrid drums below and read our guide to Hybrid Drums HERE.
If you prefer the look and feel of an acoustic kit, but you want the sonic capabilities of an electric drum kit the Roland VAD range, is also an incredible option.
View the possibilities that open up to you with a hybrid drum set up. As you can see, this is an acoustic kit with separate electrinic drum triggers and pads, creating a world of different noises and sounds.
CAN I SEE SOME EXAMPLES OF GREAT ACOUSTIC DRUM KITS?
You sure can!
Acoustic drum kits are great for many reasons: they are, after all, the real deal, so they obviously sound more natural - louder, warmer, crisper. Great for playing along in a band. They are also more adjustable, because you can buy and combine different cymbals, or expand your set up with more drum parts such as extra toms.
Acoustic drums are more dynamic and you can develop your own sound and style, by playing with different sticks, playing harder or softer.
FOR BEGINNER DRUMMERS
Beginners are well served with a good range of sub-£300 to sub -£400 5-piece drum-kits. Drum kits under £200 are usually junior models meant for kids, with smaller bass drums, which can be as small as 16" and won't last long should they want to keep at it.
As a good starting point we recommend the likes of the Mapex Tornado 5-Piece 22" Rock Fusion Burgundy Drum Kit as it features everything you need to get started in the world of drums, and provides a good quality sound and feel. Sound and feel is important as a positive playing experince encourages a positive learning experience, therefore you are more likely to stick with playing drums.
So if you're just starting out and SERIOUS about playing drums, try and get a good quality kit at the start of your drum journey - you'll be thankful you did.
FOR INTERMEDIATE DRUMMERS
If you can spend more, things get more interesting! There are quite a few Jazz-style drum-kits which are compact and cheaper, but can, of course, be used for rock'n'roll... after all, all of the early rock drummers (including the Rolling Stones' Charlie Watts and Cream's Ginger Baker) were originally Jazz drummers! Jazz kits are really not powerful or big enough for loud, heavy rock, but can be good for indie bands - at a quite affordable price!
The Mapex, Storm, Horizon and Mars series make great kits for teens, as do the Yamaha Rydeen series.
The Pearl Export series (pictured) is an industry-standard intermediate kit that won't need upgrading for a very long time.
FOR EXPERIENCED DRUMMERS
As is usually the case when you're talking about musical instruments, you get what you pay for - and when you buy a proper, expensive drum-kit, by brands such as Drum Workshop and British Drum Co, you can be sure it's a pro-quality kit made to withstand regular gigging.
CAN I SEE SOME EXAMPLES OF GREAT ELECTRONIC DRUM-KITS?
Absolutely! Fortunately, we have loads available all of which are great to learn, practice and perform with.
There are great reasons why to choose an electronic drum kit: they're lighter and more portable; they provide you with many different drum kit sounds; they can be played silently, by using headphones; and many models include metronomes and teaching features. Due to the ease of transportation, this type of drum kit is also a good option for session musicians. Today, the sound and feel of electronic drums are unbelievably realistic.
We've actually covered the best cheap electronic drum kits HERE, as well as the best electronic drum kits for live performance HERE, which we recommend checking out for more info. However, here are three great examples below:
FOR BEGINNER DRUMMERS
The Tourtech TT-12S Electronic Drum Kit Bundle is a very budget-friendly electronic drum kit ideal for beginners and players who need something to practice at home with. This is one of the best entry-level Electronic Drum Kits with a great range of sounds, quality pads and a built-in trainer. A set of drum sticks and stool are also included!
Check out the full range of Tourtech drums HERE.
The new range of TOURTECH electronic drum kits are some of our favourite electric drum kits ranging from as little as £199, to £399 for a professional level kit with mesh pads. Watch this video, which shows how realistic TOURTECH electronic drums sound, and also how suitable electronic drums are for kids, professional players and students alike:
FOR INTERMEDIATE DRUMMERS
The Yamaha DTX432K Electronic Drum Kit features 10 legendary drum kits and training functions plus newly developed drum pads, large cymbals and new silent kick unit.
This provides a very realistic feel for drummers who might want to make the transition from acoustic drums to electronic or vice versa.
FOR EXPERIENCED PLAYERS
Roland electronic drums are easily the leading name in electric drum kits. The Roland TD-27KV V-Drums Electronic Drum Kit is a great electronic drum kit for experienced players. The mesh heads provide a familiar feel to an acoustic and the TD-27 module is packed with an array of realistic sounds expertly sampled by Roland engineers.
Now you've decided on which style of kit that's best for you, it's worth noting that most kits don't come with a set of sticks or stool, so you need to purchase them separately.
Here's a quick list of Drum Accessories you may need.
- For Acoustic Drums: bass drum pedal, cymbal set, drum key
- For Electronic Drums: drum amplifier, drum module (for extra sounds), drum trigger
- For Both: Drum throne, drum sticks
You can view our blog on essential drum gifts and accessories HERE.
Shop a full range of drum gear, drum kits and more over at PMT Online today or call in to your local PMT store to speak to our drum experts today!