Drums & Percussion Buying Guide
Purchasing Drums & Percussion Instruments
Consider the following when shopping for drums, drum sets and other percussion instruments:
- Shop for percussion instruments that suit the type of music you like or want to play. A djembe, for example, is less likely to be suited to rock music than a full drum kit.
- Think carefully about where you plan to use your drums and instruments before you make a choice. If you want a bongo set for busking, for example, you might wish to sacrifice tonal range for portability.
- Beginners should consider starting with uncomplicated, affordable instruments that enable them to grasp the fundamentals. This way you’ll get a clear idea of your appetite to learn before you make a big purchase.
Drum kits are a hugely popular choice among musicians of all ages and abilities. However, not all kits are the same. Be aware of the following options when making your choice:
- Choose a drum kit that contains, at the very least, a bass drum, a hi-hat and a snare. When shopping for beginner drum kits, look for sets that include a ride or crash cymbal and two or more tom drums.
- If your home has shared walls, or if you like to play after hours, consider an electric drum kit that will allow you to plug in a pair of headphones and let loose without disturbing the neighbours.
- Pay attention to the amount and types of accessories that are included with a drum kit. Purchasing a kit that comes with essentials like drum sticks and a drum throne, could be the most cost effective way to get everything you need.
Bongos & Djembes
Relatively easy to learn and affordable, bongos and djembes offer a great route into the world of percussion. Remember, though, that they take time to master so you could find yourself playing one for years to come.
- Most bongos are made from Siam Oak and water buffalo skin. This combination tends to produce rich bass and crisp high notes offering you the full range of sound. Synthetic alternatives are available but they may not produce the same results.
- When learning how to play the djembe, it is advisable to opt for one with a head that measures between 12" and 14" as this will allow you to discover and use the full range of notes. Smaller heads are likely to prove limiting.
- While it might be tempting to opt for the smallest, lightest instruments you can find, be aware that reducing the dimensions and opting for lightweight materials may affect range and tone. Try to strike a balance between portability and sound.
This is a wide and varied category that ranges from the triangle to the conga drums. The good news, however, is that this means there is an instrument for every need so you can find what’s right for you.
- If you are shopping for young kids or beginners, consider a percussion set. Affordable and varied, these kits include a handful of instruments that users can try as they get to grips with the fundamentals.
- Consider the length of time each playing session is likely to last when choosing handheld instruments. Half-moon shaped tambourines with ergonomic grips, for example, will be easier to use over an extended period than the circular equivalent.
- Certain percussion instruments combine their basic function with that of another for a richer sound. The beat created by a cajón with adjustable snares, for example, is closer to that of two instruments playing in time than one playing alone.
Drum and percussion accessories help you get more from the time you spend playing and learning your instrument. The following accessories could improve your experience:
- Not all drum sticks are the same. Each is classified with a number (usually between 2 and 7) and the letter S (street), B (band) or A (orchestra). Note, the higher the number, the thinner the stick. Beginners tend to favour a wider drum stick.
- A drum throne should be considered an essential as it can help you assume the correct position when seated at your kit. If possible, opt for a throne with a locking system so you can play without being distracted by changes in the seating position.
- Practise pads help you hone your skills while hardly making a sound. They offer realistic feedback and are a sensible investment for any budding drummer who plays after hours.
Record your latest creation with a microphone. Available with a variety of features like app compatibility, the latest mics mean it’s never been easier to capture music from home.
Music stands make it easy for you to see what’s coming up in the song you are playing. Lightweight and collapsible to a compact size, music stands can accompany you to any gig or practice session.
Connect your electric drum kit and equipment to an amp or computer by adding the right cables to your gear. Choose from an extensive range of cables and get what you need to make your music.