Choosing a drum kit

Billy Cunningham

May 1, 2019

Welcome to the April edition of the SDS monthly blog. There are number of questions/issues I tend to discuss with students over the course of the year and I’m going to try to address these over the next few issues of my blog.

This month I’m going to feature ‘Choosing a drum kit’. There are many different aspects to consider and drum kits range massively in quality and price. This blog will break down the pros and cons of your different drum kit options.

Acoustic or Electric?

The first decision to come to is whether you would like an acoustic or electric drum kit. There are pros and cons of both. Also consider the level of the kit you are looking for (entry level, intermediate, advance/professional) and the budget you have. Let’s first look at the main differences.

Acoustic drum kits

Acoustic drums are the real thing so the feel and sound may not be the same on an electric kit. The authentic sound and volume of the acoustic drum kit is fun to play on and is one of the main attractions to drumming. I think it is also beneficial to become familiar with the general size of the acoustic kit and the physical spacing between the drums. Some electric kits are a lot more compact so playing from an electric kit to an acoustic can be off-putting in terms of the differences in size. Bear in mind that further down the line in your drumming development, an acoustic kit will be more appropriate to playing live in a band rehearsal or concert, an electric kit may not be suitable to the style of music your playing.

The downside to acoustic drums is the volume of the drums may not be compatible with family life or the neighbours! That said may be an agreement could be made with certain hours of the day for practise. There are also silencer pads available made of heavy rubber to reduce the volume for quieter practise but these have an impact on feel and are possibly less enjoyable. Because of the physical size of the acoustic drums there may not be space in the house, although there are smaller acoustic kits available too. Lastly drums are loud so I would consider some ear protection as well, which is an extra expense.

Electric drum kits

Electric drum kits vary in quality and price as much as acoustic drum kits. The main advantage of the electric kit is the ability to practise at a low volume and even with headphones. Electric kits are hugely popular for this reason and are great for practise. The feel will not always be the same as acoustic kits but the electric kits available at a professional level are getting closer and closer to the real thing, but can come with high price tag at a whopping £5k+! If you’re interested in an electric kit, don’t panic there are many reasonably priced entry level kits on the market too. However consider that an electric kit may need some electronic repairs from time to time or need a connection/lead replacement.

Pros and Cons

I have summarised the main pros and cons below.

Acoustic drum kit

-Authentic sound
-Familiar size/spacing between drums
-More fun
-Can use live (band/rehearsal etc)
-Can use silencer pads

-Loud (family/neighbours may be effected)
-Bigger, takes up space
-Consider ear protection

Electric drum kit

-Low volume, can play with headphones
-Tend to be smaller, takes up less space

-Feels/sounds different to the electric kit
-Electrics may need maintenance/repair
-Less suitable for live playing (band/rehearsals etc)

In terms of budget available and level of kit are you looking for (entry-level, intermediate etc), there is a huge selection of brands and models available on the market which can be overwhelming so if you would like some further assistance please get in touch.

The leading brands of electric drum kits are Roland and Yamaha. Some electric kits have a trigger pedal for both the hi-hat and bass drum. I would recommend an electric kit with a real bass drum pedal and the more advanced electric kits come with a real hi-hat stand too.

There are many brands of acoustic drum kits to consider including Pearl, Premier, Yamaha, DW, Sonor, Gretsch, Mapex, Ludwig and Tama. All these acoustic brands also do entry level kits all the way through to professional models. These well known brands make well-built drum kits that are designed to last longer than the more budget brands.


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So I hope that this has been some help in choosing a drum kit. If you would like some assistance in this please get in touch.

Have a great time drumming!