The 10 Best Drum Sets

Updated May 29, 2018 by Christopher Thomas

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We spent 40 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Few instruments are as historic and important to music as the drum. If you learn to play today, no matter what your favorite style is, you'll always find people to jam with and bands to join. So we've compared some of the top complete kits, from tight, three-piece jazz units to booming, rock-and-roll trap sets. All of these come with most of the components you need to start rocking out. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best drum set on Amazon.

10. Mendini MDS80

9. Gammon Percussion Complete

8. Yamaha Stage Custom

7. Pearl Roadshow

6. Ludwig Accent Drive

5. Ludwig USA Keystone

4. Tama Imperialstar

3. Gretsch Catalina Club

2. Pearl Export Series

1. Gretsch Catalina Maple

A Few Areas to Consider Before Buying a Drum Set

It's pretty obvious that drum sets vary in size depending on their layouts, and thus require adequate room to be placed. That being the case, you'll want to measure whatever space you have allocated for a drum set, and then compare that space to a drum set's square footage, and getting those specifications should be an easy task.

For traveling musicians, and especially bands, you may need to take similar precautions to ensure that a drum set will fit into the back of a van, bus, or the backseat of a car. You may also need to take note of a drum set's weight, especially in the event that you'll be carting that drum set several nights a week, from door to door.

Drums are no doubt an investment, and besides measuring out a specific space for them to nest, it's ideal to assess if maintenance is required for the pieces, prior to placement. Check for things like, bald tripod foot support, worn out heads, and built up dust. The more the drum set is cared after, the more likely it is to last longer. When everything looks squared away, place the bass drum in the center of your chosen spot, and build up around it with the other pieces. Ideally, you'll want your equipment to rest on tripods or four-point bases with rubber caps along each leg for better floor contact. Professional drum sets tend to connect the tom-toms to a bass drum, thereby increasing the overall center of mass.

If you happen to be buying a drum set for the first time, it's important to strike a balance between seeking out a (relatively inexpensive) beginner's set and seeking out a kit that can generate great sound. This may require some research, including listening to a handful of video demonstrations by way of a manufacturer's website. Once you've found a set that meets your needs, check to see whether that set comes with an adjustable stool. You cannot get very far on the drums if you don't have a place to sit down.

Several Little-Known Benefits Associated With The Drums

Playing the drums can provide you with a sense of rhythm, sure, but did you know that playing the drums can also provide you with a running list of ancillary benefits? Physically speaking, for example, learning to play the drums can help you to build strong forearms and biceps. Playing the drums can also channel your energy, a reality which has proven therapeutic for patients who are suffering from acute anxiety, attention deficit disorder, or similar symptoms of duress.

Playing the drums will likely enable you to understand sheet music and scales, both of which are based on mathematics. Playing the drums may also open the door to performing with a band, an ensemble, or perhaps even an orchestra, any of which can allow you to engage in a collaborative process that finds its roots in the ancient drum circles of old.

Biologically speaking, repetitive drumming catalyzes your white-blood-cell count, which, in turn, increases your body's immunity to disease. Focusing on the drums can also enhance your everyday cognitive skills, if not your IQ. In terms of rhythm, learning how to speed up a song's time signature can improve your ability to think on your feet.

Music, at its best, has the power to unite people, and to raise their spirits. Learning to play an instrument can provide you with access to that conversation, regardless of whether you aspire to play in the philharmonic, or you'd simply like to keep a beat in the garage.

A Brief History of The Drum

According to historians, early primates were the first beings to beat, or drum, their chests rhythmically as a way of establishing dominance, or communicating displeasure. This learned behavior is so rudimentary - and yet universal - that it is still practiced by apes throughout the world to this day.

While drumming as a concept dates back millions of years, the earliest man-made drum dates back to China around 5,000 BCE. This excavated drum - much like several similar drums that have been recovered from the ruins of Ancient India, Peru, Egypt, and Greece - was made from a cylindrical gourd that had been hollowed out, before being covered by an animal skin. A lot of these primitive drums were designed to be played not by wood, but by hand.

Whereas the Ancient Chinese were the first to use a drum during their marching exercises, the Ancient Romans were the first to use a drum as an instrument of war. Centurion drummers were enlisted to send coded messages across sprawling battlefields. These drummers were also enlisted to let civilians know whenever a military faction was about to enter, invade, or cross through a small town.

American Indians, by way of comparison, are known for using drums during their healing rituals. American Indians are also known for developing the drum circle as a means of encouraging community, while passing down the oral histories of their tribes.

The drum has evolved over the centuries as an instrument that is defined by different cultures. Bongo drums and conga drums have remained a prevalent part of many island cultures, giving birth to ska, and reggae, and calypso. American drum sets have incorporated elaborate kits, along with hi-hats and foot pedals, giving rise to the ramshackle sound of rock and roll, and blues, and jazz.

Today, a drummer could be anyone from a professional percussionist to a beach bum, busking for tips in the sand. As fate would have it, drumming is not only the oldest, but also the most accessible form of rhythm known to man.


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Last updated on May 29, 2018 by Christopher Thomas

A traveling chef, musician, and student of the English language, Chris can be found promoting facts and perfect copy around the globe, from dense urban centers to remote mountaintops. In his free time he revels in dispelling pseudoscience, while at night he dreams of modern technology, world peace, and the Oxford comma.


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