Have you always wanted to get into drumming but never actually gone ahead? Are you now looking for that all important first drum set? Maybe you’re a parent searching for a beginners drum set for your child and you’re overwhelmed by all of the options or simply looking for some beginner drum set reviews. Whatever category you fall into, choosing a starter drum kit can be confusing with all the brands claiming theirs is the best. To make matters worse, it’s not just brands you have to choose between and there are different materials and sizes you need to consider along with colors and finishes. Truly, it’s a minefield out there for the uninitiated. Here you’ll find some excellent information along with a few reviews and suggestions of sets to look at.
Gammon Percussion Battle Series
Ludwig Accent Drive 5 Piece Set
Pearl Road Show 5-piece Set
Yamaha Gigmaker 5-piece Standard Shell Pack
Mapex Mars Series 5 Piece
Websites, product listings and magazines etc. often use terminology that can be confusing. Before going into the reviews themselves, it’s worth clarifying a few things with regards to this.
First of all, the drums themselves. There’s the bass drum (or kick drum as it is often called), which is pedal operated by your foot, a snare drum, two ‘toms’ which are placed on stands, usually center and above the bass drum, and a floor ‘tom’ which has its own legs. You then have the cymbals which have their own stands. Most beginner sets will come with three cymbals – a crash, a ride, and a hi-hat. Finally, there’s what’s referred to as the hardware. This is all the stuff that completes the set, such as stands, clamps, and pedals. Again, most beginner sets include all the hardware that is required to get you going.
Finally, it’s important to be aware of the difference between a shell pack, a drum kit/set to avoid disappointment in ordering the wrong thing. Whilst a drum kit, or set, usually means that stands and cymbals are included, a shell pack means you will receive only the drums. No cymbals, stands or clamps etc.
So without further ado, you’ll find here a range of good beginner drum sets to meet a varying range of budgets, ordered in terms of price.
Rating: (4.5 / 5)
Priced at the lower end of the scale, this entry level drum set from Gammon gives all the basics required to get started with drumming. In terms of quality, it’s pretty reasonable with its price considered, but you shouldn’t expect earth shattering sound and very high-quality materials. What you do get though is the perfect entry point for a younger player and anyone who you think might not last much longer than 5 minutes. For everyone else, it’s still good enough to foster a real passion for drumming which can be built upon later with upgrades or a whole new set.
Inside the box is everything you need to get started.It’s the perfect option for a beginning drum set and it’s all full-size equipment too – there’s a 14” snare drum, 22” bass drum with pedal, a 16” floor standing tom as well as 12” and 13” mounted toms. Cymbals are included, too. There’re 12” hi-hats with stand and 14” crash/ride
cymbals with stands. You also get a throne, drum sticks and a drummer’s key along with a DVD offering a 60-minute lesson and an assembly guide, which is a nice added touch, especially for the complete novice!
Pros and Cons
Specifically marketed at the beginner and at the lower end of the scale, both in terms of price and quality, this is a starter drum set in every fashion. As with all budget kits, it will need a decent tune. Without it, most will find the sound a little tinny and lacking. In addition, the cymbals are fairly bad. They’re cheap and will need an upgrade if you want to persist with this kit. Overall, though, it’s a usable set that offers the perfect starting point for a beginner with decent durability and an excellent price.
Rating: (5 / 5)
Ludwig are a big name in drums coming into mainstream popularity through Ringo Starr of The Beatles, back in the 1960s. This is an entry into their range, so you won’t be getting professional grade equipment like Ringo used, but it represents an excellent starting point for a beginner and possibly one of the best complete beginner drum kits.
This is a full kit, so no need to hunt around for anything else. It includes a 22” kick drum with pedal, two toms (10” and 12”) a 14” snare along with the cymbals (13” hi-hats and 16” crash and rides). The drum shells themselves are made of 9-ply 8mm wood veneers such as basswood and poplar. Veneers are used to keep costs down, but still offer a good sound that tend to accentuate the low and mid range frequencies. Whilst this is Ludwig’s affordable series, it gives a great sound and variety of configurations that punches well above its weight and offers excellent quality that possibly deserves a much higher price tag.
Pros and Cons
All things considered, a good starter drum set for beginners, with everything needed to get you started. The shells are made from a good choice of materials and sound truly great with a little tuning. There’s very little negative to say about this kit with its price considered and it offers a level of quality often found in much more expensive kits. However, the cymbals are a bit of a let down but for this price and with all the quality packed into the shells, it was to be expected. That said, they’re good enough to start with and it is something that can be easily replaced if and when you decide to upgrade.
Rating: (4.5 / 5)
This may be one of Pearl’s entry level kits but don’t let that fool you. It offers excellent quality and a great place for a beginner drummer to start. That’s no surprise really either, as Pearl are considered to be the world leader in drums and percussion with a company ethos to provide the highest level of quality, function, durability and sound.
This is a full kit, consisting of everything needed to get going. That’s a 22” kick drum, two toms (one 10”, one 12”), a 16” floor tom, a 14” wood snare, two cymbals (14” hi-hat, 16” crash/rides). It also includes all the necessary hardware including sturdy double braced stands, pedals, throne and sticks. Everything is included in the box to get you started.
The drum shells are available in four different colors; charcoal, red, bronze and jet black and are made of 9 mm poplar that gives a satisfying sound. It’s a good overall kit that carries the name of a highly reputable brand in the drumming world.
Pros and Cons
As with most beginner kits, the cymbals are questionable and you’ll be looking to upgrade them at some point down the line. The throne isn’t great either, but for the price, you can hardly expect everything to be truly high quality. And that’s what the drums are… They’re well built with a decent sound that you’ll be happy with for a good while and with strong and sturdy hardware in the kit, you’re ready to rock.
Rating: (4.5 / 5)
Yamaha doesn’t really need an introduction. If it’s musical, they make it. From acoustic drums to electronic drums, trombones, pianos and much more, something that every piece of equipment they offer has in common is quality. With a wide range of products, they have a strong following of satisfied customers and something for every budget.
When everything is accounted for, the Gigmaker comes in somewhere around the middle of our suggestions in terms of price, but somewhere around the top in terms of quality and that speaks volumes!
As the description points out, this is a shell pack only, so you don’t get cymbals or hardware included. What you do get, however, is the quality associated with all Yamaha products and it is a real step up from many other entry level sets.
Consisting of a 20” bass drum, two mounted toms (one 10”, one 12”), a 14” floor tom and a 14” wood snare, each of the drum shells is made of basswood and poplar and use triple-flange steel hoops and professional quality lugs to ensure durability. Finish is outstanding, especially with its price considered, as is sound quality giving booming low notes and warm mid-tones. Throw in the necessary hardware and some cymbals and you will have a very high quality set for a very reasonable price that will inspire a beginner and enthuse an intermediate drummer alike. Without a doubt, of of the best drum sets for beginners.
Pros and Cons
Whilst not strictly a point to criticize, this is not a beginners set so to speak as it does not include everything you need to get you started. It is a shell pack and it only includes the drums. This is likely to put off a complete beginner or those looking to buy their child’s first set and this would be a real shame as the quality to price ratio is excellent with the Yamaha Gigmaker. Higher quality instruments will definitely increase the level of enjoyment you get from playing too so it’s well worth a looking into buying the hardware and cymbals separately. Doing so, you can create a very good drum set for beginners that offers the perfect basis for a new player to learn the basics but continue using for years to come.
Rating: (4 / 5)
Mapex isn’t really a household name and most people looking for a starter drum set will not have heard of them. However, they’re pretty big in the world of drumming with a strong following amongst drummers. They’ve been producing good quality drums since the early 1990’s and as time has gone on, the quality of their mid-range equipment has pushed the bar up across the whole industry. With this kit you get excellent attention to detail and an attractive looking design that just makes you want to run your fingers across it! Although it’s the most expensive option here, it’s not out of this world and it’s still a contender for being one of the best beginner drum sets purely because of its amazing quality in relation to price.
Featuring all the standard sized equipment, that’s a 22” bass drum, two stand-mounted toms (10” and 12”) a floor tom at 14” and a 14” snare. This shell pack is available in four different finishes that will fool everyone that doesn’t know otherwise into thinking it’s real wood when it is in fact a wrap. Not all drummers like wraps around the outside of the drum shell, but they do go some way into helping stop vibration.
Being a shell pack, like the Yamaha Gigmaker, hardware and cymbals aren’t included but don’t let that put you off. Quality is excellent and the sound from the 100% birch 6-ply drums is warm and impressively strong, especially for a set in this price range. With the necessary hardware and cymbals added, it pushes the price to the higher ranges of what is reasonable for most to spend on a first set, but it will be something you can play for a good while without the need of upgrading anything whatsoever!
Pros and Cons
In terms of price to quality ratio, this is an amazing set of drum shells. Good quality sound that will push other, much more expensive sets to their limits and really competes with even high-end sets! Being a shell pack can be viewed as both a good thing and a bad thing. For the complete novice it might seem a more difficult way of getting your first set as there’s still other things to buy separately, but on the plus side, it allows you to avoid the cheap cymbal sets that come with most full beginner sets. Bottom line: high quality, lots of features, excellent sound and all without breaking the bank!
Recommending a set completely depends on your budget and with drums, as with most things in life, you get what you pay for. While the low priced Gammon offers a usable starter drum set, it isn’t without it’s downsides and once you’ve mastered the basics you’ll likely find yourself wanting an upgrade. It’s a good option though if you’re on a strict budget and it’s one of the best cheap drum sets for beginners.
By moving your budget up, the Ludwig and Pearl kits both offer a substantial increase in quality, durability and sound quality. For anyone expecting to spend any considerable amount of time with their drums, they’re a sensible upgrade. Whilst certainly not the best drum sets they’re both one of the better drum sets for beginners.
Moving up the scale again brings us to the Yamaha and Mapex shell packs. It’s important to emphasize that you shouldn’t be scared by shell packs that don’t include hardware and cymbals. They can offer excellent quality and stop you paying for lower quality cymbals that you’ll only want to upgrade. If your budget can allow it, the Mapex Mars series, with it’s 100% birch shells gives an incredible strong sound that competes with expensive high-end sets.
Choosing only one as a ‘best starter drum set’ is difficult, but the award has to go to the Yamaha. Even once the cost of hardware and cymbals has been added on, it comes in at a fair price for a good drum set that will meet the basic needs of a beginner but offer durability and high sound quality for more experienced players.