Drum sets have come a long way since they were first found back in the late 1800s. Before the inception of what we now think of as a drum set, multiple musicians would play different drums as part of a group. Crazy. Nowadays things are a lot more advanced and it’s possible to get yourself a good cheap drum set (that you can play without your friends). If you’re looking for your first drum set, cheap might be an important word. Likewise, if you’re looking for a cheap drum set as a gift for a youngster, you’ve come to the right place.
Gammon Percussion XL1
Gammon Percussion Battle Series
Best Choice Products 5 Piece Set
Whilst listed as an ‘adult’ set, there’s no reason it can’t be just as good for a younger person. Gammon have been making cheap drum kits for years and the quality you get for the price you pay is very good. However, this particular set is let down in a couple of areas though.
Everything is included in the set that you need with nothing else to buy. That’s all 5 drum shells, drum heads, the cymbals (12” hi-hat and 14” crash/ride) and hi-hat stands, a cushioned stool (or throne), drum key, drum sticks and bass drum pedal. This particular set is finished in a high gloss black, but the XL1 set is available in blue, red and green too (at varying prices).
It’s of decent quality and contains everything you need to get you started, from the drum shells themselves to the stool and drum sticks which makes it great for a first drum set. It’s certainly one of the better cheap drum sets under 200 and comes with a full featured warranty and a list of replacement parts available.
There’s also a DVD included which contains a 60-minute lesson and detailed instructions for assembly. On the other hand, though, the drum heads are of average quality. For a beginner, they’re just fine, but after gaining a bit of experience you’ll either want to replace them or upgrade completely. Finally, as with any drum set, it will need some decent tuning and out of the box it won’t sound perfect.
Priced competitively for a beginners set but at the same time being very durable, it represents a good enough level of quality for those with more demanding needs. Viewed in those terms, it offers great value and a clear step up from the XL1.
In addition to being durable, it comes with everything someone just starting out in the drumming world could need. There’s a snare drum, bass drum with pedal, a floor tom as well as small and mid mount toms, a hi-hat cymbal with stand and crash/ride cymbals with stands. You also get a throne, drum sticks and a drummer’s key along with a DVD offering a lesson and a guide for assembly.
The higher level of durability over the XL1 is an important factor to consider. At a fractionally higher price, it represents good value when seen as a longer term investment. This kit is not only for beginners, though and more experienced drummers could make use of the equipment here. As with all budget kits, it will need a decent tune. Without it, more experienced musicians will find the sound lacking. In addition, the cymbals aren’t great. They’re cheap drum cymbals that will need an upgrade if you want to persist with this kit. Overall though, one of the better cheap drum kits around and represents the perfect starting point for a beginner with good durability and a reasonable price.
Priced somewhere in between the previous two kits, this set from Best Choice Products offers another fairly priced full size beginner set. It’s of decent build quality and contains everything in the box needed to get you going but there are concerns with durability that make giving it a seal of approval difficult, especially when comparing it to some of the alternatives at similar or slightly higher prices.
As with the other kits, there’s 5 drum shells and two cymbals, all the required stands, the throne, drum keys and sticks and is finished in the same high gloss black.
Sound from the drums is as good as the other kits reviewed, although, as with the others, it would definitely benefit from a good tune. A good price for a beginners set, however, this is a cheap drum kit in every essence and it shows. Assembly instructions are included in the box, but they’re pretty uninformative. If this was the only downfall, it wouldn’t be a problem as it’s fairly easy to find a good assembly guide online. Unfortunately, the quality is a bit of a let down though.
The drum heads are fairly weak and will get get beaten up pretty quickly with standard 5a or 5b sticks. In addition, the cymbals aren’t the best. Whilst replacing drum heads isn’t a huge task, it represents an unnecessary worry for the beginner that can be avoided with one of the other kits, at least in the short term.
Finding cheap drum kits is an easy task and there are plenty of companies around that are ready to take your money. Finding the right mix of price to performance is a little bit trickier though. Cheap snare drums or cymbals can ruin the experience so it’s important to find something worthwhile. Gammon Percussion have been producing budget based kits for some time and whilst you won’t find any cheap drum sets under 100 in their line up, what you do get for a little bit more money is worth the extra outlay. Their battle series drum kits offer durability and quality that you wont find in many other cheap drum kits. Solidly built with a fair price tag make it a winner for the beginner and intermediate drummer alike.