Which acoustic drums should I choose?
In recent years, there has been a growing range of acoustic drums on the market, at ever more affordable prices. We will try to enlighten you so that you can find a first drum set according to your budget, but above all, your expectations.
Choosing an acoustic drum kit instead of an electronic drum kit will always be the best choice to get real playing experience. However, a lot has to be done correctly to make the most of your instrument; otherwise your dream will turn into a nightmare. The acoustic drums are a very noisy and bulky instrument. If you do not live in a house, or do not have access to an isolated room (cellar, basement, soundproofed room...) or any other place where noise can be accommodated, it is advised to go instead with an electronic battery, otherwise you will not be able to practice in good conditions and see your progress slow down at the same time as you lose your motivation.
How much cost an acoustic drum kit?
One can now find complete kits of acoustic drums from 200€. These prices can rise up to several thousand euros for the most advanced models or/and built in more noble materials. It is not necessary to start with a high-end kit, but to start without spending too much money, you can focus on the entry/mid-level price ranges, i. e. kits for less than 1,000€.
For those with a very tight budget, choose a set of entry-level products ranging from 300€ and 400€, such as Mapex acoustic drums for example. The full drum kits are generally composed of a set of 5 drums, accessories, and cymbals. These kits are just sturdy enough to allow you to train, but would not stand up to repeated assembling and dismantling.
A good value for money would be between 500€ and 700€, where we will find sets distributed by renowned brands such as Pearl, Tama or Yamaha which, thanks to their experience and know-how, offer products that perfectly meet the requirements of beginners. PEARL Forum acoustic drums, TAMA Imperial Star or YAMAHA Gigmaker are good examples. Here again the sets are composed of a kit of 5 casks in fusion, of different diameters (20,10,12 and 14 inches in diameter as well as a snare drum), standard (22,12,13 and 16 inches in diameter as well as a snare drum), or even jazz or junior with a bass drum size of 18. We will choose the size of the barrels according to the sound sought but also the size of the musician.
For younger children, we recommend a "Junior" ou "Fusion" model, depending on their size, to keep a certain comfort of play behind their drums.
For those who prefer to invest in superior quality so that they don't have to replace their kit quickly and benefit from a more appreciable sound quality, we will opt for mid-range. These drum sets are often offered without accessories or cymbals. You will be able to choose these elements separately, depending on the sounds and styles of music you are looking for. The acoustic drums TAMA Superstar Hyperdrive 100% birch, PEARL Vision 100% birch or maple, or YAMAHA Stage Custom birch offer a very respectable overall quality and sufficient for, if necessary, band and live playing. Prices vary from 500€ to 1000€ depending on the finishes and configuration chosen. Don't forget to include an extra cost for cymbals and some accessories.
The choice of cymbals depends on the size and thickness of the cymbals, which produce a different sound and will correspond to your style of music.
Ride cymbalRide cymbals give the rhythm and produce a light, crystalline sound. The diameter of the ride cymbals varies from 17 to 24 inches in diameter, but the SABIAN brand offered small models of about 10 inches in diameter.
Ride cymbals are generally the largest and thickest cymbals of the acoustic drum set. They can be drilled to fix rivets or chains. This allows a greater vibration that fills the space when the drummer accompanies a slow blues or jazz ballad for example. Go to ride cymbals.
Crash cymbalPopular with rock drummers, crash cymbals are sharp cymbals that punctuate the music with a short, loud sound. Their diameter varies between 12 and 20 inches. Go to crash cymbals.
Hi-hatAlso known as charley or hi-hat cymbals, the "hi-hat" produce a short, punchy sound that keeps the rhythm of the music. Their diameter varies between 13 and 15 inches. Go to hi-hats..
Splash cymbalMore specific, the "splash" cymbals are effect cymbals that accentuate the music. They produce a short, syncopated sound. There are three different sizes (6, 8 and 10 inches in diameter). Go to splash cymbals..
China cymbalAlso known as Chinese cymbals or whistling cymbals, these very fine cymbals produce the sound of a low tone gong that gives a metallic note to the music. They range in diameter from 16 to 22 inches, sometimes up to 24 inches in diameter. There are also mini-china cymbals, less than 16 inches in diameter. They have traditionally curved edges and have an explosive attack with very few harmonics, the fall after the attack being immediate. See the China cymbals.
For your cymbals, there are complete packages at Zildijan, Sabian, Paiste or Meinl that will make your choice easier. They usually include a hi hat, a ride and one or two crashes. Several ranges of products are available for less than 400£. In the video above, The Intersphere play the same song with different Sabian cymbal sets. Listen to the difference!
Types of shellsA classical drum kit on a basic acoustic drum set consists of five parts: a bass drum, two mounted toms, a tom on the ground and a snare drum. Once you have this basic drum set, you can add more toms, several bass drums or simply add a Charleston/Charley (like on a jazz drum set). You can add tambourines or cymbals depending on the music you want to play and the different sounds you want to play: each drum type is slightly different and delivers its own sound.
The bass drumThe bass drum is placed directly on the ground and produces a deep, heavy sound. The standard size of a bass drum is 22 inches in diameter*, but there are models ranging from 16 to 28 inches. Being placed on the ground, the bass drum is operated with a foot pedal. With a double drum pedal, you can simulate the sound of two bass drums simultaneously. There are over-elevators for small crates such as Yamaha's Manu Katché jazz drums, equipped with an 18-inch diameter bass drum.
A second bass drum or double bass drum pedal can be added to your acoustic drum kit. Usually, this drum composition makes it possible to make syncopated figures, a technique widely used for metal and hard rock music.
Tom-tomsUsually 2 or 3, there are different types of toms.
Mounted toms: with single or double skin, they have an adjustable fastener that can be attached to a bass drum. Standard sizes range from 10 to 13 inches*.
. Ground toms: usually on the right side of the snare drum. They range in size from 12 to 18 inches*.
. Medium tom: placed above the bass drum.
. Treble tom: it is also placed above the bass drum.
. Bass tom: usually on three feet, it is the tom with the lowest sound.
Snare drumThe snare drum, also called side drum, is placed between the drummer's legs. Different diameters and depths are available. Located in the middle of the drum set, it produces a short, lively sound, a kind of slap. To get a dynamic sound, you can add a second snare drum, or even several snare drums! Most often, they are placed on the left for right-handed people and on the right for left-handed people. There are snare drums with smaller diameters: the piccolo snare drum (with a diameter of 13 to 14 inches*) and the soprano or sopranino snare drum (with a diameter of 10 to 12 inches*).
*(1 pouce = 2,54 cm)
You now have all the basics you need to get started and choose your acoustic drum kit. It is obvious that not everything is summarized in this guide and you may have some questions or wish to get more advice about choosing your acoustic drum kit. The Star's Music team is at your disposal to guide you in our stores or by phone at the 01 80 930 900.