There are so many different drum brands to choose from. The market is flooded with all kinds of different kits and different specs. This can become overwhelming. Especially when being a beginner, it can be a tough decision to decide where to start.
Here we will help you decide what drum kit brand you should purchase. Whether you are a beginner or a professional, this list can help differentiate the different brands, and give some more insight on them individually.
A quick note about drums. They are very different to some other instruments. Guitars seem to have a gage of which ones are good or bad. Drums are different, there is not exactly a good and bad. Of course, unless you buy a complete off-brand kit or a children’s kit.
A kit is usually defined on taste. All drums produce different sounds. Even kits of the same brand and spec all sound different. So, a drum that sounds horrible to one person, can completely satisfy someone else.
These are the best drum set brands on the market right now:
DW, or Drum Workshop, started in 1972. They are a very high-held name in the drum world. They are known for being the crème of the crop. On top of this they are a very big name in the drum hardware business, stands, pedals, etc.
Most of their kits are made custom for the customer. But a kit that you can purchase directly is their Collectors Series. They provide a great range of sizes and colors.
Some notable artists that use this brand are Dave Grohl of Nirvana, and Neil Peart of Rush.
With all of this, DW should be for someone who knows they are sticking to drumming, and already have experience playing.
Best price range with quality
Tama is another respected name. Started in 1974, Tama produces some very high-end kits, all the way down to beginner kits.
A kit that is unique to them is the Club-Jam Flyer. It includes a 14″ bass drum, which can be desirable for someone who does not have room for a regular-sized drum set.
Their Imperialstar kits are also popular. There are many different combinations with different sizes, colors, and amounts of drums.
Some musicians that use this brand are Stewart Copeland of The Police, and Lars Ulrich of Metallica.
Overall, Tama is good for beginners, and will even suit professionals.
Pearl is a well-known name amongst drummers, and amongst musicians who don’t play drums. The brand is popular and has built up its name since its start in 1946.
Something that Pearl is very proud of is their Superior Shell Technology. To sum it up simply, the shells are extremely compressed to remove and holes or air in-between. This makes the shells extremely strong, to resist damage, and it creates better tones from the drums.
The Pearl Roadshow Jr. is a great kit for young beginners. It is a quality children’s drum set. But adults could also use it as a small travel kit. A long time well used kit is the Export series, offering a wide ray of styles.
Artists that use Pearl drums are Joey Jordison of Slipknot, and Todd Sucherman of Styx.
Pearl is a great company that provides great beginner and professional-level kits.
Yamaha is another very well-known brand amongst drummers, and it in fields that are not involved with music.
Yamaha started in 1967 and is one of the biggest used studio kits. They have been used on countless recordings and are extremely versatile.
Great beginner and intermediate-level kits are the Stage Customs. Even claiming to have the same workmanship and quality as their higher-level kits.
Steve Jordan is a great studio musician who heavily uses Yamaha. All these ideas make Yamaha a great intermediate to professional kit option.
Ludwig is one of the oldest, starting in 1909, and well-respected bands in the craft of drums. They were used by some of the greatest drummers of all-time, such as John Bonham of Led Zeppelin and Ringo Starr of The Beatles.
There aren’t any super notable kits, but they do have a great series with Questlove that provides some great small, compact kits.
This is brand is known for making some of the best acrylic kits in the game, the Vistalites. For non-drummers who may not know, acrylic kits are clear shells, which can be tinted different colors.
They also have some of the most beautiful kits in the game. The wraps being simplistic but looking amazing compared to other brands.
Ludwig is a great company to start with and can fit into the intermediate level.
Oldest and respected
Gretsch is the oldest drum brand on this list. Starting in 1883, making them almost 140 years old. They are known for the Great Gretsch Sound. Having great warm and fulfilling sounds coming from them.
These kits have been on countless recordings over the years due to the trust and excellence instilled in the name.
Gretsch is another brand with just overall great drums. With one of their notable series being the Catalinas. Providing quality intermediate and professional levels in that series.
Drummers who are known for using Gretsch are Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters, and Charlie Watts of The Rolling Stones.
Gretsch is a great brand with a profound name, where they fit perfectly into the still of an intermediate drummer.
How should you choose?
How you pick is completely up to the person. Something I did as a drummer was pick a brand my idol, Lars Ulrich, used. So, I purchased a Tama Imperialstar.
Some others may choose to get the cheapest price. Others way try to find a kit with the smallest dimensions because they don’t have a large space. It is completely up to your situation.
Don’t let having a lower-priced kit intimidate or make you feel like you are being limited. Drums as said at the beginning are universal. There really isn’t a high end or low end in terms of quality. The difference between a $600 kit and a $3,000 kit can be minimal.
It is up to you to make the kit sound good. The best kit can sound horrible if you put a complete beginner on it. Put practice before the price.
It can be hard seeing other drummers with super nice-looking kits, but don’t let it bother you.
Should you buy electric drums?
If possible, no. Yes, they are quieter for different living situations. Yes, they still have the same skills that can be transferred to an acoustic kit. But there are just subtle differences between an acoustic and electric.
A big one is delay. No matter how high end of a kit you buy, there will always be a delay between hitting the pad and hearing the sound. It can be extremely small, but it will ultimately affect your drumming.
Something else is the drum size, which can be both good and bad. Electric kits usually have smaller pads than real drums would be. This can increase your hit accuracy when moving to the acoustic. But it can also be weird maneuvering around a larger kit after playing on such a small kit.
So, there are small differences, and ultimately, in most cases if you plan to be in the studio or on stage, you will most likely be playing an acoustic kit. It would be best to get as much time on an acoustic drum set as possible.
Like any instrument, there are a wide variety of drums sets, and brands to choose from.
It can be difficult finding a starting place. But always look at where you are in life, your budget, and what you actually need before blowing your years’ salary on a high-end set.
All the brands listed are great choices, being the top end of brands to choose from in the drumming world, none will disappoint.
One last final note, never be afraid to buy used gear. It is a great way to save money. Never let what your kit looks like define you as a drummer. That will aid you well.