Buying an Acoustic Drum Kit

OK, so it’s time to make that big purchase! Your first acoustic drum kit. This is a BIG decision so please take the time to read some of the supporting information on this website. At the very least have a look at this article discussing acoustic vs electronic drums. Also have a look at this article discussing acoustic drums in a bit more detail.

Now, bear in mind that at beginner level you can buy ‘complete’ drum kits – i.e. they come with everything you need. As you progress up the price range you might find you have to buy components separately.

This is what you need to start playing drums:

  • Drum shell pack (normally bass drum & 3 toms)
  • Snare drum
  • Cymbals (including hi-hats)
  • All necessary stands & hardware
  • Bass drum pedal
  • Drum stool (throne)
  • Drum sticks
  • Music stand
  • Hearing protection

Let’s take a very quick look at a range of acoustic drum kits and hardware. These are brands that I’ve personally used over time and found them to be good quality. There are many other amazing drum manufacturers out there – this is just intended as a starting point.

Entry Level Acoustic Drum Kits

Mapex Tornado 5-piece Drum Kit with Cymbals (Complete Set)

Mapex Tornado Drum Kit

This is a stunning kit for only around £300. This is about as cheap as drum kits get so don’t expect the world but a great starter set and you can always upgrade components as you go! This kit only comes with one crash / ride cymbal so bear that in mind, but other than that you get pretty much everything you need to get started.

Pearl Roadshow 5-piece Drum Kit with Cymbals (Complete Set)

Pearl Roadshow Drum Kit

Another stunning entry-level drum kit around £430 for the complete package. Again, only one combined crash / ride cymbal but you can always add more later down the line. Pearl have been making drums since the 1950’s and are a reputable brand to consider.

Mid Range Acoustic Drum Kits

Yamaha Rydeen 5-piece Drum Kit with Cymbals (No Stool)

Yamaha Rydeen Drum Kit

This is a beautiful 5 piece kit with Paiste cymbals. Everything seems to be included apart from a stool so you’ll need to buy that separately. Also not entirely clear whether it comes with a bass drum pedal so check with the seller. At around £530 this is a really lovely kit at a very reasonable price. Standard components means easy upgrades later down the line. A combination of a Yamaha branded kit and Paiste branded cymbals means you can be assured of decent quality from square one.

Pearl Export 5-piece Drum Kit with Cymbals (Complete Set)

Pearl Export Drum Kit

Pearl Export is one of the most famous and popular mid-range drum brands on the planet. Great drums, complete with cymbals and pretty much everything you need to get started. Again, branded Sabian cymbals with this pack – an amazing intermediate level pack. This kit comes in around the £700 mark.

High End Acoustic Drum Kit (Individual Components)

Pearl Masters Maple Drum Kit (Shells Only)

Pearl Masters Drum Kit

Been working hard? Got deep pockets? Now you’re getting in to serious professional-level drum kits. At this level you normally need to buy everything separately (check with the seller). So around £1,200 is only for the bass drum and 3 toms! Your full shopping list for a pro-level kit will set you back around £2,715… but you will have a truly stunning drum kit! Additional items you’d need to buy if you went for this kit:

  • Cymbals
  • Cymbal Stands & Other Hardware
  • Bass Drum Pedal
  • Drum Throne
  • Snare Drum

Here’s some examples of higher end gear you might consider to complete the above kit…

Zildjian A Custom Cymbal Set

Zildjian A Cymbals

If you’re going to have high-end drums then you’ll also want high-end cymbals. Decent cymbals can make a huge difference to the overall sound of a drum kit and these Zildjians are probably some of the most popular pro-level cymbals on the planet. If you want cymbals that sound amazing this is a good starting point around £600 for a complete set.

Pearl Sensitone 14″ x 5″ Seamless Aluminium Snare Drum

Pearl Sensitone Snare Drum

You can spend a LOT of money on snare drums so we’ll keep it real. At around £370 this is a decent pro-level snare drum. Rich sound, versatile and suitable for a wide variety of musical styles.

Pearl 830 Series Hardware Pack

Pearl Hardware Pack

You’ll need some hardware to hang your drums off! Pearl hardware is great (I’m also a fan of Yamaha hardware). This hardware pack includes 2 cymbal stands (one normal, one boom), a hi-hat stand (with clutch), snare drum stand and bass drum pedal. All high quality double-braced stands around the £280 mark.

Pearl 930 Series Cymbal Boom Stand

Pearl 930 Cymbal Stand

If you want the kit configuration shown in the picture above you’ll need an extra boom cymbal stand… so here you go. Around £50 is a fairly typical price for a decent cymbal stand.

Pearl Uni-lock Short Tom Holder (2 required)

Pearl Uni-lock

Tom holders or ‘tom arms’ are for attaching your mounted toms on to stands or a bass drum. You’ll need 2 of these for the above configuration and they come in around £35 each.

Pearl 2-Holes Stand Adapter (2 required)

Pearl Adaptor

You also need a way of attaching the tom arms on to cymbal stands. This adapter is what you would generally use. Around £25 each and you’ll need 2 of them.

Pearl D930 Drum Stool / Throne

Pearl Drum Stool

You need to sit on something and this lovely double-braced stool should do the job perfectly. At around £75 this is a fairly typical price for a pro-level throne.

Vic Firth 5A Drum Sticks

Vic Firth Drum Sticks

Well you need some drum sticks and these Vic Firth’s are the industry standard. 5A are a comfortable starter-size for most people. Decent drum sticks are normally around £10 a pair.

So there you go! This information is only intended as a very rough guide to get you started so please double check with sellers that everything is as expected. You’ve got a range of options from £300 to nearly £3,000 for an acoustic drum kit. Of course perhaps an electronic kit would be more to your liking?