Beginner Assistance


Junior Member
Greetings. I have no experience but am looking to learn to play the drums. I plan on taking lessons but wanted to purchase a kit to bang on in the interim. Used seems like the way to go (new if cheap-but-good) but I am not sure what I should be looking for with respect to quality, or what I should be looking to avoid as far as damage, wear or abuse. I would prefer to stay in the $200-$400 range - that is probably the real driving force at this point - need to save some dough for lessons! I have been told that the Pearl Forum series is a good bang-for-the-buck (no pun intended) but am open to suggestions. I would appreciate any advice.


Platinum Member
My view is that with cheap drum sets the sizes, age and condition are much more important than the brand. Most of them are reasonably OK quality these days, and if they're in good shape you can probably sell them for close to what you paid for them in a couple of years. Just find something in excellent condition and in your price range- you should have no problem finding something that fits the bill in a week or two of browsing Craigslist. Most of the drums you find will be 12/13/16/22, but I'd be looking for sizes closer to 10/12/14/20.

Re: brands- I've never been fond of Pearl's cheap drums. I'd be looking for Gretsch Catalina, Yamaha Stage, or Tama Imperial- (or Stage-) star. There are a lot of off-brand student drums that are basically as good as the well-known ones.

Here's a short buying guide that may be helpful, from my site.


I would buy a practice pad and a pair of 5a sticks, and get the book 'Stick Control' from George Lawrence Stone. Play that for a week or two and get a feel for hitting the pad a lot.

If you start to get the feel for it and wanna move to the next step, look for a used set of drums to start with. Make sure it is complete... hihat stand, bass drum pedal, kick drum, snare drum and stand, tomtoms and atleast a ride cymbal and a pair of hihat cymbals. You should be able to get something decent like that for under $500 on Craigslist. You might allocate another $100 for new drumheads if the used kit you find has the heads worn out.

Good luck on your new beginnings and be sure to bookmark this site! Lots of great info here for the newly aspiring drumgods!



Platinum Member
Sing up for lessons first and then buy a set. That way your teacher can help you in finding a set. I just helped a new student find a set. He was not sure whether to go new or used, so he bought a new Yamaha Stage Custom shell pack and some used stands, pedals, and cymbals.

Other times, drum teachers will look over craigslist ads and tell you if it is worth it or not. I have found some great deals for students. Trust your teacher for that information.



Junior Member
Thank you all very much, I appreciate the input and it is all great advice. I am looking for a set and lessons concurrently so I maybe asking an instructor for guidance. Looking for a teacher in the Westminster/Boulder area of CO if any of you have any suggestions. As far as the sets go I have been talking with a guy that has a '80's era Ludwig Standard set for ~$250 but I would need hardware. Looks right up my alley as far as price for a good name. Always open for input, Thanks.


Senior Member
drum pad, snare stand, metronome, stick control book and lessons should be your first investment.


Junior Member
So I am going with the most logical (and most recommended) approach. I picked up a practice pad and a few pairs of low end sticks to get a feel for the differences (they were cheap... 6-pairs of Sound Percussion's for $20). Upon another recommendation I also picked up a Tommy Igoe video for some warm up/stick handling tips. I apparently have a very natural sense of rhythm... kind of like a pair of shoes in a dryer. Luckily, I am not easily dissuaded. Thanks again all, and thanks for the list of instructors names as well, I will definitely need them!