Do beginners really need pro drum kits???

Foggie Blur

Active member
When I was teaching drums part time, a few of my students had pro level kits. On redit I notice quite a few beginners with smokin kits and top of line cymbals. 5-6 toms and 6 cymbals.

Is it just me or is this consumerism just gone too far?The intermediate kits of today were the pro kits I saw in music stores 20 yrs ago.
I have a semi pro- pro m mapex. Sounds amazing with a black panther snare. I have older semi pro cymbals and hybrid custom zildjian hats that still make me salivate.
When i gigged and it was mixed properly it sounded as good as top end imo.
Sometimes I wonder, since the kits are so high level now, if anyone aside from musicians, even notice the differences between intermediate and pro kits at gigs.

Sometimes it seems having a high end kit is like a status symbol or like a trophy wife/kit.
Dont get me wrong Ive played pro level, can appreciate the craftsmanship and there is a sound difference in person and unmiked.
I'm a live-and-let-live kind of guy. But IMO I just don't think a beginner needs the same kit Lars Ulrich does...
What do you guys think.
 

Foggie Blur

Active member
What I mean by pro level kits from 20 years ago are intermediate kits of today is technology. 20 years ago all the kits at my music store in intermediate range were mahogany. Now Maple and Birch is common at intermediate level. The drum technology from 20 years ago at the pro level seems have trickled down to the intermediate level of today.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
What they are playing new will cost twice as much when they are no longer "beginners" If you can afford good now, why not? Why buy junk only to have to buy again. I have seen inexpensive kits and expensive kits and don't remember any of them labeled beginner, semi-pro or pro. I have seen pros playing Gretsch Catalinas.
 

Ronzo

Junior Member
Speaking for myself, no matter what pursuit I am referencing, I like high quality gear.
Archery, motorcycles, snowmobiles, drums, etc..........
Do I spend too much sometimes? That is a matter of perspective I guess.
Would I buy my kid a pro level kit to start drumming on? Hell no!
 
It's always been like that, kids with rich parents will get amazing gear whether they can really use it or not.

I used to joke as a teenager that the better the gear, the worse the band was. It was often comically true. Mesa stacks and DW on stage for the opening act and it was boring AF, headliner shows up with Squiers in Blues Jr's, drumming rocking an old Yamaga Stage Custom and it sounded amazing.

I don't believe anyone "needs" pro gear, but I'm also not going to tell a kid to stick with a Pearl Export until he's got some more years of experience.

A good drummer will sound good on anything, a bad drummer will sound bad on anything. But if that fancy kit makes him want to play morex have at it. If not I'll gladly pick it up cheap on Craigslist when he moves out of the basement.
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
* Do serious beginners need pro-level kits (assuming they can afford them)? Well, need, no. But is a pro-level kit a huge benefit? Heck yes. Better instruments are easier to play, tune, and enjoy. Why not?

* ". . . is this consumerism just gone too far?" Too far as compared to what? Regardless, the question itself and any forthcoming answers are simple conjecture and subjectivism. It's a question for which there are no answers.

* "The intermediate kits of today were the pro kits I saw in music stores 20 yrs ago." Absolutely true. Everything above the intermediate kits of today fall into a category that has previously not existed: UBERDRUMS. Defined by unshakable hyper-attenntion to every aspect of drumset construction. These are the kits at the outer layer of drum set development as we know it today.

* "Sometimes I wonder, since the kits are so high level now, if anyone aside from musicians, even notice the differences between intermediate and pro kits at gigs." You are exactly right: nobody (besides drummers) notices, nor cares.

* "Sometimes it seems having a high end kit is like a status symbol or like a trophy wife/kit." Once again, you are exactly correct. If I had the money and opportunity to buy a "trophy" kit, you know what I would do? I'd buy one. And a trophy wife to go with it.

GeeDeeEmm
 

dmacc_2

Well-known member
Do they need it? Clearly... no... Is a 32 year old beginner more 'entitled' to have it than a 13 year old? Is it more explainable if someone is buying it for themselves versus being handed it by way of someone else's money?

I don't need pro level either (any longer), but I have it.. All of it... Didn't have it starting out.. wish I did though..

I took up woodwinds about 4 years ago... Guess what I bought??? All pro level horns. every last one of them. Not the equivalent of 'Craviotto' version - but perhaps the Gretsch USA Custom/ Yamaha Recording Custom equivalent. No apologies or excuses from me.
 

picodon

Silver Member
As soon as you think you'll use it for the rest of your life, it pays to buy good stuff, not junk. This is just as true for drum kits as it is for tools, bikes, photography gear and what all else.

Each time I deviate from the rule, I regret it. I bought a pair of Stagg brushes on the web, cheapest I could find, just to see if I enjoy playing brushes, and I hate them already. Now I have to make up my mind, either buy another, decent pair or never play brushes again. Either way it's money out of the window.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Any drummer of any age or skill level needs equipment good enough that it will not hold them back in developing and playing to their full potential. Beyond that it's a question of what that drummer (or their parents) feel is an appropriate purchase.

Most parents who buy musical instruments for their kids, and most new musician adults, are not aware of the differences (or lack thereof) between the budget and top-shelf gear. Some may be quick to pick the top-shelf gear out of a desire to have the best thing available, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Some kids may make convincing arguments to their parents to purchase more expensive gear as well. I don't think either scenario is wrong at all.

As a kid my first drumset was a second-hand stencil kit with brass cymbals and broken, barely-serviceable hardware. My next one was straight out of the Sears catalog and in fact was probably inferior quality to some of the bottom-of-the-barrel kits of today. I worked very hard to make them work for me, and when I got older and had my own income I upgraded my cymbals, then my snare, and finally my kit. I loved those kits, but I can only imagine how much more motivated I might have been to play and improve if I'd had a top-shelf kit with good hardware and cymbals.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Well if it was like "Golf" you'd handicap the pros with beginner kits and cheap hardware and give the beginner the pro stuff. So be grateful it's not like golf. If you are a beginner and can afford a 10k kit by all means indulge yourself-I have (well I haven't seen him about 5 yrs) a friend with a financial windfall he blew of new drum kits-SONOR, Brady, top line stuffs-never picked up a drum stick till the impulse. He's got a band now. I play cheap stuff and I'm not in a band-is there a correlation. Heck no but had you going LOL.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Do professional violinists need 1 million dollar Strats? No. I'm sure they would do just well with a much less model. But if they can afford it and want it , why not.
 
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trickg

Silver Member
So here's a story for perspective.

when my son was 10 or 11, he begged for an electric guitar, so I bought him a Squier Bullet Stratocaster hardtail as a Christmas present. I almost got him a Yamaha Pacifica for about $20 or so more - seemed to be a bit better made, so I called the missus for approval. She said, "we don't need to get him top of the line!" :ROFLMAO: I got him that, and an el-cheapo 10W solid state amp with the brand name of "Drive". You couldn't get a clean tone out of it.

In any case, we got him started on guitar lessons, got him bumped up to a bit "better" guitar - an Epiphone SG LTD that had some replacement pickups in it - at the time Angus Young from AC/DC was his guitar hero, so the SG was to sort of appease that. I'd also bumped him up to an entry level tube amp - a Peavey Valve King 112 combo.

When he was about 15, he was starting to show some promise as a musician. Using the logic that my parents put pro level trumpet in my hands at age 15 for the same reason - I was showing promise as a player, I decided to upgrade him to a full-fledged Gibson SG. Only that's not quite what happened.

We went into Guitar Center one day to look at guitars, and the sales guy got an SG off of the wall. For grins I said, "hey - we should A/B this SG with a Les Paul."

Mistake.

The guy came back with a Gibson Les Paul Standard, and I was sunk from the second my son plugged it in and hit a power chord. We tried finding a Les Paul Studio that sounded as nice, but we couldn't do it - there was just something about THAT guitar. So I put it on a 1-year-same-as-cash financing and took it home on the sly so I could surprise him with it on Christmas. $2200 as opposed to the $1000ish I was planning on spending.

But here's the thing. That kid LOVES that guitar to this day. He became obsessed with playing, and when he was in his first two years of college, he started getting involved in some band projects. Did I make a mistake by putting great gear in his hands? I think this pic answers that question well enough. (Packed show in a 1200 cap room in Dallas, TX. The guitar in the pic is one of his tour machines - it's a Guitar Center limited edition run Mexian Fender Telecaster Silverburst with totally hot-rodded internals.)

For the record, I don't think I spoiled him, and once I got him the Les Paul, I stopped buying him gear - he's worked his butt off for where he's gotten as a musician, and for the gear that he currently gigs with. Maybe there's a ballance to be struck - I wouldn't have done it at all if it didn't look like something he was going to excel with, and it was something he was just dabbling with.

NateDallas.jpg
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Is it just me or is this consumerism just gone too far?

I think everyone or every family has his/her own story. I could totally knock down a kid who has a top-tier just as easily as I could 100% support it.

I think it's more telling as to how the young student treats his/her instrument as opposed to the caliber of the instrument itself.
 

trickg

Silver Member
Is it just me or is this consumerism just gone too far?

I think everyone or every family has his/her own story. I could totally knock down a kid who has a top-tier just as easily as I could 100% support it.

I think it's more telling as to how the young student treats his/her instrument as opposed to the caliber of the instrument itself.
Great point.

FWIW, none of my gear, trumpets or drums, is truly top tier - it's all very solid, giggable gear, but it's pretty much all rated as entry-level professional. Well, maybe not the trumpet, but it's still right on the bottom rung of professional trumpets from a price perspective - $2200 new, but I got it for $1400 as a shop demo. Many trumpets are in the $3000-$5000 price range, so mine is truly nothing exceptional on the surface, even though it plays well.

My drum kit is a Pearl SMX Session Custom that I bought as a 4-piece shell pack in 2006.
 
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