Do beginners really need pro drum kits???

Vintage Old School

Gold Member
I don't think most beginning students need to start with pro level gear. Most either lose interest or quickly move on to another hobby or pursuit. There should be a period of time to see if they have the discipline, talent and drive to learn. That being said it's nice to reward their efforts after a few years with better gear because they will appreciate it more.

My oldest daughter played saxophone in Middle School Band for two years. We had borrowed a well used saxophone from a family friend until we knew she was committed to the long haul. I asked her band instructor if a quality saxophone would help her advance more rapidly and he said it unquestionably would. My wife and I surprised her with an entry pro model saxophone and she flourished. When she decided to hang up music in college the sax sold within a day-and-half on eBay and we recouped most of the initial cost.

My youngest daughter played drums. She started on a practice pad and an Acrolite snare drum for a couple of years. Then we bought her a ddrum Ash kit, intermediate hardware, but I splurged on Sabian HH cymbals knowing I could resale them quickly if she ever hung up her sticks (being totally honest here: I didn't want to hear her bashing on cheap cymbals). When she got into college her interests changed. A recording studio purchased her kit in about 30 minutes on eBay. I hung onto her cymbals for a few years before I switched over to Istanbul Agops.

As a parent, I love supporting and rewarding my kids. But I also wanted them to realize they aren't entitled to the best things without earning them through discipline and dedication.
 

oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
I think at least 80% of all drummers in the world are not needing a pro level drumset, if that means a drum set in the $2500+ category..

About every nowadays available $1000-1500 drum set will be more than enough for most drummers..

To me, every time when an average amateur/semi-pro drummer says that they really need that certain blablabla sound, i have to laugh a little..

Water, food, a roof above your head and some nice music, thats in my opinion what you really need in life..

Everything else is oft a lot of blablabla anyway..
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
If there was a global tragedy tomorrow, and all that remained for sale were Yamaha Stage Customs, (kit) drumming would survive just fine.

Beginners need something that's functional, durable, sounds decent, simple to set-up/break-down, and preferably inexpensive. My personal lowest standard would be something between an Imperial Star and a Yamaha Stage Custom.

That said, I'm a relative beginner.. Somewhere under 5 years. I have a custom George Way Studio Maple and it sure is a ridiculous amount of fun to play on. I also get to have experienced drummers play on it each week, and it's a pleasure to listen to. Plus, it's a fun kit to talk about socially.
 
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cbphoto

Gold Member
Some good stories (and pics) here.

Anyone who is earnestly interested in their music will excel with a better instrument. And on the other hand, no one likes to see anyone squander a top-tier instrument with lackluster attitude.
 

paradiddle pete

Platinum Member
Depends on the beginner. Comes down to aptitude and commitment really, if the beginner shows these traits by all means.shoot for the Stars. This Rogers drum kit was bought in 1970 , played once then stored in a cupboard. I bought it a couple of years age it had a note attached saying this drum set was purchased for my brat kid who doesn't appreciate the things that his parents do for him. it's virtually brand new.
 

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Woolwich

Silver Member
I don’t have the OPs experience but subjectively speaking I’d consider a smokin kit and cymbals to be in the over £5000 category , so Sonor SQ2, DW Collectors, Mapex Black Panther Design Lab, Paiste Signature and equivalents. Mapex Saturn, Gretsch Renown and equivalents are very very nice indeed and not cheap but they’re what I’d spring for if my child had an aptitude for drumming.
This thread reminds me of something that happened when I was buying myself a kit to start playing again in 2005. I had settled on a Premier Cabria, a poplar shelled kit at the very bottom of the intermediate ladder because it represented value for money as the household budget had to be considered. I was in the shop at the same time as two parents were showing their son a selection of PDP kits. I can’t remember if it was the birch FS or the Maple LX models but PDP had just launched amid the DW fanfare, I had the brochure, they looked great, I couldn’t stretch to buying one. The teenager’s attitude was very much a “yeah whatever” to whatever he was asked and it made me quite annoyed because I knew the value of what he was being offered and he was, at least on the surface, totally unappreciative. And maybe that’s the crux, because in hindsight the PDP kits in the shop weren’t “top line”, but they were more than enough for anyone to enjoy and he simply didn’t appreciate that. I’d have felt the same if it had been a battered old Maxwin kit his parents were buying.

To digress slightly, my first ever kit was a Premier Royale in the early 80s, long before the internet and the labelling of kits into categories. It was probably pretty much entry level in terms of price so nothing a more well informed fellow drummer would have been astonished by. But I wouldn’t be surprised if in terms of how much it cost my parents as a percentage of my Dad’s salary it set them back as much, maybe more, than a kit on it’s own you’d buy new for over £1500, which puts you into that Saturn/Renown territory.

Ultimately people should do what they want to do with their money. You hear stories of drummers who had a pair of sticks and a pillow for years before getting actual drums, fair enough but there’s plenty of people who may have gone on to be better than those drummers but never would have without the benefit of a kit because they’d have gotten bored. I’m quite frugal in terms of what I buy and I personally value the value for money element in purchases, enjoying for instance cheap small brewery beers from Aldi and Lidl over mass produced identikit lager from major supermarkets. But often cheap can mean “cheap” and enjoyment and longevity of cheap gear often doesn’t happen. I once picked up a CB cymbal stand at very short notice as it was all they had available for the money I had on me. It literally waved under my (lightweight) ride cymbal and I took it back after one gig. I dread to think how gruelling it would be to play a kit who’s entire hardware was built to that standard.
 

BonsaiMagpie

Junior Member
For me, I started playing guitar, and I bought myself a £700 Blackmachine copy to learn to play on. It's a beautiful guitar. 3 months or so after I started learning someone put snare drum and brushes in front of me. I've picked up the guitar since then and it's a lovely instrument. But it was a waste to spend that money on an instrument I don't play, and being a copy of a rare guitar, the resale interest is extremely low.

I started drums around 6 years ago on a fucked up beat up old CB kit which was bastardized with a few Sonor pieces and a 3 cymbal setup of Paiste 101s. I didn't know until about 3 months of playing that it sounded horrendous. After 1 year of playing I upgraded to a brand new Mapex Armory at around £480 and bought a second hand set of Sabian Xs20s for around £200 and various bits of gear which I've played the hell out of. Now I'm buying some pro-level stuff, not because I am a virtuoso and I 'need' the equipment, but because I want good instruments and hardware to play with. And there's nothing wrong with buying pro-gear second hand if it's in the configuration you want.

I think if you actually make a go of an instrument for a period, it's worth investing in good gear. If you're learning and not sure it's the instrument for you, get something cheaper. Like Trickg's son, a hundred pounds or dollars as a beginner and a few years later a few thousand. That's the way to do it.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
Heck. pros don't need pro equipment to sound good. Some of the beginner stuff is cheaply made and bad though. The mid tier is where it's at. best bang for your buck. Cymbals I tend to lean towards the top end, but I have also played for 20 years. Pedals too.

I also am a fan of mint condition used mid tier kits.

I can make a cheap kit sound great. I have seen people make $5,000 kits sound awful.
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
When I was a kid, there wasn't intermediate drums and cymbals. There was only beginner or pro level. I started with beginner drums and cymbals and it made me sad.
The awful snare and the awful cymbals caused me to dump my bank account twice to get nice stuff.
I'll never judge someone by how nice their musical instruments are.

I like to think having crappy shit either makes someone strive to do better, or be happy because that's the shit they like.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Nope, start at the bottom and work your way up. You'll be amazed at what good heads can do and a practice pad.

We've all seen the all gear and no idea types. A high end kit in the hands of a beginner is gonna sound crap.

Also beginner equipment is pretty good quality these days and the intermediate level is insane. Look at Mapex Armory.
 

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
Absolutely silly to start with something pricey. Now, that doesn't mean you can find a kid a really nice quality kit used. But kids can change their mind in a minute. Ooh soccer! Hey violin! I wanna play golf. Dad, check out that guitar!! I mean, to me it just doesn't seem to make sense. However, if people/parents can afford it and want to give their kid everything they want, hey, opt for the spoiled brat mentality.
 

jaeson

New member
I don't think kids need a high end it- maybe a medium one if the kid is really serious or has been in drum line. Most people try an instrument then walk away from it. When they are over 18+ and can buy their own stupid kit let them get a better one. I think the parents are just spoiling them.. or maybe the parents don't know what to buy?
 

trickg

Silver Member
I don't think kids need a high end it- maybe a medium one if the kid is really serious or has been in drum line. Most people try an instrument then walk away from it. When they are over 18+ and can buy their own stupid kit let them get a better one. I think the parents are just spoiling them.. or maybe the parents don't know what to buy?
We are in the generation of the "snow plow" parent - they are even worse than helicopter parents. Snow plow parents are the parents who buy their kids the best of everything, and do everything they can to remove any obstacle that might potentially hinder the future success of their child. Nothing is ever the child's fault, so this type of parent is a nightmare for teachers. These parents insist that their children are smarter and more talented than they are, and if the child isn't getting top marks, or being first chair in the band or orchestra, or whatever, then the parents berate teachers and instructors. It MUST be their fault, because it can't possibly be that their child isn't academically, athletically and/or artistically gifted, right?

I know a guy who I met a good bit ago - he was still in HS and not even 18 years old at the time. His Dad had hooked him up with all kinds of really nice gear. He had a top-shelf Maryland Drum kit - die-cast lugs, glossy burst/fade finish, DW 9000 pedals and hardware, and some nice Sabian cymbals. I'm not trying to disparage him at all - we've become good friends, he's come a long way since then and has become a fine drummer, but at the time he was pretty rough. Couldn't grasp playing compound time signatures, would rush through fills and either land on the 1 early at best, or miss it at worst - some of the basic beginner level bad habits.

The funny thing is that he used to disparage my kit for being a Pearl, but yet he always complimented how it sounded. He's still got all that great gear though, and he puts it to good use now, and he and I have become pretty good friends. (To be fair, I think his first kit was a Tama Rockstar, so...)

He certainly didn't "need" that gear, but he LOVES drums, and I think he always has known how good his gear is, and has strived to play up to it.
 

Mustion

Senior Member
A pro kit is putting the cart before the horse and a beginner kit is taking the wheels off of the cart. There are plenty of kits out there that aren't a big investment and have resale value should they lose interest.

I tend to disagree with the whole "better gear is encouraging/worse gear is discouraging" argument as it tends to be weighted towards pro gear around here. I see it all the time in "what cymbals should I buy for junior" threads. "You shouldn't buy Sabian B8s, your kid will lose interest cause they're junk. Get some Ks." I played B8s for years until I could afford better cymbals. Leave them some room to improve their gear as they improve the skill and interest level.

However, a TKO kit with brass cymbals is not the way to go, either...
 

dmacc_2

Well-known member
When I was a kid, there wasn't intermediate drums and cymbals. There was only beginner or pro level. I started with beginner drums and cymbals and it made me sad.
The awful snare and the awful cymbals caused me to dump my bank account twice to get nice stuff.
I'll never judge someone by how nice their musical instruments are.

I like to think having crappy shit either makes someone strive to do better, or be happy because that's the shit they like.
We must be from similar time periods because it was either crap to play or pro level.

My parents couldn't afford pro level anything with means I had crappy shit to play as a kid. Royce drums were it for me along with (if I was lucky) Camber cymbals. I even had to haul in large rocks from my backyard to hold up my cymbal stands. Not sure what brand those were.

As I recall, it wasn't until CB700 came in where I think there may have been drums that were slightly better than crap that were also affordable. Never got a set of those either...

Having shit to play on daily didn't make me strive to do better. It made me strive to work enough hours when I was old enough to get a job to purchase better gear. I felt like I hit the big time when I saved up enough cash to purchase a Tama Swingstar set.

All this to say, the mid-level gear today is on par with (at minimum) than the pro gear 40 years ago. It really can last you a lifetime. Not sure what I would buy today as beginner. Sure as hell wouldn't be Royce or CB700.
 

Jbravo

Senior Member
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
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I’m pretty sure that even if we could afford it, my wife would be pretty upset about me buying that trophy wife...😉
 

oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
What beginners really need (when speaking about children), are some normal motivating parents who are not only caring about money and spoiling the child a lot with expensive gear (and other expensive nonsense)..

Better spend less on unnecessary crap and use the money thats left to take the child to a quality drum teacher, concerts, books, etc..
 
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