So you’ve decided you want to learn the drums? Now has never been a better time to start! When choosing to learn a new instrument it can always be a little daunting to know what equipment you need, what is essential etc.
At Sutton Music Centre we have many years of experience in both providing musical instrument equipment advice for beginners to seasoned professionals as well as providing musical instrument tutoring.
We aim to provide you with a list of essential products to start you on your drumming journey!
You will obviously need a drum kit, of some form, to practice and learn on. The biggest decision you’ll make at this point is “do I buy an electric or an acoustic kit?” so here’s a few reasons why you may want either…
The undeniable benefit of having an acoustic kit is that you do have a “real” kit; there’s no difference or extra equipment needed to go from practicing at home to playing a show! Other benefits to an acoustic kit is the feel: a lot of electric kits come close now but not many will be able to replicate the “bounce” and feel of a stick hitting an acoustic kit- which can be quite a crucial element of developing your stick technique.
Another benefit of having an acoustic kit is the possibility of upgrading and customisation- where an electric kit is usually limited to the pads supplied and a control module, an acoustic kit can start with beginner shells or cymbals and quite quickly develop into a more high-end drum kit with either better cymbals or snare drum.
Check out some of our acoustic kits here
So why would you want an electric kit? Here’s the (possibly) biggest reason: it’s quiet. That’s right, you can practice at any time of the day, in any room of your house without bothering even the person in the next room, let alone your neighbours! You can be rocking out like Bonzo or keeping it swinging like Purdie, all within the intimacy of a headphone mix.
Ok, sounds like a good practice tool but what about live? Well, most electric kits come with a fair amount of customisation options in their control module, meaning you can do a bit of editing to your current drum sound as well as completely changing it up and re-creating sounds of an 808 for example. Furthermore, unless you’re playing Wembley Stadium, sound guys will love you if you show up to a gig with an electric kit- most live mixing for small venues is trying to bring everything else up to match the level of an acoustic drum kit. Taking that out of the equation means the live mixes you’re a part of will sound better and musicians will like you more.
Fancy an electric kit? Click here
Other bits and bobs:
You decided on an acoustic or an electric kit, now you need something to hit it with. Drum sticks come in a variety of styles depending on the intended use. The most common is the standard “5A” style stick- this is the drumstick you’d likely have seen being used in most live performances and is the bread and butter for most Rock, Pop, Funk and Soul drummers.
The next kind of stick that can still be found in the world of the aforementioned genres would be hot-rods- these are basically used as a quieter substitute for the standard kind of sticks: see Dave Grohl using them here in the iconic Nirvana Unplugged session- Nirvana - Come As You Are (Live On MTV Unplugged, 1993 / Unedited)
The third kind of sticks you’ll see being used most are brushes. Whilst still found occasionally in the pop world these are mainly reserved for Jazz- providing a much softer attack and allowing for some different techniques that are very stylistic of jazz drumming.
You’ve got a kit, you’ve got some sticks, but what are you going to sit on? A King needs his crown like a Drummer needs his throne and there are several variations to choose from. Unlike sticks, where different styles have different genres traditionally attached to them, thrones share no such genre loyalty; it’s completely personal preference as to whether you want a standard stool type throne or if you want to live in luxury and get one with a nice fabric cover and back to lean against in between songs.
If you have any more questions, please do come in store and speak with Mark! He'll be more than happy to answer any drum related questions.