How much does a drum set cost?
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In case you want to find out the costs right away without using the Drum cost calculator here it is:
Drum set for beginner cost around $300 (drum set, 2-3 cymbals, 2 stands, drum throne, drum pedal). Professional drum set goes from $1400 up to $8000 or more just for wood. The rest of the equipment is bought separately.
Now when you know aproximate costs, let’s go more in depth level by level.
For the past 15 years, I’ve been playing drums. I played all from shitty drums in clubs to amazing pieces in studios.
The idea behind this guide is to give you a few suggestions and top picks within each category.
I want you to pick a drum set that will “do the work” no matter on which level you are.
Level 1 - Beginner drum set
Enough to start but not good enough
Drumming is expensive “sport” so within this price range all you can get is a basic drum set but good enough to start banging. This can hold water for a few years just to see is this for you and are you ready to invest time and money in being a drummer.
This is the only level where you get “all drum parts” in one package. Drum stores designed this to make things easier. Afterward as “drums” you get only wooden parts and the rest of the gear you buy separately and the cost rises substantially.
- Basic drum set containing bass drum, snare drum, 2-3 toms
- With beginner drum set you get all the hardware including drum throne and a drum pedal
- Depending on the different packages you may get cymbal package for beginners
Full list includes:
- Bass drum
- Bass drum pedal
- Snare drum
- Snare drum stand
- Toms holder
- Rack tom
- Legs for rack tom
- Drum throne
- Hi hat cymbal
- Hi hat cymbal stand
- Crash cymbal
- Cymbal stand
- Ride cymbal
- Cymbal stand
Ashthorpe 5-Piece Complete Full Size Adult
Level 2 - Intermediate drum set
Great for various ocasions but not for professional use
This time there is no “all in one” drum package but you buy everything separate.
It would be hard to find gear from this level on a professional drummer’s drum set.
On this level equipment list expands substantialy.
Not only drums (wooden parts), cymbals and hardware gets more expensive but there are all kinds of additional parts you can add like:
- More cymbals, including splash, china, more crashes, fx cymbals
- More toms
- In ear monitors
- Electronic drum pad
- Changeable gear – drumheads and drumsticks
Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 5pc Drum Shell Pack
Level 3 - Professional drum set
The gear professional drummers use
I don’t say you can’t go straight on this level if you have deep pockets but, drummers usually don’t play this sort of equipment unless they play drums for living.
Drum equipment on this level is top notch however, pricing can go through the roof. For instance custom in ear monitors professional drummers oftenly use can cost higher than intermediate drum set.
Stepping up on this level usually goes step by step, which means buying gear one at a time.
DW Collector S Series Lacquer Custom 5-Piece Cherry
These are the costs if you are buying a new equipment, of course, but you can, of course, buy all gears or some of it used.
If you decide to go in that direction you can lower costs by 50%.
I would strongly suggest sticking with a middle quality, against the cheapest due to huge quality difference and durability.
On what to pay attention while buying a drum set?
When you go to a drum store to buy an expensive drum set, you will only get only 4-piece drum set (only wood without a snare drum) unless you pay for the rest.
When it comes to drums for beginners, they usually come with a whole package containing:
- cheap cymbals (crash, ride, hi-hat)
- cymbal stands
- drum pedal
- drum throne. (sometimes)
As a beginner on drums, you will search for a cheap drum set. Have it in mind that music equipment, in general are, is very expensive so it will be hard to buy all you need at once. For the price of cymbal package you get with a beginner drum set, you can’t buy even one decent premium cymbal.
After all, there are plenty of things that you may not get by default, here is the list:
- Bass drum pedal
- Drum throne
- Snare drum stand
- Crash and ride stand
- Hi-hat stand
Depending on stores a beginner drum kit package can vary. Sometimes with a drum set, you can get a cymbal set, drum throne or some bags for the drums.
There are no two kinds of wood completely the same. This can, therefore, cause drum sets from the same series to sound different. The second thing I want to emphasize is that heads are as important as the wood.
About sizes; if you are buying on a low budget (under $1000 new) drum set, stick to smaller toms. It will be easy to tune them, and they will not go out of the tune so easily. The larger and cheaper the drum, the more tone issues you should expect, especially when you mic the drum kit.
With a good drummer and good drum heads, any drum kit can sound good. Do not be fooled by this, there is a huge difference between a beginner drum set and an expensive drum kit . The player makes all the difference in the world if you ask me
Beginner's drum set VS Pro drum set
Type of wood
The most popular drum wood for manufacturing premium series is maple. Every drum company works similarly when it comes to drum lines. The best and most expensive drum line is made out of pure maple or maple mixed with some exotic wood.
If you don’t plan to spare on buying drums, then you can choose a wood that goes into your own custom drum set. Beginner drum sets are usually made of poplar, some cheaper birch, maple, and oak.
For the beginning you don’t need to spend a lot on drums, focus on learning new stuff, practice technique and improving your dynamic and metric.
You can find maple in a cheap drum set but not completely maple, it is however not the same quality as the more expensive series. That is for sure. Also, think about some custom made drums.
When it comes to hardware expensive series have hardware that will hold a tune longer.
You will have a tough time tuning beginner drums. They will not sound as good as expensive drums when you tune them and, they will not hold a tone that you set.
The reason for this are low-quality lugs.
Professional cymbals are usually made out of B20 bronze.
From my experience professional cymbals have little more durability but main the main difference is in sound.
I made complete guide on best cymbals in the world right now.
I suggest for you to check it out.
Only expensive drum series have some fancy, good looking finishes. Sometimes drum manufacturer will add one ply of some exotic wood in order to get a better finish.
So, when it comes to design, you can’t get much out of a $500 drum set.
Try listening to a sound in this video, see if you will notice the difference.