First Kit - Buying and Setup

WonderMonkey

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Since I'm trading out the guitar (hand condition) for drums, I have a fair idea that I'm going to stick with playing.

How often do you see a new drummer (I'm 53 yrs old, if that matters) buy a kit that is so underwhelming that really quickly they upgrade? How often do you see a new drummer go buy a kit that is so far advanced they have no chance of catching up to it for quite some time?

As you could probably tell, I'm arguing with myself on what price point to jump into for my first kit. On one hand, I've thought of buying "the cheapest kit that would work", whatever that would mean, and then start replacing drums one every other month or so as my practice commitment and abilities improve. On the other hand, I know buying a combo kit is probably cheaper in the long run. I'd buy into a basic kit and then add to it, again as my needs arise.

I'm sure my dilemma is common. While I don't know what "the cheapest kit that would work" would be, I'm certainly thinking the Mapex Armory 6-Piece Studioease is probably a touch more than required at this time! Currently, I have an Evans practice pad and will stick with that for a bit, but will eventually purchase something.
 

paul

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Standard advice for someone buying a new kit is to buy the drums you can't wait to play. That said, whatever you get for your first kit will only be a starter. I'd recommend a used set of good drums. They'll be more than adequate to your needs while you learn to play and figure out what you really want, if it's different.

It's somewhat like buying your first house. You'll quickly learn what you do and don't like about it, and most of those will be things you don't know now. And if you get a good quality set they'll sound good while you're learning.

Don't skimp on cymbals. Good heads can help cheap drums, but you can't do anything with a bad cymbal. Get good ones to start with.

Welcome to drumming. Have fun.
 

WonderMonkey

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Standard advice for someone buying a new kit is to buy the drums you can't wait to play. That said, whatever you get for your first kit will only be a starter. I'd recommend a used set of good drums. They'll be more than adequate to your needs while you learn to play and figure out what you really want, if it's different.

It's somewhat like buying your first house. You'll quickly learn what you do and don't like about it, and most of those will be things you don't know now. And if you get a good quality set they'll sound good while you're learning.

Don't skimp on cymbals. Good heads can help cheap drums, but you can't do anything with a bad cymbal. Get good ones to start with.

Welcome to drumming. Have fun.
Thanks. I agree on the cymbals and I've read that a few times in that it's something you don't want to cheap out on.
 

cinemadrummer2001

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I would definitely advise to buy used. You can easily find a high quality set of drums for reasonable prices at any Music go round if you have one any where near you. Reverb is another great source for good inexpensive used drums and hardware. And you can find used A Zildjian cymbals anywhere for the price of new budget cymbals.
 

WonderMonkey

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I would definitely advise to buy used. You can easily find a high quality set of drums for reasonable prices at any Music go round if you have one any where near you. Reverb is another great source for good inexpensive used drums and hardware. And you can find used A Zildjian cymbals anywhere for the price of new budget cymbals.
We don't have a Music Go Round but we DO have a few larger music stores and smaller ones as well. I've never been on Reverb but I'll check it out. Thanks.
 

1988fxlr

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Another recommendation for used cymbals at least but drums too. Used Zildjian A’s or Sabian AA are usually cheaper than new beginner cymbals and are very versatile. The real benefit of buying a used drum set is that if you decide you want something different you can sell it for about what you have into it. Wait to buy new until you have a pretty good idea what you want. What kind of music are you in to and what do you want to play?
 

WonderMonkey

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Another recommendation for used cymbals at least but drums too. Used Zildjian A’s or Sabian AA are usually cheaper than new beginner cymbals and are very versatile. The real benefit of buying a used drum set is that if you decide you want something different you can sell it for about what you have into it. Wait to buy new until you have a pretty good idea what you want. What kind of music are you in to and what do you want to play?
Good thinking of not losing too much, if any, when I sell.

When I do start to learn songs it's basic rock from growing up, I would think, then go from there. ZZ Top, Led Zep, Michael Jackson, Heart, Van Helen, a few country favorites, etc. Though I'm getting ahead of myself a bit, I'd like to get in on a regular meeting jam group as soon as I can. I'd like for them to play music I really want to work on, but I'd accept others.
 

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Here's my advice and I do give advice cautiously and you'll get a lot of it from a lot of different sources.

Same age as you but I've been playing off and on counting marching bands for 40 plus years. Never got beyond a decent bar drummer and I'm at peace with that. Decided to get back into it after almost 20 years away from a kit last year when the Covids hit and I had space to play.

I bought a Pearl Roadshow as my re-entry kit. I've bemoaned this a few times here, hardware was total garbage but the shells were ok, I still have it, replaced a lot of stuff. After a couple of months I "thought" I was past an entry level kit and got a Pearl Decade. Mind you, it's an ok kit but after a year and a half of playing it I have tinges of buyers remorse - because I really didn't know what I really wanted when I got it. If I could go back I would have stuck with the Roadshow to work on technique and bought something much later, year or more later that I really could work with.

But I got it and I'm playing it. I might go in a different direction at some point but I have to keep on learning to be better at the craft before that happens. That's where I'm at for now, I'm not in a hurry.

GAS is an easy trap to fall into, I fell into it a few times. Gear never made me better at it, it just felt good and at the end of the day that doesn't pay any bills. For me at least.

So my cautious advice is, get a kit, whatever it is, it really doesn't matter what kit, used or entry level for a couple hundred bucks, cymbals - same approach. Get the stuff you can play, not the stuff you want to play and focus on the latter. Once you figure out what you want and can play then invest, otherwise you're peeing money away.

My advice and good luck, and peace.
 

WonderMonkey

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So my cautious advice is, get a kit, whatever it is, it really doesn't matter what kit, used or entry level for a couple hundred bucks, cymbals - same approach. Get the stuff you can play, not the stuff you want to play and focus on the latter. Once you figure out what you want and can play then invest, otherwise you're peeing money away.

My advice and good luck, and peace.
Good advice, thanks. I'm going to put quite mesh heads on the kit right away so I can play it at night, so I'm really just preparing for when I put live heads back on when I get to go jam.
 

Squirrel Man

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Good advice, thanks. I'm going to put quite mesh heads on the kit right away so I can play it at night, so I'm really just preparing for when I put live heads back on when I get to go jam.
I bought a Zildjian K cymbal boxed set for $1k. Fine cymbals but way over the top for what I really needed at the time. Wound up selling them for $800 or something when I got a bunch of older Z's (here actually), more cymbals than I had for tree fiddy.

They do everything I need them to do right now and they were a fantastic deal. Those deals are out there, be patient. Or throw a lot of money at what you're not sure you want. That's what I'm getting at, I really hope this helps.

For mesh heads - I tried them, hated them but many swear by them. The Remo mesh pack (with our without quiet cymbals) are pricey. Drum Factory Direct in Pittsburgh sells off-brand mesh heads at a fraction of the price and they're just as good. Ora quiet cymbals - same thing (compared to the Z80's). DrummingDeals dot com has Ora quiet cymbals on sale every now and then, I picked up a set of hats and ride/crash for sixty bucks. They had the same version with a 16' crash for $90 not too long ago.
 

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I have a Gretsch Catalina Club bop kit that I really like, sounds good, played a bunch of bar gigs with it and it didn't break the bank. I have good heads and nice cymbals and would do it all over again.
 

WonderMonkey

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I bought a Zildjian K cymbal boxed set for $1k. Fine cymbals but way over the top for what I really needed at the time. Wound up selling them for $800 or something when I got a bunch of older Z's (here actually), more cymbals than I had for tree fiddy.

They do everything I need them to do right now and they were a fantastic deal. Those deals are out there, be patient. Or throw a lot of money at what you're not sure you want. That's what I'm getting at, I really hope this helps.

For mesh heads - I tried them, hated them but many swear by them. The Remo mesh pack (with our without quiet cymbals) are pricey. Drum Factory Direct in Pittsburgh sells off-brand mesh heads at a fraction of the price and they're just as good. Ora quiet cymbals - same thing (compared to the Z80's). DrummingDeals dot com has Ora quiet cymbals on sale every now and then, I picked up a set of hats and ride/crash for sixty bucks. They had the same version with a 16' crash for $90 not too long ago.
I won't be throwing money at something if I'm not sure it's what I want, and of course, I'm not experienced to know what that is. I have a list of "quiet heads" and I'll go look at DFD just here in a few minutes. Also DD for the quiet cymbals. I meet with my (hopefully) in-person instructor this week and they work out of a small store. I'm sure they will want me to buy from that store, so I'll take his recommendations with that potential bias in mind. Hopefully, they listen to what I'm saying, ask questions to get around my rookie-ness, and make honest suggestions. I'm hoping that by reading threads here, asking questions, and getting responses, will help me communicate better with this proposed instructor.

Thanks for the response. I'm off to check those websites out.
 

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Since I'm trading out the guitar (hand condition) for drums, I have a fair idea that I'm going to stick with playing.

How often do you see a new drummer (I'm 53 yrs old, if that matters) buy a kit that is so underwhelming that really quickly they upgrade? How often do you see a new drummer go buy a kit that is so far advanced they have no chance of catching up to it for quite some time?

As you could probably tell, I'm arguing with myself on what price point to jump into for my first kit. On one hand, I've thought of buying "the cheapest kit that would work", whatever that would mean, and then start replacing drums one every other month or so as my practice commitment and abilities improve. On the other hand, I know buying a combo kit is probably cheaper in the long run. I'd buy into a basic kit and then add to it, again as my needs arise.

I'm sure my dilemma is common. While I don't know what "the cheapest kit that would work" would be, I'm certainly thinking the Mapex Armory 6-Piece Studioease is probably a touch more than required at this time! Currently, I have an Evans practice pad and will stick with that for a bit, but will eventually purchase something.
Buy used. Lots of great kits used. Just give your self a budget.

Don’t forget cymbals. Dream cymbals are great on a budget. Agop XIST are good budget cymbals. Amazon sells some lines of bosphorus for stupid cheap. Second hand are also way cheaper. All you really need are a pair of hats and a crash/ride to learn
 

Squirrel Man

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I won't be throwing money at something if I'm not sure it's what I want, and of course, I'm not experienced to know what that is. I have a list of "quiet heads" and I'll go look at DFD just here in a few minutes. Also DD for the quiet cymbals. I meet with my (hopefully) in-person instructor this week and they work out of a small store. I'm sure they will want me to buy from that store, so I'll take his recommendations with that potential bias in mind. Hopefully, they listen to what I'm saying, ask questions to get around my rookie-ness, and make honest suggestions. I'm hoping that by reading threads here, asking questions, and getting responses, will help me communicate better with this proposed instructor.

Thanks for the response. I'm off to check those websites out.
DD is flash sales, they sell what they get.

I picked up a set of Pearl Eliminators (with carrying case) for two fiddy, retails for over $400 or something. The sell what they get and I'm not sure if they're demos - I don't think they are, I haven't gotten anything I was unhappy with from them but get on their VIP list. They'll text you at (6:30 my time on the East Coast lol, they're in NYC) Saturday mornings a half hour before they list the items on their website. Long Island Drum Center, Dennis is the owner. He's a good guy from my experience.

LIDC marked sticks are decent too in my experience, I'm using them now. Others may foo foo them because they don't roll evenly and that's fine but for working on rudiments and stuff they work, for me at least. Why pay $20 a pair or more for high end sticks for practice?

Like @cruddola once said, banana sticks work just as fine lol
 

WonderMonkey

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Buy used. Lots of great kits used. Just give your self a budget.

Don’t forget cymbals. Dream cymbals are great on a budget. Agop XIST are good budget cymbals. Amazon sells some lines of bosphorus for stupid cheap. Second hand are also way cheaper. All you really need are a pair of hats and a crash/ride to learn
You answered another thing that I'm studying up on and that is "What is the right sized kit to buy without distracting myself with cool stuff". Some would say "Your practice pad" but I would really be looking for the basic kit. Thanks.
 

WonderMonkey

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DD is flash sales, they sell what they get.

I picked up a set of Pearl Eliminators (with carrying case) for two fiddy, retails for over $400 or something. The sell what they get and I'm not sure if they're demos - I don't think they are, I haven't gotten anything I was unhappy with from them but get on their VIP list. They'll text you at (6:30 my time on the East Coast lol, they're in NYC) Saturday mornings a half hour before they list the items on their website. Long Island Drum Center, Dennis is the owner. He's a good guy from my experience.

LIDC marked sticks are decent too in my experience, I'm using them now. Others may foo foo them because they don't roll evenly and that's fine but for working on rudiments and stuff they work, for me at least. Why pay $20 a pair or more for high end sticks for practice?

Like @cruddola once said, banana sticks work just as fine lol
I noticed they are flash sales, as you called it. It may be dangerous to be on their list, I'd HAVE TO BUY if a good deal came up, right? Good call on having practice sticks. I'll have my Evans pad at work for lunch practice (when I have to go back) and having "good enough" sticks is fine by me.
 

Squirrel Man

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Man... just checked the price on Eliminators - $529 on Amazon and Sweetwater.

It's such a bad time to buy stuff right now unless you're patient and frugal.
 

WonderMonkey

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Man... just checked the price on Eliminators - $529 on Amazon and Sweetwater.

It's such a bad time to buy stuff right now unless you're patient and frugal.
That's the problem .... I'm not. But I'm forcing myself to make good decisions on my first purchase. THEN I can shovel the fiddies.
 

Squirrel Man

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I noticed they are flash sales, as you called it. It may be dangerous to be on their list, I'd HAVE TO BUY if a good deal came up, right? Good call on having practice sticks. I'll have my Evans pad at work for lunch practice (when I have to go back) and having "good enough" sticks is fine by me.
lol - I know, I've scratched off that GAS itch lately for the most part for a couple of different reasons as mentioned but still, I'm up at 6 or earlier Saturdays waiting for that text (two of them usually). I scan the items for sale and I bite back hard and generally... generally hold out but if it's a great deal on something I can use I go for it.

They have great deals on drum heads too and throw in "free" textured snare heads. The snare upgrade kit (Evans dry head, reso and Puresound snare wires) are really a good deal when they have them.
 


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