A national discount chain is offering an adult drumkit for £50 (about US$80).

I've often fancied getting my hand in as a drummer. I don't ever expect drums to be my main instrument, but I would like to be able to lay down simple rhythms for my own recordings, to be able to demonstrate rhythms to the real drummer in my band, and step in as a drummer if people want to jam.

I'm very aware of the handicap a very cheap guitar can be to the beginner guitarist -- bad intonation, inability to stay in tune, etc.

So, my question is, are there similar reasons I should stay away from a cheap drumkit?

What corners get cut when making a cheap drumkit? Which ones should I treat as an unacceptable flaw, and which ones should I treat as an acceptable compromise?

It occurs to me that a drumkit is particularly amenable to piecemeal upgrading -- a drum at a time, or even a pedal or skin at a time. Is there anything wrong with that way of thinking?

  • 1
    Is it a standard 5 piece kit (kick, snare, 2 toms, and floor tom) with a hi-hat? Nov 14, 2011 at 23:54
  • Yes - plus a crash.
    – slim
    Nov 15, 2011 at 11:14
  • Well, it was one per shop, and I wasn't at the front of the queue. I'm still interested in the answer to the question.
    – slim
    Nov 17, 2011 at 8:58
  • What a bummer =/ Nov 17, 2011 at 14:48

3 Answers 3


I would say that it is not an impediment. I learned drum basics (which is what it sounds like you're after) on a rather cheap kit. The big positives about having even a cheap kit early on are

  • You get a feel for the actions involved in playing the drums. Just having something on which to execute the basic movements is very helpful.
  • There is less stuff to be distracted by. It can be easy to be overwhelmed by too much hardware. You get the very basics, and you can gradually add things based on your needs / wants. I know once I got used to my cheap kit, the first thing I added was an extra crash.
  • It is, in fact, cheap! You may find that you reeeeeally don't enjoy playing the drums. In this case, you're not out much =)

The most frustrating aspect of a cheap drum kit is the sound quality. In my experience, these cheaper drums tend to ring for a long time when you hit the heads (which is not typically what you want). Things that can help with that are getting them tuned properly, buying rings or gel to muffle the heads (these are usually quite cheap), and getting new, decent heads (that's a bit more expensive and can come later).

As far as piecemeal upgrading goes, I think that's a great thing about drum kits. Being able to add roto-toms, cowbells, extra cymbals, etc. is really cool. And, as I mentioned above, buying new heads (I reccomend Evans, but that's just me =) ) can greatly improve the sound. Eventually, though, I would replace the core of the set all at once (toms, kick, snare) with something of higher quality. It would be a pain to get new drums that fit on your cheaper hardware.


I've got a friend who started drumming himself about four years ago. He bought a very cheap drum-kit for about 20 euros. It's a terrible set, however, because of his interest in drumming he learned drumming on it really really good.

What i'm trying to say is that, especially for practise, you don't need a fancy drum-kit to begin with. I would however make sure you have some of the basic parts of the drums are present.

Also: I've been playing on a bad out of tune piano, wich only makes it better when I get the change to play on a good one ;)


You'd be better off looking for a second-hand kit.There's far better value for money, and at move it on time, you'll get most of your investment back.This way it'll be more quality for the same money as a new kit.You'll also need a ride cymbal to go with that crash.About now is a good time to look for a kit - April - as little Jimmy will be fed up with his Christmas present, or his parents fed up with his noise about now !

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