Ready to hold down the rhythm for the band with a new set of acoustic drums or electronic drums? Having trouble deciding which drum set is right for you? Choose drumsticks, cymbals, and a drum set that will have your band rocking to the beat in no time.
In building their drum kits, drummers first have to decide whether they want to play acoustic or electronic drums. Acoustic drums are heavier, but allow a complete range of percussion expression. They can be played with either drumsticks or brushes, and do not have to be amplified for smaller gigs.
In comparison, electronic drums have a relatively low volume and require drum amplifiers or overhead announcing system to achieve louder volumes. When playing in smaller locations, drummers can just turn down the volume. Electronic drums, however, do need a good monitoring setup so the drummer can hear himself or herself play. Yamaha electronic drums or Roland electronic drums are well-known quality instruments.
Electronic drums are often better for studio recording. This is because they deliver a clear, crisp sound and allow users to add effects easily. Musical Instrument Digital Interface, also known as MIDI, is also supported by electronic drums. These allow drums to be connected to computers, making recording and editing much easier.
Building a good drum kit
Usually, the best way to build a drum kit is to buy a basic kit and then start adding other drums or percussion instruments. The majority of basic drum sets include five pieces of equipment: the snare drum, floor tom, one bass drum, and two other mounted toms. The term "drum trap set " is used to describe either basic drum sets that include hi-hats or drum kits that include only the bass drum, snare, and hi-hat.
Other percussion instruments can be added to a basic drum kit. Some popular choices include cymbals, cowbells, or electronic drum pads. Tambourines and woodblocks are also good choices. Every bass drum in the set will require its own foot pedal.
Additionally, the drummer will need a throne or drum stool for comfort during playing. Drum stools are different from regular stools in that they twist and permit the drummer to raise or lower his or her seat to become more comfortable.
In order to build the best drum kit possible, percussionists need to understand what types of performance to expect from different drums. For example, bass drums are bigger than other drums, and have a deep, heavy tone.
Bass drums usually are about 22 inches around, but may be anywhere between 16 and 28 inches in diameter. These are usually played with spring-loaded foot pedals. When the drummer pushes the pedal with his or her foot, a mallet hits the drum. Using a double drum pedal will permit the drummer to mimic the effect of two bass drums being played simultaneously.
In comparison, snare drums, or side drums, produce a staccato sound. These are sold in a wide variety of diameters. The typical piccolo snare drum is about 13 or 14 inches and approximately five inches tall. Most drummers prefer to have multiple snare drums for their drum set. Snares should be placed on a tripod snare stand for the best sound and function.
Toms can be mounted or set on the floor. Floor toms are usually set on the right side of the snare drums and are between 12 and 18 inches in diameter. In comparison, mounted toms are either attached to the bass drum or set on tom stands. These may be anywhere from six to 18 inches in diameter, although sizes between 10 and 13 inches are most common. Mounted toms may have one or two heads.
Sometimes, drummers who are just starting out prefer to buy a secondhand drum set. In these situations, it's important to carefully examine the set to make sure the heads are in good condition and that the exterior of the drums isn't beat up. Tuning lugs should be secure and in place, and the hardware should be fully functional. Be sure that the drums are not "out of round" or warped.
Key accessories: Drumsticks and cymbals
Trying to decide what size or brand of drumsticks will work best with a particular drum set? Manufacturers of Vic Firth drumsticks or Regal Tip drumsticks offer quality percussion accessories in a variety of sizes. Although different brands of drumsticks offer a slightly different sound, the key factors are size and music style.
For instance, drummers who are just getting started with rock music need 5A drumsticks, while 7A drumsticks, which are smaller, will work better for jazz drummers. Drummers will want drumsticks that are sized 3A or smaller when playing in marching bands or orchestras.
Use a matched pair of drumsticks so that the pitch and sound will be consistent. Drum brushes can also be used to be used to deliver vibrations softer than those achieved with drumsticks.
Different types of cymbals are also sold for use with drum sets. Some drummers prefer Meinl cymbals and cymbal stands, while others use only Bosphorus cymbals and cymbal stands. Consider the size and thickness of each when deciding which to buy.
Ride cymbals are one of the most frequently used types of cymbals. These are used to keep the rhythm and play the beat. They are usually between 17 and 24 inches in size, and are typically the largest cymbals in a set. Ride cymbals produce a light, crisp sound.
In comparison, crash cymbals are used to accent certain points in the music. They are usually between 12 and 20 inches in diameter, and deliver a quick, sharp crashing sound. Crash cymbals are popular with rock drummers.
Hi-hat cymbals also produce a brief, sharp sound, but the tone is much more muted than that of crash cymbals. They can be placed atop each other on hi-hat stands, which contain spring-loaded mechanisms. When the drummer presses a pedal, these cymbals will crash together to make the sound.
For a brief, syncopated sound, use splash cymbals to accentuate the music. China cymbals are occasionally used as well. These offer a sound much like that of a gong, and are also referred to as swish cymbals.
Although cymbals can be purchased used, buying new cymbals is better for long-term results. Used cymbals are adequate for practicing though.
Every band needs a good drummer, and every drummer needs the right drum set. Start with a basic drum set and add to it until you've achieved exactly the sound you're looking for - it will pay off in the long run!