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The Best Starter Drum Sets for New Players and Kids

Updated on November 13, 2017
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Writer teacher and parent. I have taught guitar and drums to young people for several years.

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What Are the Best Drum Sets for Kids and Beginners?

If you're thinking about buying a drum set for a child, this guide is for you. More and more kids are learning drums and guitar, joining or starting bands, and gaining a skill that they can be proud of for a lifetime. In making this list of the best drum sets for beginners, I have focused on affordable, playable drum sets that suit a younger player. You don't need to spend $500 to buy a beginner drum set! There are all excellent options that are less than half that price of a full-size kit. You also don't need a million tom-toms and china gongs -- most kids will start out with kick-snare-hi hat, and maybe a floor tom. The best, highest-quality drum sets for beginners don't have too many bells and whistles. All you really need is a basic, quality kit that a young person can comfortably get behind and play.

My Experience Teaching and Playing Drums

I have been in touring rock bands for almost 25 years, and now at (ahem) 49 years of age, I can safely say that I know what to look for and what to avoid when buying an instrument. In addition to my road gig experience, I have taught drums and guitar for many years. As part of my teaching work, I have helped dozens of students and their families decide which guitars, amplifiers, and drum sets to buy. I take into consideration some things others don't, like playability, durability, and the cost of accessories.

Number 5: De Rosa Children's 3 Piece 12 Inch Drum Set

Okay folks, if you want to get your little rocker started out EARLY, this De Rosa kit is your ticket. The kick drum is 12 inches across. While you're getting your mind around that, picture the size of human that would fit behind a drum kit this tiny. This kit is for the real little ones, but in my experience even kindergartners love to bash on things. Why not offer them a chance to bash on things with a little bit of skill?

My own kids started out on drums before the age of five, and I wish I had bought them something like this instead of the bigger kit we wound up with. This is a really small kit, but if your guy or girl is really small, they will love it. De Rosa makes even its smallest drum kits to real drum kits specs, so this is NOT toy that will break apart the minute Bam Bam Junior really starts wailing. You'll be surprised at the power and quality of sound coming from this set. It's something special to see your little kid rocking on a little kit.

Is Your Child in a Band?

Years ago, when I was coming up, the answer to this question was usually "no, and I want to keep it that way." Rock bands were loud, noisy, and the domain of long-haired, drug-fueled rebels. No parent that I was aware of would ever encourage their kid to start one. And if the kid did, then they made it hard to find a place to practice. Nowadays, parents are singing their kids up for rock band lessons, for money. What happened? Whatever it is, I'm all for it.

She Rocks! - Check out Anastasia on the drums --

Best Drum Sets for Beginners: A 16" Kick Drum Set

I picked this one because it's a little bigger, with a 16-inch kick drum. Built to "real" drum kit specifications. In other word, this is not a toy, folks! This set comes with all the bells and whistles and hardware you need to start rocking right away. When you choose a drum kit, you need to make suer that ALL the necessary parts are included. It's not uncommon for a "drums for sale" listing to include only the drums themselves, leaving out cymbals, cymbal stands, the kick-pedal, and so on. You don't want to be desperately trying to find an open music store on Christmas Eve. Trust me on this, because I have been there, and it's no fun.

How to choose the right drum kit for a young person

After many, many years playing in bands, teaching guitar and drums, and raising two musical kids, I have learned a few things about how to buy musical gear for young people. I have bought a lot of gear and instruments over the years, and I have made a fair number of mistakes. I wish someone had told me some of the things I am about to tell you! Of all the items that I bought for my kids or helped my students buy, drum kits are probably the trickiest, especially when you attempt to buy one for a child. There are some real pitfalls that you can avoid if you have a little advice. So let's look at some of the most popular beginner drum sets out there, and talk a little about which ones will work for you, and which ones won't.

Why a single snare drum produces strong drum kit players

Most young drummers who take lessons from school band teachers use a solo snare drum to practice and perfect their technique. For that they need a quality stand-alone snare drum like the GP student snare. It has everything you need right out of the box, it's affordable, and it's high quality. My more serious students have used solo snares for lessons, and it works.

Best Drum Sets for Beginners: New Complete 5-Piece Black Junior Drum Set with Cymbals Stands Sticks Hardware & Stool

This is a real rock set, with five drums and pro-quality hardware. It's a little smaller than an adult set, but otherwise it's the same quality. In other words, it's not a toy! "Five pieces" refers to the number of actual drums, not the entire package, which includes the cymbals, stands, adjustment tools, and so on. I have found that the components of this kit are pretty much all the beginning student needs when it comes to starting on the first day -- it's more complete that some other kits out there, which is why I like this kit.

Be Safe -- Protect Their Ears!

One of the first things I tell the families I teach is that their child needs a set of headphones THAT THEY WILL WEAR. Playing drums can get loud, and the drummer needs ear protection. These headphones are all good choices. What matters most is not so much the degree of noise cancellation -- all headphones will get the job done -- but rather will the kid put them on willingly. My advice is to start out on the right foot with headphones from the get-go. Make it part of the gear, and make putting on the phones part of playing the drums. Hopefully, your child has a long and rewarding career ahead of them in music, so make sure that the people in the audience aren't the only ones who can hear the music!

Best Drum Sets for Beginners: Winfun Kids Fun Electronic Drum Set

Okay, I had to throw this one in here. Some of my students have parents with low noise tolerance thresholds, and they run into problems when they want to rock out and their parents want quiet. While I wouldn't necessarily make this the only drum instrument a kid ever plays, it does have its virtues. The electronic pads are triggers for drum sounds, which the player hears through headphones. So aside from some tapping on the plastic pads, no real noise is produced. The Winfun set is both seriously useful and essentially silent. Pro players have used electronic kits for eons, and some get amazing results. This is a good option if you want a quiet house.

This really needs to be seen to be believed -- - Little kid rocks the drums!

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