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Gear Guide #1.0 - Starter budget kits & cymbals

posted 5 Mar 2012, 03:24 by Chris Morris
A lot of my pupils ask me about buying their first set of drums, so I thought it would be a good idea to write this blog about what to buy for your first set of drums.

I'm going to split this blog into three sections - Acoustic drum kits, cymbals, and electric kits. This will be the first entry in a series of blogs about gear, and hopefully I will cover a lot of ground in here so if this interests you then please keep an eye out for the other gear guides. 

Acoustic Drum Kits

Generally if you look out for the big names in drums - Premier, Mapex, Pearl, etc then you will get a pretty decent kit. I've done my research over the last several years though and I think the following drum kits would be super starters.

This is the first blog entry of this type that I have done and please remember that these are budget kits - All the drum kits I've researched here are £300 or under. If you've got a bit more money to spend, look out for the next blog entry!

Cannon Adder

It's not so much that this is a great sounding drum kit - It's fair for a beginner but I wouldn't use it with my band. It's more that this kit only costs £229 and you get a fantastic package with it. It's a full five piece drum kit complete with 14" hi hats, a 16" crash cymbal and an 18" ride cymbal. All the stands for said cymbals are included along with carrying bags and silencer pads for all the drums and cymbals.

Let's face it too, it's a pretty cool looking drum kit! They all come in the same yellow and black colours. The only real flaw in my opinion is a common problem with buying any first drum kit - the cymbals. When you're buying your first kit and you want it to last a good while (I think we all do really don't we?) I would definitely recommend taking a look at the cymbal guide below and get a good set of cymbals to accompany this decent kit.

As for the cymbals stands - They aren't the best quality, but of course this is reflected in the great price. The bass drum pedal too is a little bit flimsy so you would maybe have to replace it after a while, but again, for everything you get with this kit I would say that this is a minor flaw.

Overall I would definitely recommend this kit to someone who is just starting out - especially young drummers who don't want to disturb their parents or neighbours - the silencers are a fantastic idea!

Performance Percussion PP300

If you're after a drum kit that sounds slightly better than the Cannon Adder, this one is also a brilliant starter. It's a bit better made having a double-braced stool and calibrated bass drum spurs. It's a five piece with a hi hat and crash cymbal (No ride cymbal I'm afraid!) and includes a pair of drum sticks and a drum key for tuning your drums.

It's available in four colours - the metallic red you see in the picture above, metallic blue, gloss black and metallic silver. One of the reasons the kits sounds so good is that it now comes with Remo drum heads - These are used by tonnes of famous drummers including... Well, I use them, does that count? On a serious note though, Remo heads generally give a fantastic sound, so I would definitely recommend this kit.

Leedy NRG

Quite similar to the PP300 above, the main difference with the Leedy NRG is really just the look. The only colour available is the wine red you see to the left, with a little bit of sparkle. You get the full five piece drum kit with this which includes surprisingly good hi hats and a crash cymbal - Although I'm still personally not a fan of any of these types of cymbals which come with the kits.

The hardware on this drum kit is really impressive for the price - All the stands are double-braced and will last you a good while. The hi hat clutch that comes with this kit is also a nice wee non-slip rubber clamp. As for the overall quality of the sound, I'd probably stick to the PP300 instead, but this kit really does have the edge when it comes to hardware.

The snare drum that comes with this kit also gives off a pretty nice sound, which is quite unusual for a kit at this price. 


I'm going to move on to cymbals now which would be great to accompany any of these kits. Before I do though, there are much more than three great budget beginner kits out there - I've just come across a handy page which features in depth reviews of these three kits and more, check it out -