Acoustic Drum Kits
The Acoustic Drum Kit is the beating heart of virtually every genre of music you can think of, from rock to blues, jazz to hip hop. It doesn’t matter if you hit them hard or soft, play fast or slow, the drums are the engine room to history’s greatest songs.
Here at Rattle & Drum we offer drum kits to suit all budgets. From the Tornado by Mapex, the number one choice for the beginner to stunning custom built drums from the likes of DW, Pearl, Gretsch, Ludwig and Tama. From the bedroom to the stadium (via the local pub), we’ve got an Acoustic Drum for all stages.
The modern drum kit is available in many different configurations and sizes as well as a huge choice of materials and finishes. Trying to work out which is the right kit for you can be confusing. Click here for a quick Drum guide to help you make the right choice covering:
- What do you need? Are you just starting out or are you upgrading? (Click here)
- Do you have a budget in mind? Where are you going to play the drums? (Click here)
- Why is one drum kit more expensive than another? (Click here)
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Acoustic Drum Kit Information
The modern drum kit is available in many different configurations and sizes as well as a huge choice of materials and finishes. Trying to work out which is the right kit for you can be confusing. Here’s a quick guide to help you make the right choice.
What do you need? Are you just starting out or are you upgrading?
Drum kits are normally sold as one of three packages.
- A complete kit with cymbals will normally include everything you need to get started including the drums, stands* and cymbals.
- A drum kit including hardware will consist of the bass drum, toms and snare drum as well as the stands, pedal and any mounting hardware*.
- A shell pack is just the drums, normally the bass drum and toms only.
*The drum throne (stool) is normally sold separately.
Do you have a budget in mind? Where are you going to play the drums?
Whilst todays entry level drum kits offer excellent build quality and value for money, they are designed to get you started, perfect for the bedroom and occasional practice sessions. But if you intend to throw them in the back of a van and set them up in a different venue seven nights a week it won’t be long before your investment starts to buckle under the strain. If you’re a gigging musician, you need to be confident that your equipment will stand up to being constantly hit by two pieces of wood! The good news is this doesn’t have to cost a fortune, most of the leading manufacturers offer some excellent quality drums amongst their lower and mid-priced ranges whilst their high-end drums are designed to withstand the punishment of extensive touring.
Why is one drum kit more expensive than another?
There are many reasons why the price of drums varies so greatly. Some obvious, some less so. The biggest two factors are normally where it’s made and how it’s made. Geographical location isn’t as clear cut as it used to be because there’s some phenomenal professional gear being made in China now, but it’s fair to say that drums made in Europe, Japan and North America are generally going to offer a level of quality and expertise that the Chinese factories traditionally don’t. As for how it’s made, even the entry level drums are still manufactured in a largely “hands on” traditional way but there’s a big difference between the production line drums with many automated processes and the hand built custom shop drums that are often built by one or two master craftsmen that will take ownership of every process from sourcing the wood to packing it in the boxes. Another important difference is the materials used to make the shell. A variety of different woods are used in the manufacture of modern drums from cheaper examples like Poplar and Basswood which are often used on their own in entry level drums or blended with better quality tone woods as the price increases. Maple and Birch are probably the two materials most commonly associated with professional drums although high end drum companies are always looking at new and exciting ways of utilizing more exotic wood choices and combinations such as Bubinga, Cherry, African Mahogany, Oak and even Bamboo.
Maple is by far the most popular tone wood used in the manufacture of modern drum shells especially at the higher end, however it’s worth baring in mind that there is a difference in the quality of the Maple that drum companies use. Whilst professional level drums will normally have Maple sourced from specialist North American suppliers where the climate allows the wood to grow a lot slower and much denser. The shells can then be made thinner and therefore will be more resonant. Mid-priced drums will normally use a Far Eastern grown Maple which grows quicker and is less dense. This does influence the overall sound of the shell but it’s still a great tone wood and its lower cost has allowed this popular material to be available at a much more accessible price point.
The overall look and finish of the kit will also have an impact on the price. The cheaper kits will have a solid plastic wrap covering the wooden shells. This is a quick and easy process for the manufacturer and offers a rugged, yet appealing finish to the shells. Plastic style wrap finishes are not just used on entry level kits though. For many years nearly all drum kits would have featured a wrapped finish and with vintage looking drums being very much back in fashion, high quality plastic wraps are becoming more and more popular on high-end drums. New modern techniques allow for an almost limitless array of custom wrap finishes to be applied to a drum shell to create some incredible visual effects. Applying a painted finish directly to the wood is the other option. This can either be with a solid colour, a fade or burst, or a transparent coating that allows the natural grain of the wood to show through. A natural satin oil or a full gloss lacquer is then applied to protect the shell. If you’re looking for something really special, then many manufacturers are now using a outer ply of exotic hardwood to create a really distinctive wood grain on the top of the range kits.