Every drummer will tell you something different if you ask of the best drum manufacturer. This could be for a number of reasons: they could be loyal to a particular brand because of someone who inspired them, they might just like the look of the drums, or possibly it might be because of the sound and build quality. In the end, your decision should be based on personal preference.
It’s best to test out drums and cymbals for yourself before committing to buying anything. Some makes, such as Yamaha, produce a range of sets from budget to fairly expensive. Other more established makes, such as Pearl, produce a range of kits and hardware that are well-respected for their build quality and sound, but can be quite costly. As with any instrument, it all depends on the style you wish to play, and the genre you wish to play in. All drums produce different sounds.
Budget Drum Kits and Cymbals
All drum kits can sound good if they are set up properly. However, often the build and quality of the fittings aren’t as good as the more expensive kits. This does not mean that they will break as soon as you buy them, it just means that they were made for a different market. These types of kits are great for people just starting to learn, for example.
Music manufacturers such as Yamaha offer cheap kits that are great for beginners. The build quality is not amazing, but with a proper set-up and decent skins can still sound decent. These sets usually feature a thin ply shell and come with a basic set of hardware. To compliment your budget kit you should purchase some budget cymbals. Sabian Cymbals, for example, offers a great range of budget cymbals. While these wouldn’t suit a live or studio recording, they are a great alternative to expensive cymbals for practicing.
Intermediate Drum Kits and Cymbals
Some of the most respected and well-made drum kits are produced by a few companies. Pearl, Tama, and Mapex are popular drum kits for more experienced drummers. The drum kits themselves are usually made of a higher quality wood, less prone to damage, and the fittings are usually more robust. The drums will also ship with a higher quality skin than those of cheaper makes. To complement these drum kits, you’ll need to purchase a decent set of cymbals.
Again, depending on what you plan to use the kit for, you might want to do some testing in a music shop. Sabian Cymbals are a quality make that hand hammers a lot of their cymbals. The Sabian Cymbals XS20 range, for example, combines the more expensive crafting techniques of the more expensive lines, but the price is more in line with budget cymbals. They offer superior sound quality, often used for both live and studio recording. More expensive cymbals are usually hand hammered and feature tailored sounds for different genres.
Paiste also has a few lines that are popular with famous drummers. John Bonham, of Led Zeppelin fame, favored these cymbals over all others. This often underrated manufacturer has a few selections from budget cymbals to high end. Whether it’s Sabian Cymbals or Zildjian, most manufacturers offer a choice for those on a budget and those with a bit more cash to spare. Just remember: an expensive, high quality drum kit will not make you a better drummer. You can achieve anything you want even on a budget!
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