Five Tips on Buying an Electronic Drum Kit for Beginners
You may be tempted to buy an advanced drum kit right away, but that’s not necessarily the right approach. Here are a few things to consider before you buy your first electric set.
Don’t Go Overboard
Remember that you’re just starting out, so there’s no need to start out with the most expensive or elaborate kit you can find. In fact, going with something that’s too over the top on any single front is actually the worst thing you can do as a beginner. Jumping into something more elaborate than you can handle can lead to a lot of frustration and get in the way of properly building your skill.
Stick to simple kits that don’t have too many pieces or feature a huge sample library. Sticking to a module that has a modest number of samples means there’s less you have to deal with when you’re choosing your presets, so you can instead put your efforts into your technique and understand the basics of drumming.
Skip the Fancy Features
One of the big selling points for electronic drum kits is that they often come with a lot of interesting special features, such as the ability to program dozens of your own custom drum kits or pads that feature multiple pressure zones. While these can be very important for veteran players, they are definitely not necessary for anyone just starting out.
Unless there’s something you already know how to use, skip any of the fancy features you come across. Keeping the kit as basic as possible is the best way to make sure that you don’t get bogged down with unnecessary tools and components. It can also help you save money, so that you can instead upgrade your kit over time once you have a better idea of what you want.
Look for a Starter Bundle
Starter bundles are a great way for beginners to get into drumming, and there are definitely some impressive ones out there for electric kits. The basic necessities you’re going to want to look for (beyond the kit itself) are a pair of sticks and a drum throne. Finding a bundle that includes a throne is a huge bonus because they are adjustable, so you can make sure you’re sitting at the proper position. Using a standard chair can leave you too high or too low, which will compromise your form and can lead to injury.
It’s also common for bundles to include headphones, since you will need them in order to actually hear what you’re playing. You might come across bundles that include cables, bags, or other accessories, but for the most part those items won’t be as useful for beginners as sticks and a stool.
Understand the Drum Brain
If you take the time to learn about the type of brain (also known as the module) that comes with the kit, you can identify several aspects of the kit that will have a direct impact on the final price. Since the module controls the drum kit’s ability to create sounds, you’re going to want to focus on how much flexibility it gives you when it comes to programming sounds and working with other devices. The lower number of user presets it can store, the lower the price is usually going to be. MIDI output is the most common way for the module to connect to other instruments, but it can also increase the price. If you don’t need this feature, you can angle your search towards kits that only have USB ports.
Check for Instructional Features
Sometimes electronic drum kits feature built-in instructional components to help new drummers learn how to play. This can be a very beneficial feature for beginners, but isn’t required in order to learn how to use the instrument. Always check the product listing of a kit to see if it mentions any non-essential features like this, as they are among the more common contributors to higher kit prices. You can easily find instructional drumming books at stores, as well as tons of free videos and tutorials online, so unless you really want to have all of your learning materials centralized on the module, you can skip the kits that offer them bundled in.
Bonus Tip: Think about the Future
Electronic drum kits are different from other instruments in that they can be upgraded quite significantly over time. From simple actions like adding in a few extra toms to complete module upgrades, you can modify most kits pretty intensively. If you don’t plan on making any major changes in the near future, don’t worry about kits that support tons of extra pads. However, if you want a kit that you can keep for years to come, think about the expansion options and factor that into the overall value.