The Complete Guide to Buying Your First Drum Set

first drum set
Table of Contents

Key Takeaways:

  • Your first drum set is a milestone purchase.
  • Most new drummers make the same mistakes when buying their first set.
  • There are a few things to consider before you shop that help you avoid common mistakes.

There’s no other feeling like buying your first drum kit. You are about to embark on a musical journey that can change the course of your life. The drum set you choose will take you into your next talent phase.

You will add to it and rearrange it many times before you graduate to something more suitable for your new skill level.

It may seem straightforward, but there are many options and traits a new drummer isn’t aware of yet. The price, size, and upkeep requirements must all be considered, and that’s not all there is. A fledgling drummer will all too often make an uninformed purchase that could haunt them for years. 

There are some dos and don’ts to buying your first drum set. This guide provides an in-depth look at everything you need to keep in mind when purchasing your new drum set and a few things to avoid.

Here’s what you should know.

What to Know Before You Go 

Education is the solution to buyer’s remorse. Research the drums you’re interested in and what you need at this stage in your journey. There are several things to consider before you even set foot in the music store, such as:

Size and Space

One of the first things to consider when determining what you need for your first drum kit is how much room you have to house them. It’s counterproductive to buy a huge drum set when you don’t have the necessary space. 

Drums come in many shapes and sizes. Bass drums typically come in 20″ diameter x 14″ depth, 20″ x 16″, 22″ x 16″, and 22″ x 18″ sizes. Snare drums are 14″ in diameter in most cases.

Mounted toms come in a broader range of standard sizes, such as 10″ to 13″ diameters, while floor toms are available in 14″ and 16″. Choose a drum that fits your living space but leaves room for living.


No rule requires your first drum set to be incredibly expensive. It doesn’t have to be – and it doesn’t even need to be brand new. Shop thrift stores, pawn shops, and yard sales, and check the newspaper for used drums for sale.

The price isn’t the most important part of a drum set. A low-priced, used drum set will fit the bill nicely if it meets your needs.

Acoustic vs. Electric

Acoustic drums are the traditionally popular choice of new drummers, but that doesn’t mean an electronic set isn’t right for you. Electronic drums are much quieter, easier to record, and have limitless sound capabilities.

Acoustic sets are much louder and need no amplifier. They take some time to set up but are generally a better choice when you want to gig and jam with a band. Most important to newbies is the dynamic control you learn from controlling sounds with all parts of your hands and drumsticks.

Hybrid kits are also a thing. They incorporate traits from both types of drums so you can complement your acoustic with electronic sound. 

Remember to be patient with yourself. You have a lot to consider. Keeping these basics in mind when you buy your first drum set can help you find one that fits your needs in your price range. 

Common Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes, especially when you’re excited about a meaningful new purchase. Save yourself time, money, and frustration by avoiding the most common mistakes of new drum players. 

Forgetting About Upkeep

Acoustic drum sets are real troopers. They are durable and can last for decades when treated properly. It’s easy to forget that they need a little TLC from time to time to keep performing well. Periodically tuning and covering them when not used helps them stay in good shape.

Electronic drums need maintenance, too. Ensure the cables and plugs are organized and well-maintained, and conduct regular tuning to keep it sounding smooth for years.

Skipping the Hardware

It’s easy to get so wrapped up in buying your first drum set that you forget about the hardware. Stands and thrones help mount your drum set and hold the pieces in position.

Otherwise, it would be rolling all over the floor. Pedals are controlled by your feet and help you play specific drums and cymbals. 

Going Overboard

Buying a drum set can be exhilarating. Your mind is full of possibilities and ideas. All you can think about is how fast your talents are about to build and where that’s going to take you. It can feel like you need every piece of drum equipment you lay your eyes on, but wait – you don’t need much to start out.

Spending a ton of money and buying all sorts of additional pieces, parts, bells, and whistles won’t help you master your craft any faster.

It’s sometimes challenging, but staying on course and sticking to your budget will help you bring home a great drum set that will last you many years. 

It can be a nerve-wracking, albeit thrilling, experience, but there’s no need to be nervous about buying your first drum set. No matter what you end up with, you’ll find something new to learn and practice that will broaden your musical horizons. Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

Start Your Drum Playing Dreams Today

Immersing yourself in a musical environment releases your creative desires. Taking a few lessons is an effective way to tell if drumming is really in your future and, if not, what is. Sloan is a music school that provides lessons (private, group, virtual, and so on) in various musical disciplines.

We sell top-of-the-line musical instruments and accessories, and we also offer instrument rental programs. Contact Sloan School of Music for more information about musical instruments, accessories, lessons, and more. 

Frequently Asked Questions: First Drum Set

Before purchasing, consider the drum set’s size relative to your available space, the cost, and whether you prefer an acoustic or electronic set. Research is crucial to understand your needs at this stage.

No, your first drum set does not have to be new or expensive. Opt for shopping at thrift stores, pawn shops, or yard sales to find a reasonably priced set that meets your needs.

Acoustic sets are louder and offer a traditional experience, while electronic sets are quieter and easier to record with a wide range of sounds. Choose based on your personal preference and living situation.

Avoid neglecting the drum set’s upkeep, forgetting necessary hardware like stands and thrones, and going overboard with purchases. Focus on essentials and expand your set as you progress.

Maintenance is crucial for both acoustic and electronic sets to ensure longevity and performance. This includes periodic tuning, covering acoustic drums when not in use, and maintaining cables and plugs for electronic drums.