Do you want your kid to be the next Ringo or the next Portnoy? Unless he or she is a prodigy you might want to invest in a starter drum set. Not only does it make it easier for the kid to reach everything, it’s also cheaper than an adult drum kit.
Not all beginner sets are the same. While in terms of sound quality they all sound pretty much alike, some designs appeal more to children and are better equipped to serve as a learning instrument.
This article reviews three of the most popular beginner drum sets. We will explain what features matter more than others when it comes to kids. We will show you how to spot the difference between a for-fun-only drum set and one your kid can learn on.
Junior Outfit Drum Set
Ludwig has a longstanding tradition of crafting quality drum sets with a warm sound. Their drums were used by the Beatles, the Doors and even heavier bands such as Van Halen and Iron Maiden. Ludwig generally achieves a good balance between durability and sound clarity and their experience shows even in their junior outfit drum set or LJR106.
This kit meets all the requirements your kid needs to start learning drums. It has a 16” bass drum, a floor tom, two mounted toms and a 12” x 4” snare drum. There is also a cymbal and a hi-hat with stands included, along with a single bass drum pedal.
In terms of durability, you shouldn’t worry about anything that comes out of a Ludwig workshop. The drums will last you until long after your kid outgrows them. This means they’re also easy to resell once you have no use for them.
The one area in which the LJR106 lacks is sound clarity. The bass drum sounds a bit dry and the crash/ride cymbal is nothing special. That being said, kids that are small enough to play this drum kit probably can’t really tell the difference between the LJR106 and a professional adult kit. However, with a bit of online documentation you can tune the drums to sound more appealing if you’re willing to go the extra mile.
Junior Drum Set
The Mendini junior drum set is mostly designed for kids up to 5 feet tall. The bass drum is 13” x 8” and it would be uncomfortable for a person taller than that to play.
What makes this a junior kit is how few accessories are included. Mendini offers a bass drum, a mounted tom, a 10” x 4” snare drum, a hi-hat and an 8” cymbal. This basic setup, although very affordable, has its pros and cons.
The fewer the toms and cymbals it has, the easier it will be for a kid to learn basic motions and not get distracted. At the same time, it is hard to progress past a certain skill level without adding some more instruments.
One important point to note about the cymbal is that it comes mounted on the bass drum. Because it’s not set in the traditional position behind the floor tom, it saves you space but it may influence bad rhythm patterns. If you just want your kid to have fun and focus less on learning then the shorter reach of the cymbal is a great feature.
When it comes to sound quality, it’s about what you would expect from a kid’s drum set. The cymbals are not amazing. The bass drum is also a bit dry but the kit makes up for it with the snare and toms. They are very high quality and don’t require tuning. Apart from using some extra tape, there’s not much else you need to do.
5 Piece Junior Drum Set
This 5-piece starter drum kit from Gammon Percussion has all the necessary hardware. Everything your kid needs to learn to play the drums is included to make the learning process smooth and enjoyable. What is equally important is the quality of the gloss finish on all the woodwork. Kids appreciate looks first, and Gammon delivers them and then some.
The bass drum is 16” which is a perfect size for anyone under or around 5 feet. The kit also includes two mounted toms, a snare, hi-hat, cymbal, and floor tom. Your kid can play anything from soft blues to hard rock and heavy metal with this kit.
What’s even cooler is that the kit also includes a drum key which is hard to come by with most junior or starter drum kits. The drum pedal and sticks that come with Gammon’s junior set are also good quality. They shouldn’t need changing before your kid outgrows the drums.
This product truly stands out in two key areas: customization and affordability. The sound matters too but it’s not the best in the world, and you won’t find better sound quality in other beginner drum sets either.
The Gammon BMDJR50 comes in a variety of colors which is great if you want to give your kid a nudge towards drumming. The variety of eye-catching finishes will appeal to both boys and girls. The price is also great because of how fast kids outgrow these drums and how quickly you will have to make a new purchase.
Ludwig’s junior outfit drum set or LJR106 is a nice option for a starter set. It has all the hardware necessary for simple and advanced pattern practice and comes with all the necessary accessories. What’s especially good about it is its correct placement of the cymbal behind the floor tom. It encourages learning correct motion patterns, making it easier for a kid to move on to adult drum kits.
The Mendini by Cecilio junior drum set is designed more for fun activities than actual learning. It’s not a complete beginner set as it lacks a floor tom cymbal stand. That being said, the drums are durable and decent sounding. This is definitely a great budget option and a choice you will hardly live to regret if your kid outgrows the kit fast.
Last but not least, the cream of the crop is the junior starter drum kit by Gammon Percussion. This is our number one pick for obvious reasons. While adults may not care about visuals, kids are all about bright colors and shiny distractions. Gammon hit it out of the park with their assortment of glossy finishes.
The chromed hardware, the high quality craftsmanship of the wood and the surprisingly even sound make this kit the best overall option. It’s not expensive, it is a full kit albeit scaled down a few sizes, and when maintained with care it can be resalable later on.