Drums starters toolkit

Drum Lessons for Beginners Drum Lessons For Beginners
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Hi, I'm Todd the music coach and welcome to the instruments setup and buyers guide for the drum kit. Now when you're getting started playing the drums one of the first decisions you're gonna have to make is so I want to go with an electronic drum kit, or an acoustic drum kit like this one. The main factors to consider are where you're going to be playing and practicing and what your eventual musical goals are. For practice purposes and electronic drum kit actually gives you a lot more options than acoustic drum kit just because you control how loud the sound is. An electric drum kit is gonna sound about this loud when you're playing it, but the sound of that it is on a drum pad. Now an acoustic drum kit as you probably already can tell is going to be quite loud So unless you have somewhere to set up in play where you can make noise without disturbing other people, an electric drum kit may be a good place to start.

Acoustic drum kits ultimately are what's mostly commonly used when you're making music with other people, and learning how to play them not just correctly, but learning how to play them at different volume levels, takes a bit of time to get used to. Electric drum kits start at around three to $500 in price and come with some foot triggers and some pads and some sort of pads that look like symbols. And it'll have some sort of interface that you can have program in the sounds for each of the pads, and you'll need to have a good set of headphones as well. And then you just use regular drum sticks, and you practice away like you normally would on a regular drum kit. If ultimately your goal is to just play on your own and jam along with your own tunes. Then and electronic drum kit can be a great option for long term.

But I would say ultimately, if your hope is to play music with other people, then an acoustic drum kit is the best way to go. If you're thinking of buying an electric drum kit, there are three main price points there are student level, intermediate, and professional. In the student level pricing, you're looking at starting at around $300, up to five or $600. Intermediate, they're going to start in the five to $600 range and go up towards 1000. And then professional levels are going to start at 1000 and go up into the five or $6,000 range. Mostly what you're getting in the difference in quality is the controller end of it in terms of the amount of sounds and options you have when you program it.

And also some playability stuff like they're going to be higher quality pedals and the rubber and everything is going to be higher quality. on professional level, but certainly we're starting out a student level electronic drum kit is a good place to start. I always recommend to my students, if possible, don't buy the absolute cheapest thing. Because any quality that's being lost by companies trying to cut cut prices and cut corners, you're going to notice that the most right at the bottom, and often you get a significant increase in quality from the lowest price to the next one up. So even though you might be only spending 100 or $200 more, sometimes you get quite a huge jump in quality by just going up a little higher. In the intermediate electronic drum space, you're just again getting more better quality sounds and better quality equipment and professional level electronic drums I would say there's no need to spend that kind of money unless you specifically want to play electronic drum sounds only because if you're going to invest over $1,000 in electronic drum kit, you're probably under Likely to also have the budget to invest in a real acoustic drum kit.

And ultimately, if you're able to, it's good to have both. Now on the acoustic drum kit side, there are a couple things to consider. There are child size sets, which are great if you've got a little person in your life. And they are often very inexpensive and fairly durable and good for Gillette, kids just play around on, they usually start in the $200 range and go up to three or $400. And usually they come with with everything you need. They'll come with all the pedals the drums themselves, and usually one symbol sometimes that attaches right into the bass drum.

And like I said, if you've got a little person in your life, it's kind of a good it's a good starting place because a full size drum kit can only be made so small and little people kind of their legs are just not going to be long enough until they're probably around 10 years old before they can really sit at a real acoustic full size drum kit. There are three main price points for acoustic drum kits. There's the student level drum kits, the intermediate and the professional level. On the student level drum kits side, you can get a drum kit, which will come with usually five pieces, which are the kick drum, snare drum. There'll be two rack Tom's, a floor tom, and hi hat stand. And usually you'll get hi hat cymbals, and a kick drum pedal as well.

And sometimes one or more rider crash cymbal, and the base price for that is around four to $600 and intermediate drums are going to start in the seven to $800 range and go up towards $1,000. And then professional level drum kits go up from there up into the many thousands of dollars. Now one of the great things about drum kits is so many of the parts are interchangeable so you can start with a fairly base level drum kit and upgrade many different kinds of parts of it. For example, when you play drum kit, a lot of what you're hearing is you play the snare drum a lot. So if you get a very basic drum kit and you're not happy with the snare sound, you can just buy a different snare drum and it really upgrades the sound quality of your drum kit with just one upgrade.

Nothing like that is your kick drum pedal. It's the when you have a cheaper drum kit, it's one of the places you really feel the difference. Really high end, kick drum pedals are very smooth and even all the way through and they often have to change so they're really they're super durable. And again, you can upgrade just that part. So this drum kit is what's called a pearl export series. And it's a very famous but lots of people have them they're not too expensive, brand new, they cost about $900 and I've had this drum kit for a really long time and it's it sounds great and I'm very happy with it in acoustic drums the size Have the drums affects the price as well.

There are different kinds of drum kits for different kinds of drumming on the very small end, after you have the children's drum sets or what are called cocktail kits, and they're designed to be very compact, very lightweight, and for playing cocktail parties essentially so you could fit it in a little corner and play it quite quietly and it would sound good. Going up from there, you're going to have a jazz kit which will have a much smaller bass drum than this and the other drums will often be smaller, everything will be a little bit more tight and compact. This drum kit here is a fairly standard size. It's a 22 inch bass drum, a 14 inch snare drum, there's a 10 inch Tom. There's also a 12 inch Tom that comes with this kit that I don't use and a 16 inch Floor Tom. And these are all very standard sizes for a full sized drum kit and this can be used in rock and reggae as a very general rule The the size of the bass drum will affect how big the bass drum sounds.

So the smaller it is, the more of a thumping you're going to get and the bigger it's going to get more of a booming sound. In terms of cymbals, hi hat cymbals are fairly standard sizes. The hardware in a in a hi hat stand varies greatly if you're playing really hard and hitting if you're playing louder, more aggressive music, you're going to want hardware that's really tough and durable. And again, it's just more expensive. But as a beginner starting out, you can get sort of a lower end set of hardware and stands and usually they'll be fairly consistent. The symbols are the next piece and that fairly This is a fairly standard setup.

I've got two crash cymbals and one ride cymbal. The ride cymbal will usually be larger, and it's usually the most expensive symbol to buy. You can often get a set together like the Hi Hat cymbals couple of crashes and a ride cymbal in One thing, so they're all totally match symbols all look the same, but the kind of metal and the way it's manufactured is varies greatly. So they have different colors and sounds and they're, they sound different depending on where you hit them. So when you're first starting out, I'd recommend getting a matching set. And then as you go along again, you can upgrade different pieces, different symbols at different times.

When picking your drum sticks, there's a few things you want to consider. drum sticks are designed to be different sizes and weights. And in a very general sense, the bigger and heavier the stick, the louder it's going to be with with less energy. So there's two schools of thought. Some drummers I know like to play with a really heavy stick and use it very lightly so that there's less wrist and arm motion to generate more sound. And other people like to play with very light sticks and hit a little harder because they Like the feeling of it.

So the system for most drum kits is going to be a number with a letter. And as the numbers get larger, the sticks actually gets smaller. So a three is going to be a little bit bigger than a five, and they usually are A's and B's every company does it slightly differently. But when you're in a store, you can pick up some drumsticks and kind of feel the weight of them. And I would recommend trying a few different weights of sticks. To find what feels right in your hands, you'll you'll get a feeling for what you like, when a stick is too light.

It'll just not feel quite right in your hands. And certainly if a stick is too heavy, you'll you'll feel that you don't quite have the speed because it's always a trade off between how fast you can move and how consistent you can make your sound. If you have an acoustic drum kit, and you're looking to play a little bit quieter for practice purposes, there's a few things you can do. The first thing I recommend are what are called blast sticks. And these are simply a whole bunch of Very thin pieces of wood that are taped together and they disperse the sound so that you're not getting nearly as much of a direct transmission of energy into whatever you're hitting. So here's a stick.

Here's a plastic so I can swing my arms and wrists at the same velocity as I would with a stick and get a much quieter sound. Now, the only drawback with plastics is that you can't really practice any rolls because this the plastics don't bounce off of the snare drum especially like a regular stick does. So they're good for big motion movements and practicing time, but for more subtle things and skipping the symbol, skipping on the symbol and things like that, it won't really do that. They're also upset plastics are quite a bit more expensive than regular drumsticks. Regular drumsticks will be in the sort of five to $15 price range and plastic start at $20 and go up. So definitely if you're going to buy a pair of these Don't lose them, hang on to them if you want to practice rolls and more stick technique, but you can't be making any noise or hammering me making very much noise because of where you live.

A practice pad is an excellent thing to own. These are again, not very expensive, and you can set it on top of your snare drum, or you can just set it on a table, and it'll simulate the bounce that your sticks are getting when they're hitting the snare drum. And for specific snare drumming techniques. This is a great way to practice you don't need headphones. You don't need earplugs because it's very quiet and you can really hear how the sticks are bouncing and get a good feel for how they're moving on the practice pad. A really important piece of equipment when playing the drums is some sort of ear protection.

Because the drum kit can be very loud. It can do damage to your hearing over time. there's sort of two approaches you can take one is to get earplugs in Which you can get really cheap ones even from the drugstore that are soft foam, and they just go into your ear. Always be careful Don't ever ram anything right down in your ear. And this will cut out a lot of the high frequencies from the cymbals which can do a lot of damage. And they'll leave some of the low frequency so you'll be able to hear your kick drum, which is nice.

If you're wanting to play along with music when you're practicing on the drums, one thing I recommend is a really good set of headphones that are made for drums. So these are Vic Firth. And what they are is they're designed for drummers so they're they fit over your ear. And they're essentially like an industrial level set of ear protection like you'd see in an airport or in a factory or something where people around things are really loud, so blocked out all the sound and then it has the headphone cable built right in. What I found is that these really allow me to keep the volume low on the track that I'm playing. And so I don't have to feel like I've got a blasting in my ear to be able to be at the same level as the drums.

And a regular set of headphones even if they're high quality, but they're not made for drumming, you're going to find the gift to crank up the volume really loud to have them be louder than the amount of sound that's leaking in the sides. Another thing I really recommend against is, earbuds which are the ones that usually come with the smartphones and things like that, that go right in your ear are not ideal for playing drums. Part of it is that the speaker in the headphone is really close to your eardrum so if you are cranking it up, you're going to get a lot of damage right away. And also your eardrum really needs a little bit of air between the sound that's happening and your actual ear drums for to process the sound properly. So a set of headphones like this, they're a little expensive. These were about $70 I believe, and but it's totally worth it because you're hearing really once you start to damage it, there's no coming back so I look at it and go for a small investment to protect my hearing.

It's totally worth it. Now might seem like a silly thing to think about, but Because your feet are as important a part of playing drums as your hands are, I always like to make sure that I practice with the same shoes or boots that I'm going to be playing with when I'm playing with other people. Because the way that your seat interact with the pedals in terms of how much grip your shoes have, how much your shoes weigh, whether they have a heel in them or not, it's going to affect the touch the feeling you're going to have when you're putting the Hi Hat up and down or using the bass drum. So definitely I practice with, I know what shoes I like to wear when I'm performing or playing with other people. And I make sure that I bring them down and play with them.

Especially for weight. If you're if you like to wear a really light running shoe all the time, and you're playing all of a sudden you're like oh, I'm gonna you know, wear these boots or something that I have on you're gonna feel a big difference in your legs and how the technique is going to be a little bit different. Some people like to play in sock feed. I don't know usually recommend that for a couple reasons. One is when you're ultimately playing drums with other people having shoes on for safety is a really good thing because things do tip over and they'll land on your feet and it can hurt. And also, just in terms of the grip on the pedals themselves, it's good to have some amount of grip on your feet so that you get something consistent.

And definitely don't play in your bare feet, mostly just for germs and foot fungus and things like that. And you don't want other people playing your drums in bare feet either. So always find a good pair of shoes that you like and stick with them. Now when you're setting up your drum kit for you, there's a few things you got to consider that are really important. One is the height of the stool. You're going to want the drum throne to have your legs be on a 90 degree angle going down.

If your germ stool is too low, your legs are going to be up above your hips and your legs, especially around Right around your hip joints are going to get really tired quickly. So you're going to get fatigue if you're sitting too low. If you're sitting too high, you're going to lack the power and the controller really hit the pedals hard and hit them consistently. So I always like to make sure get a really good drum thrown. One thing to look out for unfortunately, with a lot of newer ones, you're going to see a plastic it'll be a metal screw controlling a plastic ring holding a piece of metal. Anytime you see plastic trying to hold metal, this is cheap and no good and will probably break.

So get a good drum thrown, it's really easy to adjust where there's metal holding metal together, and that way it'll be really consistent. The next step is to get all of the drum surfaces to a good level. So some people like to have their their snare drum up really high. And depending on whether you play with what's called traditional grip, or match grip, when you play the traditional grip, some people like to have the drum up a little higher or even angled away from them, which has more From the marching band style for match grip, I recommend having it be completely flat and up a little bit higher than your knees. One thing you'll notice is if you're hitting the snare drum and your hand or your stick is hitting your left side, then you probably your snare drum is a little bit too low. The other thing knows if you're hitting the rim a lot, not on if you're hitting the rim a lot and you don't mean to, then probably your snare drum is a bit too high.

So these are kind of some things to think about. When you're reaching forward to a rack tom, you want to feel like it's right there at the end of your extension. So you don't want to feel like you have to lean forward into it and you also don't want to feel like it's too close so you're not getting enough power. The floor tom should be at the same height level as the snare drum and again, should feel comfortable to hit it and also a comfortable movement around the drum kit with your hands. You don't want to feel like you're reaching way over or having to reach back when it comes to the floor time with the hands Had again, it's a very personal thing. I like to have it up maybe four inches off the snare drum depends on how much on top of the high hat playing you're doing and how much sort of on the side you want to be doing.

If it's too low, when you're playing, you'll click the sticks when you're playing in cross position, and if it's too high up, you won't be able to play on top of the hi hat. So it's good to find a happy medium with the symbols, I like to have them near the end of my arm extension for both hands, because sometimes you're going to be playing a crash symbol with your left hand and somebody's gonna be playing with your right hand. Now, if you're left handed, you're just going to reverse all of this stuff around drum kits are easy to switch, either right handed or left handed. Really make sure to take the time to feel comfortable with your drum kit before you start playing. An extra two or three minutes of really feeling like everything is exactly where you want. It is really important for your long term.

Ability to play without injury. And to minimize fatigue. If you're noticing that any part of your drum kit feels like it's a stretch or reach or it's too close or too high or too low, really take the time to get it set exactly the way that you like. It a lot of modern drumming, there is the use of two kick drum pedals. And a lot of students asked me, should I get this right away, it's a little bit more money. thing to think about with that I don't generally recommend starting out with a double bass drum pedal.

The main reason is is that the hi hat is really an important part of your sound on an entire drum kit. And as soon as you get into a double bass drum pedal, you're kind of neglecting the subtlety of the hi hat. For certain styles, however, you need a double bass pedal if you're playing really fast, aggressive like heavy metal and a lot of newer heavy rock, the the dirt you can't play the drum parts with Without a double bass pedal because the the basis the bass pedal is going so fast, you can't do it with a single bass pedal. So that's the only thing I'd say is if you're really in love with a kind of music that really needs it, then maybe you want to start out there. But as a general rule, I like to say, keep your foot on the hi hat and get used to playing double strokes as fast as you can with one bass drum pedal.

With an acoustic drum kit, if it's going to be living in one location like at your house, you don't really need to think too much about cases or bags for any of the drums or symbols. But if you are going to be traveling with a drum kit, it's really important to transport things safely so that the drums don't get scratched or damaged and the cymbals don't get cracked and scraped. A basic cymbal bag is just a big open thing that has different sleeves in it that you can slide the cymbals into and it'll have some kind of zipper. Usually it'll also have a spot to keep all your drumsticks and a cymbal bag is a great thing to Have because oftentimes, if you're going to rehearsals or other someone else may have a drum kit at their house. And you may just want to have your own symbols because you like the sound, you can just grab a symbol bag and take all your symbols with you.

For the drums themselves. There's two types of cases you can get hardshell cases, which I don't really recommend, unless you're a professional when you're touring. They're big, they're heavy, they're expensive. You can get soft, soft cases for the for all of the drums, and they're usually more affordable. They give you the basic protection that you that you need, which is a little bit of soft protection and mainly to keep things from scratching and banging into it because if you just put the drums themselves in the back of a car and one thing falls into another it might leave a big scrape or crack, especially if you're in a cold climate. So if you're going to be moving your drums around a lot, I definitely recommend getting some cases for the drums and assemble bag, the hardware itself You can sometimes go a little cheaper on that hardware is usually very heavy, so you're going to need something some kind of a heavy duty bag.

Lots of people have seen us hockey bags or some kind of like a big camping bag to keep everything inside. definitely make sure it has a strap. Another good option is some newer pieces of luggage, have wheels on them. So you can stick everything in there and then roll it

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