This section is aimed at helping parents buying a drum kit, or for someone who is brand new to drums and is unsure. Hopefully it will help to give a better picture of what may be in store, and to give an idea of what you may be looking for.


Q. What is a drum kit?

A. A drum kit essentially is a collection of percussive instruments, mainly drums and cymbals, arranged into a 'kit' that will provide the player with all the sounds required.

Q. What does a typical drum kit consist of?

A. The most common type of drum kit is a '5 piece' drum kit complete with cymbals. This is what is most commonly used to teach drums in schools. '5 piece' refers to the amount of drums in a set up, so a '5 piece' drum kit would consist of: Bass Drum, Snare Drum, 3 Toms.

Typically a 'standard' cymbal set to match would consist of: Hi hat cymbals, Crash cymbal, Ride Cymbal

Of course stands are required to mount all of this gear. The stands form part of the drum kit and are referred as being the kits 'hardware'. A hardware package for a standard kit with cymbals would include: Snare drum stand 2 cymbal stands Hi hat stand Tom arms to mount the toms Bass drum pedal Stool

Q. OK... So do drum kit packages come with the hardware required and cymbals?

A. Most drum kit packages will come with a hardware package described above, though sometimes a stool will be extra. Every kit listed on this site will describe what hardware comes with the kit so to be sure just double check the listing. A basic set of cymbals is included with starter drum kits such as the CB drum kit, but cymbals are extra for drum kit packages over entry level. You get the hardware for the cymbals, but the cymbals themselves are extra.

There are exceptions such as the Pearl Forum kit which comes with it's own set of cymbals. Again to be sure just double check the listing. If you require a cymbal set just add to the order from the cymbal pack section. Please note the CB drum kit comes with only hi hat and crash cymbals. Mainly this helps keep the cost down. The cymbal package can be easily extended or upgraded.

Q. What should we look for in a starter drum kit?

A. Ultimately we suggest a kit that won't be broken after a couple of weeks worth of enthusiastic playing. A good starter drum kit should be a drum kit with good quality stands, fittings, drum heads (skins) and construction. This is why at Drum Central we avoid stocking the really cheap drum kits. We have had them in store before and they can be too unreliable, to be blunt they fall apart.

This is why for a starter kit we recommend the CB drum kit. We have over the years sold around 1000 of these kits and it has proven to be far and away the most reliable starter kit we have sold. You can see the CB drum kit here.

Q. What are the benefits of spending extra on a kit above entry level standard?

A. Well, the more you spend on a kit the better the kit is. That covers all aspects from the wood used to make the drums to the materials used for all the fittings. The hardware and fittings may be more heavy duty able to absorb a greater degree of punishment from regular playing or transportation. The drum heads (skins) may be better quality. The bass drum pedal and hi hat pedal may be much better, faster and smoother.

All these things add up to a kit that may sound better and last better. Spending a bit extra makes a big difference with the cymbals. More expensive cymbals sound brighter, louder and fuller with greater sustain. We would advise if you have a bit extra to spend that you look at upgrading the cymbal package with the entry level kits. The cymbals that come free are fine to get you up and running, but a better cymbal set can make a big difference to the overall experience and sound of playing the kit.

Q. Some of the drum kits have 'built and tuned' as an option, what does that mean?

A. To keep new drum kits low on packaging some of the drums in a kit will come inside one another and require assembly, their heads hoops and tension rods need put on. This helps keep the cost of the kit down also. If you are unsure how to go about this, or if you would prefer us to take care of that for you, we have included 'built and tuned' as an option. When selected, all the drums will come assembled and tuned in the package.

Some drum kits on the site will already be 'built and tuned' meaning we have done the hard part already for you at no extra cost!

We're really excited about getting a drum kit, but we're worried about the noise... Don't worry! Help is at hand! There are various ways to keep the noise level down. The best way is to get a set of silencer pads which are rubber pads that sit on top of the drums and cymbals, these reduce the noise by about 80%. Silencer pads are a great compromise if noise can be an issue and when appropriate you can simply take them off and let rip!

Another alternative to acoustic drum are of course electronic kits. With these you simply pop the headphones in and away you go. We do advise where possible you start out on an acoustic kit though. If you would like any further advice about this don't be afraid to ask, just give us a call or email. Even better pop into one of the stores and we'll be happy to give you a demo of anything you would like to see!

Q. How much room will we need for a drum kit?

A. Probably at least 1.5m x 1.5m worth of space to be comfortable.

Q. I've heard the terms 'Rock' and 'Fusion' used to describe kits. What does this mean?

Above is described what may be considered a 'standard 5 piece' drum kit (5 drums, cymbal set and hardware). Typically there are 3 common configurations a 5 piece kit may come in. It refers to the sizes of the drums. The 3 most popular configurations are:

22 Rock 22 inch Bass drum 12, 13 and 16 inch Toms 14 inch Snare drum '22 Fusion' 22 inch Bass drum 10, 12 and 14 inch Toms 14 inch Snare drum '20 Fusion' 20 inch Bass drum 10, 12 and 14 inch Toms 14 inch Snare drum

The sizes in inches refers to the drums diameter. Sometimes these 'standard' packages might come with an extra tom, which would make the kit a '6 piece'. Most starter kits such as the CB drum kit are only available in '22 Rock' and '20 Fusion'.

Q. Yikes, what configuration should we go for?

A. Ultimately the size of the drums affect the sound. As a rule of thumb the bigger the drum the bigger and lower the sound. A 20 Fusion kit might be a wee bit quieter and a bit higher pitched (but these are drums we are talking about, they are still loud!). Often 20 Fusion kits are popular for younger players as the smaller sizes are slightly more compact when set up making them easy to reach.

Some adult players prefer the smaller kits as they prefer the sound, so a small drum kit doesn't necessarily mean they are for younger players. If the player is very young we recommend junior kits which are smaller still and less expensive.

They can be seen here

Q. What about other configurations?

There are other configurations that are still very common. These tend to be configurations for players who are quite experienced, have been playing for a while or who know specifically what they want to go for. Some configurations lend themselves to a specific musical style or musical fashion.

If you are just starting out we would recommend one of the three 'standard' configurations listed above.

Q. So what are the sizes common amongst cymbals?

A. Above it mentions that a typical cymbal pack would include hi hats, crash and ride cymbals. Typically their sizes would be: 14 inch Hi hat cymbals 16 inch Crash cymbal 20 inch Ride cymbal

Again the size in inches refers to diameter. Most cymbal packs include these cymbals in these sizes, some cymbal packs might include an extra cymbal like an 18 inch crash. Cymbals can also be purchased individually as required.

Q. OK, but what does hi hat, crash and ride mean?

A. These are descriptive terms to describe the cymbals type and purpose: Hi hats consist of two cymbals, most commonly 14 inch, mounted one above the other (one inverted) and then operated by a foot pedal that brings the two cymbals together. Hi hats are used for playing grooves in a piece of music.

Crash cymbals are so called as when hit they make a CRASH! sound. These are used to accent fills or points of a piece of music.

Ride cymbals are larger in diameter and are used to 'ride' a groove or section of music in place of the hi hats for added effect or emphasis.

Q. Are there other types of cymbals?

A. Yes. Amongst others there are: Splash cymbals, so called as they make a short and sharp splash sound. Used for accenting but when a crash sound is not required.

China Cymbals, these are effects cymbals that are very loud and cutting. They are unique in that the outer section of the cymbal is inverted giving it a unique appearance resulting in the sound.

Q. Why are there many other configurations of drum kit?

A. Essentially these days given the availability of product, drum kits can be as big or as small as required. Toms can be added or taken away. Extra cymbals may be added for extra effect. Sound effects can be added to a kit such as cowbells, blocks and tambourines. Certain set ups can lend themselves favourably to a type of musical style (or fashion). If you need that extra sound for the music you play... Just add it to the kit!

Remember, at Drum Central we are all about service. We are not a faceless web dealer, rather we are a staff of drum enthusiasts and we are here to help you. If you are still unsure... CONTACT US!