Home Drumset - Drumset Kids Drum Sets Part 1
Kids Drum Sets Part 1

Caveat Papa!

Advice for parents buying cheap drum sets or kids drum sets

As we can see from the popularity of the Young and Gifted section of Dojo TV, Kids are really starting to demand more and more from their equipment and, consequently, their poor parents who have to pay for it. cheap-drumset-question.jpg

This upsurge is great for manufacturers and the drum industry who have created a whole new marketplace for a whole new range of products. Some are genuine innovation, some are simply repackaging.

is 'Kids', 'Junior' or 'Student' merely a nice way of saying 'Budget', 'Cheapo' or 'Flimsy'?

With the rising commercial importance of junior drummers, their impressionable minds exposed to hero-endorser-worship through MTV and their uncanny ability for persistence; you WILL inevitably end up buying junior a drumset and you really have no choice about it.

We say Caveat Papa - Let the Father Beware

So, from that perspective, I figured that I was better to offer information and advice to parents from an old head.

The objective is that you meet your kid's needs, but , if it is a fad, there is a redeemable resale value. That's smart parenting!

Kids Drum Sets


The Drumsets in the images here and particularly on page 2 are taken mostly from auction sites on the web and arranged in price order, which unsurprisingly, gives a pretty clear progression from 'toy' instruments down to good quality beginner outfits.

On Page Two I have set out how I Identify several cheap drum sets


As you move down the list of examples there is generally an increase in the actual weight of the drums. There is also a perception of solidity imparted through better build quality and material improvements


I do feel strongly and do recommend that it is worth spending a little money on half decent equipment when starting out. IMO it is a false economy to buy the cheapest brand-new drumset you can find.

Guaranteed You will be trying to sell that brand new 'junior' budget drumset!

If you do find that junior does like playing drums, then of course it willPlease let a drummer set the drums up for the photograph next time. consume them and s/he will want a new drumset at the next birthday, Christmas, or whatever opportunity; Now you have a drumset to sell.

Alternatively, If s/he doesn't like it and wants to pack it in, then yes, you have a drumset to sell-

Either way it's bad news, your once brand-new low-budget junior drumset is worth practically zero to resell in a market flooded with better quality secondhand equipment.

Cheap drum sets

The best advice to minimise this effect is to buy a good quality second hand drumset; in bits off ebay if you have to, but gradually build your set, buy and trade your way to the kit your child deserves with the covert resale strategy of which your bank manager approves.

If you are seeking to compile a junior-sized drumset, Try and collect something like

  • 10" & 12" toms
  • 16-18" bass drum or convert a 16" floor tom,
  • 12"-13" snare and
  • 12" hats

This looks like a shrunken drumset and most main manufacturers can provide these sizes. A good quality drumset in these sizes is playable by the same person from they are 6 until they are a top professional. With standard hardware sizes you can upgrade elements as the drummer or budget progresses, and at any stage you can bail out and recover a lot of that which you have spent.

Here I set out some thoughts that I think provide insight into the false economy of buying the cheapest of cheap drum sets. I have highlighted  specific examples on Part 2 - Identify a cheap drum set

At least this information should help you know the kinds of places where you should look /test for weakness before purchase.

I've left the price in this one. How possibly could this be made and sold for $99 and still make the retailer a profit. Everything should of course meet with the relevant safety standards.

  • Drums and the stands are made from three component materials - metal, wood and plastic. At the lower end of the budget scale these elements can be made from cheap and / or weak materials.
  • Glues are widely and often haphazardly used on cheap sets.
  • Expect that things are 'not quite round' ,'not quite straight' or lean / balance at an unusual angle
  • Woods will be cheap hardwoods; knots, cracks and general instability will likely be evident. Do not expect great build strength or finish quality on cheap instruments,
  • Expect that the thin drum heads will dent very quickly and that a standard drumhead will (a) not fit properly (b) be worth more than the drum or (c) both
  • Lugs, screws and moving parts will be made from cheap castings which will not be of the same quality as those found on more expensive kits. Often they are applied without any lubricant and seize in place.
  • Bits may jam, shear off, cross-thread, bend etc
  • Cheap cymbals may dent with a decent stroke and can sometimes be bent double by hand
  • Often cymbals included with a drumset of this type can just be thrown away


Ok so that's a pretty gruesome list and there are more but you get the general idea.

Materials, build quality and finish are all areas of compromise for manufacturers.

Being asked to pay more money at this end of the market generally does correlate very well with improvement in the product quality.

It is not always so in the upper echelons of professional and custom drum equipment.

In the Uk, if you are paying somewhere around £250 (US $375 Nov 08) for a second hand drumset comprising kick, snare, 2 toms, pedal, stool cymbals and stands then you are doing well. Check ebay and your local newspaper classifieds and you will find them available. Except that is, from October - December when they are snapped up by dealers to make a quick Christmas bonus.

Kids drum setsAt the time of writing, this pretty red and black drumset was priced at £199. On resale, it will drop considerably more in value than a £250 second hand Pearl Export. It will never sound half as good without spending half its value on new drum heads.


Go To Part 2 - Identify a cheap drum set

Paul Marshall -

Paul is the owner of Drumdojo and the Dojo Sites, He is responsible for writing and collating a lot of of the material that you see here on drumdojo.

Playing drumset since age 5, Paul has been a drummer on and off for most of his life. He plays every drum he can get his hands on. Paul works as an instrument designer, has designed many instruments for the Stomp orchestra and more recently in Holywood Movies. Paul is a prolific web designer and currently has a portfolio of around 40 business and hobby sites.

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