What to buy and what is important
Below is the standard equipment needed for a basic accoustic drumset :
Key parts of the kit to get off to a good start:
(with smooth, solid functional pedal. This makes learning good bass drum technique much easier and the student will feel more comfortable)
Snare Drum 14''
14" is standard and most versatile
Snare Drum 14'' (Avoid stools with "pinned" height adjustment. These tend to feel unstable which is not good for technique or posture. Try to purchase a threaded or memory locked shaft stool. There should be a key lock fitting on any stool which keeps the stool from slipping lower or rocking around.)
(with smooth, solid functional pedal. This makes learning good Hi Hat technique much easier and the student will feel more comfortable
Stool (Avoid stools with "pined" height adjustment. These tend to feel unstable which is not good for technique or posture. Try to purchase a threaded or a memory lock stool. There should be a key lock fitting on any stool which keeps the stool from slipping lower or rocking around.)
Drum Kit, 5 piece (Tom 2 is not necessary):
Bass Drum 20 or 22”
Snare Drum 13 or 14”
Tom1 10 or 12”
Tom 2 12 or 13”
Floor Tom 14 or 16”
The smaller sizes can be more comfortable for younger students. Bigger sizes are more versatile in the long term re jamming and gigging.
Legs or stand for floor tom
Mounts for Tom 1 and Tom 2
Hi Hat cymbals (Pair) with clutch
Crash cymbal and/or Ride Cymbal
Hi Hat Stand
Stands for any Cymbals
Bass Drum Pedal
Brands I trust with quality models at entry level prices
PDP, Gretsch, Yamaha, Tama, Mapex, Pearl
Below is the standard equipment needed for a basic electronic drum Set:
The setup should be 5 piece as with the above acoustic setup. The stands and mounts will vary depending on the brand.
The most important thing with an electronic set up is realistic and sturdy feel with the snare drum, hi hats and bass drum. These 3 drums are used the most and are where technique development is generally focused.
The sensitivity of the snare drum is most important. This is the most expressive and sensitive drum on an acoustic kit. On a cheaper set, the snare pad is often not sensitive enough to respond to very soft strokes and techniques. Its good to avoid a model like this if possible.
Another important element of technique is having an actual bass drum pedal and not a trigger/push button for the bass drum.
Particularly good models at the cheap end to look out for:
Yamaha DTXplorer – even if you upgrade to an acoustic set down the track this would serve as a great practice kit.
Overall with acoustic and electric:
2nd hand is a great option. As long as the Hardware/stands are working and there is no structural damage drums do not deteriorate with age.
Look online and in shops to get an idea of the level of kit you are after and your budget.
Ebay and Gumtree are a great place to find a bargain and to compare 2nd hand with new prices.
Examples of new and used prices below. Note: These are not quotes, examples only.