Although there are many different bits of gear that you will acquire over your drumming career, it helps to have a rough guide on which brands are able to consistently deliver quality.
So what are the 5 best drum set brands on the market? Well, its all a matter of opinion of course, but here are my favourites (if you're just starting out, be sure to check our favourite drum sets for beginners too).
At a Glance: Our Choice Of The 5 Best Drum Set Brands On The Market
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Buyer's Tips: What to consider when choosing a drum brand
- Not all brands cater to all budget ranges. If you’re just starting out, then buying a premium brand might not be the best choice even if you can afford it, as you’ll want to be sure that you’re going to stick with drumming - otherwise you could end up with an expensive ornament.
- Some brands aim to produce drum sets that look good as well as sounding good, but if you’re not going to be on stage in front of huge audiences then it may not be worth buying a flashy set that is likely to get knocked about by the odd drunken stage invader at your local bar.
- Remember that brand loyalty isn’t something you need. A drum set by one brand could be taken to the next level by adding a shell from your least favourite brand, and you’d never know unless you took the time to explore all of the options. The more time you spend getting to know different drums, the better your kit will sound when it’s all ready.
5 Best Drum Set Brands
This is a huge brand in terms of market share and user satisfaction, and it’s popularity is understandable. Pearl are best known for producing solid quality drum sets in the mid and budget range that outperform what their price tag would suggest, being on par with sets that other brands charge much higher prices for.
As a brand they offer a solid introduction for novices, and are able to cater for a drummer as they grow in skill and knowledge.
Something that many of their customers appreciate is their excellent customer service. From time to time mistakes are made with shipping when you buy anything online, but Pearl’s team are dedicated to making all of their customers happy with their purchase, so you can rest easy knowing that if anything does go wrong, they’ve got your back.
It’s this kind of attitude that makes Pearl such a great company. It’s not just about getting your money and then gleefully running off to look at their mountain of gold. They genuinely care about how their customers feel about doing business with them.
Check out this great review on one of our favourite pearl drumsets:
We’ve recently covered one of Tama’s snare drums, the S.L.P. G-Bubinga, and it beat out the competition and got a full five stars. We don’t often give out five stars for anything here, so that should tell you something about the quality of a Tama drum set.
They’re a well established name in the drumming scene, and they’re easily one of the best drum set brands you’ll find. Tama produce top-notch drums without being over the top in terms of price. However, it’s worth noting that when compared to your mid range brands such as Pearl, it’s a noticeable difference.
If you do have the money to splash, it’s definitely worth at least trying out a Tama drum set or two. Even if you don’t want a full Tama shell pack, adding one or two pieces to your existing set can add some great sounds as their drums are very sensitive, capable of delivering powerful cracks and have a strong projection. Their drums can be tuned very low and still sound great, which really lets you bring out the warmth in their wooden pieces.
If you like the sound of the Tama brand, check out this wicked review on one of their signature drumkits:
If you check out the drums in any recording studio worth its salt, you’ll probably notice the Ludwig brand somewhere.
They’ve set the standard for high end drums, although they aren’t shy about putting a price tag that matches their reputation.
For this reason, they lose out on the top spot as it’s just not practical for the average musician to drop so much money. On the other hand, if you’re really serious about your music then Ludwig is an absolute must.
They’ve developed some of the finest brass drums ever, and their quality is owed to the acute attention to detail, excellent design principles and manufacturing techniques.
Should you have the cash to splash and want to check them out further, check out this wicked review:
4. Gammon (Budget Choice)
Unlike the others on this list, Gammon is a small company, owned and ran by a single family. Their drums likewise have a ‘homely’ feel to them, usually encompassing a warm sound. They look good without being flashy, and have a fair and affordable price that fits with the solid performance their drum sets deliver.
They aren’t producing the world’s best drums, but they aren’t trying to either. What you get with Gammon is durable, reliable and sounds great - perfect for live performances with a band that’s growing a loyal fanbase.
Of course, it should be said that even if they aren’t producing the most exclusive drum sets, that’s no reason to avoid them. You could easily start out learning on a Gammon entry level set, upgrade the pieces as you develop and never need to go looking at other brands even as a professional.
So are you just starting out on your drumming career? Unsure which brand to invest in first? Check out this wicked review on Gammon below, it might help you make up your mind:
Yamaha are well known for producing high quality instruments, and their drums are no different. What stops them from gaining the top spot is that their drums are definitely over priced.
Yamaha make great drums, nobody can question that. However, when a brand like Tama or Ludwig charges you a grand, you know why they’re doing it.
When Yamaha puts a big number on their drums, it seems a little unfair. Yes, they sound good, they’re dependable and they look good too, but that’s it.
They lack a certain special something. If you compared a Pearl drum set and a Yamaha set, you’d likely find little difference in terms of quality. Yamaha might edge out slightly every now and again, but in terms of getting value for money, you could bet your bottom dollar that the Pearl would be the smarter choice.
Having said that, if you come across a Yamaha kit that’s discounted a little or receive one as a gift, you should absolutely consider getting it before somebody else does. This isn’t a list of any drum set brands, it’s a list of the best. Yamaha are on here because they are a cut above the average. It’s just that, when you’re surrounded by so many excellent choices, it can be difficult to stand out.
However, Yamaha is still an excellent brand for drum sets, check out this excellent review:
So what are the best drum set brands?
This has only been a very general overview of the best drum set brands, but we hope it’s helped you to understand the differences between them a little better.
If you’re struggling to choose your first drum set, don’t worry. Pick a drum set from any of the brands on this list at the budget level that you’re comfortable with, and you’ll be guaranteed to end up with a great drum set.
Ged is Founder and Editor-in-chief at Zing Instruments. He’s a guitarist for London based gypsy jazz band ‘Django Mango’ and a lover of all things music. When he’s not ripping up and down the fretboard, he’s tinkering with his ’79 Campervan.