I know the world of drumming can be a bit of a minefield and if you have a son, daughter, family member or friend who’s a drummer and no idea what to get them, I thought this guide below might help! Also, as a drummer and owner of about 10 pairs of drum stick pencils, I thought this might be appreciated by the recipients too! There’s items of all different prices and if you need anymore advice, please feel free to ask…. There’s also links to all the websites where the item is cheapest, although you may find them cheaper if you shop about more than I did!
Newcastle School of Drums Merch
Of course this was going to be top of the list, wink wink…. Available in a variety of colours, the hoodies are £22 and the t-shirts are £12, but currently doing both for £30 for Christmas only! They’re pretty cosy in time for winter and have gone down a treat so far.
***UPDATE – NOW SOLD OUT! MORE AVAILABLE SOON!***
Price: T-Shirts £12 / Hoodies £22, or both for £30.
Vic Firth 7A Drum Sticks
We happen to play the only instrument in which we don’t actually touch it, therefore a good pair of sticks are imperative. Turns out there’s much more to the stick buying process than people think, with a huge range of brands and sizes that vary massively and sometimes paying that little bit more for quality is actually more cost effective in terms of durability. These Vic Firth 7A’s are a good go to pair and will instantly feel more playable than your average budget stick, even to a none drummer.
A good practice pad should be part of every drummers gear, allowing them to practice their rudiments away from the kit. Here’s an example of a great one from Evans, but there’s many more brands and the price varies based on size, usually 6″ or 12″.
Another essential item for any drummers who is playing an acoustic kit in terms of their own safety and comfort. Averaging around 120 Decibels (that’s without any music), playing drums without hearing protection WILL damage your hearing, and that’s no fun for anyone! These alpine in ear earplugs offer a range of protection levels and come with a handy case too.
Drum Books / Dvd’s
There are a number of great tuition books and DVD’s out there, there are some pretty bad ones too! Books like Stick Control and Master Studies are great material for players of any age and ability and are amazon best sellers for a reason, cheap too!
Meinl Drum Honey
Similar to other brands like Moongel, this sticky stuff sits directly on top of the heads of your acoustic drum kit and removes any of those unwanted harmonics out of your drums, so that annoying ring after playing a drum will disappear. It comes in a handy case and you simply wash it with water when dirty, which also makes it adhesive again.
Price: £8.50 www.amazon.co.uk/MDH-Drum-Honey/
A similar but more permanent solution to the item above. Made from leather, this snare weight from drum restorer Joe Cox is a great accessory to anyone who owns an acoustic kit. It attaches to the snare using magnets and ‘dampens’ the sound without sacrificing the brightness of the drum, removing those horrible overtones.
Price: £16.99 http://www.joecoxdrums.com/snareweights/snareweight-m1b
Ideal for keeping all your sticks and accessories in one place, this one also comes with some pretty handy ties to keep it stored hanging around your floor tom so you can change sticks while playing, something that drummers often have to do!
Price: £17.80 www.thomann.de/gb/meinl_msb1_professional_stick_bag
A straight forward and trusty drum key is needed by every drummer, essential for tuning and maintaining your kit to get the most out of your gear, I don’t leave the house without one. This is a really sturdy magnetic one from drumhead maker Evans, but you can grab them from as little as £2 for the none branded standard ones.
Price: £10.40 www.amazon.co.uk/Evans-Magnetic-Head-Drum-Key/
Pro Mark Hot Rods
These Pro Mark hot rods give a nice change and feel to playing drums and give you a bigger range of sounds to play with, they are great for quieter performances too.
Price: £18.90 https://www.thomann.de/gb/pro_mark_h-rods.htm
Big Fat Snare Drum
This piece of kit instantly turns your snare into a vintage sounding, beefy ‘Big Fat Snare Drum’ by lowering the fundamental pitch of your snare instantly. You simply place it on top of your existing drum head and the combination of plastic and rubber instantly changes the sound of your drum.
Price: £23.50 www.gak.co.uk/en/big-fat-snare-drum-the-original-14in-
Vic Firth Stereo Isolation Headphones V2
These isolation headphones from drum stick maker Vic Firth are great at keeping all the damaging levels of noise out whilst simultaneously allowing you to play your own music in great quality. These allow you to play along with your own music without damaging your hearing and make great ear defenders in their own right. I own a pair of these myself and we used them for events like the recent Cluny showcase, they certainly were’t £48 when I bought them!
In Ear Monitors
Similar to above but sit directly in your ears as apposed to on them (probably more suited to the older players 14+ish), they also allow you to listen to music and playalong whilst simultaneously blocking out background noise and protecting your ears. They are a great way to monitor when playing live too. These Shure SE215’s give you plenty of quality for your money.
Yamaha Stage Custom Snare Drum
A good snare drum is the perfect addition to any beginners drum kit and this birch 14″ x 5.5″ from Yamaha is the best I have played below £150, it also comes in a range of colours too.
Meinl HCS Cymbal Pack
This budget cymbal pack is great for anyone upgrading the cymbals that came with their kit, contains the 3 main cymbals any drummer would have, Hi-Hats, Crash and Ride.
Pricey, but possibly one of the best things I’ve ever bought, and the reason that our students’ drumming videos sound so good! The Yamaha EAD10 is a ‘Hybrid Electronic Drum Sound Module System’, it’s basically a great way of recording your kit and applying various effects using different ‘scenes’, without having to go to all the effort and expense of microphones and interfaces etc.
Price: £477 www.thomann.de/gb/yamaha_ead10_drum_module
Yamaha DTX432K Electronic Drum Kit
And finally, an investment at £445, but this electric drum kit pack from Yamaha is perfect for any drummer looking to practice at home whilst keeping the neighbours happy. This pack also comes with stool, pedal and sticks (most of the time they don’t so watch out for that). Like all brands there are a number of price points and the more you pay the better the kit will be, but this set has all the features you could need to practice from home and more.
Thanks for reading, and if you need any more help whatsoever feel free to ask! I hope for this to be the first blog of many with varying topics, from more guides to buying gear to interviews and lesson material, if you have any recommendations or things you’d like to be talked about, I’d be interested to hear those too. Happy shopping!