Acoustic Drums

A Parent’s Guide to Buying a Kid’s Drum Set

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It’s the inevitable question proposed by many children when first exposed to music at school — “can I play the drums?” As a parent, you’re forced to either deal with the noise and encourage musical exploration, or say no (thankfully, mine said yes).

The thought of drums to some parents is a nightmare, I’m sure. However, even if you’re in the yes camp, as my parents were, picking a drum set for your child is very complicated.

There’s different sized drums, drum heads, drum sticks, beaters, cymbals, thrones, pedals, hardware — all things I’m sure you’re knowledge is most likely limited.

Fear not, as I’ve composed an epic list of drums perfect for your child, no matter their age (all components included). I even extensively interviewed my parents to recall their buying process when they got me my first drum set.

As a parent, you need to decide if you want to go acoustic or electric. My top three options are:

Ludwig Breakbeats (best acoustic drum set for kids, not budget friendly)

  • The Ludwig Breakbeats is the best quality on the list, but requires purchasing pieces individually, which I’ll detail later on
  • Perfect for kids 8 and up

Alesis Nitro MAX (best electronic drums for kids)

  • The Nitro MAX came out this year and allows your child to practice quietly without disturbing you or other family members
  • Perfect for kids 6 and up
  • Requires buying a drum seat separately

Pacific Drums PDP Junior 5-Piece (best all-in-one junior drum set)

  • The PDP Junior 5-Piece is an all-in-one drum set for kids that has everything included
  • Perfect for children aged 3-7

Before we get started, I wanted to stress, there are two sizes of kits you can buy: junior and adult. Junior kits are more suited to children 10 and under while adult kits are intended for those 10 and up.

Also, there are several drum sets for kids from unknown brands available on Amazon, and I decided to go back through this roundup and omit them all (it’s common you’ll see these on other roundup articles on drums for kids).

Why? While readily available and affordable, most of these drums are of terrible quality and do not deserve to be on a list of the best kids’ drum sets available.

Let’s dive into the kits.

Ludwig Breakbeats

Best For Serious Kids
Ludwig Breakbeats By Questlove

Configuration: 16”x14”, 10”x7”, 13”x13", 14”x5”

Shell: 7-ply poplar

Finishes: White Sparkle, Black Sparkle, Wine Red Sparkle, Azure Blue Sparkle, SaharaSwirl

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If your budget is no concern and you genuinely want the best playing experience for your child learning the drums, this is what I suggest:

Rather than getting an all-in-one bundle, as the rest of the list will entail, you should buy the drum components separately. Let me explain…

As you move higher in budget with drums, buying them, in a way, is like buying food ala carte. You’ll need to get:

  • Drum shells (the drums themselves)
  • Cymbals
  • Hardware (cymbal stands, kick pedals, hi-hat stands, drum seats, etc)

With that in mind, the Ludwig Breakbeats drum set is just a shell pack, meaning you must buy other components to get everything your child needs. For this drum set, I suggest buying:

Picking up all these components will cost a little over $1,000, but your child will have a far better time learning than drums with this setup over every other all-in-one kids’ drum set on my list.

The Ludwig Breakbeats are some of the best-sounding drums I’ve ever played for the money. I picked up a set of these drums at my local music store and was blown away (you can watch a video of the drum set here).

This is a drum set they will grow into, so I suggest it only if they are serious and are 8+ years old.

Ludwig Breakbeats

If my explanation of buying drums above was at all confusing, please email me, and I will help you get sorted!

Alesis Nitro Max

Alesis Nitro MAX

The best electronic drum set for beginners

This electronic drum set is affordable, compact, and is perfect for learning with 90-days free to Drumeo, the best place to learn drums online.

Read our full review

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I just tested the Nitro MAX on my YouTube channel, so check the video if you want to hear it in action!

For $400, you can’t beat the quality and design of the Alesis Nitro MAX. It’s the newest version of their Nitro lineup and doesn’t disappoint. 

The kit is perfect for drummers 7+ and even features Bluetooth compatibility for playing along to their favorite songs via Spotify, YouTube, or any streaming platform.

Alesis Nitro Max Top

The 10″ dual-zone snare drum is larger than most at this price point. A typical snare drum is 14″, so learning on a drum this size is helpful for muscle memory if they start learning snare drum in school.

The kit has 440+ sounds and includes 90 days of free lesson from Drumeo, the best online drum instruction website.

The only thing this kit is missing is a drum seat, so again, I recommend the Gibraltar 6608 Moto-style drum throne.

PDP Jr 5-Piece

Best for 3-7 Years Old
PDP Player 5-piece Complete Junior Drum Set

The PDP Player kit includes five drums — a bass drum, snare drum, two rack toms, a floor tom, crash cymbal, hi-hats, a small stool, and all the necessary hardware.

Size: Junior
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I love PDP — it’s a subsidiary company of DW, also known as Drum Workshop. They’re one of my favorite drum manufacturers. 

The Player 5-piece kit is a great option for younger beginning drummers—perfect for those aged 3-7. 

PDP’s kit includes everything your child needs to get to playing: sticks, cymbals, hardware, and, of course, the drums.

It is well known that PDP only makes high-quality products, and this junior drum set is no different. The drums are constructed from durable hardwood, ensuring longevity and a rich, resonant sound.

The biggest downside? Unfortunately, the PDP Player is a more expensive junior drum set. You’re partly paying for the brand name and the quality.

Pearl Roadshow Jr

Pearl Roadshow Jr. 5 piece Drum Set w/Hardware and Cymbals
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Another all-in-one drum kit is the Pearl Roadshow Jr. Pearl is a famous brand among many drummers, and the Roadshow Jr is another excellent choice for kids under 10.

The drum set features 6-ply quality white poplar wood shells—giving the drums a crisp attack. They’re lightweight and have a balanced tone up and down the drums. 

The drums feature 45-degree hand-cut bearing edges—something mainly reserved for higher-end drum sets. 

The included hardware is also quality. You get a chain-drive bass drum pedal, tripod hi-hat stand, snare stand, straight cymbal stand, and an adjustable cushioned drum throne.

Starter cymbals are also included, but you may want to upgrade these down the line if your child becomes more serious about playing drums and percussion.

Ludwig Questlove Pocket Kit

Best Overall for Young Kids
Ludwig Questlove Pocket Kit 4-Piece Drum Set

The Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson approved Ludwig kit is perfect for pint-sized players. Includes everything they need to get jamming.

Size: Junior
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The Pocket Kit was made with input from famous drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson of The Roots. 

It’s compact, easy for parents to set up, and great for young children who want to learn how to play the drums.

The smaller drum sizes make it easy for kids to handle and play comfortably. They will outgrow the kit, so keep that in mind if they continue with the drums.

The Pocket kit is made from durable, high-quality materials, including hardware shells that give a deep, rich, resonant sound. Despite the size, the drum kit sounds excellent and is well-suited for various musical styles and genres.

Everything your little one needs to get drumming is included—16″ bass drum, 10″ mounted tom, 13″ floor tom, 12″ snare, drum heads, hardware, drum throne (stool), ride/crash cymbal, hi-hats, cymbal stands, pedals, drum sticks, and a drum key.

The Pocket kit comes in three awesome-looking finishes as well:

  • Black Sparkle
  • Red Sparkle
  • Silver Sparkle

The shine and sparkle of the finish isn’t bad, either. The black is very deep and contrasts nicely with the sparkles. 

Your young rocker will be ready for the stage.

For parents who know little about drums, the kit is simple to set up with clear assembly instructions.

As a result of working with Questlove, a highly respected drummer in the music industry, this kit benefits from his knowledge and love of playing. The goal is to encourage young players to be creative and improve their skills.

The kit is also priced competitively compared to other drum sets for kids. It’s budget-friendly for parents who do not want to break the bank on a short-lived desire from their child.

Donner DED-80

Donner DED-80 Electronic Drum Set

The DED-80 is an electronic drum set for beginners and kids with quiet mesh drum heads and everything needed to get playing the drums

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Most of the kits on this list are acoustic, but we should include a few electronic drum sets for parents in apartments and condos. 

The DED-80 has plenty of features and is a perfect e-kit for young beginner drummers. It’s really quiet, perfect for ages 4-10, includes 180 drum sounds plus 30 play-along tracks, and offers free drum lessons from Melodics.

Nick playing the DED-80
Nick playing the Donner DED-80

The mesh drum heads make this kit nearly silent. If noise bothers you, even if you don’t live in an apartment or condo, this kit is a winner.

The DED-80 comes with four drum pads, three cymbals, two foot pedals, the drum brain, headphones, a stool, sticks, and a robust hardware frame—everything they need to get learning.

I tested this electronic drum kit in September of 2022 and thought it was too small for my size, but for a young drummer, it would be ideal.

Alesis Debut

Alesis Drums Debut Kit

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03/08/2024 10:13 am GMT

The Debut electronic drum set from Alesis is ideal for kids aged 5-9, but this may still be a great option if you want to start your young one earlier.

The Debut is an entry-level electronic drum set, complete with everything your child needs to get playing the drums.

It’s packed with 120 great sounds, ten preset drum kits, 30 play-along songs, and 100 free and fun lessons from Melodics. 

The drum brain also has powerful educational features, like the drum coach, that improve drum skills at even the most fundamental level.

It’s priced competitively compared to the DED-80, and Alesis is a well-known electronic drum brand.

Pearl Roadshow 5-Piece Drum Set

Best Kids Drum Set for 10+
Pearl Roadshow 5-piece Complete Drum Set with Cymbals

The Pearl Roadshow is by far our favorite drum set for kids. Pearl has been a big name for drums for many years and the quality is here.

Size: Adult
  • Decent shells
  • Great name brand
  • Cymbals aren't the greatest
  • No throne included
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  • Big-name manufacturer
  • High-quality drums
  • Traditional drum sizes


  • Poor cymbals
  • Price
  • May be too large for young drummers


The Pearl Roadshow is for kids 10 and up. This drum set is more expensive than the other cheap kids’ drum sets, but it has the best quality and value on the market. To be clear, this is a full-sized drum set, so beware if you’re child is younger.

You’ll be spending a bit more money on this kit. They better play it! The Pearl Roadshow kit comes in different configurations including jazz, fusion, and rock. If your child is entering middle school, has taken drum lessons, or shows an extreme interest in playing drums, then this is the kid’s drum set for you.

What are shell configurations?

When you buy this drum set, you’ll have the option to pick between what are called shell configurations. A shell configuration is just a fancy word for the sizes of the drums. A drum shell is the main part of the drum. It’s what gives the drum its tonality. Drums can either come as wooden plies glued together or metal that is created with a cast mold.

What comes in the box?

The Pearl Roadshow comes in one big box. Similar to the other kits on the list, an assembly is required. The drum heads are shipped separately from the shells to reduce shipping size. The small tom will come pre-assembled, so you can use that as a guide when installing the other drum heads.

Included is as follows:

  • Stick bag
  • Sticks
  • Stands
  • Drum throne
  • 16″ crash
  • 14″ hi-hats

All the hardware is of extremely high quality and the drums sound fantastic. This drum set will last your child or young drummer for many years to come. The shells are 9-ply white poplar, a very popular wood choice for drum shells. 🙂

Overall sound

The shell quality alone of the beginner drum kit can make the price justifiable. This is by far the greatest sounding set on the list. You could easily record these shells at a studio and get a great sounding recording! The cymbals aren’t going to blow anyone away, but they are the best sounding cymbals from any kit on this list!

This drum kit will last your young drummer all throughout adolescence until he or she is ready to purchase their next set. From this point on drum kits do get very expensive.

If you’re looking for this quality level of drum sets, check out my roundup of beginner drum sets!

My conclusion: the best value for the serious player! Pearl’s Roadshow kit is the best junior drum set if your child is over 10 years old and is super serious!

Sonor Martini 4-Piece Shell Pack

Best-sounding drums on the list
Sonor AQ2 Martini 4-piece Shell Pack with Snare

Sonor's Martini 4-piece shell pack is expensive, but for a great reasons—the drums sound incredible.

Size: Junior or Adult depending how setup
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This pick is a little different. For starters, this is a professional level drum set. You’re only buying the drum shells here. You’ll be responsible for also buying the cymbals and hardware separately. But, for the young drummer who wants the highest quality and best sounding drums, the Sonor Martini 4-piece is a perfect option.

For cymbal stands, I like DW and Yamaha, but Pearl and Gibraltar are also great choices. For kick pedals, I like Yamaha and DW. For cymbals, the Byzance line from Meinl is a favorite, but they get a little pricey. Dream Cymbals are an affordable alternative.

Which is the Best Overall Drum Set for Kids?

In case you missed my pick above, my favorite drum kit for kids out of the bunch is the Alesis Nitro MAX — the brand is well-known and the sounds are incredible for a first-time, young drummer.

Alesis Nitro MAX

The best electronic drum set for beginners

This electronic drum set is affordable, compact, and is perfect for learning with 90-days free to Drumeo, the best place to learn drums online.

Read our full review

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Common Questions Regarding Junior Drum Sets

Drums are complicated but don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Read on to see answers to some common questions regarding junior drum kits.

Should You Buy an Electronic Kit or an Acoustic Kit?

This question is probably the number one asked question by parents when their children show an interest in drumming. It ultimately depends on your living situation.

If you’re living in an apartment, you’re likely going to have to get an electronic drum kit for your child to play. Even if you live in a house, maybe you can’t tolerate the noise. Drums are very loud.

But if you are in a house and can deal with the noise, I highly recommend your child learning on an acoustic drum set. There’s a feel and nuance to playing real drums, so best to kick them off on the right foot.

Learning on acoustic drums provides a much more solid foundation for when they begin school band or private lessons. Most middle schools and high schools do not have electronic drum sets.

What Size Kit Should I Get My Child?

There’s two sizes of drums you can buy — full-size or junior-size.

Junior kits are much smaller in size and are perfect for smaller kids, around ten years and younger.

If your child were to sit down at a full-sized drum kit, they might have an issue reaching the pedals or hitting the tom drums and cymbals. Full-size drum kits usually feature a 20″ or 22″ bass drum, so it could be far too big for your child.

When you’re child is learning, you want them to be as comfortable as possible while playing, so stick to a junior-sized kit if they’re under ten years old.

What is a Shell Pack?

As you move up into the pricier end of drums, they’re no longer sold as a complete drum sets. Shell packs only include the toms and kick drum — no cymbals, snare drum, or hardware.

Shell packs also usually don’t include a snare drum.

But why, you might ask? Drummers buying the shells alone usually already own hardware and cymbals, and in general, drum manufacturers aren’t cymbal makers.

The good thing about junior kits, is most of them (all I’ve listed here) include everything your child needs to play.

Will My Child Need a Drum Kit to Take Lessons?

If you want, you can start your child on drum lessons before you buy them a set. That’s exactly what my parents did.

I was only allowed the rental snare drum and could only play the full drum set at my lessons and at school. In fact, here’s a photo of me doing just that back in middle school right before I got my first drum set.

Nick Drumming Young
In the sixth grade, I played the old kit at school as much as I could. I believe I was 11 here.

It was a good move on my parent’s part, I believe.

What Does “Number of Pieces” Mean?

When you see a drum set listed as a 5-piece or a 3-piece, you only count the number of drums. The cymbals are not included in the count, so be sure to read thoroughly as to what you are buying.

What Are The Different Pieces of My Child’s Drum Set?

A basic 5-piece drum kit illustration.

Snare Drum

The snare drum is what I consider to be the main and most important drum of them all. When you clap your hands to a groove, this is the drum you’re emulating. The snare drum is the backbone of a drum set and provides a sharp, staccato sound when struck.

On the resonant head (bottom), there are stiff wires held under tension against the head.

Snare drums are used in more than just drum sets; they can be heard in orchestras, concert bands, percussion ensembles, symphonic bands, marching bands, and drumlines.

Bass Drum

Bass drums are types of drums that usually are played with a kick pedal. They’re generally the largest drum in a kit. Bass drums provide a big, low-end thump, that can really be felt when you’re at a show. Bass drums can also be referred to as kick drums.

The term kick drum originates from studio recording engineers in the 70s, not from orchestra drums that actually were being kicked. This is a complete, fabricated myth. Although, it does sound like it would be correct.

Some drummers decide to use more than one bass drum, particularly in metal and hard rock. This was a big phase in the late 70s and 80s during the hair band and metal phases. Today, most drummers opt for a single kick drum with a double kick drum pedal.

Tom Toms

Tom Toms are generally deeper drums that have no snares. They were added to the drum set in the early years of the 1900s.

Most drum fills you are familiar with feature tom drums. In your head, I know you can imagine the drum fill from In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins.

Tom drums are generally between 10 and 18 inches, but drum makers do offer them in smaller and larger sizes. Other types of tom drums include concert toms, rototoms, gong drums, and floor toms.

I personally love the sound of concert toms. These drums feature no resonant head and were very popular with drummers in the late 70s and early 80s, particularly in progressive rock.

Ride Cymbal

Ride cymbals are usually the largest cymbal in a traditional drum setup. The main role of a ride is providing a steady and rhythmic pattern.

Ride patterns in jazz are extremely well-known and will most likely be one of the first things your child learns when taking private lessons.

Ride cymbals are usually placed on the side of the dominant hand, above the floor tom. Some ride cymbals are loud, bright, and pingy, while others are extremely dry and perfect for jazz and bop.

The ride pictured to the left features what are called rivets. You can see them on the right side of the picture.

Rivets are intentionally drilled into the cymbal and give it a sizzle when struck. Sizzle cymbals are popular in jazz and blues music.

The Hi Hat

Hi hats are similar in nature to the bass drum, as they require a foot pedal to operate. This foot pedal is actually an entire piece of hardware that allows the play to open and close two different cymbals stacked opposite of each other.

Upon using the foot pedal, the hi hat makes a “CHICK” sound. Hi hats were first referred to as “sock” or low-boy cymbals, as they were just a small cymbal mounted to a foot pedal on the floor.

These cymbals are also played with drumsticks and at varying levels of being open and closed, creating either a tight, rhythmic sound or a loud and washy sound. Playing the hi hat with your foot is very common in jazz music.

Where To Find a Used Junior Drum Set?

If you’re looking for a way to find a drum set on the cheap, consider purchasing a used set of drums. Guitar Center usually has a decent supply of used gear in their stores. Another great resource for used gear is a franchise company called Music Go Round.

This is your best bet for finding a quality drum set at a much cheaper price than purchasing one brand new.

Note: stores that carry used drum kits will most likely only have adult-sized drums.

If you like to shop online, you can check Ebay or Amazon. Once you find a drum set you like, click on the listing and scroll down to where you see used & new (y) from $xx.xx and FREE shipping. You generally can find used deals on whatever product you may be interested in.

What Age Should My Child Begin the Drums?

As soon as your child can hold a drumstick, they are ready to start. It truly is amazing how early young ones can learn new things. There’s really no standardized age for a child to begin learning the drums. In my opinion, when it comes to music and learning an instrument, younger is always better.

Tony Royster Jr is a prime example of this. His father started teaching him drums at the young age of three and he grew to be one of the greatest drummers of our generation. Watch his solo at age 12 here.

Things to Consider as a Parent

With the different kit reviews out of the way, let’s dive into some of the other considerations you should take as a parent.

Make Sure Your Child Is Actually Interested In Drumming

I cannot stress this enough as you don’t want to have a drum set arrive at your door only for you to be the one who is playing it.

With today’s technology, you can use iPhone or Android drum apps to get an idea if your son or daughter would be interested in playing the drums

Understand The Age Group Junior Drum Sets Are Meant For

 These types of kids drum sets, as I said above, are intended for children under 10 years of age.

I believe you can start your child as early as three years old with a junior drum kit. But for those with little ones who are a bit younger, read on for some percussion options for toddlers.

Learning a Musical Instrument Takes Patience

Be sure to instill in your child’s head that they need to practice if they want to become better. One of the greatest benefits of playing drums at a young age is reinforcing a strong work ethic. This will not only benefit your child as a musician but in all areas of life as they grow into teenagers and adults.

Maintenance is a big deal

As a student of drums, learning how to maintain the drums is just as important as learning how to play them. Be sure to instill a great sense of work ethic in your child for proper maintenance.

Understanding technical drum terminology

In addition to learning the the different pieces of the drum kit, children learning drums and percussion should quickly familiarize themselves with the following drumming terms.

  • Drum Shell — the heart and soul of every drum. If you were to disassemble all the metal hardware from a drum, you’d be left with just the shell: a metal or wooden hoop of varying diameters and lengths.
  • Drum Head — the plastic skin that covers the top and bottom (most the time) of a drum. Drum heads are held in place by tension rods and lugs.
  • Batter Head — this drum head is the side of the drum you hit with sticks or a mallet.
  • Drum Key — a T-shaped tool with a square head; drum keys are used for tuning drums by adjusting tension rods at each lug on a drum. If you’re a parent, I highly suggest taking a minute to read my guide on tuning drums, as you’ll most likely be doing this for your child.
  • Ply — Wooden drum shells are made up of multiple layers of wood called plys. A 7-ply drum shell has 7 layers of wood.
  • Drum Set vs Drum Kit — there is no difference; these words mean the same thing.
  • Drum Throne Drum thrones or drum stools are the seats that we drummers sit on when we play. I would suggest staying away from thrones bundled with children’s kits and have many of my favorite suggestions you can read about here.
  • Kick Drum vs Bass Drum — Bass drums can also be referred to as kick drums. I wonder if it was because drummers used to physically kick them. Both of these terms mean the same thing.

Some assembly is required with junior drum kits

Many of the drum kits on this list will not come pre-assembled. You’ll need to crafty and follow some directions. The instructions are simple, but parts can easily be misplaced, so take your time when putting the drums together.

Basic Drum Tuning Tips for Kids

Even if you can’t afford to purchase new drum heads, it’s important to take time to understand how drum tuning works. Your child may not care initially about the sound of the drums, but eventually, they will show an interest in tuning for a better sound. There are zillions of YouTube videos detailing the process of tuning and how dramatically it can affect the sound of your drums: both for good and for bad.

How to tell if your drum is in tune with itself

Applying even tension across each lug is key to getting a good sound. Your drum head should resonate evenly at every point where there is a tension rod.

To achieve this, a good tip is to hold one finger, index usually works well, in the center of the drum, applying very light tension on the head.

From here, take a drumstick and tap at each tension rod about an inch from the rim. Adjust the tension of each rod so that the pitch across each one is close.

While this practice isn’t very easy, if you are patient and take some time practicing tuning, you’ll get a great sound from each one of your child’s drums.

Should I tune the bottom head higher or lower?

This decision will be ultimately up to you. Some drummers advocate for a higher resonant head and others vice versa.

Tuning the bottom head higher often results in a fatter sound whereas tuning it lower can get you a punchier “jazz” sound, at least for the tom drums.

How to make your child’s drum set sound better

Even though all of the youth drum kits on this list are relatively cheap, you still can make them sound very good with a bit of hard work and a couple of extra purchases.

For the sound of the drums, you’re going to need to buy new drum heads. These can be from Remo, Evans, Attack, the name doesn’t matter as long as it’s a quality brand.

The drum heads that come stock with all of these kits are not going to be great, with the exception of possibly the Pearl Roadshow.

I personally use Remo Emperors on my drums. I find that they have a brighter tone and really cut through different kinds of music.

I don’t particularly like Pinstripes, as I believe that they sound cheap and are too thick.

Be sure to check the sizes of your drum shells prior to purchasing new drum heads, as drums come in many different sizes!

Remove ringing from the drums using dampeners

Drums can sound much better when the overtones or ringing is eliminated from the drums altogether. Many recording engineers swear by dampening the drums. Certain companies, like Moongel, create a product specifically designed to dampen drums.

A homemade variant of this can be achieved by taking a piece of paper towel and taping it to the edge of a drum head where you generally won’t be playing.

If you’re crafty, have a look at how I make my own drum dampeners for just $2.

How to make a drum set sound better
Simply tape a piece of paper towel to the edge of a drum head to greatly better the sound of a drum.

When to change the drum heads on your kid’s drum set

You’ll want to change the drum heads on your kit when you notice a couple things: wrinkles or big dents on the heads, holes or split heads, the white coating on the heads vanishes.

While the drum still will operate as normal in most of these situations, the sound will be dramatically worsened over time.

Fortunately, a child playing the drums will unlikely ever be able to pierce the drum heads, so you shouldn’t have to worry too much about that issue.

For a full breakdown on drum maintenance, be sure to read our guide here.

When To Upgrade The Cymbals on a Junior Kit

If your little drummer wants to sound better when he or she plays, consider upgrading the cymbals. Generally, cymbals have the most impact to perceived “expensiveness” when hearing a drum set. I believe this is because when cymbals are bad, they are really bad. Take a minute and check out the best cheap cymbals.

Remember, you don’t need to start out with the most expensive cymbals and drums ever, but if your child ever gets to the point where they would like to sound better when playing, these are two ways you can help them.

Additional Drumsticks for My Child’s Drum Kit

All of the kits I have listed today do come with drumsticks. These aren’t going to be very high quality, but they will work for a start.

If your child does show some interest, I would recommend you buy a brick of drumsticks. You’ll save money and won’t have to buy them again for a long time.

For a young child, I recommend them to play with a thin drumstick – like the Vic Firth 7A. These sticks are much thinner than the standard 5A or 5B, and will be much more comfortable in your child’s hands.

Your child should begin to read sheet music eventually

As a bit of a side note, when your child is learning drums, it’s a good idea to either get them lessons or have them follow an online instructional course.

Understanding drum sheet music is very important to a new drummer and can help set a great foundation as they progress as a player.

Other Considerations with Children and Drumming

Having your child play drums promotes a healthy activity as well as foster a creative mind.

There aren’t too many negatives to learning an instrument and it isn’t relatively expensive to start.

While you may think it’s just a set of drums, you will need to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Will I be spending a lot of money on a junior kit?
  • Do I need to replace the plastic drum heads ever?
  • Do the sizes of the drums matter?

You also have to ask yourself if you’re willing to tolerate a loud drum set in your house, or if you’d opt more for an electronic drum set.

1) Playing Drums is Great for Your Brain

I can understand your hesitance to purchase a children’s drum set, as drumming is a very noisy practice.

However, playing drums is incredibly healthy and good for your child’s brain (and even yours if you decided to play).

According to this article by Christiane Northrup, M.D., drumming is an excellent workout activity for your brain, as you’re accessing all of your brain while playing and practicing.

She believes that drumming induces a sort of “natural high” by increasing alpha brain waves, as well as synchronizing the lower areas of the brain, creating feelings of positivity, insight and certainty.

The sound of drumming generates new neuronal connections in all parts of the brain. The more connections that can be made within the brain, the more integrated our experiences become.  This leads to a deeper sense of self-awareness.Christiane Northrup, M.D.

While I can’t personally verify the validity of these claims, I can assure you that playing the drums makes me feel great and I’m so happy my parents allowed me to start at such a young age.

In addition to the health benefits, learning the drums at a young age teaches perseverance and creates a sense of achievement.

Learning an instrument takes lots of practice and it will be difficult. If your child likes a challenge and has fun in the process, it’s a win-win.

Learning a musical instrument has also shown to improve math skills, due to the nature of the complexities of rhythm.

While this isn’t something that will be visible from the start, if you invest in the education of your child’s playing via drum lessons, there is a major added benefit.

If you’re concerned about noise, there’s a solution I can suggest! Consider getting your child an electronic drum set. There are so many options of great kits available. 

There are other products designed to deaden or mute the sound of the drums, dramatically reducing the decibel level outputted from the kit, which we will talk about later on in the article.

2) Get the correct size for the correct age

Junior drum sets are most suited to kids between the ages 3-8 and are between 2.5ft and 5ft tall. For children who are taller than average, we recommend going will a full-size kit.

Be mindful of the size of your child and the size of the drum kit. if you buy a full-sized drum kit, your child might not be able to reach the kick drum pedal or all of the drums naturally. 

In this situation, you may want to buy a youth drum set instead of a full-sized drum set.

If your child cannot physically play the drums, they will not be excited or motivated to play the kit and it will likely collect dust.

Buying a full-size drum kit will also depend on whether or not you believe your child will grow into a bigger kit. A small drum set for kids is not necessarily always a bad thing.

One other potential issue with buying a youth drum set is that sometimes children become discouraged if they are not playing on what they believe is a “good” drum set.

3) Avoid Toy Drums (If Your Child is Older)

There are many cheap junior drum kits you can find for sale, but I don’t even want to mention them, as I believe they are worthless.

They are not musical instruments; they are toys. If you think you’ll find value in purchasing one, by all means go ahead.

I do not believe these toy drums are worth the time (the exception being for young babies and toddlers).

Some youth kits are missing drums

Another issue with this type of children’s drum kit is the lack of a snare drum. This is the “main” drum of any kit.

It’s the drum that features metal wires on the bottom side of the drum and has a snappy sound.

You’ll most likely get two drums up top and nothing else. Even if one of the drums mounted to the bass drums claims to be a snare drum, avoid this because it likely will not be close to where a snare drum normally sits.

Younger drummers need a standardized kit so they can begin to understand the motions, movements, muscle memory, and coordination when moving up to a bigger drum set.

Some junior drum sets have poorly made hardware

There are a lot of junior drum sets on the market that are just terrible. While the price is cheap, these drum sets for kids are completely flawed, in that, you will absolutely be buying a second kit relatively soon.

These types of drum sets often do not have working lugs, feature cheaply-made hardware, contain three or fewer drums, and break very easily.

You’ll often also see stripped threads, wingnuts that won’t clamp down, and a kick pedal that has little response to playing.

In addition to the lower-quality materials, these drum kits often are missing drums and other parts.

Your child will not be able to pick up the correct movement and motions, ultimately leading to re-learning once they own a real drum set.

The cheap price tag may tempt you, but I strongly suggest sticking to the list we’ve curated for picking the perfect drum set for your child.

4) Not All Children’s Drums are Created Equal

When buying a drum set, it’s important to remember that these kits are not going to be totally professional-grade.

Do not expect your son or daughter to sound like John Bonham from Led Zeppelin with these kits!

In all seriousness, this shouldn’t be too much of a deal. Save the better sounding drum set for when your child is totally serious and won’t quit after playing for a few weeks.

Don’t expect to get an amazing, quality finish with these drums. The drums will most likely be wrapped in cheap plastic drum wraps with a glossy finish.

You probably won’t have very many colors to pick from.

The difference between an expensive drum set and a cheap kids drum set

Drum kits are not all made equally. There are many factors that can influence both the price and quality of a drum kit.

  • Number of drums – some drum kits ship with only three drums and some ship with as many as nine. This can make a huge difference on the cost of production and how much you’ll pay in a store
  • Shell quality – drum are not all made from the same wood. Popular woods for drum shells include maple, birch, beech, oak, poplar, basswood, and even steel.
  • Brand name – drums made by big-name manufacturers are going to be more expensive, just like if you buy a pair of shoes from Nike.
  • Custom drums – if you want to really bring the price up, go for some custom drums. Expect to pay multiple thousands for just the shells.
  • Drum wraps vs wooden finishes – Cheaper drums tend to have plastic drum wraps, whereas more expensive kits have finished wood.

5) Drum Lessons are Very Beneficial

If you feel that your child begins to progress at home once they have a drum set and seem completely interested in playing, taking lessons is a fantastic idea.

The younger they start, the better. Although the general consensus is to start a child on drum lessons is age 7, I believe you can start your child even earlier.

Physical development plays a huge role in determining when your child is ready to start playing drums and taking lessons.

Is it difficult for them to physically hold the drumsticks. I strongly recommend getting your child thinner sticks (Vic Firth 7As) when they are beginning.

The maturity level of your child also needs to be considered. Can your child sit still for thirty minutes at a time being taught one on one?

Most of the time you’re more than welcome to sit in on the lesson, but if you’re trying to instill a sense of independence, it might be better to wait outside the room during a lesson.

Take a few lessons with an instructor and see how both your child and the teacher feel about the sessions.

Drum lessons for a child are going to be very similar to a math class. They will be learning to count, reading patterns and sheet music, as well as learning basic grooves and technique.

Reading basic drum notion can be very tedious and some young children can find this a bit boring since they won’t be playing fun drum parts.

Similar to a traditional classroom, you may want to consider group drum lessons. Your child may be more comfortable sitting in a room with his or her peers, rather than one on one with an instructor.

Finding drum lessons for your child in your area

I recently stumbled across a fantastic resource for finding music teachers for any instrument. has one of the largest databases of teachers available online. You can tailor it to your specific zip code and find teachers based on rating, price, and availability.

Encourage Your Child to Watch YouTube Videos of Other Drummers to Learn

There’s a lot of great instructional content on YouTube for learning how to play the drums. Here’s a great first drum lesson from See Briggs Rock on how to play your first drum beat.

Since Briggs is so young, kids playing drums for the first time really connect and identify with his content, rather than a traditional music teacher.

As a parent, you should learn alongside your child to help teach fundamentals

Even if you have no knowledge of drums and music notation, it’s possible to teach the basics of drumming using simple notation.

I’ve written extensively on how to read drum notation. I’d suggest giving that a read if you plan on helping your child learn drum music.

Be sure to take time to understand how the notation works before attempting to teach your child the basics.

If you’re looking for a drum method book for your child to start learning, I can’t recommend Carmine Appice’s book more: The Updated Realistic Rock Drum Method.

This was the first book I learned from when I began taking drum lessons.

6) Introduce Your Child to Notable Musicians to Inspire

Watching other drummers is very important as drumming is both auditory and visual. Seeing the movement, actions, and feeling in a performance can do wonders when beginning to play the drums.

There are lots of famous professional drummers in music today. Don’t just stop there though, however.

Some of the greatest drummers of all time come from earlier generations. Here’s just a few to start with.

  • John BonhamLed Zeppelin – Had John not passed in 1980, I am certain that he would be one of the greatest living drummers alive. Bonham was the backbeat behind Led Zeppelin and has some of the most iconic drum parts of all time. He is survived by his son, Jason, who currently plays with Led Zeppelin.
  • Steve Gadd, studio musician – Steve is arguably the world’s most recorded drummer. He can be heard on many records from artists like Chick Corea, Steely Dan, Weather Report, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, and many others.
  • Dave Weckl, studio musician, instructor – Dave Weckl is a fantastic fusion jazz drummer, playing with the likes of Chick Corea, Manhattan Jazz Quintet, John Patitucci, as well as his own bands. Dave Weckl teaches a fantastic online class for $30 a month. Check it out here.
  • Tré Cool, Green Day – You must be living under a rock if you haven’t heard of Green Day before. Tre Cool has been laying down the foundation for the band since the band’s second album, Kerplunk! He is one of the most solid drummers of our day and definitely deserves a spot on the list.
  • Josh Dun, twenty one pilots – This duo has become one of the largest bands in the world since 2013 and are two of the hardest working people in the industry. Josh Dun is both a technical master and theatrical entertainer. If you haven’t seen a live performance of these guys, definitely check them out.
  • Neil PeartRush – Commonly referred to as the most overrated drummer in the world (we don’t think so) is Neil Peart from Rush. Rush laid the foundation for progressive music in the 1970s and evolved into a powerhouse throughout the 80s and 90s. Neil’s mix of intricate grooves and fills with thought-provoking lyrics makes for one great musician.
  • Elvin Jones, legendary jazz drummer – Elvin was a fantastic jazz drummer that continues to inspire drummers to this day.
  • Buddy Rich, Buddy Rich Band – Buddy is another fantastic jazz drummer who is arguably the best drummer of all time.

7) Start Your Child Off with a Snare Drum Only

For young children who are playing music in band class, a common practice is to start your child out with just a snare drum, either bought or a rental from a local music store.

If you’re unsure if they will want to play a full drum set and just want to test the waters, this can be a good move. Starting off with a cheap drum set might be a good idea, too.

Being in band is a great introduction to private lessons and your child will learn the basic fundamentals of rhythm, as well as play snare drum, bass drum, and cymbals.

When my parents started me with drum lessons, they only allowed me to play the snare drum at first.

It was agony.

I could only play a drum set at school and in my private teacher’s office during lessons. My parent’s needed to make sure I was serious about drumming.

Transitioning to a drum set from snare drum

After your child plays the snare drum for a while, they most likely will get curious about a drum set. Hopefully, the school your child attends will have one available for them to play on.

If not, taking lessons can be a great way to get them playing. Your child can get a taste of what playing a real kit is like, learn the basics, and from then you can make a decision if it’s right for them.

I had to practice my lesson materials on my drum set, which included my student snare drum and magazine covers spread out on a table.

I had to get crafty and my parents, as previously stated, knew I was serious about wanting to play.

Is there a big learning curve when learning the drums as a child?

There is a massive learning curve for learning the drums. Stylistically, there are so many ways you can go.

In the beginning, your child may only be learning the snare drum and the very basics of stick control, technique, rudiments, and posture.

You can opt to learn the full drum kit from the start, but having a solid foundation of one drum may benefit your child more in the long run.

Children do tend to have a smaller attention span, so be sure to find a teacher that really can connect with them.

It’s also important to determine whether or not your child is just playing for fun or actually has a big interest in playing the drums.

8) There’s No Wrong Way to Set Up a Drum Set

As your child grows and learns, it’s important that they develop their own style and taste. Setting the drums up according to their preference is a big part of this.

Encourage them to make adjustments to make them more comfortable. Examples of this include raising and lowering the cymbals, adjusting the angles on the snare drum and tom toms, and moving forward or away from the kit with the drum throne.

There are lots of drummers out there who have crazy ridiculous drum setups. I can’t even imagine how they manage to get around the drums with the way their kit is arranged.

That being said, it’s comfortable for them and that’s what matters.

9) Drums are Very Loud

As a parent you must realize that having a practicing drummer in your house may be very annoying and could potentially anger your neighbors, depending on where you live.

Keeping the volume down can be very important if your housing situation requires you to keep the noise down. There are a few different options you have to alleviate the loud volume.

Some of the options below will be more expensive than others.

Electronic Drum Sets are Perfect for Kids

Noise a problem? Consider an electronic kit.

Is your child seriously interested in playing drums, but you either don’t want to stand the noise or live in an apartment where noise is an issue?

Consider purchasing an electronic drum set. Electronic drum sets are both quiet and offer many more features that a traditional drum set lacks.

Electronic drum sets either have rubber pads or mesh drum heads where the stick strikes.

They come with what is known as a drum module which controls everything from drum sounds to headphone volume.

If you decide to buy an electronic drum set, you’ll also need either headphones or an amplifier to hear the sound.

Headphones are a great option for any young student, as they’ll be able to practice whenever they like and play along to their favorite music with the auxiliary input on the electric drums.

Don’t miss my guide on the best electronic drums for kids.

Alesis Nitro MAX

The best electronic drum set for beginners

This electronic drum set is affordable, compact, and is perfect for learning with 90-days free to Drumeo, the best place to learn drums online.

Read our full review

View Price at Sweetwater View Price at Guitar Center

The Alesis Nitro is the most budget-friendly “real” electronic drum kit. This isn’t a lame tabletop drum set. The Nitro will get your child playing drums in no time, at a limited volume compared to that of an acoustic drum set.

While the Nitro is at the budget end of the spectrum, Alesis has outdone themselves on the quality for such a low price; it’s also one of the best electronic drum kits under $500.

Use Drum Mutes

Available at Amazon (affiliate)

Vic Firth makes rubber drum mutes that dramatically reduce the volume of the drum set. They even come with mutes for the cymbals!

This kit includes mutes that are 10″, 12″, 14″, 16″, 22″, as well as three cymbal mutes including the hi-hat.

Mesh Drum Heads

Unlike the mutes, mesh drum heads actually replace the current heads on your drum set. These are not as easy to install and remove but will provide the greatest reduction in noise overall.

This pack is offered in the same sizes as the drum mutes. You will need to buy separate cymbal mutes if you choose this option.

Use Low-Volume Cymbals

Just like the mesh drum heads, low volume cymbals provide the best reduction in dB while practicing drums. These will be more of an investment but work very well if your family lives in an apartment complex or a condominium.

Low volume cymbals will not sound exactly like a real cymbal, but definitely replicate the exact feeling a cymbal has when struck. This pack from Zildjian is an excellent pick.

Drum Shields or an Isolation Rooms

This suggestion is ridiculous, I know. But there are people out there who do this to reduce volume from a drum kit.

Whether or not you build the booth your self or buy an existing product, this is an option. Check out our post on the best drum shields.

Homemade DIY solutions for reducing drum set volume

If you’re in a situation where you want to get a little crafty, there are a couple options you have. Some of these are better than others, but here are some ideas.

  • Use towels as dampeners on each drum — You can even cut the fabric to each drum size and tape them to the shell. I would use a tape that doesn’t leave a sticky residue, not duct tape. The thicker your towel is, the more volume reduction you will get. Beware as you will also lose a lot of rebound from this practice.
  • Stuff the bass drum with blankets or a comforter
  • Put sheets or towels underneath the drum heads between the bearing edge and the rim — The bearing edge is the edge of the wooden shell that the plastic drum head sits on. This practice will require you to take the tension rods and rim off, so it may be more of a complicated solution.

For a more in-depth look on keeping the volume down, be sure to read my article on how to play drums in an apartment or shared living space.

10) Try Drumming Apps

Drum Apps

Apps like Real Drum, Pocket Drums, WeDrum, and many others are very popular apps on the iOS store.

Drumming apps are generally free (with ads) and give your child a good idea of both what drums sound like and how a typical drum set is laid out.

Basic rhythm can be taught with virtual drums and many include mini-games that allow you or your child to play along with lots of different songs.


Buying a drum set can really enhance your child’s creativity. You know how they always say it’s better to learn a language when you’re really young?

The same goes for music. The earlier you start them, the quicker they will learn and retain.

Even though some of the youth drum kits on this list are very cheap and don’t sound the greatest, these are the best kits available of everything found on the market.

Remember, this drum kit will test their interest in music and playing drums. You need to establish that before you go and buy a full-blown drum set.

Our favorite pick has to be the Alesis Nitro MAX. It’s the perfect drum kit for any age and allows your child to grow into playing the drums.

If you enjoyed this article at all, and if it helped you out, please feel free to share it with your friends or other parents who are considering buying their little one a drum set.

Leave a comment down below if you’ve purchased a kit for your child, or if you have any questions. I’ll be sure to reply to them all.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

Nick Cesarz

Nick is a drummer, percussionist, and blogger from Milwaukee, WI. He toured extensively with Vinyl Theatre, opening up for acts like twenty one pilots, Panic! at the Disco, and more. Now no longer touring, his passion lies in gear and playing the kit as much as time allows.


  1. Hi there! Looking to pick something out for my sons 6th birthday. I was thinking of going for the Quest kit and wondering if you think this is the best drum kit for his age? He hasn’t played yet, but he seems to be very motivated and I don’t think a super cheap kit would do him much good. What are your thoughts?

    1. Phil, the Questlove kit is an excellent choice. I don’t think he would have put his name on it if he didn’t approve. Depending on how tall your six-year-old is will ultimately determine your choice between the Questlove kit and the Pearl Roadshow.

      I personally like the Roadshow a little more because you get bigger shells and a “more authentic” drum set experience. Either way, you can’t go wrong to be honest.

  2. Incredible and insightful. Nick, you’ve really crushed this guide. I’m a big fan of your VT and my son is looking to play the drums. I’ve decided on which kit to go with from this write-up.



    1. Ted,

      Thanks so much for the kind words. I’m glad the guide was helpful in you deciding. Which drum kit did you end up going with if you don’t mind me asking?

      Cheers! Good luck with the noise. 🙂

  3. Wow! How long did it take you to write and complete this…2 years? Lol Great information here, will definitely be back. Thanks!

  4. First, thank you for writing this. Although I am musically inclined, drums are a new ball game for me. My son is 10 right now, but I am not sure I am ready to invest in a full-size kit. What snare drum do you recommend?

    1. Hi Chera! That’s a great point—I don’t know if I mentioned student snare drums! I actually started with just a snare drum myself—took it on the school bus with its included backpack.

      Before you drop money on a drum, you could check out your local music store. If they offer drum lessons, they may have an instrument rental program where you can rent a snare drum, mute, stand, and backpack. That’s what my parents did when I was nine before getting me a drum set.

      As far as good options go, this Mapex snare drum is a great option if your son is 100% committed to learning how to play drums. It’s a great quality instrument and includes sticks, a mute for quiet playing, stand, and backpack case. You’ll need to buy a drum key for tuning, as it doesn’t appear to be included. But the snare itself will be great—he’ll be able to use it with a full drum set in the future.

      If you want to go more budget-friendly, this ADM student snare is similar, though the brand is not reputable in the drum world, so beware. I can’t comment on whether or not it would be a good choice.

      Hope that helps!

  5. Thank you for your article! My 4 year old son can’t stop talking about playing drums. He actually sat at a friend’s full size kit and was pounding out a rhythm that I couldn’t believe came from a 4yo. He is definitely interested, I just want to make sure I can find something in his size (he’s small) and a bit more affordable. Thanks for this list and for doing all of the research for me! His big brother is about to start guitar soon and having his own thing may be a big help! Thanks again!

  6. My family is looking to buy a drum set for the house. My daughter is 7 and my son is 9(both on the small side). I like your picks and am leaning toward the Pearl set you have listed. I am afraid it might be too big for my daughter who is really the one interested. Any opinion/advice on Pearl Roadshow Jr. 5-piece Complete Drum Set with Cymbals?
    Either way- great info!

    1. Hi Sherry. I assume you are talking about this kit here:–pearl-roadshow-jr-5-piece-complete-drum-set-with-cymbals-grindstone-sparkle

      For your 7-year-old, I think it would be a perfect pick. The regular Roadshow most likely will be a bit too big. There’s an image posted in the reviews on Sweetwater that shows a younger child playing that exact drum set, so that might give you an idea. The shell sounds are great, but they cymbals will be a little lacking. That shouldn’t matter though, for someone just starting to learn how to play. Hope this is helpful!

  7. Great review Nick. I just took my kid to his first drum “trial” lesson today. He has been harping on about playing the drums so we booked the trial & his words were “it was awesome”. Like your parents, we have signed him up for lessons before committing to buying any set. We want to be sure he sees through at least 6 weeks of lessons before we even consider a snare drum (hopefully this isn’t too long to wait)? My question for you is a little different – my kid is pretty shy & very cerebral…..not at all sporty. Does this make a difference when it comes to playing the drums with co-ordination and the like. I’m really hopeful this is something that he keeps at & gives him confidence at the same time.

    Thanks again for the review – really useful.

    1. Thanks for the kind words! I think for your son, drums will be perfect! I was similar. Drumming gave me confidence and helped me break out of my shell. At school, people thought it was really cool that I played the drums. Something you may want to pick up is a practice pad. You can get one on Amazon or at your local music store for around $25. This way, he can still practice while taking drum lessons before getting a snare drum.

      1. Thanks Nick. Picked up x 2 practice pads & he uses it every day. I promised him after 6 -8 weeks of lessons we would discuss drum sets, we have passed that & it landed in his 12th bday so now I am looking to purchase. The drum school suggested LUDWIG ACCENT 5-PIECE DRUM SET. I don’t really want you to do any pro or cons for this, but I’m not too familiar with different brands (other than pearl, Yamaha, Yama, PDP) so unsure if this is something I should consider. I was leaning more to your recommendation to be honest – pearl roadshow. If you feel this is still the best bet for an aspiring 12yr old who seems committed then that would be useful to know. Thanks so much!

        1. Ludwig is a fantastic drum brand—they’re definitely one of the top drum makers when talking high-end drum sets. The Accent and the Roadshow are pretty comparable in terms of what you get and the build quality. Between these two, it’s really going to come down to look. Since he’s 12, you may want to check out this other list of recommendations of drums for begginers: I recommend a kit called the Ludwig Breakbeats which is a killer sounding affordable kit (my video review:

          Back the other kits:

          This video shows Jim Riley from Rascal Flatts playing the Ludwig Accent:

          And in contrast. here’s a demo of the Roadshow:

          Both are going to be great values, but as Jim suggests, you’ll want to stuff a pillow inside the bass drum to mute it a little bit so it’s not so ringy.

          Finally one other brand to consider if you want to spend a bit more (since he seems serious about drumming) is Mapex. The Venus line is great quality, has better metal hardware.–mapex-venus-5-piece-rock-complete-drum-set-blue-sky-sparkle

          The next thing your little drummer will want is another crash cymbal, so keep that in mind! Ha. Sorry for the long response! Good luck. Let me know if you have any other questions and you can always email me at

        2. ALSO, I forgot to mention with the Ludwig Breakbeats: that drum set is JUST a shell pack, so you have to purchase cymbals, stands, throne, kick pedal, sticks separately! Your local drum shop/music store may be able to work out a nice package deal with a shell pack if you consider this.


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