Are you looking to score some drums on a budget? We salute you!
Not only can you save money, but you can also get a kit that already has that “broken in” sound. Plus, you get to be part of the “reduce, reuse, recycle” movement, and give some drums that would have otherwise ended up on a trash barge a second chance.
Unfortunately, buying used can be like going on a blind date — you never know what you’ll get. That’s why finding a reputable seller is crucial.
So, where do you look for used drums, and how do you find the right seller that will steer you right?
That’s precisely what we’re here to help with!
Let’s dive into the best places to buy used drums and get you drumming on a dime!
Start With Local Music Stores
Don’t underestimate the power of your local music store. I frequent my local Music Go Round more than I’d like to admit looking for deals on used snare drums and kits.
Not only will buying used drums from these guys give you the satisfaction of supporting a small business, but you can also rest easy knowing that your drum set wasn’t previously used as a toddler’s toy.
Local shops will often vet the instruments that come through their door, as they have reputations to uphold. Plus, if you don’t get what you paid for, you always have a spot to bring it back to.
They don’t want to sell anyone who has the potential to mar their Yelp reputation a lemon. Still, that doesn’t mean there aren’t pros and cons to buying from your local shop.
Pros of Buying Used Drums from a Local Music Store
- Try before you buy
- The ability to potentially negotiate prices with the store owner
- Builds a relationship with the store, which could mean better deals in the future.
Cons of Buying Used Drums from a Local Music Store
- Limited section compared to online stores
- Prices will likely be higher than buying from independent sellers
On the other hand, if you want to go the online route, you’ve got plenty of options. Let’s look at a few popular marketplaces where you can find some sweet drum deals.
Reverb started in 2013 and has become a go-to online marketplace for buying and selling drums. You’ll find a wide range of used drums from all over the world. Plus, the site includes individual sellers and legitimate music stores, so your options are unlimited.
Best of all, Reverb offers buyer protection and has a built-in rating system for buyers to shop with peace of mind.
Craigslist is one of those sites where you’re never totally sure what you’ll get. Sometimes you’ll find a fantastic deal on a perfect set of vintage drums that could quickly sell for thousands elsewhere, and other times you’ll get sucked into a never-ending email chain with a bot.
If you have the time and patience to sort through the listings, you might find a diamond in the rough. Just make sure you test out the kit before you buy it.
To me, Facebook Marketplace is the less sketchy version of Craigslist. Because seller profiles are attached to personal profiles, giving you more insight into who you’re buying from.
Like Craigslist, however, it’s the perfect place to find a drum set that’s been collecting dust in someone’s basement for years. Just make sure you bring your best negotiation skills.
From rare collectibles to pieces of hair from dead celebrities, you can find anything on eBay. As you may have guessed, it’s also a popular spot for finding used drums.
With just a few clicks, you can have a vintage Ludwig kit shipped straight to your door. However, be warned. If you’re not careful, you might end up with a snare drum that looks like it’s been used as a piñata (I’ve been there).
Before you bid, read the item description carefully and scrutinize every photo.
Pros of Buying Used Drums from an Online Marketplace
- More comprehensive selection than local music shops
- You can conveniently browse and buy drums from the comfort of your own home.
- Much easier to compare drum prices and features from different sellers.
Cons of Buying Used Drums from an Online Marketplace
- Depending on which marketplace you buy from, you may not get to see or play the drums before buying them
- .You risk running into a scam from a dishonest seller
- Shipping costs can be expensive and may not be included in the price.
In the end, if you decide to go the online route, use caution and keep an eye out for any suspicious listings unless you want to end up with a drum that sounds like a trash can or no drums.
You can also visit the secret underground of the drumming world in search of used treasure — drumming forums. These are the places people go to find hidden gems and deals.
Of course, with the rise of YouTube and social media, many have become digital ghost towns. Sure, you might stumble upon the occasional post from someone who wants to sell a used cymbal or ask for advice on how to get rid of that annoying buzz in their snare drum. But mostly, you get crickets chirping.
Luckily, not all of them have suffered this deadly fate. Many of them are still thriving.
We recently wrote an article about some of the best drum forums that are still active today, which I highly recommend checking out.
You might find a surprisingly good deal if you can haggle with the Rick Harrison-type behind the counter at your local pawn shop.
I’ve never seen a pawn shop without a display of instruments in the window. The music community and pawn shops were meant to be together.
So, naturally, if you’re in the market for a used drum kit, a pawn shop might be your ticket to rhythmic bliss.
Just remember not to throw out any lowball offers, or you might get a drumstick to the face.
What to Consider When Buying Used Drums
Beyond finding a reputable seller, there are many things to consider when buying used drums. Let’s look at a few of the most important considerations.
Be Realistic About Your Budget
Have a budget in mind before you start searching. That way, you won’t have to foreclose your house or sell one of your kidneys on the black market to afford it.
As much as I love drumming, it’s not worth losing a vital organ.
Research — a word that strikes fear into the hearts of musician procrastinators everywhere.
However, when buying used drums, it’s vital to put in the time and effort to find the right deal. So fire up that laptop and start researching!
Check out reviews, watch demo videos, and ask other drummers for advice. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember: at least you’re not writing a research paper on something daunting like the history of paper clips (okay, on second thought, I’m interested now).
Inspect the Drums In Person
If you can, inspect the used drums, you want to buy in person before committing.
Don’t EVER blindly trust the seller on their word and hope for the best. It’s only taken me five times to learn that lesson. You never know what kind of surprises might be lurking beneath the drumhead.
Maybe the previous owner was a heavy hitter, and the cymbals have a slight, barely noticeable crack. Or the drum set was stored in a damp basement, and now it smells like a Chuck E. Cheese.
The point is to look for any damage or wear and tear and play the drums to ensure they feel good in your hands.
Don’t Be Afraid to Haggle
The art of haggling is for more than just those open-air markets in foreign countries. One of the benefits of buying anything used is that you have the right to channel your inner negotiator.
Unlock a new talent for bargaining, and you can score some serious deals. However, a word of caution — there’s a fine line between haggling and low-balling, so come prepared with research on why you deserve a lower price.
Ready to Score a Great Deal?
There you have it, everything you need to know about how and where to buy used drums.
Whether you’re a pro looking for a vintage 60s Ludwig or a beginner trying to save a few bucks with some off-brand Amazon Essentials kit, there are plenty of options on the secondhand market.
Just remember to conduct your research carefully, inspect the drums in person if you can, and use your haggling skills to the fullest.
Who knows, maybe you’ll find that one-of-a-kind set to make you the envy of all your bandmates. But if not, don’t worry; you always have air drums.
Happy drumming, everyone!