#1
So I have been getting annoyed by my family for weeks about what I want for my birthday(still like 22 days away so I don't see why they want to buy stuff now), and since I finally am over the stomach flu, I decided to think about this.

I have always wanted to play the drums, actually I think I wanted to learn them when I found out that the flute wasn't the instrument for me, and that guitarists have to be in near the front of the stage, so I had decided drums would be good for a shy person. Anyways, for whatever reason I ended up learning guitar, and now it has been 6 or so years, and every few months I think about the drums again.

I am now pretty sure I want to learn how to play them, especially since I see a use for them with my own recordings, and in community bands(like the youth group band that never became a band), but have ran into a few problems.

First, I can not take lessons, they are too expensive and I do not know any good teachers in my area, not too big of a problem, but I wanted to at least take like a few lessons to get the basics down.

Next, is I just learned that you actually have to tune drums? I never realized that, so I am wondering how that actually works?

Also, I have some rock band drum sticks right now, so I am wondering if I can use those just to like practice holding them or something?

So yeah... any other tips and stuff? Just remembered, I also heard something about like needing to choose a certain style to learn or something? I honestly only really am interested in Pop, Hip-hop, and Country, but I do like to be versatile since I like almost any music unless it is super slow... but I also want to be a studio musician maybe one day(then again, last month I wanted to be an audio engineer).
#2
I would recomend this channel. http://www.youtube.com/user/freedrumlessons
I've never really wondered about tunning my drums and I think you shouldn't care too much about this at the very begining. But that's my opinion.
I don't know if the feel of rock band sticks is the same as the real ones but I don't think there's any harm in practicing with them.
Someone more experienced will give you better advice than me. I just wanted to contribute a little.
I hope it helps.
#3
First, I can not take lessons, they are too expensive and I do not know any good teachers in my area, not too big of a problem, but I wanted to at least take like a few lessons to get the basics down.


This isn't really that big an issue, I've also never taken a lesson (mainly due to lack of money), and while they would probably speed up your development many of the basic/intermediate ideas for drums aren't particularly difficult to work out for yourself. Sites and youtube channels like FreeDrumLessons are useful, and its nice to know someone who also plays drums so you can run stuff past them, but not essential.

Next, is I just learned that you actually have to tune drums? I never realized that, so I am wondering how that actually works?


This really isn't something to worry about early on, since tuning will only really matter if someone else will be hearing you play.
Drums are tuned using a drum key, which is used to turn the screws around the metal hoops that sit over the drum head. By doing this, you adjust the tension of the head, and so change the pitch the drum makes.
The basic idea is for the entire head to be at the same tension (you can check this by tapping the head close to the lugs and listening to the pitch, obviously if the pitch is the same so is the tension), and then you can experiment by having the top and bottom heads at different tensions to get a different sound out of the drum.

Also, I have some rock band drum sticks right now, so I am wondering if I can use those just to like practice holding them or something?


These would probably be OK to practice your grip and find where you feel most comfortable holding the stick, but I really wouldn't recommend using them for practice on an actual kit, since they will likely be very poor quality and so will break easily. Also they are likely to be much lighter than real sticks.

I'd suggest getting a set from a more reputable manufacturer (Vic Firth NOVA sticks are probably good for beginners, since they're cheap but generally fairly reliable. Look for either size 7A (for Jazz/ very light playing), 5A (for light-ish pop/rock playing) or 5B (for rock or heavy pop playing), or ideally get a set of each size and see which you prefer.

So yeah... any other tips and stuff? Just remembered, I also heard something about like needing to choose a certain style to learn or something?


I would definitely start out playing what you like/actively listen to, since you're likely to have more of an idea of what a 'good' drummer in that genre sounds like, and also if you enjoy the music you're more likely to stick with it. It's good to be versatile, but you have to start somewhere and then branch out (maybe with the help of a teacher later on).

Hopefully some of this is some use
#4
Thanks.

I actually forgot if I mentioned it, but my cousin is a really good drummer, so I guess I could ask him on Facebook or something when I need help(he lives on the other side of the country).

Good about the tuning, since I was worried because with violin my teacher pretty much said it is required to have the violin in tune.

I guess I will go to a music shop tomorrow when my parents take me to the dmv, and look at drumsticks just to see the different sizes.. if my parents don't mind at least. If they do mind, then I will just buy one of each size when I get drums.

Edit: Well, I showed my parents a drum kit I would like, and they sounded okay with it, but I just ran into a problem. My mom decided to text my uncle about it because he is really good with instruments, and I guess he said to get an electronic drum kit instead.

I am going to head over to Youtube and listen to both electric and acoustic in a bit, but wanted to ask some questions here.

Which do you prefer?

Would an electric even be good for like country/pop?

Is the sound comparable to acoustic?

Honestly, last year I would have been okay with electronic, but this year I decided that I love acoustic instruments, because I just like the clean sound of instruments(though I am okay with effects as long as they are not over used).

Also for my uncle, I think he mostly uses electric instruments because he does a lot of direct connections for recordings on his computer, and also since he is in an apartment he needs something that doesn't take up much space and is quiet. Only problem I have with drums right now is that I will have to rearrange my room again, but don't really mind since I have been wanting to move some stuff around anyways.
Last edited by matthewzguitarz at Dec 5, 2013,
#5
Quote by matthewzguitarz
Which do you prefer?


For practice purposes, in most cases an electric kit is far superior to an acoustic kit. Since an electric kit is much quieter, it allows you to be much more flexible with practice times, since only you can hear the drum sounds/ music through your headphones, and all anyone else can hear are some dull thuds. Also, pretty much all electric kits will have some practice tools built into them (e.g. pretty much all will have a metronome built in), and also the range of sounds in the machine means it's easy to practice different styles and find the sound you want.

Quote by matthewzguitarz
Is the sound comparable to acoustic?


However, most electric kits (expect the super expensive ones like the Roland TD-30) have practically no live use outside of electronic music. Most will only have stereo outs, and so it never really feels like the sound is actually coming from the kit, and you don't get that same 'feeling' when listening to them (e.g. if a drummer is playing loudly on a real kit you can feel the bass drum hitting you).

If you're playing through headphones, any reasonable e-kit should sound at least passable, but I guess that's something you'd have to evaluate yourself by going and trying them in a shop.

Quote by matthewzguitarz
Would an electric even be good for like country/pop


Again, this is down to the individual models. Any e-kit should be fine for practising, but the majority really won't sound 'right' in live use where you'd normally be using an acoustic kit.

Again, hope this helps, I've kind of rushed this post since I've got to go to college haha
#6
Hmm, well I looked at the kit my mom and uncle want to order online, and for $500 it doesn't seem like a good idea to get a kit powered by USB, especially with all the bad reviews it has for the sound and that the plastic is kind of flimsy.

I am thinking now my parents are pretty much just wanting to get me an E-kit because now they are asking a friend who I didn't even know plays the drums(which means when I do learn I have somebody locally who can make sure my technique is okay). I admit, for sound levels and just being able to practice more often, it is probably better to get an E-kit, but I really think in the long run an acoustic kit would be better for me, except for when in like 2-3 years when I go to college, but then I will probably buy an E-kit or something.

I also want to play with other local musicians once I get decent at playing, and I think an acoustic would be better for that(actually just realized if I do learn drums I could probably start a band since I have friends who play the bass, guitar, sing, and play the piano, the only thing missing is a drummer).

Also guessing if I get an E-kit I would need to get a new amp that can pick up the bass drum thingy, and headphones for practice(actually need headphones anyways because I like to monitor sound while recording through headphones since it is easier then using surround sound that could be caught by the mic).
#7
Yeah, an acoustic kit is probably better for playing with other musicians, since you don't really get the feeling of there being drums there if you only use an E-Kit through a PA or an amp. The sound is physically there, but in a noisy rehearsal room 'feeling' the sound is a lot more useful than actually hearing it, and only an acoustic drum kit can really provide that.

Rehearsal rooms will often provide a basic drum kit in their rooms, however they generally don't provide a snare drum or cymbals, so if you're looking to play with others an acoustic kit is definitely better for your money. If sound is going to be an issue for solo practice, muffling pads/cymbal mutes could work for you. They won't make your kit sound particularly good, but they will make it quieter and you can of course remove them for band practices to get back to a 'real' acoustic kit sound.

Also, one last tip if you're looking to get the most bang for your buck is to buy used from eBay etc. Not only will what you get be much cheaper than the new version, probably around half the price (and not much more worn), but also the price won't really depreciate any further (since it was bought used and sold used, rather than being bought new and sold used).
#8
Well, I think I could get away with doing something like only practicing between a certain time during the day, then use the sound dampener things the rest of the time.

I can't buy used because my parents want to buy through Zzounds so they can make payments on it, but in the future I will probably buy used instruments.
#10
I'd say the DDrum is better, mainly because it caught my eye on the World Tour that it has STEEL hi-hats. While brass cymbals aren't particularly great sounding or durable, they are infinitely better than steel, which is definitely not know for its sonic properties.

However, if possible I would avoid buying a started kit with cymbals, since these cymbals are always awful and really not worth the extra money. You'd be much better going for something a from a specialist cymbal company, especially if you'd be looking to play with a group.

Even their cheaper ranges (e.g. Zildjian ZBT, Sabian B8s, Meinl MCS), are at bronze (which all decent cymbals are made from), and so should sound better and last much longer than brass cymbals. These should also all be able to be pick these up fairly cheap used (you could get a set of these from eBay for around £50 or less!)

Hope you enjoy your first kit, if you have any more questions I'll happily try to answer them
#11
Thanks, I am leaning more toward the DDrum anyways because I couldn't find any sound samples for the world tour(plus that brand name seems a bit weird). I also guessed that the cymbals would be bad, just from reading the reviews.

I kind of am stuck ordering from Zzounds though, so also stuck with getting a pack which includes cymbals.. guess I could always upgrade them closer to summer? Also, my cousin suggested looking at Remo Coated heads or something like that?

I am wondering if drums are sort of like guitars, how for guitar you choose picks and strings that sound good to you, but on drums it is like the heads and drum sticks? Also just noticed I know almost nothing about drums... probably going to be really hard to self teach(at least the whole multitasking thing).
#12
I wouldn't really bother about the sound of the kit at this point. Like in guitar, you need to get used to the sound of your instrument and you will slowly make up an idea of what sounds good and what sounds bad. Of course, all of this is a matter of opinion.
Just play with your friends and have fun.