When starting out playing the drums choosing whether to buy a kit or not is a difficult task. A drum kit is a very loud instrument (if you hadn’t noticed!) and certain neighbours or family members might not appreciate a loud banging and crashing once or twice or week. So if you are going to get an acoustic kit, a set of noise control pads might be a good idea or you could use some moon gel to quieten it a bit! Or you could down the route of getting an electric kit. These are great! You get the cool sound of an acoustic kit whilst being able to control volume or even plug in headphones (no one else can hear your drumming then!) Before you buy a drum kit (whether it is an electric or acoustic) you may want to get a practice pad. On a practice pad you can still tap along to music and practice certain techniques and sticking. This is great to start off with, but you might find it a bit harder as you venture into different and harder styles of playing and will need a full kit to try these techniques out.
When you start looking to play the drums, you need to look at basic beginner books or drum tab notation. These will tell you the basic beats, time signatures and sticking. These basic beats and time signatures will be the foundations for anything more difficult and technical that you learn. When looking to do grades throughout drumming, I would recommend using the “Rockschool” grades. These are a functional set of books with their own recorded pieces ready to play along to for your grades. After a few lessons you should know exactly what each part of the kit is and be able to piece parts of it together (Like setting the hi-hat clamp to the height you want).
Using the correct type of sticks for you is essential when playing drums. There are many different types of weights, lengths and makes. There are two different types of tip on a drum stick: A nylon tip and a wooden tip. Finding the right type for you is crucial. Playing with a thicker stick will last longer and will give a fuller overall sound. However thicker sticks are harder to gain speed. A thinner stick will produce a less heavy sound but will enable you to play faster and give you more choice of volume. The most common sticks are the choices between 5A, 5B, 7A and 7B. These can also be differed with the choice of Nylon tip which will give a bouncier effect than wood but will also last a little longer and stop the stick from splitting. So what do the numbers and letters mean? Well the higher the number the lighter and less dense the stick is. So a 7A is going to be a lot lighter than a 3A. The letter differentiates between thickness’s of the shaft of the stick. For example, a 5B stick is going to be thicker than the 5A stick. A lighter stick is normally used for jazz style whist heavier sticks are used in heavier music. Like rock and metal. Use a 5AN. This is normally a medium weight with a thin body and a nylon tip. I use this to bounce my sticks through a fill to gain speed.
Whether you decide to get an acoustic or electric drum kit I am sure you’re going to love it! – I know I do!! Happy Drumming!!
Jack Hartismere School (work experience week July 2014).