Selecting & Buying Second-Hand Drums
If you apply the following principles you won't go very far
- Aim for a well established make.
- Research the models that are available and what the reviewers
say about them.
- Drums come in many different sizes and colours. Think:
- Will it be easy to find drums of the same colour if I want to
add new drums later?
- What kind of music will I be playing?
- Smaller diameter drums generally sound better over a wider
tuning range and suit most musical styles.
- 'Standard' drums are slightly shallower and respond more
quickly, especially with lighter sticks, multi-rods or
- 'Power' drums are slightly deeper, have a stronger
fundamental (main) note and they tend to sound deeper. Listening
to the different types will tell you which you prefer. Avoid
'square' sizes (their depth is the same as their diameter) UNLESS
you are playing louder music. The extra depth means that you
have to hit them harder to get the full tone of the drum and
therefore, may limit where and when you can play them. However,
they do sound BIG!
- Check that the drums are 'International sizes'. Some are
not! Buying heads for non-international size drums can be a real
problem, if not impossible.
- Read the adverts in the music and drumming press and if you
choose to view, take someone with you who knows what they're
- Examine the tension rods and look for problems e.g., badly
'chewed' rod heads, signs of stripping of the threads, rattling,
inability to tighten. If there are problems, how easy and cheap
will they be to repair? Is there ground for negotiating on the
- Check the snare throw-off mechanism on snare drums for smooth
operation and examine the snares for signs of distortion or
- Check the roundness of all drum shells and look for signs of
abuse e.g., bad marking (chips and scratches) and examine the
bearing edges (where the drum head rests on the shell). Ensure
that the original badges are still attached to the shell by their
original fittings. 'Stuck-on' badges can represent an expensive
name on a cheap shell.
- Check the condition of the drum heads for splits and signs of
abuse. The life of a head depends on its type, how heavily it is
played, how often it is played. REMEMBER that they can be easily
and relatively cheaply replaced if necessary.
- Listen to the kit. Is it what you're after? Listen for
buzzes and rattles which may indicate problems (although they may
be due to a loose nut, screw or tension rod).
- Are there any 'spares' with the drums e.g., drum keys, spare
tension bolts etc.
Never be afraid to ask the owner questions about
the history of the drums and why they are being sold.
You may like to Contact
Us with specific Questions.
Alternatively, you may like to contact the Drum Manufacturers directly, or the Music Press to access reviews and 'road tests' of
the equipment you're looking for.
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