Buying Your First Drum Kit – Warren van Wyk

So you have decided to start playing drums and thinking of buying a drumkit. That can be a tough decision, and it can be tough to determine when is the right time. Warren van Wyk gives insight regarding when is the right time to make the purchase.

When you begin playing drums, be sure not to get to carried away by buying the most expensive drumkit on the market. When starting up with a new hobby, it is best to start with buying cheaper equipment. We usually recommend taking a few lessons before purchasing anything.

I have met people that decided to start playing the drums, and at that point, they are very excited and motivated. We all get excited about a new venture. Because the excitement levels are so high, they went out and bought expensive high-end kits, thinking that they would be using it in their successful rock bands one day. I am terrible when I get into a new hobby. I want the best gear on the market even though I know it is unnecessary for someone who is just starting. A few months later, the novelty wears off, and I wonder why I spent all that money, or life gets busy and I can’t use it like I wanted to. You might think that it is ok because you can sell the gear, but you will never retrieve the full value of what you spent.

Warren with his first sponsored drum kit by Yamaha Music South Africa at the age of 23.

The best advice I can give is to take a few drum lessons first to see if you enjoy it. If you want to continue after that, start with a simple entry-level drumkit. There are plenty of entry-level kits that come with everything you need. The only time you will need a higher-end drumkit is when you start taking it seriously and begin to hear and feel the difference, and you are 100% sure that you want to carry on. When starting, you shouldn’t worry too much about the sound, look and feel of the drumkit as it will only be used for practicing in your bedroom and not on a stage where a good sound is a must. When you think that the novelty stage has worn off and you are just as much or more in love with playing the drums and want to take it to the next level, only then look at selling your current kit and upgrading to something better. You don’t even need to buy a whole new drum kit. Look at upgrading it piece by piece. I would personally upgrade the bass drum pedal, for example, then the snare and then the cymbals. You can also look at putting new drumheads on your entry-level kit which would already take the sound quality up a notch, and it will be a lot cheaper than a whole new set. There are options so don’t get carried away to quickly.

“The best advice I can give is to take a few drum lessons first to see if you enjoy it. If you want to continue after that, start with a simple entry-level drumkit.”

– Warren van Wyk

My first drumkit was second-hand, which my Dad purchased for me when I was eight years old. It was as entry-level as they came. That was an excellent way for my Dad to see whether or not I would keep it up and not lose interest. It was also an attractive incentive for me because I knew if I carried on playing and I showed him I would pursue it and not waste his money, he would get me a more expensive drumkit. After proving myself and playing that kit for 5-6 years, my Dad purchased me a higher-end drum kit. I used my new kit for a lot of shows and recordings, and only when entering a higher level of playing, I purchased an even higher-end kit with the money I made. I only upgraded when I felt that my playing and scale of my career was at a certain point.

Warren’s current drum kit. Warren is endorsed by Yamaha drums, Evans drumheads, Promark drumsticks, Meinl cymbals, and AKG microphones.

The most important thing when starting is not to get carried away right from the start. Enjoy the process. Enjoy the feeling of getting better at it and getting better equipment as you scale up. I feel it is so rewarding doing it this way and you won’t waste much money if you think playing the drums isn’t your thing a year down the line.

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