Deciding which drum set is the right one for you can be difficult - there are enough options out there to drive you crazy! This is because each brand has different tiers, features, benefits, drawbacks, and more.
When it comes down to the best drum brand, it's impossible to choose just one. For this reason, we've compiled a list of the ten best drum brands of 2020. From this list, we hope that aspiring drummers and musicians can look through and learn more about each one, consequently decide which brand is best suited for them.
In this guide, we'll focus on ten brands that we feel have made a name for themselves in the drumming industry. We'll also recommend one kit or set for each brand to give you a feel for what the brand has to offer. However, feel free to browse the DCP website and call to ask questions about any specific kits or drums you find while browsing. We want you to find your perfect drum set and are happy to give you our recommendation.
Read on to learn about the ten best drum brands of 2020.
Like other great drum brands on this list, Tama is headquartered in Japan but has offices around the world. This makes them not only well-known but versatile as a brand. The founder, Hoshino Gakki, started manufacturing drums in 1965. They produce everything from beginner to professional kits, individual drums, and drum hardware.
Tama is a great brand because many professional drummers use it, and their products reflect that fact. Famous drummers such as Dave Lombardo of Slayer and Lars Ulrich of Metallica have used Tama drums, making it a favorite for experienced drummers and amateurs alike. They sell kits that appeal to all drumming levels and offer users an amazing value for their money.
One of their best-selling kits is the Tama Imperial Star 6-Piece Kit. It features two-floor toms, two bass drums, a snare, a set of hi-hats, crash cymbals, and a ride cymbal all for an amazingly low price. It's a great price for a kit that can be used for beginners and professionals and has fantastic reviews online. Alongside this there are other high end sets from the Star Series including Starclassic drums in walnut and birch.
Drum Workshop, also known as DW or DW Drums, is an American drum and drum hardware manufacturing company based out of Oxnard, California. DW is known as one of the classic American-made drum brands. It was founded in 1972, initially to be a teaching studio, but evolved into a primary drum hardware company shortly after. They are endorsed by many artists and bands such as The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, and Bon Jovi. Most of DW's drums are custom, but they also sell stock kits and hardware, making them extremely versatile as a brand.
One of their best affordable drum kits is the Performance Series Drum Kit, which features HVX maple shells and North American maple toms and bass drums. It comes in five lacquer finishes, including red and black transparent lacquers, to show off the wood grain. The hardware is double-braced and not too heavy, making it professional and durable but not impossible to carry around.
Overall, this kit and others from DW are a little pricey but well worth the money; DW are true professionals in the drum business, and we couldn't recommend them more.
Although known for more than just instruments, with their brand reaching out to industries such as furniture and motorcycles, Yamaha is a very popular name in the percussion industry.
In terms of percussion, Yamaha produces everything from drums to pianos and chimes. Based out of Japan, it was established in 1887 by Torakusu Yamaha as a piano and reed organ manufacturer. It has expanded today into the world's largest musical instrument manufacturer and has three main factories located in Japan. The instruments themselves are shipped and used worldwide by millions of musicians.
DCP has reviewed Yamaha drums before, and since we're the #1 Yamaha drums dealer in the United States, it comes as no surprise that it's so high up on our list. Although the Yamaha stage custom birch 5-piece shell pack is a popular choice and we do recommend it, we're going to talk about the drums from the Absolute Hybrid Maple Set. These have amazing high-quality aluminum die-cast hoops and a hybrid shell design that makes these drums sound aggressive and resonant. Yamaha drums also come standard with a bearing edge shape; this bearing edge optimizes tonal balance and enhances the sound. They're a beautiful choice from Yamaha, and we couldn't recommend this brand more.
Founded in 1875 and headquartered in Bad Berleburg, Germany, Sonor is one of the oldest percussion companies in the world. It is not surprising that their products reflect this experience. Sonor manufactures and sells drums kits and hardware, as well as other forms of percussion such as congas and cymbals. Their drums were known in the past to be extremely heavy, earning them the tagline of "The Rolls of Drums," but as time went on, their drums became more light and slim. Today, they're known as a company that innovates and evolves with the times.
The German-made Sonor SQ1 Series Drums are all-birch and meticulously built with forward-thinking hardware. It's more affordable than the well-known SQ2, being that it's not custom. However, it's made with Sonos cross lamination tension-free process and comes with their famous TuneSafe system, which prevents tension rods from loosening and offers maximum tuning capability. This set is solid but not heavy, and the hardware is easy to transport. Sonor is known for offering high-end kits at affordable prices, which makes them an excellent brand to check out if you're in the market for a kit.
Pearl is one of the most known names in the percussion instrument and drum industry. Headquartered in Japan, the company is formally known as "Pearl Musical Instrument Company," but since their drums are so widely known and used, they are simply referred to as "Pearl Drums." This nickname is for a good reason: Their drums are one of the most popular used in the United States that it's not usually known that they're headquartered internationally, but they do have facilities in Nashville, Tennessee.
One of the best-known kits from Pearl is the Export Series. It comes in two versions, the EXX72S, and the EXX725S. Both come with 22" bass drums, but the former comes with 12-, 13-, and 16-inch toms while the latter comes with 10-, 12-, and 16-inch toms. Both include a snare, bass drum pedal, and three cymbals. Both have excellent, sturdy hardware and look professional for a relatively affordable price. Pearl's drums usually come with their Superior Shell Technology, which makes the shells airtight and resonates well, so purchasing from Pearl is a great choice for high-end drum lovers.
Anyone who knows drums knows the Ludwig brand. Established in 1909, the company produces instruments of all kinds but most notably provides drums and other percussion instruments. Famous drummers from bands such as Aerosmith, The Grateful Dead, and Fleetwood Mac all currently play or have previously played Ludwig drums, making it a favorite of professional drummers. The company was popularized in the United States in the '60s due to an endorsement from the one and only Ringo Starr of The Beatles.
Ludwig's NeuSonic Series Drum Kit is a brilliant example of this brand's manufacturing. It's lightweight, portable, and perfect for part-timers and touring professionals. It's made of American maple, and its shells are produced from the same molds that are used on their Legacy Classic and Classic Maple series. The shells are also ultra-thin and lightweight but resonate fully. Overall, Ludwig truly shows their high-quality best through this drum kit, and we recommend this drum set (and the Ludwig brand as a whole) very highly.
Gretsch Drums has been in business since 1883 and was founded by Friedrich Gretsch in Brooklyn, New York. He began by making drums by hand and continued to manufacture them until his son took over the business in 1916. From there, the company grew to become one of the most prominent American musical instrument manufacturers. They make other instruments in addition to drums, such as guitars, basses, and ukuleles.
Looking for some top-quality Gretsch drums? Our recommendations are the Catalina Maple set or any kit from the Brooklyn series. These kits are high end and beautifully manufactured. From a visual standpoint, the Brooklyn kits come in a variety of colors and finishes, while the Catalina features a walnut glaze, which is warm and looks far more expensive than it is. These drums are reliable, durable, and functional - and that's what's so great about Gretsch drums. The classic company offers a vast range of top-notch kits that provide that unmistakable rich Gretsch sound.
Canopus is a Japan-based company that sells hand-made drums and drum kits, wire, hardware, and other products. Canopus was founded in 1977 by Shinichi Usada and offers drum shells made from unique and the best sounding materials like wood, acrylic, and carbon fiber. Canopus is unique in that it innovated and manufactured the world-famous Zelkova solid shell snare, which is created from a hollowed-out tree trunk.
We recommend Canopus drums for beginners because many of their kits come with lots of equipment, giving beginners options for customizing their perfect drum set. One of their best drum sets is the Canopus Ash Standard Drumset. It's the house kit usually supplied by many New York City jazz clubs but has superior quality and construction along with brilliant sound and appearance. It comes with a. bass, two toms, a floor toms, and a snare which all feature ash/poplar shells and a black satin finish. These are deep and resonant, and they're perfect for all levels of drummers. Canopus is an amazing brand, and we couldn't recommend them more highly.
9 Noble & Cooley
Noble & Cooley was established in 1854 and is based out of Granville, Massachusetts. They carry the title of one of the oldest (and one of the best) drum companies in the United States and are among the oldest drum companies in the world. Noble & Cooley is unique in that they started manufacturing toy drums but soon made their way into the professional drum market. They specialize in snare drums, but they also make whole drum kits as well.
Noble & Cooley offers a shell pack drum set called the Walnut Classic Series that has a unique shiny wood finish, and we feel that this is truly one of their best drum sets. It comes with bass, four toms, and a matching snare that all have a high-gloss lacquer finish. It's ambient and has great "wow-factor" due to its outward appeal. It has a vintage tone, and the walnut offers a unique, balanced tone with enhanced lows. It can be ordered with several configurations, making it perfectly customizable and great for professionals or amateur drummers. Noble & Cooley is a classic brand, and they know what they're doing, so drums from this brand are bound to be of top-notch quality.
10 British Drum Company
As the name suggests, all drums from the British Drum Company are made in Britain., making it one of the best drum brands in the world today. The company was started in 2015 by several award-winning master drum-makers and musicians, including Keith Keough and Ian Matthews of Kasabian. They pride themselves on producing unique British-made drums made of innovative and tonal materials.
One of our favorite kits from BDC is the Skye Blue 4-Piece Drum Kit, which features an undrilled bass drum, two rack toms, and a floor tom constructed from Scandinavian birch wood. They're all hand-cut and cold-pressed, making the sound amazingly deep. The rest of the drums in their repertoire feature unique materials and hardware seldom seen in other drums on the market, making BDC a truly distinctive drum brand among their competitors and a candidate in the running for best drum brands.
What To Look For When Choosing A Drum Brand
There are so many options for drum brands and drum sets that one can get lost in a sea of brand names. Some brands will specialize in hardware while others may specialize in snares. Some drum brands are old and well-known, but that doesn't mean they're the best brand; others may be new, but it doesn't mean they're not experienced. It can be hard to know what to look for when choosing which brand you'll want to use for most of your drum kit, and Drum Center of Portsmouth is here to help.
Read on to find out what you should be looking for when choosing a drum brand!
A drum kit is made out of several moving parts, but it can be most generally separated into two components: hardware and instruments. Instruments are the drums, cymbals, and hi-hats, while the hardware is everything that supports or positions them. This includes drum stands, hi-hat stands, tension rods, cymbal stands, rims, mounts, and other parts. It is pretty typical of drum companies to sell hardware included with the instruments themselves, but some companies sell shell packs that do not include hardware.
When selecting a drum brand, it's important to note if they sell hardware or not. If purchasing a shell pack (drums only), it comes with the assumption that you already have hardware or that you plan on purchasing it elsewhere. Make sure when selecting a drum brand that it specifies whether the drum kits come with hardware and if the company itself sells hardware to go along with their merchandise. If it's not that important to you to get hardware and drums all from the same brand, this may not matter. If you need to stick to one brand, make sure to check!
As said before, some drum companies are from the mid- to late-1800's while some others were established more recently. Generally, the most experienced drum brands will be the oldest. These companies have seen trends come and go and have manufactured millions of drums as time has gone on. Brands such as Noble & Cooley and Gretsch were started long ago and have manufactured every kind of drum from almost every kind of material possible, so they know what they're doing.
That isn't to say, however, that the newer drum brands will be inferior. These new drum brands, such as British Drum Company, are started by younger people with no official ties to any traditions to uphold. These companies are often innovative and willing to experiment with materials, setups, and sound. So, in a nutshell, if you prefer a brand that's established and has been doing things the same way for a long time, go for an older brand. If you want a brand that is more likely to innovate and change, go for a younger brand.
In terms of location, some brands are based out of a foreign country but distribute from another country. Brands such as the British Drum Company manufacture and make their drums in a foreign country but utilize the benefits of distribution in the U.S.
However, you don’t need to worry about this when purchasing kits through Drum Center of Portsmouth - we stock brands from all over the world and can deliver all across the U.S. We also offer international shipping. Contact us for more information about delivery if you’re thinking of making a purchase.
Some brands will specialize in drums themselves. Others will specialize in hardware or something else relating to drums. It's important to purchase from a brand that specializes in what you're looking for. For example, if you're looking for a good drum, perhaps snare drums, in particular, it may be best to look at Noble & Cooley drums since they specialize in snare drums. If you're looking for drum hardware, however, you may look more into DW because they specialize in drum hardware.
The last thing you should consider when choosing a drum brand is what's typically included in their drum sets. A standard drum set should come with a snare drum, bass drum, and two toms. Some other drum sets will include cymbals or hi-hats, but these don't come standard and are often sold separately. Look for brands that include the cymbals and hi-hats in their kits so that you don't need to look elsewhere for them. In addition (and this goes hand-in-hand with hardware), make sure that if you're looking for drums only, purchase a shell pack. If you're looking for everything included, avoid shell packs and look for a full kit.
To conclude, there are tons of factors to consider when looking at different drum brands. You may think that the oldest and most well-known brand is your best bet, but it may seem that the newest and most innovative brand suits your fancy. It may even be that a brand that is relatively old but still evolves with the times ends up being your pick, and you end up only choosing drums and hardware from this company.
Anyway you swing it, choosing a drum brand to represent you is a difficult choice and shouldn't be taken lightly. We at Drum Center of Portland hope that you've found what you needed from this guide and that you know which drum brand is the best for you. Feel free to send us any questions or comments you may have from this article or anything else from our site!