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  • The 10 Best Drum Brands of 2020: The Only Guide and Reviews That You Need 

    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.

    1 Tama

    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.

    2 DW

    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.

    3 Yamaha

    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.

    4 Sonor

    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.

    5 Pearl

    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.

    6 Ludwig

    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.

    7 Gretsch

    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.

    8 Canopus

    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!

    Established Year

    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.

    What's Included

    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!

  • 8 Best Drum Practice Pads for 2020

    For drummers, as well as any other musician, practicing is essential. Most drummers know what a drum pad is: It's a pad that mimics the feeling of a drum head so that musicians can practice while not at a full drum kit. Practice drum pads are an excellent investment for drummers who need to practice quietly, or even for those to just warm-up before a performance. They're convenient because they can be taken almost everywhere, and they're far quieter for practicing than a full drum set. If you're looking into purchasing a practice drum pad and don't know where to start, let us here at Drum Center of Portsmouth help you. Here are our picks (in no particular order) for the eight best drum practice pads of 2020.


    1 Ahead Compact Stick-On Practice Pad - AHSOPP


    • Stick-on for easy use
    • Compact enough for travel and storage
    • Good for beginners
    • Budget-friendly


    • Sticky backing can get stuck to surfaces

    This stick-on drumming pad by Ahead is small enough to be transported in a backpack or messenger bag without compromising on responsiveness or quality. It feels like a tight snare drum head, and it comes with a reusable adhesive that keeps it in one place while using it for practice.

    This drum pad is six inches in diameter with a black interior. It's got a rebound that mimics that of a snare drum head, and the back has a reusable adhesive that can keep the drum in place while in use.

    All in all, the Ahead Compact Stick-On Practice Pad is a fantastic option for beginners who don't want to spend an arm and a leg on a practice drum pad. It's compact and can be transported easily for drummers on-the-go, and the sticky backing makes it super simple to practice without worrying about it falling or slipping. The feeling of this drum pad is so similar to the real thing, transitioning to the actual drum will be smooth and easy.

    2 Ahead Wicked Chops Practice Pad Red Aluminum Finish


    • Lightweight aluminum body
    • Small size builds accuracy and power
    • Ultra-portable and can fit anywhere
    • Conveniently mounts to a standard cymbal stand


    • Small size may make it easy to misplace or lose

    A simple glance at this tiny but powerful drum pad will show that it's elegant while still staying functional. It's small, but its size can help you master accuracy and power. It fits in your pocket, and it's an excellent choice for drummers who want or need something portable.

    This practice pad is 1.75 inches in diameter, has a depth of 2 inches, and weighs 0.4lb (0.18 kg). It has a gum rubber pad surface and an aircraft aluminum exterior. This practice drum pad can mount to any 8mm cymbal stand.

    Some drummers may be turned off by the size of this practice drumming pad, but they definitely shouldn't be–it's a powerful tool that can help you increase accuracy and power without breaking the bank. The soft gum rubber playing surface mimics a medium-toned drum head, and it's quiet enough to be used anywhere.

    3 Aquarian Tru-Bounce Practice Pad w/ Power Sleeve 5A Sticks


    • The surface is easy to clean
    • Great for beginners
    • Comes with free 5A Power Sleeve drum sticks
    • Responsive without being springy


    • Slightly more expensive than other options

    This practice pad by Aquariun is comfortable to play with its soft neoprene surface. The surface is hard enough to hear each hit but sufficiently soft to develop control and strength of the drummer.

    This drum pad is 12 inches in diameter with a neoprene surface. It is single-sided and provides enough rebound to build up the drummer's strength. Notes are articulated and audible at even the softest hit, and the rebound is incredibly articulate.

    The Tru-Bounce practice pad by Aquarian is a genuinely professional practice pad. It's responsive without being springy or too absorbent, and the fact that it comes with free sticks included is just icing on the cake. Drummers can benefit from the large size of this drumming practice pad and can work on their strength without worrying too much about accuracy.

    4 Gretsch Round Badge Practice Pad Orange 12


    • Silica gel surface for a realistic rebound
    • Rubber backing for non-slip condition
    • 8mm mount for universal mounting
    • Attractive design


    • Slightly expensive

    Gretsch has outdone themselves once more with this attractive drum practice pad. The surface is made of a unique material that feels responsive and imitates a realistic rebound. It can even mount on any standard practice pad or cymbal stand.

    This drum pad features a silica gel surface that allows the drum stick to rebound realistically. The badge is made of dense wood, making it super durable, and the 8mm pad inset makes this mountable to any standard 8mm mount. The backing is also equipped with a foam rubber that allows for extra stability if used on a flat surface.

    This practice drum pad is one of our favorite contenders for "Best Drum Practice Pads for 2020" because it's not just lovely to look at, it's uniquely engineered to help drummers reach their fullest potential. The unique surface makes hitting it realistic without the noise. It's small enough to be relatively portable, and the fact that Gretsch makes it ensures that it's reliable and the quality is of the highest standard.

    5 Keo Percussion Nicko McBrain Boomer Pad 10


    • Made by Keo, a popular name in percussion
    • Responsive but quiet
    • Perfect size for beginners
    • Collaboration with Nicko McBrain ensures quality


    • Slightly expensive

    As one of the most expensive drumming pads on this list, this result of a collaboration between Nicko McBrain and Keo is of the highest standard while staying affordable and stylish. It's also portable, making it an excellent pad for drummers on the go.

    With a 10 inch diameter and a width of only 0.8 inches, this lightweight but sturdy drumming pad is made of a gum rubber surface and a sponge rubber base. It weighs only 1.3lb (0.59kg) and features Scandinavian birch wood.

    Keo has outdone themselves once again with this practice drumming pad. Nicko McBrain, the drummer of Iron Maiden, has put his face and name on this product, which says something about how he feels about it. With its sturdy rubber surface, it absorbs just enough sound that it's not disruptive, but while allowing you to hear what you're doing so, you can practice proudly.

    6 Remo Silent Stroke Practice Pad


    • Rubber backing for tabletop use
    • Mountable on a stand
    • 80% reduction in volume
    • Feel, and response is amazing
    • Great price


    • Looks sort of plain

    This practice pad by Remo is as the name implies, quiet and discreet, but that doesn't mean it compromises on feel and response. It can be used on the tabletop, but it can also be mounted on a stand for convenience.

    The Remo Silent Stroke Practice Pad is 8 inches in diameter and has a matte black finish. The backing is made of rubber for those who want to play tabletop, but it can be mounted on an 8mm cymbal or drum stand if desired.

    The only thing we can find wrong with this practice pad is that it looks semi-basic. Other than that, it's fantastic value for money; it's practically silent, very versatile for stand and tabletop drummers, and reduces noise 80% while having a great feel and response. It's perfect for drummers that need to practice in quiet conditions like a dorm room or apartment, but it's versatile enough that almost anyone can get benefit out of it.

    7 RealFeel by Evans Practice Pad, 6 Inch


    • Versatile
    • Durable
    • Realistic rebound surface
    • Foam bottom that resists movement and won't damage surfaces
    • Amazing price


    • Reviews state that the color on the surface fades over time

    A great balance between a larger practice pad and a tiny one, the RealFeel by Evans practice pad allows drummers to practice at any time of day, wherever, and to their hearts desire. It's durable and nicely sanded while being thick enough to provide excellent rebound.

    The RealFeel by Evans practice pad is six inches in diameter, single-sided, and features a gum rubber surface. It has an 8mm threaded insert for mounting on a stand, and it weighs a light 0.83 lb (0.38 kg). The dark grey fabric finish resists wear.

    It was challenging to find something negative to say about the RealFeel by Evans practice pad. Even reviews online rave about its performance, from its responsiveness to its versatility and sleekness. It's quiet and soft, has an impressive rebound, and works with any drum stick to allow drummers to practice their skills quietly and efficiently. Overall, this is one of the best drum practice pads for 2020.

    8 Vic Firth Single-Sided Practice Pad, 12


    • Non-skid rubber backing
    • Durable
    • Vic Firth brand is reliable
    • Reasonable price for the name brand


    • Doesn't mount to stands

    You can't think of drums without thinking of Vic Firth. Although one of the more pricey options, this soft rubber single-sided pad is highly rated by drummers around the world.

    The surface of this drum pad is made of soft rubber and has an excellent rebound. It weighs only 2.2 lb (1 kg) and a non-skid rubber backing for tabletop playing to minimize surface damage. It fits in most snare baskets.

    Vic Firth knows the drumming trade, which is why this practice drumming pad is on this list. It's durable, lightweight, and performs well with fantastic response and rebound. It's not as versatile as we'd like, but it's great for drummers who prefer to drum on the tabletop rather than on a stand. Further, the Vic Firth name is a typically expensive one, but the deal you can get on this drumming pad is a once-in-a-lifetime deal.

    Buyers Guide: What to Look For When Purchasing a Drum Practice Pad

    Knowing what to look for in a practice drumming pad is difficult for beginners and experienced drummers alike. This is why we've put together this comprehensive buyers guide to help you! Read on to learn about drum practice pads and what you should be looking for when browsing.


    Versatility is essential in two aspects: Sound and Compatibility.

    Sound-wise, the best drum practice pad will be versatile enough to be able to produce multiple drum kit sounds so that drummers may practice with a whole set. This benefits drummers because it ensures that they'll be performance-ready for any genre of music. If you're a beginner, knowing these different genres can help you become a more versatile artist. This, in turn, can make you more attractive to bands scouting for a new drummer! Look for drumming two-sided pads; one side will be softer, and one side will be harder, producing different sounds and levels of playing difficulty.

    Compatibility-wise, the best drum practice pad will also be versatile enough to be mounted on both a stand and placed on a tabletop. Playing the drum pad on a stand allows you to mimic the real-life drumming experience, but playing on a tabletop will enable you to focus more on the basic sound. You can work on both with some drumming practice pads, which is excellent! Look for a practice pad that has not only an 8mm threaded insert or mount but also a non-skid backing that will allow you to play on a tabletop without the pad going flying.


    The best practice drum pad will be portable enough to be taken anywhere quickly. After all, acoustic drum sets can't be brought with you everywhere, but drum pads can! Practice drum pads can be anywhere from 1.75 inches in diameter like the Ahead Wicked Chops drum pad to 12 inches in diameter like the Vic Firth at the end of the list. Pretty much all practice drum sets are portable, thin, and lightweight, so it's up to you how heavy you're willing to go for one.

    Noise Reduction and Materials

    These two factors go hand in hand, which is why they're together in this portion of the guide. The material of the drum pad has a tremendous impact on the feel and volume of it. Some pads can imitate the feeling of a real drum. Others may just create differing levels of resistance so that you may practice. Most drum pad surfaces will be made of rubber, but as read in the reviews, some will be made of unique materials such as silica gel. Some of the other elements include plastic, rubber, or wood that can all produce different sounds.

    If noise reduction is paramount, look for very soft rubber and wood drum pad. If you want to imitate the feeling of the drums, look into a harder rubber with a plastic encasing. Do some research and talk to other drummers to figure out what kind of feel you want from your drum pads!


    Pricing can vary from drum pad to drum pad, but the most average ones will run you between $20-40. Professional pads will be more expensive, around $60, but the price can go up to over $100. The options on this list are all under $60 and of high quality. Drum pads are an amazingly affordable way to get your drum practice in without spending too much money. Again, shop around and determine what your budget is so that you can get the highest quality drum pads for your budget.

    Final Thoughts

    It's clear that there are so many drum pads available out there with plenty of materials, volumes, and feels. We recognize that the number of options can be overwhelming. This is simply a list of the best ones on the market right now. We at Drum Center of Portsmouth hope you've enjoyed reading our reviews and buyers guide, and we hope it helps you make informed decisions about purchasing drum pads in the future. Don't forget to let us know if you have any questions about drum pads or any other drumming equipment!

  • 7 Best Snare Drum Heads 2020

    Finding the perfect snare drum head can be a hassle. You want something that will not only fit your set but give you the best possible sound. On top of all that, you need something that won't break the bank. Do not let an unsatisfactory purchase ruin your session. 

    With so many options on the market, and salespeople attempting to upsell you on poor quality equipment, it is hard to know what is the best deal. Luckily enough, we have compiled a list of the best seven snare drum heads available today. Through research and testing, looking at variable weights and different coatings, you can trust that these are the absolute best in a mixture of quality and affordability. 

    The Best Snare Drum Heads 









    1. Aquarian Snare/Tom Heads: Texture Coated Drumhead 14 

    This snare drum head has set itself apart from the pack by using only quality materials. From the texture coat to the 10 mil single ply that covers it, quality is a staple in Aquarian snare drum heads. With a sensitive response to sticks or brushes, you will find that this product will enhance your set while still being an affordable deal. 


    • Single-ply
    • Satin finish 


    • Chipping resistant
    • Medium-weight
    • Very responsive


    • Unconventional coating


    The bottom line with the Aquarian snare head is that they are built to last. These drum heads can take a beating over and over again through regular use but still hold their coating with no chips. That level of quality offered at such an affordable price is one of the reasons this product is the top of our list. If you are looking for something that can take consistent use and still last the test of time, this is the product for you. 

    Click here to purchase yours today! 

    2. Aquarian Snare/Tom Heads : Texture Coated Power Dot Drumhead 14 

    Although at first glance it may appear to be similar to the first Aquarian snare drum head we reviewed, this product uses a power dot to enhance performance. Tried and tested, the addition of this feature leads to amazing audio when contacted. Although you have to pay for the addition, the power dot leads to crisper, tighter sound. The small increase in price is a small barrier to unlock new potential in music. 


    • Single-ply
    • Satin finish
    • Power dot 


    • Chipping resistant
    • Medium-weight
    • Very responsive
    • Crisp improved sound 


    • Unconventional coating


    Similar to the previous item on our list, this drum head is made to last. The durability is unmatched. By keeping its integrity through use, it holds some of the best sounds for any users. Unlike the other products, the addition of the power dot makes this item a completely different product. 

    If you are in a position where you will spend what you need for the highest quality sound, this is the purchase for you. However, for people looking to spend on a budget, we suggest skipping the upgrade and purchasing the first Aquarian drum head. 

    Click here to purchase yours today! 

    3. Evans G1 Coated Drum Head, 14 Inch 

    The Evans G1 drum head may be one of the more unique versions of drum heads we have on our list. The design used allows for great versatility in how you choose to drum. Whether you want a deep low rumble or a heavy thud, this drum head can be tuned to give you the perfect desired sound. This USA made product will deliver a wide range of deep and full tones every session you use it. 


    • Single-ply
    • Level 360 Technology collar
    • 10 mil film


    • Great tuning
    • Open sound
    • Versatile uses 


    • Low durability 


    There are a few features that make this drum head worth the purchase. The first being the 360 technology collar design. This additional feature gives the drum head the best possible contact between the drum shell and itself. It keeps the sound consistent and correct to the hit of the drum. It's sold at a very reasonable price, and the product stands proud as one of the most versatile and powerful options available. 

    Click here to purchase yours today! 

    4. Evans 14 Heavyweight Coated Drum Head 

    This product is made with one thing in mind. It's meant to be struck and make big sounds. The thick snare drum head is made from two separate 10 mil films with an additional control dot on the underside. This leads to an incredibly thick drum head that can take a beating and dish out some serious sound. One of the reasons we love this product so much is its implementation of the 360 technology collar and how that impacts the sound. 


    • Double-ply
    • Level 360 Technology collar
    • 10 mil film
    • 23 mil total thickness
    • Reverse dot 


    • Great tuning
    • Big sound
    • Versatile uses
    • High volume 


    • Thick in size
    • Heavier than others 


    There is no doubt that this product set out to be a thick and heavy drum head with excellent sound, and it achieved that goal. With a satisfying sound on every hit, the Evans design will take a beating over and over again and continue to provide you with amazing results. Similar to the other Evans drum heads in this list, it utilizes the 360 technology for the best possible contacts. This is even more evident using the heavyweight design. This product is for anyone who wants deep low sounds while they wail on their set relentlessly. 

    Click here to purchase yours today! 

    5. Evans EC1 Reverse Dot Snare Batter Drum Head, 14 Inch 

    The Evans EC1 Reverse Dot Snare Batter Drum Head is different than any other on this list. Still made with the traditional single ply, it can achieve double-ply durability through its 14 mil film and reverse dot. In addition to these features, its edge control technology and level 360 technology makes it an advanced option, keeping the sound clear while contacting the full drum shell. Similar to other Evans products, the use of the 360 technology collar makes a striking difference in sound quality. 


    • Single-ply
    • Level 360 Technology collar
    • 14 mil film
    • Edge control technology
    • Reversed dot 


    • Great tuning
    • Sensitive response
    • Versatile uses
    • High durability 


    • More expensive 


    There is little this drum head can not do. By having such a durable build, once purchased, you will be able to use the product without worrying about wear and tear continually. The addition of the edge control technology leads to a clear sound on every hit. The reverse dot allows you to focus and attack the center of the drum, which, when combined with the 360 technology, gives perfect contact to ensure the highest quality of sound. With all that in mind, this drum head does cost more than the competition, but it is worth it for the upgrades you receive. 

    Click here to purchase yours today! 

    6. Ludwig Silver Dot by Remo 14 Clear 

    The Ludwig snare drum head prides itself on bringing back the classic '70s series. With the addition of the silver dot, this drum head focuses on delivering brilliant sonics and visuals. The silver dot also leads to an increase in durability and allows this product to take a beating while still delivering balanced sound through its 10 mil transparent film. 


    • Single-ply
    • 10 mil film
    • Silver dot
    • High-tension Remo Crimplock hoop
    • Clearcoat 


    • Balanced construction
    • Durable
    • Fits with Ludwig kit
    • Focused tone 


    • Only comes in silver
    • Prioritizes classic sounds 


    The most significant part of the Ludwig silver dot series may be the high-tension Remo Crimplock hoop. By teaming with Remo, this snare drum head reduces overtones and enhances head seating, making it one of the highest quality classic products on this list. This product is perfect for old drummers looking to get back into their classic style, or new musicians who may want to find fresh sounds in their drum kit. Either way, this product fits everyone. 

    Click here to purchase yours today! 

    7. Remo Coated Ambassador 14 Inch Drum Head 

    This product is known worldwide and has a tremendous reputation to live up to. Its design and variable sizes from 6" - 40" make it one of the most popular snare drum heads as well as one of the most useful for drummers. The single-ply leads to warm tones and a bright sound in every hit. Additionally, the Ambassador brand is known for its quality and holds itself to a high standard when creating drum heads for any type of musician. 


    • Single-ply
    • 10 mil coated film
    • Medium-weight
    • Snare/tom batter and resonant 


    • Available in multiple sizes
    • Bright attack and controlled sustain
    • Ideal for Tom, Bass, and Snare
    • Open sound 


    • Less durable
    • Not suitable for resonant side 


    With a lot of hype behind it, this product lives up to all the good you may hear about it. Clear sounds, sustainable for strong attacks, and a thin coated film to help with the contact, there is little wrong with this product. When you consider the affordable price and that you can order them in different sizes depending on what a user may need, this snare drum head is a fantastic purchase for beginners and veterans alike. 

    Click here to purchase yours today!

    What to Consider When Buying Snare Drum Heads 

    Snare drum heads have a few things that they share across different brands. The majority of finishes are the same, and many of them are similar thicknesses. However, that does not mean that there is no variation between each product. Each has a unique build and thus will produce a unique sound. We've outlined the four major things to consider when buying a snare drum head and how they affect your overall result when playing. 

    Single or Double-ply 

    When looking at all the possible snare drum heads available, the first thing you should consider is how many layers are used in the film. With a single-ply film, you are more likely to get a satisfying contact when you strike the drum head. It has physically fewer things between you and the drum to make the sound. Often these single-ply will be 10 mil film as a standard. In contrast, drum heads that use double-ply tend to be more durable. Their ability to take a beating increases as they double down on the protection of the product. Although one may not be better than the other, it is worth considering how you want to feel when contacting the drum head and which will fit best for you. 


    Almost tied into the amount of ply used in the drum head, the durability of the complete product is a serious factor to consider before making any purchase. If you continuously use your drum kit and tend to wear through other drum heads, you need to consider getting one built for abuse. Either thicker ply or a more durable build, in general, will keep you from having to buy a completely new head every time you decide to have an intense session. 

    Additionally, some products use chip-resistant film or other measures to ensure durability over long term use. Often this information is available on the product page and advertised as a feature. Whether you are specifically looking for a durable option, or just comparing all possible products, durability is a high priority factor. 

    Additional Dots 

    One of the more exciting parts of picking a snare drum head is if you want to look to include a reverse or power dot. These features are dots in the center of a drum head to provide support to the entire head without changing the tone or sound. Often these additions to drum heads not only improve durability, but they also help improve the quality of the music. By giving you a precise location to strike and distributing the sound more evenly, you will get a bright and striking sound from this upgrade. 


    Although this may be a more prominent feature to consider when buying, it is still relevant and worth mentioning. The overall weight of a snare drum head can be a deal-breaker depending on the kit you currently have. If it is too large and heavy, you may find it hard to attach and use. Similarly, if you play in multiple locations, you should always consider how adding weight to your set might make it more challenging to bring with you wherever you might play. Finally, the last reason weight is so important, is the simple fact that a heavier drum head will produce a different sound than one that is light and easily moved. 

    Other Technology 

    The final thing to consider when looking to by a snare drum head is if there are any additional design features or technologies added. Some people want classic drum heads that do not give assistance or help to their sound, while others appreciate the inclusion of 360 technology. This can come in many forms, whether it is extra layers for durability or the high tension Remo Crimplock hoop. Whatever you are looking for, just be sure to check all additional features before purchasing. 

    FAQ Section 

    Are there sizes other than 14" snare drum heads? 

    Yes! Many of the different products have variable sizes and can be ordered with a smaller or broader size. 

    Does the material of the film affect the sound? 

    Although most of the snare drum heads are only offered with one kind of material, there is some variation in sound. Consider looking at different brands of drum heads and how their sound might complement yours.

    Do I need a power dot? 

    Praised for how they can help bring your sound to the next level, power dots on snare drum heads are not a necessity for quality sound. They often help durability and produce a cleaner, more precise sound, but they in no way are required for beginners. 

    Bottom Line

    So what is the best snare drum head for you? Although there is a lot of things to consider when buying a snare drum head for your kit, the most important thing to remember is the sound you want to achieve and work from there. Once you know what music you want from your drum head, you can start to look at all the possible additional features.

    Thickness, style, power dots, and size will all affect the sound and how you play on it. By reviewing and ranking these products, we give you all the information and tools to make the most informed decision. No matter if you are just starting with a new set, or if you are a drumming veteran, this list has something to improve your kit and sound.

  • 8 Best Bass Drum Pedals for 2020

    A drum set is one of the most intimidating instruments with a multitude of pieces and the variables associated with each. Once each piece is in place, there is the task of tuning and adjusting tension to produce the best sound, and that is before considering drum shells, cymbals, and all the other features.

    Choosing the right gear can be overwhelming, but certainly not impossible. The experts at Drum Center of Portsmouth have created guides for everything, including ones for beginners. Each piece of a kit needs a buying guide, but we are focusing on the best bass drum pedals here. The right bass drum pedal is crucial because it needs to operate as an extension of your leg and foot. With dozens of models to choose from, finding the best one might seem difficult.

    That is where the Drum Center of Portsmouth comes in! We have compiled all the best pedals for 2020 and need-to-know information right here.

    Our Best-Rated Product

    The best equipment will lead to the best kit for an individual drummer and the music you are looking to create. Drum kits are personal and built around preference – so of course, bass drum pedals are included in that. Over the years, this particular piece of hardware has evolved with new models combining the best of the old and new.

    The Drum Center of Portsmouth stocks these top models and has compiled the top eight. Whether you are looking for something at a beginner’s level or the more advanced Trick Pro 1-V Big Foot Low Mass Direct Drive Single Pedal, there is something for everyone. For professionals in a rush, the best-rated product will be the Trick Pro 1-V Big Foot Low Mass Direct Drive Single Pedal. These models are all available online and in stores, with most featuring our special financing option. Check them out today!


    1 Best Bass Pedal with a Classic Look: Yamaha FP-9 Chain Drive Bass Pedal with Case

    Best Bass Pedal with a Classic Look: Yamaha FP-9 Chain Drive Bass Pedal with Case

    • Adjustable cams
    • Auto-lock spring adjustment
    • Anti-skid heel spikes
    • Weight adjustable beater


    • Extra thick heavy chain doesn’t flex as easily as it could
    • Cam location in comparison to batter heads

    This Yamaha model combines a classic look with a few striking twists. It is a light-weight design that produces a great sound against steel, black, and blue elements. Some new elements also include adjustable cams and linkages to create preferred pedal action. This allows users to adjust drum key bolt toggles as needed through the 3-position cam.

    With a double-chain model, drummers can move through smooth concentric action with nice tension or create an eccentric action with a heavy finish. It has an auto-lock spring adjustment with swivel spring mounting. Overall, this is a true Yamaha model with power and speed accompanied by gold and blue accents for a classic Yamaha look.


    • Auto-lock spring adjustment
    • Cam and direct drive adjustment
    • Secondary pedal anchor
    • Heavy-duty casing with subframe
    • Quick side-access hoop clamp
    • Single chain

    The FP-9 has slick, low playability that is easy to manipulate without limiting opportunities for sound. The design is stylish, smooth, and easy to adjust. Overall, we highly recommend this model that is available online and in stores. Check it out today!


    2 Best Bass Pedal to Avoid Fishtailing: Yamaha FP-9 Direct Drive Bass Pedal with Case

    Best Bass Pedal to Avoid Fishtailing: Yamaha FP-9 Direct Drive Bass Pedal with Case

    • Direct drive for tighter control
    • Anti-skid designed to prevent fishtailing
    • Auto-lock adjustment


    • Not a good price for beginners

    The Yamaha FP-9 Direct Drive Bass Pedal is distinct from other Yamaha models on this list due to the direct drive. The 3-position drive grants power, speed, and fluidity. It also has features like auto-lock spring adjustment, ball bearing drive connection, swivel spring mounting, and more. The anti-skid heel spikes ensure the pedal won’t slip around while playing and has a unique placement near the heel to prevent fishtailing.


    • Stabilising and anti-skid heel spikes
    • Cam and direct drive adjustments
    • Swivel spring mounting for even tension
    • Ball-bearing drive connection

    If you are willing to make an investment and seek tight control with a direct drive, this Yamaha model might be just what you are looking for. Connect with the Drum Center of Portsmouth in-store or online to check out this model for yourself.


    3 Best Bass Pedals for Beginners: Tama Speed Cobra 910 Single Pedal

    Best Bass Pedals for Beginners: Tama Speed Cobra 910 Single Pedal

    • Super Stabiliser Design
    • Hard-shell carrying case
    • Hinge guard block
    • Affordable price


    • Best suited for beginners

    The Speed Cobra is a single kick drum pedal perfect for the avid player with the smooth, extra-long footboard. It gives extra leverage to minimise effort and allows for foot-slide techniques. The Super Stabiliser design created by the wide baseplate allows for complete stability.

    The Speed Cobra is also durable at the hinge point with a 3-piece Hinge Guard Block that also brings speed and control. The recessed setting feature is on top of the footboard and away from the cam, bringing natural motion not found on other designs. The Quick-Hook spring attachment prevents wobbling, so you will have maximum power transmission and control.


    • Long footboard
    • Cobra coil return spring
    • Swivel Spring Tight tension lock
    • Para Clamp II prevents scratching

    The number of features unique to the Tama Speed Cobra 910 makes it one of the best options for avid drummers. If you are looking for durability with natural ease, check this pedal out – available online and in-store!


    4 Best Bass Pedal for Responsiveness: Tama Dyna-Sync Single Pedal

    Best Bass Pedal for Responsiveness: Tama Dyna-Sync Single Pedal

    • Footboard Angle Adjustment


    • High price point

    The Tama Dyna-Sync Single Pedal is one of the most high-performing, reliable models on the market. The name is short for the Dynamic Synchronisation System, which is comprised of three elements. Those elements are the Optimised Transmission Design, Dual Linkage, and the Slidable Cam. The transmission allows for footboard angle adjustments and nuanced beater for speed, feel, and power. Dual Linkage connects cam and pedal at four points for ideal power and stabilisation, and the Slidable Cam allows for response modification.


    • Slidable cam
    • Dual linkage
    • Para-Clamp II Pro
    • Hinge Guard Block
    • Swivel Spring Tight

    Tama maintains its reputation for excellence and unique features with the Tama Dyna-Sync Single Pedal and the Dynamic Synchronisation System. The pedal is available online and in-store, and we recommend checking it out today.


    5 Best Bass Pedal for Transport: Sonor Perfect Balance Bass Drum Pedal by Jojo Mayer

    Best Bass Pedal for Transport: Sonor Perfect Balance Bass Drum Pedal by Jojo Mayer

    • Easy fold for transport
    • Adjustable tension
    • Self-mounting clamp for fast and easy setup


    • Initial spring tension is too light but can be adjusted

    This pedal is crafted with the expertise of Jojo Mayer to create a pedal with a fast throw and slow return. Mayer achieves this with the linear cam providing a quick wallop and slow return to the original position. The design is a nice vintage look of completely slick silver metal with black rubber pieces on the strap, button, and cushion.


    • Linear cams
    • Ballistic-fiber strap
    • Magnetic spring mount
    • Belt drive
    • Low mass combination round drive

    The Drum Center of Portsmouth recommends the Sonor Perfect Balance Bass Drum Pedal by Jojo Mayer for anyone looking for a modern pedal with a vintage feel. It grants smooth to play with enough adjustment for multiple playing styles. We recommend checking it out online or in-store to see this pedal for yourself.


    6 Best Bass Pedal with Extended Footboard: DW Pedals: DW 900 Single Pedal Extended Footboard

    Best Bass Pedal with Extended Footboard: DW Pedals: DW 900 Single Pedal Extended Footboard

    • Non-slip rubber grip base
    • Secure Tri-Pivot Toe Clamp
    • Footboard one inch longer than standard series
    • Ease of cam adjustment


    • Can take time to adjust to longboard length if not used to it
    • Little variation in the beater

    The 9000 series from DW Pedals combines input from drum techs and drummers for this pedal. It includes features like base assembly, plastic tube insulators, memory locks on tube joints, large reset handles, and more. It includes patented features like the free-floating rotor-drive system, infinitely adjustment cam, and rotating swivel spring. All of this combines for stroke optimisation, precision, and power.

    One of the most versatile features is the infinite adjustable cam that can be set from Accelerator to Turbo Drive and in between. The Free-Floating Rotor drive can turn independently of the rotor and transmit power from the board straight to the beater. Overall, the 9000 series gives smooth, gravity-defying action.


    • Double chain drive
    • Single kick pedal
    • EZ Infinite Adjustable Cam
    • Free-floating rotor-drove system

    The extended longboard design makes the DW 900 Single Pedal great for fast and rapid playing. This fluid pedal provides infinite adjustment options and can be found in-stores and online from the Drum Center of Portsmouth. Check it out today!


    7 Best Bass Pedal with Adjustments: DW Pedals: Machined Chain Drive Single Pedal

    Best Bass Pedal with Adjustments: DW Pedals: Machined Chain Drive Single Pedal

    • Vertical Sliding Spring Adjustment
    • Manufacturer’s Warranty included
    • Carrying case
    • Sprocket-less cam is adjustable


    • Higher price range

    The Machined Chain Drive Single Pedal has a few unique characteristics, including the sprocket-less cam that uses a gear shift-style lever. This lever allows for quick shifts between various chain-drive cam settings. It is a cousin to the DW direct drive series.

    It has a unique aesthetic with an all-aluminum body with a perforated footboard and a contoured heel plate. It also has a matching carrying case. It also features a patented Vertical Sliding Spring Adjustment with a customisable control beater. This brings unmatched adjustment for weight/impact and makes it one of the best pedals offered by DW.


    • Solid aluminum construction
    • Optimised Fulcrum Geometry linkage
    • Tri-pivot swivel toe clamp
    • Machined chain drive cam

    In terms of chain drive options, this one is hard to beat. It is one of the most popular models from DW and highly recommended by the staff at Drum Center of Portsmouth. You can check this pedal out online and in-store now.


    8 Best Bass Pedal Overall: Trick Pro 1-V Big Foot Low Mass Direct Drive Single Pedal

    Best Bass Pedal Overall: Trick Pro 1-V Big Foot Low Mass Direct Drive Single Pedal

    • Extreme durability
    • Direct or chain drive options
    • Low mass design
    • Bearings are extremely smooth


    • High price range
    • Not recommended for beginners

    The Pro 1-V is a reinvention of the kick drum pedal from Trick and has the smoothest, most responsive design from Trick. The design starts with billets manufactured to aerospace quality and uses compression spring technology, ball bearings, adjustment scale, and laser-etched logos.

    The hoop mount is spring-loaded for easy mounting and easy adjustment to different hoop depths. There are no tools needed for spring tension adjustment, and a simple turn of a knob is all it takes to adjust. The Big Foot design has maximum flexibility, and the low-mass pedal gives a light feel. All of this means the pedal has a balanced combination of rigidity, quicker response, strength, and expanded adjustment.


    • Split cam adjustability
    • Simple Knob Tension Adjustment
    • Compression Spring Design
    • Versatile adjustable clamp system
    • Super-versatile beater

    The Trick Pro 1-V Big Foot Low Mass Direct Drive Single pedal is ideal for professionals looking for quality, dependability, and accuracy. It is on the higher end of the pedal price range, so we do not recommend it for beginners. This is certainly an investment and should be selected by avid drummers. Come check it out online or in stores at the Drum Center of Portsmouth.


    Buyers Guide for Bass Drum Pedals

    Before committing to a bass drum pedal, there are a few key characteristics and features to keep in mind. You will want to understand the various components and options, so you find the right fit for your kit. While this guide is a great start, the experts at Drum Center of Portsmouth are always on hand for additional questions.


    The drive is the piece that connects the footboard to the beater and allows the mallet to strike the drum – which makes it the most important piece. There are three types of drives: direct, chain, and belt. No drive mechanism is better than another, so preference depends on the drummer.
    · Direct drive is a piece of metal directly attached to the foot pedal. This type of drive does not have flex, so there’s no unwanted movement, and the response and control is tighter.
    · Chain drive is the most common type. It is a chain connected to the pedal and provides a smooth feel. There are single-chain and double-chain models with single-chain common on entry-level pedals. Both types have high quality, durable, and sturdy models.
    · Belt (or strap) drive utilises a leather, nylon, or rubber strap to drive the mallet forward. Typically belt drives are less durable than other types, but new belts are formed from durable materials to address this.


    Cams control the acceleration of the mallet and come in two types: oblong/oval or round. A rounded cam is consistent, allowing for dynamic control. Oblong cams work similarly to a gas pedal where the more you depress the pedal, the more force is applied to the mallet.

    Pedal Length

    This feature is pretty self-explanatory since it addresses the length of the pedal. Pedal length isn’t as important as cam and drive, but it does affect comfort while playing. This should be decided based on the size of your foot.


    FAQ Section

    What to consider when buying bass drum pedals?

    Many of the factors to consider are outlined here in the buyer’s guide. Some of it is personal preference, like pedal length and brand reputation. You should also consider price, skill level, and the type of music you want to play the most.

    How do I know I'm ready to buy bass drum pedals?

    If you are building a drum kit, you will find the bass drum pedals are essential. They serve as the mechanical connection between your foot and the bass drum. These devices tend to be pretty durable, so when you buy the first one, it should last a while. Depending on the drive type, you might need to replace the belt or chain after extended use.

    How much should I expect to spend?

    Most bass drum pedals range from $200 to $600 depending on the model and brand. A good pedal can be quite pricey, so be prepared for an investment if you want good returns. Another option is to finance a pedal through the affirm program available at Drum Center of Portsmouth. Contact our staff today to learn more!

    What is the difference between bass pedals and double bass pedals?

    If you spend some time looking at the inventory on Drum Center of Portsmouth, you will see variations of the models here that are double bass pedals. Double simply means there are two pedals connected. If you have two bass drums on your kit, you might look into the double bass pedal options. If not, this is not a feature you would need. Deciding on a double bass kit is another personal preference for drummers.


    Bottom Line

    As you can see, there are plenty of bass drum pedals that can help your drumming and make your kit great. Remember that every pedal is different, not just every model. Experiment with pedal types, so you find the best one for your style. This might mean checking out the different drives, brands, and cams available. The Drum Center of Portsmouth is available both in-store and online, so let us help you find the best bass drum pedal.

  • 6 Best Double Bass Pedals for 2020

    Bass pedals are great to have in your drum kit because they make doubling up bass rhythms much easier. Double bass pedal playing is a technique most commonly used by drummers in the alternative genre. They're perfect for beginners who need help with their swivel or heel-toe and even for experienced drummers who want the high speeds that a double bass pedal provides.

    With all of the options on the market, it can be challenging to decide on a model that is well-suited for you. This review will take the guesswork out of your hunt for the perfect double bass pedal, so you can get started on creating well-arranged breakdowns and quick odd time signature grooves.

    In this comprehensive buyer's guide, we're going to take a close look at 2020's best double bass pedals.

    Our Top Rated Product

    For those in a hurry, our top-rated pick for double bass pedals is the Yamaha DFP-9C Chain Drive Double Bass Pedal. This model, which is "engineered for your sole," is loved for its swiftness and easy adjustments.

    With this model, you get even tension, a wide range of pedal movement, and a heavy-duty build. Keep reading to have a look at the complete Yamaha DFP-9C review, or jump ahead to our review table here.


    1 DW 9000 Double Pedal Extended Footboard: Best Option for Beginners

    DW 9000 Double Pedal Extended Footboard: Best Option for Beginners

    • Longer footboard than standard 9000 series boards
    • Option to switch between chain drive and nylon strap
    • Easy adjustability


    • N/A

    Like the original model, the DW 9000 Double Pedal Extended Footboard brings great features and easy adjustability. One key difference is the 1" extension of the footboard. This model has a Tri-Pivot toe clamp system, an EZ Adjust cam, and a non-slip rubber grip base plate.

    The EZ adjust cam makes it super easy to switch between turbo drive and accelerator. You also have the option to swap out the chain drive with a nylon strap, which comes with the product.

    Other features like the free-floating rotor-drive system and rotating swivel spring make it easy to customize this model to your exact preferences, so you can have the most seamless drumming experience. The 9000 series uses world-class hardware like memory looks on the tube joints and the base assembly, large reset handles, secondary tilter locks, cymbal space adjusters, and more.

    This model is perfect for hobbyists who want to improve their drumming and for experts who want a piece of equipment that can keep up with them. Thanks to the friction-reducing bearings, players get a smooth and comfortable playing experience. This model by DW is made to be powerful, customizable, and well-fitted.


    • Double kick pedal
    • Aircraft-grade aluminum
    • EZ Infinite adjustable cam
    • Switch from accelerator to turbo drive
    • Chain drive or included nylon strap
    • Tri-pivot toe clamp
    • Free-floating rotor-drive system
    • Non-Sleep rubber grip base plate

    The DW 9000 Extended Footboard double bass drum pedal is an excellent upgrade from the original DW 9000 because of the longer footboard. Because of features like the tri-pivot toe clamp system and the Ez Adjust cam, this model gives users a desirable amount of adjustability. If you're into customizability and comfort above all else, give this model a try.


    2 DW Pedals: Machined Chain Drive Double Pedal: Best for Experienced Drummers

    DW Pedals: Machined Chain Drive Double Pedal: Best for Experienced Drummers

    • Stability
    • Perfect stroke
    • Durability


    • High price

    DW has over 30 years of experience making some of the most sought after drums, stands, pedals, and other types of drum equipment. Their double bass pedals are no different.

    Few pedals are as aesthetically pleasing and well-engineered at the DW Machine Chain Drive Double Pedal. This model is made with boutique-style features and the same build-quality as its direct drive cousin. Although the price is high, you get an incredible response and silent speed with this product.

    Some drummers prefer the response and feel of a chain drive pedal. This model boasts durability, adjustability, and speed. Few models are a better choice for your drum set.


    • Made from solid aluminum
    • Sprocket-less drive cam with shift lever for switching between cam settings
    • Perforated footboard with contoured heel plate
    • Interlocking Delta hinge
    • Tri-Pivot Swivel Toe Clamp
    • V.E.R.T Vertical Spring Adjustment
    • Control beater
    • Floating Rotor Drive System
    • Includes carrying case.

    While this model's price point is high, you get a lot of desirable features if you decide to purchase it. Thanks to the solid aluminum boat, you get a classic look and a smooth feel, The sprocket-less drive cam with a shift lever makes it super easy to switch between cam settings, and the V.E.R.T Vertical Spring Adjustment makes it so you can fine-tune any actions.

    Overall, this model is a great choice for drummers who want a high-performance double bass pedal that looks and feels great.


    3 Tama Dyna-Sync Double Pedal: Best for Customizable Features

    Tama Dyna-Sync Double Pedal: Best for Customizable Features

    • Lower chance of false doubles
    • Customizability
    • High-speed


    • Some users say that there aren't enough features for the price point

    The TAMA Dyna-Sync Double Pedal was created in collaboration with different TAMA artists, including swing players and metal drummers. Because of Tama's threefold Dynamic Synchronization System, this pedal brings precision, power, and comfort.

    The angle-aligned Optimized Transmission Design creates a smooth response and makes for extreme power and swiftness. The Dual Linkage design connects the footboards and cam at four different points. This means you won't waste any motion.

    Non-stepped Slidable Cams makes for a customizable drumming experience in each of your feet. Because of the Conical Dyna Beaters, the chances of unwanted double strokes are reduced. This is because the beaters impact the batter head evenly.


    • Threefold Dynamic Synchronization system
    • Angled-aligned Optimized Transmission design
    • Dual Linkage cam connections
    • Non-stepped slidable cams
    • Para-Clamp II Pro hoop clamp
    • Cobra-series mainstays
    • Motion-maximizing swivel adjustment spring
    • Oiles bearing hinge
    • Adjustable footboard
    • Conical Dyna-Beaters

    This is another model that offers a lot of customizable features, making it ideal for drummers who want a personalized feel. Opt for this model if you are looking for smooth responses, speed, and less wasted motion.


    4 Tama Speed Cobra 910 Twin Pedal: Best for Speed

    Tama Speed Cobra 910 Twin Pedal: Best for Speed

    • Many features that help players achieve maximum speed
    • Smoother motion thanks to footboard positions
    • No wobbling
    • Fair price


    • Durability issues

    There aren't many pedals that rose to popularity as quickly as the Tama Speed Cobra 910 Twin Pedal. It used to be that you couldn't get both speed and power in a pedal, but Tama changed everything with this product.

    Made for serious drumming enthusiasts, this model has a footboard with an extra-long surface for maximum output with minimal effort. The stability of this model is due to the Super Stabilizer design that uses a wider baseplate and frame. There is a 3-piece Hinge Guard Block at each pedal's heel to make for a more durable hinge point and improved control and speed.

    One of the most notable features of this model is the recessed setting feature that positions the top of each footboard away from the cams. It's this that gives the pedals their smooth motion. The LiteSprocket Rolling Glide symmetrical cam uses a double-chain. Coupled with the longer footboard, players get improved power and speed.

    Wobbling isn't a problem with this product because of the Quick-Hook spring attachment. Thanks to the Swivel Spring Tight Tension locking mechanism, players can enjoy free spring movement and a smooth feel while playing.


    • Wide baseplate
    • Para Clamp II Pro
    • 3-piece hinge construction & hinge guard block
    • Fast Foot pedalboard
    • Recessed setting
    • Fastball Bearing
    • Round LiteSprocket
    • Super Spring
    • Cobra Coil
    • Vari-Pitch

    For the low price, these pedals are a dream. They can elevate any drummer's game because of the features that maximize speed and precision. If you're looking for an affordable double bass pedal that is easy-to-use and powerful, this model is for you.


    5 Yamaha DFP-9D Direct Drive Double With Case: Best for those on a Budget

    Yamaha DFP-9D Direct Drive Double With Case: Best for those on a Budget

    • No secondary pedal lag
    • Stabilizing features
    • Comes with case
    • Simple drum key adjustments
    • Trustworthy brand


    • N/A

    Yamaha is a brand that doesn't need any introduction. This pedal is designed with the spirit of Yamaha racing, creating fast motions and allowing for easy adjustability. The easy-access auto-lock spring adjustment makes for instant player feedback. The swivel spring mounting allows even tension through the entire range of pedal movements.

    Customizability is not in short supply with this model thanks to the calm and direct drive adjustments. To maximize energy output, this pedal uses a ball bearing drive connection. To reduce bass drum and pedal movement, this product comes with stabilizing and anti-skid heel spikes.

    The Yamaha DFP-9D is a straightforward and powerful bass pedal with easy adjustability and many powerful features.


    • Auto-lock spring adjustment
    • Swivel spring mounting
    • Ball-bearing drive connection
    • All-bearing universal joints
    • Secondary pedal anchor
    • Stabilizing and anti-skid heel spikes
    • Axle-stabilizing bearing chamber with focused beater momentum
    • Heavy-duty casing with subframe
    • Weight-adjustable beater
    • Side-access hoop clamp
    • Racing-inspired semi-hard case

    If you're the type that only wants tried and true equipment, this is the model for you. Yamaha is a reliable and well-known brand that creates incredible equipment. This double bass pedal is no different. Aside from adjustability features, this model reduces lost energy which makes for a superior feel.


    6 Yamaha DFP-9C Chain Drive: Best Overall Option

    Yamaha DFP-9C Chain Drive: Best Overall Option

    • Durability
    • Reduced pedal and bass drum movement
    • Minimal lag


    • Requires regular maintenance

    The DFP-9C Chain Drive Double Bass Pedal is another product by Yamaha that delivers when it comes to power and feel. This product has many of the same features as the 9D model, but it is a chain drive pedal instead of a direct drive.

    Chain drives are very durable, but they do not compromise on adjustability. Because they operate using a chain, they are less likely to stretch or snap. Overall, they offer a nice balance of features, but they do require regular maintenance.

    The DFP-9C uses a heavy-duty frame and ball bearing placement to maximize focused stroke energy and produce the best sound output. Its innovative design makes for fluid pedal movements, reduced drag/resistance, and high performance.


    • Auto-lock spring adjustment
    • Swivel spring mounting
    • Direct drive adjustments
    • Ball bearing drive connection
    • All-bearing universal joints
    • Secondary pedal anchor
    • Stabilizing and anti-skid heel spikes
    • Axle-stabilizing bearing chamber
    • Heavy-duty casing
    • Weight-adjustable beater
    • Side-access hoop clamp
    • Semi-hard case

    Like the DFP-9D, this model comes with Yamaha's promise of high-quality products with desirable features. Choose this model if you want a double bass pedal that is more durable than its direct drive counterpart, but doesn't compromise on power or feel.


    Buyers Guide

    Before purchasing a pair of double bass pedals, you'll want to understand the features of double bass pedals and consider what you want out of it. There are many company's that create excellent products, so it can be challenging to decide what you want.

    Each type of pedal has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are some features to look for as you begin your search for the perfect double bass pedal:

    Drive Type

    You have the option to choose between a chain drive, belt drive, and direct drive. Each type has some unique characteristics that are worth distinguishing between.

    Chain drive: Chain drive pedals do have a slower response time, but not by much. This type of pedal is durable, adjustable, and usually has a good range of features. However, they are a bit noisy and do have to be cleaned regularly.
    Belt drive: Belt drive pedals are sought after because of their speed. They are also easy to transport because of how lightweight they are. However, they aren't as durable as other types and they have a bit more lag.
    Direct drive: Direct drive pedals are great because they don't have any lag. Not only are they ultra-durable, but they require little to no maintenance. Unfortunately, direct drive pedals aren't as durable.

    Balance and Adjustability

    Balance is one of the most important factors to consider when shopping for a pedal. You have to make sure that the left and right pedals are even on the model you choose.

    In some cases, you may notice that one of the pedals is looser than the other. If this is the case, one of your feet will be working harder than the other. Some models allow you to adjust the spring tension for each foot.

    Adjustability is another important factor to consider. Good pedals should allow you to adjust them as much as possible. Make sure you have the ability to adjust the spring tension, the beater height, and the distance between the pedals.

    Overall, the pedals have to feel right for you. Your comfort is the most important thing, so give every product that you try a test drive before you commit to the purchase. For example, if you purchase a pedal with heavy beaters, you'll have to exert more energy.



    What to consider when buying double pedals?

    When on the hunt for double pedals you want to keep a few things in mind. First, consider the adjustability of the pedals. A quality option will allow you to adjust any part of the bass drum that feels uncomfortable for you.

    You also want to consider accessories and add-ons that are included. These can include drum keys, heel raisers, toe stops, interchangeable drive systems, and carrying cases. Lastly, set a price limit for how much you're willing to spend. You can spend anywhere from $150 to $1000.

    How do I know I'm ready to buy double pedals?

    It's never too early to invest in double pedals. When you feel like you're playing quickly with one foot, look into some double pedals.

    How much should I expect to spend?

    Double pedals range in price. You can expect to pay as little as $150 and as much as $1000.

    Do I need a double bass pedal?

    You don't need a double bass pedal, but they are great to have because they give you an increase in power and allow you to play complex kick drum patterns. In a standard 5-piece arrangement, one foot is used to open and close the hi-hat. If you free up this foot and use it to play another kick part, you can play much more swiftly.

    Who uses double bass pedals?

    Double bass pedals are used by drummers at all experience levels. Players of the rock genre make up the biggest chunk of double bass pedal users. Certain styles of metal use extreme drumming, which is why the double bass pedal comes in handy.

    What are the drawbacks of double bass pedals?

    With double kick pedals, low frequencies of air take a bit more time to move. This can lead to a muddled sound. Drummers who use this type of pedal tune kick drums to high pitches and use skins to enhance their drum's attack.


    Bottom Line

    Choosing a bass drum pedal can be difficult since there are so many available options. Your first step is to decide whether you want a direct drive, belt drive, or chain drive. All three have similarities and differences, and it's up to you to decide whether you want to prioritize durability or feel.

    All of the models we reviewed are customizable, powerful, and comfortable to use. Consider factors like your price range and desired feel before you make a final decision.

    Ultimately, the double bass pedal that you choose has to feel right for you. Few things are as personal as a drum pedal, so make sure you try various options before you pick. The one that you choose should have adjustability features that allow you to make it your own.

    Whatever you choose, our team at Drum Center of Portsmouth is committed to ensuring you have an excellent customer service experience. We carry the finest products at the best prices.

    If you'd like to contact us to learn more about any of the products mentioned in this guide, click here.

  • 7 Best Hi-Hats for 2020

    At Drum Center of Portsmouth, we understand the significance hi-hat cymbals have for drummers. Hi-hats can either make or break your drum set, which is why it's so important to choose wisely. Low-quality cymbals will give you a mismatched sound preventing you from reaching your fullest potential as a drummer.

    Start the new year off right by investing in a pair of hi-hat cymbals that best suits your needs according to your music genre and your techniques. With the many options on the market, it can be difficult to find the right cymbals for you. At Drum Center of Portsmouth, our drum experts will walk you through the top hi-hats for 2020 followed by a thorough buyers guide.

    Our Best Rated Product

    The Paiste Signature Dark Crisp Hi-Hat Cymbals 14" is our best-rated product at the Drum Center of Portsmouth. We recommend this pair because these cymbals are versatile for any situation. Whether you perform live, record, or practice at home, you'll love the expressive sound these cymbals produce. Their responsiveness and dark tones make them the perfect hi hats for a drummer at any skill level.

    Here are 2020's top 7 hi-hat options for you:

    1 Paiste Formula 602 Modern Essentials Hi Hat Cymbals 15": Best Hi-Hats for Versatility

    Paiste Formula 602 Modern Essentials Hi Hat Cymbals 15: Best Hi-Hats for Versatility

    • Appropriate for every skill level
    • Fits into any genre of music
    • Consistent, responsive feeling
    • Medium top with a medium-heavy bottom for easy control


    • Not very loud, not ideal for metal drummers

    These Paiste Cymbals are truly modern, creating a versatile, well-controlled sound. Its 15" diameter is just right for fitting into a wide variety of genres. The pair is pretty standard in terms of its design, making it accessible for any skill level.

    What makes it so versatile today is its return to 602 alloy formulation that's used in traditional cymbals. Its material makes it easy to play and to mix in a studio setting. Depending on the way you mic them, you won't need to adjust your compression or EQ at all.


    • Size: 15"
    • Finish: Regular/Traditional
    • Alloy: B20 Bronze

    If you're the type of drummer who plays many different styles, these are the hi hats for you. At DCP, we love and recommend this pair because of their bright, warm sound.

    You can buy this part of the Paiste Formula 602 series from our website. Contact us today with any questions you may have about these or any of our wide stock of drums and accessories.


    2 Paiste Signature Dark Crisp Hi-Hat Cymbals 14": Best Hi Hats for Recording

    Paiste Signature Dark Crisp Hi-Hat Cymbals 14: Best Hi Hats for Recording

    • Ideal for recording
    • Have a loud, clear "chick" sound upon closing
    • Articulate, responsive, and versatile
    • The ability for fine-tuning for high tech microphone and speaker equipment


    • Inexperienced drummers may not know how to use them to their full potential.

    The Paiste brand has another stand out pair we would like to feature. These Signature Dark Crisp Hi Hats are ideal for musicians who often record or perform live with high-quality equipment because of their crisp, smooth sound.

    These cymbals are versatile among genres. They're responsive enough for soft bristles and sturdy enough for heavy metal thrashing. If you're experimenting in the studio, these hi-hats act as the perfect control.


    • Size: 14"
    • Finish: Regular/Traditional
    • Alloy: Proprietary Signature Bronze

    Paiste Signature Dark Crisp 14" Hi Hats truly live up to their name. Open or closed, you can expect a crisp, smooth sound perfect for recording or performing live. This all-rounder sits high on our list of favourites due to its professional sound.

    You can purchase them online through the Drum Center of Portsmouth website. Contact us today for more information on more of the best cymbals from Paiste and other professional-grade brands.


    3 Zildjian A Avedis Hi Hat Cymbals 14": Best Vintage Hi Hats

    Zildjian A Avedis Hi Hat Cymbals 14: Best Vintage Hi Hats

    • They have an immensely musical sound
    • Prominent "chick" sound due to bottom is heavier than the top cymbal
    • Controlled response
    • Easily labelling on each cymbal to tell you their weight


    • This specific style can turn off a section of players- vintage style is a preference.

    We give the Zildjian A Avedis Hi Hat Cymbals the title of "best vintage hi hats" because they look and sound like they came from the 1950s. It's a sound that reminds us of rockabilly and big band drumming, all in one.

    We would be remiss not to include this classic style pair on our list for the new year. The "old" is back in style these days, and this trend is said to continue for some time. We love the nostalgic feel these cymbals give us when we play!


    • Size: 14"
    • Finish: Vintage Patina
    • Alloy: B20 Cast Bronze

    These Zildjian cymbals are a stunning recreation of the percussion of the 1950s. No matter what style you play, you can count on these to give you a bright, vintage feeling.

    If you're looking for that unique vintage vibe to your drum set, you can buy these today from our online store. Call us today to learn more about these cymbals or ask about any of the rest of our extensive stock!


    4 Zildjian K Sweet Hi Hat Pair 14": Best Hi Hats for Value

    Zildjian K Sweet Hi Hat Pair 14: Best Hi Hats for Value

    • Best value on the Drum Center of Portsmouth website
    • 14" variety is easier to handle than its larger counterparts
    • Mismatched cymbal weights for complex tonality
    • Higher pitched top stands out against the rest of your set


    • The only con is that you may not like the tone of these hi hats according to your preferences. However, they are a highly likeable brand and sound

    These hi hats are the cheapest we have featured here, just in time for an affordable holiday treat. This pair is characterized by a dark, sweet tone with a heavy "chick" sound. The 14" variety of this design was developed this year and is sure to carry on for many years to come.

    Each bell on the K Sweet Hi Hats are unlathed, and each bottom cymbal is heavier than the top. This gives the top one a high pitched tone, and the bottom a lower-pitched tone to add to the sound's complexity.


    • Size: 14"
    • Finish: Regular/Traditional
    • Alloy: B20 Bronze

    Not only do these cymbals sound amazing, but they also allow you to get the best bang for your buck. If your a drummer who prefers dark, sweet tones in a hi hat, look no further than this pair. We love the cymbals' distinguished design, which creates its impeccable sound.

    You can buy the Zildjian K Sweet 14" Pair through our online shop at Drum Center of Portsmouth. We aim to give you the best deals on each cymbal our expert drummers recommend. Contact us today with any questions about our huge online store!


    5 Sabian HHX Complex Medium Hi Hat Cymbals 15": Best Fat High Hats

    Sabian HHX Complex Medium Hi Hat Cymbals 15: Best Fat High Hats

    • Versatile in genre
    • Able to play at any volume
    • Rich, dark tone
    • Extra weight makes the material sturdier


    • A true "dark" sounding pair- not ideal for those who want a bright, high-pitched sound

    The Sabian HHX Complex Medium Hi Hats are the cymbals with the fattest tone on our list. This pair features a medium weight top and a heavy bottom, to create that "fat," dark sound. Its hand-hammered cymbal gives it that quality as well.

    If you prefer a big, meaty sound, you'll love these cymbals. The raw bell gives it an edge, unlike any other on this list. These are hi hats that will give you a solid, responsive experience all around.


    • Size: 15"
    • Finish: Regular/Traditional
    • Alloy: Bronze

    These are the heaviest hi hats on our list, and they're the best of the best of our stock at the Drum Center of Portsmouth. A heavy bottom and a medium top is the perfect combination for a powerful addition to your set. Trying out a darker tone may help you consider sounds you hadn't considered before!

    We believe these cymbals will be an excellent addition to any drum set. Order these hi hats online through the Drum Center of Portsmouth's website. You may also contact us about any other item in our vast stock.


    6 Meinl Byzance Vintage Sand Hat Cymbals 14": Best Hi Hats for Individuality

    Meinl Byzance Vintage Sand Hat Cymbals 14: Best Hi Hats for Individuality

    • Unique, vintage design and sound
    • Can play both soft and medium-loud notes
    • Medium length decay
    • Dry tone with a prominent wash


    • Expensive to manufacture
    • Not for heavy-hitting drummers

    Each pair of these Meinl Byzance cymbals are sandblasted and employ various hammering techniques. The most noticeable detail about these hi hats is that the top cymbal is much smaller and lighter than the bottom one.

    That quality is what gives them the quality they are best known for- their dry sound. They have a gritty quality to their wash that makes it stand out from other hi hats. Though they are unique, they fit in just about every music genre.


    • Size: 14"
    • Finish: Sandblasted
    • Material: B20 Bronze

    These hi hats are perfect for any drummer who loves a unique sound. You can't seem to go wrong with these unless you happen to break hi hats while you drum regularly. Otherwise, you can use a pair of these for just about anything.

    You can buy the Meinl Byzance Vintage Sand Hat Cymbals today through the Drum Center of Portsmouth website. Call us with any questions, concerns, or to learn more about a product.


    7 Istanbul Agop 30th Anniversary Hi Hat Cymbals 14": Best Hi Hats for Jazz Music

    Istanbul Agop 30th Anniversary Hi Hat Cymbals 14: Best Hi Hats for Jazz Music

    • Manufactured from the experienced Istanbul Agop company
    • Responsiveness makes them perfect for a studio setting
    • Unique sound lends itself to jazz music
    • Good for beginner and professional drummers


    • Not ideal for rock drummers, or those who require a louder sound
    • Only limited amounts were made!

    These cymbals were released for Istanbul Agop's 30th anniversary. As such, they are modelled after vintage cymbals made in old Zildjian factories. The company founder, Agop Tomurcuk, worked at this factory, and the design inspired him.

    These hi-hats are incredibly thin, making their sound crisp, clear, and bright. The vintage style makes them appealing to both experienced and inexperienced drummers. Closed notes have a deep tone. Opening the hi-hats creates a distinct and beautiful wash of sound. However you play them, they are responsive with a quick decay.


    • Size: 14"
    • Finish: Regular/Traditional
    • Alloy: B20 Bronze

    The Istanbul Agop 30th Anniversary Hi Hats are perfect for anyone who loves vintage sounds as we do. Adding some brightness to your set with a pair of these will give you that perfect, crystal clear sound.

    You can purchase these cymbals online at the Drum Center of Portsmouth today. We are one of the top Istanbul Agop dealers in the country. We're here to give you professional advice and service with your satisfaction guaranteed!


    What to Consider When Choosing the Perfect Hi-Hats

    Choosing to spend money on your next set of hi hats can seem like an impossible task. With all the brands, styles, and sounds out there, how can you tell which cymbals are the best ones?

    Luckily, the Drum Center of Portsmouth has got you covered. We have the best reviews and guides to choosing the best hi hats to complete your drum set. Here are frequently asked questions about hi hat cymbals.

    How do I know I'm ready for new hi-hats?

    Buying new cymbals of any kind is an important decision for any drummer to make. Investing in a pair of new hi hats can help you accumulate a professional drum set with high-quality instruments.

    The longer you play the drums, the more your ears become refined. You may prefer the louder, darker "chick" of large hi hats, or you may find you prefer certain ones from a specific brand. The decision to buy is entirely up to you, but if you need a new sound, new hi hats are just the thing to reinvigorate it.

    How much can I expect to spend?

    On this list, we tried to keep each pair of hi hats in the $450-600 range. We currently have sales on each item on our product reviews as well. You can find any of these cymbals used online, but you can't guarantee they're from as trustworthy a seller as the Drum Center of Portsmouth. We want to give you professional-grade items for a great price.

    Drum Center of Portsmouth allows you to buy your hi hats outright, or sign up for a payment plan. You will be able to pay off your full balance in 3, 6, or 12 months. Checking for your eligibility does not affect your credit score, and it is free to see whether or not you qualify for a payment plan.

    What size cymbals should I buy?

    The size of any of your cymbals in your set will affect the tone and pitch of your instrument. Smaller hi hats, from 12" to 14" have a bright sound with a high pitch. Bigger than 14", and you're stepping into a darker tone territory.

    It is possible to mix and match the top and bottom cymbals for your pair. However, this technique is recommended for experts and people with multiple sets of hi hats. If you're looking for your first professional set, mixing sizes is not necessary.

    What type of metal should I look for?

    Cymbals are most often crafted from three different metal alloys: brass, B8 bronze, and B20 bronze. Brass is the least expensive metal alloy on the list, but it produces the worst sound. B8 cymbals are mid-priced, and mid-quality, as they are better than brass but worse than B20.

    B20 is the type of metal alloy you should look out for when selecting new hi hats or any kind of cymbal. It's the most popular alloy despite its price because these produce the best sound. You may also buy a B8 and B20 metal alloy blend depending on your preferences and budget.

    Which brands should I consider?

    Considering the top brands like Meinl, Paiste, Zildjian, and Sabian is the best bet for getting the most professional-grade hi hats. Going with an off-brand cymbal can lead to bad sounds and easy breakage. Always research the brand and materials they use before you buy!

    At Drum Center of Portsmouth, we only sell the top name brand cymbals. You'll be sure to recognise these names while browsing our online store. We have deals throughout the year so you won't have to pay full price.

    In Conclusion

    With some research from credible sources like the Drum Center of Portsmouth, you can make the right call on new cymbals. Always look for the highest quality brands that have the sound you're looking for. If you're a rock musician, trashier cymbals may be the best choice. If you love jazz, a unique sounding, vintage cymbal may be the best bet. Always consider your own unique needs!

    We want to help you find your new favourite cymbals through our website at the Drum Center of Portsmouth. Order new hi hats for 2020 at our website, or contact us today to ask about any of our products. Our experts are dedicated to helping you become the best percussionist you can be!

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  • Sheet Music & Drumming - Everything to Know

    Learning to understand sheet music is an integral part of your transformation into a real musician. It’s not always the easiest thing to pick up, but with careful practice and taking the time to learn the basics, you’ll be a pro in no time.

    If you’re a novice drummer, you should be proud of yourself for even taking the time to understand why reading sheet music is so important. Not all drummers desire or work to understand these technical aspects.

    It’s entirely possible to become a top-notch drummer without ever setting your eyes on a piece of sheet music. However, learning a few tricks and understanding sheet music will help you expand your world as a drummer and embrace music as power.


    Why do you need sheet music?

    If you’re new to the music scene, you might not even be sure what sheet music is.

    Sheet music is a written notation that represents things such as melodies, lyrics, rhythms, and pitches. It’s how classical music is recorded and distributed so that it can be learned and performed by anyone.

    Modern musicians often learn music “by ear” without sheet music. However, sheet music still serves as the universally-accepted form of notating music on paper.

    Think drummers don’t need sheet music? Think again. Understanding musical notation and sheet music will help you get quicker in your understanding of drum concepts and help you to stand out from the crowd of other drummers who can only play by ear.

    Becoming proficient at reading drum sheet music also comes with several additional advantages. You'll be more likely to:

    • Ace any audition
    • Secure that spot in a band
    • Book a gig
    • Sharpen your own musical genius


    There are so many drummers that haven’t taken the time to understand sheet music. What this means is that if you do indeed understand sheet music, you immediately stand out. It’s an impressive skill and will serve you well if you plan to continue involvement in music.

    Here are four reasons understanding sheet music is still important in an age of “learning by ear”.


    Benefits of learning drumming sheet music:

    1 - Learn Music Faster. Learning by ear is a great skill, but it doesn’t always click. Difficult songs can require a lot more time spent practicing to get right. On the other hand, if you have the sheet music, you can learn just about anything without the mystery. You might even be able to sight-read music eventually.


    2 - Play Accurately. Even if you have an exceptionally good ear, it’s smart to double check the sheet music to confirm your accuracy. You don't have to keep it in front of you at all times while playing. You can simply refer to it as an “answer key” for perfect rhythm.


    3 - Work as a team. While you might be comfortable learning and playing by ear, not all musicians work that way. If you’re hoping to work with a band or within an orchestra, you’ll need to be able to learn music their way. Don’t be the only one who can’t understand the sheet music.


    1. - Write your own music. If you want to unleash your creative musician and make your own music, you’ll need a way to record it. Making audio recordings will allow others to hear your creations. However, writing the sheet music will make it widely distributable. Creating music in this universally-understood notation will help spread your music far and wide.


    What's the difference between typical sheet music and drum sheet music?

    Many people get thrown off when they look at drum notation sheet music. That’s because at first glance, it can look quite intimidating. In fact, it’s quite simple to grasp since there are only two things you need to understand:

    • Which drum is played
    • When it should be played


    Drum sheet music notation uses all of the same symbols and set up as regular sheet music, so learning the basics is enough to help you comprehend both.


    The main difference between drum notation sheet music is that the notes don’t relate to pitch. Of course not, because that is irrelevant for drummers. Instead, the notation of each line or space on drum sheet music corresponds to a particular drum that should be played.



    Things you need to know about your sheet music:

    Before you dive in and try to make sense of a full piece of drum sheet music, let’s break down the basics. Let’s get started with a quick vocabulary review.


    Drum terminology to know:

    • Beat - A measurement of music. Located within a bar, but can be subdivided further into notes.
    • Backbeat - Typically beats 2 and 4 of each bar. Featured in most rock and pop music to give momentum.
    • Downbeat - Notes played on the pulse.
    • Upbeat - Notes played against the pulse.
    • Time signature - Tells how many beats are within a measure and what kind of beats they are.
    • Bars - How music is measured. Allows musicians to break down the music more easily.
    • Crochet - A quarter note.
    • Quaver - An eighth note.
    • Semiquaver - A sixteenth note.
    • Minim - A half note.
    • Whole note - There is no term for a whole note. It has the value of 4 quarter note beats.


    Not familiar with these terms at all? Don’t worry. That was just a primer before we dive into most of these terms more deeply.


    First thing’s first: The staff and bars

    This is also called the stave. These terms are often used interchangeably.

    The staff is what holds all of the notations. It’s made up of five lines and four spaces. Typical sheet music would use the placement of notes on the lines and spaces as a designation for pitch. Drum sheet music, on the other hand, uses placement of the notes to designate which drum or cymbal should be used.

    You’ll also notice vertical bars on the staff. These divide up the measures so that it’s easier to count out and stay on beat. The measure, then, is the distance between the two bar lines. If you see a double bar line, that signals the end of a section of music.


    Next up: the notes

    You’ll notice in the image above that some notes have proper circle notes, while some have small Xs or other symbols. A proper note signifies a drum, while the Xs refer to cymbals and the other symbols have special meanings.



    This might sound like a lot to remember. Don’t get overwhelmed. Luckily, there’s an easy way to use the drum kit you have: know it like the back of your hand to make sense of drum notation.

    Use this diagram to help. The height of where the note for a particular drum or cymbal will be on the staff corresponds to the where you physically play it.

    For example, both the hi-hat cymbals and the bass drum are played with the foot. That’s why they are located so far down on the stave. On the other hand, cymbals that you play with your hands high above the drums are at the highest points of the staff.

    The staff positioning was created logically so that it makes sense to drummers. Use your intuitive knowledge of your drum kit to help.


    Moving on: time signatures

    A time signature is the notation at the beginning of each piece of drum music that identifies what the meter of the music will be. It communicates the number of beats per measure. They are formatted as two numbers, one on top of the other. Most time signatures have a 4 as the bottom number, meaning the meter is based on quarter notes. Sometimes they might have another number, like an 8, at the bottom. This means it is comprised of a number of eighth notes.


     Here’s how to tell them apart:

    • The most common time is a 4/4 meter. It’s actually called “common time.” This means each time you tap a beat, it is equivalent to one quarter note. Now, this doesn’t mean the music will only be comprised of quarter notes. It can be made of half notes, eighth notes, rests, etc. As long as it equals four quarter notes, it works.
    • Waltz time is another common time signature that is in 3/4 meter. This means each measure is comprised of three quarter note beats. The first beat of the three is a downbeat while the next two are upbeats. It creates the classic “waltz” style of music.
    • March time is 2/4 meter. It is equivalent to chopping a 4/4 meter in half. With this time signature, you start and stop on the downbeat.
    • Another common time signature without a 4 on the bottom is 6/8 time. This means the beat is not based on quarter notes, as it was in the other examples given. It’s a grouping of six eighth notes in each measure. In counting out the beat to eight, the downbeats are on one and four.


    Quick guide to notes:

    Now that you understand the foundation of drumming sheet music ( staff, time signature, and measures), let's get into the actual playing of notes. While you won’t need to understand what pitch the notes have (because drum notes don’t have pitch), you do need to understand how different notes affect the rhythm.


    (Image Source: Drumming Review: https://drummingreview.com/drum-sheet-music/)

    There are a bunch of different notes that each represent how long the beat should be held. The graphic above should make it easier to understand what they look like and how they differ. The longest notes are whole notes, and the shortest are sixteenth notes.

    To understand how these notes all relate, think of it this way:

    • A whole note is represented by a note head. Notice there is no stem. A whole note equals a duration of one measure.
    • A half note is half of the whole note, as its name so cleverly implies. If you’re working in Common time, two half notes would equal the duration of one measure.
    • A quarter note, just as above, is ½ of a half note and a quarter of a whole note. In Common time, there can be four quarter notes in one measure.
    • An eighth note splits even further. Eight of these would equal one whole note. In one bar, there would be eight of them in Common time.
    • Finally, sixteenth notes are the smallest note. You can fit sixteen of them in one measure in 4/4 time.

    See the pattern here? It all breaks down evenly.

    Keep in mind that for every value of note, there is a rest of equal value. For example, there are eighth rests and quarter rests and even sixteenth rests. Rests are crucial. In a lot of music, drums aren’t the most important part. Often, it’s the breaks in between the drums that are paramount. That’s why understanding how long to hold your rests will be crucial to your playing.

    When you combine notes and rests with different durations, you make a rhythm.


    How do I understand notes and when to play?

    Notes are a big help to answer the question “when do I play?” The timing is everything in drumming. A drum keeps the beat alive in music. It also helps to keep the whole band together if playing with other musicians. A drummer must be able to follow the beat precisely. Here’s how notes can help you understand when your moment is:

    1. First, look at the time signature. We covered this above. This will let you know how fast the music’s “pulse” is. By understanding the meter, you’ll understand when beats should be played and when you should hold off. If you’re playing on a different tempo than everyone else, it can throw off the music entirely.
    2. Next, find the line or space in which the note is. Remember the drum key graphic above and how the set up of your actual drum kit helps to indicate which position represents which drum or cymbal.
    3. Finally, the note length itself comes in. Now that you know the tempo and what drum should be hit, you just need the note length within the tempo. If you’re confused about what a note’s length should be, add up all the notes with the lengths you guess and confirm that it equals the time signature. For example, if you think there are three quarter notes and one half note in a measure of 4/4 time, that wouldn’t make sense.


    A Common Beat - What you’ll start to recognize when you can read sheet music:

    Once you’ve studied the above concepts closely, you’ll begin to get more familiar with sheet music. Once you can read sheet music, entirely new worlds will be opened up to you in the music industry.

    Whether you want to break into the big leagues or just make the cut into a local band, a background in reading sheet music is a big advantage. Here’s how you’ll notice this advantage coming into play in your drumming life:

    • Are you a part of a band? If so, ensuring you’re using sheet music just like the other members will help everyone match up. Instead of relying on your ear to tell you the right rhythms and drums to hit, you’ll have it written down in front of you to reference. While this might seem like a small difference, it can really pay off for your group’s overall sound. Your band members will be impressed with your technical know-how. Your audience will notice a higher quality to your sound. And you’ll be proud of yourself for striving towards and reaching this goal.
    • When you understand sheet music, you can grow your repertoire easily. There are many common beats that are used interchangeably in popular songs. This makes them catchy and consistent. For example, ever heard of the “money beat?” While the term might not be familiar to you, you’ve definitely heard it in action. One of the most common beats in music is this “money beat.” It even got its name from the number of songs on the radio that commonly borrow it. Some of the most popular songs that feature a “money beat” are Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean, John Mayer’s Heartbreak Warfare, and AC/DC’s Highway to Hell. Even if you’re a beginner, you can still pick up on these fundamental beats. You can impress your friends and family by “jumping in” to common songs and playing along.
    • Having the confidence of a sheet music reader, you’ll be able to unleash your creativity on the drums. When you have to sit and wait carefully to hear your cue to play, you limit yourself. When you know exactly when you come in and how long of a break you have, you can get into a gnarly drum solo and show everyone the skills you’ve got.



    In this article, we’ve shown you the difference between a novice drummer and a knowledgeable sheet music reader. By following and studying the concepts and skills outlined above, you’ll be able to grow your drumming knowledge, and expand your opportunities.

    Not all drummers have the motivation or dedication to learn the technical aspects. By putting in the effort, you’ll distinguish yourself as someone who is serious about the art.

    So take your drumming to the next level by mastering drumming sheet music today. Ready to take it a step even further? Check out the high-quality drums and accessories we offer at Drum Center of Portsmouth.




  • 10 Easy Songs to Play on the Drums

    Learning how to play the drums takes practice, hard work, and dedication. Beginners should start playing the easiest songs they can. Not only will this help them to better understand how drumming should sound, but it will also boost their confidence levels as they grow within this craft.

    If you're new to the drumming community, it can seem like a great big world of difficult "rock-star level" songs to play. Sometimes a challenge is good, but a lot of times this can cause intermediate drummers to lose their nerve and not want to keep playing at all.

    To prevent this from happening, as drumming is an art-form that allows many individuals to express themselves creatively, here are 10 easy songs to play on the drums to get you started.

    1. We Will Rock You - Queen

    One of the simplest, and most popular to learn first, is "We Will Rock You" by Queen.

    This is the classic rock song played on bleachers and lunch tables, so how hard could it be on the drums?

    The answer is not very difficult. In fact, the ever-popular band Queen created this song the way that they did simply so that their fans could play along with them, and you'll be doing just that by drumming along to this simple beat.

    Keep in mind, however, the original tempo of this song was played in a higher tempo known as double-time, so you are welcome to try to play it more in tune to the original creation or the slower version used by many drummers.

    Fun fact: The logo for Queen actually has all of the band's star signs incorporated in it: 2 Leos, 1 Virgo, and 1 Cancer. Additionally, it was designed by Freddie Mercury himself!

    2. Paradise City - Guns N Roses

    Next on the list of great tunes to play with a beginner's skill level is "Paradise City" by Guns N Roses.

    This rock song by Guns N Roses is great practice for those looking to fine-tune their ability to play with riffs. It makes this skill easier to learn with its simple rhythms.

    Starting with this song is a great way to learn simple rhythms that repeat throughout the song. The tactics used in this tune are easy for a novice drummer to pick up given some time.

    Fun fact: Guns N Roses drummer Steven Adler nearly joined AC/DC in the early '90s after a brief leave from Guns N Roses, but the manager of AC/DC found out about Adler's drug addiction and retracted his offer to have him join the band.

    3. Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana

    Smells like an easy song to play on the drums - and it is! "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana is such a classic hit and one you should practice as a novice drummer.

    This classic rock song gives beginning drummers the perfect opportunity to learn the basic technical skills involved in the art of drumming. Challenge yourself to keep up with the expert drummer in Nirvana, Dave Grohl, who just happens to be one of the finest drummers of his time. You will learn how to hit the cymbals and the rim clicks in time with the other instruments that you're playing with.

    Fun fact: Nirvana had a bit of trouble finding a permanent drummer before David Grohl cam along. They went through at least five different drummers before landing on Grohl, and it's a good thing they did. Otherwise, the hits that we know and love may not have been the same.

    4. Hallowed Be Thy Name - Iron Maiden

    Drumming is a very physical activity. In fact, many people begin drumming simply as a creative way to stay in shape. If you are just starting out, you're going to have to build your endurance for this activity somewhere, and many people agree that "Hallowed Be Thy Name" by Iron Maiden offers amazing practice.

    With nearly 8 minutes of playing time, you're bound to build your abilities in regard to how long you're able to play without rest, and you'll even have fun with this great song while doing it.

    This song is great for beginners to start to learn how to hit fills on accents with guitar riffs and will help you to practice using both your right and your left hand to hit the high hat, as opposed to the general habit of only using your right hand for this skill.

    Fun fact: Eddie the Head, Iron Maiden's faithful mascot, started out as just a mask that sat at the back of the stage. They fed blood capsules through the mouth that would often unexpectedly (and metal-y) drip down and soak the drummer with fake blood. The first drawing of Eddie, created by artist Derek Riggs, was based on an image that he saw of a decapitated head on top of a Vietnamese tank, and it was featured on Iron Maiden's debut album.

    5. Sad But True - Metallica

    Lars Ulrich, drummer for Metallica, both created and played his own songs, making him a very impressive drummer to look up to. This is why "Sad But True" is a great song to start out with because you're already learning from one of the best drummers of the time period.

    "Sad But True" isn't inherently difficult, but it has important elements that will help you get ready for some of the harder stuff that you will play, or even take after Lars Ulrich and create your own music that you can compose and play.

    Its dragging groove, offbeat fills, and mixture of straight roles with triplets all make for great trial runs for the more advanced songs in your future of drumming.

    Fun fact: Metallica has sold an estimated 100 million records all around the world.

    6. Beverly Hills - Weezer

    Don't worry, there is more to drumming than the rock and metal songs we have covered so far. This option is for those of you who want a more alternative rock style in your practice.

    A more alternative take on drumming, Weezer's "Beverly Hills" features simple patterns and slow-paced drumming that makes it easy to keep up with, no matter what the skill level of the drummer is.

    With its release in 2005, it was one of the first popular songs to feature the "double stroke roll," which gives us the great sound that we know and love in this early 2000s hit.

    Make sure you're working on your technique while doing the double stroke roll to ensure that it is crisp and at the speed that it needs to be.

    Fun fact: the fan favorite song "Buddy Holly" by Weezer was almost titled "Ginger Rogers" and would have made a completely different song with the lyrics "You look just like Ginger Rogers (oh, oh), I move just like Fred Astaire". Let's all say a special thanks to rewrites (and rewrites of those rewrites).

    7. Teenage Dream - Katy Perry

    Taking things into a more pop setting, Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" is a great practice song for learning the flam on the snare drum.

    This tactic is achieved by placing one drumstick a few inches above the drum with the other stick eight to ten inches higher, but these two strokes should be nearly simultaneous. This process will thicken the notes by adding a grace note, and Teenage Dream is a great song to practice this tactic on.

    The beat in this song is impossible to shake, and also almost impossible to screw up, even as a beginner.

    Fun Fact: Both of Katy Perry's parents are pastors, and Perry was introduced to singing for her church at a young age. And to answer your next question, yes, they did have an issue with her single "I Kissed a Girl".

    8. Cantaloupe Island - Herbie Hancock

    Moving into the jazz portion, this song by Herbie Hancock has drumming that makes everything easier for those looking to pursue drumming in jazz.

    This jazz song maintains a slow and groovy tempo for a majority of the song, which makes it ideal for the beginner looking to gain expertise on the jazz front of drumming.

    Tony Williams, Herbie Hancock's trusted drummer, is a well-known drummer in the jazz world, so if you're looking to become a successful jazz drummer, there is no better song to start out with than Cantaloupe Island.

    With this song, you'll be introduced to the common jazz technique called the buzz roll, which is great for crescendos and can be carried over into many other styles of music if necessary.

    The buzz roll is seen in many different songs in this genre, so it is definitely one skill that you'll need to know to succeed.

    Fun Fact: In 1986, Herbie Hancock was voted one of Rolling Stone's Sexiest Musicians of the Year, and he was displayed proudly on the cover that year.

    9. When a Man Loves a Woman - Michael Bolton

    This slow, love anthem is the perfect way to start out your drumming experience if you are looking to start out slow.

    For many, this was the very first song that they learned to drum, so it is without a doubt one of the easiest to learn to play and Michael Bolton will hold a special place in your heart for this reason alone.

    With its simple cross-sticking skills, cymbals, and a bass drum backing, this song is almost as simple as it gets, making it the ideal song to start your drumming career with.

    Fun fact: Michael Bolton, born Michael Bolotin, originally had more interest in hard rock and was even the frontman in the band Blackjack before settling down into his soothing voice-driven career.

    10. Sharp Dressed Man - ZZ Top

    While this next song may feel like cheating, hear us out...

    For the casual listener of ZZ Top, you would think that the drums in the song Sharp Dressed Man were real live drums.

    However, this song was released in a time when ZZ Top was experimenting with different styles and tools, including synthesizer and other manipulation tools, so the drums on this song are actually digitally created, meaning that the drum machine heard in the song is not created by a live drummer.

    While this may spark debate over whether or not a machine can play the same way that a real drummer can (spoiler: it cannot), it does not take away that it is a great tempo and rhythm to learn how to play.

    The song has since been replicated and played in garage bands more times than you can count due to its easy tempo and simple rhythm. It is interesting to go back and listen to the differences between the drum machine and Frank Beard's style, though.

    Bonus Tip - Practice Your Exercises

    While playing songs that you hear on the radio is likely more fun than the exercises listed in your common books on drumming, it is important to remember to continue practicing those as well.

    This includes the exercises that you involve in your warm-up, which allows you to get loose and ready for the songs that you will be playing that session and the exercises that allow you to practice certain techniques that you haven't quite mastered yet.

    For example, many common drumming books have exercises to be done on a drum pad as practice for the real thing. These drum pads will allow you to practice your technique quietly (the people living with you will thank us for this one) and from nearly anywhere.

    It's no surprise that drum-sets can vary in size, but one thing that they all have in common is that you don't want to lug any of them around. With drum pads, you can practice your exercises and better your skills from anywhere, drum-set or not.

    Once you have an understanding of the basic methods and tactics of these easier songs, you will be ready to trek out into more advanced songs, or even make your own songs with all of the skills that you learned through these beginner songs.

    Good luck and drum on!

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