Jazz can be intimidating to listen to, understand, and play. However, it is also one of the most dramatic and emotional genres. It takes listeners on a spontaneous, energetic, or somber journey and brings a range of amazing health benefits.
One key element of this type of music is the drum kit. Playing a jazz drum set requires not only technical skills but also quality equipment.
The best jazz drum sets are similar to the traditional kit. However, they are designed to deliver the precise and delicate sounds that are hallmarks of this genre.
If you are looking for the best jazz drum sets, we have reviewed the top five sets available at DCP. We'll tell you which equipment you need to master jazz rhythms.
Top 5 Jazz Sets Under $800
Every jazz player needs equipment that meets their budget to play jazz properly. Here are the top five best jazz drum sets that are a bang for your buck:
The Sonor AQ2 Bop 4-piece is one of Sonor's compact kits. They are all similarly designed in terms of structure and build quality. The significant difference is the shell sizes. The AQ2 has the following:
- 14" snare
- 18" bass drum
- Toms sized 12" and 14"
This setup is popularly called a "bop," made famous by Roy Haynes and Elvin Jones, two renowned jazz drummers. The AQ2 is composed of maple shells. These give the drum set a warm tone. The AQ2's hardware is the robust proprietary Sonor SmartMount floor tom system, which helps increase this jazz drum set's resonance.
One major highlight of the AQ2 is its snare drum. It has a great range and produces dynamic sounds. It can also be quite heavy.
Lastly, the Sonor AQ2 is sold as a shell pack, which means you'll need to budget for ride and crash cymbals.
- Top-quality maple shell structure.
- Durable and rugged hardware.
- The snare produces excellent sounds.
- Aesthetically pleasing jazz drum set.
- Bass drum can sound a bit funny or off-key.
The Pearl Export 5-piece shell pack offers a combination of Pearl's hardware and the fantastic Zildjian cymbals. This combination means it is excellent for playing other genres asides from jazz music. It also comes with Pearl's Opti-Loc mounting hardware with stable high toms.
When you purchase the EXX 5-piece, you get:
- 22" bass drum, a 14' snare
- 16" floor tom, and lastly
- 10" and 12" rack toms
It's made with a mixture of poplar shells and mahogany shells. This combination guarantees you more durable shells and a great sound.
The Pearl EXX sounds terrific even when tuned high and even better when adjusting it to jazz's' signature low frequency.
- You get great cymbals and hardware.
- It's a multipurpose jazz drum set.
- It has a top-quality bass drum pedal.
- Takes up a lot of floor space.
The Gretsch Renown 4-piece is a high-end jazz drum set that is renowned for its do-it-all nature. Its 7-ply maple shells and 30 degrees bearing edges can give a tone that can match almost any musical genre or style that you want to play. However, it does have a warm sound that is apt for jazz drumming.
The Renown 4-piece has a 20" bass drum with a low boom that is perfect if you have a large band. It also has 10", 12" and 14" toms.
The shell hoops are flexible and make for easy tuning. It also comes with Remo heads, which are well-liked by drummers.
One downside, however, is the shell pack doesn't have a snare drum. You'll need to procure a separate snare for this jazz drum set.
- Great price-performance ratio.
- Shell pack comes with great heads.
- Great dynamic sound.
- Has no snare drum.
- Toms are mounted on the bass.
If you are a beginner jazz drummer, then the Pearl Roadshow jazz drum set is a perfect choice for you. It is an entry-level, everything-you-need to get started drum set.
The shell pack consists of:
- Crash cymbals
- Poplar drum shells
- Great hardware
As with most 4-piece sets, it offers:
- 18" bass
- 10" rack tom
- 13" snare
- 14" floor tom
You also get a 16" cymbal and two 14" hi-hats. Finally, you also get a drum throne and a stick bag.
Its 9-ply poplar shells mean you get a durable jazz drum set with a full-bodied tone. One great advantage of buying the Pearl Roadshow is you can start playing it right out of the box. You don't need to bother tuning this drum set.
- It's reasonably priced.
- The shell pack has a cymbal alongside the kit.
- No need to bother tuning the drums.
- The cymbals aren't great for professional-level drumming.
- The bass pedal is tacky.
- You have to buy a ride cymbal to complete the kit if you plan to use it for jazz drumming.
If you don't have a lot of floor space for your jazz drum set, the Yamaha Stage Bebop is a great option.
The Bebop birch shells pack comprises an 18" bass drum and 12" and 14" toms. It's 100% made of birch shells for crisp, clear, and warm tones when you drum up a jazz beat.
Unfortunately, you'll need to get your snare. One could argue that three shells mean you aren't getting value for your money, but its bop sizes mean this kit is perfect for jazz music.
- Top-range hardware.
- Flexible tuning range.
- Great sound and resonance.
- You have to budget for a snare.
What to Look for When Choosing A Drum Set for Jazz
Not every drum set is great at producing great-sounding jazz tones. So, any jazz player needs to buy a kit that can do a great job when playing jazz music.
Here are three key factors to look out for when looking to purchase a jazz drum set:
#1. What's the shell made of?
The make-up of your drum shell is critical to the quality of sound your kit produces. Various popular shells are used to make drums, such as poplar, birch, maple, and mahogany shells.
However, it would be best if you bought equipment made of maple shells. Maple has a long history of producing great music tones. Plus, you usually won't need much tuning with these sets.
#2. How many drums do you need?
It's usually best to get a four-piece or five-piece jazz drum set, especially if you are a beginner. They usually come complete with all you need to start making jazz music right away. You can also go for a six-piece set, mostly if you dabble into other genres. However, make sure you have lots of floor space for your kit.
#3. Does it have crash ride cymbals?
While most times, you can go out and buy a cymbal yourself, it's always good to buy one along with your drum set. You may even hear people tell you that you need “crash ride cymbals.” What they mean is you need both cymbals to create accents and steady patterns.
You will also need a hi-hat to create all the sounds you need for jazz.
Jazz drumming is a fantastic experience, but you need the right kit. However, choosing the best jazz drum set requires knowing what to look out for, so you don't buy a product that's not capable of producing your desired sound.
Once you are clear about the specifications of the jazz drum set you need, then you can review the list above and pick whichever fits your needs best.