144 Lafayette Road, North Hampton, NH 03862 | 603-319-8109



    One of the most rewarding aspects of working at the Drum Center of Portsmouth is seeing people’s reaction the first time they set foot inside our shop. Whether they’re a world-class studio drummer or an aspiring student, their faces light up with bewilderment, excitement and exhilaration.

    The Ultimate Destination For Drummers

    On Thursday, January 21, 2021, The Drum Center of Portsmouth was honored to receive the 2020 NAMM BEST STORE DESIGN Award during their virtual “Believe in Music Week”. The Top 100 Awards honor retail musical instrument dealers who demonstrate exceptional commitment to their stores, neighborhoods, and customers and share in a vision to create a more musical world through their local communities.


    Why We're Here

    Our mission since day one has been to provide customers with the sense of excitement and community of a locally owned, independent drum store, along with a showroom experience that is second to none. Over the last decade, DCP has become a destination for drummers everywhere - with the finest selection of high-end snare drums, sets and cymbals in a single location. We also pay homage to the history of our instrument by reserving a section of our building as a museum - a collection of some of the most unique and interesting drums you'll find anywhere.

    In the same 10 years since we have grown our business, we’ve seen more and more independent music stores closing their doors, unable to compete with the convenient (albeit impersonal) Amazons and big-box online music outlets. At the Drum Center of Portsmouth, we are driven by a sense of responsibility to keep the spirit of the independent music store alive, and we encourage you to do so by joining our community. We promise...it’s worth the trip!

  • Tama Starclassic Performer Maple Birch Drum Set Review

    Tama is always looking for opportunities to give drummers a new sound, and a new voice at more value and that's what the new Starclassic Performer Maple/Birch is!
  • 2021's Best Cymbals for Church: Top 4 Church Cymbals for The Money Reviewed

    Music is an integral part of the church experience for many congregations worldwide. It helps people to connect more deeply with religious experience.

    A substantial part of worship music is the percussion section, particularly the cymbals. The instrument enhances the intensity and rhythms of the songs. Whether you are in your congregation's band or a faithful admirer of these inspiring tunes, finding the right cymbals is crucial to create the best music.

    Here, we present our top four picks for church cymbals in 2021. We also discuss how to find the best cymbals for service and religious music. By the end, you should have all the information you need to find the perfect instruments to make beautiful church music.

    5 Best Cymbals for Church of 2021

    If you are looking for some great church cymbals this year, you cannot go wrong with any of the four picks below. We will talk about the sound each of them espouses so that you can find the best set.

    #1 Sabian FRX Frequency Reduced Ride Cymbal 20"

    This ride cymbal is perfect for this environment because the design is fitting for quiet, subdued environments.

    While it is not low volume, it cuts out some of the frequencies that result in a loud perceived volume. Strategically drilling holes have removed these frequencies. The design allows drummers to play their hardest without worrying about rough sounds that may sound disturbing to some in formal settings.

    The pricing is reasonable, although one wouldn't call it cheap.

    #2 Paiste Signature Dark Energy Hi-Hat Cymbals 14"

    These hi-hats give the drummer immense control and balance with the sounds they create. With its responsive feel, drummers can create full dark, shimmering, and rich sounds. It will significantly add to a church worship experience's ambiance.

    The hi-hat is a crucial part of the drum set, which is why you should choose one with special care. Hopefully, this hi-hat will work well for your purposes.

    This option is a bit more on the expensive side, so that will be crucial for you to keep in mind as you make your final decision.

    #3 Meinl Byzance Extra Dry Thin Crash Cymbal 18"

    This instrument produces a dry sound that is pleasing to listen to even at low volumes. It has a quick decay with dark and earthy tones.

    This crash cymbal is of a good size. Generally, the bigger the instrument, the more difficult it is to manage, and the louder it is. Therefore, an 18" crash is a good pick.

    This choice comes with a middle of the road price.

    #4 Zildjian K Custom Special Dry Crash Cymbal 16"

    These dry crash cymbals have a unique sound that works well for various modern musical styles, including service music. If you want to add some personality to your playing, these crash cymbals will do just the trick.

    When on sale, these can be relatively inexpensive. They are by far the least expensive option on this list.

    #5 Sabian FRX Prepack w/ Free Quick Cymbal Bag

    This cymbal pack that includes all the basic cymbal types is perfect for playing in situations like church services where traditional cymbals can be overpowering. The quick cymbal bag that is included for free will help church players going from gig to gig to easily transport their instruments. 

    The set is priced at a wonderful value for all the products you get. 

    What to Look for When Choosing Church Cymbals

    If you are looking for a cymbal set to play in church, you will need to keep different things in mind than if you were planning to use them for a rock band. Something that might be important to you if you were playing a rowdy concert may not make any sense in a reflective worship environment.

    Below are the qualities to keep in mind:

    Strong but Not Overpowering Sound

    You do not want the cymbals to be the only thing you hear during service. It would be best if they faded into the background and were not distracting in any way. The instruments need to be audible, but they should not be entirely overpowering.

    It would be best if you were on the lookout for options that blend well with other instruments. Whatever you do, you want to avoid sounds that are overly intense and trashy.

    Dry and Low-Volume

    It would be best if you considered using dry or low-volume cymbals. Dry variations usually have a hammered thin design so that they have a fast decay. These types ensure that the cymbals play their part and are not too loud and distracting.

    However, it's worth noting that how you play them can also influence how loud they sound. If you hit the cymbals as loud as you can, the sound will be intense. Learning to control your playing style will help you use the instruments to your advantage in creating beautifully reflective service music.

    Lower Pitch

    When these instruments have a lower pitch, it reduces harsh high frequencies that are not conducive to a worship setting.

    Look for cymbals that advertise a dark sound. You could also consider ones specifically designed to remove higher frequencies that may be abrasive in a worship setting.

    Muting Products

    Suppose you cannot afford to buy a whole new set, or the new ones you have are still too loud. In these situations, you might consider purchasing muting products.

    Muting products help to dampen the volume. For example, if you play for a small congregation, these items can help present a pleasing sound without overwhelming the audience.

    Placing sound control pads under the bell can help significantly control sound to be conducive for this environment.


    In church music, the rhythmic ride is generally much more critical than the accented crash. A defined ride sound is often a must-have.

    If you can only afford one or only have room for one, look for a ride first before expanding to other types. Ride cymbals also tend to meet the criteria described above more so than different types. 

    Consider the Type of Worship Music

    This category of music can be quite broad, depending on your definition. You will want to make sure that the product you use will sound right for the exact type of church music you will be playing.

    Some places of worship stick to traditional songs, while others feature modern, catchy tunes. Spend some time considering the exact sounds you are going for before choosing your instruments.

    Sleek Appearance

    While a dirty, dingy appearance may work for your punk rock band, you want to be more presentable when playing in this environment.

    You should avoid using any cymbals with plastic coating. They tend to look tacky and unprofessional.

    Instead, it would be best if you considered products made of higher quality metals. They will look much better and, in most cases, sound much better too. 


    Churches usually do not have tons of extra pocket change to devote to buying top of the line music gear. However, you should avoid buying the cheapest ones on the market because you will often get the quality for which you pay.

    Your best method is to keep a limited budget in mind and look for instruments in the middle. You can easily find a product that matches decent quality at a reasonable price.

    If you can, you may want to consider purchasing a cymbal pack. You can get a better deal by buying more than one cymbal in a bundle.


    Music plays an essential role in most worship services, so it would be best if you paid special attention to your choice of cymbals. While you can re-arrange many drum sets to modify the sound for a worship setting, you cannot change the sound of cymbals. You need to ensure you get an excellent cymbal pack so that the sounds will be conducive to this environment.

    Make your choice carefully, and you will create a drum sound that suits these beautiful spaces perfectly. Make music that will help people connect to a higher power by carefully choosing the best drumset for your church today!

  • Black Friday at Drum Center of Portsmouth!

    Steals, Deals, Savings Galore at Drum Center of Portsmouth on Black Friday 2020!

    Get a glimpse of our crazy Black Friday Deals by visiting the page now. www.drumcenternh.com/blackfriday

    What you see now is regular pricing.  Come back on Black Friday to get INSANE pricing!

    First come, first serve. When they are gone - they're gone! 

    Just to clarify - what you see now is normal pricing. Come back on Black Friday (or perhaps a little earlier) to see the killer deals!

    Also, visit our deals page to save up to 70% off list NOW - while it lasts!


  • What’s the Best Cymbal Set Around $300?

    The Drum Center of Portsmouth is here to help you navigate the marketing hype and help you choose the best cymbal set around $300.
  • What is The Best Drum Set under $1,000?

    With so many options, it can be difficult to definitively choose the best drum set under $1,000. Once again, The Drum Center of Portsmouth is here to help! We’ve done the heavy lifting to help you find the perfect drum set to fit your budget.
  • The Best Drum Sets Under $2000


    You’ve done your time behind your entry-level drum set. After countless hours of practice and gigs, your old drum set just isn’t up to par anymore. You have made up your mind - it’s time for an upgrade! You’ve saved your pennies, and you’re ready to take the plunge. Let Drum Center of Portsmouth help you choose the best drum set under $2,000!

    The Criteria

    There are 4 categories by which we judge a drum set. The first is SOUND. At the end of the day, how your drum set sounds is its most important attribute. Second is PERFORMANCE. Do the drums stay in tune? Does the hardware function properly? Third is APPEARANCE. Chances are, you’ll be looking at this kit for a long time. It had better look good! Finally, there’s the PRICE. How much value are you receiving for your drum-dollar?
    Luckily for you, we’ve done the heavy lifting. Here’s our list of the 5 best drum sets under $2,000.

    DW Design Series - 5 Piece - $1,600

    This DW Design 5pc Drum kit in gorgeous Steel Gray Lacquer is sure to turn heads at your next gig. Make no mistake, this is a DW kit. No detail overlooked, no corners cut. Every efficiency in their production process to meet this killer price point has no negative bearing on tone or sound. This DW kit will get noticed and most importantly, perform with DW quality. We are big fans of the low-mass mini-turret style lugs on this kit. Other professional level features include STM (Suspension Tom Mounts), True-Pitch Tuning, MAG throw-off, low-mass die cast claw hooks, and HVLT shell technology. Perfect sizes: 22x18, 10x8, 12x9, 16x14 AND a 14x5.5 snare drum! This kit is a steal at this price.

    Gretsch Renown - 5 Piece - $1,600

    Gretsch Renown Series drums are regarded by many to be the best bang for your buck. The collective sum of its parts just sound better than most drums at this price point. The Renown maple shells are 7-ply with 30 degree bearing edges, and the toms feature classic 3mm, double flanged Gretsch "302" hoops, and the inside of these shells are finished with Gretsch Silver Sealer. The tone projects just the right amount of cut, warmth, and volume, while never being overpowering. This versatile kit will absolutely excel in any genre or style. Sizes are: 22x18 kick (with mount), 16x14 floor tom, 12x8 and 10x7 toms, with matching 14x5.5 snare in Satin Tobacco Burst.

    Mapex Saturn - 4 Piece - $1,700

    Revered by many for their incredible sound and attainable price-point, The Mapex Saturn Series innovated exploration of hybrid shell sonic properties. By adding interior plies of walnut to more traditional shell formulas, Mapex started a trend that has become an industry standard. This latest iteration of Saturn employs upgraded Black Panther Design Lab features, including their “SONIClear Bearing Edges” which reduce unwanted frequencies and project a strong fundamental pitch and a better tuning experience especially at lower tunings.
    Whether tuned up high for jazz or down low for rock, these hybrid shells make for clear and focused toms and a bass drum that sounds bigger than it should.

    Pearl Masters Maple Complete - 4 Piece - $1,700

    If you are looking for a workhorse of a Maple drum set, this Pearl MCT 4-Piece might be the kit for you. Masters Maple Complete's EvenPly 6-layer premium Maple shell delivers the warmth, power, and clear mid-range tone that performs like a dream on stage or in the studio. Road proven hardware like the SuperHoop II triple-flanged 2.3mm hoops and OptiMount Tom Suspension System will give you confidence night after night on the road. Our only gripe is the lack of tom arms with this 4 piece setup, because they are not an insignificant additional expense.

    Tama Starclassic Walnut Birch 4 Piece - $1,800

    For Tama, Starclassic has represented versatility, durability and continuous sonic evolution using different wood shell materials. The evolution of Starclassic continues with the new Walnut/Birch hybrid shell line. This combination of Birch and Walnut produces a unique quality of low-to-mid frequency warmth blended with clear attack and higher frequency projection.
    Tama Starclassic W/B shells for toms and floor toms are 6mm thick and constructed using 4-ply European Birch for the outer plies with 2-ply American Black Walnut interior plies. The kick drum shells are 8mm, 5-ply European Birch outer plies with 2-ply American Black Walnut interiors. The biggest standout, however, is the hardware. Starclassic W/B’s die-cast hoops, Star-Cast Mounting System, and Quick-Lock brackets on the toms and floor toms make it feel PREMIUM. The sum and quality of its parts allows this kit to hit WAY above its price point.
    If you’re looking for an EXTRA special Tama W/B kit, check out our LIMITED EDITION DCP Exclusive W/B in Liquid Charcoal Oyster.

    Which Kit Speaks To You?

    Any of these drum sets under $2,000 will serve you well at home, in the studio, or on the road. When you’re ready to pull the trigger on your next drum set under $2,000, trust the pros at Drum Center of Portsmouth to help you invest your money wisely!


  • Sabian SR2 Cymbals Review - Incredible Value For Your Buck

    When it comes to getting the most cymbal for your money, it’s hard to beat Sabian SR2 cymbals. What are Sabian SR2 cymbals? Glad you asked.
  • How to Mic a Snare Drum

    Many factors affect the sound produced from a snare. The positioning of the mic, the distance of the mic from the drum shell, the proximity of the mic to the head, and even the angle of incidence can all affect the sound. 

    Snare Sound 

    There are many ways to mic a snare, so getting a great live sound from your snares can be a daunting task. How you choose to do it, the mics you select, and how you place them can be determined by several factors. 

    The type of snare is a significant factor to consider because different sounds can be produced from each class. For instance, a 14” aluminum drum delivers different sounds from a 12” maple snare. Some produce deep sound while others produce sharp sound.  

    Your mic set up will either mitigate or highlight the sound depending on the genre of music. Jazz, for instance, requires a smooth, laid-back sound. On the other hand, most mainstream music requires powerful beats. 

    Lastly, the sound produced will depend on the drummer. Some will have controlled hits of the snare. Others will attempt to crack the snare with every hit. 

    Here are a few tips you can follow to get the desired sound. 

    1. Type of Mic 

    The snare is a pretty loud instrument. As such, the best mic to use is dynamic. The reason for this is that dynamic mics have better SPL handling capacity. The mics can handle the sound without distortion. 

    Some engineers might argue that mics not sold as snare mics may produce exquisite sounds. However, matching the mic to the snare produces a cleaner sound. Again, fixing mics with EQ or plug-ins may shift the phase.  

    Remember, the snare is an instrument of time, and the phase affects time. Once you add plug-ins to the chain, the phase will change. This will mess with the sound. Additionally, it will make it much trickier to sync the snare to the rest of the drum kit. 

    2. Mic Placement 

    The position of the microphone can be limited by the amount of space available between the drums. Therefore, it is crucial to get the mic in the right place. You can choose to either have only one microphone at the top or have two mics, one for the top and one for the bottom. 

    With the mic placed above the snare and close to the center of the head, it produces a sound that is low, dark, and less snare-like. As you move away from the rim, the sound becomes balanced between the snares and the head. 

    For the right balance, place the dynamic mic 1.5 inches above the head, 2 inches inside the rim of the snare, and at a 25 degrees inclination directed to the center of the head. If you desire a low-end sound, move the mic from the center of the head. 

    3. Use Two Mics 

    Most engineers might be reluctant to have two mics, one over and one under. However, this arrangement produces a brilliant sound. A little of the rattling sound of the wires at the bottom, which gives the drums its name, can add taste to the dominant sound from the top. A frequency of 80/20 for over/under works as a perfect balance. 

    The mic used under can either be balanced or bright. To get better sound, the polarity of the under mic should be reserved relative to the one at the top. The effect of this is that the sound will cause the diaphragms to move in opposite directions. This results in uniform polarity when hitting the snare. Otherwise, the signals will cancel out when combined. 

    4. Mounting the Mic 

    There are different set-ups when it comes to mounting your mics. You can either use a mic-clip or a stand. The set-up you choose depends on the position in which you want to put your microphone. A mic stand allows you to have a little bit of distance because of its separate set of equipment. If you want the microphone closer, you can use a clip and attach it right into the rim of the snare. 

    5. Experiment 

    Experimentation is the key to getting the sound you want. Remember, the sound will vary depending on the type of mic and type of drum. Therefore, there isn't a magic placement.  

    If you’re not happy with the sound produced from the initial position, change the angle and the installation of the mic relative to the head. If different musicians or different genres of music are playing at the same concert, you may have to re-position the mic for different sets. 

    6. Test It Out 

    Due to the pressure levels produced at the snares, you can have your ear in place of the mic and listen to the sound. The best thing to do is to adjust the mic position and listen to the result. This will show you that moving the microphone by the slightest margins will change the result of the sound. 

    If you are recording, get your entire set up ready first, as it is unlikely that you are only using the snares. Set up the instruments first, and then have your mic equipment. Tune the snare and make some sample recordings. Listen to the recordings and make any adjustments that you think are necessary. 

    Bottom Line 

    As earlier stated, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to micing a snare drum. Some people will have a microphone across the top of the snare. Others will have it pointing towards the rim. Still others will have it at the center. Each position and angle will bring out specific frequencies while de-emphasizing others. The placement should depend on what you want to bring out as well as factors such as the style of music and the type of drums. However, mic placement should be at a place where it isn’t likely to receive hits from the drumsticks.

  • Different Ways to Stack Your Cymbals

    The way you stack your cymbals has a great effect on the quality of sound you get. This process requires knowledge of the diameter, thickness, and quality of cymbals when doing the adjustments. Below is a summary of how you can achieve quality sound from your cymbal set. 

    Cymbal Sets 

    The sound from the cymbals is very exciting; perhaps the most impressive from an entire set of drums. Hearing the crash of the cymbals catches the attention of everyone listening. This is why drummers are keen on the quality of sound coming from the cymbals. 

    The crash of the cymbals is often used to mark the transition into a new part of a song. They can also be used to mark a musical passage or a dance number. The crash also accentuates the climax of a song. 

    Stacking up cymbals can open up endless possibilities with the sound that is produced. For instance, adding a smaller cymbal to the top of a bigger one, while keeping the wingnut loose, produces a loud and trashy noise. Having hi hat cymbals produces a washy and lower-pitched sound.

    • High Hat Cymbals 

    High hat cymbals usually sit on your left side. The two cymbals face each other and are attached to the stand that you play with a foot pedal. 

    There are several factors you need to consider when you are stacking up high hats. 

    • The Diameter 

    There are four sizes that are mainly available. This includes the 12, 13, 14, and 15 inches. The difference in sizes requires different playing techniques. The smaller sizes are brighter and generally more responsive to faster hits and are used for trickier rhythms. They need fancy footwork. The larger cymbals produce louder sounds that are washy. They work best when played in the semi-open and especially for rock music. 

    • Thickness 

    More thickness results in a higher pitch, greater volume, and more vibrations. However, thicker cymbals have a slower build-up of overtones. Thinner top hats are convenient for semi-open locations. They produce a subtle “sizzle” sound compared to the unpleasant “clangy” sound produced by the thicker ones. In closed places, however, the thicker high hats produce an articulate sound. 

    With the information above, you can stack up hi hats with a thicker bottom to a thinner top. This is the most common category. Another popular design is when high hats have ripped edges. The edges prevent airlock caused by opening and closing the cymbals with the foot pedal. 

    Main Crash Cymbals 

    When arranging your drum sets, the main crash cymbals should be arranged after the toms. This order will help you see where your sticks will be swinging when you are playing your toms. Once you find this position, try to position the first crash close enough, where it is easy to reach. The main crash should be slightly angled, at a height that you can easily reach. Proximity will make it easier to crash when you are playing a groove. 

    The second crash can be quite tricky to set up. For this reason, it is advisable to invest in a boom cymbal stand, which will allow you to fine-tune your second crash according to your needs. Having the cymbal at the correct height will give your ease of motion, easy accessibility, and will reduce stress as you play. 

    It’s advisable to mount the cymbals slightly inclined downwards to give you an excellent striking technique and promote resonance. Be careful not to put the cymbals too tight on the stand because it can choke the sound that is produced. Additionally, it can break the cymbals. The main crash should be allowed to have a full range of motion. 


    Rides are meant to play steady rhythmic patterns. They are most convenient for playing swing notes for jazz and blue or the 8th notes for rock and pop. Rides are mostly 20-22 inches in diameter. Their thickness is consistent between the taper and the bow. This design results in a “pingy” sound with a delicate wash and a strong attack. 

    The ride should be mounted loosely to encourage full range motion, bringing out more resonance and character from the sound of the rides. A free ride also has an extended life span. Be careful not to tilt the cymbal too much as it will result in an extreme impact with the sticks. 

    Splash and China 

    While the splash and china are not a necessary part of your drum kit, you can use them to add a distinct signature sound to your playing.

    Splash cymbals are quite small, 8- 12 inches, and their size result in a faster build-up and a quicker decay. Often, splash cymbals have no taper, which gives them strength. This also results in a high-frequency sound with little complexity. 

    China cymbals, like the splash cymbals, have no taper. However, they produce an incredibly complex sound because they have upturned edges. They are available in a wide range of sizes, mostly about 18 inches. 

    Stacking Up Several Cymbals 

    To add flavor to your playing, you can take a China and add a small diameter with an inverted crash on top of it. Another arrangement would be to use crash cymbals as high hats. For this, you can use a bigger crash cymbal, about 18 inches. This will produce a sound that is different from your regular high hats. The sound will be great, high-pitched, and washy. These combinations can give a great identity to your play.  

    Bottom Line 

    In the end, all that matters is producing good music and enjoying yourself. You should, however, take caution to avoid injuries. Your drum set is going to change as you add or take away new gear. You should not worry about one specific arrangement. Experiment and try out various arrangements until you get the sound you are seeking. The arrangements above are just suggestions to help you improve your drumming through ergonomics. Have fun and continue playing well.

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