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Drum Sets—Do Looks Matter?

One question many drummers wonder about from time to time is whether or not the appearance of their drum set really makes a difference. This is a difficult question to answer because in certain situations it does matter. In others, it really makes no difference.

For the most part, this is a matter of personal preference. But the way your drum set looks can shape the way that people might look at you, your band, and your ability to play the drums. These are some things you may want to consider about the way your drums look.

The Material the Drums Are Made of

There is a big difference in the way different drums look because of what they are made of. A snare drum made of metal is going to look quite different than a wooden one. In the same vein, wooden drums that are simply lacquered will look different than drums that may be painted or have a coating put around the drums.

Metal drums can be polished to a high shine so that the lights will sparkle when it hits them. Wooden drums, on the other hand, can be lacquered with different types of polish or they can be wrapped in a synthetic coating. This allows any kind of graphic to be printed on it, or they can be one uniform color.

But the material of the drums is the looks and more. In the end, the look of your drums also depends on what you feel sounds the best. Wooden vs metal drums produce different timbres and tones.

The look of the drums also speaks volumes about the condition you keep them in. The condition you keep your drums in can affect the way that people think of you. If you have bits of tape stuck to the shells, people may think less of your talent simply because your drums look to be in bad shape. If your set looks clean, people may think you are a better player. It isn’t exactly fair but it the way people think at times.

Big Sets vs Small Sets

This is a never-ending question among drummers. In truth, there is no one size to a drum kit that is perfect for everyone. But the size of your set can make a difference.

There is the popular story of the drummer who goes to an audition for an up-and-coming rock band that cares about their looks. The drummer is great but only plays a small five-piece kit with a couple of cymbals. When the audition is done, the band tells him he is an excellent drummer. However, they want someone who plays a massive set with two bass drums and a bunch of toms and cymbals attached to a giant drum rack. Then the band goes with a drummer who isn’t as good but who plays a huge drum set that fits the image they are trying to create.

Conversely, there are tales of guys who want to play in a jazz combo but show up with a set complete with double bass, 5 or 6 toms, a dozen cymbals and a variety of ethnic drums surrounding his kit. Despite looking like he can play really complex rhythms, he is terrible at keeping a beat.

All this is to say that your drum kit only needs to be as big as what you need to achieve the sound you desire. Unfortunately, sometimes bands may want you to have a kit that fits into the image they desire.

Graphics on Your Bass Drum Head

This is a matter that is up to you as it makes no difference in the way you will sound. Many drummers will get a bass drum head with the logo of their band on it. This is a great way to get your band’s name remembered by members of the audience. Just know that it is expensive to get a custom design printed on a drum head.

When you are on tour, it is easy to puncture one of these drum heads. They can be difficult to replace if you aren’t carrying extras with you. For this reason, many drummers won’t bother with putting a logo on their bass drum. Instead, they opt for the best heads they can afford to ensure they have a great sound.

Graphics on Your Shells

Again, this is a matter of personal preference. It doesn’t affect the sound in a way most people can hear. One thing that is really cool about playing drums is that drum manufacturers have countless designs that they can place on their drums. It can be cool to have graphics of lightning or flames if you play in a metal band. Alternatively, you might have some sort of western design on your drums if you play in a country western band.

If you aren’t into being flashy, then you can opt for a natural wood finish accented with a lacquer or a uniform color. This can make it easier to add drums to your set whenever you want. All you would need to do is find a drum you wish to add that has the same color as the rest of your set.

Cleaning Your Drums

One thing you should do regularly is clean your drums. If your drum kit looks dirty, it’s time for some TLC. This will keep them from looking too shabby and keep them sounding their best.

The safest way to clean your drums is to take a soft cloth and some warm water. Wipe your drums down when they start to accumulate dirt. You don’t need to clean the drum heads though. The water could potentially cause problems with them. You will also want to do the same thing with all of your stands.

Once you have wiped them with a damp cloth, take a dry cloth to wipe away any excess moisture. Another thing you can do is to use metal polish on your cymbals, so they will shine brightly under the lights.

The way you let your drums look is up to you. You can get them to look however you want for the most part, but remember that some people will judge you and your abilities on the way your set looks. You should always be aware of what your audience and fellow band members are expecting your kit to look like. But no matter the way they appear, you want to make sure that they sound good. This is why it can be wise to keep your drums looking clean since that will help keep your drums sounding their best.