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Drum Center of Portsmouth Blog

  • New Sabian HHX Cymbals - Thin, Medium, Complex

    After the somewhat controversial rebranding of Sabian, we were very excited to learn that they were cleaning up their HHX line with some new offerings that were straight forward enough for anyone unfamiliar with the brand to understand. We reviewed these 3 new HHX lines: Thin, Medium and Complex in our latest video feature.
  • British Drum Company Snare Drum Showcase

    At Drum Center of Portsmouth, we put a value on new sounds. We also value drum manufacturers who are passionate about the art of drum making. Enter British Drum Company.
  • 11 Tuning Tricks for Your Snare Drum

    Shaping the tone the drum produces is an important tool for every drummer. This can be done through different options like miking, muffling, processing, and more. The most holistic option is tuning. This helps the whole kit sound just right and produce the right sound. This will ultimately help ensure you perform the best and maximize projection. There are a number of tips and tricks when it comes to tuning your snare drum. If you are ever in doubt about how to tune your snare, you can always get help from the Drum Center of Portsmouth.


    1. Understand the Drum  

    The first key element behind tuning your snare is understanding your drum. There are several shell types that will play into how you end up tuning the snare. Common snare materials include hardwoods like maple, birch, cherry, oak, walnut and mahogany, as well alternate materials like carbon fiber, fiberglass, and acrylic. Metal snare drums continue to be incredibly popular: you will hear brass, steel, copper, bronze and aluminum on many of your favorite recordings.  Understanding how the material plays into sound production is important for tuning. For example, metal-shelled drums can result in more volume and ring than wood. Different types of metal will also produce different sounds. Steel will be brighter than than copper, and aluminum is drier than brass.  


    2. Snare Drum Ring and Buzz - Learn to Love It!  

    Drummers often hyper-focus on eliminating ring when tuning. In some situations, however, some ring is good. Ring works in live situations, even when miked. Removing the ring will give the drum a very pronounced, focused sound with a more limited dynamic range.  The articulation will be enhanced at lower volume however. Keep in mind the ring will end up being absorbed by the band. If you are experiencing a “buzz” sound, this typically is referred to as “sympathetic snare buzz”, which means that the bottom head of one of your toms is tuned to the same pitch as your bottom snare head.  You can reduce this with specialty snare wires, like the Puresound Equalizer wires, but don’t expect them to save the day.  If you let the buzz bug you, you will drive yourself crazy!  Consider this: on Roland V-drums, they have a built in “snare buzz” feature on their bass drum samples.  It’s ok for you to get comfortable with it, people expect to hear it. 


    3. Begin with the Resonant Head

    When tuning the drum, start with the resonant head. Keep in mind the resonant, or snare-side, head is often very thin. It might be weaker than other heads but still light enough to seat itself. This should be installed and centered in a way for two-key method and settled in place.  


    4. Tune Just Right  

    When you start to tune, start with finger tight. This just means to tighten using your fingers rather than with tools. There should be wrinkles between the lugs on each side of the snare bed. Instead of removing the wrinkles through tight tuning, use two keys on each side with enough tension to remove wrinkles.  We tend to tune our bottom head very tight.  When we say “very tight”, it’s typically tighter than most would expect.  When placing the wires on the bottom, be sure to position them evenly on the drum so when the throw off (switch to turn wires on or off) is engaged, the wires have an even tension across the drum.  A common mistake is for people to make the snare wire tension VERY tight, but this chokes the sound of the drum. Aim for medium tension. 


    5. Use Your Ears  

    For a drummer, this might be obvious. However, tuning involves listening throughout the process to make sure you hit the right tone. Take each lug up by quarter-turns until they are at the preferred tightness. The head will start to produce a toppy or tinny sounds with a slight ring. Heads have to be evenly pitched and it takes a little bit more fuss to do this with the snare.  

    Pitch is based on preference, but most of the time the drum works best if the resonant head is fairly tight, no matter the size. Ultimately, use your ears to determine where to stop.  


    6. Control Snare Right with Tuning 

     Are you spending a lot of time recording in the studio? There is a way to tune your snare for a fat, dry sound ready for recording without damping. Start by tuning your batter head until you find the stick and body response you want. Next, take the bottom three screws nearest where your stick strikes and detune them. The center screw should be finger tight and the other two about a half-turn tighter. You can play with this based on taste. If you have lost any pitch in this tuning process, compensate using screws furthest from the detuned screws. Now you have tuned your snare for a controlled and cutting sound. It will still have plenty of tension for double strokes.  


    7. Move to the Batter Head  

    Now is time to switch focus to the batter head. The method is fairly the same but some say that leaving the head on overnight so the drum forms to the head is optimal.  Your mileage may vary, we aim to get it sounding good out of the gate so we can use it! You will want to keep the batter head tight with the two-key method. You can take the batter head up in half-turns two or three times depending on diameter. The head should be evenly tuned and continue with smaller turns until just right. The focus of the batter head is to have the right feel but find the perfect amount of ring.  


    8. Keep the Top Head Tuned Lower  

    A trick to tuning just right is to tune the top head slightly lower than the snare side. This can create a slight pitch difference, as slight as a third or fifth. This approach can be simplified by listening for a harmonious and pleasing pitch difference. You can mute one head and tap the other to make the necessary adjustments.  


    9. Leave the Resonant Head Alone  

    A top trick for the snare drum is simply to leave the resonant head alone. At this stage of the tuning process, the adjustments should primarily be on the batter head. The resonant head should be set and left alone. Right now, you are focusing on what is “out front” versus what is facing you.  


    10. Self-Assess 

    Hopefully by now the snare is tuned perfectly. If not, self-assess and determine if one of the following things is at play:  

    • Too tight batter head 
    • Inappropriate head for drum and style 
    • Wrong snare for the desired sound 

    If one of these factors is at play, revisit and readjust. You may need to loosen the batter head or you may need a new snare.  


    11. Play It Out  

    You have probably been sound-checking while tuning, but now it is time to play. This is a great time for a final assessment to make sure everything is where it needs to be. There might be a few slight adjustments left at this point. If the snare is rattling too much, tighten the adjustment knob by quarter or half-turns. Play between each adjustment until it is perfect. If it is too tight, you will hear the poor tune and choke the drum.  

    From here, get ready to play, record, or just jam out. If you have larger issues than just tuning correctly, come visit the team at the Drum Center of Portsmouth

  • Traditional VS Electric Drum Set - What's Better for Recording?

    If you are a drummer, chances are you have contemplated the differences between a traditional drum set and an electric drum kit. Each has something to offer and presents a different set of choices to the drummer. The traditional, or acoustic, set involves wood shells, metal cymbals, and metal or wood snares. An electric, or electronic, drum kit has pads made of plastic, rubber, or mesh for drum heads. Sound is produced by a sound module and relayed to an amplifier or headset. Both drum kit types can be found at the Drum Center of Portsmouth, as well as expert recommendations on the differences between the two.  

    Both types of kits have their pros and cons of course. Often the choice boils down to playability and practicality. Some drummers often switch between the two types as there is a difference in requirements between playing live and recording. We will be focusing on these recording strengths and weaknesses here. When it comes to recording, both types have a lot to offer.  



    An essential element to any drum set is the playability. For acoustic versus electronic, this will be affected by how much money you can spend on your kit. Cheap electronic drums do not play anywhere near as well as cheap acoustic drums. The electric aspects of triggering do not translate well on a cheap kit. Responsiveness will not be as strong. 

    Playability will also depend on the strength of your drumming technique. Recording on a cheap electronic kit tends not to pick up poor playing abilities. A cheap acoustic kit will definitely pick up poor playing techniques on a recording. If you want a playable electric kit, you will have to be willing to spend money and invest for larger pads and better triggers. If you are not willing to invest, you should go with an acoustic kit.  


    Recording Space  

    The first factor in choosing between the two types of drum set is the space you are working in. Where do you intend to record? Of course, a studio is the ideal location, but not always a possibility. The space you are in will affect the way the sound carries and records. Is this a home studio? If so, you will have to factor in your surroundings.  

    If you are recording at home, which is quite popular these days, you will need to consider room acoustics. It is quite popular to record at home to playback and critique personal technique. However, if this is done on an acoustic kit with poor room acoustics, the recording might not be helpful. The sound quality has to be controlled with dampening devices and acoustic panels in a home studio. Sound engineering basics also come into play.  

    If you are recording at home, an electronic drum set might be easier. You trigger professional drum samples with a higher standard of production and recording. This is ideal for those looking to produce covers of songs or ones without the cash flow to record in a professional studio. 

    Another factor is just how much noise you will make while recording. Acoustic drums are loud, so not always ideal depending on your space. If you are recording in your apartment building, acoustic drum kits will not be the best choice. If you do want an acoustic set, you might need sound dampening tools to stay on good terms with neighbors.  

    Sound bleed is an important factor when considering your recording locations. Since electronic drums use headset, these kits work well in spaces where you cannot record or play loudly. 



    As mentioned, a cheap kit is not the best move. However, what is a good budget for an acoustic or electronic set? The experts at the Drum Center of Portsmouth can help with this. We also have a wide inventory with options for every budget. Essentially, you are looking at around $1000 for an electronic kit.  

    An acoustic kit would be more affordable, but still costs money to have a quality product. If you are recording at home, you will also need to factor in $200 or so to create an acoustic-friendly space. Acoustic sets are typically better for those on a tight budget.  


    The Bottom Line  

    There are pros and cons to each type, especially when it comes to recording. Here is the bottom line for both:    

    Electronic drums do not record well if they are cheap. You have to be willing to spend a decent amount of money to have a large enough drum set and cymbal pads. You will also need a drum module and sampling software. Electronic drums are best for

    • Practicing at home when noise levels are a concern 
    • Recording Instagram/YouTube quality drum covers and video 
    • Recording high-quality tracks with the right software


    Acoustic drums also have their pros and cons. While you can produce a sufficient product with a cheap acoustic set, you will spend more time worrying about sound bleeds depending on where you are recording. Acoustic sets work best for:   

    • Live performances 
    • Low budget 
    • Beginners just starting to record and learn proper technique  

    It really isn’t a battle between both types. Instead, think of both as tools with different strengths. Many seasoned professionals switch between the two when recording. Just base the decision on your main needs and goals. Which one would be a cost-effective addition and choice? If you are recording regularly, which one will work best for your recording needs and space? If you are not sure how to answer these questions, let the team at the Drum Center of Portsmouth help you! 

  • 6 Awesome Bass Drum Head Covers Throughout Rock History

    A key element to rock history is the theatrics and pageantry of legendary bands. From iconic looks to show-stopping performances, rock music history is not complete without the vision behind the visuals. One often overlooked element to rock bands are the bass drum head covers of iconic drummers.  

    The drum set is often the focal point of the rock band set-up. Snares, cymbals, tom toms, and bass drums are arranged in an intentional format to produce some of the best music. It is essential that the centerpiece of the setup is both eye catching and memorable. Many rock bands have become instantly recognizable based on the bass drum head covers. As rock history aficionados, the team at the Drum Center of Portsmouth dove into this topic to bring you a list of the most awesome bass drum head covers throughout rock history.   


    The Beatles  

    There is no denying The Beatles are one of rock’s most iconic bands. Ringo Starr is the standout drummer here. Taking the lead on songs like, “Strawberry Fields Forever,” and “Come Together,” Ringo Starr is the bass beat behind the band. Ringo made his home behind a Ludwig Oyster Black Pearl kit. This kit made an appearance on Thank Your Lucky Stars, a British television show, the same day Starr purchased it.  

    The kit went through a few iterations of the famous drop-T logo. The simple black lettering contrasted nicely to the white backdrop. The over sized drop-T quickly became the brand of the band. No kit for the band was complete without it. The iconic bass drum head cover completes the kit and is now shown in museums around the world, including the Grammy Museum in 2013.   


    The Rolling Stones  

    Another unforgettable band and bass drum head cover from rock history comes from The Rolling Stones. Since 1964, the British band has grown to global renown. Talented drummer Charlie Watts often takes to the stage with a Gretsch drum kit. While some drum head covers had a simple band name, the best known one premiered in 1971 as the now-iconic tongue logo.  

    The official title is “Tongue and Lips,” but is often just called, “The Rolling Stones’ tongue.” As a logo, it is a bold move for a band. There is no lettering or indication of band ownership. This did not stop the band from creating a drum head cover that continues to make statements today. It is so iconic it has become a fashion statement and is often featured on clothing, accessories, and other fashion statements. 



    Anything covering rock history is not complete without attention being given to Queen. With a career spanning decades, Roger Taylor has a lot to offer to this list. While Freddie Mercury is often the first thought when it comes to Queen, Taylor’s drum set is the centerpiece to every Queen setup. 

    Roger Taylor often opted for a larger set, which allows for a larger drum head cover and a more intricate design. The larger drums matched the big sound Queen often produces. Just like The Rolling Stones, Taylor has some drum head designs that are more simplistic in nature. However, the most memorable covers is the one featuring an intricate royal insignia. The insignia incorporates the zodiac signs of all four members. There are two lions for John Deacon and Roger Taylor, the resident Leos. A crab represents member Brian May as a Cancer. Finally, two fairies signify Virgo Freddie Mercury. All are intertwined around the letter “Q” and a crown.  It closely resembles the United Kingdom’s Coat of Arms.  



    When it comes to visuals, few rock bands match the pageantry of Kiss. From the makeup to the boots, Kiss is hard to forget. The emblazoned band name across the bass drum is also hard to forget. For drummer Peter Criss, the Kiss drum head cover quickly became a staple for the band. It served as a visual focal point on stage in the midst of other visual effects. Peter Criss started playing on Pearl drums in 1975. The company was willing to endorse the band in the early days, thus earning continued loyalty throughout Criss’ career.  



    Just like The Rolling Stones, the imagery of the bass drum head cover became both a band symbol and fashion statement. For AC/DC, there is a science behind the name and logo design. The band name is an abbreviation for “alternating current/direct current” electricity. For the band, this captured the raw energy and electricity of their performances. This is also why there is a bolt of lightning between the two letters.  

    While the most common design is the red lettering, drummer Phil Rudd had other drum head covers in rotation. One of the standouts is the metallic blue AC/DC against an all-black kit. This sleek design provides an eye-catching focal point for the band. 


    Guns N’ Roses  

    For famous rock bands, Guns N’ Roses remains consistent and evolving. With some members rotating throughout the decades, the band’s brand had to be maintained. This was done through several drummers over the years. Each drummer brought a different type of bass drum head while remaining true to the band’s aesthetic. One of the best-known drum head covers is that of drummer Steven Adler. Adler brought an unforgettable design to the kit. It featured a skull in a top hat and the band’s name emblazoned on a banner. Behind the skull were two crossed guns and roses completed the design. While the band’s logo has changed, this skull design has remained rather consistent.  


    More to Come  

    While some might say the golden age of rock has past, the Drum Center of Portsmouth knows there is more yet to come. While the drum head covers remain standouts in history, it is exciting to know there is more to come. These legendary bands and designs will always remain iconic – but they will have more company. 

  • The Best Beginner Drum Sets in 2020

    To the untrained eye, a drum kit can seem pretty simple. Yet like any other instrument, there are many components that go into finding the perfect first drum kit.

    At Drum Center of Portsmouth, we cater to each and every detail of the drum kit. We know choosing the best drum set for when you're starting out isn't easy, but it is a huge decision. Your first drum kit has the potential to influence how you play for the rest of your life.

    With over 200 years of combined experience, we know the best equipment for when you're just starting to learn the ropes of this instrument. For your early lessons, our kits will provide you with the high-quality performance you need to improve and work towards mastery.

    Summary of Guide

    Our ultimate guide for beginner drum sets is designed to help you purchase the drum kit you'll love playing for years. Starting out as a musician is exciting. As eager as you may be to bring home your new set, we all know you must be clued-up before making any impulsive purchases.

    Our guide consists of a variety of established brands. We know no two drums, or two drummers, are the same. From the affordable Pearl Roadshow to the legendary Ludwig, our beginners' drum-set reviews are here to guide you towards your perfect match based on price, quality of materials, playing style, and more.

    Not even the greatest models are ideal for every player. To save you the hassle here's the good and the bad of each drum kit.

    1 Best for Beginners on a Budget


    • It's one of the least expensive drum kits you'll find out there, but without compromising any of the quality of any component of the set.
    • The kit contains all the elements you need in your drum set, including a full hardware and cymbal package, so you don't have to worry anything is missing.
    • You can angle and lock your tilters so that drums and cymbals are kept in the right position all the time.
    • The Roadshows snare can make your sound soar with power, or provide a more subtle and subdued tone depending on the effect you're trying to create.
    • The kick pedal action on this model can be adjusted for a smooth play, and Roadshows shell finish helps optimize tonal power.


    • You may initially get some bad overtones, however, these can be tuned out.
    • The crash cymbals have been described as tinny by some, and although not 'perfect' they work well for beginners.

    The Pearl Roadshow 5 Piece Drum Set With Hardware & Cymbals is a modestly priced set, perfect for first-time buyers. Available in a variety of colors, from wine red to jet black, the Pearl Roadshow set will not only sound good but also look and feel as sleek as you could hope for. Pearl is one of the largest independently owned drum manufactures in the world. This set is simple to set up and easy to get your head around, ideal for those emerging into the drumming world.

    Product specs:

    • Price: $499.00
    • Brand: Pearl
    • Series: Roadshow Sets
    • UPC: 633816532689
    • SKU: RS505C/C31
    • Crash Cymbals: 16"
    • Hybrid-hats: 14”
    • Bass Drum Size: 20x15
    • Tom Size(s): 10x7 12x8 14x14
    • Snare Drum Size: 14x5, Matching Wood
    • Shell Layup: 9-ply 7mm Poplar
    • Professional Stick Bag: Pair of Two Maple Drum Sticks
    • Drum Throne
    • Mounting Hardware: Included
    • Hardware Color: Chrome
    • Finish: Choice of Bronze Metallic, Charcoal Metallic, Wine Red, Jet Black

    Why We Love It There's not a lot to dislike about this drum kit. At the price it's offering, and for the level of drumming it is intended for, we struggle to find anything wrong with the Pearl Roadshow series. This five-piece ensemble comes with a 2-year warranty, also, should anything happen to it.

    The system comes with a range of interactive tools, a pro-pedal line and an extended tuning and tension range. All of which will help greatly with initiating your pathway to being an awesome drummer.

    2 Best Kit for Hardware Lovers


    • Although slightly more expensive than the previous model, this Tama is still a very reasonable price of $569.99.
    • There's an extensive list of prestige hardware including a chain drive single bass drum pedal, high hat stand, snare drum stand and a straight and boom cymbal stand, to name just a few.
    • You can choose from a range of cymbal sizes for this kit, 14” high-hats, 16” crash and 20” ride.
    • The L-Rod tom holders ensure flexibility and security and memory locks help optimize the tone of the drum.
    • Lifetime Labor Warranty adds that extra bit of security to keep your drums in top condition at all times.


    • This drum set does require a few initial tweaks after getting it out the box. However, that's nothing the experts at DCP can't help you get set up with.
    • The mix of hardware might be something you have to get your head around at first. The more you get drumming, the more you'll understand drums, their parts and terminology!

    We're stepping it up a notch with the Tama Imperialstar 5pc Complete Kit W/ Meinl HCS Cymbals. Tama has decades of experience in drum building. They are constantly improving their ranges to keep their entry-level models top of the game. This kit is one of the best-selling of its caliber, and we can't say we're surprised. The elaborate hardware on this set gives it that extra edge, so you can keep precision in your playing.

    Product specs:

    • Price: $569.99
    • SKU: IP58NCHLB
    • Series: Imperialstar
    • UPC: 4515276977070
    • Brand: Tama
    • Bass Drum with Lifter Size: 14"x18"
    • Tom Tom Size: 8"x10" 9"x12"
    • Floor Tom Size: 12"x14"
    • Snare Drum Size: 5"x13"
    • Double Tom Holder: MTH600
    • Snare Stand: HS40W
    • Boom Cymbal Stand: HC43BW
    • Hi-hat Stand: HH45W
    • Drum Pedal: HP200P Iron Cobra 200
    • Drum Throne
    • Hi-hat Cymbal: MEINL HCS 14"
    • Crash Ride Cymbal: MEINL HCS 18"
    • Finish: Wrap
    • Mounting: Hardware Included
    • Hoops: Triple Flanged
    • Hardware Color: Chrome
    • Finish: Choice of Hairline Black, Hairline Blue, Apple Mist, Champagne Mist

    Why We Love It This Tama Imperialstar really gives the feel of a professional drum kit. There are intricate touches to every aspect of the drum that provides a high-quality sound and a make playing as smooth as it can be so you can focus on hard hits!

    The shells, which are essentially where the sound starts once hit, include durable wraps which prevent any warping for lifting. This will make sure there aren't any unusual sounds in your toms, snares and bass drums. Once tweaked and tuned, this set will give you a great blend of sounds.

    3 Best Drums for Beginners True to the Tone


    • This set is ready-to-play, meaning there's no fiddly set-up for you to stress yourself out with. Dive in and rock out!
    • Its steel tripe flanged hoops mean the drums sound has higher resonance and thicker overtones. Because these drums are not too heavy, they offer increased stability.
    • The Zildjian cymbals are a higher quality of cymbal compared to our previous two listings. The brand of Zildjian - Avedis Zildjian Company – is nearly 400 years old and is a quintessential drummers symbol. Their sound works well for a variety of genres.


    • Gretsch Energy isn't incredibly hardware rich. Although, for starting out, we think it has as much as you need to get your feet on the ground.
    • Those who are particular with their sounds might not be the biggest fan of poplar shells compared to maple shells, as these two types provide slightly different tones. You may want to venture into a higher price ranges for that compromise.

    Gretsch has been around for over 135 years now and is widely known for “That Great Gretsch Sound”. This is an iconic American brand and has evolved through each era of music. Of course, the Gretsch Energy 5-Piece Kit with Full Hardware Package & Zildjian Cymbals complies with their classic sound.

    If there's something you may hear frequently in the drumming industry, it is the appreciation for the rich sound these Gretsch drum kits possess and their classic tones. However, don't let its sophisticated history make you think this set isn't equipped for a heavy old drum session. Why else do you think it's called Energy?

    Product specs:

    • Price: $749.99
    • SKU: GE4E825ZG
    • Series: Energy
    • UPC: 647139425450
    • Brand: Gretsch
    • Hi-hat Cymbals: 13”
    • Crash Cymbals: 16”
    • Ride Cymbals: 20”
    • Tom Sizes: 10x7" 12x8" 16x14"
    • Snare Drum Size: 14x5
    • Bass Drum Size: 22x18
    • Mounting Hardware: Included
    • Hoops: Triple Flanged
    • Finish: Grey or Ruby Sparkle

    Why We Love It We are one of the country's top dealers for this brand. We understand which brands sell effortlessly. Gretsch is a manufacturer we have huge respect for and believe that the name speaks for itself. The standard of the hardware and material of the set is of a high grade. You'll take home a stable set that's suave to look at and fun to play.

    This Gretsch Energy works excellently as a percussion instrument and would be ideal for a band that wants to create an abundant and immersive sound.

    4 Best Drum-Set for Beginners Who Are Improving Quickly


    • This drum kit has a flexible tuning range, meaning you can alter your tone to a higher or lower pitch depending on the style you wish to play.
    • Ludwig Element Evolution is an all-in-one kit, so there's nothing else you'll need to purchase.
    • 2-ply tom heads create a great sound and have a longer endurance than the usual quality you might find at this price range.
    • Bronze cymbals are the kind you would expect in a more professional standard of cymbals. This can also mean it holds a much more characteristic and complex sound.


    • Although the set is 'all-in-one' you will still have to buy drums sticks as they aren't included.
    • The kit may need additional adjustments once unpacked. This is something the team at DCP can help you with.

    Ludwig is an incredibly prevalent drum manufacture and has a somewhat sophisticated style. The Ludwig Element Evolution 5pc Drum Set with Zildjian ZBT Cymbals consists of the three top brands in the drumming world: Ludwig, Zildjian cymbals and Remo (drum heads). The bass drum is bassy, the tom drums are powerful and 22” cymbals offer the longer sustain and larger sound that slightly bigger symbols tend to possess.

    This five-piece set is verging on an intermediate kit, but will only encourage and inspire beginners who hear the Ludwig Element Evolution's encompassing and detailed sound.

    Product specs:

    • Price: $749.00
    • SKU: LCEE22016
    • Series: Element Evolution
    • UPC: 641064904301
    • Brand: Ludwig
    • Tom Sizes: 8X10", 9X12"
    • Floor Tom with Legs: 16X16"
    • Bass Drum with Double Tom Holder: 18X22”
    • Snare Drum: 5x14”
    • Zildjian ZBT Cymbal Pack
    • Crash Cymbal: 16"
    • Ride Cymbal: 20”/22”
    • Hi-Hat Cymbals: 14"
    • 2 Double Braced Disappearing Boom Stands
    • Double Braced Hi Hat Stand
    • Chain Drive Bass Drum Pedal
    • Double Braced Drummer's Throne
    • Double Braced Snare Drum Stand

    Why We Love It We love Ludwig as a brand, it's a best-seller at our store and it maintains and exceeds expectations with all of our customers. The brand's service and products are reliable - you'll never get a drum that isn't built to standard. Ludwig caters to beginners as well as advanced players but never falters on quality and caliber. The sound the Ludwig Element Evolution has a truly enigmatic sound, which follows the brand's reputation.

    We also like the comprehensive list of hardware with this model, which bodes well with the standard of the drum. You've got all you need here (except sticks) and more. For the price, it's not a bad offer at all.


    Buyers Guide

    As you're browsing through our picks for the best drum kits, here are a quick few pointers to keep in mind. Ultimately, the drum kit you choose isn't actually going to be perfect; you might have to step over budget to get the sound you need. Make your decision based on which factors are most important to you:

    • Price - does it suit your budget?
    • Drum and hardware materials - is the model made with the highest quality materials that are durable and well-constructed? Is the drum set intended for long-time play, or does it run the risk of being a toy?
    • Parts - does it have all the components you need?
    • Brand - is the kit made from a reliable manufacturer with decades of experience?
    • Type of drum - will it suit your style of playing?



    What if I want to try the drums out in person?

    Then come down to our store! We are eager to help customers find the perfect drum kit. You can try out as many of the kits as you please.

    Can I return the drums if they're not what I'm looking for?

    Yes, we have a 30-day policy. You can send back your product up to 30 days after purchase.

    How much is the shipping fee?

    Shipping is free for those in the United States. International shipping varies from our estimates on our eBay sites.

    What is your price range for full drum sets?

    Our lowest price for a full junior set is $299. Our prices reach to $899 for more advanced drum sets.

    How do I know if the drum is right for my experience level?

    Most of our product descriptions should hint at the level they are for. Otherwise, just ask us!

    What size drum do I get?

    The three-piece 'club' kits can be good for beginners or if you have limited space. You can't go wrong with the standard 5 pieces. If you're looking for a happy medium, the 4pc with only one tom might be for you.

    What happens if my drums need servicing?

    We provide a lifelong service to our customers. We will always be there to help with tuning and fixing of any parts that become faulty or worn over time.

    Bottom Line

    We hope we've provided you with the most useful information for finding the best beginners drum set for you. We sell a great selection of drums from trustworthy brands that we know will set you up for years of playing.

    If you have any questions, drop us a message. We truly welcome any questions with open arms. As avid drum fans, and drummers ourselves, our passion lies in ensuring your drum kits brings you all the joy.

  • The Best Bass Drum Pedals in 2020

    Why does it have to be so hard to find the best music equipment out there? Everyone has their own opinion, and it’s hard to weed out the good advice from unhelpful bias.

    If you’re looking to improve your drum practice and performance, you could easily make the wrong decision about equipment by listening to the first advice you get. That's why we're here to bring you the most thorough and objective guide to 2020’s best bass drum pedals.

    Keep reading below for the five best products that will give your sound the extra kick it needs.


    Our Ultimate Bass Drum Pedals Guide

    We don’t mess around with mediocre products here. ******* We carry pedals that accommodate all budgets, but this guide is directed at the very best. ******** That’s because we know how seriously our customers take their musicianship. They’re not playing around; they want the products that are the most effective at a good price.

    The right bass drum pedal may pick you before you pick it.  There are several jazz drummers that use pedals that are geared towards hard rock players, and vice versa.  Ultimately what is best for you will be decided by you, we hope this guide can help.

    If you’re looking for the meat of what we’re offering here, allow us to tell you what’s in store with our best bass drum pedal recommendation, the Trick Pro 1V Bigfoot Single Bass Drum Pedal. Not only was it designed with aerospace materials, but it was also created closely with drummers so it really works to serve the person making the beats.


    <<Link to review table>>



    Best Drum Pedal Reviews

    1 Best Pedal for Serious Drummers


    • Built with tough materials
    • Responsive
    • Adjustable


    • Can’t replace parts at the hardware store
    • Not best for beginners
    • No heel block

    Our best choice for those who want to get serious about their musicianship is this Trick Bigfoot Single Bass Drum Pedal. It was built with precision-machined components made of aerospace materials such as titanium and stainless steel. Designed with engineering quality but built for drummers, it’ll take your noise to the next level.

    Product specs:

    • Single
    • Direct Drive system
    • Part Number from the manufacturer: P1VBF1

    Why We Love ItWe love this pedal because it is not only beautiful to look at, but also because it has a number of cutting-edge features that make it stand out. You can expect a smooth, fast, and quiet internal compression spring mechanism that allows for an overall better experience. You can infinitely adjust the beater and pedal angles so it feels like it was truly made for you. On top of that, adjust the pedal tension while you play so you don’t miss a minute of the music.

    Don’t worry about it fitting on your beater, either. Their universal beater mount means it will fit anything on the market! Hand-assembled and individually inspected, you can rest assured that this piece is the highest grade available.

    2 For the Drummer Looking for Power


    • Achieve the feel of any foot pedal with the beater arc ratio
    • Works for heel-up or heel-down players
    • Designed for stage


    • Can be difficult to get used to
    • Could be uncomfortable to play barefoot or in socks
    • Could be too powerful for certain types of music

    Whether your feet need the space or you’re just craving the power, the Axis A Longboard Double Bass Drum Pedal will do just the trick. This product from axis expands the footboard area you can use by a full two inches. It greatly increases your power and leverage by allowing the entire leg (from ankle to knee) to be expressed powerfully via strong heel-to-toe strokes. The two sonic hammers and heavy-duty springs don’t mess around and can take the power you’ve got to offer.

    Product specs:

    • Double
    • Direct Drive
    • Manufacturer Part Number is A-L2CB

    Why We Love It We love these pedals because they feature a beater-forward construction that lets you increase your foot power without making it feel bulky or heavy. You get both punch and speed without any backlash or lack of leverage. Drummers especially love these pedals when they play hardcore or metal music, as it produces the intense sound they’re looking for. Even if you aren’t looking to get too hardcore, this pedal can still work for you with a few simple adjustments.

    3 For the Drummer Who Wants A Small Upgrade


    • Less resistance
    • Great swing and feel
    • Gorgeous carrying case for easy use


    • May be issues with the back of the pedal getting stuck off the floor
    • Weaker aluminum base plate may begin to twist

    Love the original DW 9000 foot pedal, but looking for a small upgrade to more power? The DW 9000 Double Pedal Extended Footboard is just the thing you need. It packs the same great features and ability to adjust, just with a footboard that’s an inch longer!

    You’ll love its features like the Tri-pivot toe clamping system and the rubber grip base plate, which means no more slipping. You’ll find it easy to switch between regular drive and turbo drive to find the sweet spot for whatever kind of music you’re playing. Whatever your individual needs are, you can adjust the DW 9000 Extended to fit your ideal foot pedal settings.

    Product specs:

    • Double
    • Double chain drive system
    • Manufacturer Part Number is DWCP9002XF

    Why We Love It We love this pedal because of its premium features that you normally can’t find in pedals around this price range. This includes things like the rotating swivel spring, free-floating rotor drive system, and the optional nylon strap that can be used to replace the chain-drive.

    If you’re looking for that one extra inch that could make all the difference, we think you can find it in the DW 9000 Extended Footboard.

    4 For the Diverse Musician


    • Adjustable footboard to play all styles of music
    • Completely eliminated side to side play with adjustable cam
    • Developed closely with drummers


    • Might take adjusting to louder strokes
    • Spring tension might require some tweaking

    TAMA spent a lot of time diving into the world of bass drum pedals before creating their own version here, the Tama Dyna-Sync Single and Double pedals. The three critical design components they focused on during creation included the linkage, the cam, and the footboard connection angle. Further, they used a diverse group of musicians to test out the products to make sure they worked for all high-level players. Using their feedback and careful engineering, they were able to work around many of the common issues associated with bass drum pedals and created what they believe to be the best pedals out there.

    Product specs:

    • Single or Double, depends on which you choose
    • Direct Drive
    • Manufacturer Part Number is HPDS1

    Why We Love ItThese pedals offer a completely new combination of power, speed, and balance through a mechanical design system they call the Dynamic Synchronization System. We love these products because of their optimized transmission design, dual linkage and slidable cam for perfect adjustments. Any professional drummer who plays any demanding genre of music will benefit from this state-of-the-art pedal.

    5 For the Picky Drummer


    • Maximum stability
    • Unified response between the two sides
    • Change your pedal heights independently


    • Springs might not get tight enough
    • Can top-out against the top of the pedal if the footboard is too high
    • May bottom-out against the floor if footboard is too low

    These Yamaha pedals were designed and manufactured by the racing experts themselves, so you know these pedals pack some power. They spent a lot of time considering the foot and how it plays into the sound and power of bass drum pedals in order to create pedals that work with our foot’s natural movements. Even the pickiest drummers out there are sure to be satisfied by the Yamaha Professional pedals. This pedal allows for an incredibly smooth transfer of energy that’s nearly 1:1, thanks to dispersed ball bearings, front and rear spikes, and a frame-inside-a-frame design.

    Product specs:

    • Double or Single, depending on which you choose
    • Direct drive
    • Manufacturer’s Number is DFP-9D

    Why We Love It We especially love the ability these pedals have to self-lock spring tension rods. This makes it fast, easy and ergonomic to dial in each side from your own playing position. The adjustable weighted beater system is also great to fine-tune your power and speed.

    Find out more about this incredible category of bass drum pedals on the Drum Center of Portsmouth’s online store or call in to speak to one of our drumming experts directly.

    What to Consider When Buying Drum Petals?

    Pedal Drives

    Pedal drives are the mechanisms that connect the footboard of the pedal to the beater, which creates the sound.

    The three main types of pedal drives are:

    • Chain
    • Belt
    • Direct

    A chain-driven pedal is the most common, either as a single or double chain. The double chain is advantageous during long sessions because it reduces side-to-side movement.

    The belt-drive pedals chain with a solid belt. This can reduce friction sometimes and create a lighter feel. They can, however, suffer shorter life expectancies.

    Lastly, direct-drive pedals have a solid bridge between the beater and the foot pedal. This creates a perfect connection every time without any flexing or sideways movement. Heel-up players might find these less controllable.



    The two main kinds of footboards are the standard size and the extended size. You’ll find that most pedals feature a hinge by the heel, that allows for a flat base where the heel can rest. A longboard style of pedal is popular for drummers who really utilize rocking techniques to get rapid double strokes. In addition, drummers with larger feet can find more comfort in these extended pedals.



    The cam is the portion that attaches the drive to the beater. The two types of cams include a linear and an offset version.

    While a linear cam keeps the same radius regardless of the beater’s speed, offset cams will accelerate the beater when it begins to get closer to the head. It begins to rotate, and the pedal will feel a bit lighter. But as the beater gets closer to the head, the feel will get heavier as the radius decreases. Some models will feature interchangeable cams for when you want to switch styles.



    Arguably the most important thing to consider when shopping for bass drum pedals is your own personal preference. You can gather as many recommendations and look at as many reviews as you’d like, but you still won’t get the right product if you don’t know what you’re truly looking to get out of your chosen product.



    How much should I expect to spend?

    This is entirely dependent upon your own budget, as the range for this kind of product greatly varies. You can spend under $100 if you need to be especially careful of your finances. On the other hand, if you’re looking to splurge and purchase one of the best products on the market, you should be prepared to spend upwards of $700 for a double pedal. It’s a good idea to shop around a bit first to get a better feel for the different price ranges before you narrow your search.


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

    If you’re reading this article and you’ve made it to this point, that’s probably a pretty good first sign that you’re ready to buy a new bass drum pedal. In particular, you’re ready if you’re already a dedicated drummer that is interested in upgrading your performance and practice skills.


    Take Your Drumming to the Next Level

    The bottom line is that there are some great pedals on the market, but you need to find the right one for you. Whether you’re a dedicated drummer, looking for more power, needing something to keep up with your diverse playing styles, or simply looking to upgrade a bit, your missing bass drum pedal is listed above! We’ve done the work for you to find the best of the best and lay it all out there so you can make an easy decision.

    Shop our pedals online or call us if you have any questions. We'd be happy to help you get set up with the bass pedal you need.

  • Drum Center of Portsmouth Buy Back Program

    Buy with confidence: You can sell it back to us at a better rate.
  • 7 Important Drum Books You Should Read

    You should always be looking for ways to improve your drumming, no matter how long you’ve been playing. One of the best ways to learn how to become a great drummer is reading books. From learning to read music to practicing exercises, you can find all the tools to becoming a great drummer by reading about the craft from industry experts.

    At Drum Center of Portsmouth, we value music education. We believe that spreading the right information can any drummer with their technique. That’s why we’re here to recommend 7 important drum books you should read to become a pro drummer today.


    1. Stick Control for the Snare Drummer by George Lawrence Stone

    Originally published in 1935, Stick Control has become known as the bible of drumming. It was written by George Lawrence Stone, an American drummer and educator. His students include influential drummers like Joe Morello and Vic Firth.

    Though the book specifically teaches the snare drum, the book is extremely useful for learning how to play any drum on a set. Stick Control is filled to the brim with drum exercises, which get more difficult as you progress through it. Stone pays special attention to your weaker hand in order for you to keep good control of your grip.

    Stick Control for the Snare Drummer is essential for building technique. Whether you use traditional or match grip, play rock or jazz, this drum book is a must-have. It continues to serve as a guide for percussion books today.


    2. Ultimate Realistic Rock by Carmine Appice

    Ultimate Realistic Rock is a book of drum set techniques written by Carmine Appice. Appice is a prolific drummer associated with rock music. He is best-known for playing in Vanilla Fudge, King Kobra, and Blue Murder. His classical and jazz-influenced drumming style inspired other famous drummers like Roger Taylor, Phil Collins, and Eric Singer.

    The book is the updated version of the most popular rock drumming book of all time, Realistic Rock. It teaches the basic rock rhythms, rudiments, and syncopation exercises from the original. Appice has also written 20 new pages of material and included an educational CD with every copy of Ultimate Realistic Rock.

    For the rock music lovers who play the drum set, Ultimate Realistic Rock is the ideal book to help you hit the ground running. We sell this book on the Drum Center of Portsmouth’s online store.


    3. Progressive Steps to Syncopation for the Modern Drummer by Ted Reed

    Progressive Steps to Syncopation is dubbed as another one of the essential books for drummers. The book is filled with exercises that specifically address syncopation. ‘Syncopation’ is defined as putting stress or accents on parts of a piece of music where they wouldn’t normally occur.

    Syncopation in drumming is what separates amateur drummers from the drumming greats. Reed’s book is meant to be worked through slowly and with care. It’s meant to help percussionists demonstrate the most control over their sticks.


     4. Afro-Cuban Rhythms for Drumset by Frank Malabe and Bob Weiner

    This book strays from the standard American styles of drumming. Afro-Cuban Rhythms is meant for those who want to expand their knowledge of the genre. Afro-Cuban Rhythms explores styles like Congo and Merengue and breaks them down into a digestible way.

    The book also includes historical information about each style. It also lets its readers know what kind of instruments are most used in the Afro-Cuban styles. This book is ideal for expanding your knowledge about rhythm styles.


    5. The Commandments of R&B Drumming by Zoro

    For percussionists who want to learn soul, funk, and hip-hop beats, The Commandments of R&B Drumming is a must-read. It’s written by Zoro, a famous percussionist who played with Frankie Valli, Lisa Marie Presley, and Sean Lennon, among many others. Modern Drummer magazine consistently names him the #1 R&B drummer, making him a great authority on the subject.

    The book is broken up into three sections: soul, funk, and R&B. Zoro takes the reader through the evolution of each style, as well as artists and styles every drummer should know. The Commandments serves as a thorough guide to grooving, told through Zoro’s unique lens.


    6. The Sound of Brushes by Ed Thigpen

    The Sound of Brushes is perfect for a percussionist who is looking to master playing with brushes. Brushes are an alternative to sticks that are quieter, but require a completely different technique than traditional sticks. Ed Thigpen aims to help intermediate percussionists pick up a unique drumming skill.

    Ed Thigpen’s book provides large diagrams on how to physically play with brushes. Though brushes are mostly used in jazz patterns, Thigpen also covers how to use the brushes in rock, Latin, and R&B genres.


    7. Bass Drum Control by Colin Bailey

    Colin Bailey’s best-selling drum book, Bass Drum Control, covers the basic elements of bass playing techniques. Bailey is a jazz drummer with a long career of backing for musicians like Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis. He became a faculty member for North Texas State University, where he went on to educate hundreds of musicians.

    Bass Drum Control is used to develop single bass drum skills that can easily be applied to double bass drum playing. Like many other helpful books, this one also features a variety of exercises that should be taken slowly. Making your way through the whole book can drastically improve your foot development over time.


    In Conclusion

    There is a huge selection of books out there to teach any drumming technique you want to learn. These 7 books are important because they cover a variety of styles, techniques, and genres within their pages. We know that these books offer everything you need to know to improve, and we recommend you pick up any of these choices! 

  • How to Position Your Drum Throne for Ergonomic Use

    If you’re just starting out on the drums, chances are you’re learning how to set up your kit. It takes time to find the perfect arrangement for your drum set—especially when it comes to the way you sit. Your drum throne should be positioned so that you are getting the most ergonomic use possible. This means that you should be able to reach every drum and cymbal easily from the way you sit on your throne.

    We here at the Drum Center of Portsmouth offer many drum throne options at our store at https://www.drumcenternh.com/. Our drum thrones come in a variety of different shapes and colors, but ultimately, how you sit is up to you. It’s important to learn the healthiest ways to position yourself and your drum throne to keep you in the best physical shape for drumming.


    Why should you sit properly?

    Sitting on your drum throne properly is very important for playing and your physical health. People who sit too low on their drum throne most commonly have lower back pain. On the other hand, sitting too high can cause your whole leg to become easily fatigued as well. 

    When you sit in the correct posture on your drum throne, you allow your body to be more relaxed. This helps you play your set easier. You will be able to play for longer amounts of time, and faster as well.

    Sitting properly will also improve the quality of your music. You may observe the following:

    • Better balance—complicated patterns are easier to play
    • More consistent sound—sitting properly limits rocking back and forth. This means you will be able to hit your drums in the same place consistently, for longer periods of time.
    • Varying orchestration—having the correct posture can allow you to access varying patterns and beats on your drum set. 


    So how do you sit properly?

    • First, you should always make sure you’re using the correct posture. The best way to have the correct posture is to make sure you’re sitting on your “sit bones.” Sit on your hands—the bones that protrude are your sit bones. Let these bones support you on your drum throne, and you will have a better posture.
    • Let your body relax back on your stool. You shouldn’t sit towards the front of your drum throne’s cushion, because this will put tension in your joints and prevent you from playing freely.
    • Last, you should align your right leg with your bass drum. You shouldn’t sit in the center of the bass drum, but you should give your right leg easy access to the pedal. This will put you in the right position for reaching the rest of the drums in your set.


    How do I determine my drum throne height?

    Most of us have varying heights and playing preferences, so one set of rules about a drum throne won’t work for every percussionist out there. But many drummers agree that your drum throne’s height should be set so that your hipbone is slightly above the top of your knee. This allows your leg to move to its natural angle, 145 degrees.

    When your leg is in its natural position, your muscles are much less strained. Some drummers opt to sit higher on their throne so it takes pressure off your back, but this is less ergonomic in terms of playing the drums.

    Another easy way to determine what height to set your drum throne to is to stand next to your stool. Then, adjust the height so it comes just above your knee caps. Many players use this method to adjust and find that the method works great!

    You should also check to see that your throne isn’t too close to your set. This can leave your legs feeling cramped and fatigued while you play. Your snare drum should be positioned so that it is at least one or two inches above your knee, so that no contact between the two occurs.


    How can I adjust the height?

    Drum thrones come with different ways to adjust their height. The one to avoid is the nut and bolt lock. These have the most limited height options and are most prone to becoming wobbly and unstable.

    Sliding tube and spindle adjustment thrones are the best bet as your options. Sliding tubes with memory locks use a simple system for easy height adjustment. Spindle adjustment allows you to rotate the seat clockwise or counter-clockwise to make the stool taller or shorter. 


    Some extra tips about your drum throne

    • When your throne becomes too wobbly, it is time to get a new one. A wobbly seat will throw off your balance and make it harder to play complicated rhythms.
    • You don’t need a backrest to play your drum set ergonomically. It only limits your range of movement—and it’s not like you’ll be sitting back on it anyway. A comfortable, backless stool adjusted to the right height is better for any drummer.
    • You can choose between seats that rotate and seats that don’t. This is based purely on preference. Some percussionists prefer some rotation while they play, while others like it totally stationary.


     In conclusion

    Positioning your drum throne for ergonomic use includes many different elements you must take into account. Making sure that you have the correct posture as well as the correct seat height helps when you are figuring out how to play your drum set correctly.

    You should also take into account the different options of drum thrones that are available. Picking the right seat is important to make sure you are comfortable and healthy while you play your set. An excellent quality drum throne will make you feel more relaxed while you play, and will save you money in the long run so you won’t have to replace it!

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