Kids love drums, but finding a kids drum set can be a little more difficult than average. Depending on the size of the kid, some drum sizes become hard or impossible to play. “Junior” kits exist, but in fewer numbers than adult kits. The good news is, most “junior” drum sets are way cheaper than your average “adult” kit.
This is primarily due to the fact that the quality of materials is far inferior in a junior kit.
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This is OK!
There’s nothing wrong with learning on a cheap instrument. These flimsy kits are designed small and are able to withstand the light punishment that a smaller child can dish out, as a matter of fact, CGuide has awesome guides on the topic as well. Now, there are some questions to ask before investing in a kids drum set.
How Old Is the Child?
Depending on the age of your child, your choice in kids drum set might change. If a child is really young (2-4 years old), you won’t need a very expensive or high-quality drum kit. Kids at this age are just developing motor skills and would progress just fine on a very cheap set. You can find kits for $90-$150 from manufacturers like “Mendini” or ”Remo” on Amazon or eBay quite easily.
The parts are not “professional grade”, but will work just fine in allowing a child to explore the drum set in his early development. If your kid is a bit older, you can consider investing in a slightly higher quality junior kit.
PDP (a division of DW) makes a junior drumset of pretty good quality. It’s made by a trusted drum company and sounds like a “real” adult drum set. It’s got quality heads, quality lugs, rims, wood, etc. The only difference is that it’s smaller! PDP suggests that the drum set is ideal for kids aged 3-7, but I’ve heard of full-grown adults being able to play the drum kit with reasonable comfort (I probably wouldn’t recommend it, though).
If your kid is big enough to fit it, old enough to be serious about music and it’s within your budget, consider investing in an “adult” sized drum kit. Smaller bass drums (18″-20″) can be used to accommodate slightly smaller players, and hardware of the right sizes can be purchased separately.
How Advanced Is Your Child?
If a child is very advanced, but still too small for a full-sized adult kit, I would definitely still recommend the PDP or Ludwig “junior kits” as a kids drum set. At a certain point, it becomes a drag to play a really inferior drum set. If your kid is very good, he or she might need to start using a well-made drum kit. I’ll admit, however, that these instances are probably very rare.
Most children will outgrow a junior size kit before needing to play on a quality drum set. Also, the term “needing” is quite subjective. The drum sets that the great masters before us used to play on would be considered inferior by today’s standards, and they managed to play beautiful music throughout their professional careers on these instruments.
What’s Your Budget Like?
A big factor for parents can be the price tag of the kid’s drum set. Money can be tight, but thankfully a cheap kids drum set will do the job just fine in most cases. The price of a quality junior kit really isn’t that steep compared to adult kits, though. So if it’s within your budget, you might say “why not”, and just go for the PDP or Ludwig “junior” models.
Just remember there’s nothing wrong with a cheaper “junior” set! Whatever choice you make; your child will probably just be glad to be playing drums at all!