Buying the first e-drum kit

Many people want to buy an e-drum kit, but don’t know what kit to buy. They ask for advice or confirmation and are usually unsure. Some are back into drumming after years of a break and some just want to start playing drums. Others need a present for their kids. Those are 3 very common scenarios.

What are the beginner mistakes when buying the first electronic drum kit?

My mistake was that I looked for the price only. I did not know anything about dynamic or even the features of an e-drum kit. So I went for a cheap unknown brand kit with pads made out of plastic and the cheapest piece of crap drum module. The pads were so damn loud, my neighbors complained immediately. It was not even possible to hear the module sounds properly, as the stick noise was still louder than everything else. At this time I did not know that Roland exists and I really thought e-drums suck.

One evening I went to a friend’s place and tried out his Roland HD-1. I was blown away. The mesh head, the sensitivity, the feeling, it was just amazing. And it was only an entry level kit.

used - Roland HD1Just to make clear, this is not an endorsement about Roland. You will get my honest opinion.

Within the next week I managed to get a used Roland HD-1 myself.
I had massive problems to get rid of my old Tupperware kit. No one wanted to have it. It was like having to pay people to make them wanting it.

So this is the first conclusion, avoid cheap brands as beginner mistakes! If you want to save money, go for a used or even slightly damaged Roland V-drum kit. My YouTube Channel is providing video instructions for so many repairs. It is sometimes easier than you might think to fix a broken music gear. This is of course only one solution. In case you don’t want to buy a used kit, you can go for a new Roland entry level drum kit. I recommend the new TD-1 or the TD-11. They are both amazing kits.

For all the parents:

It is sometimes hard to figure out if your kid will consistently be into playing drums after a purchase. You will never know before. But if you make the mistake of buying a cheap piece of garbage, it might happen that your kid will not enjoy playing drums at all. It should be fun for them to play and you don’t want to get annoyed by noisy plastic trash yourself. In most cases you will have no idea what to buy. My advice is like mentioned before, go for a Roland TD-1 or a TD-11. Both are basic drum kits and ideal as experiment to see if playing drums is the right hobby for your children. Both kits are not too expensive and perfect for practicing and they can even be extended with one extra pad. If you are a handy person, go for a second hand kit like the TD-3, TD-4, TD-9, they are all good.

used - Roland TD3Usually what happens to people who really get into e-drums is that they start off with an entry level and extend their kit until it becomes a huge advanced level kit. It is like an addiction. More pads, bigger rack, a better module. It’ll never stops. Others might realize they almost never play their e-drums or they even stopped playing drums completely.

And here comes the big advantage of a used e-drum kit. These kits keep their value. You can still sell them for a very good price, if they are in good condition. I saw people who sold their used kit for more money than for what they got it for through websites like LeoList. This works, of course, only with second hand gear. New gear looses 30-50% of its value immediately.

In the end it depends totally on the personality of the drummer. But as e-drums are quite expensive, it is always good to compare prices and find the very best solution according to your financial situation.

Have a look at this video to see how I restored an electronic drum kit.

No matter what you do, don’t buy a kit on installments. Click here to read a post about this topic.

If money doesn’t matter, go for a kit which offers positional sensing on the snare and has a realistic hi hat (Vh-11). The more expensive, the more realistic the kit becomes. But extra features, like a full mesh kit or a 3 zone ride cymbal, cost a lot of money. This is something for an advanced drummer and can cost a few thousand bucks.

I hope I could give you enough good reasons to start your drumming journey with an entry level Roland kit. Whether you are a worried parent who thinks: My kid has another crazy idea. Or over 40 and didn’t play for ages and really want to go back into drumming without spending a lot of money. Maybe you are the best girlfriend/wife in the world and would like to buy the perfect present.

Budged list:

200-300€: Used Roland HD-1, HD-3

300-500€: Used Roland TD-3, TD-4, new Roland TD-1

500-1000€: Used Roland TD-9, TD-11, new Roland TD-1KV

1000-1500€: Used Roland TD-12, TD-15, new TD-11

From 1500€: Used TD-20, new 2box drumit 5, new TD-15.

15 Replies to “Buying the first e-drum kit”

  1. Hi Marcel,
    Great article! I have two questions:
    The td1 new or the td3 second hand?
    Is a mash snare worth the money for an beginner.
    Thanks in advance, regards, Gerwin

  2. Hi Marcel,

    My boy is really keen to get into drumming. I have now looked into the TD-1KV and the option of a second-hand TD-4. Also looked at the TD-4KP portable model, but it does not have the mesh snare-pad, which the TD-1KV and TD-4 has.

    What would you recommend as a good kit for him to start and grow with? He is 6 years old…

    Thanks,

    • Hi Andrew, do not buy the TD-4KP, the bass drum pedal is very noisy. I would recommend buying a TD-1. You can still upgrade to a mesh snare after him playing for a while. The TD-1 is perfect for the start, I would even play it with 8 years experience. You can’t do anything wrong with that. Just do not buy a cheap brand kit, since kids can loose interest trough an nonfuntional drum kit really quickly. BTW, you are officially the parent of the month on v-drumtips! I think it is great that you make this possible for your kid:)

  3. Hi thanks a lot for your awesome blog, very helpful for beginners like me.

    I’m about to buy my first drumkit and I have a ~1000$ budget. Td11k seems to be a good choice but I also hesitate with the td1k, mainly due to the limited space I have for it. Does the space taken is very different between those two drumkits ?

    Thanks !

  4. Hi,
    Nice article.
    TD3 TD4 TD6 or TD9 secondhand?
    All in pretty good condition.
    Any recommendations?
    Thanks in advance.

  5. I bought a TD-1KV for our son to learn drums, because with Aerodrums that was too complicated for him to set-up and alhtough I think it’s a pretty good solution for quiet practicing for a drummer with experience this is different likely for a beginner. For a total beginner who does not know or have the experience where the individual parts of the drumkit are a real e-drum should be better, so I bought the TD-1KV this week.

    Although I am very much disapointed with the TD-1KV.

    1) The closed Hi-hat is almost non-hearable. This is in contrast to a real hi-hit which of course is less loud when it’s closed, but you can hear it. With the reasonably o.k. sounding kits (Nr. 1, 3, 6 and maybe 10) of the TD-1KV the closed Hi-hat is not loud enough IMO
    With Aerodrums this sound waaaaayyy more realistic.

    2) The rubber pads only have one zone, but when hitting the pad closer to the edge the sound is _much_ quieter — in contrast to a real Tom where the sound would change somewhat — maybe a bit quieter too, but surely not in such a way like the TD-1KV behaves.

    3) The sound of the kits is so bad to my ears that I do not find it motivates practicing. Again the sounds of Aerodrums are in a total different class. I think the TD-1KV is close to be non-usable if you want a somewhat realistic acoustic drum sound.

    We tried also a TD-30 in the shop. _This_ is no comparison. Of course I understand that this is a somehow “unfair” comparison, but in the end even an entry-level kit has to allow musical expression and not stand in the way of development — which I think is very much limited with the TD1-KV.

    I’m a guitar player myself and not a drummer, but I have ears — I was really hoping the TD-1KV would be fine for a first start, but it’s not IMO.

    An instrument has to inspire. The TD-1KV is not an instrument in my recognition, but a better toy. Unfortuantelly the TD-30 / 25 is not in our budget now. And I fear paying more than 1000 Euro for a TD-11 or a used TD-9 or something else will be “too expensive” in the way that in the end you’ll want to buy a “real” solution later anway. 🙁

    Plus-Side of the TD-1 is that the kit seems built in such a way that it’s relatively low-cost for manfacturing – resulting in a lower price, but still quite good quality-wise as far as it seems so far.

    I think we have to look for a practice room somewhere — and then adding the practice pad and Areodrums for home practice. The latter I hope will become a good practice solution / addition when one has gained some experience on the real kit.

    • Thanks for your post.
      1. A closed hi-hat is always quieter, even with acoustic drums.
      2. Have you played with the settings? You can do some adjustments.
      3. I thought the set is for your son, how can you not find the motivation to practice? Roland sounds are not the best, try to connect a mac and use EZdrummer if sounds are very important for you.
      The TD-1 is an entry level kit which is good enough for practice and more sensitive than anything else in this price range. I think your expectations are very high. TD-11 and 9 will not provide much better sounds either.

      The kind of kit you want to have costs 4000$ and is called ATV adrums;)

  6. I tried to find a drum beginner kit for my girl. I found a Roland TD-6V second hand, but it said hi-hat foot control not function. Does it matter?

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