What equipment do I need to learn to play drums

This is a very common question for people just learning to play drums —

what do I need to get started?

And I’d like to layout a couple different approaches to help you decide what to do.
There is no right way or wrong way. Just find what works for you and get started.
A lot of equipment is not required, as you will see in these programs.

To get started, I will give you 3 options for equipment needed to get started.

The first is the Minimal option: this is the most minimal equipment you could possible
have to learn to play drums. The second option is called the medium option: this is a
step up from the minimal option but is enough to play basic beats. And the third option
is the Maximum option: this is all the goodies.

Minimal – this is the most basic equipment required to learn to play drums. It is possible and I have seen many people using the minimal equipment for a long time. Some old school drum teachers would recommend this approach. The main reason is because it eliminates the distractions of the drum set when you first begin. You can focus on the fundamentals of:holding the sticks, hitting the practice pad, and playing the rudiments. In my experience this does not work for most people because they want to play drums … and start learning stuff they can share with their friends and family … right away.

MINIMAL Equipment List

  • One set of drum sticks
  • Minimum equipment needed to learn to play drums

  • A practice pad — but this is not required if you want to beat on the furniture or pillows. I do not recommend this because, if you don’t own the stuff you’re beating on, you will be in big trouble. Cheaper and easier to get a drum pad.

    Some practice pads can be mounted on a stand. Some will just lay on the table or bed or furniture. It is recommended to mount the pad on a stand so that you can adjust the height of the pad.

  • A drum stool — but this is not required if you have a chair that you can use.

As you can see, all the equipment that is required is a pair of drum sticks.

Medium – the medium option includes drums and cymbals. It is not a full drum set but is is the minimum required to play basic drum beats. As you will see, cymbals are as important [and in some cases more important] than the drums. Put as much money and interest in the selection of the cymbals as you do the drums.

MEDIUM Equipment List

  • One set of drum sticks
  • A bass drum and pedal
  • A snare drum and a stand
  • A hi-hat stand and cymbals
  • A drum stool

These are the most basic elements needed to play drum beats. I have actually played gigs with this simple setup. 90% of all drum playing is played on these pieces: hi-hat, snare drum, bass drum, and a seat.

DO NOT GET DISTRACTED by lots of other drums and lots of other cymbals. That will come in time. For now, focus on these basic pieces.

Maximum — this is all the goodies included

MAXIMUM Equipment ListNeil Peart full drum set -- what equipment do you need to play drums

  • One set of drum sticks
  • A full drum set
  • A bass drum and pedal
  • A snare drum and stand
  • A hi-hat stand and cymbals
  • A tom-tom [one or more]
  • A floor tom [one or more]
  • A ride cymbal [one or more]
  • A crash cymbal [one or more]
  • A drum stool

After a few lesson a few other things may be required

  • A metronome
  • A music stand
  • An ipod [or music player] and headphones

Hope this helps. This is my best advice on what equipment is needed to play drums.

Of course, I’ve also got a more comprehensive course which you should look at here when
you’re ready: We can help you get ready to play.


OK, I’ll leave you with that for right now.

Thanks again for your willingness to give me a shot. I know you’ll be happy you did.

All my best,

Marshall :-)
President and Founder


{ 2 trackbacks }

Play Drums with Marshall : Play Drums with Marshall
April 26, 2011 at 6:17 am
pearl cajon drum set
October 15, 2014 at 3:42 am

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Asamu dammie October 3, 2012 at 9:05 am

Nice lesson

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