Best Drums and Percussion – Review

Music is fun and energetic. Especially when you want to learn an instrument, you need a lot of energy to play it. Also, it is associated with noise and sound. A good sound produced soothes while a bad sound produced will irritate you.

Here, in this article, we have discussed types of drums, drum amplifiers, and percussion instruments. Now, the question arises does drum amplifier are necessary as drum itself produce a loud sound. Yes, electronic drum kits or drum sets need drum amplifiers to get a louder sound.

The drum may be capable of producing a sound that is audible to you and few people around you. But when you are performing in big auditoriums, the amplifiers will boost the sound.

Also, the word is many times associated with drums during live shows or any musical events. Many people confuse and think drums and percussions are the same. Here in this article we also cleared the confusion.

In this article, you will get information on working of drums and its buying guide. Working of amplifiers & its buying guide, and buying guide of percussion as well. Last but not the least we have also mentioned our Top 8 recommendations and FAQ’s.

Types of Drums

Drums belong to the membranophone family. They consist of a drum head or drum skin, and it is stretched over a shell. The sound is produced from the drum when the drum head is vibrated. The drum head is echoed when the player strikes it with hand or sticks.

Box Drums

Box drums are usually known as Cajon, and it is from Peru. They are played by striking the box either at the front or rear faces. You can use hands, fingers or sticks to play box drums. The shape of the box drum is a cube.

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Frame Drums

It is the drum with a wider drum head and has a greater width than depth. They are the most ancient musical instrument and are to be the first to be invented. Often, a round wooden frame is used in this type of drums construction. Also, few frame drums come with metal rings or jingles attached. Moreover, there are many types of frame drums available in the market.

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Marching Drums

Ideally, they are used while marching either in school or army marching or any marching. They are of three types – Snare drums, Tenor drums, and Bass Drums.

Snare drums are usually made of Kevlar that have high-tension. Also, they are much more profound.

Tenor drums are also called as quads, tom-toms, quints and are single headed. Usually, they are played with mallets.

Bass drums produce the deepest sound and are usually carried on straps or harness. Bass drums are double headed. They are positioned such that the drum heads are to the left and right to the player.

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Hand Drums

As the name suggests, these drums are played with bare hand and not using sticks or mallets.Also, there are various types of hand drums, and each has a different playing technique. Bongos, Congas, Kanjiras, are named a few hand drums.

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Acoustic Drums

They are the most popular drums and have wide varieties with different configuration and size. Jazz drums, fusion drums, rock drums, electronic drums are named few that belong to acoustic drums.

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How do Drums work?

Drums mainly produce sound on the vibration of drum heads. Drum shell plays a key factor in toning, sound. The larger and deeper drum shells have a thick and deeper impact. While smaller and shallow have a brighter or lighter impact.

How does drum actually produce a sound? It is all simple physics. When the drum heads are struck or played by hand, it changes shape and air compresses inside the shell. All, these changes are constantly transmitted to the drum shell and reflected makes vibrations. This vibration becomes a beautiful sound and is heard.

Buying Guide for Drums

  • Drum sticks and its size

Drum sticks often come in different sizes.  A player must know which size stick should be used to produce a particular sound. Heavier sticks can be used for producing rock sounds while lighter sticks can be used to produce jazz sound. For practicing purpose, few drummers prefer heavier ones to gain stamina and strength.

  • Material

Perfect wood for your drum sounds perfect. Wood is used to make drums, and we have a different kind of woods used in making drums.

Oakwood, maple wood, basswood are named few. The higher-quality wood used, durable the musical instrument is. Also, we find drums which are made of metal. If you are looking for metal-based drum, then ensure that it is rust-free and the sound produced also remains the same.

  • Portable

If you are a frequent traveler, it is better to choose the drum which is portable. A heavy weighed drum is also hard to carry. Moreover, if you are working on drum kits or drum sets that include different types of drums weight always matters.

  • Size

Size of the drums matters especially when a different sized same type drum is used for producing different pitch.

  • Drum Shell

Usually, several layers of wood are used in forming a drum shell. The higher number of layers produce high fundamental note and sound. Less layered drum shell produce lower fundamental note and sound. Also, the drum must have strong drum shell for better performance.

Types of Instrument Amplifiers

Instrument amplifiers coverts the less audible electronic signal into a larger electronic signal. This signal is fed to the loudspeaker for clear audibility. Also, this amplifier is used for different kinds of musical instruments. Moreover, few instrument amplifiers are capable of modifying the tone of the signal.

Amplifier uses three different technologies to make it work. They are Tube Amplifiers, Solid-State Amplifiers, and Hybrid Amplifiers.

Tube amplifiers have vacuum tubes as the dominant electronic component. Many musicians feel that they produce a natural and warmer sound. Also, they need good maintenance and are fragile.

While Solid-State Amplifiers are based on semiconductor transistor and are less expensive, weigh-less and are resistant to bump, so they are considered ideal during transportation.

Hybrid amplifiers are considered as the most common amplifiers that use a tube preamp with a solid state power amplifier.

Guitar Amplifiers

Guitar Amplifiers pickups the weak signal from the electronic guitar or bass guitar or acoustic guitar and drives loudspeaker at necessary volume. Also, they are capable of modifying certain instruments frequencies.

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Acoustic Amplifiers

They are ideally designed for violin and electronic guitars and are similar to keyboard amplifiers. Also, they avoid tonal coloration and have a flat frequency response. For producing clean sound often they have power amplifiers and prevent unwanted distortion.

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Keyboard Amplifiers

They are different from another type of amplifiers as this kind of amplifiers need to produce crisp high-frequency sound and solid low-frequency sound. Also, they can be used for pianos and other musical instruments.

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Drum Amplifiers

Drum amplifiers are used for electronic drum kits and MIDI-capable instruments. Usually, they have good and large speakers. Drum amplifiers are capable of producing a wider frequency spectrum. Also, many drummers use this amplifier as powered stage monitors.

How Do Drum Amplifiers work?

Drum Amplifiers are used to convert the weak electronic signal into a stronger electronic signal, and when fed to the speaker it produces a louder sound. They are based on the tube or valve technology and solid-state technology. Solid-state Amplifiers are more considered due to the lighter weight and cost less.

Drum amplifiers pick up the sound or signal produced when drum head is hit. The amplifier converts this signal and amplifies into a strong electronic signal. This strong electronic signal when fed to a speaker produces a louder sound. Many amplifiers come with good speakers.

Buying Guide For amplifiers

  Tube or solid state

Amplifiers may be based on tubed or solid-state technology. Tubed amplifiers produce great sound. While solid-state amplifiers have greater distortion and need zero maintenance. It is the most common thing to be considered while buying any amplifier irrespective of an instrument. Moreover, solid-state amplifiers are less expensive.

  Speaker size

It is not necessary that all amplifier speakers come with equal and same size. The size of the amplifier will vary and also the sound quality produced varies. However, a small speaker will produce high frequency while compared to a large speaker.

 Combo or Head/cab

Amplifiers come with a different configuration like either it may be a combo or head/cab. A combo amplifier (combination amplifier) has an amplifier and a speaker in a single cabinet. While few amplifiers have a separate head and speaker cabinet. Usually, head/cab are lesser and can be carried easily while the combo is heavier.

Types of Percussion

Percussion is those who produce sound either by rubbing, striking or scrapped by the beater. Also, they are believed to be the oldest musical instruments.

Percussions are mainly classified as Pitched and Un-pitched Percussions. Usually, they are considered as the backbone of the musical ensemble.

Pitched percussions produce sounds and notes with an identifiable pitch. While un-pitched percussions produce sound and notes with an unidentifiable pitch. Tabla, Mridangam, and Ghatam are few Indian Percussion instruments.

Pitched Percussion

They are also known as Tuned Percussion. Normal music notation is noted and a specific pitch is produced. They are used in the composition of melody tunes. Most common pitched percussion instruments are a xylophone, marimba, glockenspiel, and much more.

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Un-pitched Percussion

They are also known as Auxiliary Percussion and Un-tuned Percussion. They do not produce any specific pitch and have a normal rhythmic notation. Most common un-pitched percussion instruments are bass drums, tom-toms, gong and much more. They are used in the composition of rhythmic tunes.

Tabla

Traditionally, Tabla is Indian origin instrument consisting of two drums. Also, the two drums are single headed and are barrel-shaped with different shape and size.

The Male drum or the bass drum is played with the left hand and is smaller in size. The male drum is called as dhagga or bayan. While the female drum or treble drum is played with the right hand and is larger.

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Mridangam

Mridangam is the ancient Indian origin percussion instrument. Often, Mridangam is accompanied by Kanjira or Ghatam or both during percussion ensembles. Also, it is a double-sided barrel-shaped drum with one side face larger than the other side. Moreover, Mridangam bulged at the center.

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Ghatam

Ghatam is also the oldest traditional south Indian percussion instrument. It looks similar to the traditional pot. Usually, it is made of clay mixed with brass or copper or iron filings. Based on the size of the Ghatam the pitch is varied. Pitch of the Ghatam can be altered when water or clay is applied inside the instrument.

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Bongo

They produce high-pitched sounds, and often they are mistaken with conga drums. Bongo has two drums one is smaller than the other. The sound is generated when the edge of the drum is struck with fingers or palms. Traditionally these are made using wood. In the modern age ceramic, fiberglass and metals are used.

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Buying Guide For Percussion

  • Pitch

It is the key factor to be considered while buying a percussion instrument. As we know that percussion instruments may be either pitched or unpitched. Any unpitched percussion instrument cannot be pitched. Also, a pitched instrument cannot be adjusted to low pitch or high pitch.

  • Type of skin used in Tabla

Generally, the skin of the goat is used in Tabla. Also, they must be flexible to tune properly. So that it can be ranged in two to three notes. Moreover, three different skins are used like thin skin, medium thick skin, and thick skin. All three of them produce different sounds. Thin skin is not durable and medium thick skin has good tone. While a thick skin Tabla is long lasting and performs better.

  • Sound quality

Quality of the sound depends on many factors like skin type used, depth of the shell and tune it was set. Also, in Tabla a black paste is applied at the center which helps in producing good sound. This thick black paste is called Siyahi.

  • Type of Wood used in Bongo

A traditional Bongo was made using Oak woods. Now, a wide variety of woods are used to make Bongo. Woods like maple, ash, mahogany, bubinga, etc. are also used

1. Alesis Nitro 8-Piece All-Mesh Electronic Drum Kit – Our pick

Alesis Nitro 8-Piece All-Mesh Electronic Drum Kit
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Alesis was founded in 1980. All their products are manufactured in China and designed in the US. They design a digital audio processor, audio mixers, recording equipment and much more. Their products are meant for professional use in live performance and studio. Also, products are categorized into Drums & Percussion, Live Sounds, Recording, and Keyboard.

The electronic drum kit includes eight pieces, and it comes with mesh heads. Set up of the product is hassle-free. It has built-in play-along tracks and percussion sounds. The mesh heads provide better performance.

 

Main Features
  • The Electronic drum kit comes with mesh heads
  • Drum module comes with a special feature of 60 in-built play-along tracks, 40 different kits and hundreds of percussion sounds
  • The electronic drum kit has 4-post durable aluminum rack, kick pedals, three 10inch cymbals, three eight-inch mesh tomsand eight-inch dual-zone mesh drum. The mesh heads are provided for better performance
  • Also, the drum kit comes with all sorts of cables, drum keys and power supply for easy setup
  • Moreover, it has MIDI input and output ports
PROS (What we liked)
  • A user says the drum kit is best for beginners
  • High sensitivity and good feel mesh heads
  • Good record functions
  • Doesn’t need a mixer
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • It does not have an in-built speaker
  • Quality of the stand can be improved
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2. Clapbox Cajon CB11 Oak Wood – Easy use

Clapbox Cajon CB11 Oak Wood
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CLAPBOX is an Indian company started in 2016.  They provide a wide range of musical products and accessories. Also, their products are well tested for proper sound quality. CLAPBOX products include Bar Chimes, Practice Pad, Drum Throne, Cajon Bag, and much more.

CB11 Cajon is the product of CLAPBOX. It is portable and can resist the weight of 100 plus kg. Oakwood Tapa is used to make it and produces good bass sound and snare sound. It is well finished with four legs attached at the bottom. Also, it can be used by professionals.

Main Features
  • The CLAPBOX box-drum comes with four black colored large legs for stability
  • It is made of Oakwood Tapa, and the shell is solid MDF
  • To deliver the Cajon sound, this box-drum has three sets of fixed internal wires
  • Also, the drum produces perfect bass and crisp snare sound
  • The product has smooth wood finishing and good build quality
PROS (What we liked)
  • This box drum can be used for pro recording
  • Perfect for acoustic performances
  • Bass and snare sound are completely good
  • Also, the product has good finishing
  • Moreover, it is available for an affordable price
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • Quality of the leg can be improved
  • Quality of the front panel should be improved
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3. Pyle-Pro PTED01 Electronic Table Digital Drum Kit – Lightweight Portable

Pyle-Pro PTED01 Electronic Table Digital Drum Kit
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Pyle is a renowned company and was founded in 1960. They are a leading manufacturer of high-quality woofers. Pyle Pro features musical instruments, DJ equipment, and other necessary accessories. Their products are well designed, innovative and manufactured to match professional standards.

Customize your music with audio configuration controls. You can play your table drum kit anywhere as it runs with batteries. For voltage compatibility, the products must be used with step up or step down converter. The drum pads work with touch sensitivity.

Main Features
  • The product comes with one year warranty
  • It can be connected to PC or Mac
  • The digital drum kit produces a sound similar to an electronic drum kit
  • Also,  it has an LCD screen and audio configuration controls.
  • They can be played anywhere as it runs on batteries and includes AC adaptor
  • It has a kick and hi-hat pedals
  • A port for connecting headphones and a pair of drumstick
  • The table top digital kit has 25 preset drum kits, 215 percussion sounds, and five user kits
PROS (What we liked)
  • Though the product cannot replace the standard electronic drum kit yet, it has best features with good quality
  • User-friendly audio controls
  • Also, the product is compact
  • Moreover, the sound quality is good
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • Bass drum pedal is too responsive
  • Quality of the built-in speakers can be improved
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4. Vault DM-30 30W Electronic Drum Monitor – Ideal monitor

Vault DM-30 30W Electronic Drum Monitor
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The vault was started in 2012. Their products include harmonica, soprano, electric guitar, digital tuner and much more. Also, Vault products are used widely in studios and performances. Products are designed to meet high-quality.

Vault DM-30 is designed to compact. It has in-built 2-band EQ to adjust the tone. Also, dedicated volume controls can balance the external audio. The 2-way coaxial speakers are an ideal companion for any brand electronic drum kit.

Main Features
  • The weight of the product is around 14 kg
  • DM 30 electronic drum kit monitor has a ten-inch two-way coaxial loudspeaker producing good sound
  • The volume control knob is provided to control two different input sources
  • A line input and drums input are provided separately
  • Also, the headphone output is provided when you want to practice at night
  • An external CD or MP3 player can be connected
PROS (What we liked)
  • Works well as a personal monitor
  • Sound quality is good
  • The product works great with Vault Electronic Drum Kit
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • Suitable only for small-sized drum kits

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5. Coolmusic DK-35 35watts Personal Monitor Amplifier Electric – Mic reverb amplifier

Coolmusic DK-35 35watts Personal Monitor Amplifier Electric
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Coolmusic Tech was established in 2007. Their products undergo internal testing and meet quality standards. They are good at research and development. A wide range of products includes guitar amplifier, drum amplifier, audio mixer and much more.

DK-35 amplifier consumes 50 watts. It also works for keyboard and acoustic guitar. It comes with 10inch coaxial speakers, built-in reverb, mic input, and line in socket — also, easy adjustment of bass controls.

Main Features
  • The weight of the product is around 14 kg
  • It has 2 line EQ system with Bass and Treble
  • Also, it has in-built reverb, headphone socket
  • Ten-inch coaxial speakers for better sound performance
  • Also, a built-in spring mic reverb
  • Moreover, both line in socket and mic can be used simultaneously at the same time
PROS (What we liked)
  • Bass and treble adjustments working good
  • Louder sound quality
  • Also, it is durable
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • Found difficulty in handling bass
  • Can not handle a wide range of frequency
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6. Sai Musical Professional Dholak With Rope For Orchestra – Sheesham wood dholak

Sai Musical Professional Dholak With Rope For Orchestra
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Sai Musical provide services in making available of all kind of musical instruments. Also, the products are delivered on time. Their products include trumpet, guitar, tabla and much more.

This Indian Percussion instrument is double headed and used widely in recording environments. This double-headed dholak has bass on one end and treble at another end.

The bass head has a single membrane and has the application of clay mixture, tar, and sand on inner surfaces.

Main Features
  • The 18inch dholak has 9inch bass and treble 7inch
  • It has steel bolts, and goatskin is used for bass and treble heads
  • The shell of the dholak is made of Sheesham wood
  • A rope is provided for orchestral use
  • The product comes with dholak masala, a belt, a carry bag, and a spanner
PROS (What we liked)
  • It is a budget-friendly product
  • Sound quality is awesome
  • Easy to maintain
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • No cons were found
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7. Baba Surjan Singh & Sons Professional Wooden Indian Musical Instrument – Hand made Tabla

Baba Surjan Singh & Sons Professional Wooden Indian Musical Instrument
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Baba Surjan Singh & Sons established in 1944. Their products are known for good tuning and high-quality. Their products include harmonium, tabla, dholak, violin and much more. It is the popular Indian rhythm instrument. This tabla is ideal for beginners and students.

Main Features
  • The bass drum is made of iron, and the other one is made of wood
  • It comes with a hammer, two durable rings to place the tabla and a cloth to cover the head from damaging
  • The heads are made out of goatskin
  • Tunning type of Tabla is the strap
PROS (What we liked)
  • Quality of the sound produced is good
  • Look and feel of the product is excellent
  • It is ideal for practicing while learning Tabla
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • Require frequent tensioning
  • Not to be used in professional shows.
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8. Sharma Musical Store Wooden Bongo With Bag – Economic instrument

Sharma Musical Store Wooden Bongo With Bag
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Sharma Musical store is a renowned store that offers services in providing a wide range of musical instruments and accessories. They deliver quality products and are often on time. Products like guitar, dholak, harmonium and much more are included in their products list.

The specially designed easy to play the musical instrument can be used anywhere. It is ideal for learners and beginners who want to practice it daily. The zipped carrying bag comes with a handle for easy carrying.

Main Features
  • Bongo is easy to carry, and it can be used anywhere either in-home parties or professional shows etc
  • It comes in wooden brown color
  • The product includes a carry bag to store the instrument when not in use
  • It can also be played on a stand
  • Widely used in parties, professional shows, celebrations
  • It can also be used as a decorative piece due to the great artistic value
PROS (What we liked)
  • The product is available in two colors
  • it is ideal for beginners
  • Quality of the leather is good
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • Quality of the steel ring must be improved
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What should I use to clean my drums?

Any drum with spilled food items is more prone to damage. Always dust your drums with a dry cloth and a damp cloth to clean the exterior is good. Never use harsh chemicals to clean the drum. You can use a mild dishwasher soap to clean the drums. Remember you should only use a dry cloth to clean the inside of the shell as it is not polished. If you ever use damp cloth inside the wood absorbs the dampness causing damage to the shell.

2. How often should I change drum heads?

Replacing the drum heads depends on the maintenance of drums, how long the drum heads are used. Also, if there is any change in the sound produced or problem in tuning then change the drum heads. Moreover, if the drums are being used regularly, especially for beginners who practice a lot, it is ideal for changing the drum heads for every six months.

3. What material is used to make Tabla?

Tabla consists of double-headed drums daya and baya. Generally, wood is used in making tabla. Woods like Neem, Sheesham, Mahagony are used. Baya is also made using earthen pot, copper, iron, and few metals. While seasoned goatskin is used for the drum heads. Also, leather straps are provided to tune the Tabla.

4. How to clean a bongo skin?

The bongo skin must be wiped with a damp cloth but not with a wet cloth. Before wiping remove the dust with a dry cloth. After wiping the skin pat dry it with a cotton cloth to remove moist. Always store it in a dry place rather than a moist place.

5. Drum amplifiers specs & features that matter while buying one?

Though we have a good range of drum amplifiers available in the market, one must consider a few key things like power, built-in speakers, wattage, reverb, durability, combo amplifier or not (especially for beginners) and warranty.

Conclusion

I hope this article clears you with different types of drums, drum amplifiers, and Percussions. Also, the working principle and a buying guide to check before you buying. Also, few best picks from our end. We consider Alesis electronic drum kit as our best pick. If you want to choose a portable drum kit then chose tabletop digital drum kit. To amplify your drums chose Vault drum monitor.

If you are looking for a professional percussion instrument, then opt for professional dholak. If you are you not serious in buying any musical instrument yet need one musical instrument to learn then chose Bongo. Also, it is an economic one. If you want to make any choices of buying merely click on the link provided.

Vibha Navarathna
 

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