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Get into the groove with the 9 best drum kits of 2021

There’s nothing more fun for a drummer than to choose a drum kit that’s perfect for their style. Here are 9 of the very best kits that you can play in 2021.

Purchasing a drum kit is an entirely different ball game compared with the purchase of other instruments. Since there are significantly more variables to consider, drummers are given an enormous amount of choice over how their instrument looks, sounds and feels. How large should my symbols be? Should I have a 3 piece or 7 piece kit? What genre am I aiming for? Whilst all these options can be stressful, it also presents an exciting opportunity to craft your perfect instrument.

Due to cost and size, drummers tend to modify the one kit they already have instead of collecting multiples the way a guitarist or saxophonist might. This means there’s pressure to get it right. So let’s check out some of the best kits in the business in 2021.

Terry Bozzio
Terry Bozzio, former Frank Zappa Drummer, playing his giant DW Drum kit.
Photo: Dallas News

Tama Star Maple

Tama’s Star series is the Japanese company’s most recent flagship, replacing the Starclassic series. While available in a variety of different woods, the maple set offers easy tuning and versatility like no other.

Featuring the new ‘Solid Core ply’ technology, which involves a thick 2.5mm inner ply, sandwiched between 4 cross-laminated 1.5mm plies, these shells are bright, open, and resonant, with a rich tone that pleases the ear. Accompanied by high quality, super resonant hardware, die-cast hoops, and a rounded bearing edge, Tama’s Star maples are an exceptional choice for those looking for a kit to do it all.

To find out more head over to the Tama website.

 

Ludwig Legacy Mahogany

The American drum giant notorious for vintage tone and warmth is back, continuing to bring a modern flair to the classics. The Legacy Mahogany combines unrivalled warmth with mod-cons such as a more robust design and dynamic hardware.

Available in multiple configurations, the classic 3-ply shell features a poplar centre ply, with mahogany plies on either side, a shell design that has been a feature of Ludwig for generations. Played by the likes of Ringo Starr and John Bonham, Ludwig has continued to dominate the market with a tone that just can’t be rivalled.

To find out more head over to the Ludwig website.

 

Gretsch USA Custom

Though famously associated with guitars, the Gretsch name is just as renowned for its output of original, classic drum kits. And like their axes, Gretsch kits are beautifully designed and thoroughly ‘Americana’ in style.

The USA custom is their top-tier model, allowing customers to choose their specific configuration. The shells are Gretch signature, 6-ply maple/gum, and feature styling reminiscent of the big band jazz era. For those after that old-school American tone, a Gretsch USA Custom is an excellent choice.

To find out more head over to the Gretsch website.

Pearl Export EXX

One of the most recognisable names in drums, Pearl offers a wide range of kits, meeting the needs of the drummer with any budget. For those starting out or looking for something cheap without compromising on quality, the Pearl Export EXX is the perfect solution.

The Export EXX is the best-selling drum kit ever made, due to its wide variety of configurations, low cost, and fantastic sound. Making use of a super sturdy 6ply poplar/mahogany shell and 45-degree bearing edge, the Export EXX is the perfect gateway into your new drumming addiction.

To find out more head over to the Pearl website.

Yamaha PHX

The PHX is a robust high-end kit from a trusted brand. The PHX was first released as the Recording Custom series in the 1970s and it has since been regularly updated to meet the demands of studio and touring drummers all over the world.

Yamaha believes they have created “the ultimate musical instrument for drummers” with the PHX, and with the tone that resonates from those thick 11ply Jatoba/Kapur/Maple shells, they make a very good case.

To find out more head over to the Yamaha website.

DW Collector’s Series

The ultra-customisable flagship from DW is commonly considered one of the best kits on the market today. While a younger company than some of its major rivals, DW has quickly worked their way to the top of the ladder with its Collector’s Series.

The Collector’s Series allows customers to choose specific shell type, wood grain orientation, shell configuration, hardware, and finish, allowing the customer full control of the product they receive.

To find out more head over to the DW website.

 

A&F Raw Aluminium

When it comes to the most luxurious of the luxury with drums, nothing comes close to A&F. With super vintage styling, unmatched sound, and an unlimited budget in mind, A&F construct the most boutique looking and sounding drums, worthy of the massive price tag. One of their latest releases, the aluminium set, is no exception.

The hand-cut and rolled aluminium shells are combined with a 45” bearing edge to create a shell with a massive tuning range, deep warmth, and massive crack. With those with money to throw around, look no further than A&F, and their aluminium drums.

For more, go check out the A&F website

Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove

For those wanting something small for gigging, or perhaps a kit suited to a younger drummer, the Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove is hard to beat. Designed by the Roots and session drummer extraordinaire, in collaboration with Ludwig, the Breakbeats set is made to be portable, while still maintaining the classic vintage tone and punch Ludwig is known for.

Featuring a small configuration of 7″, 13″ and 16″, the Breakbeats keep city life in mind, included with carry bags that double as dampeners for the smaller acoustic gig. Despite their small stature and low price-tag, Breakbeats by Questlove is a super versatile option for the gigging drummer.

To find out more, head to the Ludwig website

Craviotto

Craviotto is arguably one of the pinnacle drum makers on the market today. Similar to A&F, Craviotto offer fully custom drums to those wishing to spend a small fortune on their pride and joy. With pristine tone and natural finishes that belong in an art gallery, its hard not to want to empty one’s savings on a brand new Craviotto kit.

With a unique 1-ply solid shell design, Craviotto drums are extremely warm and offer crystal-like clarity. If a drum kit could adorn a diamond-encrusted monocle and cane, it would be a Craviotto.

For more information on these drums, check out the Craviotto website.