What to Consider When Buying a Used Drum Set

So, your child has developed an interest in drums – are you looking to make their rock star dreams come true?

While any dive into the musical realm is wonderful, the price tag associated with it is not always as fun. With the many pieces in a drum set to buy, that price tag can rack up quickly.

If your child is new to drumming and you do not want to make a huge investment, look into buying a used drum set instead. With the right factors in mind, you can still have a great instrument for your child without the hefty investment.

Let’s take a look at the key factors to consider when buying a used drum kit.

Take a Look at the Shell Condition

Shells are used for the bass drum and toms. These are integral to the sound of a drum set. The shell condition is formulated through a combination of wear and tear, sound edge condition, strength, and roundness.

The shells should hold the drum heads securely in place. The heads and rims are what protect the shells. If the heads are too tight or the edges dulled, the sound will be off.

Are All the Pieces there?

Depending on the size kit you are trying to build, you may be missing a few pieces in the search for a used kit. Consult with experts to see if all the parts are there. If they are not, find out about replacement parts and cost before committing to a used kit.

Many times, you can find certain pieces rather easily, like the used cymbals from DCP. Other smaller parts might be more difficult to replace – but there are many used sellers on the internet that can help you out.

What is the Hardware Condition?

The initial appearance of the equipment can provide insight on how the kit will sound. For the most part, a pro can restore hardware through simple cleaning. Rust and discoloration can be removed with chrome or metal cleaners.

However, sometimes the condition is not worth the investment. If there is pitting, or holes in the metal, that cannot be cleaned off. Pitted hardware is difficult to restore and should be avoided.

How Does the Wrap Condition or Finish Look?

The wrap on drums provides a layer of protection. The overall finish of the kit can be affected if the wrap is not in good condition. You should inspect this before purchasing, but keep in mind: there are many pieces to look at.

It is not uncommon to miss issues with the wrap until you get home and closely inspect everything. Take a look at the return policy just in case this happens, and get it checked out by a local pro.

What is the Market Value Cost Then vs. Now?

If you are looking into a used kit, you might find some hidden treasures. A high quality kit might be lurking in the used section if you know how to piece it together.

A great rule of thumb when determining if you are getting a good deal is to compare the price tag of that item straight off the shell to the used kit before you. If you find you are several hundreds of dollars below market value, you can be assured you are getting a great deal.

Any Work Needs to Be Done?

In addition to replacing missing parts, you might also have to refinish or refurbish certain parts of the kit. If you piece together a kit by buying used cymbals from one place and shells from another, you might have a mix of qualities. It is not necessarily a bad thing to have to refurbish a piece of the whole kit.

However, if that cost is relatively high, you might be better off going with a full-priced set.

The first kit does not have to be the best kit your child will ever have. Chances are, your child has taken a shine to drumming and just needs that first step towards really learning the instrument.

Keep these considerations in mind, but don’t stress yourself out. All that matters at this stage is building a kit for them that they can practice on. When they’re serious about being pro, then it’s time to bump up the quality of your set!

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