Jazz drum kits are a peculiar beast, as they require a different approach than basic rock or metal drumming. In the beginner stages, you might as well apply the classic starter kit, but as time goes by, you will need to add a few jazz-only tricks to your drum setup. More details about that later on (later as in later in this article). Right now, however, we’d like you to check out our picks.
These are our recommendations for the 4 best jazz drum sets on the market:
Pacific Drums PDCM2217PW 7-Piece Drum Set
As far as drum kits go, certain Pacific Drum models are considered hidden gems of the skin-bashing world, and this bad boy is one of them. The company certainly has an amazing reputation and the vast majority of their products are nothing short of top-notch. The combination of all-maple or all-birch shells, quality craftsmanship and included Remo heads results in a bopping type of groove with plenty of space and punch.
This is perfect for jazz, much like a whopping total of five different drum tops. When it comes to jazz, the groove is quite commonly fueled more by toms than by cymbals, hence it’s essential to have as many of them at your disposal as possible. Specifically, the kit offers a 18″ x 22″ big bass drum, a set of 8″ x 10″, 9″ x 12″ and free 7″ x 8″ mounted toms, a pair of 14″ x 14″ and 16″ x 16″ floor toms and a classic 6″ x 14″ snare drum.
Note that the mix also includes a set of cymbals, and it’s all top-notch stuff. Taking the price into consideration, this is easily one of the best jazz drum sets for the money.
Sonor Safari Drum Set
We said that it’s all about the toms, so we might as well get rid of the cymbals, right? Well, not exactly, but a Sonor Safari set does such a killer job in covering the toms that it’s worth mentioning. The thing about these sets is that they are predominantly focused on jazz, and the Bop is no exception.
The kit’s shells are made from select basswood and give a very warm and bright sound. It includes a full-sized 14″ x 5″ snare drum that packs a strong punch, along with a 16″ x 16″ bass drum with tom holder, a 14″ x 12″ floor tom, and a 10″ x 8″ mounted tom.
Jazz boys insist that the only thing you need in addition to these toms is a quality hi-hat and a mean ride cymbal. Regardless of your stance on this point, these toms give you a great sound for jazz, and the kit is highly durable, leaving us with no choice but to give it a big thumbs up.
Gammon Drum Set
In the beginner department, a basic Gammon drum set is a fine kit to start your musical journey. As far as beginner drums go, the basic kits are fairly similar in terms of sound, but it is our opinion that this kit delivers the best sound at the best price.
The mix includes a bass drum, a hi-hat, a crash cymbal, a snare drum, a floor tom, and a couple of mounting toms. Stands and a drum stool are also included, and seeing that you can get all of this for measly $250, it’s possibly the best jazz drum set for beginners you can stumble upon.
The drum delivers a decent sound that will give you a realistic image of what you can accomplish with drums. Sure, it’s not high-end stuff, but it is far from unusable junk they commonly sell for that price these days. If you’re a newbie, go for it!
Yamaha Stage Custom Birch Drum Set
Over the years, Yamaha managed to find its way to the drumming world with medium prices and high sound quality. The Stage Custom series is a very good option for a vast array of players, jazz folks included.
The birch shells offers great versatility without much hassle, meaning that you can easily set up this kit to deliver the ultimate jazz vibe. The bass drum delivers just enough raw punch, while the snare is just clingy enough to capture the genre’s elusive energy.
The mix also includes a set of two mounting toms, a floor tom, a snare drum, a 20-inch ride cymbal, a 16-inch crash cymbal, as well as a set of stands and a drum stool.
Overall, versatility stands out as this kit’s strongest point, which also means that you will need some skills to properly adjust it to achieve the desired sound. Basically, if you’ve outgrown your beginner kit and you’re looking to delve into the pro waters with minimum costs, a Stage Custom is one of the best jazz drum sets in our book.
“What should I look for in a jazz drum set?”
Well, much like with every music genre out there, you will need an instrument that reflects the given style’s emotion, vibe, and energy. When it comes to jazz, you will need to let loose a bit, meaning that you don’t need a super tight sound, but instead more of a wild thing you can tame with precise and innovative performance.
Additionally, jazz drummers rely less on cymbals and more on toms to deliver the groove, so you will need quality wood and a variety of toms. If you ever find yourself in a position to choose between good material and extra toms on one side, and additional cymbals and quality metal on the other, always go for the wood and toms. We’re not saying that as a rule set in stone, but considering the structure of majority of jazz drumming, it is our opinion that such approach is indeed the best one.
Finally, don’t give yourself a headache with too much thinking about gear. Don’t be a slacker when finding a kit that suits you, but once you do, give practice and gigs all the energy you’ve got. C’mon, you know what we’re talking about. Did they talk about drumming gear in Whiplash? Of course not! Now get practicing, because pain is temporary, while quitting lasts forever.