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
- PDP By DW 7-Piece Concept Maple Shell Pack with Chrome Hardware Pearlescent White
- Price: $949.99
- Price as of 10/25/2020 15:56 PDT(more info about ad)
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. Taking the price into consideration, this is easily one of the best jazz drum sets for the money.
Gammon Drum Set
- Gammon Percussion Full Size Complete Adult 5 Piece Drum Set with Cymbals Stands Stool and Sticks, Black
- Price as of 10/25/2020 17:37 PDT(more info about ad)
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 such a measly price, 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
- Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 5pc Drum Shell Pack - 22" Kick, Cranberry Red
- Price: $679.99
- Price as of 10/25/2020 17:37 PDT(more info about ad)
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.
Pearl Roadshow 5-Piece Drum Set
- Pearl Roadshow 5-Piece Drum Set, Jet Black (RS525SC/C31)
- Price as of 10/26/2020 02:50 PDT(more info about ad)
You’ll see Pearl drums and cymbals on the kits of jazz drummers at every level. And whether you’re just buying a student-level replacement head or a full top of the line kit, you can count on the same attention to detail and quality of craftsmanship that made Pearl equipment so popular in the first place.
This Roadshow kit is a great choice for both student-level jazz drummers and gigging professionals. All 5 included drums have shells of 7mm poplar and triple-flanged hoops. It also includes two cymbals, a 16” crash and a 14” hi-hat—all the basic pieces to satisfy any jazz drummer’s needs. It’s a versatile kit, perfect for everything from classic bebop to modern funk fusion, depending on how you arrange it.
This is also an all-inclusive kit, which is one of the things that makes it so perfect for students and newer players. Many high-end kits only include the drums but the Pearl Roadshow comes hardware included, with stands for all the drums and cymbals as well as important accessories like a stool, stick bag, and pedals. Get this Pearl drum kit, and you’ll be ready to rock right out of the box.
“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.
Micah Johnson started playing music in high school, when he taught himself the bass to join his friend’s band. He added guitar and drums during his twenties playing in local clubs, and along the way, he picked up unique, hands-on experience from hand drums to studio mixers. On Song Simian, he aims to share this knowledge from 20+ years playing and recording music. When not in gearhead mode, he enjoys photography and travel. Email him