There are some truly magnificent drum set brands on the market for drummers of all ability levels. The quality of beginner drums is constantly improving too, as manufacturing techniques from high-end drums trickle down to entry-level drum sets.
We often talk about the best drum brands available such as Tama, Ludwig, Pearl, yet nobody talks about the worst drum set brands to avoid altogether.
This is an important topic, especially for those new to drumming and looking to buy their first drum set. The last thing you want is to have your first drum set fall apart within a matter of weeks.
In this article, I’ll share some drum set brands that I would recommend avoiding at all costs. I’ll also discuss why you should avoid these brands, and I’ll share some other factors to consider when looking to buy a new drum set.
What Issues Make a Bad Drum Set Brand?
You should avoid any drum set brand that utilizes shortcut manufacturing methods and produces low-quality equipment with poor sounds and reliability. These types of companies also have lousy customer service and a lack of professional artist representation.
These are all hallmarks of a bad drum set or cymbal manufacturer. The drums, hardware, and cymbals feel incredibly cheap and flimsy to play, and certainly would not be suitable for any performance beyond a complete beginner.
Poor Shell Construction
Warped and unsanded shells with poorly cut bearing edges will result in a poor drum tone, no matter how good the drumhead and tuning are. Cheap drum sets often use the budget, softer woods that aren’t even given a name. The description will likely say “wood” drums, unlike decent quality beginner drum sets that are constructed from Poplar, Birch, or possibly Basswood.
Low-Quality Hardware and Cymbals
Single-braced drum hardware is a typical feature found on drum sets you’ll want to avoid. It’s incredibly cheap and flimsy and won’t correctly support the different parts of a drum set. The brass cymbals included with bad drum sets are extremely budget and are only adequate for complete beginners. They’ll need upgrading very quickly.
No Customer Service or Professional Artist Representation
Don’t expect any of the worst drum set brands to have any professional drummers endorsing their products. They will likely have terrible or zero customer service as these types of wholesale drum sets have no quality control and, at such affordable prices, expect people not to care when things go wrong.
What are the Worst Drum Set Brands to Avoid?
Mendini, Pulse, Griffin, Stagg, Pyle, CB Drums, and Millennium are notable drum set brands to avoid. They manufacture low-quality drum sets with inferior sounds and lack refinement across all areas of design and construction.
These are examples of some of the main low-quality and low-cost drum brands that appeal to inexperienced drummers and parents of children wanting to learn how to play the drums.
When you risk buying an extremely cheap drum set online, the chances are it’ll break before you know it, and I can guarantee the sounds will be incredibly low-quality.
These companies aren’t popular, and their brands have no longevity as they cannot build a strong reputation as their products are such poor-quality.
New drum sets appear all the time on Amazon from unknown manufacturers online. Mendini is one of the latest and seems to generate many Amazon sales, but these are certainly not authentic musical instruments by any means. These drums are built with shortcut manufacturing methods and extremely low-quality components and are therefore to be avoided at all costs.
I haven’t stumbled across a Pulse drum set for many years, and for a good reason. Pulse drums and hardware are cheap, poorly built, and inexpensive drums that are suitable for young beginners and certainly not for anyone else. I remember once using a Pulse hi-hat stand at a gig that literally broke while I was performing.
Griffin is another cheap drum brand famously selling 14-inch snare drums on Amazon for under 30 bucks. These snare drums are somewhat better than Mendini, but this is another drum brand you’ll wait to avoid if you want something to produce musical sounds and hold up to actual playing.
Perhaps I’m a bit harsh adding Stagg to this list, as they make some pretty decent-sounding cymbals for the money, especially the DH line. But in terms of strictly drum sets, Stagg is one to avoid. These are extremely basic drum sets with low-quality hardware to match.
Pyle is a company that makes everything from home and office supplies right through to musical equipment. They also sell rucksacks and DIY tools. As a jack of all trades, we know that music is not their specialty, and therefore the quality of their musical equipment is going to suffer. Their electronic drum sets, in particular, are essentially toys rather than musical instruments.
CB Drums once dominated the market for complete beginner drum sets back in the day here in the UK. I hardly see them nowadays, but when I do, It’s an unfortunate reminder! These drum sets were not actually terrible starter kits for the time, and they were very cheap. Still, beginner drum sets have progressed and this is why we don’t see much of CB drums these days.
Much like Stagg, Millennium is not the worst in this list of drum brands to avoid, but they are an in-house manufacturer of European music retailer Thomann. They are designed to be an affordable alternative to big brands such as Pearl and Tama, but their products fall short in comparison.
Why Do People Buy These Drum Sets?
People buy these drum sets because they look like standard drum sets, especially those who aren’t familiar with drumming. They carry very low price tags that make them tempting for beginners and are sold through non-specific music retailers such as Amazon and Walmart.
Although these brands are inexpensive, I would strongly recommend you buy a drum set from a renowned drum manufacturer that is stocked by a musical instrument retailer such as Sweetwater or Guitar Center.
Drum brands such as Pearl, Mapex, and Tama create excellent quality and affordable beginner drum sets that include everything you need to play right away. This means you’ll receive the drums, cymbals, and hardware, as well as some drumsticks and a tuning key.
Good Music Retailers Stock High-Quality Products
Thankfully, the vast majority of drum sets and drumming products available are high-quality and worth the price. The level of manufacturing and efficiency has improved drastically over time, and the best musical instrument retailers like Sweetwater only stock the best musical equipment available.
Rest assured, retailers like Sweetwater also offer generous product warranties so you can be sure that your investment is suitable for whatever musical applications you choose to use it for, whether that’s live gigs, rehearsing, or studio recordings.
They only stock reputable brands that produce durable instruments built to last, from the brands that the best musicians around the world play. No matter your ability level, the most popular drumming companies have product lines to cater to everyone.
It’s never been a better time to learn to play the drums, but remember that when you’re looking to buy your first drum set either for yourself or someone else, you’ll either buy nice or buy twice!
If you’re getting an entry-level drum set, I can’t recommend the Pearl Roadshow highly enough. So be sure to check out my full review on that drum set.
Whatever drums you’re looking to buy, I hope this article has provided some helpful information on which drum set brands are worth avoiding and why. Thanks for reading!