Drums and Percussion Buying Guide - Best Buy Canada

November 29, 2012

Drums and Percussion Buying Guide

March to your own beat with a high quality drum set. Whether you go for the flexibility of an electronic drum kit or you’re feeling the groove of a world drum, Best Buy has tons of options and gear available from drumming experts like Yamaha, LP, Toca, Gibraltar, and Zildjian.

If you ever find yourself tapping your foot or bobbing your head to the beat of your favourite song, chances are you’re listening to a percussion instrument, such as a drum kit, at work. This group of musical instruments produce sound whenever they are struck or scraped by something.

Most drums and world drums consist of one membrane, stretched over a hollow shell. When you
hit the membrane with your drumsticks or hands, you create a sound. Acoustic drum kits consist of several different kinds of drums and metal cymbals that produce different pitches of sound, from low to high, so you get a full range of beats to rock out to. However, nowadays, it is becoming increasingly common to see electronic drum kits onstage and in practice rooms. Let’s learn more about these instruments.

Types of Drums and Percussion

Acoustic Drum Kits

Acoustic drum sets give you a playground of sound to experiment and make music with. These sets are made up of everything from the deep, rumbling bass drum to the metallic, high-pitched cymbals. The majority of drummers will agree that learning to play on an acoustic kit is the best way to become a great drummer. You’re able to get a real feel for the instruments and hear the sounds the way they were meant to be produced.

It can be tough finding a good place to practice with your drum kit, especially if you live with others or have neighbours who enjoy their peace and quiet. Depending on how hard you rock out, you may also have to replace certain parts of these instruments regularly to keep them sounding their best.

Electronic Drum Kits

Most high-quality electronic drum kits are designed to give you the same rich, dynamic sound that an acoustic set would be able to produce and for much cheaper as well. While there are some differences in the way you can play an electric kit, they offer a number of advantages over their traditional counterparts. The main benefit is that you can control the volume while still rocking out as hard as you want. Simply put on a pair of headphones and your neighbours won’t hear a peep.

Electric drums also allow you to be more versatile with your music. You can set up your drums with the right sounds for any occasion, whether you’re playing a jazz festival or 70’s music for your parents’ anniversary. These kits are also easier to travel with since they tend to be smaller and lighter than acoustic drums. If you record your own music, you’ll enjoy the convenience of being able to directly plug your drum set into your computer.

Electronic Drum Kit

World Drum

Drums are popular instruments all over the world and you’ll find different variations in every culture. World drums tend to be constructed in a way that’s distinctive to the culture it comes from. The sound and method of play can also differentiate from drum to drum. For example, the bongo drums can only produce higher pitched sounds while the African djembe has a wider variety of beats.

Other Percussion Instruments

The tambourine is a popular percussion instrument with small metal jingles that make sounds when you strike them against your hands or another part of your body. Maracas are typically filled with dried beans or seeds and produce a rattling sound whenever you shake them.


Features to Consider

When purchasing a percussion instrument, sound and feel are the biggest factors in determining which one is right for you. However, when it comes to an electronic drum set, there are a few other things to keep an eye out for.

Electronic Drum Module

Electronic Drum Module

If you plan to use your drum kit for live performances or recording, you should consider investing in a high-quality electronic drum module. Think of the module as the brains of your drum kit since it gives you greater control over the sound possibilities and functions of your drums. It’s responsible for everything from volume control to transforming the signals from the drums into sounds.


Ensure that each drum in your kit has a proper MIDI Out connection. MIDI is a standardized protocol for digital musical instruments. It allows your instruments to connect and communicate with each other as well as with computers, performance controllers, and more. This allows you to easily record your music on to a computer or sequencer.

Dual Zone Triggers

Dual zone drum pads have two trigger points that allow you to produce different sounds depending on where you hit the pad. Usually found on the snare drum, this means that the raised edge will trigger a different sound than the centre of the pad. This gives you a more realistic playing experience and the ability to play both a regular snare hit as well as a rim shot.

Dual Zone Triggers

Sound effects

The beauty of an electronic kit is that it gives you the ability to change the way the drums sound. You can tweak each drum pad using the controls instead of tediously tuning them like you would with an acoustic set. This allows you to easily switch from practicing rock music to playing more soothing blues tunes.


Drum Pedal

Drum Pedals

While your hands are busy rocking out on your toms and snare drums, a drum pedal gives your foot the ability to make music, too. These pedals are usually attached to a bass drum, timpani or hi-hat (type of cymbal) and help you produce a beat whenever you step on them.

Drum Throne

Drum Thrones

A budding rock god deserves to sit on a chair worthy of his greatness – so why not make it a drum throne? These three or four-legged seats are padded and can be adjusted to the right height for you to play comfortably.

Gig Bag

Drum Gig Bags

Use a gig bag to carry, transport, and store your drum kits and world drums without fear of scratching or denting them.



In order to really hit those notes hard, you need sturdy, durable drumsticks that won’t break when you go for those crazy drum rolls.

Best Buy

Take the Next Step

From acoustic sets to electronic kits and djembes to bongos, the beats produced by drums are an essential part of all kinds of music genres and cultures. Find the right set for you as well as the accessories and electronic gear you need to rock out. Best Buy has a rocking selection from Yamaha, Westbury, Sabian, and Vic Firth for you to peruse.

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