Best Drum Hardware for Beginners and Professionals
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No matter what you do, you must have a backbone, a carcass, a layout for everything. If you’re a writer, you must have a pen and a paper – or a typewriter, or a Mac Air, and a table to position it all. If you’re an artist, care about an easel and a pallet before you start painting your ideas out. I am a drummer, and I care about my drums positioned right.
There was more than one drum kit hardware set I have tested. Here I speak about complete sets that power the entire drum set. They only include stands and pedals, though manufacturers also offer thrones, hi-hat pedals, and stuff.
There are some things all of them share. For example, each item included in the set can be bought separately. It’s useful if you want to expand your drum kit, or if you have got some of them fubar at a too expressive gig. There are also mini sets of three or even two items, but I will only review the ones that include at least five. The advantages of all-in-one solutions are numerous, but there is a major one: they cover most or all of your needs with just one purchase.
The Best Drum Hardware Kits I Can Recommend
While there are lots of hardware options, I can only recommend those I had dealt with, even a little. They are used with various drum sets, while it would be fair to compare them all within the same setup. But I’m no lab egghead conducting scientific experiments with all due precision. So take this as just an opinion – I hope it’s worth considering.
How do you select your drum hardware? What you must mind includes:
- Weight and durability. The more expressive is your manner, the more durable hardware you need. On the other hand, weight matters as well when you transport your stands and set them up;
- Brand name. It’s better to know you have your warranty, your support, or at least you can replace a damaged item with an identical new one;
- Compatibility. Brands like Ludwig or Gretsch can grant their hardware is compatible with their own drums, but nothing is not granted beyond that. So you better check that before the purchase – physically, if you can;
- Items. The sets may contain musts (like a bass drum pedal and hi hat stands) and optional items, like a second cymbal stand or a double tom one.
Not that hardware defines the sound of your drums: that mostly depends on the drums themselves and on your manner. But to experience the best comfort possible while playing, hardware should always be paid attention to.
The Lightest Drum Hardware Pack: Union Cymbal Stand
It’s one of the simplest options available, and at the same time, one of the most versatile. This five-piece set contains a single bass drum pedal and stands for boom cymbal, straight cymbal, hi-hat, and snare. The weight of the entire configuration is just 20 pounds, and it speaks for its mobility and durability. Given its weight, it’s more durable than one could expect. Still, if your manner is expressive, and your music is heavy, it’s no option.
In order to reach this durability, the engineers provided double-braced tripod legs for each item. 700 series is the most advanced in Union Drum’s roster. It offers the best quality, the richest adjustment options, and the highest price. Still, it’s cheaper than other options on our list. But if you’re in it only for practicing so far, and you don’t mind Union Drums as a manufacturer, you should also consider the Union 400 setup. It’s way cheaper, and for a beginner, it’s also quite good, though less durable and sturdy.
By the way, the Union brand is operated and promoted by Cascio Interstate Music. These chain brands are usually less trustworthy than standalone ones. On their side, there is pricing. In addition, you can easily purchase any separate item in Cascio stores. You can replace the single pedal from the set with a double one if you wish. Finally, it’s arguably the best drum hardware pack for beginners.
- Feature super-solid, double-braced tripod legs, memory locks, large diameter tubing, and large rubber feet
- Includes: Boom Cymbal Stand, Straight Cymbal Stand, Hi-Hat Stand, Snare Drum Stand, Single Bass Drum Pedal
- Very affordable;
- Extra lightweight;
- Quite durable for its size;
- Easy to purchase replacements;
- The manufacturer is not as respectable;
- For practicing, you can find cheaper Union hardware.
A Flexible drum hardware kit: Yamaha HW- 680W Double-Braced Hardware Pack
Japanese art is known for embracing everything it can grab. So is with this hardware kit. Why settle for a lightweight or heavyweight option only when you can cover them all? So there are lightweight, middle-weight, and heavyweight versions of this kit, from 35 to 55.8 pounds.
The set includes two Yamaha CS-665A boom cymbal stands, a HS-650WA hi hat stand, a SS650WA Snare Stand, and a FP-7210A pedal. Five items, two of them identical, seem a simple setup for a pro, but for a beginner, they are quite easy to handle. Its quality, though, makes it quite a choice for a pro. Being single-braced is not a flaw with this build. But lack of memory locks makes the set not as gig-friendly.
Lightweight and medium versions are great for jazz and easy listening, as well as for rock at its lightest. The heavyweight version is good if you want to install it in your place, but for gigging around through cities and towns, it’s really too heavy. A medium version will do better: they are all equally greatly assembled and easily adjustable.
- Includes: CS-665A, CS-665A, HS-650WA, SS-650WA, FP-7210A
- Double bracing
- Comes in weight options;
- Affordable price;
- Wide range of settings;
- Sturdy build;
- It will be hard to choose the right version;
- No memory locks;
Ddrum RXHP RX Series Drum Hardware Pack: Decent Quality For Average Price
This five-item pack contains a traditional combination of an RXCS cymbal stand, an RXB3 boom stand, an RXSS snare stand, an RXHH hi hat stand, and an RXP bass pedal. Each of these items can be bought separately. In addition, this set can be expanded with a lightweight or a swivel throne, a double bass pedal, and clamps if necessary.
The manufacturer claims the quality of the set is better than its price assumes. Given that the price of the entire set is average, it’s probably true. The pack is advertised as versatile, equally fitting any music you play. This can be true at the beginner level only, as the deeper you learn your style, the choosier you get about the best fitting hardware. But if you haven’t made up your mind between hard rock, funk, or country, this versatility will work for a while.
This drum kit hardware is also well adapted for electronic drums. And no wonder: Ddrum is among the pioneers in this industry. Electronic drum won’t require that hardcore physical handling (let alone samplers and other purely digital devices), so this sort of music is quite compatible with this kit. But then it might even seem excessive.
Probably the best thing about this set is drum pedals and snare stands; the quality of items is uneven. Given that its weight is only 38.2 pounds, you should treat it as a lightweight set, though not as fragile as that by Union. Its locks are reported to crack too easily, so the weight of the drums they can handle is limited. Not meant for stationary usage on rock scenes or constant gigging, this set, though, is a good choice for garage sessions.
- Combines consistent performance, sleek design and rugged durability at an economy price
- RXCS cymbal stand
- Very affordable;
- Can be expanded with extra units;
- Good for beginners;
- Compatible with electronic drums and percussion.
- Light duty only;
- The overall quality is uneven;
- Thrones are meant for lightweight drummers.
Ludwig L4HPACK 400 Series Hardware Package: Ringo’s Choice
Now based in Monroe, NC, Ludwig has been making drums and drum accessories for over a century. It is more than an established brand in the industry – it’s been a rock star of it since Ringo Starr gave it a kickstart by using Ludwig drums openly. Yet the price for its 400 Series pack is quite affordable.
Predictably, the kit contains a bass drum pedal and stands for a snare, a cymbal, a mini boom cymbal, and a hi hat. Expanding this setup is possible, but it’s not as simple, because it can’t be found on the official site anymore. This hardware series has been replaced by Atlas. So spare parts or replacements units might be harder to find now.
This aside, the kit feels very steady when installed and assembled properly. It’s perfectly compatible with the popular Breakbeat series. Given the moderate weight of the setup (21 pounds), it’s quite a good option for gigs and even tours.
In its category, this Ludwig pack is considered a very good value. It’s quite sturdy, with wider tubing than that of its rivals, a base plate for a bass pedal, and the steadier stands feel. It’s quite a good bang for a buck, unless you want to enjoy full support by the manufacturer.
- Quality you expect from such a brand;
- Relatively lightweight;
- Sturdy and steady;
- Compatible with Ludwig and other drums;
- Quite a bargain given its current price.
Gretsch Drums G5 Hardware Pack: Classic Kit by the Oldest Brand
Here is a kit from an even more respectable brand than Ludwig. Gretsch was established in 1883 in NYC. Now some lines of its enormous roster are made in Taiwan, while the premium ones are still American.
There are two versions of this pack – G3 (lightweight) and the reviewed heavyweight version G5. I had a chance to see the heavyweight one – the one I’d prefer anyway, as I consider that the more solid drum hardware is, the better it affects the performance. And, in the meanwhile, it affects your muscles the same way. Yet the lightweight version delivers a similar experience.
The pack includes a single pedal for bass drums and four stands – for boom cymbal, straight cymbal, hi hat, and snare. You can expand it with a double tom stand if you wish. They all have T-rod wing screws and wingnuts, easily adjustable height, and rubber feet. It will require some strength, though, to tighten them when setting up.
So, if you’re a band with both resident concerts and road gigs, you can have both: a lightweight version for the road and a heavyweight one for your home scene or rehearsal base (by the way, have you selected the right rug for it?) Similar in experience and construction, they differ in size and weight. While the heavyweight version is about 44 pounds, the lightweight is just 11 pounds – fantastic difference!
- 4 mm double braced tripod design
- Straight stand, Boom stand, hi-hat stand, snare stand, Bass Drum pedal
- Solid build and steady quality;
- Similar sets of different weight;
- Can be expanded;
- Make America Gretsch again!
- One of the most expensive kits on the list;
- Various sets may deliver different experience.
Griffin Complete Drum Hardware Pack 6 Piece Set: The Best Hardware Kit Made in Texas
Griffin is a dedicated brand for drum hardware, located in Tyler, Texas. They say everything is bigger in Texas. This set, though, is rather small and low. Unlike most other sets in this review, this one includes six pieces instead of five, with a throne as a bonus. Awarded at cmuse.org, this set is good in its category. But first, let’s define what the category is.
Who is it good for? Well, if you play lots of gigs in different cities, and your music doesn’t suppose sweating your drumkits, this drum hardware pack is quite an option. If you like spectacular destruction on the scene, that’s also great: the stands are lightweight and cheap, easy to break and to replace. A great accompaniment for crashing guitars. Punk’s not dead, meh?
Another great use case for this setup is DJing and electronic music. If you need a set for samplers, keyboards, or DJ controllers, that’s great. No wonder: it’s been developed by a DJ as well.
But for stationary use in a rock club, it’s no option. You better opt for something heavier and more durable. Of course, there’s no heavy duty set for a price like this, but investments make sense.
- Quite affordable (under $200);
- Includes a throne;
- Lightweight and easy to transport;
- Easy to break for your show;
- Good for electronic equipment.
- Lacks durability;
- Plastic elements.
The Best Drum Hardware Kit MAPEX Percussion Holder (HP6005EB) : A Beautiful Dark Horse
The hardware kit by Mapex is a solid medium-weight option for both stationary play and road gigs. If you don’t mind young Asian hardware brands, of course: Mapex was established in Taiwan in 1989. Despite serious weight and sturdy construction, the stands can be packed so they take less space. A memory lock makes disassembling and reassembling the entire setup easier.
It includes a pedal, a snare stand, hi-hat stand and two boom stands. In fact, there are two pedals – a standalone one for a bass drum, and an integrated one with a hi-hat stand. Optionally you can get a double bass drum pedal. The single one included in the pack features a double chain drive and a steel base, with floor spikes that stabilize it while playing energetically.
Due to three-tier construction, the height is easy to adjust to a great extent. Initially, it’s made for Mapex Mars drums, though I saw it with a mix of Mapex, Ludwig, and some custom nonames, and it sounded and looked quite well, as it was easy to use.
The weight of the item is quite solid – almost 46 pounds. Being this heavyweight, the hardware is durable enough for bigger drums and furious playing manner.
- Two Booms, Snare Stand, Hi-Hat stand and Double Pedal
- Double Braced Stands
- Sturdy and durable
- Comes in chrome and black
- Well adjustable with three-tier height
- Memory locks
- Reasonable price
- The brand doesn’t have a story like others;
The Blackest Drum Hardware Pack: MAPEX Hardware Pack (HP8005EBDP)
This one is positioned as the ultimate solution for the musicians who want to have everything they need in one pack, buying extras if necessary. The pack includes two boom cymbal stands, a snare stand, a pedaled hi-hat stand and a double bass drum pedal. Like the previous one, it comes either in chrome or in noble black.
The already-familiar pedal is equipped with a double chain – again! This time, though, the pedal itself is double, enabling the drummer to feel free to select the footwork style. There is even more freedom provided by changeable 10/20g beater heads. When it comes to a hi hat stand, it also enables you to work magic, with a tension adjustment system. Boom and snare stands also deliver the sturdy feel, compatible with Mapex drums, but also with many other brands and custom sets.
There are many technologies with loud and big names meant to deliver the best experience. That’s logical: if you’re young and energetic, you need to do way better than those big and awkward mammoths to outrun them. Your drum hardware pack may be better and cheaper than that by leaders, but you have to prove it yet. I tried to find fan communities of Mapex, but I failed. Still, I know that this brand sells decently – a paradox!
The construction itself is made for road gigs rather than home. The weight is as many as 56 pounds – it’s among the heaviest in this review. If you have an Armory drum set by the same vendor, they will be a perfect fit. Though the hardware is well compatible with other drums if their size complies to the standards.
It’s quite an expensive one – probably the most expensive on this list. On the other hand, if you have already made up your mind and ordered one of these drum sets for about $2K, this one isn’t such a loss.
- Full compliment of stands w/single pedal
- Caters to the professional player
- Extremely sturdy, even given its weight;
- Comes in chrome and black;
- No-wingnut construction;
- Heavy duty;
- The most expensive on our list;
- The brand isn’t as respectable as Ludwig or Gretsch.
How to Define the Best Drum Hardware Pack for You
If you are considering buying a drum set along with hardware, I’d recommend you settle for the same vendor. That grants perfect compatibility, plus, if you’re ordering the packs online, you can save some money on delivery if they come in one pack. If your band has regular gigs or plans on having them, a good style is a part of the game. It doesn’t mean that hybrid or custom combination will sound worse. But they may require lots of labor to get them into a system.
As for the price you’re ready to pay, first, you have to decide how serious you are. If you’re here just to try (okay, Yoda, there is a try!), you can settle for Union and then decide if you want a better set. If you do, your best drum hardware is something for a price that’s above this list.
Then there is your style and manner. A way to play drums can be constraint or hysterical, and it’s not only about the genre you choose. It’s about your personal approach as well. If you’re hitting them to kill and slash, you’ll need a heavier kit. If your manner is more moderate, you’ll be better with a lightweight one. It also depends on your gigs location: the more often you tour, the more the weight matters. On the other hand, durability matters as well.
If you want to discuss anything, leave a comment below. There is always much to talk about. And, frankly speaking, I also hope to discover something new.