Best Drum Set for Jazz, Right Here!

I heard you like jazz, is that true? I am a big fan and I literally can’t get enough of it. It’s become almost an obsession of mine: just day in and day out listening to historic jazz records, both old and new. This trend has been going on with me for quite a long time, for better or worse.

This obsession doesn’t come without its advantages: after being immersed for so long in jazz music, you become knowledgeable in every aspect of this very specific and unique field. And one of the things that one might notice after years upon years of listening to (not even playing) jazz is the incredible importance of percussion in this genre. Whichever jazz record you choose to listen to, you are always sure to hear at least half of the tunes with swinging, riding, and groovy rhythms. Give a listen to a couple of jazz records, and you’ll hear it too – rhythm is king in jazz.

Although the rhythmical aspect heavily relies upon the tight collaboration of the whole band, still, the most important rhythm person in a jazz band is the drummer. Of course, the drummer needs to have high-quality gear. Nobody wants to have a bad sounding rhythm section: not the audience, not your bandmates, and most definitely not you. This is where I come with my article to help you pick and choose the right jazz drum set for yourself. In the article, I will be recommending and reviewing the best jazz drum sets available now on the market.

Pearl Crystal Beat CRB503P/C732 3 Piece Shell PackYellow22 x 22 x 20 inches33 poundsB00UBSJUCK
Gretsch CT1J484SWG 2014 Catalina Club Jazz 4-Piece Shell PackBrown46 x 46 x 50 inches50 poundsB00H7V30PC
Drum Craft DC805043 Series 5 Jazz Drum SetCrimson Fade21 x 19 x 21 inches37 poundsB00EO1DZAS
Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 5pc Drum Shell PackHoney Amber29.9 x 21.9 x 21.9 inches71.4 poundsB00J1MGSUE
Pearl RS584CC707 Roadshow 4-Piece Drum SetBronze Metallic46 x 46 x 50 inches70 poundsB00NJVS0HM
Sonor Drums SSE 12 SAFARI C1 BGS 4-Piece Drum SetBlack Galaxy Sparkle22 x 27 x 33 inches32 poundsB004N1HY38
Gammon Percussion Full Size Complete Adult 5 Piece Drum SetBlack30.3 x 24 x 22.1 inches84.4 poundsB002RGPQJ0
Pearl Drum Set, Red WineRed Wine24 x 24 x 18 inches50 poundsB00NJVS5MC

Top 8 Jazz Drum Sets

Peculiarities of Choosing a Drum Kit

Choosing a drum set, like choosing any other musical instrument, is extremely personal. Your final decision should always be influenced only by your wants and wishes. Try to listen to others, but not get talked into a false or incorrect mindset.

Ask yourself. Do you want to be the next addition to the ranks of the “greats” with the likes of Max Roach, Tony Williams, Philly Joe Jones, and others? Or do you want to be able to jam out with your local jazz band in a pub nearby?

Being a jazz drummer takes a lot of dedication, passion, and time, so I would recommend setting clear and straightforward goals/milestones for yourself. Additionally, getting into jazz drumming itself isn’t easy, as you have to make quite a monetary investment initially and fight through the steep learning curve.

There are many challenging obstacles and quirks to jazz drumming: various swing feels, polyrhythms, traditional grip technique, etc. Nonetheless, it is a real treat overcoming these steps and being the one to whom everybody looks up to for stable rhythm and pulse. The drummer’s presence is felt throughout the stage and the venue. If you’re a drummer, everybody in the band constantly interacts with you, which should clear up quite obviously the importance of choosing the correct gear for the user’s aims and purposes.

Pearl Crystal Beat CRB503P/C732 – Best Drum Set for Jazz Band?

Quite a title for the first drum set in the review, isn’t it? Well, I really mean it when I say it: Pearl Crystal Beat CRB503P/C732 3 Piece Shell Pack, Tangerine Glass is an incredible piece of equipment. It seems that the Japanese company Pearl tries to give us reviewers a hard time by making us look biased. However, when you think about it, what else would you expect from such a titan as Pearl. Pearl is endorsed by numerous drumming legends, including Tommy Lee, Gary Husband, Omar Hakim, Mike Mangini, and others. Not only do pros love this brand, but beginners and amateurs alike praise this brand for delivering gear that is capable, yet can be adopted by drumming newcomers.

Whether you want to consider Pearl’s reputation or not, you can’t avoid the fact of how good Pearl Crystal Beat CRB503P/C732 is. What you receive in the kit is a 5-piece pack of shells (22″x16″, 16″x15″, 14″x13″, 12″x8″, 10″x7″), 3 legs for floor toms, 2 claws for the kick, as well as the rack toms are paired with Pearl’s very own “opti-mount” brackets. One thing that I wasn’t expecting to see when initially opening the boxes is that the drums weren’t just shells, but the additional hardware was included. This was a pleasant surprise, because usually what you get is only shells, and you have to spend quite a few hours on setting everything up (much more if you are a complete beginner).

Another pleasant surprise was the sound that came from all of the different toms. Impressive and clear sound without any muffle that projects throughout the venue very loudly. Tuning low/medium/high is a delight with this kit. Nonetheless, even when tuned low, you will get that nice firm bounce. The only thing that I was disappointed by is the obvious lack of snare. I am an avid lover of snares and fully believe that they should be in any kit. The price is fairly high due to the inclusion of additional hardware, but the high-quality performance is worth the money, in my opinion.

One of my favorite things about this set is that the drums are see-through, which allows you to easily gather attention on the stage by installing LED lights inside the bass drum and toms.

Pearl Crystal Beat CRB503P/C732 3 Piece Shell Pack, Tangerine Glass
9 Reviews

  • Full package;
  • Ability to customize;
  • Good feedback;
  • Ease of tunings.
  • Expensive;
  • No snare.

Gretsch CT1J484SWG 2014 – Best Jazz Drum Set According to the People?

Gretsch.., do I need to say more? It is one of the oldest musical instrument manufacturers in the USA. Musicians may know the company coming from various backgrounds: bass, guitar, and drums. All you need to know about Gretsch Drums is that such jazz legends of the past favored the company’s drums as Max Roach, Tony Williams, and Art Blakey. Gretsch drums are also the choice of the contemporary jazz musicians, including the new drumming star, Mark Guiliana. These two facts alone should serve as proof of the quality that Gretsch provides.

Gretsch CT1J484SWG 2014 Catalina Club Jazz 4-Piece Shell Pack – Satin Walnut Glaze is an eye-opening and ear-pleasing set of excellent shells with chrome hardware. The set-up that you get is effortless, yet effective: 18”x14” bass drum, 12”x8” rack tom, 14”x14” floor tom, and 14”x5” snare. No cymbals and stands are included, but there’s a great reason. Gretsch decided to invest in the mahogany shells, boosting the resonant qualities and making the shells produce outstanding sounds. I think I fell in love with this kit (please, don’t tell my wife). The cherry on top is the kit’s design: the simple walnut glaze finish.

Gretsch CT1J484SWG 2014 Catalina Club Jazz 4-Piece Shell Pack - Satin Walnut Glaze
8 Reviews
Gretsch CT1J484SWG 2014 Catalina Club Jazz 4-Piece Shell Pack - Satin Walnut Glaze
  • Catalina Club retains a 7-ply Mahogany shell fitted with new round badge; 30 degree bearing edges; Catalina mini lugs; 1.6mm triple-flanged hoops^Chrome Hardware^Gretsch low-profile GTS tom suspension system^Gretsch low-profile tom and FT leg brackets^The brand new Catalina tom holders include top adjust T-wingnut and 7/8" cymbal arm holder

  • Design;
  • Mahogany wood;
  • Amazing sound;
  • Easy set-up.
  • Rack tom could be more prominent.

Drum Craft DC805043 Series 5 Jazz Drum Set – Crimson Fade: Best Drum Kit for Jazz on Budget

Drum Craft’s gear is the newest addition to the percussion market by a long shot. Unlike other entries on this list, Drum Craft doesn’t have an extensive history of working with jazz musicians. What Drum Craft has is an excellent quality/price ratio. The company heavily advertises the fact that all of the manufactured products are engineered in Germany. This fact wonderfully reduces the price while keeping almost all functionality on a high level.

Drum Craft DC805043 Series 5 Jazz Drum Set – Crimson Fade is not an exception to the rule. This drumming equipment is a 4-piece, encompassing 18″x16″ bass drum, 10″x7″ and 12″8″ rack toms, 14″x12″ floor tom, and 14″5″. Just like the previous entry, this set of shells comes with a lot of hardware, which is great for any beginner. The hardware includes hi-hat, snare, and two boom stands, drum pedal, and suspension mounts for toms. What needs to be mentioned is the set’s design. The paint job is a beautiful red-to-black sunburst that accents the metallic parts of the kit. It looks incredible in both well-lit and dark venues.

However, the wood under the paint is simple birch wood, which isn’t a favorite with too many people. The sound that birch wood can produce is a bit more dampened in comparison to other woods. Although many consider this a big minus, however, I believe that it is simply another layer of the color of the sound and can be employed in some gig situations and artistic ways.
Drum Craft DC805043 is a simply all-around great set of drums that offers a much cheaper solution without all of the headaches of collecting numerous pieces of hardware. If you decide upon this set, all you need is cymbals and a throne.

Drum Craft DC805043 Series 5 Jazz Drum Set - Crimson Fade
1 Reviews
Drum Craft DC805043 Series 5 Jazz Drum Set - Crimson Fade
  • Includes 18x16 bass drum, 10x7 tom, 12x8 tom, 14x12 floor tom, 14x5 snare drum
  • Includes Hi-Hat Stand, Snare Drum Stand, Single Bass Drum Pedal, 2 Boom Stands, Tom Suspension Mounts

  • Beautiful paint job;
  • No headache;
  • Great price.
  • Birchwood;
  • Dampened sound.

Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 5pc Drum Shell Pack – 20″ Kick, Honey Amber: the Go-to Option for Beginners

That is another musical manufacturing giant. Yamaha is a multi-faceted company that reaches far into other fields, but what we’re interested in is in Yamaha’s musical legacy, and it’s gigantic. This company is a household name globally and has secured a reputation for being an excellent choice for beginners and intermediate musicians. However, their top-end line of products is loved just as much by professionals.

Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 5pc Drum Shell Pack – 20″ Kick, Honey Amber is simply what is mentioned higher. It’s an amazing combination of price, beginner-friendliness, and performance. If you opt for their drum shell pack, then you’ll receive a 20”x17” bass drum, 10”x7” and 12”x8” rack toms, 14”x13” floor tom, and 14”x5.5” snare. An excellent, well-rounded package that will suit not only jazz context but also will perform great in a rock context. Although the shells are made out of birch wood, Yamaha has implemented its air seal system, which improves the quality of the sound by a mile and increases resonance. If you want great performance and don’t want to confine yourself to some specific style, then this is a perfect choice for you. One aspect of this kit that disappointed me a bit was the paint job. On the pictures, the finish looked very natural; however, in reality, it is not so.

Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 5pc Drum Shell Pack - 20' Kick, Honey Amber
35 Reviews
Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 5pc Drum Shell Pack - 20" Kick, Honey Amber
  • Included Drums: 20x17 kick, 10x7 rack tom, 12x8 rack tom, 14x13 floor tom, 14x5.5 snare
  • Included Hardware: TH-945B 3-hole receiver with (2) YESS tom mounts, (3) floor tom legs

  • Excellent for newcomers;
  • Air seal system;
  • Ability to play outside of jazz.
  • Birchwood.

Pearl RS584CC707 Roadshow 4-Piece Drum Set, Bronze Metallic: Definitely Not the Best Electronic Drum Kit for Jazz but Still Quite Modern

Pearl appears once again on the list, as it blesses us with another great set. Pearl RS584CC707 Roadshow 4-Piece Drum Set, Bronze Metallic, however, was created with another purpose rather than the previous entry form Pearl. Pearl RS584CC707 Roadshow was designed to be an easy-to-set-up, no-nonsense drum kit. This means it includes everything to get you drumming. For such a small price you will get the regular jazz drums set-up (18”x12” bass drum, 1”x7” rack tom, 14”x1” floor tom, and 13”x5” snare) plus all of the needed hardware: boom cymbal, snare, and hi-hat stands, pedal, throne, tom holder, and cymbals (16″ crash and 14″ hybrid hi-hats)! Quite a bargain! Of course, with the lowered price comes a worse overall sound from the kit, especially from the crash. You can easily use this kit as a learning set-up, because functionally, the set is great, as it has excellent feel and feedback.

Pearl RS584CC707 Roadshow 4-Piece Drum Set, Bronze Metallic
252 Reviews
Pearl RS584CC707 Roadshow 4-Piece Drum Set, Bronze Metallic
  • Ready to rock right out of the box!
  • 9 ply, 7mm Poplar Shells & 1.2mm Triple Flanged hoops. Comes with Heads and Double Braced Hardware.

  • No nonsense;
  • Easy assembly;
  • Price.
  • Sound Quality.

Sonor Drums SSE 12 SAFARI C1 BGS 4-Piece Drum Set with Black Galaxy Sparkle Finish

Sonor Drums SSE 12 SAFARI C1 BGS 4-Piece Drum Set with Black Galaxy Sparkle Finish is a product of a well-established German musical instrument manufacturing company. Sonor’s drums are Jack DeJohnette’s favorite! Of course, you can expect only the best from the oldest company on this list (if their products were bad, they wouldn’t last for very long). Sonor Drums SSE 12 SAFARI C1 BGS is a wonderfully neat drum kit that fairly upholds the value of the phrase “German engineering.” The kit encompasses a 16″x16″ bass drum, 10″x8″ rack tom, 14″x12″ floor tom, and 14″x5″ snare. The tuning lugs receive special praise from me: they are quite tight but still nice to set up, which results in the exact set-up that you intended to do. Another set to fall in love.

Sonor Drums SSE 12 SAFARI C1 BGS 4-Piece Drum Set with Black Galaxy Sparkle Finish
25 Reviews
Sonor Drums SSE 12 SAFARI C1 BGS 4-Piece Drum Set with Black Galaxy Sparkle Finish
  • 16" x 16" Bass Drum 10" x 8" Tom Tom 14" x 12" Floor Tom 14" x 5" Snare Drum
  • A 45 Degree Bearing Edge which is an important component of the signature SONOR sound.

  • Awesome tuning;
  • Great sound;
  • Neat kit: small but capable.
  • Questionable paint job.

Gammon Percussion Full Size Complete Adult 5 Piece Drum Set with Cymbals Stands Stool and Sticks, Black – Receive&Play Kit

Gammon Drums is a new brand that offers a wide variety of drumming equipment and paraphernalia for drummers. They are oriented towards making their clients’ lives much-much easier. Gammon Percussion Full Size Complete Adult 5 Piece Drum Set is very similar to the previous entry from Pearl, as Gammon too offers an compete drumming set that will get you going right from the start. In the package, you’ll receive hi-hat and crash cymbals, 5-piece drum shell set (bass drum, floor tom, two rack toms, and a snare), as well as all of the mounting hardware plus drummer throne. However, there is a major drawback with this set: for the set to sound relatively good, it’ll need a professional set up. If a novice tries to undertake this task, the resulting drumming experience won’t be as pleasant, as you would get, for example, from a more expensive set. I’ve found myself that I had to commit a lot of my time to configure this drum set. The only place that you would use this kit is in your shed solely for practicing purposes.

Gammon Percussion Full Size Complete Adult 5 Piece Drum Set with Cymbals Stands Stool and Sticks,...
829 Reviews
Gammon Percussion Full Size Complete Adult 5 Piece Drum Set with Cymbals Stands Stool and Sticks,...
  • Full Size Complete Drum Set with Everything Included
  • Hi-Hat & Crash Cymbals Sticks Stool Stands all Included

  • Everything you’ll need;
  • Easy to learn on and then transfer skills;
  • Easy assembly.
  • Hard to configure;
  • Only for shedding.

Pearl Drum Set, Red Wine, 5-Piece (RS525SC/C91)

Yes, another drum set from Pearl. No, I’m not biased, Pearl is just that good. Pearl Drum Set, Red Wine, 5-piece (RS525SC/C91) is not a standard jazz set, per se. It’s a fusion kit, and it suits perfectly those who do not want to be confined within one genre of music. This kit can be used for gigs in a lot of situations. Another argument for this kit is that almost everything is included in the set: 10″x8″, 12″x9″, 16″x16″ rack toms, 14”x5.5” snare, 22”16” bass drum, stands, pedal, 16” crash and 14” hybrid cymbals, and drummer throne. This set is good at everything but master of none, so if you’re willing to give up that jazzy sound for more versatility, then this kit is just for you.

Pearl Drum Set, Red Wine, 5 piece (RS525SC/C91)
252 Reviews
Pearl Drum Set, Red Wine, 5 piece (RS525SC/C91)
  • Item may ship in more than one box and may arrive separately
  • Spotlight's bass drum, tom toms, and snare feature a 9-ply Poplar shell for optimum tonal power.

  • Versatility;
  • Price;
  • Big sound.
  • Not perfect for jazz.


What Is a Jazz Drum Set?

What differentiates jazz drum sets from other drum kits is the need for intricacy in jazz. If you’re a jazz drummer, then in one night, you’ll need to be able to project through the horn section, and after the band tune, you’ll need to support the bassist in a jazz trio context quietly. So, it’s all about warm sounds and rich overtones to get that jazzy drums sound. Seeing a 14″ wood snare, 12″ rack tom, 14″ floor tom, and 18″/20″ bass drum is business as usual in a jazz setting. Some even forgo the rack tom.

What Is the Best Brand of Jazz Drums?

If we judge on popularity, then it’s definitely Gretsch. It seems like all of the greats have at least tried to use them, if not devoted their lives to this drumming equipment. A bit more of the famous jazz drummers from the bebop and post-bop era that worked only with Gretsch drums: Mel Lewis, Louis Bellson, Shadow Wilson, Elvin Jones, Jimmy Van Eaton, among many others.

What Is a Good Beginner Jazz Drum Set?

One myth I want to bust is the need for these so-called “beginner” sets. Cheap beginner drum sets pose themselves as affordable and being the great starting ground for drumming newcomers. Still, in reality, you get a half-decent drum set that you’ll eventually need to replace because it’ll limit your ability to play. This is why I always recommend spending a bit more money on a semi-professional set.

Getting Ready to Swing with the Best

My interpretation of the best jazz drum set review is close to the end. In this article, I’ve discussed the importance of percussion in jazz, answered some of the common questions regarding jazz drum kits, presented the best options for jazz drum kits on the market now, and told you a bit more about jazz culture. One last thing that I’d like to say is that having good gear is only the start of the journey into jazz drumming. So, don’t get caught up in gear too much, and don’t forget to give your everything to shedding before going onto the stage to jam your soul out.

I think I’ve said enough, so I want to hear something from you now! For obvious reasons, I didn’t compare electronic and real drum sets. Would you like me to create an article about the best electronic drum set for jazz? Also, tell me how big of a role do you think gear plays in creating a good performance? And what about the drummer’s chops: 20% Gear and 80% Chops or maybe it’s 40% to 60%? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

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