small drum set options

You may find you need a small drum set. It might be because transportation is an issue. Maybe most of the places you play gigs at have tiny stages. Maybe a little kit suits your playing style better. Some genres of music are well suited to a small drum set.

your Small drum set options

Either way, you have a few options to choose from;

  • Cocktail drum sets are sometimes played standing up and usually do not include a high hat stand with a pedal. The high hat cymbals can be mounted on a cymbal arm designed for high hats, but the drummer will not be able to open them. You do have the option of adding a high hat stand if you wish of course. In some of these kits, the snare and "bass drum" are the same drum with a bass drum pedal with an upward swinging beater to use the bottom of the drum as a bass drum. The top of the drum will be tuned tighter than bottom and will have a strainer and snare wire mechanism so it can be played as a snare.
  • There are some that have a separate bass drum with a snare mounted above it. The toms in both cases will be mounted to the side, if there are any. 
  • For a more 'rock' like sound, Tama offers the Jam Cocktail kit. It has slightly larger diameter drums while retaining much of the portability of a regular cocktail drum set. The larger drums make it more suited to heavier styles of music. It's a very versatile drum set that travels with ease.
  • Some small drum sets are set up much like their full size counterparts, but they have smaller size drums. For example a standard drum set might come with a 22 inch bass drum, while a smaller set may come with a 16 inch bass drum. With the right tuning, these drum sets can be effective in a wide variety of playing situations. These professional grade, yet small drum sets can also be ideal for younger drummers who will eventually grow into them. The size of the drums allow for a much more compact drum set that younger players will have no problem playing around on.
  • Nesting drum sets, sometimes called a travel drum set, are known for their space saving ways when stored or being moved around. Usually the bass drum can open up to allow the other drums to be stored inside. The bigger tom will often open up for the small tom to fit inside. Some of these nesting drum sets have single headed toms that are sized so that they will fit inside each other as well. The well known Yamaha Hip Gig drum set had a drum throne that was a cylinder that you could store the hardware inside for travel.
  • A Small Electric Drum Set might suit your needs better. Practice with headphones, record to your computer, work on your time with the built in metronome or play-along tracks all while keeping the neighbors happy.
  • Another option, and the most compact is a Cajon. These box shaped instruments are designed to be sat on while being played. They have a hollow front with snare wires behind the front face near the top for the higher pitched "snare" sound. Hit the cajon lower and you get a lower 'bass drum' sound. With practice you can emulate an entire drum set quite effectively. The cajon is well suited for acoustic gigs and where portability is important or where stage space is at a premium. Some drummers add a foot pedal, a foot tambourine, and/or a cymbal to the cajon to make a Cajon Drum Set.

If you're looking for a super small option, an electronic tabletop drum set might be for you.

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For more about the cocktail drum set, click here.

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