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Dad bought my first drum set when I was eight years old.  It was a used Ludwig set.. beautiful white mother of pearl, with real cow-hide heads. Every time the weather changed I had to re-tune each drum. in those days the hardware was minimal and the cymbals had the tone and sustain of a Chevy hubcap. . I loved that first set of drums.

Since those days I’ve owned Gretch, Sonar, Pearl, ludwig  and a couple of lesser well-known sets and have enjoyed seeing the state-of-the-art cutting edge of drums and equipment evolve to where it is today..FANTASTIC. When I graduated from the Chevy Hubcaps in that first set to Zildjian and Sabian cymbals, I could never, again, settle for anything less. Today, there are many affordable, excellent products which will meet the task and stand up for years.

The question is, how long an attention span will a newby have for the goal, ” I want to be a drummer” ? I have two grandsons who wanted to follow in my footsteps and I started showing them the basics.. fast learners, of course, and very eager to learn how to do explosive rock and roll drum solos.  Well, to make a long story short, it was a bit of a culture shock for them.   The point is.. learn to walk before trying to run with the big dogs. No need to spend hundreds or thousands only to have the set for sale 90 days later.  An elementary age student can get into a 5 piece set for less than $175.

We DID graduate to “explosive rock solos”,  however, my grandsons learned rudiments and basic technique to begin with. My, sincere, best advice for the newby and pro alike, is to have a sound system set up  so that he or she can practice, practice, practice keeping ACCURATE TEMPO (most important) with whatever venue of music… whatever:  Rock & roll,  Rock-a-billy, Rhythm & Blues, Country, Swing, Jazz,  Latin, Big band, Ethnic, etc.  

The sound system should be: full range speakers on the left and to the right of the drummer, enough volume that the drummer can hear the music above the drums.. a player,casette, cd, whatever..and a room which is, possibly, walled to keep the sounds in the same room. ( egg cartons work well). There are sound absorbing products available for that purpose.  A headset is not recommended at this stage of training. Lessons and drums in the school band are recommended.

B.J.Scherr

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