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Getting Started: The Drums
In the second of our Getting Started series, we bring you a brief look at The Drums. We say ‘brief’ because drumming traditions go back centuries and drums were possibly the first musical instruments for so many cultures around the world. So without further ado, let’s hit it!

Drums, more so than any other musical instrument, have been part of almost all cultures across the world. Historical excavations document the existence of drums as far back as 6000 B.C. The evidence also shows that drums were used for more than just music. They formed an integral part of culture and were used in, among other things, religious rituals, celebration, and communication among tribes.

Drum kits can be modified to suit your playing style, but for starters here is a breakdown of a basic drum kit:

• Bass drum
• Snare drum
• Toms
• Hi-hats
• Cymbals
• Ride/Crash

How To Choose Your First Drum Kit
You’re convinced you want to be a drummer! Congratulations on making that decision, but now is when the fun has only just begun. Says drummer Gino Banks, “Deciding to buy a drum kit is a tough call. The drum is a loud instrument and it takes up a lot of space. It’s not as easy as just getting yourself an acoustic guitar. So consider that fact carefully before you go buy one.”

Next comes the most critical factor – cost. Decent drum kits don’t come cheap. And those that do aren’t really very good. Which one should a beginner buy? Drummers are divided on the topic. Gino is of the opinion that you should pick a drum kit that sounds good, even if it is a little more expensive than the low-quality cheaper kits. He explains, “If the sound is really good, you feel better about your playing and it makes you want to play more.” He recommends a kit by the Tama brand.

Pentagram drummer Shiraz on the other hand adopts the opposite approach. He says, “Drum kits can be really expensive so if you are not really sure then buy yourself a Gladnick or a “Calcutta kit”. It’s not the longest lasting and will probably last about a year or a year-and-a-half. Then if you are still sure you really want to buy drums go get yourself a better kit.”

Drummer/producer/singer Sanjay Maroo says, “A general thought process, when buying any sort of musical instrument, is that as a beginner you don’t need to have that good a piece, that you should first learn on something and then buy yourself a better instrument etc. But what happens is, the sound you get is so bad, it doesn’t inspire you!

We catch up with some of India’s top drummers to get their drum basics.

Began playing: “I started at age 8. We had a drum set lying at home and I just kind of copied what I listened to. I love playing live. One of the most interesting live performances I remember was at a fusion show in Surat last year where there was an encore for a drum solo! I wasn’t expecting that.”

Quick Quote: “There is no short cut to getting good at the drums. Practice is the only way to get there. It’s a physical instrument so it requires technical practice and takes years of persistence and determination. But mainly I think you should just really have fun playing!”

Favourite Drummers
Steve Smith
Virgil Donati
Dennis Chambers
Dave Weckl
Jeff Ballard

Began playing: “The strange thing was that I never had a drum set till the time that I had already learned to play drums! What I mean by that is, there was a long period of time, almost about two years, where I used to just sit in front of a mirror and practice with a pair of sticks in my hand. I’d just play in the air, imagining that there was a drum set in front of me. That’s how I learned. So when I was taking part in competitions, I was winning them without having owned a drum set! I’d just hire the kits for a few days before the contest, practise a little bit and go with it. It was sort of freak situation.”[Laughs]

You can read the rest of our special feature Getting Started in the November 2005 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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