So many drums, so little room to store them all. This year’s hottest new kits include ones designed for maximum portability and practicality, new top shelf, professional level beauties crafted in the most exotic woods imaginable, and high-performance mid-range kits for players looking to upgrade their sound without breaking the bank.
Despite the quality of the competition, our winner for Best New Drum Kit this year beat the closest contender by almost double the number of votes as Tama update one of drumming’s most iconic and respected line of drum kits.
1. Tama Starclassic Walnut/Birch
Replacing its hugely popular Bubinga/Birch kits comes Tama’s new Walnut/Birch version of their Starclassic range. Marrying the attack of Birch with Walnut’s warm tones produces a rich sound, the kits come with Tama’s Star-Cast mounts and Quick-Lock tom brackets for easy set-up and maximum resonance. And the finishes are stunning.
2. Pearl Masters Maple/Gum Series
The new Masters Maple/Gum Series is intended to appeal to anyone seeking a vintage sound full of mid-range warmth and low-end body. Crafted with 6-ply 5.4m shells comprised of a 4-ply outer Maple layer with an inner 2-Ply layer of Gumwood, these kits are only available for a limited time.
3. DW Collector’s Pure Almond
Harvested from old almond trees from an orchard in Northern California, DW’s Pure Almond series features the hardest wood available in their Collector’s line of kits. These kits are all about delivering a clear attack and bright tone, and with only 50 kits being built, they’re sure to become collectable.
4. Yamaha Live Custom Hybrid Oak
Built for projection and clarity in live situations, Yamaha’s Live Custom Hybrid Oak kits feature 7-ply shells made with a synthetic phenolic resin core that was chosen by drummers in blind trials. The drums are finished using a Japanese uzukuri-inspired technique for an eye-catching look to match their punchy sound.
5. Mapex Black Panther Design Lab Cherry Bomb
Built with Cherrywood shells, Mapex’s Design Lab Cherry Bomb kits are intended to offer a warm, vintage tone with all the benefits of modern construction and hardware. The latter means the kit features Master Tune lugs and Mapex’s innovative MAATS – Magnetic Air Adjustment Tom Suspension – system for maximum shell resonance.
6. Ludwig Anniversary Legacy Mahogany
Ludwig celebrated its 110th birthday this year with a run of Anniversary Legacy Mahogany kits. The 30-degree bearing edge shells feature Mahogany on the inner and outer plys with a Poplar core and Maple reinforcement rings. The Van Buren edition boasts Maple wood hoops with a stunning Marine Pearl inlay.
7. Sonor ProLite
Aimed squarely at professional level players, Sonor’s high end ProLite kits are built from Vintage Maple shells with 45-degree bearing edges and feature the company’s Total Acoustic Resonance mounts to eliminate any impact on resonance from the hardware. All the drums feature 2mm reinforcement rings to accent the Maple’s warmth.
8. Pearl Session Studio Select
Pearl’s upgrade on their Session series features 6-ply 5.4mm Birch and African Mahogany shells with a 60-degree bearing edge – the same as their Masterworks kits - for a blend of punchy attack and warmth designed to sound great in a studio setting. The hardware is heavy duty to control overtones.
9. Gretsch Brooklyn Micro
Gretsch enters the portable kit arena with the Micro version of their popular Brooklyn line. Made with Poplar/Maple shells, the American built kit features a 16” x 12” bass drum, 10” x 7” tom-tom, 13” x 12” floor tom, and 13” x 4.5” snare for the drummer on the move.
10. DS Drums Rebel
Founded in 1995, Italian company DS Drums has only recently begun to attract attention in the UK, which is surprising give the quality of their creations. Their Rebel Custom Shop kits are available in a wide range of woods, including hybrids like Maple/Mahogany, or the more exotic Koto from Cameroon.