Yamaha Rydeen Series Kit review

Yamaha’s newly rejuvenated kit is up there with the best starter rigs

  • £550
  • €579

MusicRadar Verdict

Cleverly balancing cost-cutting generic elements with crucial Yamaha family parts results in a top-quality budget package. The hardware is excellent and with upgraded heads the drums will sing.


  • +


  • +

    Excellent hardware.


  • -

    The shells are decent rather than superb…but what do you expect for the money?

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Rydeen is apparently the name of the Japanese God of Thunder. 

It was also the name of Yamaha’s starter kit before the Gigmaker replaced it 10 years ago. Now Rydeen is back, ousting Gigmaker. 

The kit is offered in a choice of 20" or 22" five-piece shell packs with a cracking set of stands and pedals. An optional deal on a Paiste 101 cymbal set is also in the offering.


Gone is the Philippines mahogany of old, replaced by more sustainable white wood poplar. Shells are 6-ply and 7.2mm thick. The butt join is vertical (not Yamaha’s Air-Seal angled seam), but they are well finished with a horizontally-laid inner ply and accurately cut 45° bearing edges. 

Our review kit is 22"x16" (actually 17" by my measurement), 10"x7", 12"x8", 16"x15", with matching wood 14"x5.5" snare. There’s an alternative configuration with 20"x16" bass and 14"x13" floor tom. 

Pictured is the Black Glitter finish and there are two other glitter wraps - Silver and Burgundy, plus three solid colours: Mellow Yellow, Hot Red and Fine Blue. These wraps are smart rather than spectacular, but the colour choice is good. 

Lugs are a familiar Yamaha small button low-mass design, 16 on the bass drum, 12 on each tom and 16 on the nicely matching snare drum. They are spring-less to prevent rattling/humming. 

Bass drum hoops are steel, inlaid with matching coloured wrap. This is a classic budget feature, but there are arguments in favour. We know here that with review kits, if anything is going to crack during the sometimes clumsy transit back and forth, it’s a wood bass drum hoop, especially those of cheaper kits. Since the wood on budget kits is softer than on top-end kits, the much stronger metal hoops make sense. 

Hands on

Where the drums are good (three stars) the accompanying 600 series hardware is excellent (four stars). Of professional quality in design and finish, it will survive all but the heaviest of prolonged use. 

There are two boom cymbal stands which rise generously to 6ft fully extended, with their three section housings (not two, which is often seen with budget hardware). The snare drum stand likewise extends high enough so that you could play it standing up if the need arose. 

The basket is secured as usual by a big nylon black wheel, but Yamaha has made this much easier to grip with finger-friendly ‘starfish’ arms. 

Nowhere is the Yamaha-family image more apparent than in the twin-post Professional Series tom holder

The basket angle adjustment is continuous, not geared, which is also preferable, and the three support arms are super-strong. Everywhere you find Yamaha’s familiar three-stepped, ergonomically contoured wing nut for comfortable grip and secure positioning. Along with the lugs and system hardware it gives you that classy Yamaha aesthetic, even though this is a modest kit. 

The vibe is continued in the stylish hi-hat and bass pedal. These have single chain drives and operate with a sure ease. They don’t have full base-plates, so are lighter, simple to fold up and transport, yet are still strong and stable enough for most drummers. 

Nowhere is the Yamaha-family image more apparent than in the twin-post Professional Series tom holder. The resin ball clamp and hexagonal rod design is adaptable and fast to position. Both the toms and bass drum are drilled (no ISO mounts), and tom sustain is thereby a touch foreshortened, but there’s no lack of power. The big 16" tom and 22" bass drum have thunderous power. 

The kit has great presence and will kick up an almighty racket if you want it to

As we’ve seen before, the usual budget sparsity of lugs - just six per head on the floor tom - only serves to increase the loose resonance of the drum. And those metal bass drum hoops increase the hard edge of the kick sound, adding a bit of extra slap to the beat. 

One obvious saving is in the unlabelled heads. Ironically, their very thinness gives them a vibrant punch, but as soon as you lay into them they start to pit. They will soon lose their spring, requiring replacement professional-quality heads. That’s a given with budget kits, but the drums deserve it. 

The matching snare has a simple, functional strainer with a solid cast butt-plate and 16 small lugs. It’s rather lightweight and with the supplied coated head the sound is perhaps lacking in character, although cheerily woody with ample volume and good sensitivity at the edges. Generally, the kit has great presence and will kick up an almighty racket if you want it to. Parents beware! 

Tom Bradley

Tom is a professional drummer with a long history of performing live anywhere from local venues to 200,000 capacity festivals. Tom is a private drum tutor, in addition to teaching at the BIMM Institute in Birmingham. He is also a regular feature writer and reviewer for MusicRadar, with a particular passion for all things electronic and hybrid drumming.