The Best Jazz Drum Sets in 2020

Being a custodian of our musical culture, you deserve the best equipment. There’s a variety of good jazz drum sets, but the best recommended is the Pearl Roadshow 4-Piece Drum Set, Bronze Metallic. Its spectacular craftsmanship, in combination with its price, makes it the top choice for the best jazz drum kit.

Art Blakely, a celebrated jazz drummer and Grammy Hall of Fame inductee, said music is supposed to wash away the dust of everyday life. His work inspired an entire generation, and as a consequence, there are now diverse groups of jazz drummers. With this in mind, below are other recommendations that will hopefully suit your fancy.

Art Blakey - The Best of Jazz Drums (Greatest Grooving Jazz Music) [Jazz Standards Hot Songs]

The best jazz drum sets we have reviewed are:

Reviews of the Best Jazz Drum Sets

The selection criteria were very strict. As mentioned before, there’s an overabundance of good jazz drum sets. But to be considered one of the best, there need to be exceptional attributes. These were the ones taken into consideration: sound quality (obviously), price, maintenance costs, and resale value. The following drum sets have those great qualities.

Pearl Roadshow 4-Piece Drum Set, Bronze Metallic
Finish:  Charcoal MetallicConfig:  Drum set with hardware and cymbalsNumber of Drums:  FourSnare:  5″ x 13″Mounted Toms:  7″ x 10″Floor Toms:  10″ x 14″Bass Drums:  12″ x 18″Shell Material:  PoplarCymbals Included:  16″ Crash/Ride, 14″ Hi-hatStands Included:  Boom Cymbal holder, Tom holder, Snare stand, Hi-hat standDrum Pedal Included:  Kick PedalThrone Included:  Drum Throne

This piece of musical equipment is a rare gift from Pearl. They have managed to include the high quality and innovation they’re known for in a product that’s accessible to all. For a reasonable price, you can own good-looking, stage-worthy gear that would leave most people thinking you maxed-out your credit card to acquire.

This is unequivocally the best cheap jazz drum set there is. The bronze finish is glorious; the snare drums produce premium sound, and, best of all, cymbals and hardware are included. It must be said—these are probably the best sounding included cymbals. For a beginner, the hassle of selecting good sounding cymbals is made non-existent.

Even though this drum kit appears too good to be true, there are some drawbacks. A beginner won’t notice these, and because of that, most people will find this a suitable purchase.

As the shell material is popular instead of mahogany or maple, the sound is distinctively (not remarkably) different. Only those with a trained ear will be able to notice. But if your ambition is to play in a small-time garage band with the occasional gig, then there’s no reason to pass on this option. If you’re professional or semi-professional, an upgrade is better.

Good quality and affordable. Has there ever been a better combination?

PROS

  • A true bargain, the best cheap jazz drum set on the market.
  • Comes with drum cymbals and hardware.
  • Bronze wrap finish gives it an expensive look.
  • Based on Pearl’s advanced production technologies.
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty, spectacular for this price point.

CONS

  • Not a good recommendation for people who already have good jazz drum sets.
Gretsch Catalina Club Jazz 4-Piece Drum Set Shell Pack
Finish:  Gloss Crimson BurstConfig:  Shell pack with snareNumber of Drums:  FourSnare:  5″ x 14″Mounted Toms:  8″ x 12″Floor Toms:  14″ x 14″Bass Drums:  14″ x 18″Shell Material:  MahoganyCymbals Included:  NoneStands Included:  NoneDrum Pedal Included:  NoneThrone Included:  None

This jazz drum set has both a timeless design and a progressive personality. It’s neither ostentatious nor splendiferous but exudes a subtle, elegant shine. Jazz is all about emotion and feel, which is exactly what you get when you run the palms of your hands around this drum set. This premium feel leaves you nostalgic for the days of handcrafted artifacts.

The mahogany shell material is for both aesthetic and functional purposes. Of the three commonly used shell tonewoods of “the big three” (birch, maple, and mahogany), mahogany is the softest. Harder woods produce high-pitched tones while softer ones emphasize more bottom end. If you find bottom end tones satisfying, then you’ve found your true love.

The snare drum is worthy of a mention. It’s neither deficient in any particular function nor extraordinary in another but performs with a surprisingly good range of versatility. Tune the snare low, and you get a deep, rich sound. Tune the snare higher, and you get a sound that’s spectacular for jazz.

The main drawback this drum kit possesses is the lack of hardware and cymbals. These must be bought separately. Although seemingly irritating at first, the stupendous value for money you’re receiving on this product is good enough to justify this flaw.

It’s good quality and the best jazz drum set for the money.

PROS

  • Reliable and durable.
  • Very easy to tune and play, even for beginners.
  • Great price point for entry into drums.
  • A product from a reputable manufacturer.

CONS

  • Hardware and cymbals must be bought separately.
  • The footpad, although ideal for beginners, will frustrate advanced players.
Tama Club Jam Satin Blonde Drum Shell Pack
Finish:  Satin BlondeConfig:  Shell pack with snareNumber of Drums:  FourSnare:  5″ x 13″Mounted Toms:  7″ x 10″Floor Toms:  7″ x 14″Bass Drums:  12″ x 18″Shell Material:  Mersawa/PoplarCymbals Included:  NoneStands Included:  One x Kick-Mounted Cymbal BoomDrum Pedal Included:  NoneThrone Included:  None

The Tama Club Jam Satin Blonde Drum Shell Pack is a highly affordable compact drum set. Its main value proposition is its portability; this is the drum set that professionals use if they move around frequently, and have gigs to play. When Tama designed this drum kit, their main objective was enhancing portability without compromising sound quality.

But even without a professional status, this drum set is appropriate for sound-loving drummers and their garage jam sessions. It’s simply astonishing how good this drum set sounds. Its modest setup gives you everything you need to play your heart out without any hindrances. So those with tight spaces can also benefit from this drum set.

With the Pearl model discussed earlier, you probably realized that poplar is a good and cheap material for drums but not the best. To maintain the relatively low cost of production and produce sound that’s to a professional’s liking, Tama used a material that’s a hybrid of Mersawa and poplar; this ensured that their price is both profitable and affordable.

The bad things that can be said about this drum set are perhaps the lack of detail, and the exclusion of a memory lock is deplorable. Professionals are dependent on memory locks to set up their gear quickly. The low lug count is also worthy of condemnation. But all in all, unless you’re decidedly picky, you’ll be satisfied with this drum set when playing jazz.

Affordable and compact enough for travel, this drum set is sure to suit most people. But if little design oversights make you lose your mind, then you may want to reconsider.

PROS

  • Excellent sound quality.
  • Small and portable.
  • Priced reasonably. Good value for money.
  • Cymbal mount included.
  • A throwback kit for easy travel is included.

CONS

  • No memory lock on bass drum legs and cymbal mount.
  • Low number of tuning lugs. Makes tuning harder and less accurate.
  • Most hardware not included.

How to Choose the Best Drum Sets for Jazz

When shopping, you may be overwhelmed with the options there are to purchasing a drum set. But not all drum sets are suited for jazz. There are considerations that need to be made. Unless you’re a professional jazz drummer or have too much cash to spend, it’s very unlikely that you’ll buy a genre-specific drum kit.

What’s most important is that you find a versatile drum kit that’s suited to your preferred genre; this will ensure that you optimize your jazz sessions while accommodating the occasional periods where you may fancy something else, like rock, for example. Choosing the best jazz drum set is no easy task, and you must take various factors into account.

The three main factors to be mindful of when selecting the best jazz drum set are:

  • Shell Material.
  • Number of Drums.
  • Commitment Level.

Shell Material

Shell material directly affects the quality of sound produced. In your beginner days as a drummer, you’re unlikely to notice the difference between a shell constructed with a tonewood and one made of poplar.

But if your pursuit of musical mastery is serious, then a tonewood shell is a wise investment. The sound is richer, and the bottom ends are deeper. These drums produce very sensual sounds that, if played well, can sound so beautiful it can have an emotional effect on the audience.

Among the tonewoods, there are what are known as “the big three.” A ‘woody’ trinity of some sort. These are maple, mahogany, and birch. The best among these is maple because it needs less tuning. There’s nothing wrong with the other tonewoods; in fact, they’re brilliant. They just need better tuning skills, unless you buy the Gretsch Catalina, as it’s easy to tune.

But a tonewood shell may be out of most people’s budget. You may have to resort to poplar or other cheaper alternatives. As a rule of thumb, when buying cheap, buy from a reputable manufacturer. They’re more likely to create quality products across their entire range. Lastly, before purchasing, find out if the intended uses of the drum set include jazz.

Number of Drums

You may be tempted to think that you need to adhere to the four-piece configuration when playing jazz. But that’s simply not the case. If you prefer, you can opt for a five- or six-piece configuration. As mentioned before, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be exclusively playing jazz. A more versatile configuration is conducive to exploring your musical tastes and talents.

This recommendation is quite logical, even if you have your mind and heart set on jazz. Think, it’s much easier to simply remove a piece from your setup, when need be, than to look for new hardware to enhance your jazz kit when playing other genres. If you’re going to make the investment in drums, make one that won’t give you a headache much later.

Commitment Level

This is where you evaluate if you will get real value for your money. But first, an analogy. If you happen to have any sartorial inclinations, then you must be aware that a fully bespoke suit costs about 5,000 dollars. That seems like a fortune, but its selling point is its cost-per-wear value. If you wear this suit for 50 days per year for 15 years, all of a sudden, it’s affordable.

The same principle can be applied to drums. If you’re regularly practicing or performing, the cost-per-use value is remarkably lower than when you’re inconsistent with your sessions. If you plan on sticking with jazz, then a premium and upgradeable drum set should be under consideration. You’re now investing in your music career, and this requires thought.

Most beginners consider their initial drum set as practice one and will eventually upgrade once they get better. There’s nothing wrong with this approach, and if you’re the type to start a new habit and later drop it, then buy cheap. But a premium instrument which you can explore the extent of your creativity with will do wonders for you.

Final Thoughts

The Pearl Roadshow 4-Piece Drum Set, Bronze Metallic, is an investment worth every penny. Jazz is meant to enrich our lives, more so for those who play it, and having great sounding equipment is an important part of the process. The Pearl model is relatively cheap and delivers a premium quality sound that will satisfy most drummers. What more could you want?

The other two mentioned are great buys, each having their own customer segment. With its major negative being its price, the Gretsch Catalina Club Jazz 4-Piece Drum Set Shell Pack is excellent for those looking for a particular sound and have a little extra to spend, and it’s fitting to declare it the runner up.

Most of us will never make it to the stage or get good enough to be worth listening to. But we don’t play jazz for the glitz or the glamor. We play it to feel alive and “wash away the dust of everyday life.”

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