How to make a cheap drum set sound good

A cheap drum set can save you money, but it may not produce the best sound. Most beginners start drumming with such drum kits.

If you don’t like the sound that a cheap drum set produces, you can make it sound better by implementing specific techniques. Try drum hacks such as replacing the drum heads, tuning the drums, getting quality cymbals, adding a port on the bass drum, using different drumsticks, or replacing the snare wires. Read on!

Consider getting new heads

Start by assessing the condition of the drum heads to determine if you need to get new ones. If you have bought a used drum kit, you should replace the heads. Loosening the rods can help you remove the tension from the drum heads. If you notice that the drum heads have a flat and smooth surface, you may not need to replace them. Drum heads that keep on sagging or have massive dents at the center need replacement since this indicates that they have been used for a long time.

Some drummers have a hard time when purchasing new drum heads. If you don’t know the right size to choose, you should first take some measurements before shopping for drum heads. Measure the shell’s diameter, excluding the hoop. Most five-piece drum sets have the following dimensions.

14 inches
16, 13, and 12 inches
Bass drum
22 inches

Tune the drums

You can also improve the sound of a cheap drum set by tuning it properly. Most inexperienced drummers find this task time-consuming but doing it can help you hone your skills and enjoy using the cheap drum set for some time. Professional drummers use different tips to tune drums. You can begin with tightening the tension rods on the drum set using your fingers. Do this on both the bottom and top heads. Some drummers also use a tool to tighten the tension rods.

Using a star pattern while tightening the tension rods is advisable since it ensures that the tension is distributed evenly on the drum. You should also give every tension rod a half turn and eliminate any wrinkles on the head. When you tap the head, it should produce an audible pitch. Use a drum key to ta the drum head near every tension rod. Once you have tuned the drums, it should produce a better sound than before.

Get quality cymbals

Have you bought a cheap drum set that comes with cymbals? You may not enjoy the sound produced by such instruments since most cheap drum sets have poor quality cymbals. Consider investing in good quality cymbals so that you can enjoy drumming using the set.

During shopping for cymbals, you should focus on well-known brands such as Sabian and Zildjian since they offer starter cymbals that include ride, crash, and hi-hats. Cymbals from such manufacturers may not be cheap, but they are long-lasting and produce decent sound.

Add a port on the bass drum

If you have a cheap drum set that is producing poor sound, you should assess the condition of the bass drum. When the bass drum is not vented sufficiently, it produces a poor sound due to the high resonance. You can fix this by adding a port or hole on the head of the resonant bass drum. Doing this promotes sufficient venting since air can escape the drum freely so that the drum heads can resonate without air pressure interference. Adding a port also enables sound engineers to put a microphone in the bass drum without removing the entire drum head.

Try using different drumsticks

Experimenting with drumsticks can help you produce all kinds of sounds while drumming a cheap drum set. You should also pay attention to the drum sticks’ tips since they have a significant impact on the sound that a drum and cymbals produce. While some drumsticks contain nylon tips, others have tips made from wood.

When you use drumsticks that contain wood tips, you should expect a natural and muted sound. On the other hand, drumsticks that contain nylon tips create bright sounds since this material is harder than wood. The manufacturers of such drumsticks use wood to glue the nylon material to the end. Though drumsticks with nylon tips have better sound, they may leave some marks on the cymbals and drum heads. If you hit a drum so hard using such drumsticks, the nylon tip can come off during drumming.

Replace or adjust the snare wires

Choosing a second-hand drum is one of the options that most people who want to start drumming go for. Though this is cheaper, you may not get the best sound from such a kit. If you are dealing with an old snare drum, you should check the condition of the snare wires. Though these wires last longer than the drum heads, they still need replacing after some time. Doing this can help you enjoy a better sounding snare during drumming.

If you notice that some of the snare wires are damaged or bent, replace them before you start using the drum set. You can find different types of snare wires from online stores at varying price points. Talk to an expert who can help you choose the right snare wires based on the sound you want to achieve during drumming.


In drumming, decent sound quality is key. You can enhance the sound of your cheap drum set without the help of a technician. Try the techniques above and find out if there is a difference in the sound that the drum set produces.


How can I improve the sound that my cymbals produce?

You can try adjusting your playing style so that you get better resonance from the musical instrument. Also, ensure that the cymbals are mounted correctly.

Why are some drum models expensive?

The cost of drums depends on different factors such as the finish, hardware quality, and build. Cheaper models also exist.

Leave a Comment