The best approach to learn jazz drumming is to possess a typical jazz drum set arrangement. The drums are tuned higher for a true jazz sound, while the smaller drum shells offer increased resonance. A smaller drum kit with larger jazz cymbals makes up the usual jazz drum configuration. Jazz is a broad phrase that refers to a wide variety of musical genres, but this drum arrangement works with all of them.
Every jazz drummer should consider the sound quality, shell sizes, and build quality while choosing a jazz set. The majority of drum brands produce amazing kits that are perfect in every way, but there are a select ones that I would highly recommend over others. This article will discuss the top jazz drum sets. To give you my top picks, I compared sound, design, performance, and cost.
Table of Contents
Gretsch Catalina Club Jazz
- Gretsch Formula 7 Ply Mahogany Shells w/Clear Interior and 30 Degree Edges
- Matching Bass Drum Hoops w/Natural Gloss Interiors
- 12.7 millimeters Tom Arms and 10.5 millimeters FT Legs
The Gretsch Catalina Club is unquestionably one of the most well-known jazz drum sets. Their wood shells produce a vintage tone that jazz drummers want. The snare is 14 inches, while the toms and jazz bass drums measure 12 inches, 14 inches, and 18 inches, respectively. The snare drum is a versatile instrument. When tuned low, it creates a sound that is reminiscent of “vintage” jazz, such as bebop. It carries a punch when tuned high and fits in nicely with the current jazz sound.
When tuned high, the toms have a lovely, long-lasting ring, and when tuned low, they produce a strong boom. You’ll be able to play Gene Krupa-style tom solos with the floor tom since it produces a traditional “bigness” that fills a room. The bass drum is extremely loud, which is perfect in a jazz configuration where the bass drum primarily serves as a tom rather than a timekeeper. The Catalina Club Jazz kits are also available in a variety of colours.
The Gretsch Catalina Club kit is compact, light, and inexpensive, but it benefits from the trickle-down impact of outstanding technology and engineering that can only be achieved by a large corporation. The Mahogany wood on the Gretsch Catalina gives it a fantastic vintage sound, and the triple flange heads won’t eat your sticks. Its shallow bass drum, with a depth of 14 inches, produces a quick, piercing tone.
It’s ideal for usage as a house drum kit in a jazz club or as a good back-up kit in a car with passengers. More pricier kits offer a wider selection of shell sizes and finishes; in fact, they’re sold in pre-set three- or four-piece combinations. Gretsch is one of the most popular and well-liked drumming equipment brands among jazz drummers all around the world. It should come as no surprise that we’ve included a Gretsch kit on this list. A 14″ snare, 12″ rack tom, 16″ floor tom, and 22″ kick drum are included in the Catalina Maple 4-piece.
The shells of these drums are composed of 7-ply maple. These shells offer a plethora of tweaking choices. They can be tuned high for bop, or low for a massive big band sound. The Catalina Maple is a wonderful choice for playing drums in a big band situation because of its massive size. You’ll be able to play Gene Krupa-style floor tom solos and get the audience moving. This is the Best Jazz Drum Set in 2023.
Yamaha Stage Custom Bebop Birch 3pc Bop Drum Shell Pack
- Included Drums: 18"x15" kick, 12"x8" rack tom, 14"x13" floor tom
- Included Hardware: YESS tom mount and (3) floor tom legs
- 100% birch drum shells with air seal system
The Yamaha Stage Custo is a normal Yamaha Stage Custom with bop-sized shells. Because of the modest bop sizes, the kit is ideal for a jazz setup. The Bebop kit includes 12″ and 14″ toms, as well as an 18″ bass drum. The all-birch Yamaha Stage Custom is based on the DNA of Yamaha’s world-famous Recording Custom. This compact kit is ideal for light jazz, hip-hop, and session work. Its thin 100 percent birch shells are free to vibrate with warm, clear tones, and come in vibey bop sizes with low-mass lugs and a lacquer finish. The birch’s crisp snap and dry, cutting crack, on the other hand, will appeal to players of all stripes. The Yamaha Stage Custom Birch Bebop shell pack strives to impress whether you’re looking for an authentic bop kit or a travel-friendly stage companion with value for money.
The birch shells provide a vibrant assault with warm, clear overtones. Die-cast claw hooks are included in the best drums for jazz hardware, which improves sustain and resonance, two important aspects of getting a solid jazz tone out of your toms. Yamaha’s YESS attachment allows your Stage Custom Birch Bebop kit’s high tom to vibrate freely no matter where you place it. The YESS mount and tom holder make minimal contact with the drum, keeping touch to the shell’s nodal point to prevent sustain from being hampered. The maximum stability is provided by a nylon clamp bushing. Even better, the YESS system won’t get in the way of head changes between takes and sets. A snare drum is not included in the Stage Custom Bebop shell bundle. This could potentially deter individuals from purchasing the value jazz drum set, as some may say that with only three shells, you aren’t getting your money’s worth. This is the Best Jazz Drum Sets in 2023.
Pearl Roadshow Drum Set 4-Piece Complete Kit with Cymbals and Stands
- Complete Drum Set -The Pearl Roadshow drum kit comes complete with...
- Set Includes-18x12 bass drum, 13x5 snare, 10x7 rack tom, 14x10 floor tom,...
- Hardwood Drum Shells and Triple Flanged Steel Hoops-6-ply 7mm Poplar...
The Pearl Roadshow is a one-stop shop for anyone looking to buy their first drum set. Drum shells, cymbals, and hardware are all included. A snare, rack tom, floor tom, and bass drum are included in the 4-piece Roadshow option.
It has a 13-inch snare, a 10-inch rack tom, a 14-inch floor tom, and an 18-inch bass drum. A set of 14″ hi hats and a 16″ crash/ride cymbal are also included. Finally, it includes all of the hardware required to keep everything together. Pearl is known for producing high-quality gear, and the included pieces of hardware are no exception.
The shells are composed of poplar, which gives them a strong tone and durability. They’re made to sound playable straight out of the box, so you won’t need to know much about tuning to get started with this kit. A pair of 14″ hi-hats and a 16″ crash cymbal are included with the set. To complete your full jazz setup, you’ll need to acquire a ride cymbal.
You may want to upgrade your cymbals once you get this kit because the provided cymbals aren’t the best sounding. They have a cheap sound to them. For the price of this kit, you get a lot. It’s a terrific place to start if you don’t have a drum equipment yet.
The Pearl Roadshow is the best jazz drum kit for beginners without a doubt. Beginners are unlikely to take up jazz, but if they do, the Roadshow is the way to go. It’s an entry-level drum set with cymbals and gear that comes in several sizes. The best drums for jazz in 2023.
Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove 4-Piece Black Sparkle Drum Set Bundle with Vic Firth American Classic 5A Drumsticks
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The Ludwig Breakbeats were created by Ahmir Questlove Thompson, drummer for The Roots. The Roots are the house band for Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show, and they perform all around New York. The kit is designed to be lightweight and portable, but it also works well as a jazz instrument.
A 14″ snare, 10″ mounted tom, 13″ floor tom, and 16″ bass drum are included in the 4-piece shell bundle. When the kit is tuned high, it sounds better, but that is ideal for most jazz contexts. The bass drum has a strong wallop and a long sustain, while the toms provide a well-balanced sound.
These drums provide a full-sized sound thanks to their 7-ply hardwood construction. For such a small package, this sound projects remarkably well. In small rooms, the kit is loud enough to compete with amplified guitars and vocals. It’s also fantastic for playing outside and busking. In larger venues, though, the equipment will need to be mic’d up to be heard properly.
The toms are equipped with 2-ply Remo Pinstripes, which produce a warm, rich sound with little sustain. They have a large tuning range, making this kit quite versatile when it comes to playing various musical styles. It works nicely in jazz, funk, and even rock situations.
The floor tom is the nicest feature of the set. When tuned low, it delivers a massive sound similar to a 16” floor tom. It’ll sound great if you play Gene Krupa-style floor tom solos on it. You won’t feel it as strongly as you would with a 16″ tom.
This compact kit is a terrific alternative if you’re going to be playing jazz performances in different places every night.
Gretsch Renown 4-Piece Shell Pack Vintage Pearl
- Configuration Bass Drum(s): 22 x 18 in. Tom(s): 10 x 7, 12 x 8 in. Floor...
- Today’s working drummers need a kit that can do it all—and do it well
- The Gretsch Renown is one of the most versatile drum sets ever made
The Gretsch Renown 4-piece jazz drum set is a high-end jazz drum set known for its versatility. Its 7-ply maple shells with 30 degrees bearing edges may provide a tone that is suitable for practically any musical genre or style. It does, however, offer a warm sound that is well-suited to jazz drumming.
The Renown 4-piece has a 20-piece capacity “If you have a large band, this bass drum with a low boom is ideal. It also comes in 10″, 12″, and 14” sizes “a pair of toms The flexible shell hoops allow for easy tweaking. It also includes Remo heads, which are popular among drummers. The shell bundle, on the other hand, is missing a snare drum. This jazz drum kit will require a separate snare drum.
In general, the kit has a gentle approach, yet it is really warm. This kit’s warm sound is what makes it ideal for a jazz setup. Remo Ambassador stock drumheads are included in the kit, which are popular among jazz drummers.
The shell bundle, unfortunately, does not include a snare drum. Other high-end kits have bass drums that haven’t been drilled to make a mount in order to preserve sound quality.
Pearl Midtown 4 Piece Shell Pack Drum Set
- Opti-loc suspension
- Bass drum lift
- Remo snare drum heads
This fantastic price Midtown 4 Piece Drum Set by Pearl is a pocket rocket! It’s a little drum set that doesn’t sacrifice sound quality. Despite their diminutive size, the drums produce robust and responsive tones. This is one of the best jazz drum sets to go for if you’re looking for a budget jazz drum set that produces warm and focused sounds.
The drum shells are made of 6 ply poplar, which produces a vibrant and rich tone, and despite their small size, the drums project surprisingly loudly. A 1614 kick drum, a 1312 floor tom, a 107 rack tom, and a matching 135.5 snare drum are all included. The Remo drum heads are used throughout these drum sound. These drums not only sound fantastic, but they also look great. This lacquer finish has a slight but appealing ‘black gold shine.’
This drum set strikes the perfect balance of portability, sound, and affordability. Overall, this is a fantastic jazz drum kit that is suitable for a wide range of club and studio performances.
Pacific Drums PDCM2217PW
- Dual-Turret Lug, True-Pitch Tension Rods and Die-Cast Claw Hooks
- Graduated Counter Hoops
- 7-ply Tom/Kick Shells and 10-ply Snare Shells
Pacific Drums has a good reputation when it comes to drums, and the PDCM2217PW is one of their drum sets that lives up to that reputation. Because of the excellent toms included, this 5-piece drum kit is ideal for jazz drumming. These drums are manufactured with a combination of all-Maple or all-Birch shells, ensuring that they sound fantastic.
Sonor AQ2 Maple Martini Set
- SONOR AQ2 MAPLE MARTINI SET
- Bass drum is round and resonant and stays out of the way of an ensemble
- SmartMount tom mount maximizes resonance and sustain
The AQ2 series from Sonor is a line of tiny drum kits. They’re all the same in terms of build quality, structure, and makeup; the only difference is the size of the shells for each kit. I’ve especially chosen the Sonor AQ2 Bop kit as a decent jazz option.
The snare is 14 inches, while the toms and bass drum measure 12 inches, 14 inches, and 18 inches, respectively. As the kit’s name suggests, this is a conventional “bop” setup. Legendary jazz drummers like Elvin Jones and Roy Haynes made this configuration renowned. This kit’s shells are composed of maple, giving it a warm tone. One of the kit’s attractions is the snare drum. With a cracking rimshot sound, it’s extremely weighty and has a wide dynamic range. The kit’s hardware is extremely durable and adjustable, making it both long-lasting and secure. The Sonor AQ2 is only available as a shell pack; cymbal stands must be purchased separately.
This configuration is known as a “bop,” and it was popularized by Roy Haynes and Elvin Jones, two well-known jazz drummers. The AQ2’s hardware includes the Sonor SmartMount floor tom system, which helps to boost the resonance of this jazz drum kit. The AQ2’s snare drum is a standout feature. It has a wide frequency range and produces lively tones. It’s also possible that it’ll be fairly heavy. Finally, the Sonor AQ2 is sold as a shell bundle, which means ride and crash cymbals must be purchased separately.
Sonor AQ2 Bop 4-Piece Shell Pack with Snare
- 4-piece Maple Shell Pack with 12" Tom
- 14" Snare - White Marine Pearl
- 14" Floor Tom
One of the first businesses to promote their tiny kits was Sonor. The Bop, Safari, and Martini were three among them. Every kit was made to fit into small areas and had small sizes. These kits were recently completely redesigned by Sonor and released under the AQ2 series. The AQ2 kits are among the highest-quality small kits available, without sounding overly dramatic. The 18″ bass drum in this kit is really powerful. Without any muffling, it can sound jazzy and boomy, but when some pillows are inside, it can also make a firm thump. It’s the ideal size for a jazz performer with versatility.
The floor tom measures 14″ and the rack tom is 12″. The drums’ warm, earthy tone is a result of the maple shells and these common sizes. No matter what musical setting you place them in, they’ll sound fantastic. The snare drum is a unique aspect of this shell bundle. Snare drums in small kits are typically their weakest component. The 14″ AQ2 snare features a controlled buzz and a tight crack.
It would blend in with any design and be appropriate for use. It is an essential component of the AQ2 configuration due to its broad tuning range and musical overtones. Not the best drumheads are included with the kit as stock. You’ll need to swap them out with some better single-ply heads if you want to play jazz.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is a Jazz Drum Set?
A Jazz drum set is simply a conventional drum set, but one that boasts unusual sizes and integrates other percussion parts suitable for playing Jazz music. Four drums make up a basic jazz drum set: a snare drum, bass drum, rack tom, and floor tom. Crucially, it will also include a ride cymbal, two hi-hats, and possibly extra cymbals and percussion. Jazz drum kits are frequently more compact and have fewer toms. This is because playing strategies like comping and syncopation give the cymbal sounds more prominence.
How Are Jazz Drum Sets Tuned?
Compared to drums used in pop or rock music, jazz drums have a higher pitch. Bright and resonant tones are often requested from jazz drums. The exception is the bass drum, which normally has very little muffling to produce a broad, boomy sound.
Is Jazz Drumming Hard?
Yeah, playing jazz drums may be really difficult. Together with metal and gospel/fusion, it is one of the most difficult musical genres to play. Jazz drumming requires complex rhythmic phrasing patterns as well as rapid hands in large amounts.
The fundamentals are not difficult to comprehend, though. The most crucial elements of jazz drumming to learn early on include off-beat snare drum ghost notes and the ride cymbal played in a swung triplet style. The feel is a big part of what makes jazz drumming challenging. Jazz drummers have a lot of expressive range and are adept at evoking genuine feeling. The best jazz drummers have a phenomenal grasp of time and meter as well as the ability to shift dynamics instantly.