The request for electronic drums has never been higher – they’re convenient, quieter than an acoustic kit, often space-saving and offer loads of built-in features such as metronomescomputer connectivity and maybe even sample recording and playback.
Although new electronic drums are more affordable than ever, there are still differences in quality as you move up the price scale, and there are definitely savings to be made – especially when it comes to big brands – by buying a second-hand electronic drum. drum kit instead of new. But as with any second-hand purchase, you need to know what you’re buying and know how to avoid potential pitfalls. In this article, we’ll tell you what to look for when buying a used electronic drum set.
1. Set your budget
Let’s face it, there’s a reason you consider buying second-hand – whether it’s to protect your investment from “forecourt losses” or just to stretch your cash as much as possible. But the first rule of buying anything where there’s a huge range of price options is knowing how much you want (and can afford) to spend. We’ve all been there – you start with a price in mind, then very quickly you’re looking at things that cost 50% (or more) more. If you’re on a tight budget, you should stick to it, but it’s handy to build in some wiggle room. Be realistic and keep your list of “must have” versus “ideal scenario” features in mind before you let the cost fly away with you. Which brings us to point #2…
2. Do your homework
Before you start watching eBay (opens in a new tab), Facebook Marketplace (opens in a new tab), Reverberation (opens in a new tab) or any other ad for a used electronic drum set, it’s worth thinking about exactly what features you need. A beginner looking to start playing drums will likely have different requirements (ease of use, playing/coaching tools, wide range of sounds) than a semi-professional drummer who wants an electronic kit to trigger software, record or perform live (deeper editing, advanced trigger functions, expandable inputs, etc.), eg. Take a look at what’s out there in the brand new market to get an idea of the types of features that are currently included in a new kit. From there, you can get an idea of what features you might expect to see on a used kit within your budget.
3. Think about the future
This point doesn’t just apply to used gear, but is more important when you’re buying something that’s already a few years old – especially in the case of electronic kit where technology moves faster than with our bronze B20 cymbals. Try not to dismiss certain features and spec points thinking “I’m never going to use it”, because you never know. Where you are with your battery right now is hopefully not where you will be in five years, and while you may not feel like Bluetooth capabilities, connectivity USB or the ability to add extra pads are extremely important to you right now, you don’t want to be tackling the limits of your kit 12 months from now.
4. Start searching
Unless you only have one specific electronic kit in mind, start searching for more generic terms such as “electronic drums” or “electronic drum kit”. This will produce a lot of results and you will quickly see which kits come up time and time again. Just because they’re for sale doesn’t necessarily mean they’re no good and nobody wants them – indeed, the more there are, the more popular they were/are to begin with. Sites such as eBay will allow you to see the sale price (rather than the asking price) of a kit, which in turn should give you a good idea of its current market value.
5. Go back in time
If you are looking for used kits, they may well be out of production and sold due to the previous owner upgrading. The advantage of the internet is that you won’t have to look far to look at kits from the last 5-10 years to find out what features and configuration they come with. Comments like ours here on MusicRadar, YouTube videos, and more can help you uncover a wealth of information about the specs, pros, and cons of kit models you’ll likely come across frequently. A big part of getting a good deal on used gear is knowing what you’re looking at and being quick. So doing your homework and setting up alerts for new listings of the models you’re interested in will likely help you get a decently priced kit.
6. Explore your options
Many electronic drum modules have at least one spare module trigger to input. It is also common for companies to share towels across their various product lines which are often separated from the kits and sold individually if they are surplus to the owner. So by knowing what pads and cymbals are and which ones aren’t compatible with the kits you’re considering, you can get a clear idea of how to expand your potential set. This also means that if you see a version of the kit you are interested in, but may not be your ideal setup (say, with a rubber rather than a mesh trapor with a single crash cymbal), you have some flexibility to add extra pads immediately or later (again, there is a very healthy second-hand market for extra pads).
7. Ask questions
So far we’ve offered general buying advice that can be applied to most things. But when it comes to e-drums, there are definitely some things you need to be mindful of. The first is the state. We’re not suggesting that you should automatically be suspicious that used equipment won’t work properly, but you are buying something that has been played under conditions that you can never be 100% sure of. The time advantage means that common faults with particular equipment will have surfaced on forums and Facebook groups, so do a quick check to make sure there are no issues with your potential kit that could be expensive to solve. Check out as many photos of the actual item as possible, if you need to see more, just ask the seller. Likewise, don’t be afraid to ask questions – if the kit is truly in working order, you shouldn’t mind asking for reassurance.
8. Try before you buy
Electronic drum kits are portable, but if you’ve ever unboxed one, you’ll understand why sellers are likely to be reluctant to send a used kit in the mail, especially if the original boxes are long gone. That means you’ll probably be looking for kits that are local (or at least in a fairly easy drive) to you. This is a good thing, because it is also an opportunity to try out the kit. By this point you’ve probably spent a long time judging the sounds and features, and more towards the end of the purchase journey – assuming everything is up to scratch.
So, arm yourself with another checklist (even if it’s just a mental list) of things to test. A visual inspection of the kit will allow you to see if any fasteners are missing or spot any damage. Now, you might not be able to test every function (MIDI jacks, aux inputs, etc.), but the rack should be solid, the plug-in jacks, screen and controls should all at least appear or give the impression that they are in place. good working order.
Finally, check the pads – especially in the case of rubber drums and cymbals. Stick marks and signs of use are to be expected, and the mesh heads can be replaced. But any sign of the rubber or fabric cracking should be noted and reported to the seller, as this could lead to a replacement in the not too distant future. Try out some of the presets and make sure every zone on every pad is working properly. You might even be able to negotiate a discount!
A common factor in buying used is that people’s perceptions of the value of a kit are not all the same. While there’s a “going rate” for most things, if someone gives up playing, moving, upgrading, or any other reason to sell their kit, they’ll probably want to get rid of it and upgrade to something else. The advantage for you as a buyer here is that it often means you will see a complete setup for sale. This may include additional hardware (a stool, bass drum pedal), accessories (drum monitor speakers are common), or perhaps additional pads or cymbals.
Remember when we told you to choose your budget and stick to it? Well, if you’re lucky, you might find an offer that includes additional items that you were already thinking of adding or (budget permitting) that you could sell in order to recoup some of the overall cost. This will require a few more checks of their used value, but it’s worth bearing in mind if you see a “work package” type sale where the seller wants everything sold in one transaction.
10. Buy from a retailer
Of course, not all used equipment is sold on the private market, and not everyone is keen on dealing with individuals where there is little or no return. This does not mean that you are restricted to buying only new, as many retailers will accept used kits and components as trade-ins, and the benefit of this is that all checks should have been carried out. for you by an expert. . If you are in the United States, guitar center (opens in a new tab) is an excellent starting point.
On top of that, you’ll receive some form of warranty (usually around three months) when you buy from a retailer. The price will usually be higher than a private sale, but given that they have overhead, warranty, after-sales service and – how dare they – maybe even some profit to think about, the prices used from retailers are often very reasonable when you add the peace of mind you’ll get on top.