Building A Suitcase Drum Set – Do It Yourself

A lot of drummers today are looking for a smaller, more portable drum set which is easy to carry around and takes up less storage room. However, not everyone can afford a brand new kit. If that sounds interesting to you and maybe you have some unused drum gear, why not build a suitcase drum set yourself? Not only do they look cool, but you can also fit all components of the kit inside the suitcase for easy transportation.

My name is Pascal, and if you want to know how I put together my suitcase drum set and how you can build your own, you‘ve come to the right place. My kit is equipped with:

  • 16“ bass drum head (in the suitcase)
  • 13“ snare
  • 12“ tom
  • 14“ hi-hat
  • 18“ crash-ride

I already had the key elements lying around in my rehearsal room. So I bought a used suitcase online and put on a pedal mount. Next, I added some bent floor tom legs for stabilization and a 12“ tom, which I cut off in order to save space. Both are attached with tom clamps. On top of the suitcase, I put on two tom holders, one for the cymbal and one as an auxiliary mount. At first, I played the actualsuitcase with a rubber bass drum beater. That worked fine, but at some point I got tired of the suitcase being much lower in volume than the rest of the kit. So I decided to add a drum head to it. I got an old 16“ tom from a friend and cut it off right behind the lugs. Then I cut a 16“ hole into the suitcase and mounted the head inside. I completed the kit with a metal laundry basket with an old drum throne top as my seat. Inside of it, I can load additional stuff like microphones or my stickbag.

All you really need to build your own suitcase drum set is a suitcase, a snare and a hi-hat. You can also mount everything on the suitcase, it just depends on how you want to use it. You need to put on a bass drum pedal mount, but it doesn‘t have to be very sophisticated. If you want, you can add a cymbal, tom or whatever else you like. There is no blue print for a drum set, especially for a suitcase drum set. Just be creative and use what you have to create what you want!

Beginner Drum Set – Comparisons

It’s not that easy to choose the first drum set. Often times young drummers are not even sure if they want to keep on playing after the first years of drum lessons. So it is important to get a good value with the drum set you buy. Also, the better the quality, the more money you will get back if you decide to quit drumming and sell your kit later on. For unexperienced drummers it‘s great if the kit includes an instruction manual, a drum key or even a pair of sticks. That makes it easier for them to assemble the set and tune their drums.

To get an idea about what you should or shouldn‘t buy, we tested 7 beginner drum sets in the price range of 329 € to 779 €. In order to give you an objective and neutral sound representation, we used a Beyerdynamic M99 in front of the bass drum and two Beyerdynamic MC840s as overhead microphones, without any sound processing.

We were happy to find out that even in the lower price range there are well-equipped drum sets with good value. Take into account that especially cheaper kits are likely to consist of cheaper materials which limits the sound possibilities of both the drums and the cymbals. In addition, some companies try to make their kits look amazing for their price, but at the expense of quality. However, good drum heads make a big difference, especially when the drums themselves don’t have the highest quality. Keep that in mind when checking out the sound comparisons. Tricks like putting a pillow inside the bass drum for muffling improve the sound and playability a lot.

Check out our video for all the details. After all it’s always the best to go to a local music store and test the drum set you are interested in before buying it.

We hope this comparison will help you make your choice.

Being a Drum Teacher (Claus Hessler) – Stories

What does it mean to be a drum teacher?

We had the chance to get answers to this question from one of the best drum educators of our time – Claus Hessler.

This video interview is a very inspiring source for all drummers and especially for those who took big responsibility being guides for upcoming drummers or those who want to start a teaching career because they are excited about sharing their knowledge.

Classic Rock – Styles

Join us on our journey and learn how you can recreate that vintage drum sound – with John Bonham as our role model. Be sure to tell us which one is your favorite!

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FIRST SETUP:

Ludwig Legacy Kit
– 26×14″ Bass Drum – Remo Powerstroke 3 coated with felt strips
– 14×10″ High Tom – Remo Emperor coated
– 16×16″ Floor Tom – Remo Emperor coated
– 18×16″ Floor Tom – Remo Emperor coated
– 14×6.5“ Black Beauty Snare – Remo Emperor coated

Paiste Cymbals
– 2002 15“ Sound Edge hi-hat
– Formula 602 18“, 20“ Crashes
– Formula 602 24“ Ride

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SECOND SETUP:

Gretsch Broadcaster Kit
– 24×14“ Bass Drum – Remo Powerstroke 3 coated with felt strips
– 13×09“ High Tom – Remo Emperor coated
– 14×14“ Floor Tom – Remo Emperor coated
– 14×6.5“ Copper Snare – Remo Emperor X coated

Zildjian Cymbals
– K Light Hi-Hat
– K Crash 17“, 18“
– A Custom Medium Ride 24“

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THIRD SETUP:

Yamaha Recording Custom Kit
– 22×18“ Bass Drum – Evans G2 coated with felt strips
– 12×08“ High Tom – Evans UV1
– 16×14“ Floor Tom – Evans UV1
– 14×5 Aluminum Snare – Evans UV1

Sabian Artisan Cymbals
– Hi-hat 14“
– Crashes 17“, 19“
– Ride 22“

Kids Drum Set Makeover – DIY

Watch the result of our new fun project!
We tried to upcycle a 99 € kids drum set into a proper adult drum set by using some DIY hacks and material from a common hardware store.

What do you think about the result?

Imitation is specifically recommended!
We are excited to see what you make out of your low budget drum sets!
Feel free to share your projects with us!

Beginner Cymbal Set Up – Comparison

There’s a huge selection of cymbal sets available and it is hard to decide which one to buy. Most of the time it is not possible to test a wide range of different sets and check the sound on your drum set at home. That’s why we selected eight different sets out of the medium price sector to show you how different the sound can be and to give you a helping hand for your cymbal pick.

It’s good to know, that most of the manufacturers have a special purpose in mind when developing their cymbals. They choose different sizes, thicknesses or materials to produce a sound which fits best to different styles. Therefore, you find such a big variety of sets out there and it is sometimes hard to find the best set for your purpose and style. And as you see, there is also a big potential of making the wrong decision for the style of music you are playing.

Commonly cymbals are made of bronze, which normally is an alloy of tin and copper. You will find a specification on the packaging like “B-20” or “B-8” which is an indicator for the tin-copper-ratio. The number says how many percent of the bronze consists of tin. So B-20, which is the most common, consists of 80% copper and 20% tin. The more tin is used, the better the quality of the material. Some cymbals are also made of brass, this material is softer and mostly found in the lower price categories.

As you can imagine, different materials have different sounds and as well the surface of a cymbal can make a big difference. You will find many cymbals that look as if someone had worked on them with a hammer. But don’t be fooled by the optics. They maybe look like hand-made cymbals, but often they are not. Hand-made cymbals commonly have a more irregular surface than the industrially manufactured ones and this also influences the sound. Each cymbal made by hand will have a slightly different sound because of the unique shape and surface. Completely plain cymbals again sound totally different (and most of the time not good). Summed-up, the more work was invested to create the cymbal, the better the sound.

Phew. Information overload? At the end the best guides should be your ears and the style of music you want to play. So perk up your ears, put your headphones on or turn up your good speakers and enjoy our new comparison video that shows you impressively how different cymbal sounds can be.

Side note:
In order to provide you with the most neutral sound we tested every cymbal setup with the same microphones and no EQ within the overhead microphones. We asked the cymbal companies to send us brand new cymbals in unopened packages to make sure that we test the same cymbals you would have received.

Cymbal sets used in this comparison video:

  • Zildjan Cymbal Pack Planet Z
  • Sabian Cymbal Pack SBR Promotional Pack
  • PAISTE Cymbal Pack PST3
  • Sabian Cymbal Pack B8X
  • Zildjian Cymbal Pack ZBT5
  • Zultan Cymbal Pack: Rock Beat + Cymbal Bag
  • Zultan Cymbal Pack Aja
  • PAISTE Cymbal Pack PST5 Rock

Being A Touring Drummer – Stories

The audience usually have only an eye for the frontmen or frontwomen. That’s unfortunate, but true. But today we try to change this – Drummers Lars Brand and Lukas Ernst show us how versatile a drum job can be and it’s eye- and ear-candy to see and hear their passion and how they support Max Giesinger on tour to bring his music to the audience.

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