Best Starter Drum Set for an 11 Year Old

Posted by Mike Schumacher

At some point or another everyone on earth thinks about playing the drums. But it is not entirely common these days to take that first step, which is an absolute tragedy.

I can’t think of one skill more valuable that I’ve learned in my entire life that is as meditative, comforting, rejuvenating and inspiring as playing the drums. Once you get into it there is simply no turning back.

The first thing you need to turn that fantasy into a reality is to get a drum set. Although it is never too late to start, starting early is always a plus, especially for the confidence of young kids.

As a parent, it can be confusing knowing where to start in getting your kid a drum set. Simply since of the numerous problems and headaches that come with researching and learning a whole new language. What is a crash cymbal… what is the best drum throne…?

We are here to help.

What are the best starter drum sets for an 11-year-old? And what do they cost?

Fortunately, nowadays it is much easier to get a cheap drum set. There are many great brands but I will mention a few that make my list:

  • Sonar
  • Ludwig
  • Yamaha
  • Tama
  • Mapex

All of these drum sets will be great to get your 11-year-old. In fact, I would really recommend getting a drum set from these brands (just an introductory set will be fine!) since getting a junior drumset from an off-brand just will not be as inspiring, and frankly, your kid will outgrow it quick!

Unfortunately buying the kit this way usually means that there aren’t any ‘all in one’ packages (although there probably are if you look!)

But you will need to get the drums, hardware, and cymbals.

Let’s give you a brief overview (or reminder) of what this entails.

guy playing a four piece drum set


The drums of a kit are as follows:

  • The bass drum (the biggest drum that you kick with a foot pedal. Some drummers may utilize two or more bass drums or utilize a double bass drum pedal with a single bass drum. Double bass drumming is an essential technique in lots of heavy metal genres. Utilizing a double bass drum pedal enables a drummer to play a double bass drum style with just one bass drum, conserving area in recording/performance locations and minimizing effort and time throughout set-up, removing, and transportation.)
  • The snare drum (The snare drum may be sold separately and it may or may not match the kit. For instance, it could be a metal or plain wood shell in a set where the other drums are in a coordinating surface. This is the main drum of the set. Drummers tend to spend more time playing the snare more than the other drums.)
  • Toms (toms are the clear, boomy sounding drums. There are usually 2 or 3. If there are 3, the first hanging tom is usually 10-12″ deep. While the middle is 13″ size and deeper than the first tom. Then a floor tom is usually 14″-16″ is to the right side of the drummer. The other two toms are most often mounted on the bass drum with the smaller sized of the two next to the hi-hats)


  • Hi-hat (The hi-hats are played by striking the cymbals with a stick. The movements become more complicated because the cymbals can be opened and closed with a foot pedal. They can also be played without striking the cymbals and just with the foot pedal. We can use these to create rhythms or accompany ourselves.)
  • Ride (this is the biggest cymbal typically off to the right of a drummer, if the drummer is right-handed. You use it to ‘ride on’, its use is similar to a hi-hat. It supplies a fuller noise and is common in jazz. It is most typically utilized for keeping a constant-rhythm pattern, every beat or more frequently, as the music requires.)
  • Crash (The crash cymbals are usually the strongest accent markers within the kit, marking crescendos and climaxes, vocal entries, and major modifications of mood/swells and results.))


  • Cymbal stands (stands to hold the hi-hat, ride and crash cymbals.
  • Drum stands (stands to hold the snare or the toms)
  • Pedals (bass drum pedal)
  • Extensions: (there are many instruments that are not part of the standard kit such as a tambourine, bongos, woodblock or chimes. I wouldn’t recommend these until your kid has the basic grasp of the traditional drumset.
  • Drum throne (a drum throne is a stool that you sit on as a drummer)

Why is quality important?

Typically, a drummer will keep certain parts of their kit while upgrading others. For instance, maybe they have a snare drum that comes with the kit but they want to change it in a few years. This is one of the most common drums to change since it is the most hit drum and can change the sound of an entire kit when changed.

The cymbals are another very common stylistic choice to change.

You can also change out things like the bass drum pedals and the stool, as tastes change when one gets older.

guy playing drums in a stadium

So what should I get?

I really recommend getting a basic four or five-piece combination kit, with one crash cymbal and one ride cymbal. You can complete this complete with a throne (stool) and sticks, which hopefully can be included.

It is called a four or five-piece based on the number of drums it has. The five-piece has 3 toms, a bass drum, and a snare drum. The five-piece adds a third tom to the four-piece set up (bass drum/snare drum/two toms set, making 3 toms in all.)

Having three toms allows drummers to have a low-pitched, middle-register and higher-pitched tom, which offers them more choices for fills and solos. Other sets will usually have 12″ and 13″ hanging toms plus either a 14″ hanging tom on a stand, a 14″ floor tom, or a 16″ flooring tom.

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