The UX of Buying A Drum Kit

Two things I am good at are Pool and Tennis.  Each requires a specific piece of equipment that makes a big difference in how you play.  If someone asked me to help them buy a pool cue or a tennis racket, I would be able to explain to them the subtle differences and help evaluate ones you might find on craigslist.  At its simplest, I could pick up a cue or a racket and it would just “feel” right.  A bad cue or racket is just horrible for playing.  It’s a night and day difference.

I have no idea how to play drums.  However, drums are just as subtle and different as the other items.  A good drummer can feel a kit and notice all kinds of details that I would miss.   In case I didn’t mention, I bought a drum kit for my kids over the holidays.  It was hell.  It was almost as bad as buying a car.  There  are electronic drum kits and acoustic kits in all shapes and sizes and colors and options and brands and wood styles.

Eventually, I saw one on craigslist and a friend who says he knows drums went to see it and bought it.  It looked OK to me, but I feel like I should have kept looking.  It was an alright deal, but not spectacular.  It’s a Gretsch Catalina kit made of mahogany. You wouldn’t believe (or maybe you would) how I have buyers remorse because Maple is better than mahogany.  The good news is that the kids like it.

Putting a drum kit in a house is a risky proposition.  The main reason is that it’s incredibly loud.  I had to make some rules like:

  1. No playing if someone in the room doesn’t have high-end ear plugs.
  2. Play gentle.
  3. Don’t play too early in the morning or late at night.

Literally, we are worried that the neighbors will complain about the noise.  I put a thick blanket in the bass drum to muffle the sound.  I am considering getting drum silencer pads.  It is noisier than anything we imagined.  We plan on putting curtains and other sound muffling accouterments in the room.

Right now, it seems like it’s a pretty bad investment.  Although there is one very bright side that makes it all worth while.  The kids love the drums.  They are playing them every day.  My older boy (guitar) is starting to jam with the middle kid in a way they never have before.  They are making up songs.  We now have a room they could invite over other kids from School of Rock and practice.

In the end, this is exactly why I got the kit.  I want the kids to grow up with music around them.  We have invested alot in lessons and instruments and noise reduction technologies.  But really, I think the investment is in the kids themselves.  The goal is not to become a rock star, but rather to have music as a part of their life.  I think it enriches one in a way that you can’t get in any other way.

The UX is clearly complex, but in the end, it “feels” just right.

2 Replies to “The UX of Buying A Drum Kit”

  1. Now buy a bass and the band is complete! A 4-string Jazz bass would probably be a good start.

    As for the amp: It must be good enough that it can output the really low frequencies well enough. Otherwise you’d have to crank it up so much that it can outscream the guitar, which is always a bad thing. If I learned anything from playing bass in a few bands, its this lesson.

  2. We need you to come jam with us Jorn!

    And Glen, you may not have known what we were getting into, but I had no illusions! 😀

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