What NOT to Buy Drummers For Christmas

Drummers are strange creatures (and I can get away with that because I am one myself), so it's always tough buying gifts for one if you're not a drummer yourself. We've written this blog specifically for you - hoping that it nudges you in the right direction when searching for that killer present or stocking filler for the percussionist in your life!

Will Brook-Jones

Will Brook-Jones

Picture the scene: it’s Christmas day and your gran has just given out her third Lynx deodorant set of the afternoon. Not to be outdone, your uncle has phoned it in yet again by providing the extended family with yet another pair of socks; he’s been doing this since 1992. You don’t want to develop your own reputation for infamous gift giving now, do you?

To save you from any potential present-based awkwardness, we’ve put together this blog. Musicians (in this case drummers) are always after a gift that’s practical, instead of something that’s a gimmick. Because of this, we’ve rounded up a list of not-so-good drum-related products, offering a much better alternative for each just in time for the big day.

Don’t Buy: Drumstick Pencils

Do Buy: Drumsticks

Drumstick pencils may seem fun and zany at first, but trust me, this wears off after about five minutes. They’ll most likely be consigned forever to the back of your stationary drawer, never to see the light of day again. Not to mention the fact that you’ll annoy pretty much everyone in the office if you ever decide to use them for a desk-based rendition of ‘In The Air Tonight’. And you wouldn’t want to be responsible for potentially causing workplace carnage and exiling a family member in the process would you?

With a pair of drumsticks, you literally can’t go wrong. Every single drummer in existence needs them to play their instrument. Simply find out which brand they prefer – be it Promark, Vic Firth, Zildjian etc – and ask them which weight/size they regularly use. If you’re still confused, you can find out everything there is to know about drumsticks by reading our handy guide here. A drummer can never have too many sticks, no matter what they might say.

Drumsticks

Don’t Buy: Finger Drums

Do Buy: A Practice Pad

What’s that tinny, grating, highly compressed sound? That’s the sound of a set of finger drums. They might be great for kids, but if you’re searching for a gift for a serious drummer who’s committed to improving their chops, then you’re going to want to steer well clear.

A practice pad is ideal for practicing and perfecting rudiments. On a basic level, rudiments are a series of patterns that are seen as drumming building blocks. Each rudiment consists of a unique pattern which is performed using both hands. These can then be translated over to a full kit. The benefit of a pad is that you can practice anywhere, anytime!

Practice Pads

Don’t Buy: A Drum Kit Keyring

Do Buy: A Drum Key/Drum Multi-Tool

Nobody is underestimating the usefulness of a keyring, but if there’s something that people don’t need more of, it’s them. “But it’s in the shape of a drum kit” one part of your brain exclaims. Yeah, it is – so what? It’ll probably be looked at once before being absorbed into the assortment of other keys/key rings you have – joining your house keys, your car key, and those keys you’ve had for about five years, but still aren’t exactly sure what they unlock.

A drum key is a no-brainer though. This humble bit of kit is essential. After all, it helps drummers to tune their drums, replace heads, and change the height and positioning of their hardware. It’s an important tool for every single percussionist out there. And if you want something that’s even more heavy-duty, why not get a multi-tool? These are pretty much the Swiss-Army Knife equivalent of drums, making repairs and adjustments an absolute breeze.

Drum Keys & Multi-Tools

Don’t Buy: Drum Cufflinks

Do Buy: Cymbal Cleaner/Polish

In my experience, drummers are content to hold down the fort. We’re usually at the back of the stage as we go about our playing, providing the engine room of the band – leaving the limelight to the vocalist or guitarists (sorry bass players). So I’m not quite sure who these pretty hideous drum-styled cufflinks are actually for. We don’t like to stand out, and I for one can’t remember the last time I actually wore a smart shirt. And even when I have, it definitely didn’t require a set of drum shaped cufflinks!

Scrub up in another way entirely with some cymbal cleaner and polish instead. They’ll keep any cymbals in good working order, giving them a shine and sheen to boot. Groove Juice have developed a particularly good reputation for their products – with some of the quickest and simplest to use sprays on the market. Cymbal maintenance has never been so easy.

Cymbal Cleaner & Polish

Don’t Buy: Regular Gloves

Do Buy: Drum Gloves

It’s fair to say that the drummer you’re buying a present for probably already owns about five pairs of different bog-standard gloves. But they may not have any drummers gloves.

These are ideal for ensuring that your sticks remain in your hands, especially during those particularly sweaty live shows. They provide this improved grip without being detrimental to your speed and feel. They also offer increased protection against splinters and prevent blisters from occurring (which can be a real problem for some people when they first start drumming regularly).

Drum Gloves

Don’t Buy: A Mug with a Drum Slogan

Do Buy: Moongel Damper Pads

A quick Google search throws up hundreds of mugs featuring cringey drum-related slogans emblazoned across them. This will likely get relegated to the back of the kitchen cupboard after one cuppa, preventing any further embarrassment for all involved. And you don’t want to put a dampener on Christmas day after all.

Speaking of dampening (see what I did there), Moongel Damper pads are the perfect alternative. These simple pieces of soft gel attach to the surface of both regular drums, cymbals and other percussion instruments, and are used to remove unwanted resonance. This gives drummers even more control over their preferred sound. Moving them across a drum or cymbals surface will have a noticeable effect on their respective tone.

Moongel Damper Pads

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Will Brook-Jones
Will Brook-Jones

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