by danny

July 1, 2021

Jazz is one of the most daunting genres of music out there, but it is also one of the most expressive. Jazz drum sets are similar to the standard kit in many ways, but they are typically tuned to be more reactive to subtle techniques and to deliver the tones that are characteristic of jazz music.

Choosing a jazz drum kit will need you to consider everything from your budget to your preferred shell type. To save you time, we have a list of the 10 best jazz drum set within your budget. All the drums mentioned are shell packs unless mentioned otherwise.

10 Best Jazz Drum Sets for the Money

PDP By DW 7-Piece Concept Maple
Editors Choice
PDP By DW 7-Piece Concept Maple
9.9
  • Great Metal Kit
  • Sound like a pro
  • Excellent quality and craftmanship
Pearl Masters Maple Complete MCT923XSP/C346
Value for Money
Pearl Masters Maple Complete MCT923XSP/C346
9.7
  • 100% Premium Maple Shells
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Worth every dollar spent
Yamaha Stage Custom Birch
Best for Pro Jazz Drummer
Yamaha Stage Custom Birch
9.5
  • 100% birch drum shells to bring out more high end
  • Beginner-intermediate price point
  • Yamaha’s top-notch quality control
Pearl Roadshow 4-Piece RS584C/C91
For Beginners
Pearl Roadshow 4-Piece RS584C/C91
9.2
  • Comes with All Drum hardware
  • Includes drumsticks
  • For the price it is hard to beat
Gretsch CT1J484SWG Catalina Club
Best in Budget
Gretsch CT1J484SWG Catalina Club
9.1
  • Doesn’t comes with Cymbals and stands
  • 7 ply mahogany shells for warm deep sound
  • Perfect for home or small gigs
Ludwig Breakbeats By Questlove 4-piece
Small Jazz kit
Ludwig Breakbeats By Questlove 4-piece
9
  • Only comes with drum shells
  • Responsive and light
  • A Cheap kit that sounds and looks good
Gammon Percussion Battle Series
Cheap Jazz Kit
Gammon Percussion Battle Series
8.9
  • Comes with All Accessories
  • A Complete Kit in a discounted price
  • Very Nice Glossy Black Finish
Sonor AQ2 Safari 4-Piece
Best for Jazz and Rock Drummer
Sonor AQ2 Safari 4-Piece
8.8
  • 7-ply maple shells
  • Compact Jazz kit for easy gigging
Mapex Armory Series 6-Piece
Hybrid Kit
Mapex Armory Series 6-Piece
8.6
  • Mix of Maple/birch shells for more modern and focussed attack
  • Doesn’t comes with hardware
Pearl Export EXX 5-Piece
Most Versatile
Pearl Export EXX 5-Piece
8.4
  • You can also play other genres than Jazz
  • Poplar shells

1. PDP DW 7-Piece Concept Maple (Best Overall)

PDP DW 7-Piece Concept Maple

Some of the best drum kits for jazz are made by the Pacific Drum company. The PDP DW-7 piece is the pinnacle of them all and delivers the best overall performance in this list.

PDP delivers one of the greatest sounds for jazz. The DW-7 jazz drum set is no exception and with its Remo heads and all-maple shell, it is able to pack a punch while still giving you the roomy sound. 

There are five different toms for you to play around with. This will come real handy as toms are a crucial driving force for jazz music. Having these many toms also offers you increased versatility and range when you play.

The exact composition of the set is an 8” free-mounted rack tom, a 10” and a 12” rack-mounted toms, a 14” and a 16” floor tom, a 14” snare, and a 22” kick drum. Each of these drums delivers solid sounds and rich tones, making this kit the best jazz drum set.

Pros
  • 5 toms, so a massive range of sounds
  • Really beautiful to look at
  • Sound just heavenly
  • Sturdy and well-built
Cons
  • The snare takes patience to be tuned properly

2. Pearl Masters Complete 3-piece (Value for Money)

Pearl Masters Complete 3-piece

The Pearl Masters complete is the most exquisite sounding jazz drum set there is in the market. The sound is simply amazing with warm and clean tones.

You get EvenPly 6-ply maple shells that sound warm and are able to deliver incredible tone, allowing you to deliver sublime live-performances and studio-recording. These drums are actually stronger and lighter than the original Master series. This premium drum kit is packed with the latest of developments in the world of drums. This drum set is also available in multiple beautiful lacquer finishes.

The Masters Complete set comes with a 12” rack tom, a 14” floor tom, and a 20” bass drum. Each of these drums has an incredible sound and has a huge tuning range. The notes are deep and punchy when tuned low and clear when tuned high.

Do note that you do not get a snare drum with this set. You will not get a better sounding jazz drum set than this, if you want musical perfection and aren’t worried about shelling out money for it, this is the one for you. It is ideal for small club and cafe gigs while also being suitable for large big Band performances.

Pros
  • Drums that are outstanding and top of the line
  • Beautiful lacquer finishes
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons
  • Very expensive
  • You do not get a snare drum

3. Yamaha Stage Custom bebop drum kit (Best for Pro Jazz Drummer)

Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 3pc BeBop Drum Shell Pack

The Yamaha Stage Custom Bebop is a Stage Custom kit whose drums are all bop sized. This smaller bop sizing makes this kit a great platform for jazz music.

This be bop kit includes a 12” rack tom, a 14” mounted tom, and an 18” kick drum. The shells sound warm, have a nice attack, and really clear overtones as they are made of birch wood. Yamaha’s YESS mounting system for the rack tom provides the better resonance and sustain, which is crucial to getting good jazz tones.

While this bebop drum kit does not include a snare drum, it is still a great deal. This is because this 3-piece shell pack costs significantly lower than a complete shell pack of similar quality, thus giving you the few extra hundred dollars you need to buy a snare drum of your choosing. You will not get better performance than the Yamaha Stage Custom Bebop for your money.

Pros
  • Great hardware
  • A large tuning range
  • Toms that have good resonance
Cons
  • Doesn’t include a snare drum

4. Pearl Roadshow 4-piece ( Best for Beginner)

Pearl Roadshow

The Pearl Roadshow is an incredible value drum set that is absolutely perfect for intermediate & beginners. Unlike most other drums in this list, the Roadshow is a complete drum set that comes along with cymbals and hardware.

This is perfect for beginners as not only is it well construed and durable but it also has a surprisingly good sound when you consider its price. Unlike most beginner jazz drum sets that break down within months, you can expect the Pearl Roadshow to be with you until you outgrow it as a drummer.

The drums you get are a 10” rack tom, a 14” floor tom, a 13” snare, and an 18” kick drum. The drums have 9-ply poplar shells that are able to project sound quite well. The hardware you get is pretty sturdy considering that this is a beginner set. You get a bass drum pedal, a drum throne, a tom holder, a snare stand, a cymbal boom stand, and a hi-hat stand. While the brass cymbals are not that good, they should be enough for beginners.

You will simply not find a better sounding entry level jazz kit than the Pearl Roadshow. As a beginner, you will be able to develop all the skills you need with this drum kit. The drum bundle is nothing short of a steal at its price point.

Pros
  • Poplar drum shells
  • Durable and sturdy hardware
  • Great beginner jazz drum kit bundle
Cons
  • Cymbals included are low quality
  • Quality isn’t as good as Midtown

5. Gretsch Catalina Club Jazz 4-piece ( Best sound)

Gretsch Catalina Club Jazz 4-piece

The Gretsch Catalina Club is one of the most popular jazz drum sets in the jazz drumming scene. 

The drum shells you get are a 12” mounted tom, a 14” floor tom, a 14” snare drum, and an 18” kick drum. The snare drum you get is quite versatile. When it is tuned low, it produces “vintage” jazz sounds that are perfect for styles such as bebop. When it is tuned high, the snare packs a powerful punch and is perfectly suited for modern jazz styles.

When the toms are tuned high, they produce a clear and sustained ring that sounds great. When tuned low, the same toms are able to deliver a solid boom. The floor tom’s projection allows it to easily fill a room, so you should be able to play tom solos like the ones played by Gene Krupa. The bass drum is open and able to deliver a solid punch, making it quite boomy. This is perfect for a jazz setup as jazz typically requires the bass drum to act as a tom rather than a time-keeper.

All these together make the Gretsch Catalina Club Jazz a beautiful sounding jazz drum set that is also an incredible value for money. You also get a variety of different finishes to choose from.

Pros
  • Great sound
  • Large tuning range
  • Boomy kick drum, which is ideal for jazz
  • Multiple finishes
Cons
  • Tom is quite hard to position

6. Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove 4-piece (Best small)

Ludwig Breakbeats

Questlove, the drummer for the legendary Roots, designed the Ludwig Breakbeats. The drum set is an incredible jazz kit that remains extremely portable.

The Breakbeats jazz drum set includes a 10” mounted tom, 13” floor tom, a 14” snare, and a 16” bass. The drums sound best when tuned high, which great as highly tuned drums are usually perfect for jazz. The toms have a clean tone that is well balanced.

The bass drum has a good sustain along with a thud that is well pronounced. You also get a bass drum riser with this kit, allowing the pedal to hit the dead center of the bass drum and produce the best possible tone.

The Ludwig Breakbeats (read breakbeats review here) is an excellent option for anyone who wants a compact portable kit that can deliver solid sound.

Pros
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Snare drum is good
  • You get a bass drum riser, which ensures you get the best tone
  • Stock drumheads are of high quality
Cons
  • The drum riser is difficult to set up

7. Gammon Percussion Full Size 5-piece (Best Cheap)

Gammon Percussion Full Size 5-piece

The Gammon Percussion 5-piece jazz drum set will be suitable for someone who has just begun drumming or for someone who wants a beater kit to experiment with.

While the Percussion only has a basic tone, it is extremely versatile and will allow you to play other genres along with Jazz.

You get a 12” and a 13” mounted tom, a 16” floor tom, a 14” snare, and a 22” kick drum. You also get cymbals and hardware with the kit, including a drum throne. Therefore you will be able to get playing as soon as you get this kit.

The shells are made from solid wood and are available in a variety of different finishes, so you will be able to find one that suits you. The finishes are high-gloss designs and therefore look great, making them visually appealing for on-stage performances.

If you are a beginner who wants to enter the world of jazz drumming without spending a great deal of money, the Gammon Percussion full size 5-piece jazz drum kit is your best bet.

Pros
  • Extremely affordable
  • Decent sound quality
  • Comes with all the hardware, cymbals, and accessories you need
Cons
  • The cymbals are not good
  • The stock drum heads might need to be upgraded

8. Mapex Armory 6-piece Studioease

Mapex Armory 6-piece

The Armory Drums has one of the bigger configurations in this list. While 6-piece kits are not the standard in the jazz drumming scene, it is still a viable jazz drum kit. Jazz is an extremely expressive genre that constantly evolves, you will see many different drum configurations. A 6-piece configuration has been used by famous jazz drummer Larnell Lewis, the drummer for Snarky Puppy.

The Studioease comes with a 10” and 12” rack tom, a 14” and 16” floor tom, a 14” snare, and a 22” bass drum. The rack toms have individual mounts, this means that they are not mounted onto the bass drum. This gives you more flexibility with positioning the toms and improves the sound quality of the bass drum as it can resonate freely.

The kick and toms are made out of a birch/maple hybrid shell that is able to deliver incredible projection, focused attack, and reduced overtones. The Tomahawk steel snare is also able to provide a deep and throaty growl.

Pros
  • Great build quality
  • Massive and powerful bass drum
  • Individual mounts make rack toms more maneuverable
Cons
  • Not the best for an intimate jazz setup

Things to Consider Before Buying a Jazz Drum Set

The jazz drum kit has been a staple in the music world for many years. It is used by some of the top artists in the industry, and it can be found on stages all over the world. If you are considering purchasing one of these kits for your own use, there are some things that you should consider before making your purchase. In this article, we will look at some important factors to keep in mind when buying a jazz drum kit: price point, quality of materials, and size.


-Price point:

Jazz drums can be expensive but there are some options that will fit into most people’s budgets without any problem. This is one of the most important factors to consider when you are purchasing a jazz drum kit.

As with any purchase, it’s vital that you find out what your budget will allow for and stick to those limits. Before making any decisions on which kits are best, do some research into different manufacturers in order to see if there is anything currently being offered at an affordable price point.

There may be something more expensive than what you want but has been discounted or offers a better materials quality. If this does not work, then look into cheaper options for now until you can afford higher-priced items down the line.

-What is the best wood for jazz drums?

The best wood for jazz drums is a matter of personal preference, and there are many factors that will influence your choice. The type of drumming you do (loud or soft), the weight, shape, size, and sound qualities also play into this decision. Here we’ll look at some common woods used in acoustic drums to help guide you in making your first selection.

The 3 best kinds of wood for jazz drums would be birch, maple, and poplar.

  • Birch will produce a deep, warm tone with the right amount of sustain considering its lightweight.
  • Maple is well-rounded and produces a higher pitch without too much volume so it’s easier to tune in order to achieve softer tones.
  • Poplar has an excellent balance between hickory’s loudness and oak’s sustained sound but also allows for more control over tuning making it one of the best woods for jazz drums.

-Quality of Materials:

You also need to take care about how well made your drums are going to be before buying them. Buying a kit with cheaper quality materials won’t last as long, so make sure you find the best possible drums for your budget.

-Condition:

The condition of each drum is vital to a jazz drummer’s playing experience. If they are not in good shape then it could actually lead to injuries and other problems down the line. Always look at them before buying or ask about their condition from an expert who knows what they’re talking about!

-What Size Drum Kit:

A jazz drummer will need to think about what size kit best suits their needs when they are looking for a new one. Do you only want it so that you can play at home? Or do you plan on playing in public venues as well? These two options often require different sizes and styles, which is something else to keep in mind.

-Brands To Consider

There are some brands out there that specialize exclusively in making jazz drums but there are also many more general drum manufacturers who make them too like Pearl, Ludwig, Sonor, and others. The choice should depend largely on personal preference because all these companies produce high-quality kits!

Conclusion

With jazz being as broad it is, you have to get a kit that covers all the styles you want to play. This list of jazz drum kits has drums suited for nearly every type of jazz drumming, from small bop kits to large big bands kits. You should have no trouble finding the best jazz drum set within your budget with this. Jazz is an incredible genre where you get to flex your drumming creativity. So, get out, get a drum set, and start practicing.

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