Looking for the best gifts for drummers in 2018? We’re rounding up gift ideas for drummers that are sure to please even the pickiest of percussionists.
1. Drum pads / drum triggers
Digital drum pads are a powerful tool for any drummer. The pad can be triggered to make any sound, which means that suddenly the would of cool percussion sounds can be at their fingertips. They can trigger their own loops, samples, SFX, or even full tracks just by hitting the pad. With electronic beats and grooves becoming more and more popular each day, it's essential for each drummer to have access to such sounds. The Alesis Samplepad 4, ($154) Roland SPD:: One Wav Pad ($249), and the Yamaha DTX Multi 12 ($599) are all fantastic choices at three different price points and each with their own unique features. Or they can turn any drum into a trigger with the Sensory Percussion Drum Sensor Kit ($549)!
2. Drum microphones and microphone bundles
Microphones are like any other specialized hardware: everyone who uses them has their own preferences and ideas about how to use them. This makes microphones a risky thing to purchase for a musician (especially if you don’t know what they like or what you’re looking for). With that said, there are some tried and true microphones that would be welcomed into all but the most discerning recording enthusiasts collection.
Shure SM57 ($99)
This workhorse of a mic can be found in virtually any studio on earth—and for good reason. It’s incredibly durable and is a great mic choice for almost any instrument: guitar amps, horns, vocals, and most importantly for the purposes of this gift guide for drummers, the snare drum (or any drum really). Even if the drummer in your life already has one, you can always use another SM57. Holiday, birthdays, and special events, Shure’s classic SM57 is the gift that keeps on giving.
Both of these are great kick drum mics that any drummer would be happy to get (as long as they don’t already own it!). Shure’s Beta 52A is a classic kick drum mic that’s durable—great low end and perfect for on stage or in the studio. Electro-Voice’s RE320 is modeled after a classic broadcast microphone with a characteristic warm sound that works equally well for vocals as it does for kick drum. The RE320 even comes with a two-position "Dual Personality" frequency response switch offers flat response or a specifically tailored kick drum EQ.
If you know a drummer who wants to start recording, a microphone bundle is the perfect gift to get them started in a big way. Both the e600 and DP7 are reputable and comprehensive drum microphone bundles that provide microphone solutions for virtually any recording setup.
3. Portable audio recorder | Spire Studio
Speaking of microphones, Spire Studio (on sale for $299, normally $349) is an all-in-one portable recording device that makes recording high-quality audio easy. Full disclosure—we make Spire Studio at iZotope, but it’s a great gift idea for drummers because it’s incredibly simple to get a professional drum sound anywhere, without needing to set up a complicated recording rig. You can either use the built-in microphone, or plug microphones into the two XLR/TS combo inputs.
Want to learn more? Read two ways to record drums with Spire Studio.
4. Smart wearable metronomes
Practicing your songs to a metronome (a click pulse that helps keep you on time) is the foundation to not only understanding rhythm but also developing true musicianship. It's also a core part of the modern recording process. Unlike all other metronomes on the market which make loud noises to help you keep in rhythm, the Soundbrenner Pulse ($99) takes a revolutionary approach by offering a tactile. This is the modern metronome, with which you can actually FEEL the pulse! It can be worn like a watch, or elsewhere on your body. Plus it synchronizes wirelessly with your music program and can be controlled from your phone. Drummers, guitar players, and bass players will love this!
5. Sticks, mallets, and brushes
Drummers can never have enough sticks. They break, they get used, and eventually, they need to be retired, so having new fresh one's guarantees that they'll be able to keep playing no matter what! There are hundreds of sticks you can get (different kinds of wood, sizes, hardness levels, etc.), so it's a tough item to shop for. You may want to talk to your drummer and see if you can get more info on which sticks they love most without making it obvious that you're trying to find them a gift. Alternately, you could get them a gift card to your local/online music store where they could choose the ones they want.
Since your musician's passion is making music, you'll want to make sure they can keep doing that for years to come. Which means hearing protection is essential. Help them develop a healthy habit of keeping their ears safe by getting them a set of musician's earplugs.
Not only are they one of the best gifts for drummers or (musicians in general)—order a couple for yourself as well. Going out to clubs, loud bars, sports games, and concert will be a whole new experience for you. You'll finally be able to have fun without leaving the venue half deaf.
On the low end, with a price tag of $13.95 you've got ETY•Plugs, which come in blue, frosted and clear tips. A step up from those would be the Vibes High Fidelity Ear Plugs ($23.99). They achieve the same thing, with a classier design. dBuds take things even further with a unique design that allows you to control the amount of volume reduction by using a slider on the earplugs themselves. Definitely an original concept that could be super useful ($59).
If you really want to treat your musician, take them to get custom musician's earplugs made. Unlike the above, which usually offer a few eartips in different sizes, custom ones are literally custom made from a mold of your ear and thus fit perfectly without ever causing any discomfort. It takes a couple weeks to get these made, but it's well worth the effort. Give your ENT a call, they'll know where you can get these made. A pair of custom musician's earplugs will run around $150 a pair + any extra doctor's visit charges. With proper care, they'll last up to a decade, so a very worthy investment.
When in doubt, you can never go wrong with a shaker or two—or ten. Shakers sound vastly different depending on what they’re filled with and made out of. Plus, they come in all different fun shapes and sizes like these fruit shaped shakers below—what’s not to love! These are the popular LP Twist Shakers ($18.99).
If you’re short on cash you can always make them a shaker. Just grab an old can, fill it with some rice, and seal it shut with some tape. Nothing says Happy Holidays like an old can filled with rice!
Hopefully, this guide gave you a couple of ideas for that perfect gift to get the drummer in your life. Bookmark this page, as it may help you again when their birthday and other holidays come around!