Book Review: The Drum Kit Handbook
The Drum Kit Handbook by Dan Balmer is a gorgeous addition to any musician's library. Coming as a hardcover and packed with full color photos on every page, it's a very special visual treat for anybody who loves the drums.
Not only does the book look great, but it has a lot of great information. It's clear that Balmer has been passionate about the drums for many years, as his knowledge seeps through every page. He covers every piece of the drum set in great detail, explaining the different materials, manufacturing methods, and components used today. So, if you're new and wondering what to look out for, this is a great resource. From hardware to drums, from cymbals to pedals, you'll learn the what-and-why to help you make informed decisions when purchasing gear.
Although I felt like this was a “beginner book” when I first picked it up, simply flipping through the pages, it was clear that this book is equally relevant for advanced players and sound engineers. It's also one of those books you can set on the coffee table, and everybody who sees it will have a great time flipping through the pages.
I was fascinated not only by the glossy photos of beautiful drum sets, but by the detailed “Case Studies” section of the book. Here, Balmer dives into every detail of several different drum sets – from beginner to expert. He explains why different drum sets are useful for different situations, and what distinguishes high end kits from those at lower price points. In particular, I really enjoyed his detailed review of the DW 'Jazz Series' kit, and the Gretsch USA American Custom.
For vintage drum set lovers, there is also a section on re-wrapping drums, as well as countless general restoration and cleaning tips. There is a detailed review of three vintage kits – a Gene Krupa style Slingerland Radio King kit, a Classic Ludwig Downbeat kit, and a 1960's vintage Premier kit. Of course, there are plenty of glossy photos included, too!
Overall, I recommend The Drum Kit Handbook to beginners or parents who want to learn about buying a drum set, and also to drum lovers who love tidbits of drum trivia. Those who love vintage kits will really enjoy this book, as well. The book covers the nuances of equipment in full detail, and I was surprised by how much I learned.
Get your copy of the Drum Kit Handbook here.