Drums VS Percussions: Full Guide for Beginners

Entering the realm of music, one will inevitably come across a common debate: Drums vs. Percussions. For beginners, these terms might seem interchangeable. However, there's more to the story. This guide will break down the differences, similarities, and nuances of both instruments.

What is the Difference Between Drums and Percussion?

Drums and percussion instruments are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Drums refer to a specific type of percussion instrument, while percussion encompasses a broader category of instruments. Drums are a subset of percussion instruments, which also include instruments like tambourines, maracas, and xylophones.

How Do Drums and Percussion Instruments Produce Sound?

Drums produce sound when struck with sticks or hands. The sound is created by the vibration of a stretched membrane, known as the drumhead. On the other hand, percussion instruments produce sound through various means. Some instruments, like tambourines, produce sound when shaken or hit, while others, like xylophones, produce sound when struck with mallets.

What Are the Main Types of Drums?

There are several types of drums, each with its own unique characteristics. The most common types of drums include:

Acoustic Drums: These are the traditional sets used by many rock bands. They include the bass drum, snare drum, and toms.

Electronic Drums: Modern innovations led to the birth of electronic drums, which can emulate various drum sounds.

Hand Drums: Instruments like bongos and congas, which are played using hands instead of drumsticks.

What Are Examples of Percussion Instruments?

Percussion instruments come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Here are a few examples:

Tambourine: A handheld instrument with metal jingles that produce a shaking sound.

Maracas: Small, handheld instruments filled with beads or seeds that create a rattling sound when shaken.

Xylophone: Consists of wooden bars of different lengths that produce different pitches when struck with mallets.

Triangle: A metal instrument shaped like a triangle that produces a ringing sound when struck with a metal beater.

Which One Should a Beginner Choose: Drums or Percussion?

Choosing between drums and percussion depends on personal preference and the desired sound. Drums are often the go-to choice for those interested in playing rhythmic patterns and beats. Percussion instruments, on the other hand, offer a wider range of sounds and can be a great choice for those interested in exploring different musical styles.

For those eager to delve deeper, we have comprehensive guides tailored to assist beginners in making the best decisions for their musical journeys. If you're leaning towards the drum kit, be sure to check out our article " Ranking the Top Drum Sets for Beginners in 2023". However, if you're intrigued by the world of percussion, our piece on " Exploring Percussion: Dive into Djembe, Bongo, Tambourine & Triangle offers a rich insight into these fascinating instruments. Whichever path you choose, we're here to support your passion and provide expert guidance along the way.


What are the Essential Accessories for Both?

Getting started requires some basics. For drums, a good pair of drumsticks, and for percussion, depending on the instrument, a beater or mallet might be needed.


In summary, drums and percussion instruments are closely related but have distinct differences. Drums are a specific type of percussion instrument, and both offer unique sounds and playing techniques. Whether you choose drums or percussion, both can be a rewarding and enjoyable musical journey for beginners.