Jun 2, 2012 drum sets
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In shopping for a junior drum set for James (almost 5), I discovered that there’s not much information about them to help me out. So, after purchasing one for James, I thought I’d upload a short video and give my thoughts on the Union UJ50.
I narrowed my selections to the Ludwig LJR-106 and the Union UJ50 (now named UJ5) sets. I read some great reviews for the Ludwig, but the Union comes in at about $80-100 cheaper (w/ free ship).
The kit comes with a 16″ bass drum, two mounted toms (8″ and 10″), one floor tom (13″), one snare drum (12″), hi-hat cymbals, crash cymbal, and the stands for snare, hi-hat and crash. It also comes with a pair of mini sticks (we won’t be using them), and a mini drum throne (sturdy enough to support daddy). The Ludwig set comes with the same components, but with slightly different depths for the drums. The other tom in the video with a mounted cowbell and mini-cymbal is NOT part of the set.
The set comes unassembled. Assembly is easy unless you’ve never seen a drum kit before. For the most part, the hardware on the Union is pretty good for the money. The whole set feels very sturdy and withstand quite a beating (from the target age group). I had low expectations on the cymbals (hi-hats and crash), but they’re really not that bad. Keep in mind that a single Paiste,Zildjian, or Meinl crash cymbal can easily cost more than this drum kit alone.
CONS: The hi-hat assembly is very tight and the tension is unadjustable. It’s best left in closed position. The kick drum pedal is also on the tight side, making it difficult for James to keep a beat for more than a few measures. My thought is that the pedals should have a much lighter tension by default, given that the lower range of the target player is 3 or 4.
With the exception of the kick pedal and hi-hat assembly, I think this is a very good value for the price. The age range is given as 3-8, but I would say more like 4-7. At 8 yrs and up, it may be worth purchasing a used full-size set for your kid(s)… especially if they are taking lessons on a drum kit.
KIT UPDATES: Pearl kick pedal and hi-hat. Entry-level Meinl cymbals (hi-hat, crash, splash, ride). 13″ PDP piccolo steel snare. [The Pearl hi-hat was a bad selection, as it towers over James.]
UPDATE(3/6/2011): I’ve made some edits to the original description. 2 years later, with James nearing 7 yrs old, my verdict on this junior drum kit remains the same. I think it’s a great value for young drummers 4-7 years of age. If the Union (Cascio) folks have lightened the default tensions on the kick pedal and hi-hat stands on the kit (now named UJ5), then even better.
Duration : 0:1:25