How much money should a 12-year-old spend on a drum set for his rock band?

I'm assuming that would like to know how much you should expect to pay for a drumset. If you were to ask ten different drummer what kind of drumset you should get, you would probably get ten very different answers. Instead of telling you what type of drumset to buy, I will advise you as to what you should look for in a good quality drumset.

First, a piece of advice. I would suggest that before you buy a drumset, you find a qualified private teacher in your area who will is able to teach you the basics of music reading and technique on snare drum. You can usually find out about area persussion instructors at your local music store.

That being said, you should go to a local music store and try out some student model drumsets to find out the ones that you like. The most important thing at this point would be to look at the hardware and how the setting are adjusted. Look and the snare drum and cymbals stands and especially the tom arms to make sure that they are adjusted easily and that you can easily put them in a play that feels comfortable for you to play.

One thing that is also important is that you don't have to buy an expensive drumset for it to sound good. The most important contributing factor to the sound of your drums is the head. You can buy a cheap drumset and put expensive heads on it (which don't cost that much) and if you tune them well, then you can make it sound pretty good. Also, you can take an expensive drumset set and putty cheap drumheads on it and tune it poorly and it will wound pretty bad.

For drumheads, I would suggest either Remo Weatherking or Evans Genera G2. Clear on the toms and coated on the snare. For the bass, I like the Weatherking for jazz/funk music and the Remo Powerstroke 3 for rock music.

That brings us to cymbals. Unlike drums, whose sound can be influenced with drum heads, with cymbals you get what you pay for. This early in your drumming "career", you can get a cymbal prepack. I would suggest the Sabian B8 pack. You can get a pack with hi-hat, crash and ride cymbals for less than you would pay for them individually. The B8 is a student line, so you will want to upgrade in the next several years. I would suggest upgrading one cymbal at a time. Also, when you upgrade, DO NOT by a prepack. As you play more and more, your ears will start to become "trained". You will find that every cymbal will sound different. You can take three Sabian HH 16" Paper Thin crash cymbals, put them side by side and they will all sound different. Furthermore, you will find that not all cymbals sound good together. You will want to hear a cymbal before you buy it. Most large music stores (i.e. Guitar Center, Sam Ash, etc.) will let you bring in your cymbals and set them up on a demo kit so you can see how different cymbals sound with yours. Remember, this will be more important later, but not so much now.