After a few years without an acoustic drum kit (I’ve just been playing an ancient Roland V-Drum kit I pieced together), I found a Gretsch Catalina birch kit at a local pawn shop for $225.
It needs some hardware, including a kick drum pedal, a hi-hat stand and part of the tom mounting hardware for the kick drum.
The big expense will be cymbals. I don’t want to spend a ton of money on them (I’m not a pro) and would like to just get an inexpensive cymbal pack. Do any of you own cymbals you’d recommend? My last set just came with the kit I had (long since sold), so I’ve never really shopped for them.
I just need hi-hats, a crash and a ride. No more crash-rides for me.
It’s really hard for me to recommend inexpensive cymbals. You get what you pay for, but with cymbals that’s quadrupally true. I think Zildjian makes some cheap hi-hat/ride/crash sets (the kind that low-budget school band programs buy) that don’t sound too much like garbage. I think they’re calling them the ZBT line now or somesuch.
I think your best bet would be to find someone selling used but nice quality cymbals and try to pick them up at a good price. As long as there’s no physical damage cymbals sound as good today as they did ten or twenty years ago. The drawback is that as long as they sound as good as new they tend to retain their value pretty damn well.
I think even going cheap and used you’re probably still looking at $150-$200 for cymbals that won’t make your ears cry.
I had some Paiste Alphas that sounded like a piece of sheet metal. (edit: don’t remember if they were Alphas or not).
Zildjian is always the way to go for cymbals unless you’ve tried them and had them in hand.
You can get those ZBT line used online at Woodwind and Brasswind, but honestly, try to frequent your local music store and buy some there, because you really need to try them. Low end cymbals seem to have a dramatic range of quality between pretty decent and “i think it’s a gong”.