Hands-On Review:Yamaha Rydeen Drum Set

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Yamaha Rydeen Drum Set
True Yamaha quality at a breakthrough low price.

by D.J. Adams

For a drummer, descriptions like "entry level" and "starter set" might trigger visions of some less-than-stellar kits. You might think of sorry sound, questionable-quality materials, chintzy construction, paper-thin heads, and hardware that seems to surrender under even the light weight of budget-built drums. You might also remember wondering why-no matter how much you tuned it-you couldn't get your "beginner" kit to sound anything like the ones the pros played.
Yamaha Rydeen 5-Piece Drum Set

Enter the Rydeen
Have no fear! There are no such concerns with Yamaha's
Rydeen 5-piece Set. This Yamaha drum set is the polar opposite of those department-store specials that well-meaning parents started us out on. It's a high-quality, well-built Yamaha set that sports some of the finest features of the higher-end Stage Custom models. Anyone who wants a handsome, great-sounding first (or small-stage) kit should take a look at the Rydeen. Plus, with Yamaha's fine line of components and accessories, the Rydeen can grow with you and last a lifetime. From what I understand, "Rydeen" is the god of thunder from Japanese mythology. This drum set certainly fits the name. Yamaha's legendary tunability, impeccable craftsmanship and hearty hardware are right at home on their most affordable set ever. The Rydeen set delivers surprising sonic response and a big bottom end at a price that's just hard to beat.

Solidly built shells
Some hands-on time with the
Rydeen set reveals the craftsmanship that goes into the shell construction. The 6-ply Philippine mahogany shells feature Yamaha's proprietary Air Seal System with diagonal seams. This ensures optimal roundness and enhances the inherent characteristics of the wood. Players can expect the same warm tone and bountiful bottom end offered by other Yamaha drum sets. The good-looking bass drum features wood hoops with matching-color, exposed-edge center inlays. The matching wood snare drum and toms have triple-flanged steel hoops. The small, springless low-mass tuning lugs are the same reliable design featured on Yamaha's YD and Stage Custom Standard Series sets. This simple lug design provides quick tuning with very little chance of unwanted rattles.

The smooth, natural shell interiors look mighty sharp through those included Remo heads. The bass drum has Remo UM PowerStroke 3-type heads. The toms come with Remo UM clear heads. The snare includes Remo UM coated heads.

The sheet-PVC outer shell wraps look like they're ready for years of good use. You can get your
Rydeen set in any of five rich, deep finishes. Choose Rydeen ash (a sweet-looking neutral grayish hue), night black, garnet red, racing green, or royal blue.

Solid, road-tested hardware
One of the product specialists at Yamaha told me that the hardware for their drum sets is made at the same factory that manufactures motorcycle parts. On reflection, that makes sense. The construction and finish looks tough enough to take the power and punishment the biggest bike could dish out. I'm sure that the
Rydeen's hardware is subject to the same quality control and reliability standards as the motorcycle stuff. It shows.

The high-end hardware belies the nice price of this set. Yamaha's venerable Omni-Ball clamp mount soundly holds the toms. The ball clamp is made of super-hard resin and mounts to a steel plate. The tom holders have memory lock so you can quickly set up just the way you like. The double-braced stands are sure and sturdy. The kick drum spurs are of a sturdy design and fold close to the shell for transporting. You get a straight cymbal stand, hi-hat stand, snare stand, and belt-drive bass pedal. This is a Click to Enlargeready-to-go set-just add a throne, some cymbals, and sticks and you're ready to play.

One size fits all
Rydeen set has universal-size components that are about an inch shorter than Power sizes. I believe that adds a bit of sustain to the sound. Younger or smaller players can easily position them for maximum comfort. But the Rydeen also feels right wrapped around a 200-pounder like me. The Rydeen RD2FS5 set includes a 5-1/2" x 14" snare, 8-lug snare drum, 12" x 9" and 13" x 9-1/2" 6-lug rack toms, a 16" x 16" 6-lug floor tom, and a 22" x 16" 8-lug kick drum.




  • 7-ply mahogany shells
  • Yamaha Air Seal System
  • Matching wood snare
  • Wood bass drum hoops
  • Triple-flanged steel snare and tom hoops
  • 12" x 9" rack tom
  • 13" x 9-1/2" rack tom
  • 16" x 16" floor tom
  • 22" x 16" kick drum
  • 5-1/2" x 14" snare drum
  • CS651W double-braced straight cymbal stand
  • HS650W double-braced hi-hat stand
  • FP6110 belt-drive bass drum pedal
  • 2 - CL940 ball clamp tom mounts



Musician's Friend has your new Yamaha Rydeen Set in stock and ready to ship. Pick your favorite color and order today toll-free or online. And don't forget Musician's Friend Platinum Card financing to make getting your top-notch, low-price Rydeen set even easier.