If you’re just getting started playing drums – whether learning jazz, rock, pop or something else – learning how to set them up correctly is an important lesson. In this guide we take a quick look at the best practices.
Drums are a fantastic instrument to learn and play. They’re great fun, an amazing form of stress relief, a great physical workout, and they allow you to experience the ultimate expression of rhythm.
Setting up your kit properly helps avoid any potential injuries, improves your quality and ensures optimal performance while you’re in the zone.
Drummers come in different shapes and sizes and one ‘s hi-hat placement or chair height may not be comfortable for another.
A third might prefer two bass drums while a fourth finds this excessive.
But whilst everyone has their own preferences of brand, model, sizes, number of drums and cymbals, placement of parts, percussion knick-knacks, etc (as we covered in more detail here), there are some key basics which are universal.
The majority of beginner drummers have a 4-piece or 5-piece . and this guide will focus on a normal
There are three main components on your :
The drums consist of the , , , and floor toms.,
The hardware consists of stands for the cymbals and hi-hat, the , the and the .
The cymbals consist of the , the and the hi-hats. Some kits might also include a .
Follow the steps below to set up your kit and start making some noise!
Step 1: Adjust The
Adjust your stool (aka ‘the throne’) to a suitable height.
Having a well-adjusted throne will help you to keep power and balance while you play. Your thighs should be parallel to the ground with your knees slightly below the tops of your legs.
Experiment with different adjustments until you find one that is comfortable and well-balanced for you.
Step 2: Set Up The
To set up the , place it down so that it’s in the centre of your .
You can position the legs to ensure your doesn’t move around while you’re playing.
Make sure that the legs are adjusted so that they are equal on both sides, and check that the spurs on the legs are anchored to the floor properly.
Leave enough space around your so that you can play with enough room, and don’t end up banging your arms on walls or other nearby objects.
Next, you need to fit and adjust the .
Attach the clamp to the centre of the hoop on your , making sure it is stable.
When you press the with your foot, the beater should hit the right in the centre and then bounce back. If it doesn’t bounce back or pressing the is difficult, you may need to adjust the tension.
Use the screw to control and adjust tension until it looks and feels right.
Step 3: Set Up The
Adjust the so that the height and angle are comfortable; it should sit a few inches above your leg.
Make sure you can hit the with both of your hands without hitting the rim with your sticks.
The lever used to engage the is located on the left of the .
Step 4. Set Up The Toms
Your consists of floor toms and mounted ‘rack’ toms.
The floor toms should be adjusted to around the same height as your , and mounted toms should be angled towards you so that you can easily hit them with your sticks.
You can adjust the arrangement of a or to whatever is easiest and most comfortable.
Step 5: Set Up The Hi-Hat
Position your hi-hat slightly to the left of your .
Using the clutch on your hi-hat stand, attach the cymbals to the rod.
You should be able to easily reach the hi-hat to make them easier to hit with your sticks. with your foot, if not, adjust the positioning. The hi-hat cymbals should be positioned above the
Step 6: Set Up Your Cymbals
It’s important to feel centred while drumming, so you need to make sure your cymbals are placed in a comfortable position for you to hit without having to reach out for them.
Set up the on your right, just above the .
They should be sitting higher than the mounted toms, but not so high that you can’t reach easily with your sticks.
So now youris set up in the correct way, you’re ready to play!
Remember it’s important to experiment with different adjustments and heights until you find that perfect.
Once you’ve found athat’s comfortable and works for you, you’ll know how to arrange your kit every time you play to maximise your performance and enjoyment.
Looking for more jazz-specific drum tips?
The label ‘Discover Jazz’ is attached to articles which have been edited and published by Jazzfuel host Matt Fripp, but have been written in collaboration with various different jazz musicians and industry contributors. When appropriate, these musicians are quoted and name-checked inside the article itself!