Whether you have just bought a new drum set or have had one for many years, it’s always good to know properly how to set up your drums. It is a common question I always get as an instructor – beginners and advanced drummers as how to set up drums. There are many different ways to set up your drums; each having its’ own advantages and disadvantages. A lot of drummers want to know how to set up their drums the most efficient way possible. Setting up your drums the right way could really improve your stick speed and control around the kit. The truth is, setting up drums is a completely personal thing, one in which you must experiment on your own to decide which one works best for you.
Let me start by explaining how to set up your drums from scratch. This is usually a very straight forward procedure, depending on your hardware. I cannot describe every step and detail because each drum manufacturer has different hardware and stands. Most are very straightforward, with wing nuts to loosen to be able to adjust the height, angle, and other dimensions of the stands. Toms should mount very tight and secure so they do not move when you are playing them. The bass drum should have its legs extended so it sits securely on the ground. As for the cymbals, they should be securely fastened to the boom stands with felt strips on both sides.
Start with your drum stool and figure out where you want to be sitting. Once you have this, relax and let your legs angle themselves to where they are most comfortable. Remember, sitting behind the drums should be a very relaxing experience, so make sure you are comfy! Also, you want to set your stool high enough so you can eecute key techniques like the Moeller Method, and the Double stroke roll efficiently. Where your feet lie is where you will place your 2 foot pedals. After placing you’re hi hat and bas drum pedal where your feet are, fit your bas drum into your bass pedal. Once this is done, place your snare drum at a decent height between your bass drum pedal and you’re hi hat pedal. This is what you want to usually start with; from here you can do many options.
The most common rock drum set comes equipped with 3 toms, a snare and a bass drum. This is called the 5 piece kit. The most common rock drumming set up of these is by having 2 toms set up over your bass drum, and one to the left of it. Usually they will be placed in order by size, with the smallest tom to the right, and the largest tom on the left. Depending on the type of toms you have, you can set them up in different ways. For example, if you have a floor tom (a tom that rests on the floor), you can place that tom on the right side of your hi hats. This gives you a more symmetrical feel to your set up. You can also replace your middle tom with a ride cymbal, using only 2 toms on your drum set. This will give you more of a jazz or punk rock feel.
As for your cymbals, they can be set up any way you wish. The common rock drumming drum set up has a set of hi hats, a set of crash cymbals, and a ride cymbal. The hi hats obviously go on your hi hat stand. There should be a gap between them so you can use your feet or sticks to make a sound. The Ride cymbal is usually places on the left of your kit, above the third tom. Depending how tall you re, set up the crashes so they are in easy reach. This is also all personal, so experiment with different designs.
So as you can see, setting up your drum set can change the way you play it. Make sure you experiment with many different set ups before you decide on one you like. Also, if you have been playing one for a while, try and switch it up a bit, this will give you a fresh new feel on your drums, giving you a new creative edge.