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drum set parts and their names

All drum set parts [and their names] 2021

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Updated on 03/06/2021

If you are new to playing drums, the whole topic might be a bit overwhelming at first. But you will see that everything becomes clearer after a while of practicing and you will be able to identify all drum set parts.

Today I'll show you all drum set parts - and their names of course - which belong to a standard acoustic drum kit.

Are you ready?

Let's go.

All Drum Set Parts and their Names

All Drum Set Parts and their Names

All Drum Set Parts and their names

Let's have a look at all drum set parts and their names you really need to know:

Drum Set Parts

All drum set parts (and their names) - Image by AILes

And here are my drum set parts labeled from a bird's eye view.

drum set parts labeled

My drum set parts labeled

Bass Drum

The bass drum (also kick drum) is the center of your whole drum kit. It needs to stand on a solid underground so that it can't slide away when hitting the bass drum pedals with your foot.

Drum Set Parts - Bass Drum

Drum Set Parts - Bass Drum

Ideally you should place the kick drum on top of a carpet or an anti-vibration mat like this one.

These mats are fairly cheap, and you can buy exactly the quantity of mats you need, so that kick drum, hi hat stand & the drum throne can be placed on it.

Common bass drum sizes and why diameter matters (a lot)

Bass drums are available in different sizes.
Most commen are 20" and 22" in diameter.

If you want to buy a new drum set for adults and children, I'd recommend a 20" bass drum size, because the tom toms can be mounted in a lower position so that smaller drummers and grown-ups can reach them with their arms and drumsticks.

In case you are searching for even smaller instruments, then check my article about the best toddler drum sets.  

Bass Drum Pedals

Without bass drum pedals it's hard to play the kick drum properly and at the right time. Such pedals do all the same. They transform a downward movement of the drummer's foot into a horizontal movement of the bass drum beater to hit the bass drum head:

Bass Drum Pedal

Bass Drum Pedal & Beater


Bass Drum Pedal

Bass drum pedal setup

If you ever need to setup a bass drum pedal, here’s what you should know:

Snare drum with stand

Besides the bass drum the snare is the most important part of the drum set. This is the drum which you will probably hit the most in your whole career as a drummer. 
Here you can see a pearl free floating snare drum with stand.

Snare Drum with Stand

  1. Depending on your snare drum stand model you can choose between rubber or thorns to stand on.
  2. The second screw lets adjust the width of the stand’s feet.
  3. The third screw is for height adjustments of the snare drum stand.
  4. Number 4 helps to adjust the snare drum tilt.
  5. Screw number 5 defines the snare drum basket’s size and how tight the snare drum fits into the basket.   

Hi Hat Cymbals & Hi Hat Stand

The hi hat is a pretty complex musical instrument.
It consists of the hi hat stand and the hi hat cymbals which are mounted on the hi hat rod.

Depending on the model and company which designed and built the stand, you can notice quite a few differences between them.

For example:

Hi hat stands used to have 3 feet plus the pedal itself, which took quite some space on your drum set carpet (my old Pearl hi hat stand is one of them).
Nowadays many hi hat stands come with 2 feet whereas the pedal counts as another foot to give the stand a solid foundation. 

how to install hi hat cymbals

Especially when using a double bass drum pedal for metal, rock or fusion music styles, space becomes valuable. Thinking about buying a modern 2 feet hi hat stand – like this one – should be considered!  

How to play the hi hat (cymbals)

The hi hat cymbals can be played by hands and the hi hat pedal allows the drummer to also play it by left or right foot.

The hi hat offers an enormous range of sounds and dynamics which makes it really special. The hi hat sounds depend on how loose you step onto the hi hat pedal. The more weight you put onto the hi hat pedal the quieter you can play the cymbals. The more you let the cymbals open the louder they can become when hitting them.  

How to set up hi hat cymbals?

If you have never installed hi hat cymbals before, this can become quite a challenge. If you have done it once, it’s ridiculously easy.

This is, how easy it is:

Let’s have a look a closer look at the crucial hi hat parts.

When you set up your hi hat stand, it looks like this without the cymbals.

how to install hi hat cymbals step 1

  • Now take the bottom cymbal (yes, there are 2 – top and bottom), and put it on top of the surface the red arrow points at.

It should look like this:

how to install hi hat cymbals step 2

  • The next step is to prepare the top hi hat cymbal and mount it onto your hi hat rod.
  • To do this you need to attach the the hi hat clutch to the top hi hat cymbal.

You have to attach the lower part of the hi hat clutch inside the top hi hat cymbal. Don’t forget to use the littler rubber protector between the screw and the cymbal to avoid scratching the surface.  
how to install hi hat cymbals step 3

When you turn the top cymbal around it should look something like this:

how to install hi hat cymbals step 4

Now you can attach the rest of the hi hat clutch on top of it. When finished, it should look like this:

how to install hi hat cymbals step 5

Now you can put the top hi hat cymbal including the clutch onto the hi hat rod.

When done correctly, it looks like this:

how to install hi hat cymbals step 6

Now you can adjust the height of the top hi hat cymbal by unloosening and tightening the clutch screw.  

Cheap hi hat cymbals

There are a lot of cheap hi hat cymbals available in stores. But cheap doesn’t mean, that the sound and quality should be “cheap” too. Don’t forget that we are talking about musical instruments here and what we don’t need at all is a cheap sounding drum set or hi hat cymbals.

Here are my personal recommendations for drummers who want to buy cheap but good sounding hi hat cymbals.

  1. Meinl beginner’s cymbal set
  2. Another Meinl cymbal set

If you have a chance to buy the Istanbul Mehmet Samatya cymbal set, I’d recommend it immediately. It’s one of the best cymbal packs I have ever played. They set costs between 320,- and 500,- $ and it looks like this

Best hi hat cymbals for rock

Some students ask me:

What are the best hi hat cymbals for rock?

My answer is usually:

It depends….

Which cymbals a rock drummer chooses does not only depend on the music style itself, but the sound the pair of hi hat cymbals offers.

If you prefer a dark hi hat sound for rock music, you should listen to thicker and bigger hi hat cymbals starting at 14″.
Meinl Byzance cymbals are an example for this kind of dark sounding cymbals. Of course they are not the only ones. Keep your eyes and ears open and also consider used cymbals to add them to your drum set parts to gain the sound you are looking for.

If you prefer a brighter hi hat sound for rock music, you should look for thinner cymbals in 14″ or 13″.

Also, you have to keep in mind that cymbals have to fit your band sound. Because you mainly play rock music doesn’t mean that there’s one pair of hi hat cymbals only, you should play on. Choose your cymbals – no matter which ones – on how they fit into your band’s sound. If you band is loud, choose louder cymbals.  

Tom toms & stand tom

We are getting closer to the end of this blogpost. Still there’s a lot to write about the tom toms and the stand tom (also floor tom, low tom).

The image I showed you at the beginning of this article shows standard drum set parts including 2 tom toms and 1 stand tom. Sometimes drum sets come with more or less tom toms and / or floor toms depending on the music style and sounds the drummer needs to have at his / hers hands.

Common drum sets consist of the following drum sizes:

  1. 20″ Bass Drum / 10″ Tom Tom / 12″ Tom Tom / 14″ Stand Tom
  2. 22″ Bass Drum / 12″ Tom Tom / 13″ Tom Tom / 16″ Stand Tom

1. Studio Drum Set

Drum sets like number 1 are usually called “fusion” or “studio” version. Here you can see an example in the very sizes I mentioned above. 20″ / 10″ / 12″ / 14″ is a great choice for the youngest drummers starting at age 5-6 and for adults too. If you think about buying a drum set for yourself and for your kid, then get something like this.  

2. Rock Drum Set

A “rock” drum set consists of bigger tom toms and a 22″ bass drum. 

Please remember that the drum size only doesn’t stand for a particular music style. There are jazz drummers who prefer bigger drums and rock drummers who prefer playing on smaller sizes.

Drum Heads

Did I mention drum heads as one of the most important parts of any drum kit?


Okay, then here are some sentences including basic information about drum heads and types.

First of all:

No drum heads, no drum sound!

So any drum head is better than none to make a drum sound. But of course there are many differences between drum heads. 

When you are looking for drum heads you will notice a few very popular manufacturers:

  • Remo
  • Evans
  • Aquarian

These companies aren’t the only ones on the drum head market, but they will appear again and again – no matter where you search for the best drum heads.

Drum Hardware Lugs


What are the names of the parts of a drum set?

The most important parts of a drum set are bass drum, snare drum, hi hat stand and hi hat cymbals, tom toms, stand tom, crash cymbal and ride cymbal with their stands. Of course there are more drum set parts which can add up over the years.

What is included in a 5 piece drum set?

In a 5 piece drum set the following drums are included: 1. Bass drum, 2. snare drum, 3. tom tom 1 (high), 4. tom tom 2 (mid) and 5. stand tom (low tom).

What does a full drum set consist of?

A full drum set consists of the following parts: 1. Bass Drum & Foot Pedal 2. Snare Drum & Stand 3. Hi Hat Stand & Cymbals (2) 4. Tom Tom 1 (Hi) 5. Tom Tom 2 (Mid) 6. Stand Tom (Low) 7. Crash Cymbal & Stand 8. Ride Cymbal & Stand 9. Drum Throne

What are the 3 main parts of the drums?

The 3 main parts of the drums are: 1. Bass Drum 2. Snare Drum 3. Hi Hat

What is the most important part of a drum kit?

The answer to this question depends on who you ask. Some (olde) drummers would say that the most important part is the Drum Throne because it helps to play the drums for hours without getting back pain or other inconveniences. Others would say that the most important part is the Snare Drum. Other drummers might call the hi hat the most important part due to their playing style.

What are the types of cymbals for a drum set?

The types of cymbals for a drum set are: 1. Hi Hat Cymbals (Top & Bottom) 2. Crash Cymbals 3. Ride Cymbals 4. China Crashes 5. Splash Cymbals

Do drum sets from different manufacturers like Ludwig and Sonor have distinctly different sounds And do drummers ever mix brands?

Yes, they sound differently and sometimes so unique that a musician can tell, which manufacturer built a drum. That's why some drummers also mix their drum set parts. For example: If a particular snare drum doesn't fit the sound you are looking for, then choose another one from another manufacturer or build your own. There are no rules when setting up the best drum set for yourself.

What is the standard bass drum size?

The standard bass drum size is 22" for rock drum sets and 20" for fusion or studio drums. The latter is a good choice when looking for a drum kit adults and children can play on.


Read on:

Learning to play Drums at 40

The 15+ best toddler drum sets [2021]

The best 100+ Gifts for drummers

300+ Drum Tracks for guitar practice

The 6+ best in ear monitors for drummers

How to measure drum heads


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