December 22

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EASY! Learn 99+ drum set parts [and their names]

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If you are new to playing drums, the whole topic might be a bit overwhelming at first.

That's why I created this little guide about all drum set parts and their names for a better orientation.

Please let me know in the comments, if there are any questions left, which I didn't answer so far.

Here are the contents of this blog post:

All drum set parts and their names

When you start playing drums, everything is new.

Maybe you already got your 1st pair of beginner drumsticks, and you are familiar with some drumset parts like snare and bass drum.

Step by step, you move forward into the mysterious world of drum kits and percussion.

After a little while, you will see that everything becomes clearer and drum terminology will sound more familiar. 

You will finally know what a single paradiddle is and how a single stroke roll is being played on a drum practice pad.

All Drum Set Parts and their Names

All drum set parts and their names - Image by AlLes

And here are more drum set pieces, which are worth mentioning because you will need them to understand how a drum set is being played:

What are the basic parts of the drum set?

Drum Set Parts

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

The basic parts of a modern 5-piece drum set are the following:

  • Bass Drum
  • Snare Drum
  • Hi-Hat
  • Hi-Tom
  • Mid-Tom
  • Low-Tom

Besides the drums, there are also hi-hat,- crash- and ride cymbals, stands for hi-hat, snare, crash and ride cymbals, and a pedal for the kick drum. All these components complete a modern drum set. 

Drums from a bird's eye view

Let's get into more detail.

Here's an image which shows my Yamaha drum set from a bird's eye view.

It's not the typical basic 5-piece drum set, I mentioned above. 

Please link back and share this page on social media if you think it's helpful for other musicians.

Still, the most important parts are recognizable.

Look!

drum set parts labeled

My drum set parts labeled

Drumset Parts

Here are the most important drumset parts, which belong to a modern 5-piece drum kit.

If there'a any question, please let me know in the comments and I will answer as soon as possible to help.

Names of drums in a drum set

Bass Drum // Kick 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.

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

If you want a premium solution, I'd recommend a high-quality drum rug.

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

Bass drums are available in different sizes.

Most common sizes are 20" and 22" in diameter.

If you want to buy a new drum set for juniors or adults, I'd recommend a 20" bass drum size or even smaller.

The reason is, that 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.

Look!

Bass Drum Pedal

Bass drum pedal & beater

Bass Drum Pedal Setup

If you ever need to set up a bass drum pedal, which shouldn't be the case very often, here's what you should know.

  • 1st. A drummer multi tool is always great to have
  • 2nd. The most important tool you need (if not a multi tool), is a simple drum key to tighten the screws of your bass drum pedal.

On the 1st image, you can see the whole bass drum pedal. As you can see, there are several screws for different purposes available.

The biggest screw, which you can see on the 2nd image, helps attach and loosen the pedal claw to your bass drum hoop.

The small screw at the end of the pedal (3rd image) only fixes the so-called “toe stopper” to the bass drum pedal.

The toe stopper is quite useful to avoid slipping your foot into the bass drum pedal chain.    

Image 4 shows another screw right underneath the bass drum beater. This one helps to adjust the position of the beater.

The other screw on image 4 – just in front of your eyes – helps to adjust the tilt of the bass drum beater.   

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

Pearl Free Floating 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.   

Tom toms & floor tom

Tom toms and floor toms are available in different sizes.
The most common sizes are:

  • 8"
  • 10"
  • 12"
  • 13"
  • 14"
  • 16"
  • 18"

But the diameter of the tom toms and floor toms isn't the only thing the sound depends on.

Also, the depth determines what a drum will sound like.

That's why you often find  measures like 8"x6", 10"x8", 12"x10” and so on.

The Sonor SQ2 drum sets are even available in very individual sizes, which you can configure on your own on the Sonor website.

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 (0.91 m) 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 (0.61 m), whereas the pedal counts as another foot to give the stand a solid foundation. 

how to install hi hat cymbals

Hi Hat Cymbals with Hi Hat Stand (Pearl)

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 (0.61 m) hi hat stand 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

Hi-hat stand without cymbals

  • 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 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 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 loosening and tightening the clutch screw. 

Ride- & Crash Cymbals

Without the cymbals, playing drums isn't as much fun as it can be.

2 Sabian Crash Cymbals

15" & 17" Crash Cymbals by Sabian

Any drum set needs at least one crash cymbal and a ride to being able to practice everything you can find in most drum books and your favorite drumming channel on YouTube. 

Drum Hardware

Without drum hardware parts like cymbal stands, hi-hat stand, a drum throne to sit on, pedals etc. playing drums isn't really possible.

When you buy your first drum kit, all necessary drum hardware should be included to start drumming. 

Drum heads

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

No?

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

First:

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 market, but they will appear again and again – no matter where you are going to search.

For more information on this topic, here's an article on how to measure drum heads.

COMMON DRUM SETS & SIZES

We are getting closer to the end of this blog post.

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 a 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 the 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.

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.

In this blog post about the best cheap drum sets for beginners, you will learn more about this topic.  

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.

More drum kit parts

Depending on the size of a drum kit and the amount of different parts it consists of, there will be even more drum kit parts to talk about.

Let's have a look at Terry Bozzio's monster drum kit.

You can also navigate this 360° video dragging with your mouse.

Subscribe to my YT-channel and get free drum lessons for beginners.

All drum set components you must know

I think that the main drum set components are well explained by now.

Depending on the drum set size and amount of items attached to it, there can be a lot more to explain – of course.

If there are any questions concerning drums, please let me know in the comments.

I am happy to answer and help!

If you want to continue playing your very first grooves, please have a look at my article about 55+ easy drum beats for beginners

Talk soon and see you later! 

FAQ

What are all the parts of a drum set?

A standard drum set consists of several components which can be divided in the following parts:

  1. Drum shells
  2. Drum heads
  3. Hardware
  4. Additional Equipment

1. Drum shells are the basis of your drum set. A standard modern drum kit consists of a bass drum, snare drum, hi tom-tom, mid tom-tom and a stand-tom.

2. Drum heads are needed to create a sound when hitting it with drumsticks. Therefore, it needs to get applied onto a drum shell using drum hoops and tension rods. 

3. Drum hardware consists of cymbal stand, hi hat machine, bass drum pedal, drummer throne and any other "hard" item which is needed to set up a proper drum set.

4. Depending on a drummer's music style and preferences, there can be more additional equipment being applied to ones drum kit. There are cowbells, woodblocks and many other percussion instruments which can be added to create a variety of sounds.

What is included in a 5 piece drum set?

A 5-piece drum set consists of the following instruments:

  1. Bass Drum
  2. Snare Drum
  3. Hi Tom-Tom
  4. Mid Tom-tom
  5. Stand -/ Low-/ Floor Tom
The bass drum is the center of your drum kit. All tom-toms and the snare drum are being placed close to it, so that a drummer can easily hit all drums with his / hers drumsticks.        

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 Cymbals & Machine

Bass  Drum, Snare Drum and Hi Hat are needed to play any important rhythm on a drum set.

 

Which parts of the drum set are hit with drumsticks?

A drummer hits nearly every part of a drum set with his or hers drumsticks. Most often drum heads and cymbals are hit with sticks but also drum hoops and even the drum shells can be hit with drumsticks. The latter can be damaged and drummers should know what they do before playing on the drum shells.

Keno Hellmann

Keno is a professional drummer & blogger from Hamburg, Germany.
In his career, he played drums for prominent artists like Elton John and popular German bands like Rosenstolz, Big Soul and others.
Since 2004 he's also teaching drums to students of all age-groups from beginners to advanced and semi-professional drummers.

He loves kitesurfing in Germany's North Sea & Egypt's Red Sea, cooking, and he is a big supporter of the HSV football team.

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