In today’s drum lesson, drum instructor Taylor will explain how to effectively set up your drum set on your own.
How to Effectively Set up Your Drum Set
One of the main benefits to online lessons as a teacher is that I am able to view my student’s setup on which they are playing. However, this has quickly made me realize that many of my students are playing on setups that are not laid out for success. In this blog post, I will break down some of the major points to look for when setting up your drum set that will ensure you will be able to practice smoothly and effectively.
The first focus on your setup should be your seat. It is crucial to ensure that your seat is at an optimal height for playing to avoid injury and allow your body to freely move. In general, your seat should be at a height where your hip bones are above your knees. Another way to gauge this height is to make sure your thighs are at least parallel to the floor, preferably slightly angled down. This will allow your legs to freely move when playing. The next step is to ensure that your seat is an appropriate distance away from both pedals. Generally speaking, your ankle bones should be even with your knee caps to avoid strain on your shins.
Once your seat is properly adjusted, you should position your snare drum directly between your legs. The height of the snare drum should be high enough that when you play a rimshot, your hand completely avoids hitting your leg. However, the snare shouldn’t be so high that you accidentally hit the rim when naturally striking. The angle of the snare drum should be as flat as possible if you are playing matched grip. It is okay if the snare is slightly angled towards you, as this makes it easier to achieve a consistent rim shot. The height of the hi-hat should be adjusted so the stick cleanly engages the cymbal at the tip of the stick. This allows you to choose between striking the hi-hat with the tip or the shoulder of the stick.
Arranging the Toms
The next step in setting up your drum set is to ensure that your toms are at a proper height and angle. The toms should be positioned high enough that they are able to achieve a relatively flat angle. If the toms are too low, they must be angled severely to avoid scraping on the bass drum. If the toms are angled too steeply, the engagement angle of the stick is restricted and causes inefficient rebound. A steep tom angle also causes increased wear and tear on the heads themselves, due to the poor stick angle.
The two rack toms should be positioned as closely as possible so that no open space is wasted. This will allow the ride cymbal to be positioned correctly as well. The floor tom should be just close enough to your body that your right leg avoids it and your sticks can easily strike in the center of the drum.
Adjusting the Cymbals
Finally, the position of the cymbals needs to be adjusted. The most important cymbal to have in the correct position is the ride cymbal. The ride cymbal should be at an appropriate height and angle that the stick naturally engages at the tip. This will vary from player to player, but the stick engagement is very important to achieve the best sound. The ride cymbal should also be close enough to you to make sure that your right arm is not fully extended to reach the cymbal. This will allow for ease of playing and movement in your stroke. The crash cymbal should be positioned similarly but high enough that the stick can easily crash on the shoulder.
Check, check, check, and check!
Take a look at your current drum setup and make sure that it is set up effectively! Test it out by playing each instrument in the kit. Adjust as necessary. You will quickly notice a difference in the ease of playing once your setup is optimized. Happy practicing!