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Gear

How should I set up a drum set?

A right-handed drummer typically places the left foot on the hi-hat pedal and right foot on the bass drum pedal. The snare drum is typically positioned between the drummer’s legs. The smallest tom is typically positioned behind the snare drum, and the floor tom is typically positioned beside the drummer’s right left. Ride cymbals typically are placed on the right while the crash and hi-hat cymbals are on the left. Left-handed drum sets are usually the mirror image of the above description.

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Gear

What is a hi-hat clutch?

The hi-hat clutch holds the upper hi-hat cymbal to the pull rod that, when the footplate is activated, clashes the two hi-hat cymbals.

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What is a footplate?

You push on the footplate to play bass drums and hi-hats.

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What is a hi-hat pull rod?

Your upper hi-hat cymbal attaches to the pull rod, which threads into a receiver near the toe of the footplate, which allows you to clash the two cymbals together.

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Gear

What is a snare stand?

A snare stand holds a snare drum. It sits directly on the ground, typically on a tripod base, and features telescoping tubes and cams that allow the drummer to adjust the height and angle of the snare drum.

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Gear

What is a counterhoop?

Most drums on a drum set have two counterhoops, which apply different amounts of tension to the top and bottom heads using a series of tension rods that thread into receivers on corresponding lugs mounted onto the drum shell. While the heads of certain hand drums like dumbeks and congas are tuned using counterhoops, others can be attached directly to the shell using tacks, ceramics, or elaborate rope systems.

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What is a snare basket?

The snare basket is part of a snare stand, and holds a snare drum in place by gripping the snare-side counterhoop.

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What is a snare butt?

A snare butt is a clamp that works with the throw-off to tension the snare wires on the bottom head of a snare drum. It is mounted on the drum shell opposite the throw-off, and is usually adjustable using a drum key.

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Gear

What is a snare throw off?

A snare throw off works with the snare butt to tension the snare wires on the bottom head of a snare drum. The throw off includes a system for engaging and disengaging the snare wires onto and off of the bottom resonant head. It also usually includes a tensioning system for tightening or loosening the snare wires, which will typically be attached using a screw rod with a drum key head.

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Gear

What is an isolation tom mount?

An isolation tom mount typically holds a mounted tom on a frame that allows the drum to hang from tension rods. This eliminates the need to install a bulky mounting system onto the shell or allow L-arms to protrude into the drum.

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What is a snare strainer?

See Snare Throwoff.

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Gear

What is a double bass drum pedal?

A double bass drum pedal enables the drummer to play double-bass figures on a single bass drum by using a secondary slave pedal to activate a second bass drum beater mounted beside the beater of the primary bass drum pedal.

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What is a bass drum pedal?

A bass drum pedal allows the drummer to strike the bass drum batter head with a bass drum beater using one or both feet.

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What is a bass drum beater?

A bass drum beater is a part of a bass drum pedal. It is composed of a metal rod topped by a circular felt beater that, when activated by foot, strikes the bass drum batter head.

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Gear

What is a drumhead?

Drumheads are typically mounted onto various types of drum shells. Drum set heads were originally made from animal skins, and are now made from plastic film, although a small number of companies continue to offer calfskin heads for drum set. The opposite is true for hand drums, which are often fitted with animal skins, and occasionally feature synthetic heads, although that trend line seems to be gradually reversing itself over time.

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What is a batter head?

Batter heads are mounted on the side of the drum that drummers strike with sticks or hands.

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What is a drum shell?

A drum shell is typically a cylinder made from various types of materials, namely wood, metal, acrylic, carbon fiber, clay — even glass and materials made from reformulated wood waste. Drum set shells are typically fitted with two heads, while many types of hands drums are single headed. The type of shell material, width of the shell, and shell depth influence the sound of every drum.

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What is a resonant head?

Resonant heads are typically mounted on the bottom of toms and snare drums, and on the front of bass drums, opposite the batter head.

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Gear

What is a drum throne?

Most drum thrones feature a cushioned seat attached to a tubular frame with a double-braced tripod base. Other drum thrones feature a cushioned seat fitted on top of a hollow base, which often is used to store small hardware or a stickbag. Otherwise, any stool or chair can be called a drum throne within the context of a drum set.

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Gear

What does “snare side” mean?

“Snare side” refers to the bottom of the snare drum, where the snare wires are mounted. The term is most typically used to differentiate the bottom resonant head from the top batter head.

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Gear

What is a trap case?

Trap cases typically hold your drum set hardware, although more elaborate traps cases can also accommodate a snare drum and cymbals. Trap cases can be made from stiff fiberboard, but can also be made of soft, pliable material.

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Gear

How do you test sticks?

Most sticks come is prematched pairs that are roughly equal in weight and balance. The weight of unmatched sticks can be tested first by feel, and secondly by turning both sticks around, striking a hard surface with the butt ends, and comparing the tone of both sticks. Closer tones indicate a pair similar in density and weight. Unmatched sticks should be rolled on a flat surface to separate warped singles from straight singles. Never use sticks that are warped or show irregularities in the wood grain.

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Gear

What are drum and cymbal cases?

Drum cases protect your drums and cymbals during transport and storage. Cases can be made of fiberboard, wood panels, soft materials, and plastic.

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What is a practice pad?

Drummers use practice pads to play at reduced volumes when warming up or practicing sticking techniques. Practice pads are made from a variety of materials and are designed to emulate the feel of a tensioned drumhead.

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Gear

What is a ride cymbal?

Ride cymbals are generally larger cymbals — typically from 18" to 22", although some drummers use larger sizes. They are generally heavy in weight, are placed on the side of the kit nearest the drummer’s dominant hand, and are “ridden” with the tip on the bow of the cymbal.

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Gear

What are hi-hat cymbals?

Hi-hat cymbals are mounted on a hi-hat stand, which allows right-handed drummers to “clash” the cymbals with the left foot. In general, the bottom hi-hat cymbal is heavier than the top. Drummers play hi-hats either by “chicking” the cymbals together while riding on the ride cymbal or by riding on the hi-hat cymbals.

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Gear

What is a crash cymbal?

Crash cymbals are generally smaller than ride cymbals — typically from 16" to 20", although some drummers use larger sizes. Crash cymbals can be placed around the drum kit, although at least one is traditionally set up between the hi-hat cymbal and mounted tom. Crash cymbals are typically lighter in weight than ride cymbals and are played by “crashing” the stick onto the outer edge of the cymbal.

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Gear

What is a China cymbal?

China cymbals have flat bells and flanged bows, are usually mounted bell-down, and can come in virtually any size — from 10" to 22". They typically provide a quick, loud, trashy accent.

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What is a splash cymbal?

Splash cymbal are typically the smallest in the drum set — typically between 8" and 12". They have a very quick sound and are used for accents.

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What is a bass drum spur?

A bass drum spur is typically one of two pointed legs that protrude outward and downward from a bass drum. The two spurs provide traction that helps keep the bass drum stationary while playing. Many spurs telescope inside of the bass drum shell, while others drop down from the side of the shell.

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Gear

What is a tension rod?

A tension rod is a straight, threaded screw with a flat tip and a square head, which threads through the eyelets of a counterhoop and into receiver nuts inside a drum lug. Using a drum key to turn a tension rod clockwise will compress the counterhoop onto the shell’s bearing edge, thereby tightening the drumhead. Turning the tension rod counterclockwise will loosen the head. Most drum companies use tension rods and lug receiver nuts that employ a coarse industry-standard pitch (the distance from the crest of one thread to the next) except for DW and Sonor, which employ tension rods with a finer pitch. Also, the heads of some Sonor tension rods are slotted, and marry with an internal wedge inside Sonor’s drum key, which works similarly to a screwdriver.

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Gear

What is the difference between wood-tip and nylon-tip sticks?

The tips of wood-tip sticks are shaped into one of a number of standard forms using a lathe, depending on the model type. Nylon-tip sticks feature a hollow nylon tip contoured into one of a similar variety of shapes, which is mounted onto a post at the playing end of the stick and glued into place. Drummers tend to choose one over the other because of the way the tips react to cymbals – generally, wood tips provide a darker, woodier sound while nylon tips provide a sharper, brighter sound.

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Gear

What is a lug?

Drum lugs (aka tension casings) attach to the shell at points that correspond to the spacing of eyelets in the counterhoops. A tension rods fits through each eyelet and screws into the lug, which features internal threads that share the same pitch and lead as the tension rod. Several types of lugs are commonly used, including tube lugs (which generally span the length of the shell), low-mass lug casings (which receive a single tension rod in a threaded insert), and double-sided lugs (which accept two facing tension rods).

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