Back To Basics: How To Set Up Your Drums


The last step is adding the rest of your cymbals. At bare minimum, you’ll probably be using one crash and one ride (or crash/ride) to start. A good position for a single crash (probably something in the 16" range) is just above the snare and high tom. (Fig. 13) Like the drums, you shouldn’t have to reach for the cymbal in any way that would compromise your center of gravity. Ideal cymbal height is, you guessed it, whatever feels most comfortable to you, but keep in mind that the higher you put your cymbals, the greater the separation you’ll get when you begin to get into miking. The higher up the cymbal, the less cymbal bleed you’ll get in your tom mikes.


Fig. 12

The ride cymbal placement should be high enough and at an angle to where you can get to your low and floor toms easily, but close enough where you don’t have to overreach when playing the bell with the shoulder of the stick. Play with various heights and angles until you find something that allows for the greatest freedom of movement and allows you to stay centered on the throne.


Fig. 13

Remember, these are just suggestions to get you started. You’ll see drummers playing any manner of extremes of kit setup, but you’ll never go wrong if you keep the basics outlined here as your guide. In the end, it’s all about your relationship with your drums, and how your kit makes you feel, so when in doubt, go with what feels right.

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