You can watch many videos on this subject alone and we have included two of them to watch. You will see that many people have different beliefs on how they set up their drum kits but one thing is the same for all professional drummers out there. It should be on the top of your list to reduce the risk of injury and other future problems by starting off the right way! Using some of the principles here in this article, you will find out how to start your basic setup and then adjust things as needed down the road. For the most simple setup today we will focus on a 5 piece drum kit. All you have to do is build up from here to have an amazing kit and an ergonomically sound one as well.
Where to Put the Throne
Everyone is a different height and you want to find what is comfortable for you at this point. The most important feeling you should have while on your drum throne is a feeling of balance and being centered constantly. When sitting on the throne your legs should be almost level to the ground and a little lower than the top of your leg. This will help you feel comfortable around your drum kit while moving and you can make slight adjustments until you find that sweet spot.
Setting up the Bass Drum
Setting up the bass drum as the second thing in the kit is very important. You want to move it to a centralized spot while having space on both sides of the drum for you to get around. If you have limited space, make sure it is far enough out from the wall or any space so your arms can still move freely. When you are sitting on the throne your leg should be straight with the drum as well as parallel to it. It is important to keep in mind what surface you are putting your kit on. Used the spurs of the bass drum legs to keep things from moving around on you and keep the front of the bass drum raised slightly off the ground.
Using the Snare Drum
Another very important part of the puzzle is the snare drum. When considering the snare drum you have to take into consideration the angle and also the height of the drum. The snare drum is something you will be playing the most often and needs to be in a good position to suit your needs. Get the snare drum to a position that you can make rim shots easily and take into consideration the type of grip that you are using. You want the drum to line up with the angle of your sticks.
Where to Place the Hi-Hat
The Hi-Hat will be setup with your base drum pedal in the shape of a V. You want to have a straight line from the leg to the toe which will make contact with the pedal. It should not take a lot of effort to push down the hi-hat pedal. When sitting at the apex you should have the snare comfortably between your legs and the hi-hat in easy to reach range. Based on your playing style you can make different arrangements with height and location.
The Toms are another important aspect of any setup and a thing to remember is that you want to make sure you don’t have to adjust your elbow very much and you can reach them comfortably from your throne. Just like the angle of the snare drum, you want to have the toms at a natural angle when playing for your set to be ergonomically sound. If you notice your drum heads wearing out too quickly it means you have your toms set at too sharp of an angle. It is important to check your equipment regularly for uneven or inconsistent wear. Another key thing I see beginners do when setting up their drum kit is the Toms bottom hoops will be touching the bass drum. Make sure to correct this not only for aesthetic reasons but sonic reasons as well.
The Cymbal Setup
When first starting out, the most common setup would be using a ride cymbal and also a crash cymbal. If you are using a single crash cymbal, you want to locate it somewhere above the snare and high tom. For the cymbals, you want to adjust these to a point where it is comfortable to reach and it isn’t hindering your other drums. Make sure you don’t need to overreach to any spot of the kit. Keep in mind the angle of your cymbals to where you can reach the bell with ease.
Just remember that when starting out that you want to follow these basic guidelines but over time you will make your own adjustments and find out what works for you. Everyone is different and you will find that you may have to make several changes before you find that sweet spot. If you hang in there, it won’t take long until you have your drum kit setup ergonomically correct and it feels right for you!