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A Simple Guide On How To Set Up A Drum Set – Great For Beginners (2023)

If you have recently decided to start playing the drums, then chances are you will want to know how to set up a drum set. Our step-by-step guide has everything you need to know

Why this is so important

Setting up your drum set properly is a crucial step in taking your drumming skills to the next level. Not only will it prevent injuries and discomfort, but it will also improve your playing efficiency and sound quality.

The correct placement of drums, cymbals, and hardware will create a balanced weight distribution and proper technique, allowing you to play with ease and style.

With the right setup, you’ll be able to unleash your creativity and rock the stage like never before!

Let’s get into it!

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How to set up a drum set

If you have recently decided to start playing the drums, then chances are you have already picked out your favourite drum set and had it delivered to your home.

When you first see a drum set in a music store it can look beautiful, complex, and even impressive – however, once it has been delivered to your home, you may find yourself with a series of individual pieces that don’t seem like they will ever fit together. 

how to set up a drum set

So if you have found yourself in a situation where the idea of setting up your drum set strikes fear into your heart, then we have exactly what you need. Down below we have created a step-by-step guide, one that covers everything you need to know about how to set up your drum set.

By following this guide, you will learn how to assemble your drum set in a fast and efficient way, without having to risk injury or the sound quality of your instrument.

So why not check it out and see how you can set up your drum set today? 

Related Article: How to choose a drum set for beginners

Step One: The Throne

Although the throne may only look like a padded, three-legged stool, it is the focal point of the whole drum set – as this is where you will sit when you begin operating the instrument.

So the first thing you need to do is make sure that the throne has been adjusted to a comfortable height, and that you feel balanced and secure when you sit on it. 

Types of throne height adjustments (drum stools)

There are generally two types of drum stool height adjustment methods available:

Manual Adjustment: This is the most common type of height adjustment method for drum stools. It involves adjusting the height of the stool manually by using a lever or knob located underneath the seat.

The lever or knob is usually located on a threaded post that allows the user to raise or lower the seat to the desired height. The advantage of this method is that it is simple and easy to use.

However, it can take some time to find the perfect height.

Airlift Adjustment: This type of adjustment method is less common, but it is becoming increasingly popular. It involves the use of an airlift or hydraulic piston that is located underneath the seat.

The user can adjust the height of the stool by pressing a button or lever that activates the piston, which raises or lowers the seat to the desired height.

The advantage of this method is that it is quick and easy to use, and it allows for precise height adjustments.

However, airlift and hydraulic stools are more expensive than manually adjustable stools.

The best way to assess your comfortability is by sitting with your thighs parallel to the ground and then adjusting the height of the throne until you feel stable and centred.

However, this does not mean that you should be comfortable in a stationary position, as when you begin playing the drums you will need space and freedom to move your body. 

Step Two: The Bass Drum

The next important step to setting up your drum set is making sure that you have placed your bass drum in the perfect position. For this, you will want to anchor your bass drum in a prominent spot, leaving large amounts of space on either side. 

You must always remember to leave room around your bass drum, as this is where the rest of your drum set will be positioned. Leaving space behind the drum is also important, as you need the freedom to move your arms without hitting anything. 

Once you have done this, make sure that the bass drum is running parallel to your upper leg, as you will eventually use this leg to operate the bass drum’s pedal.

You must always make sure that there is a small amount of space between the bass drum and the floor, as this is where you will insert the pedal clamp. You can adjust the height of your bass drum by using the instrument’s legs. 

Step Three: The Snare Drum

The snare is arguably one of the most important drums in your set and the one you will play the most during any given session. Because of this, you need to make sure it is placed in a comfortable position and at a decent height.

If you set the snare too high, you could risk hitting the hoop instead of the drum itself. While placing the snare too low can put pressure on your legs and thighs. 

To make sure you have it at the best height possible, set it to the same height as your waist and then keep adjusting it until you feel comfortable. You should be able to hit the snare consistently and dynamically. 

Step Four: The Bass Pedal

The next step is a relatively easy one, as it involves attaching the pedal to the bottom of your bass drum. For this, all you have to do is place the pedal beneath the centre of the bass drum, as this will produce the best sound. 

However, it is important to make sure that the beater shaft does not make contact with the head of your bass drum during the backswing, as this could damage your drum by creating a dent in the drum’s head. This can also damage the overall performance of the beater, which will render it unusable. 

Step Five: The Hi-Hat 

The process of setting up your hi-hate is very similar to the method used to set up your bass drum. When positioning your hi-hat, you want to make sure that the hi-hat pedal is running in a parallel line with the tip of your big toe, as you will be using this foot to operate it. 

The hi-hat and bass pedals should be placed opposite each other, with both pedals creating a V-like shape in the space in front of you. You must adjust your hi-hat so that it is easily playable, as no piece of equipment in your set should be beyond your reach. 

Step Six: The Toms

When it comes to setting up your toms, you will usually position the drums in a half-circle shape – with the high toms being attached to the top of your bass drum and representing the beginning of the semi-circle.

The floor tom will be placed on the floor in succession with the high toms, creating the end of the shape. 

If you want to ensure easy access to the high toms, then you can tilt the heads forward into a position that is parallel with your line of attack. Like with the other drums, you should be able to easily reach your toms without having to contort your body or exert yourself. You can ensure this by adjusting the height of the toms until they are in a more comfortable position. 

The floor tom should also be adjusted until it is in a more accessible position, which you can do by making it mirror the height and direction of your snare. By doing this there will be little difference in the position of your body when you move between the two drums.

Related Article: Are drums hard to learn?

Step Seven: The Cymbals

The final step involves the positioning of your remaining cymbals, which will typically include one crash and one ride.

Like with your drums, you should be able to easily access and reach your cymbals, in a way that is comfortable and produces the best sound possible. You can do this by adjusting the height of the cymbals to your preferences and comfortability. 

The best place to position your crash cymbal is just above the snare and high tom, while the ride cymbal should be positioned on the opposite side, just above the area between the mid tom and the low tom.

Make sure that the ride cymbal is in a position that does not obscure the toms, but that is still reachable from your throne.

Related Article: 5 Best & Simple Tricks On How To Spin A Drumstick (with videos)

YouTube Video Guide: How to set up a drum set


What is the correct order to set up a drum set?

The typical order to set up a drum set is to start with the bass drum, followed by the snare drum, then the toms, and finally the cymbals and hardware.

This order ensures that the drums are in a comfortable and ergonomic position for the player.

How do I know if my drum set is properly set up?

Your drum set should feel comfortable to play and allow for efficient movement between drums and cymbals.

The bass drum pedal should be at a comfortable distance, and the height of the cymbals and toms should be adjusted to allow for proper technique.

Your posture should also be upright and relaxed when playing.

What is the best height of a drum stool?

The best way to adjust the height of a drum stool is to sit on it and adjust it to the height that allows your knees to be at a 90-degree angle when your feet are on the pedals.

This ensures proper posture and technique when playing.

How can I ensure that my cymbals are properly positioned?

The ride cymbal should be positioned above the bass drum and slightly angled towards you, while the crash cymbals should be positioned above the toms and angled slightly away from you.

What is the best way to position the hi-hat cymbals?

The hi-hat cymbals should be positioned to the left of the snare drum and at a height that allows for easy foot control. The bottom cymbal should be slightly tilted towards you, and the top cymbal should be angled downwards at about a 45-degree angle.

Happy Playing!

Passionately invested in the music world for over 20 years, Jake studied music for 14 years at the Royal Conservatory Of Toronto. He has a degree from Champlain College & Bishop’s University in Business & Music. He is the owner of Fly Away Music & Media Studio in Montreal since 2014, with over 500 happy artists recorded, mixed and mastered.

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