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Drum kit

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A typical drum kit

A drum kit (or drum set or trap set) is a collection of drums, cymbals, and other percussion instruments that is used by a drummer in a musical group.


A Drum Kit has:

  • Bass Drum - The Bottom drum and most important, typically used to start "bars" with and used to keep the beat.
  • Snare Drum - The Drum secondly important with small cables of metal wires (snares) stretched across the bottom to make the loud TAT sound used in solos, riffs, beats and rudiments.
  • Hi-Hat - Two cymbals, typically of the same size, that are clinked together by the pedal below or hit by the Drum Stick, this is used to keep the beat, improvise rhythms and keep the accompanying instruments moving. Hi-hats can be played in the open, closed, and in-between positions. The hi-hats are the most important cymbals on the kit. Some drummers have more than one hi-hat setup around their kit.
  • Tom Toms - Typically, two drums across the top of the kit - as the drummer sits in the "Throne" on his or her left (Or right if he or she is right handed) is the small tom making a higher sound, then on the right is the medium or middle tom with a slightly lower sound depending on tuning. The number and positioning varies by the drummer and some drummers have several toms on their kit such as an 8 inch tom giving an even higher sound used in jazz drumming.
  • Floor Tom - Typically placed to the right of the drummer. A tom that has its own legs or stand and produces a lower note (usually the second lowest after the bass drum). Sizes tend to range between 14-18 inches.
  • Crash Cymbal - A cymbal that makes a loud crash sound. The sound and decay of crash cymbals vary by brand and product line. The number of crash cymbals is dictated by the drummer's personal taste and need for the style of music being played. Used in solos, beginning of bars, riffs and rudimental studies. It is typically used to accent beats but can also be ridden like a ride cymbal, depending on the drummer.
  • Ride Cymbal - A large, heavy cymbal that, typically, makes a light, airy sound, named from the fact that the drummer can "ride on it" or keep time on it. Oftentimes, the ride is used during choruses or bridges because it tends to cut through more aggressively then hi-hats. The bell of the ride cymbal can also be played, giving a pinging sound. The ride cymbal arguabley is the second most important cymbal on the kit next to the hi-hats.

Other cymbals and drums can be added to the setup for a wider range of sounds like the Splash - a small cymbal around 10"/25 cm giving a distinct crash sound with a quick decay. Also a China cymbal, giving a oriental feel to beats and rhythms, solos and fills, it is like a crash cymbal just popped inside out with the screw and sponge holding it to the stand, inside it so its like a shallow bowl shape. The drummer can attach a tambourine to the 'spine' of the hit-hat so when he or her puts his or her foot down Cymbals can also have rivets inserted into them to give them a 'sizzling' sound. On the pedal the drummer gets the tambourine sound at the same time - same with hitting it with the Drum Stick - it gives the tambourine sound at the same time. A Cow Bell can be attached to the top of the Bass Drum between the Snare and Floor Tom, used in fills, solos, grooves and riffs and in rudimental studies.