In our recent post, we talked about overhead drum mics. Now we will move on to setting up a drum set or drum kit as some would call it. We’ll be focusing on all main aspects, from setting up the stands, installing the drumheads, as well as positioning your cymbals. Stick with us till the end of this article and you will learn everything you need to know about configuring your drum set properly.
Installing the drumheads
Before we get started, make sure to put a couple of drops of lubricant on the tension rods. This will make the tuning process smoother and will prevent the lug casing and tension rod from stripping. Think of your drumheads as of guitar strings. They need to be tuned, taken care of, and even changed from time to time.
There are two heads on each of your drums, one thick and one thin. Place the thin one on the bottom (resonant side) of the drum, and the thick one on the top (batter side). After doing this, you have to lay the drumhead on its shell. Make sure to install the drumhead on the bass drum on the closest side to the bass drum legs.
Now begin placing the drum hoop over the head and align it properly with the lugs. You will most likely notice that the hoop has a flat end and a rounded end. It is important to place the flat hoop on the drumhead because the rounded end is the one that you’ll be banging with the drum sticks.
Now stick the tension rods through the hoop’s holes all the way through the drumhead’s lugs and tighten them with your fingers. It’s important to finger-tighten them to assure that you’ll have equal pressure on all of them before actually using the drum key to tighten further. Otherwise, you could bend the hoops and damage the case of the drumhead.
The final step is to tighten them with the drum key. Make sure to tune the heads properly with the key, and avoid putting too much pressure.
Assembling the drum throne
Since the drum throne is the base of your entire drum set, it is crucial to set it up properly. It’s essential to raise it according to your height so that you will find a comfortable position. Make sure that your thighs are a little taller than parallel to the floor. Otherwise, you might fatigue faster and your back might start hurting.
After taking the drum throne out of its individual packaging, loosen the wing nut, expand the legs, and then finally tighten the wing nut again to make sure everything will be stable once you actually plan to stand on the drum throne. Make sure the drum throne’s legs are spread enough to be stable and make sure one of the legs is behind you.
Place the seat on top and use the wing nut underneath the seat to secure it to the height adjustment rod. Now you can freely raise or lower the seat accordingly to find a comfortable position.
Adjusting the snare drum stand
Setting up the snare drum stand is similar to the process of assembling the drum throne, except you can also adjust the snare drum stand at an angle, not just height-wise. As before, loosen the bottom wing nut to adjust the legs and then tighten the wing nut back. Then loosen the middle wing nut to adjust the angle and tighten it back once you find a comfortable position.
Put the stand in place, open the basket, and set your drum in. Once that’s done, secure the snare drum with the basket’s adjustment nut. If you want to slightly change the angle of the basket, loosen the wing nut at the joint. Find the most comfortable position possible and then tighten it up again.
The cymbal stands usually come in four different pieces: hi-hat stands, straight stands, boom stands, and convertible stands. The first two have a similar assembly process to one another. Loosen up the bottom wing nut, expand the legs, and then tighten the nut back.
Insert the foot pedal brackets in their respective spots and then screw the pull rod into the hi-hat stand. Finally, position the tube to a comfortable height and place the felt onto the hi-hat seat. For the straight stand, adjust its height by using the middle wing nut. As with the others, adjust it for a comfortable position.
The boom stands’ arm angle and length are adjusted with the wing nut at the top of the stand. As for the cymbal angle, you can adjust it with the wing nut that’s closest to the felts. Finally, convertible stands act similarly to boom stands, so if you get the hang of those, you’re good to go with these ones as well.
The drum shells
Place the bass drum on the floor with the logo facing away from you. Expand the legs and then tighten the wing nut to adjust them in place. Then extend the leg and make sure to also tighten the bottom wing nut. Tighten everything up and attach your bass drum pedal to the hoop.
Place the snare drum into its respective basket and tighten it using the adjustment nut. Insert the floor tom legs into their respective brackets and tighten them down with the wing nut. Make sure your feet face outward so that the set-up doesn’t tip over.
Finally, you’ll have to set up the rack toms by inserting the long part into the bass drum bracket. Make sure to place the small one on the left side and the big one on the right. Adjust their angle until the rack toms are facing toward you and then finally tighten all the nuts in place.
Set up and position the cymbals
The hard part is over. Now you only have to deal with adjusting the cymbals. Place them on their respective stands, tighten them down, and then adjust their angle. Make sure you have cymbal sleeves and felts on the stands. This will prevent metal-on-metal contact and subsequently keep your cymbals from cracking faster than they normally do.
Test everything out
Now that we’ve gone through all the individual pieces, it’s time to test how your drums sound. Start by playing a simple song and try to detect any unusual sounds that come out of the cymbals or respective drums. It is a good idea to have someone nearby to also listen to your performance. This increases your chances of detecting if something’s wrong.
If you find a piece that doesn’t sound quite right, make sure to check the instruction manual to see if you’ve done everything right. If all the steps have been taken properly, it might mean that you just didn’t adjust the angle accordingly or that you didn’t hit the drums or cymbals with proper force. Remember, some notes require you to hit harder or softer.
The drummer plays a huge role in a band. You will be responsible for keeping the rhythm up and basically coordinating every other band member’s movements. Make sure to practice each song as much as you need before going out and playing a gig. Nobody wants to be compared to Lars Ulrich.
Taking care of your drums
Drums and cymbals need basic maintenance to ensure they’ll have a long lifespan. Spray lubricant on the tension rods when storing the drums in a controlled environment, as well as when you want to change the drumheads. As for the shells and the cymbals, you can simply polish and wipe down to keep them cleaned properly.
Don’t use unnecessary force when playing the drums either. It is easy to get excited and hit the drums too hard when playing at parties or concerts, which usually either leads to broken sticks or broken drumheads. Try to refrain from playing heavy-hitting sounds until you’ve gotten the hang of easier to play tunes.
Finally, don’t forget to also take care of the drumsticks. Keep them away from sunlight or moisture, as these soften the wood and can make splinters jump when playing. If you take all these necessary precautions, your drums will surely last you for years to come. And you can rest assured your investment will have been worth it.