Drum Set Anatomy: A List of the Names of Drums and Their Parts

Posted by Mike Schumacher

Interested in learning the different drums parts names?

You’ve come to the right place!

A drum set has been one of the most exciting instruments in a musical band for years. Looking from afar, you may think a drum kit is only about cymbals and shells but it’s absolutely not!

So many big and small parts make up a drum kit to produce a sound that your ears find pleasant.

Drummers like to modify and personalize their drum sets but in essence, a modern drum kit features the same parts.

If you’re an aspiring drummer, here are the drums parts names you should know.

1. Drum Shells

The shell is an important part of a drum over which the drumhead is stretched to produce sound.

Thereby, the quality and material of the drum shells is a critical factor to achieve a high-quality sound.

While wood is commonly used for the shells, the material may vary from metal to acrylic.

Furthermore, the tone and sustain of the sound produced also depend on the size of the drum.

Typically, the bigger the diameter of the shells is, the deeper the sound will be. This is because larger drums tend to project the sound more.

2. Drumheads

The drum shells are of no value without drumheads. Drumheads are placed on the top and bottom of the shell.

Again, different types of drumheads change the sound produced by the drum in different ways. The two most common drumheads are clear heads and coated heads.

If we compare clear and coated heads, we see a major difference in the way each type handles the vibrations when hit with a stick or with hands.

A clear head is generally thinner and thus, it produces sound with enhanced overtones and brightness. Not only is the sound crisper but also the projection and sustain of the drum is dampened.

On the other hand, coated heads come with a coated layer of white spray. This layer serves as a covering for the skin.

Drummers can choose the number of layers depending on the level of dampness they want their drum’s sound to have.

Coated drums are usually played in rock bands, as they produce deeper sounds and their skin is more durable for heavy playing.

3. Drum Lugs

Drum lugs are the small metal cases that are attached in the center of the drum shells. The space between the lugs is always equal to match the tension rods on the counter hoops.

4. Tension Rods

Ever seen the straight long screws going through the counter hoop and into the lugs?

They are called tension rods. These are screwed into the lugs during the tightening and tuning of the drumheads.

A drum key is often used to turn the square heads of the tension rods clockwise or anticlockwise to tighten and loosen them respectively.

The key works the same way a screwdriver does. You may sometimes see that some drums have distinctive tension rods to produce a finer tone.

5. Cymbals

A drum set usually features at least three cymbals; the hi-hat, crash, and ride cymbals.

In some drum kits, some cymbals serve as a replacement for both crash and ride cymbals. Moreover, some beginner kits can even have only one cymbal.

The common methods of making cymbals include forging and stamping – and the cheaper option of the two is stamping.

  • Hi-hat Cymbals

The hi-hat cymbal is an important part of a drum set that always comes in pairs. Generally, a pedal is used to control this set of two cymbals placed on a stand.

The top cymbal moves up and down while the bottom one doesn’t move at all.

With a size ranging from 12-15 inches, the hi-hat cymbals are the most versatile in the range of cymbals.

Different sounds can be produced depending on whether it is open or closed and whether a pedal or drumstick is used to strike it.

  • Crash and Ride Cymbals

Crash cymbals vary in size from 13-20 inches while ride cymbals usually are of 18 inches and above.

Crash cymbals have three parts; the bell, body, and edge. Different sounds are produced when different parts of the cymbal are hit.

The best sound is produced when it is struck on the edge. Offering medium decay, these cymbals are typically used for accents.

The sound produced by ride cymbals, on the contrary, has a longer decay meaning that it tends to ring longer after being hit.

For heavy drummers, thicker and heavier cymbals are best while beginners and lighter players find smaller, thinner cymbals more suitable.

6. Hardware

The basic hardware of a drum set includes:

  • Cymbal Stand

A cymbal stand is a straight stand placed between the snare drums and high tom for crash cymbals.

  • Drum Throne

Drum throne is a stool that is kept behind the bass drum. A variety of shapes and sizes are available to choose from.

Many drummers prefer one with backrests for their comfort.

  • Hi-hat Stand

The hi-hat stand is for resting the foot during playing. It contains a pedal with which the drummer controls the actions of hi-hat cymbals.

  • Boom Stand

The boom stand offers a separate bar to adjust the cymbals at a comfortable level.

Drummers commonly use this stand for the ride cymbal.

  • Snare Stand

The snare stand serves as a cradle for the snare drum. Its height and position can also be adjusted to suit the drummer’s comfort level.

  • Bass Drum Pedal

Drummers use the bass drum pedal with the other foot to play the bass drum.

With the drums parts names revealed, you now have a fair idea of how a drum set looks like.

Apart from these parts, many different elements can be included in a modern drum kit as per the drummer’s preferences.

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