What Are The Materials Used To Make a Drum?

Posted by Mike Schumacher

We have seen drummers do their magic countless times and some of us may be curious to know how these wonderful instruments are made.

This is exactly what we will discuss in the article! We will uncover what materials are used in creating a drum but first let’s look at the core functions of a drum in an instrument set.

Adding the rhythm to the beat

The main function of drums is to create a rhythm.

A rhythm itself is a strong and regular pattern of sound or movement. The more in-tone a drum is with the rest of the instruments, the better collective sound it produces.

Drums create a thumping effect and can also be used as a standalone instrument due to their high impact. These instruments are played not just at concerts, but also during military parades, religious ceremonies, and therapy sessions!

As for the shape and structure of a drum, it has remained unchanged for thousands of years.

In close coordination with cymbals, drums set the level of intensity of a sound to create a particular sensation. The sound that the drums produce depends on the instrument’s shape and type. Musicians choose different drums to create the kind of beat they have in mind.

Components of a drum set

A drum set mainly comprises of cymbals, the toms, snare drum, and bass drum.

But before we dive into the details of the materials that go into making a drum, let’s have a quick look at its main types.

Materials used in making a drum

Similar to any good product, the quality of a drum also depends on the material that is used to create it.

The top or “membrane”

The main part of a drum is its head that comprises around membrane that’s made of either plastic or animal skin.

This membrane is stretched across a shell and tightened at appropriate lengths across the diameter.

The hoop or holder

Next in line is the hoop which is a circular band of metal or wood designed to keep the top and the shell together.

Many musicians today prefer wooden hoop because it is more durable.

The bolt or tension rod

The tension rod passes through the holes of the hoop and is fixed into the lug through the threads. This is done to maintain the desired stress on the drum’s head.

The shell

After the head, the shell has the most impact on the tone of a drum. This shell is usually made of wood but is also available in other materials such as fiberglass.

The pressure maintainer

The vent is an opening on the side of the drum to ensure that air pressure is released when the drum is struck. However, not every drum has a vent or an opening.

The resonant head

The resonant drum head has a key role in maintaining the tone and sound of the drum after it is struck. Different musicians have different opinions on whether or not the vent and/or the resonant head itself are essential for the drum.

Some drummers play drums without resonant heads. The drums are called concert toms.

The bottom hoop

Finally, the bottom hoop serves the purpose of keeping the bottom head together with the drum. In case of snare drums, the bottom head has slots for the snares to fit in.

The basic elements in a snare drum include snares, a snare strainer, and a hoop to keep the pieces tightened.

Before we conclude this article, let’s look at some of the common types of drum.

Types of drums

Drums have gone through some modifications over the years in different cultures. This is what gives us their various types. Following are the drum types used across the world.

A. Acoustic drum sets

Acoustic drums are the ones widely used and come with a lot of variations and configurations.

The power of rock drums have 12, 13 and 16-inch toms and they have deeper tones and volumes due to their sizes.

Fusion drums come with 10, 12 and 14-inch toms and do not create a heavy sound as compared to rock drums. However, they allow quick play due to their faster response.

Jazz drums are light and have toms similar to the fusion drums, but they have little depth. The bass of a jazz drum is also significantly smaller.

B. Electronic drum sets

These drum sets allow a drummer to include a wide range of musical sounds to the beat. The electronic kits are available in basic to professional types and work well with mobile applications.

Similarly, in an electric drum set, a trigger is a pressure-sensitive plate that sends signals to the control unit.

C. Auxiliary drum sets

These drums include the entire range of elements, such as cymbals, bells, pedals, and chimes. The auxiliary sets are often used in addition to the traditional drum kits and in solo performances.

Other types of drums are hand drums, African drums and those that are played in a marching band.

Regardless of its type, each drum set may create different sounds depending on the place where it is being played.

Considerations when purchasing a drum set

When purchasing a drum set, it is important to consider your budget and the available space for the new set.

It is also important to set preferences for the drum as the modern ones come with a lot of variety and configuration.


Drumming is basically a passion. Hence the quality should be on top of the priority list when you are making the purchase. So, remember to spend your money on drums that are made using high-quality material!

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