Understanding the Drumkit

Before you begin playing the drums, it is important to know what the different parts of the drumkit are called. The following photo shows a common basic setup. This kit contains three tom toms, but many drummers use only two as these are probably the least necessary part of the kit. In fact, most drum parts can be played using only the snare drum, the bass drum and the hi hat cymbals, so don’t worry if you have a very basic setup. The bass drum is played with the right foot and produces what is often called the “bottom end” sound of the drums. The snare drum is usually played with the left hand, but the right hand is also used for certain beats as well as playing fills.

The hi hat and ride cymbals are generally played with the right hand, but once again the left hand may be used in certain situations. The crash cymbal may be played with either hand, depending on which is most practical for each musical situation. The tom toms (toms for short) can also be played by either hand. The hi hat cymbals can also be played by the left foot while certain sounds using the open hi hats are achieved by using a combination of the right hand and the left foot. As you can see, becoming a good drummer requires the use of all four limbs. Through the course of this book you will be introduced to all of the sounds mentioned here and by the end you should be confident playing in a band in most styles of music.

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